Greg Laurie, senior pastor and founder of the multi-campus Harvest Christian Fellowship in California, explained in a sermon how Christians can overcome the devil as all are in an invisible war, a spiritual battle.
In the recent sermon based on Chapters 11 and 12 of the book of Revelation, Laurie asked the listeners, “Are you overcoming the devil, or are you being overcome by the devil?”
Being overcome by the devil means “when you find yourself captive to a sin and it gets you again and again and again.”
Referring to Ephesians Chapter 6, Laurie said we're not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age, a spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places.
“It’s a very real battle,” the megachurch pastor stressed.
To describe the battle, the pastor shared that in the Last Days, Jerusalem will be the center of End Times events. And for that to happen, Jerusalem must be in Jewish hands and the Third Temple must be rebuilt, he said, adding that the Antichrist will help the Jews rebuild their Temple, and then desecrate it.
“Here we are now, in 2021, and, as usual, the Middle East, Israel … and specifically Jerusalem is in the news. Jerusalem ironically means the City of Peace, yet more wars have been fought at her doorstep than in any other city in the entire world.”
Laurie then shared two points that can help a Christian overcome the devil.
One, the devil knows his days are numbered, he said.
“He’s working through his network of demon powers and … we find this battle in Heaven,” Laurie said.
“This is a heavenly battle between the angels of God under the direction of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer, the son of the morning, the powerful fallen angel, and his demon forces. So the devil and his angels cannot defeat these powerful angels from God,” he added.
Point No. 2, he said, is that the devil does not want Christians to know that his primary attack comes through accusation.
“He tempts you and, by the way, it’s not a sin to be tempted because temptation comes at the worst time, like maybe you’re listening to a message like right now and all of a sudden an evil thought comes into your mind and then the devil condemns you for having an evil thought. It’s not a sin to be tempted; it’s only a sin if you give in to the temptation. It’s not the bait that constitutes sin; it’s the bite,” he explained.
The pastor continued, “He’ll say, ‘No one will ever know. No one will ever be aware of what you’ve done. Go for it. You’ll have fun.” And, so, you go for it and then the devil comes back to you and says, ‘You miserable hypocrite, you call yourself a Christian?”
The devil also tells us, “Don’t even pray. Don’t even read your Bible; that would be the ultimate act of hypocrisy. Don’t you dare show your ugly face in church.”
Laurie cautioned that Christians need to know the difference between Satan’s accusations and the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
“See, when a Christian sins — and yes we will sin — the Holy Spirit will convict or convince you of your sin. Why? To drive you into shame? No. To bring you back to Jesus,” he explained.
Laurie further said, “God doesn’t hear your prayers based on what you’ve done. He hears your prayers based on what He’s done — sending the Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross in your place. So there’s nothing I need to do to earn the favor of God.”
To conclude, Laurie encouraged the congregants not to listen to Satan.
“He’s a liar and the father of lies. God hears your prayers. God loves you and if you’ve sinned against Him, He will forgive you no matter what you have done. Satan does not want you to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ. But here’s what God says if you will confess your sin. He’s faithful and just, [and He will] forgive you your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”