from Satan’s standpoint
22 December 2019 PM – Matthew 2:1-18 – Incarnation – Scott Childs
Introduction: The Bible tells us that the Satan and his demons are very powerful. Before his rebellion, Satan had been Lucifer, a mighty angel in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). The description in Ezekiel 28:12-17 can describe none other than Satan. Though he lacks the unlimited abilities of God, he obviously knows far more than humans know and is much more powerful than any human. Being a spirit, he moves about with great speed. He has thousands, probably millions of fallen angels to assist him in his plots to foil God’s will for men. The whole world lies in his power (1Jn 5:19). He seeks to devour God’s children (1Pe 5:8). He is the accuser of the brethren (Re 12:10). Because of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection, Satan is a defeated foe (Heb 2:14) awaiting his final doom after the Millennium (Re 20:10).
Transition: This evening I want us to focus our attention on three events in Scripture that reveal Satan’s view of the incarnation.
1. He Tried to Kill Baby Jesus (Mt 2)
a. He was active in the life of King Herod.
Though the Bible does not specify that Satan was at work in King Herod’s life, Herod’s devilish actions lead us to that conclusion.
1) The wise men, being led to Jerusalem by a unique star, enquired of King Herod saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Mt 2:2)
2) These words troubled Herod. He was the king of the Jews. He wanted no competition.
3) All Jerusalem was troubled as well. Why would such a question trouble people in Jerusalem? The word “troubled” does not necessarily mean angered. It simply means agitated, stirred up, anxious, or distressed. Perhaps the thought that the Messiah was born caused a stir.
4) Evidently, Herod knew or was told that the promised King of the Jews was none other than the Christ or Messiah (Mt 2:4).
a) Seeking an answer, Herod called in all the chief priests and scribes.
b) They read to him Micah 5:2.
5) Herod formed a plot.
a) He enquired diligently of the wise men when the star appeared. Evidently, he assumed the star appeared when Christ was born (Mt 2:7).
b) He sent the magi to Bethlehem with the order to bring him word of His location so the he could also go worship Him (Mt 2:8).
O Though Satan was against the Christ child and used deceitful tactics to locate Him, he was limited. Either he did not know where Christ was or God did not allow him to tell anyone. We learn from the book of Job that God does limit Satan. That is true yet today. He is our enemy, but God limits what he can do. When we submit to God the Holy Spirit, we can resist Satan and he will flee (James 4:7).
b. He stirred Herod to kill all the Bethlehem babes.
1) God warned the magi to return home another way without returning to Jerusalem (Mt 2:12).
2) Herod would seek the young child’s life (Mt 2:13).
3) When Herod discovered that the wise men mocked him (they did not obey his orders), he was very angry. Note his evil heartless command (Mt 2:16).
O Did Satan not know that Joseph took Mary and Joseph down to Egypt? Did God again limited his ability to make it known? We do not know! One thing we do know is that those who were listening to God and obeying His commands were always a step ahead of Satan’s evil plans.
O That should be a great encouragement to us as well as a strong motivation to listen to and obey God’s Word. (1 Peter 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 2:11) “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”
2. He Tempt Jesus to Sin (Mt 4)
Satan knew that if he could get Jesus to sin he would succeed in spoiling the purpose of the incarnation. If Jesus had sinned, he could not pay the debt for man’s sin.
a. Satan tempted Jesus with selfishness (Mt 4:3)
1) Jesus had not eaten for forty days. He was hungry.
2) At Jesus’ baptism, the Father had just called Jesus His “beloved Son” (Mt 3:17). Mockingly, Satan said, “If thou be the Son of God”. He knew that Jesus was the God/man and he tempted him to turn stones into bread.
3) No other man could turn stones to bread to satisfy his hunger and it would not be right for Jesus. This was a temptation to selfishness. Obeying God’s word was more important to Christ than getting food.
4) Jesus refused and quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. God’s Word sustains us not physical food.
b. Satan tempted Jesus to show off (Mt 4:5)
1) He took Jesus to the top of the temple that was very high.
2) He told Jesus to jump off and show off His deity as the Father would send the angels to rescue Him and everyone watching would know He was divine.
3) Jesus refused and quoted Deuteronomy 6:16.
c. Satan tempted Jesus to take a shortcut (Mt 4:8)
1) Satan took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. He also showed him the glory of those kingdoms.
2) Satan, being the god of this world promised to give Jesus all those kingdoms and their glory if He would worship him. This would be a shortcut to becoming King of the world.
3) Again, Jesus refused, rebuked Satan, and quoted Deuteronomy 6:13.
O Satan wanted to spoil God’s purpose for the incarnation by getting Jesus to sin. Satan will often tempt us to yield to selfish lusts. He will tempt us to show off in prideful ways that rob God of His glory. He will tempt us to take sinful shortcuts to get ahead causing us to miss God’s best for our lives.
3. He Caused Judas to Betray Jesus (Jn 13:2, 27)
In another attempt to mess up God’s purpose for the incarnation, Satan moved Judas to betray Christ. Again, we see the limited understanding of Satan. Had he known that Judas’ betrayal would lead to the cross on which Jesus would die as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world, perhaps he would not have done it.
a. Satan put betrayal in Judas’ heart
1) Though Judas had followed Christ as one of his 12 disciples for over three years, he was not a genuine believer. It seems that none of the other disciples suspected his hypocrisy. Salvation is more than an outward conformance. This agrees with what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23.
2) Satan put evil thoughts of betrayal in Judas’ heart.
b. Satan entered into Judas
1) Because the Spirit of God indwells every true believer, I do not believe that the devil can possess (or enter into) a true Christian. He may oppress him, but not possess him.
2) Judas, an unbeliever, in rebellion against God opened the door for Satan to enter into his heart.
3) With Satan’s influence, Judas went on to betray the Lord Jesus Christ.
O Even in this, we see that God is able to turn evil around and use it to fulfil His plan. God used Judas’ betrayal to open the door for Christ’s crucifixion that He might die for our sins.
O Though God does not want us to do wrong, when we fail, if we will confess our sin, God is able to turn things around and use our failures for His glory.
Conclusion: We have looked at three events during which Satan tried to mess up God’s purpose for the incarnation of Christ. He tried to kill baby Jesus. He tempted Christ. He moved Judas to betray Christ. In each of these events, God defeated Satan. God wants to do the same in our lives. Remember, (1 John 4:4) “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Song: His Way with Thee – 367