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Jun 10, 2012

Of Entrances and Exits

Passage: John 13:1-30

Preacher: Eric Stapleton

Series: Life to the Full

Category: Spiritual Warfare

Keywords: spiritual warfare, satan, lies, truth, promises, judas, faith, possessed, influence, exorcist


In John 13 we read that Satan entered Judas? Really? How did that happen? Can that happen to us? Why or why Not? How DO we handle the enemy of our souls? Read this sermon about the enemies most potent weapon against us...indeed, his ONLY weapon against us.


John 13 (NASB95)

Chapter 13

The Lord’s Supper

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,

4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

8 Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.

11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?

13 “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.

14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.

17 “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

18 “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’

19 “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.

20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.”

22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.

23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.”

25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.

29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.

30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

We’re in this sermon series still “Life to the Full” the Gospel of John. But this passage is not at all lively or so it seems. I almost titled this, “Life to the Dearth”. So, why Judas? What can we possibly learn from someone you or I will never be or whose scale of betrayal we will never have the opportunity to emulate? I want to break this up into two sections. In this first part, I’m going to talk about Judas’s situation and how he got there. In the second part, I’m going to talk about the implications for us. I think there is big difference between what was possible to happen to Judas and what is possible to happen to a believer today. And I’ll talk about that later. I think there is a lot to learn here. I say that with a little trepidation because I personally cannot really relate to having Satan, evil incarnate, enter into me. How many of us have ever come off of a bender saying, “Oh yeah, I was really filled with Satan last weekend?” Most of us won’t even go there. Don’t be disturbed. That’s the Hollywood version of someone filled with the devil or one of his minions.


Do think anyone who looks like that is getting anywhere near Jesus enough to kiss him on the cheek? That’s what the scriptures say, that Judas came and kissed Jesus on the cheek and gently says, “Rabbi”. He’s not foaming at the mouth, throwing people around like the demoniac who Jesus healed earlier. The disciples probably wouldn’t have let him get that close. Also, if he would have looked like that, would those who came to arrest Jesus really have gone along with Judas? Probably not.


I’m not saying that demonic possession never happens or that it never looks like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Certainly, the Bible describes that as well as the kiss on the cheek. I just think that he doesn’t need that to be effective as chairman of the board of Evil, Inc. He can be subtle indeed.

2 Corinthians 11:14 (NIV84)

14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.


So, how did this happen? How is it that Judas, who was one of the twelve disciples, was entered by Satan? I used a passive construction there implying that something happened to Judas. Is that true? Did something happen to Judas that he didn’t have control over? Was he violated by Satan? Did Satan enter through his eyes, ears, or the morsel of bread that JESUS gave to him. Hmm.


First, let’s talk about entrances. What is an entrance but a portal by which someone or something can transfer all or part of his/its entirety from place to another place? Usually, when think of entrances we may think of doors. But that is not necessary. Have you been in this situation? Your arms are full of stuff and you need to get into the house but you need a free hand to open the door or if the door is locked, to get your keys to open said door. I got a better idea…get rid of the door. Wouldn’t it just be a lot easier? Why wouldn’t you do that?


Well we have doors for a reason. We want to be able to get in and out easy as well as our family and invited guests. We don’t want dirt or wild animals walking in though. So we have this door, that stays closed with a hinge and a spring or something, keeps insects out. But maybe augment that with a latch or something so the wind doesn’t blow it open and aforementioned dirt and animals invade. We usually have a door knob to open the latch so that the door opens because dirt and most animals don’t have the necessary opposable thumb necessary to turn the knob. I did have a dog that figured out how to open the door using both his paws in opposition. Scary. So, if you have a dog that can open a door like that, I recommend a lock.


So, if you have the door with the hinge, knob and lock, that right there is four levels of security against different levels of contaminants, things you don’t want in your house—insects, dirt, wild animals, uninvited guests, burglars, etc. It’s not a perfect system because insects, animals, uninvited guests, burglars, political ads can still get in there. BUT having those barriers in place IS helpful and does prevent loss and corruption.


So, what does this have to do with Judas? Everything. I would like to propose that Judas had a metaphorical door to his soul and he opened that door and let the devil in when he came knocking. There is definitely evidence of this in this chapter. Check it out:


John 13:2 (NASB95)

2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,

This is metaphorical describing Satan doing with Judas. Satan didn’t have a scalpel and didn’t perform open heart surgery. This is talking about Satan had put an idea that had developed into a plan of action in Judas’ mind. It was a plan of action that Judas had not yet acted on. Check it out

John 13:21–28 (NASB95)

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.”

22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.

23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.”

25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.

Jesus announces it in front of everybody. Nobody has the juice to ask Jesus who it is except Peter of course. Everybody else is like, I hope it’s not me, they have propriety. What if Jesus says, “yup, you’re that guy.” Nobody wants to hear that. Peter knows its not himself and he pulls one of these. He “really discreetly” leans back on Jesus chest and says, in whisper, and it had to be in a whisper or a quieter voice. I’ll tell you why in a second. He say, “who is it” probably with the inference of “we’ll take care it for you boss.” And Jesus tells him because there is nothing for Peter to do about it. This is the way it is going to go down. Jesus isn’t making it go down this way, he’s just knows the story really well. Jesus tells him because it doesn’t matter. While Peter is telling the rest of the disciples what Jesus just said, Jesus gives Judas the bread and nobody else sees it, they just hear him say out loud, “What you do, do quickly.” It says in the text no else knew what Jesus was talking about when he said this to Judas. See, if they had heard the question that Peter asked and the answer Jesus gave, they would have also noticed when Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas. Instead they’re listening to Peter or too busy talking with each other or flirting with Mary and Martha, they were distracted to the point of missing the criteria and/or fulfillment of it. That’s why I think Peter was trying be sly in discovering the fiend. But more importantly that all that, Judas knew he was the one that Jesus had repeatedly referred to has his betrayer. Judas, at that point, made the decision to go through with is plan. In that instant, Satan entered Judas. Judas opened the door. See until then he was just getting junk mail from the devil through the mail slot.

What do I mean by that? Most people these days get their mail from their from a mailbox but some of us have a slot in the door where the mail comes in. When I was living in Japan, we had a slot in our door where junk mail and bills came in. Just junk mail, important official notices and bills. So, you couldn’t just grab the pile and sort it all out.

Going back to the door analogy. We all have doors to our souls. There are many different kinds of doors. There are screen doors, wooden doors, glass doors where you can see what’s outside without having to be outside. There are vault doors. But in all those cases who decides whether the door is open or not. Right the owner of the house.

Jesus says in Revelation, Behold, I stand at the door and knock. You remember that picture. There’s no handle on the outside of the door because it’s on inside and you have to decide to open the door to let Jesus come into your heart.

It’s not different for the other side. Permission has to be given on some level. One of the differences is that Satan will try to trick you or deceive one into granting such permission.

Now it’s possible that Christian brother or sister who is a psychologist might disagree with me on the whole permission needing to be granted thing. Maybe justifiably so. I’m not a psychologist. But let me offer something for you. The Bible says that even those who don’t know God’s official law in the book, everyone knows enough of his law that is already written on their hearts. Romans 2:14–15 (NASB95)

14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Everyone is made in the image of God. If someone takes something from you, you know something bad has happened. Or vice versa, you usually know when you’ve broken a moral law because it’s already written on your heart to a certain extent. My point is everyone has violated their own conscience which reflects their being made in the image of God.*

Going back to the analogy of doors. By nature or nurture some of us have better made or lesser made doors or filters to our souls. I’ve seen in one family two brothers both with extreme psychological compromised faculties. One lives his life for Christ, ready to praise at every turn, the other, sometimes, as if filled with the devil, is heinously manipulative and a liar. From a psychologists point of view I’m sure that’s a just a nice anecdote with no clinical validity. I’m just saying even though we have different physical and cognitive material to work with we, Biblically, are all accountable for maintaining the security of our spiritual houses so to speak. And I reiterate, there is a difference between what was possible with Judas and what is possible with believers today. By today, I mean, post resurrection. Getting ahead of myself here.

Back to Judas. I think Judas had a good door, just the same as most people. But one day in his mail slot he got a telegram from the devil. And this letter may have said, “You know Judas, you’re a pretty smart guy. That is why Jesus put you in charge of the money bag. He trusts you with it. Jesus, he doesn’t even need the money. He can make water into wine, what does he need money for? By the way, did he offer any of that wine to you? Not that that is important. You’re not petty like that Judas. But you’ve given up a lot to follow Jesus, shouldn’t you get a raise or something? You’ve got the money bag, you deserve to spend a little on yourself. You can always pay it back later.”

I allude to Judas pilfering money from the community money bag. Yeah, it says in scripture:

John 12:4–6 (NASB95)

4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,

5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?

6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

The telegrams from Satan, it’s all hypothetical or maybe not . So Judas gets into the habit of stealing from God. So maybe he gets another telegram from Satan.

“Dude, you totally blew it. You stole from God man. What kind of idiot are you anyway? You know, he does talk about someone betraying him and all. I for one, wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being you.”

And so on. You can see how that could progress to the point where, “shoot, they all hate me anyway. He knows, I know he knows that’s I’ve been stealing. Look at ‘em there. All smug and all. Why does he have to keep on saying it? Someone’s gonna betray me. Someone’s gonna betray me. If he’s the son of God, what’s he so scared of? You know, so arrogant an’ all, he’ll probably even just tell me to do it. Like I’m scared to or something.” Then, he’s ready for Satan to enter.

I don’t know what the conversation was between Satan and Judas, between Judas and Judas. I do know from the scripture that Judas’ conscience was already compromised enough to where he thought he could steal from Jesus. Whenever sin is committed consciously, an agreement with Satan is being made. Satan had put an idea into his heart about betraying Jesus and at a specific point in time, the point where Judas left Jesus to act on his plan, Satan entered.

That’s my point. Gradually by steps, Judas allowed Satan’s influence to get ahold of him to a certain point where one more action was opening the door of his soul to let Satan have complete control.

You’ve seen this concept illustrated in movies and literature all over the place. In Lord of the Rings when the bearer of the ring is faced with destroying the ring, he chooses to possess it instead and the evil of the ring completely takes over. You see in the Star Wars where Anakin Skywalker makes that decision to stop Mace Windu from destroying the emperor and by so doing becomes Darth Vader.

That concludes part of this part. If you’re listening to this on cassette, please turn the tape over at this time.

Like I said earlier, I wanted to make a distinction between what was possible to happen to Judas in regard to Satan’s influence and what is possible for believers in Christ as far as Satan’s influence. The difference is that it was possible for Satan to enter Judas or any of the disciples or anybody “believer” before the resurrection and imparting of the Holy Spirit. It’s not possible for a believer in Christ, after the resurrection, to possessed or entered by Satan or his minions or demons. Influenced? Yes. Possessed? No.

How do I know this? I was talking about it with Jess a few Sundays ago and we flipped a coin over it and decided it wasn’t possible. Just kidding. We know implicitly from the Bible.

Remember in an early sermon about John 17 an analogy about canned peaches. Have you ever opened a can of peaches and found a bunch of flies? Not very often. If you did, why? Because it wasn’t properly sealed or something bad got in before it was sealed. That’s because humans aren’t perfect in all their tasks. BUT what is the purpose of canning and sealing? Right to keep the goodness in and the badness out.

Ephesians 4:30 (NIV84)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We are sealed to keep the goodness in for the day of redemption. As you can see from that verse, it’s possible to grieve the Holy Spirit through our actions, thoughts, and behaviors. It’s like grieving a roommate by leaving the dirty dishes in the sink. He’s going to remind you that you are being selfish. The Holy Spirit is living there inside you to help you act in accordance with God’s will. He, like a roommate or a spouse, gets mad when you don’t. That’s a simple way of understanding that.

Further implied as that you can be enticed from within or without to commit sins. Some of you were delivered from demons and the influences thereof. This is what Jesus says about that:

Matthew 12:43–45 (NASB95)

43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.

44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.

45 “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

So, casting a demon or demon’s influence out of a person is not enough. The implication is that nothing else came in to live in that man. It was still an open house. If the Holy Spirit comes to live there, the demons cannot abide there.

Indeed when speaking of addiction, which some consider a demon in itself, psychologists will say that when you get rid of an unhealthy behavior, you need to replace it with a healthy one to fill the void. The gravity of what we know will always pull us back to it. Having an insight, epiphany, or change of heart about something doesn’t really matter unless you put it into practice right way, constantly and consistently. I’ll say that once again, having a change of heart about something isn’t enough, you need to put it into practice right away, constantly and consistently.

Now, I’m not denying the existence of spiritual warfare. I affirm that there are demons and angels that war over the possession of the kingdom and our souls. I’m just trying to reframe your perspective on. One component of such is knowing you cannot be taken over, against your will by a demon or Satan.

Some may say, oh no Eric, you got wrong see because I know this brother who believed in Jesus and he was possessed by a demon and we cast it out. I don’t know. That doesn’t line up with what I understand scripture to teach nor does it line up with my experience. This particular understanding of demonic possession vs. demonic influence is not something that I would die for or am willing really to argue about because the point that I need to make here, the walk away truth is not dependent on it. There is something much more powerfully afoot than the presence of a demon or Satan himself.

Satan’s lies. Satan nor his minions. When I Satan I mean demons as well. Just to clarify…Satan, Inc. They don’t need to be anywhere near you for you to be affected by or to have chosen to agree with his lies. Think about it. It’s just not efficient. I heard a wiser man than I point this out to an addict who said, “the devil made me do it.” Really? The devil left his work in wherever W. said the axis of evil was, Iraq, Iran, deepest darkest Africa, he left his work there to deal with you. My point is, he doesn’t need to. Satan, Inc. is not omnipresent. There is a significantly lesser amount of them than there are of angels. Really. There is at least two thirds less. Evil does not equate stupidity. He has to be more efficient so he has mass communication. Some would say, well that’s just obvious…look at the Internet and the media, TV and movies, right. Well yeah, kind of. What are all those entities made up of? People. People are Satan’s mass communication network. That’s why the Bible says to resist the devil and he will flee from you. He doesn’t have the time or resources to do so. It’s more efficient for him to convert someone like you or me into an agent who will believe and then propagate his lies and then move on.

There was a war a few years back called The Great American Civil War. In this war there was a famous battle called Bloody Antietam. It took place at a creek called Antietam. The battle was extremely bloody. It didn’t need be and the battle should have ended the war. The union forces significantly outnumber the Confederate forces. All the union had to do was push all their forces at once across that creek. The Confederates didn’t have the manpower to repel that attack. But since the Union forces were so cautious about it, General Lee of the Confederates was able and had the time to move his forces back and forth along the line to reinforce where the pressure was heaviest.

Again, I feel I need to reiterate that spiritual warfare does happen, Satan, through his demons does harass the church. However, I want to point out that it’s not always necessary. When we resist his lies constantly, consistently he won’t waste his time with us. Eventually, Lee, outnumbered, retreated. He shouldn’t have been able to though. The war should have ended that day.

I was watching a movie this week. I didn’t get to finish it, thank you Netflix but this movie was called, Precious. You may have heard of it. It’s a darker story of a teenage girl who has been sexually abused by her father with two children to show for it. She is living with her emotionally, physically, and verbally abusive mother. Oh, she’s illiterate, extremely obese and gets kicked out of school. There’s this one scene where the mother is railing against Precious for wanting to better herself through education. “Oh, you think you better than me, think you too good for the we’fare. You done had my man so you getting all uppity and stuff. You  ain’t nuthin’ Precious. You a dummy.” Then throws a frying pan at her. As I’m watching this, I’m thinking wow, that person is filled with the devil but then as I’m listening to her words, “you think you’re better than me.” Hmm. These are lies. Precious just wants better for herself. She recognizes that her current situation isn’t the best. Her mother is spouting lies. How did she come up with this stuff? Am I to believe that Satan or a demon is living inside her making her say these things? Could be. Or it could be that these are lies she believes…that her kid is dummy, that her daughter is wants to show her up, that it was Precious that seduced her husband, could it be that she believes these lies for other reasons. What reasons could they be? Right. She, herself, feels less than. How did that happen? Right. She was abused, probably. Now, Mary here is passing on lies that she herself has bought into. “I was a dummy, therefore, you must be a dummy.” Do you see where I’m going here? Satan doesn’t have to be present for his lies to bear fruit and propagate.

If you go to my house, you’ll see parked in the garage, a 2007 Toyota Sienna. How did that get there? Maybe you decide that it was Mr. Toyota himself who gave me that Sienna. So, you decide to go Japan to see Mr. Toyota and tell him how much the Stapletons are enjoying the Sienna he gave us. To which he says, “へえ、ステイプルトンさんですか?申し訳ございません。存じません。“Stapletons. I don’t know any Stapletons.” Nor did he personally sell us the one we got. He didn’t even personally put the thing together. His company puts thousands of them together and we the consumer, choose to buy them.

In the same way, I think Satan has a lot lies out there in the communicative marketplace that we willingly choose to consume, even us Christians. It’s a like a salesperson that comes to your door to sell you a thousand dollar vacuum cleaner. You tell him to get lost, Get thee behind me Rainbow 2000 salesman, but when you close the door, he leaves literature behind in case you change your mind. Hopefully, you have the wits about you to throw that away as well. Maybe you don’t though.

We are not personally known to Mr. Toyota nor the guy who came up with the Rainbow 2000 vacuum cleaner. Neither are we, in all likelihood known personally to Satan.

I’m OK with that. God knows us. God knows all by name, each hair on our heads. Satan? No. Certainly, he has spiritual forces in Spokane, Wa and I’m sure he pays attention to the effectiveness of Mosaic downtown and tries to thwart it. I believe that.

So, what’s my point? Satan, in the garden, didn’t make Eve bite the apple. He lied to her. She believed it. That’s the point. Recognize when Satan’s lies are coming at you and then resist them with God’s truth.

First, we need to identify our vulnerability to receiving Satan’s lies. That’s a mailslot by which Satan gets his lies in .

In addiction circles, the acronym HALT is used. It’s catch word for a substance or behavioral addict in recovery to recognize first of all when they are weak. When they are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. And some groups will add on other categories, but all of them have in common an area of lack. Lacking of sustenance, peace, companionship or rest. When that happens there is a vulnerability to suggestion. “You are lacking right now therefore you need to fill that lack with __________ addictive behavior.” This is where one can be vulnerable to lies from the devil. That lack doesn’t have to be limited to those items. Very often throughout the day I like to listen to music. Sometimes I turn on the radio and tune into KRAP radio. All KRAP all the time. Playing the hits you’ve been listening all your life.

“What’s God Got to do with it? I’m on my own in my sin and shame.”

“Owner of a Damaged Heart”—I’m just not worth it, my mom told me so when she gave me up for adoption.

“What I Hate About You?”—everything, I just don’t matter.

“It’s the End of the World as I Know it”—everything is pointless and pleasure is the only thing with living for.

“I Hope You Really Want to Hurt Me” because that’s when I know its love.

“There’s Always Someone there to Remind Me” of all my catastrophic failures

The hits go on and on. All my problems in life are because of MY sins. Since nobody seems to respond when I complain about something, I must be overly sensitive. My husband left me for another woman, therefore I must not be beautiful enough. My parents divorced, therefore I must have not have been good enough so they would stay together.

I knew a kid whose mother told him. If you would just show your father a little more appreciation he might leave his girlfriend and come back here. That wasn’t a demon, that was his mom, folks and she was Christian. However, it took a few years for this boy to catch on to God’s love and become one himself. Yeah, he was delayed in his spiritual development about ten years. I wonder why.

Here’s another, God won’t be able to use me unless I can read the Bible in 90 days. Just kidding. That’s not jab. I think it’s a good goal for summer and I commend everybody who is participating in that effort. But God can use you even if you don’t achieve that particular goal.

Secondly, We need to recognize that Satan’s lies are coming at us. So, first recognize when we are vulnerable, second recognize the assault.

OK, I got to brag on my daughter a little it here. As some of you may know, a lot of my family’s time, particularly Kim’s, Kayla’s and my time has been taken up in karate classes. Three and half years ago we started on this journey to earn our black belts. Well, now we’re getting toward the end of that goal. There is a black belt test that we have to take. This process involves three parts, the approval of the class instructor who thinks we’re ready to take the test. This happens in class. Then we have to appear before the school owner who then tests us to see through demonstration if we are ready for the test. If approved, when then take the Black Belt test, which is about an hour and ends in 100 push ups and 100 sit ups done in 10 minutes time. Uggh. So, approval, demonstration of the basics, final test.

So, last March I made it to the second stage, appearing before Mr. Tong. I didn’t pass. This June I had another opportunity to appear before Mr. Tong but so did Kim. We both worked hard. I passed and am moving on to the final test at the end of this month. Yay! Kim didn’t pass. She found this out Monday. She was devastated. She had hoped that she would be able to take the final test in a few weeks. So, the class instructor, explained to Kim point by point why she didn’t pass. I’ve never seen someone deal with my daughter’s emotions so adeptly or instinctively. It was great. She was direct and didn’t allow Kim the luxury of feeling sorry for herself but encouraged her to keep on going for it. I was there and Kim did not want to talk about it on the way home.

The next day, I asked her, “So, uh, how are you processing all this? She replied, ‘Its not the news that bothers me, it’s the results.’ Oh, what are the results? ‘The voices.’”

Kim and I have talked about ‘the voices before.’ The voices, the voices that say, “you’re a failure, you’re never going to make it so you shouldn’t even try.” They are the same voices that sometimes tell her that she must not be loveable because her birth mom gave her up for foster care and her foster mom, for adoption .

I’m proud of Kim. Not only did she recognize the lies but her resolve to pass the test the next opportunity she gets was strengthened.

There is a biblical example of this happening. King David.

2 Samuel 6:4–12 (NASB95)

4 So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark.

5 Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.

6 But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.

7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.

8 David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day.

Note: This wasn’t Uzzah’s failure, only. This was David’s failure. If he thought the Ark was such a wonderful, awesome, holy thing, then he should have treated it as such. He should have made sure that it was properly mounted and secured before he started celebrating with castanets and such. There were specific ways the Ark needed to be secured in a certain way and could only be handled by certain people.

The tragedy could have been avoided if Uzzah and Ahio had insisted that David move the ark in the way the law of Moses required. It was to be carried by the Levites, not transported on a cart (Nm 4:15; 7:9; see 2 Sm 6:13).[1]

David’s predecessor King Saul was guilty of this type of sin and lost the kingdom as a result. He couldn’t wait for Samuel to perform the sacrifice and so grieved God. He didn’t follow God’s instructions about annihilating the Amalekites. God took the kingdom away from Saul.

God was establishing David’s kingdom through this action. God’s wrath broke out against Uzziah not as a lesson to Uzziah but as one to David, “You will regard me as Holy.” Punishment for a good leader is not personal loss but watching those whom you lead, suffer.

9 So David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”

10 And David was unwilling to move the ark of the Lord into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.

11 Thus the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.

So, David bought the lie, “it’s not possible for me to succeed.” David, then became unwilling to take the Ark to Bethlehem. So, he sulks for few months about it. “Fine, I’m not even going to try then.”

The Ark Is Brought to Jerusalem

12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness.

So, David does figure it out and does the right thing.

13 And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.

Instead of placing it on a cart carried by an ox, he has it carried by bearers, probably Levites with poles and sacrifices the ox.

At some point David recognized that it must be possible to get the Ark to Bethlehem. That’s important. He was motivated by the desire for God’s favor. That’s noble. Maybe he sought God. “Lord, what am I missing here?” He probably even wrote a song about it.

A good prayer for us today is simply, “Lord, what agreements have I made with the enemy?” God will answer this prayer.

Sometimes the lies, they are not so obvious. We just feel depressed or unworthy. BUT we’re so used to that feeling we fail to recognize what’s going on.

Sometimes something happens to us that is very traumatic and there is no denying that it happened. How we interpret the event can be where Satan’s lie takes hold.

We unconsciously create false logical arguments:

My parents divorced. I’m having trouble with my marriage. Therefore my marriage is doomed.

Personal failure is another opportunity or mail slot for a lie of the devil to get a foothold.

The first example of this is in Genesis. You know the story. Cain and Abel are brothers and they both offer sacrifices to God. Abel’s is approved and Cain’s is rejected.

Cain gets upset and God says.


Genesis 4:6–7 (NASB95)

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?

7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

This almost implies that sin has a life of its own. Sin is nothing but the fruit of Satan’s lies on some level. A sin is how we act when we believe Satan’s lies. We think God’s not giving us what we need so we steal. We believe there is no hope in life so we seek to forget about our troubles through drunkenness, addictions, or unhealthy, relationships. We believe that all things should come as easily as pushing button or touching the screen of a device so we give up or upgrade our relationships when they get too hard. We believe that we are entitled to have all the things advertised on TV so we spend all our time and energy to get them instead of spending our time and energy on God. We believe that we would have every good thing our neighbor has so we spend our life trying to make sure that we do? We believe that we got a bad deal from our parents and so we disrespect them and move as far away as possible.

We know that Cain didn’t master his sin and he slew his brother. What was the lie? “He think he better than me. I’m never going to please God as long as he’s alive. He’s trying to show me up.”

So, personal failure, another circumstance in which we are vulnerable to deception. This gateway to deception of personal failure is not unique to Cain, Saul or Ahab. Judas, I suspect also had this.

Isn’t interesting that in the chapter right before he sets out to betray Jesus, Judas is corrected by Jesus in front of everybody.

What happens is this: Mary uses costly perfume to anoint Jesus’ feet with. Judas complains that the perfume could have been sold for 300 denarii. Not regarding the author’s commentary on it, Jesus says,

John 12:7–8 (NASB95)

7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.

8 “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

In essence, he says to Judas, “The priorities that most men have aren’t God’s priorities.” Judas probably hears, “your priorities are way off base Judas. My feet are more important than any noble cause you could think up.”

Maybe that’s not exactly what happened, I’m taking dramatic license, but as one who has listened and agreed with Satan’s lie for far too long, I don’t think I’m exaggerating all that much.

King David could have pulled an Ahab and burned Obed-edom’s house to the ground for receiving so much favor from the Lord. He didn’t. He turned around, repented from the lie of “it’s impossible” and succeeded to the glory of God and joy of all men.

We need to recognize when it’s happening or has happened and then we need to turn that failure around or make amends, otherwise recover from that failure with God’s help through His Word, other believers, etc.

That is my third step in battling Satan’s lie—engage the lie with God’s truth with words and action.

Judas could have said back to Jesus, “you are so right. I didn’t even think of that. Matter of fact, I was trying to picture a world without you. I found myself thinking more and more that you don’t want what’s best for me and that you just want to use me or something. Whoa! Lord please forgive me!”

Ever find yourself needing a pray a prayer like that. Me do. Me do too often.

That’s where the rubber meets the road on this, engaging Satan’s lies with God’s truth. To me THAT is significant spiritual warfare. That’s what the armor of God is all about. It’s not about casting out a demon, it’s using your offense weapon, the sword of truth which is the word of God to as Paul says to Timothy opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—

21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.

Grace be with you.

Trying find the name of demon that has a supposed stronghold over a geographical locale or family or person…hmm… sure but I just think it’s much more practical and less vague to identify the lie and engage it with God’s truth.

I’m sure on some level it’s profitable to pray against Satan and his demons. But to do that without consistently dealing with the lies is like poking a few holes in your gas tank, then filling it with gas. It’s like donating to a pro-life/anti-abortion campaign but engaging in pornography.

Deal with the lies. If you don’t what they are, ask God what they are and break those agreements. Have a biblical basis for it.

Satan says, “You’re an idiot.” You say, “No, I’m not, I believe in myself.” Why? “because my fifth grade teacher said so.” Really? You mean the alcoholic whose son committed suicide? That guy. Yeah, he’s an idiot, too.

You need to be basing your esteem in an absolute authority not a corruptible one.

I’m an actor right and lets say one day I get a call from Robert DeNiro and says, “is this Eric Stapleton?” Yes. “THE Eric Stapleton?” Uhm , yeah. Who is this? “This is Robert DeNiro, you can call me Bobby. Listen, we’ve been following your life since I don’t know how long. You’re a really good actor. Marty and I have a terrific film for you to be in. Your life is going to be great from here on out.”

I guess I’d be pretty geeked out. I say, I just don’t know if I can really do that. I’m a busy guy and I’m not doing that professionally anymore.

And Bobby says, “nothing’s impossible when I cast you in film. It’s all good.”

But I have trouble memorizing lines. I can’t even memorize sermon, I’m glued to my notes. Besides, I’ve done bad things while on the job as an actor, gotten drunk, harassed my ex-girlfriend, quit on short notice.

“That’s in past. Actually, your experience in those situations will aid you terrifically in the role we have for you.”

So, Bobby, I call him Bobby now, have this agreement. Except maybe I find out Bobby isn’t trustworthy. I mean he’s played some heavy characters including Satan. Maybe I find out about some considerable legal complications while he was shooting a film in France. All of sudden my faith in these promises of his is shaken. And rightly. Because at the end of the day both he and my fifth teacher are just men, corruptible.

But one greater than Bobby DeNiro makes these types of promises to me.

Psalm 139:1–2 (NASB95)

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You understand my thought from afar.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB95)

11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 19:26 (NASB95)

26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Romans 8:28–29 (NASB95)

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

So, I challenge you today. Pray that prayer. Ask God to reveal where you have been making agreements with the enemy. Then deal with that prayerfully, with other believers if necessary, in your small group, your quiet time. Search the scriptures for what God says about you, his promises:

Jesus says, He will never leave you or forsake you. In Jeremiah God says that he has good plans for you. In Philippians, Paul writes that the plans God has for you will be completed. In Revelation, God says, all sorrow will be removed.

Now, the bad news. These promises only apply to those who have put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. If your sins are not forgiven and dealt with than these promises do not apply to you. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But God shows us mercy in that, while we were sinners, Jesus Christ died for us on the cross. He exchanged his righteous life for sinners so that we all could have eternal life and God’s good promises. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead so that we could also live eternally. If you have not yet put your faith in Christ, you can do that today. Its simply a matter of recognizing the need and receiving a gift. The need is for your sins to be forgiven. Christ died on the cross for your sins. Forgiveness and eternal life are a gift free to you purchased by God. It’s not yours until you accept it. What does a child do when he wants something? He asks. If you believe that Christ died for you sins and you want that gift of forgiveness and eternal life, like a child, ask for it. Join me in prayer. Lord, I’ve sinned. I’ve done things that I’m ashamed of, I’ve agreed with the lies of the devil. Please forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins. Thank you. I accept you as my savior and I want you be my Lord from this day forward. Amen. If you prayed that prayer talk to me or pastor John or the guy with the guitar, Koby. That’s a big deal. That’s not a casual decision. So talk to someone.














[1] Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen, Paul Copan, J.P. Moreland and Doug Powell, The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007). 462.