Sermon Info:

Responsive Reading:  Matthew 16:13-25
Key Verse(s): Matthew 16:23
Background Scripture:  Dan. 10:2-14; John 11:1-11

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During this holy season, it would be hard for me to ignore the spiritual warfare that all of us are a part of on a daily basis.  Some of us go through some points on our journey where it feels like our prayers are going unanswered or it may feel like we aren’t receiving any blessings from the Lord.  We should understand that this is the devil trying to separate us from the love of God.  However, because of this season, I want you to see and know that the love of God cannot be stopped by anybody, certainly not by the devil.

God’s Promise to Mankind

Some of us may reach points on our journey where it will become hard for us to believe this, but I tell you that God will do what He has said He is going to do.  To show you why I am so faithful in the Lord, let us once again consider the everlasting covenant God made with us.

The defeat of Satan

The covenant that the Lord made with mankind was confirmed in the giving of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus summed it up perfectly when He said to Nicodemus that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  Jesus saved us and delivered us from sin; He defeated our great adversary, the devil.  Through Christ, a promise was made that we who have faith will be blessed by the Lord who will give us the desires of our heart (Ps. 37:4; John 14:13).

Now, as wonderful as all of this is, we know that the serpent of old, the great dragon, stands in opposition against the Lord.  Satan first waged war in heaven and was thrown out because of his wickedness (Rev. 12:7-10).  Satan’s sin kicked off the spiritual warfare between the way of wickedness and righteousness.

From the moment the Lord placed Adam and Eve in the garden, Satan continued to wage war against God.  In the garden the devil went about encouraging Eve to disobey God; he did this to separate mankind from the love of God (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-5).  When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, Satan succeeded in getting man to disobey, and I suppose you could say the devil had a ‘small’ victory.

In this ‘victory’, I imagine Satan rejoiced, believing that he had won the war against the Lord.  The devil probably believed that he blocked God’s grand desire to dwell with mankind eternally.  However, the one important lesson that we should learn from the garden, aside from not disobeying the Lord, is that the love of God cannot be stopped.

You see, the Lord was not through with mankind just yet.  God already had a plan in place to win us back and restore us back unto glory.  The Lord’s plan was and is one that is of love, mercy, and forgiveness.  This is, we know, because God could have destroyed man right there in the garden but He did not.  We also know that God could have forced obedience from mankind but He gave us the free will to choose Him.

So, what better way to defeat Satan than showing him that love and faith can overcome all things, including him.  So God made a promise to Satan, to mankind, and to Himself to defeat Satan by the giving of His only begotten Son who would bruise the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15).

Satan Attempts to Block God

Now, scripture shows us that the devil did not take the promise of his defeat laying down; he chose to continue waging war against the Lord.  The Lord, on the other hand, continued to love mankind and show mercy to Adam and Eve.

Last week I asked, why does God love us?  He loves us because He is faithful to His nature.  In His nature, God desires for us to be happy and content in our hearts.  Jesus confirmed this thought for us when He taught us that whatever we ask in His name, by faith, we shall receive so that the Lord can be glorified (John 14:13-14; 15:16).

Satan, scripture shows us, does not desire for the Lord to be happy nonetheless for any of us to be happy!  As I have already stated, the devil works to separate us from the love of God by trying to block the love of God.  No greater illustration of this can be shown than when the devil tried to block God’s promise of salvation.

Satan attempt to prevent the coming of Christ

Now, many of us believe that the devil wanted Jesus to be crucified, but scripture actually shows us that the devil tried to do everything he could to prevent the offering of Jesus as mankind’s propitiation.  Let me show you what I mean by this.

To start off with, scripture shows us that Satan tried to prevent Christ from ever being born.  If we go back to the days of Noah, scripture tells us that sin was so prevalent in our world that God was ready to destroy mankind (Gen. 6:5-7).  Now, guess who would have rejoiced had God destroyed the world during the days of Noah?  The devil.  Yet, there was Noah and his family who found mercy from the Lord, and through them, mankind was saved (Gen. 6:8) — God 1 – Satan 0.

I recently preached about how the children of Israel rejected God and His wonderful blessing of the land of promise – they rejected God’s love.  Consider this:  Who do you suppose was in the hearts of those that rejected God, His blessing, and His love?  It was Satan, again, attempting to and successfully separating those that rejected God from the Lord’s love.

God, again, could have destroyed Israel but Moses interceded on their behalf; he pointed out how not only would Israel be mocked by their enemies but the Lord would be mocked as well (Num. 14:13-16).  Satan, again, would have rejoiced at the destruction of the children of Israel because God would have gone against His eternal covenant and the covenant He made with Abraham.  The Lord relented, and His love moved forward with the children of Israel — Satan was defeated again.

When Satan could not get God to destroy the children of Israel, scripture shows us that he took a more direct approach to prevent the coming of Christ.  Let us consider how after hearing about the birth of Christ, Herod, in great wickedness, moved to put to death all the male children from two years older and under (Matt. 2:16).

Who do you think was behind such wicked actions?  It was Satan.  The devil was once again trying to block the love of God, and at this point, he was also trying to prevent his defeat yet again.  Well, the baby Jesus was not killed and by the time He was 30, Jesus was baptized and ready to begin His earthly ministry.  In all of these efforts thus far by the devil, do you see he cannot stop God?  The love of God cannot be stopped by anybody, certainly not the devil!

Satan attempts to block God’s salvation

During His ministering years, Jesus taught and preached the divine truth while also performing many miracles which caused many to believe.  Yet, while Jesus was doing these wonderful works, the religious leaders ironically claimed that the one sent from God was an agent of Beelzebub (Satan) (Matt. 12:22-24).  These same religious leaders, while Jesus taught the truth, spoke against Him and His witness (John 8:12-19).

I ask you, again, who do you suppose was in the hearts of these leaders?  It certainly was not the Lord that was guiding their thoughts and actions, but again, it was the devil.  The devil was trying to keep the divine truth from mankind because, again, he was trying to block the love of God and His mighty blessing towards us.  Do you think the devil was successful in stopping God?  (Hint:  we are still standing here today worshiping the Lord today!  The devil defeated, yet again.)

In our scripture for today, Jesus spoke to the disciples about how He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things from those same religious leaders, then be killed and raised the third day (Matt. 16:21).  Again, Jesus was given to the world to confirm the Lord’s everlasting covenant that He made with us.

Now, this was the first time that Jesus had predicted His death to the disciples and it caught the disciples off guard.  Peter, we are told, objected and rebuked Jesus’ prediction.  Peter said to Jesus, “this shall not (cannot) happen to You! (Matt. 16:22).”  In Peter’s mind, the Messiah could not be destroyed!

However, in my key verse, we will see Jesus adamantly responded to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”


Why did Jesus respond this way?  Guess who had entered into the heart of Peter?  While Peter may have thought that he was saying words from a loving place, he was under the influence of the devil.  Peter had just said, moments earlier, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was the son of the living God (Matt. 16:16).  However, now Peter was under Satan’s influence who, again, desired to prevent Jesus’ work of love.  (This is how the devil will do battle against God in his waging of war.)

Let us remember that Jesus taught that He was sent not to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:17).  Just like during the days of Noah, God could have destroyed mankind but He loved us and showed us mercy by offering us the wonderful blessing of Christ.  We are blessed today because Jesus chose to be obedient and drank from the cup that was before Him.

Jesus could have not drank from that bitter cup of death but He committed Himself to do the Father’s will (Mark 14:35-36) – the devil defeated yet again.  Let me tell you something:  the love of God cannot be blocked!  The love of God cannot be stopped because the Lord’s love for us is great!  The devil can try to withstand your blessings from God but as Christ committed Himself to the Father’s will, the Lord is committed to His promises to us!

Satan attempts to block God’s answer

In the book of Daniel, the lid is blown off the cover of the spiritual warfare that the devil still wages today.

Daniel, as we know, was a man of tremendous faith during some very dark times for the Jews; they were living in Babylon, in exile, after being conquered by the Babylonians.  In Daniel 10,  Daniel, for three weeks, was in a great amount of grief and mourning (Dan. 10:1-2); he was probably mourning the Jews’ slow return to Jerusalem.  During this time of mourning, Daniel didn’t eat any pleasant food or drink wine; he states that he had not anointed himself at all until the three weeks were fulfilled (Dan. 10:3).

Daniel was in need of help and what do you do when you’re in need of help?  Don’t you pray to God?  That is exactly what Daniel did, he prayed.

On the 24th day of the first month, scripture tells us that Daniel had a visit from a certain man (Dan. 10:4-9).  The description of this man’s appearance was similar to the Son of Man – Jesus – as John saw Him in heaven in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:14).  Daniel was visited not by the preincarnate Christ but by the post resurrected Christ!  Yet, because of the condition he was in, Daniel passed out while Christ spoke to him.

Daniel tells us that suddenly, he was touched by another and was helped up to his feet (Dan. 10:10-11).  The one that helped Daniel to his feet said to him that he was sent to Daniel by the Lord to minister to him; it was an angel.  You see, this is the role of angels:  they are ministering spirits that tend to and minister to those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:13-14).  The angel, we should understand, was there to answer Daniel’s prayers.

However, the angel first revealed some very disturbing news that gives us insight to the spiritual warfare that still takes place today.  The angel said to Daniel that it was sent to him the first moment Daniel prayed to God.  However, the angel said that it was withstood (prevented) 21 days from reaching Daniel (Dan. 10:13)!

So, who would be behind blocking the angel from delivering God’s answer to Daniel?  Again, it was Satan.  Daniel was suffering and here the devil was preventing the angel from ministering to Daniel; he was trying to block God from Daniel!

This is the devil and his desire:  he wants to separate mankind from the love of God.  The devil will attempt to hinder you in your prayer life just as he did with Daniel!  The devil will attempt to hinder you from receiving God’s blessings because he does not want you to be in fellowship with the Lord.  Yet, in all of his efforts, the devil could not block God because God cannot be stopped.  Let me show you once again that Satan cannot stop God.

Though the devil withstood the angel for 21 days, we see that the angel did reach Daniel and ministered to him.  The angel reached Daniel because, again, the love of God cannot be stopped.  Ministering to Daniel and delivering Jesus’ message was of the utmost importance, so God sent Michael, the Archangel, to clear the way for the angel (Dan. 10:13).  Once again, the devil and his forces were defeated.

God Cannot Be Stopped

After having predicted His death three times, Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, became gravely sick and died (John 11:1-2, 14).  So, Jesus said to the disciples that they needed to go to Judea, specifically to Bethany which sat just outside of Jerusalem, to wake Lazarus up (John 11:6,11).  The disciples grew fearful and they moved to prevent Jesus from going to Jerusalem.  They said to Jesus, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”

Again I ask you, who do you think truly did not want Jesus to go and wake up Lazarus and also offer Himself up at Jerusalem?  Yes, these were words the disciples were sharing with love and care for Jesus, but Jesus had a promise to fulfill — God cannot be stopped.  Satan knew that the cross sealed His defeat.  Satan knew the cross sealed God’s love for mankind!  The devil knew that the cross sealed God’s salvation and restoration for all who will freely choose to believe in the Lord!

You may have never looked at this this way before, but the devil was practically begging Jesus not to fulfill God’s promise.  Jesus, with the wit that I can understand, answered the disciples, saying, “Are there not twelve hours in the day (John 11:9)?”  In other words, Jesus was saying that there was work for Him to do and there was absolutely nothing that was going to keep Him from His work.

To the Romans, Paul wrote, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).”

Christ is our confirmation that the love of God cannot be stopped!  The devil desperately tries to deceive you into believing that the Lord does not love nor cares about you but the fulfilling of His everlasting covenant says otherwise!  We have seen and know that God is faithful to keep His word and that His love never fails.

God never gives up on us and we should never give up on Him.  The moment we give up on the Lord is the moment when the devil succeeds in separating us from the love of God. The devil has not defeated God in this moment, but he has defeated you; the devil is more than capable of defeating us.  Don’t give the devil the power that he does not have!  When you remain faithful to God, the devil will repeatedly lose because God is unbeatable.


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