Overcoming Evil

Class 1: Meeting the Enemy

Original URL | Sunday, May 29, 2022


okay well good morning everyone this is a really a different way uh to do things on a sunday morning i hope you'll be patient with me

i want to start off first of all by saying thank you to everybody that has given me calls and send me cards and offer prayers and all that kind of stuff it's very much appreciated um i'm feeling a lot better i'm just dealing with some headaches other than that i'm doing pretty darn well so hopefully um i'll be back soon

these classes are scheduled to be done this week and then the week after next next week i'm slated to be down in meredith so i'm not sure who's taking my space in between but i won't be around next weekend

but i think this is going to be two classes it might actually end up being three we'll have to see how it unfolds

uh the subject of overcoming evil

the first class is entitled meeting the enemy uh let me give you sort of the background um to how these classes came to be they actually came to be due to two uh simultaneous uh situations that popped up one was um if you remember last late last year i don't know if it was november or december i was teaching a sunday school class uh entitled worshipping the king

uh it was about the birth of christ in the early years of of jesus and one of the last classes i did was on the temptations in the wilderness and of course when you do the temptations in the wilderness

satan is going to be there that satan's going to pop up now we don't i didn't spend a lot of time talking about satan uh the adversary um because that gets into a whole other subject but um and also because we don't ourselves struggle with the idea of another supernatural devil uh we understand that the devil is our our own human nature um

and we're gonna talk quite a bit about about that um in the next couple of weeks

um but i was asked after the class was over if i would do a study on satan and the devil for those who have family and friends that don't understand

um the devil um and we all have them um the vast vast majority of people um believe

in uh an otherworldly devil in this uh fallen angel


we don't believe it and by the way there are some other people that don't believe it too we'll talk a little bit about about that as well as we go along

um so i was i was willing to do it but i have to confess i was a bit hesitant

to do it and the reason why i was a bit hesitant to do it is because when you talk to people about the devil

who don't understand truth then you start to get into people's personal um struggles

uh the fact is for people that don't understand human nature and don't understand where this evil comes from

in many cases they need

the devil

they need him to explain away the terrible things that either they've done or that had been done to them or been done to people that they love we all know that there is a tremendous amount of evil

and hate and pain in this world and when you try to you know take the devil away as an understanding when people don't understand where the devil really comes from then you're really asking that um uh something that's very very hard to do to accept um

that god allows these things to happen and that there isn't this this other evil power um

that they're that they're dealing with um

and impossible it's very possible that you could do more harm than good unless you ex are able to explain to them uh who the devil really is you know people just turn you off they'll just say you know you don't know what you're talking about you're ignorant uh to how evil the world is into the to the to the powers of this um devil

on the the simultaneous thing that took place i've mentioned before that i've been having conversations for a while with this young man who's a minister of another church and the conversations were really productive he was really willing to listen to

the truth about scripture

i told him a lot of different things that you know we know and believe and he really didn't have a lot of problem with most of them for instance i talked about the fact that jesus wasn't god he had no problem with that um

he wasn't sure he believed in the in the trinity anyway um you know when we talked about um

all kinds of different things um that we know are true in almost every case he had no issues in fact he had no issue with the idea that um that we have a sinful flesh that we have that we commit our own sins that we're responsible for our sins

that there is this you know this propensity to do the wrong thing

until we came to the devil

and then when we came to the devil he completely shut down

and he basically said you don't know what you're talking about if you don't believe that there is an otherworldly power some supernatural power um i don't know why that screen popped up so quickly but that's okay um a supernatural power uh creating evil in this world he says yes he would say yes man sins but true evil comes from the devil

and and he really wouldn't continue the conversation that much actually most of our conversations kind of ended after that i don't want to say he was insincere or any of that kind of stuff but he was really stuck on this idea that there has to be a devil in fact it's interesting uh we did talk about one passage um that he picked when we would have conversations he would pick uh the passage it's bothering me that that screen is up anyway um the passage that he picked was the story in acts 16 of the girl uh who was prophesying you know the girl that that um paul and silas come upon she just keeps calling them uh servants of god and finally paul drives

the demon out of her and it was interesting that he picked that passage to show that the devil existed

because i said to him okay so this girl was possessed by the devil and he said yes and i said what about the ephesian men that were using her were they possessed by the devil and he said no they were just acting on their own uh evil instincts

and i said okay so first off did the girl say anything that was wrong

and he said no i said okay i said and then paul drives out the devil and and she's better and he said yes i said and those guys were acting out of their own instincts he said yes i said but they got paul and silas arrested and beaten and possibly even killed

i said so which devil is worse the devil that drove them their own evil instincts or the devil that possessed the girl which paul was able to drive away not to be seen from again

and he said well in that case it's actually uh the men's evil intent and so i said well then what do we need the devil for i said in fact we don't need the devil and that's pretty much where most of our conversations end unfortunately but he's still willing to talk he's just not willing to address the devil he wants to show me uh how evil the devil is he wants to show me people who are possessed by uh terrible evil i told him i wasn't really interested in seeing people possessed by evil i live it every day in my own heart

i want to tell you a little bit about my own experience as sort of like the way most people feel um about the devil

yeah let me go let me go back a screen because some reason for some reason my screen's popped ahead

so so this is this is uh my experience

of course most of you know i wasn't you know raised for self and didn't know anything about you know sinful nature and all that kind of stuff i didn't know anything really about the bible as i've said before or jesus or redemption uh but i knew sin

and i believed in the devil

and this is the reason why i believed in the devil because i saw myself as a reasonably decent individual who sometimes did reasonably indecent things um so i had these two conflicting voices in my head at least this is the way i understood it uh one that told me what i ought to do and the other reminding of me of what i wanted to do i mean we all recognize the picture of you know the angel on one side and the devil on the other and this is really how most people and and myself included saw how things were because we do have these conflicts we understand what right and wrong is and yet at the same time we have these inclinations to you know to protect ourselves or to defend ourselves or to just lash out uh at somebody for for hurting us and so this is really how i um

this is really how i believed in things so that's the problem i'm having okay

um so it's really easy to believe when you're told that there are these cosmic forces uh going on you know

inside me you know the the the god on one side and the devil um

on the other but at the same time i understood you know that that i was a sinner you know i pointed out before that i would know you know paul's expression the good that i would do i do not but the evil that i i don't want to do that i do you know as a sinner i would have understood that passage but i would have blamed it on the devil i would have said oh the devil you know this this external force uh this this fallen angel uh is the one that's creating this this problem going on inside my head

and yet paul specifically says

uh attributes it to himself by saying oh wretched man that i am now of course i wouldn't have known that verse i wouldn't have known the book of romans i wouldn't have even known paul

but i certainly would have known what it is to sin and that's really part of the struggle of this um

this otherworldly devil because

most people can still recognize that with or without the devil they still sin they still you know they're still supposedly decent pers people that sometimes do indecent things um

so so there's this there's this conflict uh that goes on in the head of somebody that believes that they're a good person uh doing doing bad things

and so people will tell you you know

this is just you the way that job's friends did and you would hear it the way the way job heard it

and the reason for that is because

we those who don't understand scripture those who were raised the way i was thinks that the scripture is incomprehensible you know it's a locked book you need to have you know a special calling and special training and you know multiple years in the seminary even to be able to you should need to know latin uh even to be able to to start to comprehend you know the the

incredible difficulties there is to understand uh the word of god i i think i've told the story before of my friend joe i used to work with this guy joe he's a wonderful guy


but he was talking to me about the bible one day because he knew i was a bible student and he said oh i i tried to read the bible it wasn't it was

completely incomprehensible didn't make any sense and i said to him well what did you read and he said the book of revelation and i said well joe you don't start a book from the back i said you have to start a book from the beginning but he was already convinced i you know i don't i don't know that stuff i don't understand that stuff it's impossible to understand and that's that's basically what we're told you know when we're told things like mystery and all that and all that kind of stuff and so i had always believed and had always been taught

that the devil was this fallen angel this

defiant supernatural

being that had defied god and had been cast

from heaven down to earth and i can still to this day remember the conversations i had with cindy about it way back before we were married um and i said of course there's um a devil um i've seen the picture

there was a picture probably in a catechism book of uh the devil you know crawling down the mountain being cast down from heaven while on the other side of the mountain jesus was i was walking up the mountain towards heaven and unfortunately i couldn't find the picture because i wanted to show it but i couldn't find it it must be a special catholic picture i don't know um

but but then on top of it you know you're told that this is what the devil is and then the way um the bible is used uh incorrectly of course is what what they'll do is they'll give you a verse if if you need it they'll give you a verse to show that that's what it is and so this is one of the verses uh thou art fallen from heaven o lucifer son of the morning star thou cut down to the ground which kids beacon um the nations

um so you're shown you know if you need the verse um

versus to to verify uh what you believe you know the idea that the verse is taken out of context

um is is you know you wouldn't have any idea of that and so really there's two strong reasons why i would have believed in most people believe in this idea of a fallen devil

the first is that this idea of good versus evil is such a prevalent um

thing taught

both both in churches but also in the world etc you see it all the time in movies in books and all that sort of all that sort of stuff so it's a very prevalent theme this idea that you know the world is made up of good and evil and the good is battling evil and eventually the good will win but meanwhile we're so the pawns

in betraying

the second reason why i would have believed in the idea of a fallen angel and this idea of good versus evil is because why wouldn't it be true

why would those who supposedly knew these things

tell us what wasn't true

you know

i had had a lot of struggles uh with the the priests that i grew up knowing because of their behavior but i didn't necessarily think their doctrine was wrong or their beliefs were wrong or what they were telling us was wrong i just thought their their actions were wrong

so why would they tell us something that that wasn't true well i think really there's two reasons for that as well the first is because they don't know

and the second is because they don't want to know and this is one of the lessons that scripture teaches us consider what

the writer john says at the beginning of his gospel

he says in the beginning was the word and the word was with god and the word was god the same was in the beginning with god

all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made in him was life and the life was the light of men and the light shineth in the darkness

and the darkness comprehended it no

now the religious learned in john's day were the pharisees and they they didn't know any more than the religious leaders of today no they don't understand

uh the word of god

um my minister friend um when i was talking to him about different aspects of the bible especially about how how christ is so prevalent uh in the old testament different places where he shows up he says to me you know you don't hear any of this stuff on google

and i was like nah you're not gonna you're not gonna get any of this on google

uh because because the world doesn't know uh what the bible teaches the uh

the light shines in the darkness and the darkness

comprehends it not the world doesn't know that what it doesn't know because it's got this other belief system

that it does know that can conveniently explain away

what it refuses to know and you know jesus picks up on this in his conversation with nicodemus and he takes it sort of to the next level and remember the way

the way light works the way god works is not that he picks and chooses whose he shines upon the light of the sun like the light of god's word it shines forth it's whether or not you choose uh to be in the shed to be in the shadows and so jesus said this

he said and this is the condemnation that light come into came into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil for everyone that doeth evil hateth the light now that cometh to the light left lest his deeds be reproved and we've shown that even in the story uh before even in the story of nicodemus but the fact is that people don't know what they don't know because they don't want to know right because the darkness you know it it shines forth and it exposes you and if you don't want to be exposed then you stay in the shadows um

and this otherworldly devil that people believe in allows people to never face the light because we can always just blame the darkness that's really what we're doing when we believe in the devil is we're blaming the darkness for sin and for evil and for all the terrible things

um so our deeds stay evil because they're never reproved because we've got the devil to blame we've got the darkness to plant but for those who who face the light

something something greater is possible transformation

is possible look what jesus says in the very next verse

he says but he that doeth truth

cometh into the light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in god

those that do with truth cometh to the light that's just what paul was doing in romans romans 7 you know as he says

oh wretched man that i am

who shall save me from this body of death i thank god through jesus christ our lord

the body of this death that's mortal flesh sinful flesh that's the true devil which we'll look at at more uh

you know and the light is there for anybody to see you just have to be willing to believe and accept what the word of god

says again the light shines forth

in the darkness that's what it does the light by the grace of god shines in the darkness even the darkness of the devil and it illuminates everything it touches touches it doesn't discriminate the bible that we read is no different than the bible that anybody can read we don't have a special christadelphian bible with a special language i'm glad that we don't um you just have to be willing to come out of the shadows

now in in the case you know with cindy what she did is she she said to me well you say that the angel is a fall endeavor let this lucifer fell from heaven and you know you've seen the picture and there's a bible quote to prove it but look at the quote look at the context of the quote and of course the quote comes from isaiah 12 verse 4 uh i'm sorry isaiah 14 verse 12 and of course the fact that it was from isaiah 14 12 would have been totally meaningless to me i wouldn't have understood what that even was

um but when we talked about it i was absolutely sure that lusa was a falling angel um and cindy said well just read the chapter and so we looked at the chapter

and of course it says in chapter 4 thou shalt take up this proverb

against the king of babylon how i thought fallen from heaven oh lucifer

and i was

excuse me i was really surprised i mean it really was i was really surprised to find out that everything i had been told could be proved almost instantaneously

as a lie just by looking at the word just by just by looking at the light and it was really the first time i ever really did now this goes way way back uh long before i really had any interest at all but i was surprised to find out that everything that i had been told wasn't true and it wasn't even difficult to prove that it wasn't true it was actually fairly easy to prove it and i don't know if that started the process of me thinking about these things or not but it definitely caught me um by surprise i remember thinking how could it be how could be so so clear and obvious and yet and yet it's what i'd always been told and what most people um believe


then of course what happened is is by the grace of god i eventually came to uh understand

um the word of god

and since i've come to know you know the nature of evil i haven't given a lot of thought about the idea of a supernatural devil or you know this idea of a supernatural underworld with good reason because it it doesn't exist

but the devil is

very very real

and it's extremely powerful it just isn't an external devil or a supernatural uh being or or even spiritual there isn't there isn't an evil spiritual underworld

the devil is our own sinful nature that mortal corruptible nature passed down to us since the time of adam's transgression the nature that christ bore as the son of man

and crucified in his death as the lamb of god who takes away the sin

of the world

and that we in symbol crucify by putting on christ in the waters of baptism like this young man is doing here

and we do battle with this devil every day as we try to make god bigger in our hearts and the devil smaller and we can change our behavior through faith in our character through trial we can't change our nature our nature won't change until that day when we are we when we this corruptible puts on incorruption when this mortal puts on immortality when we are changed in the twinkling of an eye until then our nature will not change but that doesn't mean we can't change doesn't mean our behavior can't change and and if our behavior changes then by the lord willing our character will change we will become like christ

who had the same nature yet did no sin

so what we're going to do is we want to take a look at this supernatural devil and also the real devil and and the the key for me in considering this uh series of classes was

okay i know there's not a supernatural devil i understand the devil is my own sinful nature but why is it personified

why in scripture is the devil always giving given passages where it looks like this is a real

individual consider these uh verses here just to show us as an example uh john 1 verse 3 first john 3 verse 8 he that committeth sin

is of the devil for the devil sinneth from the beginning for this purpose the son of god was manifested that he might destroy

the works of the devil

now that sounds an awful lot like the devil is some sort of separate individual why is it why is it put that way

in john 8 verse 44 it says ye are of your father the devil and the lust of your father ye will do he was a murderer from the beginning and bowed not in the truth because there is no true excuse me there is no truth

in him it sounds like he's talking about someone in particular now i know we understand the devil but think of people who who believe in this supernatural devil and they see these passages not knowing you know the full truth of scripture they're going to say to you of course the devil is real look at how he's put submit yourself therefore to god says james resist the devil and he will flee from you and you tell me there is no devil it says right there he flees he runs away just like just like satan did after jesus answered the questions in the in the wilderness he left for a time of course there's a devil ephesians 6 11 says put on the whole armor of god that ye may be able to stand

against the wiles

of the devil

the wiles of the devil it sounds like the actions of an individual and even in romans 20 it says in the devil that deceived them that was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are shall be tormented day and night forever

and ever it sounds like somebody is going to suffer for a long long time

so these you know these quotes

um you know give the you know which is you know we understand is personification but why

why isn't why doesn't it say you know you sit yourself there for god and resist your own sinful nature and your own sinful nature will will go away or why doesn't it say put on the armor of god that you can stand before the wiles of your own sinful nature why is it given this this personification um

this devil and i think that's you know a legitimate question that needs to be answered so i started you know and i don't i don't normally uh do this um you know i was criticized recently for not looking at the 120 years of a chrysadelphian uh doctrine on certain subjects and i i don't usually do that i just usually dive in

and try to figure it out for myself guilty as charge um but in this case i i couldn't for myself answer the question why is the devil uh personified

and so i went to you know chrisadelphianvideo.org and i don't know how many of you use chrisadelphianvideo.org with um

the rugby crystal fans in england but it's a great resource uh of videos uh that they put together it's a massive uh resource of videos and sometimes it's kind of hard to find your way around and so i just started looking up you know videos on the devil and i watched you know four or five of them turns out i had a little time on my hands um but the one i found that was really really good that really helped me understand why the devil was personified was this one by a brother by the name of james larson

it's called evolution the devil and the atonement um and it's really good it goes quite a bit into you know theistic evolution and showing how the theistic evolution uh doesn't match up with our doctrines of faith our belief systems about the devil and about nate about our human nature and all that kind of stuff um so it spends a lot of time on autistic evolution but it's really good as far as explaining the personification of the devil and the devil's existence in this idea of the atonement now what he's again what he's talking about when he says the devil and he talks quite a bit about the devil is he's talking about our own nature uh that sinful nature that we're all born into um not not transgression not not not the forgiveness of sins but the eradication of the devil the eradication of our sinful nature uh on that day when it is when it is completely uh removed

so i highly recommend especially if you're struggling as far as

fully understanding the atonement it's a two series set of classes and really the first class explains everything the second class is almost just a rehash of of the first class and i have no idea who brother james larson is i've never actually heard of him i think he might be an unamended brother i'm not sure but the classes are are exceptional so i would highly recommend them and they really uh help me understand why the devil um is personified and we're going to talk more about this um next week but the key reason to understand why the devil is personified is twofold first of all because the devil is powerful that sinful nature in us is exceedingly powerful as we know it is a corrupter of the mind it is the corrupter of individuals and though it is a part of who we are

the day is coming when it will be removed and we will still be there lord willing so so one of the reasons that one of the key reasons that it's personified is because it's not a permanent part of the believer the day will come when when the devil of that nature

is taken away and so it's personified remember paul says now when in romans 7 again now when i sin it's no longer me sinning it's sin living in me

so there's a separateness to the devil that's why it's personified and there's a there's a distinct power to the devil it's ability to corrupt this corruption of the mind that's so easy for us uh to fall into um so that's why it's personified and we're going to talk about more about his personification um

moving forward we'll be stealing uh liberally from brother james larson in his take on the basf but he's

he stole from the basf if you will he does a lot explaining how the whole the whole purpose of the basf of our statement of faith is to expose

and then show the process of the elimination of the devil now in the beasf it doesn't say the word the devil it says you know sin in the flesh but it is the devil it is that evil force within us it's not a force over here on my right shoulder it's a force in here in my head

excuse me


the world

uh that predominantly believes that there's a supernatural and malicious uh devil


it's it's almost the entire entire world believes in the devil and especially those uh that identify themselves as christian it is the the dominant uh belief like the trinity maybe the two most dominant beliefs in christianity actually i think the devil is more dominant because there are religions like the jehovah's witnesses that uh don't believe in the trinity but still believe in the supernatural depth

um it's it's it's believed throughout the world

um but it's not interesting enough it's not necessarily believed by everybody and i'll give you an example um i've told the story of my younger brother john when i first became chris adelphian and i was talking to him about religion and he he calls himself an agnostic at least he used to i don't know if he still does but he used to um we started talking about beliefs and he said you know he was like me he was raised catholic and he said well first of all i don't believe that jesus is god i never believed it uh i don't think i think that's baloney i said okay and then he says and i don't believe that there is this supernatural power controlling my thoughts and controlling my actions i think that's that baloney and i said you know you're more christian healthier than you realize i said it is balloon

but but he wasn't willing to uh to go the next step um so so there are people that don't believe in the devil because they don't believe that they're being they're being possessed by by something foreign but they don't generally associate themselves with christianity because christianity teaches that that that's what's going on even though we know uh that it's not true and i think in many respects we are unique uh in our perspective towards the devil that's why the basf the the our statement of faith is so important uh both for us to to recognize and to believe in it and to not forget

because the other problem is sometimes even though we don't believe in the supernatural devil

what it means to recognize your own

sinful nature can sometimes be forgotten

and we tend to obsess or we can obsess on other people's sinful natures when the most important sinful nature for us to key upon is our own like paul says and i know i've said it a million times jesus christ came into the world to save sinners of whom i am the chief because it's my sinful nature it's my adherence to that sinful nature my trust in that sinful nature

that will keep me out of the kingdom and sometimes what we like to do is we we like to say we have the truth and now we don't have that nature anymore now we would never say that but our actions would say that because we spend so much time trying to expose other people's sinful natures without without dealing with our own you know getting the splinter out of somebody else's eye without getting the spike out of our own eye

that that is a real uh challenge to us even though we understand

the truth about the devil we almost recreate

the external devil in our actions if not in our our belief systems so it's vital that we understand

and remember and keep in our hearts what the devil is

i'll give brother james larson credit like i said i couldn't quite figure out why the devil was being personified until brother larson reminded me who the devil was

excuse me i had to some extent forgotten it or forgotten the importance of of that doctrine

our faith true faith offers so much more freedom

from the false religion of the external devil because

the external devil um

can't change us right when when the world is made of two external forces sort of battling each other with you as the pawn in between

all we can hope for is comfort all we can hope for is relief from the idea of the battle between good and evil there's no transformation right that's why in these marvel comics in these dc comics when good defeats evil

just the next episode just brings a different evil right because it never goes away because that's not really what the battle is you and i by the grace of god and all those who who hopefully we can teach who the true devil is

we have the opportunity for change personal character change because we understand who the devil is and because we understand what god is doing through his son through the atonement that we are offered in his son it's a tremendous tremendous opportunity

for transformation

we're not just you know pawns in a galactic battle


all the ultimately good triumphs of evil in that but but that's not but that's not the transformation that we're looking for we're looking for the transformation that paul talked about when he said be not conformed to this world but be transformed

by the renewing of your mind that's what happens when you come into the light that what happens when you face the real truth about your nature like i say my friend the minister recognizes that he's a sinner

but he thinks evil is something greater than what he has within himself even though scripture teaches us that every thoughts of the imagination of the heart is evil

continually it can be hard to see that when we look at the evil around us to say oh that's being driven by the same nature by the same sinful nature that drives me but that's the truth that's the transformation or the renewal of the mind

and what we find is that we prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of god just like it says in john 3 that your works are rot of god

in in um

brother ritual like this in the war of 1812 there was an american naval commander

the commander's name was oliver perry and he was fighting a naval battle on lake erie which seems bizarre to consider today but he was he's fighting the british

and he won the battle and he sent a message back to the commanders of the american army

uh that they had won and the expression that he uses became a very very famous quote he said we have met the enemy and they are ours

and that became a famous quote well about

120 years later

there was a american cartoonist by the name of walt kelly he used to write a comic strip by the name of pogo

some of you might remember pogo some of you have never heard of pogo most of you probably have never heard of walter kelly

and some of you don't know what a comic strip is anymore i don't even know if they have comic strips uh anymore but pogo was a pretty uh well-known comic strip uh back in the 40s and 50s and it was even around when i was a kid probably in uh in uh remake because i think he was gone by that but what this guy walter kelly is did is he picked up on that famous quote from oliver perry uh and what he said was this and he was talking about pollution

he said we have met the enemy and he is us and what kelly was talking about was the pollution in the world that we are the creators of the disaster that was happening in the world as far as pollution that still happens uh today

but it's it's a quote that is very very befitting of the true devil that we have met the enemy and he is us because the true devil is a polluter of the mind

and so our theme is going to be recognized what does it mean

that we have met the enemy and he is us and that will be for the next class and the next class what we'll talk about is

uh what what the world was like at the beginning

and then both how the true devil came to be uh with adam's fall and how the false devil came to be uh this belief in this supernatural devil and the idea that we are good people that sometimes do bad things i think we can directly uh

we can directly show an incident that that happened that created that whole process of this supernatural devil and this battle in the world between good and evil

Class 2: The Origin of the Enemy

Original URL | Sunday, June 12, 2022


um so this morning we want to talk about the origins of the enemy um

well basically you want to talk about where the sin in the devil comes from

uh before we do that though you know i haven't spoke the title is overcoming evil and i haven't really talked all that much about evil itself and we're going to get you know as we go along into the depth of evil that's really on the key essence is try to understand that how how evil evil is if you remember a couple weeks ago i was talking about my minister friend who said i didn't understand evil um

because it is it is too deep uh for human capacity it has to be something supernatural now we know that's we know that's not true we understand you know from the very beginning that evil has been there uh the devil was a murderer from the beginning as it says uh talking about cain but what we can do often times is we can downplay

the level of evil and then be shocked by how evil evil is

and that's what we want to try to come come to grips with and it's certainly not difficult to be shocked i mean how can you not be shocked by somebody walking into a grammar school and you know killing hundreds of innocent children or however many doesn't make a difference how many how can you not be shocked by that and yet it shouldn't shock us that evil is as evil as it is uh so we are going to uh good morning

class starts at 10 30 just so you know [Laughter]

yeah yeah we got plenty of time

um but uh sister hannah actually sent me some things on evil and i want to show them because they're wonderful little uh pieces about evil and we want to keep these things in mind as we move forward because it also plays a part in both the devil and in sin and all of that so these are some things that she sent me that are really interesting and it talks about evil

it says is that come up oh good nice at first it might seem that if god created all things then evil must have been created by god however evil is not a thing i love that statement and we'll talk about a little more when we think about however evil is not a thing like a rock or electricity you cannot have a jar of evil evil has no existence of its own it's it is really the absence of good for examples holes are real but they only exist in something else we call the absence of dirt a whole but it cannot be separated from the dirt that's a marvelous statement as well so evil is not a thing uh one of the things that we've talked about is personification you know the devil is not a thing

it's a personification of something but it's not a thing in and of it in and of itself because the world we live in believes the devil is is the thing it's it's a person it's a it's an it's a fallen angel or it's it's you know something outside of uh existing within something else so so evil itself is not a thing

uh and i think that's i think that's a great statement but notice it's the absence of good it's not the lessening of good right god is light right and remember what what what uh the gospel of john says in john 3 it said men preferred darkness because their deeds were evil so so it's the absence of good not the lessening of good you and i have gray areas between us because we're sinners there's no gray area with god everything is is black and white uh and evil is the absence of god

it says perhaps a further illustration will help if a person is asked how cold uh does cold exist the answer would likely be yes however this is incorrect cold cold does not exist cold is the absence of heat

similarly darkness does not exist it is the absence of light evil is the absence of good or better evil is the absence of god keep that in mind definitely especially when we get into the point of where this other worldly devil comes from it's the absence of god god's not there god did not have to create either evil but rather only allow for the absence of good that actually made me think of that final battle after a thousand years right where god literally says he steps back and as soon as he steps back in comes evil

again so it's the absence of god god takes himself out of the picture and then immediately evil takes over power and of course you wonder if god isn't stepping back these days because we just see evil becoming so predominant in the world that we live in uh today you want to say more than ever but it's always more than ever then next week it'll be more than ever again

that's why we're so uh intrigued by latter-day prophecy these days

god did not create evil but he does allow evil if god had not allowed for the possibility of evil both mankind and angels would be serving god out of obligation not choice that's a beautiful point he did not want robots that simply did what he wanted them to do because of their programming god allowed for the possibility of evil so that we could generally have a free will and choose whether or not we wanted to serve him and again i don't have to tell you this but it's such an important point because there is so much evil and you say why would god allow this this evil why would he allow it and free will is really the answer and we have to you know we have to understand that we have free will actually because of what we believe we have free will think of the idea of this other worldly devil this this battle of good and evil uh going on in in the cosmic realms in which we're just we're just pawns

in the game right we don't have free will if we're just pawns in the game but because we understand where evil comes from we know it's it comes from in here and we have a choice that's why jesus wasn't always like as we are because we have a choice we can choose something else because we understand where evil and where goodness comes from any questions or comments about those

i think they're great points and we'll pick up on them a few times as we go along

if you remember we finished up last week with pogo

uh we have met the enemy and he is us

uh that's where evil comes from oh that's where sin comes from that's where the devil resides he resides within our very

human nature uh we're gonna talk this morning about about how he got there

and um

all the ramifications of adam's fall but it's so important that we recognize that we don't get to to blame somebody else for both for our own uh evil and the evil in the world around us it is it is human nature um living it out and i made the point about um

our brother james larson um i found out you know i i

said i didn't know if he was a member of central fellowship he is a member of central fellowship i just didn't because he came from a an ecclesia called the monroe washington collegiate i'd never heard of it so i thought and of course i'm going to show in a few minutes he quotes from the basf repeatedly so you think i would be able to add two and two together but math is joshua's specialty not mine

but he does this great series of class on evolution the devil and the atonement he doesn't so much get into where evil comes from as much as where the devil comes from or that concept of devil comes from we're going to talk about that uh this morning i did get a whole bunch of people uh emailing me explain to me who this brother is he's from uh originally from south africa i guess uh he looks like a christian alfie and he looks like john thomas you got a big uh full beard

i'm going to start growing mine very very soon i actually had a pretty good beard while i was out with coed but nobody saw it because i was locked up in a room

and his series also talks about about this idea of uh personification and i highly recommend if you're looking to try to understand what the devil and what he did for me was sometimes we can get so caught up in you know buried in this and trying to find the right word we forget the big picture and he opened up the big picture

and big picture i already knew but sometimes we get lost in the sauce as the expression goes


what is true do we do we is there a cosmic battle between good and evil going on or is it an internal battle between god's righteousness and our sinful nature well you know this is interesting you might think well what a silly question to ask because we already know uh the answer to this question

and that is true and you know i made the point last week that i hadn't spent a lot of time considering the devil or the idea of a falling angel because once you understand


the other stuff just doesn't really fit anymore you know what i mean it's just sort of something something over there because we know what truth is and so you know once i came to understand you know that i didn't have you know a devil on one shoulder and an angel on another shoulder that actually you know sinful nature comes comes from within the idea of this of these two things fighting you know on the side of my head just

it just really just went away in many respects that's why you know for me i'm always shocked when somebody leaves our community but then goes back to a community that believes in those things because i know you don't believe in those things because you've already been told something different that is true so you have to almost deny truth

and and sometimes that's what we do we deny truth because because a lie is easier to to handle um but we know the answer to this question so so why ask

why ask the question right well i think there's really two important reasons to ask um

why do we ask the question about this question of another worldly devil versus inner struggle and one is because that's what the world believes

right we live in a world that believes that that the angel the devil is a fallen angel and that he is battling at least the world that i grew up in uh is battling for your soul

and so when we talk to people because when you understand truth that whole concept sort of goes out the window

you talk to people and and you're talking on two different levels and you almost don't realize you're talking at two different levels because you're talking about sin as it truly is and they're talking about this this other concept


you can't say well well you know that's wrong right well they don't know what's wrong in many cases they they think it's right so so you're

you're trying to deal with them on a certain level and you've already sort of passed that aside

and they're trying to understand what you're saying but they have no idea that that you have a completely different idea about what sin is where the devil comes from and all that kind of stuff so it's important for us to know what those things mean or what people think that they mean in order to be able to communicate with them and show them this is what it really is as opposed to say well you know that's not true now we know by the way that yeah i'll be right with you steve yeah uh we know that some people actually don't believe in the devil right i made the point of my younger brother when he was in catechism in fifth grade the the the catechism teacher said that the devil was over hovering holding him by a string over the fiery pits of hell and my brother took exception to that with uh certain words and he got kicked out of catechism and he never went back to catechism but there are people who don't believe it but they also don't believe in christianity and in christ and all that because the religion that they know the christianity they know teaches something that they know is wrong because all they've really done is take a good hard look at themselves and say nobody's telling me to do these things i'm doing these things on on my own does that make sense steve

yeah jim that was uh

that was the point i was going to bring out that it seems to me that there's a growing number of churches that are rejecting things like you know eternal torment and even the the devil i know that brother ben had posted something on facebook not long ago ben where you were talking about those who are deconstructing their faith does that ring a bell to you

yeah uh where people were um you know they were they were looking at these concepts of you know eternal torment or a a supernatural devil and they were sort of walking away from christianity in total right and i think the point that i thought was so fascinating about what ben had written on facebook was that you don't have to throw everything away right right that that we in our understanding of the gospel prevent a very attractive alternative to people who have rejected things like eternal torment right and a supernatural fallen angel devil you know that sort of thing right so i thought that was an interesting point that bennett no it's going to give us an opportunity to preach more sure sure no it's it's absolutely true like i had said to my my younger brother i said you're more christian than you realize because because if you out if you're searching from church to church and you go to one church and they're telling you you know the devil is holding you over the fiery pits of hell and then you go to the next church and they maybe they use a different word for the devil or maybe they don't say the fiery pits but but it's the same message every place you go you're gonna okay so that's what that's what christianity is


to go along with what steve said you know this is concept that it's no longer hell if you're someone who would have gone to hell that's you're far away from god and if you've gone to heaven that's closeness to god so they've kind of gotten rid of that concept of a fiery tormenting uh devil right

which in modern day society does seem a little bit out there right

right i know my brother thought it was out there

but that is what um

we teach uh thank you guys for that the second thing is

the reason to look at it is just to fully appreciate uh the depth of evil um

we have we have you know of an incredible hope

in the lord jesus christ we have an incredible dream you know it says of jesus for the you know for the joy that was set before him we have an incredible joy and we certainly don't want to spend our life in faith dwelling on all the terrible things that we are capable of doing but it is very important to recognize

that anything is possible when it comes to human flesh we had talked a while back about uh the the the supper the meal in the upper room and that very very important moment uh when the disciples say to jesus lord is it i making a confession of the fact that they recognize in themselves that they have the capacity to be the one who betrays the lord jesus christ it's important that we understand that it's important we understand exactly what paul meant when he said a wretched man that i am

that we recognize in ourselves as opposed to saying oh well i have the truth so so i am now somehow

oblivious or incapable or above

uh any of those things this is our nature this is the nature that we were born we were born with and it doesn't just go away because we were baptized into into the the saving waters of jesus christ and and just to emphasize that point you know jesus died a cruel death it wasn't just that he overcame sin in his life it wasn't just that he was obedient to his father certainly that was that was crucial but a very very important truth was being um finalized and completed and culminated in this terrible death why did he have to suffer such a terrible death and consider what isaiah 53 says about it it says and it pleased

the lord to bruise him that seems almost incomprehensible i remember many years ago a harry tennant at a bible school talking about this verse he says it's the most difficult verse in scripture the idea that it actually pleased god that his son was crucified and yet what was being accomplished in that crucifixion when he was saying basically that the flesh is worth nothing this sinful flesh

is all the evil that it that it purports to be and nothing is greater to prove it than what happens on the cross and of course everything that that comes up to the cross there is no worse way to die really than on a cross uh it's it's it's an incredibly excruciating way to go so why did he have to die that way well he was nailing the flesh to the cross

does that make sense

and yet it says this

it says look on to jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of god so he he was the joy that was before him well of course we want to keep that joy before us all the time and it says look on to jesus it's saying the joy that was before him is the same joy that's before you because you are in christ

and it says despising the shame that shame is the devil that's what the devil is that ability remember what happened as soon as adam and eve sinned they covered themselves because of their shame

and we're all we're ever trying to do is cover ourselves because of the shame that's what evil does

that make sense

but now we're going right now we'll get into the whole idea of where did it all come from

because as as evil as evil is the remarkable thing is that it wasn't there at the beginning

it wasn't there at all

in genesis 1 verse 31 and god saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good now i i know that's probably not what the garden of eden looked like

we were actually jason was actually supposed to bring pictures back uh but he didn't so but i just thought it was a pretty garden but notice that it says everything

that he made

was very good you ever wonder why we're told that god looked upon it and saw that it was good let me ask you a question you know your natural inclination is to think that god was just giving himself a little pat in the back you know i just you know i put this thing together you know this this is pretty good you know i remember once i was doing a painting and when i looked at it at the end that actually never happened [Laughter]

never in my life did i ever uh do a painting look at it afterwards and say it was very good or fix anything or anything else but god looked at everything that he saw and behold it was very good why does it tell us that it was very good he's not just patting himself on the back if he's patting himself on the back then that's god taking and god doesn't take god just god just give so why does it tell us that

well it tells us that so that we won't believe

that it wasn't very good

because in the beginning after he had created everything

everything was very good

now think about what that means it means there is no fallen angel the fallen angel isn't good there's no devil

there is no evil serpent there's no dark spiritual underworld

there's no antichrist

everything was very good before the fall does that makes sense

so so you can't have

the devil and believe the word of god you can't have the supernatural devil and believe the word of god otherwise he would be there because it's everything that god had made and we know that god made everything not just not just the heavens and the earth the heavens recognizing all all things so everything was very good and that's why we're told everything was very good

so what happened

and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and the tree to be desired to make one wise she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also to her husband with her and he did eat now we don't have to go through the whole fall i i believe some of you have probably read it before

we know what happened we know the serpent is there in the garden the serpent is part of everything that was very good we also know the serpent is not the snake is not responsible right it's adam that was responsible it was adam that was given the the the commandment not to eat

and he did eat was there beguiling going on all that sort of stuff absolutely but there was everything was very good until this moment when adam eats of the fruit

um and before the fall we know that adam and eve were neither mortal nor immortal now sometimes that can be a hard concept to understand but if you think about it it's not that hard because death is not there yet sin is not there and death is not there so mortal and immortal mortal and immortal is about the ability to die or the ability not to die but there is no death

so it's not even it's not even there at the time before the fall

and so by this act of defiance

sin is entered into the world and death through sin

because thou hast done this and the sweat of thy face thou shalt

face shalt thou eat bread till thou return onto the ground for out of it was thou taken from dust thou art and on to dust thou shalt return so the lie was that you wouldn't die

that's always the lie it's really in the end the same lie that you won't die and god says that's a lie

now you will die

so he's commanded not to eat

he eats

and death comes into the world

paul says in romans by one man's sin entered into the world and death by sin

and so death passed upon all men for that all have sin both the act of sin


and our sinful nature

come into existence

with this sin both our our our sinful nature our mortal dying frame

and sin itself committing committing sins

and then sin becomes personified

you know in in this thing it says by one man sin entered almost as if you know some sort of individual is off to the side and then adam allowed that person to come into the garden that's personification

and why is it important to understand this idea of personification why is it why is sin put this way why is the devil put this way why is evil put this way as as hannah's slides uh point out i think there's really two important reasons to understand why

this is done and the first is because it wasn't there at the beginning it has a separate identity it's not a separate person

but before the fall there was no sin there was no sinful nature

in the end when god becomes all in all it's gone again so it comes in for a time a long time certainly and then it's taken it's taken away the other actually there's three points the other important thing is it has its own identity in that it's always the same thing

sin is always what it is in the end you can commit different sins but sin itself is defiance from god that's what it always is and it's not the only thing personified think in john chapter one verse 1 in the beginning was the word and the word was god and the word is god that's a personification of the expression the word and people get confused about it because they make the word

a thing

right you say well if the word is god and jesus says the word made flesh therefore jesus is god and you're taking that expression the word and you make it a thing instead of what it is which is a personification of something else does that make sense

right jesus says marcus

hold on you need the microphone

i think a good place to go when you're talking personification is the book of proverbs because how many times is wisdom described as her so when you're doing the harder like the verses you've described to personification if you go to proverbs then it pretty easily stands out that when all the hers are talking about wisdom right so and the reason why that's done is because it it represents something specific it doesn't represent something that changes in other words wisdom is wisdom is wisdom is wisdom is wisdom you know it's like when somebody says the white house right well the white house did this well the white house represents something it represents the executive branch of government it's just easier and actually it's more powerful to say the white house it creates it creates a bigger image same thing with the devil you know it's it's a lot more powerful to say the devil than it is to say sinful nature right and and you want to understand the depth of that power and sin has power we know it has power because it traps us all the time

but if we just said sinful nature every time you'd be taking away from the depth of of the power of sin that makes sense so it's personified the devil is personified it's clearly personified we looked at some passages last week that showed it but it's personified so that you understand it is what it is it never changes

and it wasn't there before and it won't be there later won't be there later on

and that it has a power in and of itself that we have to face and we have we have to deal with and so again here sin is treated is treated the same way

just a little later in romans it says for as by one man disa man's disobedience many were made sinners so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous so one man brought sin into the world that one man was adam brought in the committing of sin but also we took on that mortal frame when god said from dust thou art unto dust thou shalt return it wasn't true before he committed his sin

it became it was true that he was made from dust it wasn't true that he was going back to dust until he sinned but notice it says i just thought this was an inch i'd never really thought about it before but it says by one man's disobedience many were made sinners well that many that's a really big number that many but you can't say all were made sinners

because one was not made a sinner he was born with our sinful frame with our mortal corruptable nature

but he did no sin it's always important to keep those two things separate even though they're so closely connected our sinful nature and our sins

the the the scriptures constantly separate the two that's why you have different sacrifices some relate to committing sins trespasses and some relate to our sinful nature

and it says by the obedience of one so one person brought us out the other one brings us back in or vice versa depending on your analogy


we want to come to understand this this idea of sinful nature now i'm going to make a confession usually when i teach classes i abs almost never go off scripture but um our brother jim larson showed how the birmingham amended faith shows where the devil comes from

and how how it was found from from the very beginning from the fall and explains our simple nature and i thought it was so well done that we're going to go to this just for a few minutes the birmingham amended statement of faith and the birmingham amended statement of faith goes to goes to great leaps and bounds to explain where this sinful nature came from and what the process of redemption is to get rid of it

and it's so important because it's not what the world teaches

it's not what most of christianity teaches that's why they spent so much time making sure that you understood that this is what it is but i had never noticed the devil in the midst of the birmingham and men's tape in the faith and it took it took brother uh james to sort of point it out even though it's it's never expressed that way so just look at a few clauses from the birmingham amended statement of faith clause 4 that the first man was adam whom god created out of the dust of the ground as a living soul or natural body of life notice it says it says natural so it was natural and it was very good

right remember the gnostics right the gnostics taught that all flesh was evil and all thought was good

that's the way they separate it out and there you got your good and evil that becomes back to the same battle something over here something over there but the garden shows that that's not the way it was at all from the beginning that this natural body was very good that's what god calls it it was very good in kind and in condition and placed him under a law through which the continuance of life was contingent on obedience in other words he said you can eat of anything you want to eat of you just can't eat of that tree whatever that tree


that makes sense right i i hope you understand that because you were baptized into that very understanding

clause 5 that adam broke this law excuse me and it was and was adjudged unworthy of immortality and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken a sentence which defiled

and became a physical law of his being and was transmitted to all his posterity that's great english a sentence which defiled that's the devil

that's what the devil is the devil is a defiler it create it was there from the beginning and it became a physical larvas members we became mortal dying creatures whether we sin or not we became mortal dying creatures we did sin we will sin but we took on that frame at the time of adam's fall

sinful nature is the devil this is what it says in hebrews for as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood there it is again that corruptable nature he also himself likewise took part of the same speaking of the lord jesus christ that through death he might destroy him that has the power of death that is the devil that's what the devil is it's the personification of this flesh and blood

and the devil is a liar john speaking in 8 44 says ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do what lusts

lust of the flesh the lust of the eye the pride of life your lusts my lusts same loves he was a murderer from the beginning

is he talking about a fallen angel as a murderer from the beginning who was a murderer from the very beginning

cain right yeah absolutely and abode not in the truth

because there is no truth in him when he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own for he is a liar and the father of lies and that's just what it is it's lying it's fooling yourself it's not following the commandments of god it's a lie you shall not die but you shall know good and evil well we know good and evil

but we die

clause 6 talks about the redemption notice it's one clause after another that's how important this concept is that god in his kindness conceived a plan of restoration which without setting aside his just and necessary law of sin and death there's no appeasement there's no paying god back it's not about paying god back god doesn't need us to pay anything in his kindness he can see the plan of restoration

uh his just and necessary law of sin and death of course it's necessary otherwise if we were to become immortal we would just be immortal sinners

should um lord of sin and death should ultimately rescue the race from destruction god's destruction our own destruction

it's our destruction right it says of the lord jesus christ that that he he didn't come to condemn he came to save we condemn ourselves

that's what we do we prefer the darkness because our deeds are evil the light shines we choose the darkness it's our condemnation and our destruction and people the earth with sinless immortals which is of course the depth of our hope

clause 8 says that these promises had reference to jesus christ who was to be raised up from the condemned line of adam abraham and david and who through wearing their condemned nature was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience and by dying abra gate which is a word i had to look up uh means to do away with the law of condemnation for himself and all should who should believe

and obey him and of course i know we believe these things already we've already been through this process i went through this process 30 plus years ago and once we know these things are true are true we follow by these things it's just sometimes we get caught up in all the different things and we live in a world that talks so much about the devil in movies and in so many different things that we forget what what it is that we believe i know i did that's why i needed him to go back and say hey go back and look at it yourself you already agreed to it guilty is charged

clause 9 uh that it was this mission that necessitated the miraculous begettal of christ from a human mother enabling him to bear a condemnation every time you see that idea of condemnation that is the work of the devil and at the same time to be a sinless bearer thereof and therefore one who could raise after suffering the death required by the righteousness of god that very death where it says to please the lord to bless him that's how important and how deep sin and evil is clause 12 that for delivering this message he was put to death by the jews and romans as jews and gentiles right who were however but instruments in the hands of god for doing that which he had determined before to be done vis-a-vis the condemnation of sin in the flesh through the offering of the body of jesus once for all as a propitiation to declare the righteousness of god as a basis for the remission of sins the removal of the devil all who approach god through this crucified but risen representative of adam's disobedient race

are forgiven

any questions about that

so it was all very good

the fall happened

in walks the devil in watch this this sinful nature that we take on that is a lie and that lie gets perpetuated from generation to generation and grown and built upon

why because of what happens

in our next class so what happens first of all after the fall well we know adam i mean arcane kills his brother he's a murderer

and then by genesis 6 it says god saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually every imagination of the thoughts of his heart doesn't not talk about actions

but actions take come from what we think

but every imagination of the thought of man

not of some men but of man the wickedness of man was great and every imagination and thought of his heart was only evil continually it seems hard it seems hard really to to grasp fully yet we know what evil thoughts are at least i do maybe you don't and i'm happy for you i'm having them for you worry not we know what evil thoughts are we know what they are we don't act upon them but we know what they are

and says every thought of his heart was only evil continually that is that is defiance of god and then it says that god repented

and the lord said i will destroy man whom i have created from the face of the earth both man and beast and creeping things and the fowls are for it repenteth me that i have made them but

noah found grace

in the eyes of the lord

so recognize

you know that you've got

evil continually every man

noah found grace doesn't say no it doesn't say no found righteousness

it says noah found grace i'm sorry god found grace

in the eyes of noah in the eyes let me read it again but noah found grace in the eyes of the lord

so he's going to destroy everything but he's not going to destroy noah and it's his grace

that saves noah

any questions or comments about that

all right it is now 10 15 my time is impeccable marcus

he created all things everything was very good

our god does not lie that if there was a supernatural being called the devil that caused us to sin

this would be where he would be at least mentioned right now it repented me that i have created from the man

doesn't mention anything else but man right so terrific point thank you

so so what we're going to get into next time whenever that next time is is so if all that is true and we know it's true i shouldn't say if all that's true we know it's true

then where does this guy come from

right because this is what the vast majority of the world believe in where does he come from and where he's where does his power come from and it all starts with one single event it's an event i don't know that we give a full thought to the depth of what that event represents

and that event is this

the tower of battle

everything changes at the tower of battle and the civilization that we live in today

has its establishment

at the building of that tower and that what god has to do in order to stop man from becoming too powerful for his own for his own good and that's where all this mythology comes from that's where all these different religions come from that's where all these polyistic things come from they all come from what was done

in genesis 11 so that you and i also

can can

be found by the grace of god and be shown truth within the civilization that we live in that doesn't know and doesn't even recognize god because remember in genesis 11 they know who god is

and after genesis 11 they don't know who god is anymore so lord next time that's what we'll talk about any questions or comments