So today we continue our first big series of 2019 entitled, “What is your kryptonite?” and here’s the idea.  There is a way that we should or could be living our lives as disciples of Jesus.  As we read scripture it is pretty clear that our lives should be described a certain way.  Through the course of this series I have really been using three very specific words on what the life of a disciple of Christ should look like.  Those three words are freedom, victory, and power.  This is how our lives SHOULD look as followers of Jesus…free, victorious, and lived with God’s power in us, steadying us through the storms of life.

Freedom – John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  NIV 

Victory – 1 John 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory. 5 And the ones who win this battle against the world are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. NLT

Power – 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the Kingdom of God is not just fancy talk; it is living by God’s power. NLT

So this is what our lives as Christian’s SHOULD and COULD look like, but for so many of us if we are honest, this is not how we would describe our spiritual lives at all.  We definitely want that freedom, victory, and power in our lives but we just don’t see it.  We read scripture and know that we SHOULD and COULD have this in our lives, but it really isn’t our reality.  And that is because there is this “thing” out there that can take, distract, and weaken us…keeping us from being the very people God created us to be.  For the purpose of this series we are calling this “thing” our spiritual kryptonite, but what we are actually talking about is sin and what we are really doing is looking at how this “spiritual kryptonite” can keep us from being the kind of people that we read about in scripture…the kind of people we could be, and quite frankly that we want to be.  Sin can keep us from hitting that mark of freedom, victory, and power in our lives.  Now I know everyone gets a little nervous when we talk about sin and holiness type things in church, but I often wonder why that is, since we ALL deal with it.   We all deal with sin which is why we all need Jesus, just something I want to remind you of in case you are getting a little nervous as we start this talk today…remember Paul’s words…we all deal with this.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. NLT

Ok, so now we can relax and get rolling because we aren’t alone in dealing with this sin thing…we ALL deal with this, which is why we ALL need Jesus so desperately in our lives.  It’s important that you relax with me today, so that you can track with me today because I think we are hitting a HUGE topic!  Frankly this one could be an entire series, but today we are going to look at another form of spiritual kryptonite, and this one is brutal, this one can hurt deeply.  This one can take and weaken and distract…keeping us from hitting the mark of being a Christian in our lives big time.  You remember that mark we want to hit as a disciple right?  Living a life as described in scripture that is free, victorious, and powerful.  That is the life we should be living, and this form of kryptonite is an absolute assault on our hearts, our emotions, and our identity as people, and it is the thing that our enemy does best.  This spiritual kryptonite is so tough at times it doesn’t seem fair, but we can beat it…and we will look at how we do that today.  Today we are going to look at how the enemy lies, and deceives and accuses us…and we will also look at how we can overcome or beat these lies and stand as the people God created us to be.  You know people who live in that freedom, and victory, and power.

So we need to start by asking an important question.  What makes the enemy’s lies so dangerous?  Well frankly, they aren’t dangerous if you don’t accept them as truth…but when you do, they can crush you.  And what makes these lies so dangerous is that the enemy is really good at lying and deceiving…and if you aren’t paying attention, you won’t even see this coming, or even realize that you are being taken out…it’s a tough one and he is really good at what he does.  I mean, if you think about it he has had a lot of time to work on his craft.  He has been doing this since Adam and Eve, and he knows where and how to hit your heart to get you to accept his lies and accusations and when you do, it can change everything from your perception of yourself…to you perception of others.  It’s these lies that can really keep us from hitting the mark of a true disciple…it’s these lies that keep us from that freedom, victory, and power…it’s these lies that take out God’s children each and every day.

Have you ever been driving down the road and just been hit with some kind of thought that sounds something like I don’t know, maybe something like this “I am such a moron, I can’t do anything right.”  Have you ever walked away from a difficult moment with a loved one and thought; “I am completely unlovable. I wouldn’t care for me either.”  Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “I am ugly” or just simply felt like less.  Have you ever been walking through a difficult moment and thought, “God isn’t with me.” Or “Why would God care for a loser like me,” or “I don’t know why I even try anymore.”  And as you hear it in your mind, or speak it out loud you just feel energy and life draining from you don’t you?  Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself where those thoughts are coming from?  They certainly didn’t come from God.  And they didn’t just come flying from out of the blue…they come from our enemy.  And whatever that lie is that comes at you, it’s amazing but it always seem to hit the exact insecurity, or hurt, or nerve that we struggle with the most…why would that be?  Because your enemy, The Liar, is good at what he does…he has been practicing for all of human history and he knows how to hit you where it hurts, and how to mask the lies so we don’t even see them as a spiritual assault.  As we accept these lies about us, we shrink, no longer standing in that freedom, victory, and power…but simply taken out of the game.  No longer a threat to the enemy at all.  You with me so far?

When it comes to any kind of talk about spiritual warfare there is something we need to understand and come to grips with, and it really becomes a bit of a building process for our thoughts today.  The first thing we need to remember is that we do have an enemy, we are opposed and that enemy is coming to take you out.  Jesus told us we have an enemy…and what he is up to.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. NIV

Your enemy is coming to steal, kill, and destroy.  Well what exactly is it that he wants to steal, kill, and destroy…it’s you.  You matter so much to God, you are so valued by God that your enemy wants to destroy you.  He never wants you to stand as the person you were created to be…because when you do stand up in that freedom, victory, and power…you will take ground from your enemy, helping to advance God’s kingdom.  So we live in a world with enemy…which means that we live in a world at war, Paul says it this way in Ephesians…

Ephesians 6:12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. MSG

We need to come to grips with this reality, we live in a world at war.  We are opposed.  You do have an enemy he wants to take you out of the game.  Why?  Because he never wants you standing in that freedom, and victory, and power…hence the kryptonite that we all deal with.  His best weapon is to lie to you and hope you accept his deception as truth…and like I keep saying he is good at it.  We see our enemy described many different ways in scripture…a roaring lion, the thief, but Jesus says something that we need to really remember.  Jesus calls Satan a liar…not just that he is a liar…but that he is THE LIAR.

John 8:43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  NIV

So we are building here today.  We are looking at a couple important ideas as we get rolling.  First things first…we do have an enemy.  We are opposed.  We do live in a world at war, and this war is a spiritual battle zone.  Our enemy’s goal is to keep us from being the people God has created us to be.  He wants to keep us as far away from that freedom, victory, and power as possible.  And we need to understand that our enemy is a liar…Jesus says he is THE Liar.  This is so important for us to grab hold of today.  Our enemy is really good at lying to us.  It really is his primary weapon…in a lot of ways, it’s all he can really do to us…after all, the enemy doesn’t have any power over us…you do know that right?  I mean this spiritual war is very different because Jesus has already defeated your enemy.  Jesus won, Satan lost…so this is a different kind of fight.  We are fighting a defeated opponent who literally has no power in our lives, unless you give it to him!  Now it may sound silly, because who would willingly give power or ground in their life to Satan…no one!  But that is the point…this is why he lies.  He schemes, and lies, and tries to convince you that you are less so that you accept a different reality, one that would not allow you to stand in the freedom, victory, and power that you should be standing in.  I mean check out Paul’s warning here to the church about our enemy (the liar) and his deceptive schemes against truth, and the power of God over our enemy!  This is so clear isn’t it?

Romans 16:19 I want you also to be smart, making sure every “good” thing is the real thing. Don’t be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus! MSG

So because of Jesus, your enemy has no power over you.  He can’t fight you straight up.  He can’t grab you and hold you back from making your way to Christ and eternal life.  He can’t physically force you to hell…so he resorts to lies, schemes…tricks.  It’s smoke and mirrors where he simply casts out his lies and hopes that you accept them or take the bait.  The challenge is that he is good at it.  The only ground the enemy can have in your life is ground you give him…which is why we need to talk about and expose these lies for what they are…evil traps of our enemy.  They are not the truth.  They are not reality.  Listen, if you agree with the lies, you give him ground…it’s like a slow death to your soul…but if you can see the lies and identify them as lies…then we can do something about it!  Which is so important.  I find it interesting that in the same chapter where Jesus explains that our enemy is a liar and a deceiver he also says this…

John 8:30 Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Ok so this is such a bid deal…we live in a world controlled by our enemy, bombarding us with lies.  There is deception all around us, and Jesus explains that this is who the enemy is and what he does…and while he is good at it, the way through is to hold on to the truth.  It’s the truth that defeats this kryptonite.  I really like that phrasing “hold on to my teaching,” like in this world of a constant assault of lies…can I hold on to the truth, to the teachings of Jesus…which sets me free from all the lies.  And just to reinforce Jesus does say that he is the truth remember?

John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

So then I will know the truth which is Jesus, He…Jesus sets me free…which is just awesome.  So before we really personalize these lies and look at some of the enemies lies against us and the actually reality of truth from Scripture that frees us from those lies I want you to show you how Jesus handled the attacks from our enemy, when Satan himself tempts Jesus in the desert.  So let’s read the story and then talk for a moment or two and then we will look at the lies our enemy throws at us and we will try to combat them as Jesus does here…

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. NIV

So we are at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry.  He has just been baptized by his cousin John the Baptist which is an awesome moment where as Jesus comes up out of the water this happens.

Matthew 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” NIV

So just a powerful moment and then is led out into the desert, where he doesn’t eat for 40 days…and I think that line “he was hungry” might be a bit of an understatement.  Maybe it would be better stated this way…he has fasted to the point where he is completely empty.  No energy, completely empty…I don’t think that point should be lost on us here.  So after Jesus goes 40 days and 40 nights without eating Satan himself comes to tempt him…which he does in three different ways.  Did you notice how Jesus responded to each of these schemes of the enemy?  It’s the key for us today.  The enemy comes at him and Jesus responds back to The Liar all three times with quotes directly from Scripture.  Right out of Deuteronomy…all three times his response to the enemy’s scheme is what?  It’s God’s word.  The truth…and its God’s truth that repels the enemy.  Do you see that?  Remember it’s the truth sets us free.  Paul later would help us see how we equip ourselves for this spiritual battle this way…

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. NIV

Isn’t this interesting that Jesus main weapon against the enemy was what?  God’s word, which Paul later says is our weapon in this fight.  Can I ask you something before we move on?  If this is the weapon that repels the enemy do you think it would be important to study God’s word, and to immerse yourself into it every day?  So that you know the truth…not some version of the truth that someone told you of what the truth might be, but the truth.  I mean you don’t want to be armed with some one liner as the enemy comes at you and all of a sudden you realize it’s actually a quote from Ben Franklin and not God’s word am I right?  Remember Jesus said we should hold onto His teaching.  We can’t do that if we aren’t reading it for ourselves, studying it for ourselves, carving out time and space to allow God’s truth to shape and mold us.  Study God’s word, it is your weapon to repel your enemy, and without truth you have nothing to compare to the enemy’s lies.  It’s the weapon Jesus used, and I am pretty sure Jesus often tells us to do what He does…ok, I need to move on.

So I want to something that I told you we didn’t want to just move past today…and it’s that one sentence at the start of Matthew 4…

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 

We are going to take a moment here even if it seems a little off task.  Do you maybe wonder why that sentence is in there?  Maybe even thinking to yourself, why in the world would Jesus need to be at this state of emptiness and starvation and utter weakness prior to the enemy’s assault on him?  I actually think this is a really important verse, because while we may have never fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, I think we have all felt completely weak, and empty at times in our lives haven’t we?  I know for me personally I have walked through these moments.  Some even pretty recently, and it is amazing when you are at this place in your life where you have nothing left in the tank…where you don’t even know if you can pick up your head up to move forward it almost forces us to a full dependency on God that I’m not sure we come to any other way.  I know in some of these most difficult and weakest moments of my own life, that it’s in those brutal moments that God can actually do what He wants to be doing in me because I’m finally broken and hurting enough to lean fully into my Heavenly Father.  Interesting that the next moment after this, we see Jesus come out of this moment and begin his great Sermon on the Mount with this opening statement…

Matthew 5:3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. MSG

Something happens when we have nothing left to give, it pushes us deeper and deeper into God’s arms…it strips away all of our fleshly thoughts and gets us to a place where we finally are forced to go to where real strength and peace are found.  It isn’t found in ourselves, it is in God.  We watch Paul endure so much in ministry and what does he say about where strength is actually found?  It’s found in his weakness.  Wow.

2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  NIV

Not sure Paul writes that if he hasn’t experienced it.  Paul speaks from experience as does Jesus, in pure weakness we find ourselves on a hinge point of life, where we finally understand that in our emptiness, we can finally have real power, because we finally find our strength in God, which would be that very power that we keep bringing up all through this series.  It’s not our power, it is living by God’s power…not living in our own.  It’s in our weakness that we finally can surrender fully to and lean fully on God for real strength and power.

Ok, let’s get back on track.  We have been building today.  We started with once again realizing that there is a mark that we all want to hit for our lives as Christians.  The Bible says that we could and should be living with freedom, victory, and power and we know that it’s spiritual kryptonite that pulls keeps us from hitting that mark.  Today we are really looking at spiritual warfare.  We need to understand that we are opposed.  That we do have an enemy.  That Jesus says our enemy is a liar, in fact he is The Liar.  Meaning he is good at it.  We live in a world at war…that is our reality.  We have learned something that is both important and different when it comes to this spiritual war, that Jesus has already defeated your enemy so he really can’t do anything to you unless you let him.  Which is why he is a schemer and liar working to get you to a place in your life where you accept his lies as truth.  It’s the only way he can take ground in your life.  We have also looked at the life of Jesus and how he broke free from the enemy’s schemes.  What was it that Jesus used as His weapon?  It was the written word of God.  God’s truth defeats the lies of our enemy.

So as we leave here today, I want you to be personalizing all that we are talking about today and let me start here…When you look at your own life, do you see freedom, victory, and power?  If you don’t or wouldn’t see your life described this way, it’s time to understand a couple things.

First you do have an enemy and you are opposed in every way by your enemy who never wants to see you standing as God created you to be.

Second your enemy’s number one weapon against you is lies and schemes because Jesus has already won this war for us…so it’s a very different kind of fight!  All the enemy has is tricks, and the only ground he gets in your life, is ground that you give him.  Be aware that he is a liar, he is The Liar and he is good at tricking us into bondage and pain.

Third remember when those thoughts and accusations come they are false.  Grab hold of them and remember to rebuke and fight back with the truth, just as Jesus modeled for us.  We must hold on to the truth, and we can’t do that if we don’t spend time in God’s word.  Study, read, learn, immerse yourself in the truth so you can hold off the enemies schemes, allowing you to walk freely in freedom, victory and power.

Are you spending the time with God in prayer, and reading His word, to be equipped with the truth…or not?  This is a very important question.

I’d like to just looking at two quick examples (there are hundreds) of lies the enemy throws at us, and I want you to see what happens as we stand in the truth of God’s word.  It is always the opposite of the lie…I could do this with you all day, but we will stick with two biggies.  And then we are going to watch a video about who we actually are in Christ.

The enemy will whisper this lie – I’m unlovable.  The truth in Christ is that I am very loved!  There are so many places in scripture we could go to push that lie away but let’s go here.  Please note, the truth is so opposite of the lie!

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  NIV

The enemy will whisper this lie – I am unacceptable.  The truth in Christ is that I am accepted!

Ephesians 1:3-6 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.  Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. NLT

I could do this all day, but I want you to understand that your enemy is lying to you, he is terrified that you will stand in that freedom, victory, and power.  It’s time to immerse yourself in the truth, and hold on to that truth…and use it as Jesus did to break free from the schemes of your enemy.  After all, it’s the truth that sets us free from these lies.