Sermon 1728. The Works of the Devil Destroyed
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JULY 1, 1883,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8.
IN this chapter John makes a sharp and clear division of mankind into two classes-he gives not even the slightest hint thatthere is, or ever was, or ever can be a third class. He describes men as being the children of God or else the children ofthe devil and tells us how the two classes are made manifest (see verse 10). Now, this distinction would not have been drawnby John so sharply if it had not existed, for he was a man of a most loving heart and gentle spirit, and if he could, somewhereor other, have found a space for neutrals, or what I call, "betweenites," or people who come in midway between saints andsinners, I am sure he would have done it. No one could suspect John of lack of charity and, therefore, as he was convincedthat no middle position was possible, we may be quite clear upon that point and at once dismiss every theory which is meantto flatter the undecided.
At this day the world is still divided into children of God and children of the Evil One. This distinction ought never tobe forgotten and yet thousands of sermons are preached in which it is quite ignored-and congregations are commonly addressedas if they were all the people of God! How shall we preach the Truth of God if we begin by assuming a lie? Yet to assume thatall our Hearers are Christians is to begin with an error! Is it not highly probable that men will be built up in falsehoodif the very Truth which is addressed to them is stated in a false way? No, my Hearers, we cannot talk to you as all the peopleof God, for you are not! Some of you are the children of the Wicked One and though it may not be pleasant to be told so, yetit is no business of ours to please you! Our duty is to preach so as to please God and benefit the souls of men-and that canonly be effected by an honest enunciation of matters of fact.
There is a definite and fixed line, in the sight of God, between the living and the dead, between those who are born-againand those who abide in their fallen estate-between the spiritual and the carnal, between the believing and the unbelieving!There is a gulf fixed between the two orders of men, which, blessed be God, can be passed, but which, nevertheless, dividesthe whole race as though a vast chasm had opened up in the in midst of them and set them apart from each other, separatingthem into two camps. This important distinction ought to be observed in public prayer. And this is a point in which we aredissatisfied with most liturgies, because they are necessarily composed with the view of suiting both saints and sinners and,as a necessary result, they are not suitable for either!
The joyous notes of confidence which are becoming in the children of God are left out because the ungodly could not use suchexpressions of exultant faith while, on the other hand, the wailing notes which are most suitable to anxious souls are putinto the mouths of men who, by the Grace of God, have long ago found their Savior. Men walking in full fellowship with theLord are not correctly described as "miserable sinners"-neither is it theirs to pray as if they had never found pardon andlife in Christ Jesus! It is impossible that public prayer should be suitable for a mixed congregation unless a portion ofit is evidently for such as fear the Lord and another portion for such as do not fear Him. I suppose it would be difficult,if not impossible, to compose a liturgy for common use upon strictly truthful principles-and yet that order of public prayerwhich ignores the distinction between the regenerate and the unregenerate must inevitably be mischievous to the souls of men!In this matter the servant of the Lord must discern between the precious and the vile, or he cannot be as God's mouth.
If this distinction is to be thought of in preaching and in public prayer, it should be especially considered in our personalreligion. We ought to know whose we are and whom we serve. We ought to know the differences, which the Lord has made by Grace,and whether or not He has made us to differ from the unrenewed. Every man in trade wishes to be sure of his position, whetherhe is prospering or not. And surely we ought, each one, to know our position in that one
great enterprise of life which, if it finds us bankrupt at the last, must leave us so forever! It is of the utmost importancefor a man to know whether he has been enlightened or abides in darkness; whether he is the slave of sin or the Lord's freeman. Each man should know that he is either saved or lost, pardoned or condemned-he may not sit down in peace in the deceitfulhope that though he may not be a child of God, he is, nevertheless, no heir of wrath, for it cannot be-he is one thing orthe other at this moment!
Everyone is under the wrath of God unless he has believed in Jesus and so has become accepted in the Beloved. There are twoseeds and only two-the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent-and you, my Friend, belong to one or the other! Johnsums up the vital distinction when he writes, "He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son has not life. Andwe know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness." Let this stand as the preface of the sermon, for thespirit of it will run through my whole discourse. And now I come to the words of the text itself- "For this purpose the Sonof God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."
We shall speak of four things-the works of the devil. The purpose of God. The manifestation of the Son of God. And the experiencewithin ourselves of the meaning of this text. Oh, for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may think aright and speak withpower!
I. First, then, let us say a little upon THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL. This very strong expression is descriptive of sin, for thepreceding sentence so interprets it. I will read the whole verse-"He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinnedfrom the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil"-that is,that He might destroy sin. This name for sin is, first of all, a word of detestation. Sin is so abominable in the sight ofGod and of good men that its various forms are said to be "the works of the devil." Men do not like the idea of having anyconnection with the devil and yet they have a most intimate connection with him until they are made anew by the Spirit ofGod.
When it was supposed in a superstitious age that a man had commerce with the devil, he was abhorred or feared and, most properlyso-he that is in league with Beelzebub has forfeited all right to honor. Yet let every man know that if he lives in sin, hisactions are called by the Holy Spirit, "the works of the devil." Satan is "the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience."Think of that, you ungodly ones! The devil is at work in you-as a smith at his forge! Is it not a shocking thought that ifI am living in sin, I am the bond slave of Satan and I am doing his work for him? If the devil is in the heart, the wholelife will be, more or less, tainted by the presence of that arch-enemy of God and man! Do not laugh at sin, then! Do not dareto trifle with it! It is dangerous and deadly because it is of the devil, from whom no good thing can ever come. Oh, if mencould but see the slime of the serpent upon their pleasurable sins; the venom of asps upon their dainty lusts and the smokeof Hell upon their proud and boastful thoughts, surely they would loathe that which they now delight in! If sin connects uswith the devil, himself, let us flee from it as from a devouring lion. The expression is a word of detestation-may it enterinto our hearts and make sin horrible to us!
Next, it is a word of distinction-it distinguishes the course of the ungodly man from the life of the man who believes inthe Lord Jesus. He that is of God does the works of God-his life is the work of God-it is a life which has much that is God-likeabout it and he is upheld by the power of God, the ever blessed Spirit. But the ungodly man's life is very different-he livesfor himself, he seeks his own pleasure-he hates all that oppose him, he is up in arms against the Lord and His Truth-and allthat is pure and good. His spirit is not the spirit of God, but of the Evil One. There is a radical distinction between thegracious and the graceless-and this comes out in their works-the one works the works of God and the other the works of thedevil. I know that this doctrine is not pleasant, but it is true and, therefore, it must be plainly stated.
I hear one say, "Look at me! Am I a child of the devil? I may not be much of a saint, but I am no worse than many of yourprofessing Christians." I answer that may be the case, for professing Christians are sometimes horrible hypocrites! But whathas that to do with you? Ah, my Friend, their perishing will not help your salvation! If you are not trusting in Christ andliving under the power of His love, you may be as good as any hypocrite, or even better, and yet you may be widely differentfrom a real Christian! If you have not the life of God in you, you cannot do the works of God! The mineral cannot rise intoa vegetable by itself-it requires another touch from the creative hand! The vegetable cannot rise into an animal unless theCreator shall work a miracle and, even so, you, as a carnal man, cannot become a spiritual man by any spontaneous generation-thenew life must be imparted to you by the quickening Spirit!
The distinction of your works from those of the real Believer in Christ is as great as that between the works of the deviland the works of God-and this may show you how great the distinction of the natures must be by which these different fruitsare produced! The language before us is, next, a word of descent. Sin is "of the devil." It came from him. He is its parentand patron. Sin is not so of the devil that we can lay the blame of our sins upon him, for that is our own. You must not blamethe Tempter for tempting you to do that which, without your will, he could not make you do. He may tempt you, but that wouldbe no sin of yours if your will did not yield to the temptation. The responsibility lies with your will. The devil has plentyof sin of his own to answer for and yet he is often made a packhorse to carry loads of evil which are none of his!
Mother Eve taught us that art when she said, "The serpent beguiled me and I did eat." And since then men have become wonderfullyproficient in the science of excuse-making, frequently imputing their own guilt to the devil's guile! Yet sin, in a sadlytrue sense, does come of the devil. He first introduced it into the world. How or when he, himself, first sinned and fellfrom being an angel of light to become the Apostle of Darkness we will not conjecture. Many have thought that the pride ofhis lofty station, or envy of the foreseen glories of the Son of Man, may have overthrown Him. But, at any rate, he kept nothis first estate, but became a rebel against his Lord and the active promoter of all evil. Being expelled from Heaven forhis wickedness, he desired to wreak his revenge upon God by alienating the human race from its obedience.
He saw what an interest the Creator had taken in man and, therefore, judged that he could grieve Him greatly by seducing manfrom obedience. He perceived that the Maker, when He formed the earth, did not rest. When He had made the birds and fishes,He did not rest. When He had made the sun, moon and stars, He did not rest. But when He had fashioned man, He was so wellcontent that He then took a day of rest and consecrated it forever to be a Sabbath. Thus was God's unresting care for manmade manifest. "Surely," said the Evil One, "if I can turn this favored being into an enemy of God, then I shall bring dishonorupon the name of the Most High and have my revenge." Therefore he alighted in the garden and tempted our first parents, thusopening the gate by which sin entered into the world with all its train of woe.
In that sense sin is truthfully described as being the work of the devil. He brought the flame which has caused so great aburning. Since then he has been, in some degree, the author of sin by often tempting men. I doubt not that he suggests tomany a sinner the delights of the flesh and the pleasures of self-and that he shuts the eyes of conscience to the Truth ofGod and hardens the heart against the threats of God. Under these influences men doubtless rush into wild extravagances ofevil, willingly yielding themselves to be led captive at his will. Doubtless, Satan not only suggests sin to men, but as onespirit influences another spirit, he influences men strongly towards that which is evil and blinds them against that whichis good. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One," is a prayer which plainly connects the Evil Onewith temptation, as we know as a matter of fact that he is connected with it. This is his constant employment, to be tempting,one way or another, the sons of men. Hence sin is the work of the devil, but not so that it excuses us-it is our work becausewe willingly yield-let us be thoroughly ashamed of such work when we find that the devil has a hand in it. May Almighty Goddeliver us from the mighty spirit of Evil!
Consider, next, that we have here a word of description. The work of sin is the work of the devil because it is such workas he delights in. What are the works of the devil? They are such actions as are like he and exhibit his nature and spirit.Open your eyes and you will surely see "the works of the devil"-they are everywhere in this poor world. The earth is defiledwith his horrible productions. How delightful it is to take a survey of the works of God. The wise men say, "The works ofthe Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." I heard of a good man who went down the Rhine buttook care to read a book all the way, for fear he should have his mind taken off from heavenly topics by the beauties of nature.I confess I do not understand such a spirit-I do not want to do so. If I go into an artist's home, I do that artist a displeasureif I take no notice of his works under the pretext that I am quite absorbed in him!
Why not enjoy the objects in which our heavenly Father has set forth His wisdom and power? There is nothing in any of theworks of God to defile, debase, or carnalize the soul. Delight yourself in all your heavenly Father's handiwork and make itto be a ladder by which you climb to Him! But what a very different contemplation is that which lies before us in the worksof the devil! Ah, me, what a picture for a painter here-the works of the devil! Yet surely, brush and color would altogetherfail. Oh, Evil One, how cunning are your works-in malice have you made them all! The earth is full of
your abominable things! Look abroad in the world and you see atheism-men made by God deny His existence! They could not standupright and speak if He did not enable them to do so, and yet they cry, "There is no God!"
Into what a condition must an intelligent mind be brought before it can vent such folly! Surely this must come from that arch-fiendwho, above all things desires, that there should be no God! See, also, how much there is of ignorance abroad, a leaden nightof ignorance of God and of His Son. Is not this the work of the Prince of Darkness? Note, also, the abounding unbelief ofthe Truth of God which would be believed at once if men's minds were pure-of the Truth of God which is salvation to thosewho accept it and yet is rejected by many as if it were injurious to them! From where does all this indifference to God andHis Grace come? And what is the origin of all this plague of doubting which is now upon us? Is it not of the same characteras that which abode in the serpent's heart when he whispered, "Has God said?" and, again, "You shall not surely die." Hereis he, who was a liar from the beginning-till producing a host of lies against God Himself!
What is this idolatry which we see everywhere abroad, not only among the heathen, but among those who call themselves Christians-theworship of visible symbols instead of the spiritual adoration of the unseen Spirit? It must have come from Satan, who hasmade himself the god of this world, setting himself up to be God's rival. Things offered to idols are offered to devils, fora mere idol is nothing in the world-its evil lies in its representing a principle which is opposed to the one true, invisibleGod. The superstitions which degrade humanity-which are an insult to our manhood-all these are most pleasing to Satan andapproved by him. And so they are fitly described as "the works of the devil." And what, my Brothers and Sisters, is blasphemy-thatcommon profanity which pollutes our streets? Who could have taught men wantonly and for no purpose whatever, to use the fouland filthy language that is so common nowadays? This must be the speech of pandemonium, the dialect of Hell!
And what is pride, my Brethren, pride in a creature that will die? Pride in a sinful worm?-the pride of dress, the pride oflife, the pride of talent? What are those haughty looks? What are those presumptuous words? What are those contemptuous glances-whatare all these things but works of the devil? He whom Milton describes as thinking it "better to reign in Hell than serve inHeaven"-he surely is the great fomenter of all pride among mankind! As for deceit, so current everywhere and, worst of all,religious deceit, formalism and hypocrisy-from where come these but from the bottomless Pit-from him who transforms himselfinto an angel of light? Are not all liars his dear children? My list is long enough-but I see a numerous brood hatched beneaththe wings of hate-envy, strife, wrath, bitterness, malice, revenge. These are as fiery flying serpents in this wilderness,inflaming men's blood. I see these accursed evils rousing nations into war, dividing communities with discords, embitteringfamilies that otherwise might be full of love.
Yes, making men to be the worst enemies of men-these all come from him who is a murderer from the beginning and is the aiderand abettor of all hatred and strife. What a busy being he has been! How he has toiled incessantly, day and night, to setup a kingdom of hate in opposition to the empire of eternal love! With what diligence has he smothered the world with a pallof darkness so that men sit down to weep and rise up to torment one another. Ah me, what mischief this unclean spirit hasworked! His works are evil, only evil and that continually! He has led the human race to become accomplices in his treasonagainst the God of Heaven, allies in his rebellion against the sovereignty of God Most High. The works of the devil make upa black picture-it is a thick darkness over all the land-even a darkness that may be
II. But now, secondly, and much more joyously, let us consider THE PURPOSE OF GOD-"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,that He might destroy the works of the devil." Ring out sweetly all the silver bells of earth and all the golden harps ofHeaven-God has purposed that the terrible work of the devil upon the earth shall be, every atom of it, destroyed! Yes, markthat word, "destroyed!" Not limited, nor alleviated, nor neutralized, but destroyed! Oh, Brothers and Sisters, what couldyou and I do against such a power as Satan-so malicious and so strong-and withal so cunning and subtle and apt to deceive?Who among us can loosen his works and cast his cords from us? But if God has purposed it, verily the purpose of Jehovah shallstand! If this is the Divine decree, tremble, O Tophet, and you, Beelzebub, for there shall come an end to all your worksif God has purposed to destroy them!
The work which lies in this purpose is assuredly a Divine work. The Lord who can create can certainly destroy. Destructionlies in the hand of Omnipotence and is a prerogative of the Eternal One. Destruction of forces so terrible must come onlyfrom the Lord. What could you and I do in this business? Ourselves originally under Satan's power, ourselves
destroyed-could we destroy the Destroyer? The image of God in us has been marred by the work of Satan! Could we restore thatimage? Enmity to God has been created in our hearts by Satan-could we, while yet enemies, tear out that enmity? No, anotherhand must make us friends-a hand outside of us. That which has been done by the powers of darkness must be undone by the EternalLight, or else it will remain forever. It is a Divine work-this destruction of the works of the devil-and herein lies ourhope of its being accomplished.
And there is, to my mind, about it the idea of a conquering work. When are the palaces and the fortifications of great kingsdestroyed? Not till the kings, themselves, have been overthrown in a fair fight. When their power is broken, then it is thatthe conquerors raze the castle and burn the stronghold! Glory be unto Jehovah, it is His purpose to win such a victory overthe Prince of Darkness that every work of his shall be destroyed! "Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations Hehas made in the earth; He breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder. He burns the chariot in the fire." Your right hand,O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. Our Almighty Champion has come forth with a shout of victory to divide the spoil withthe strong. The arch-enemy is vanquished and, therefore, his works are to be destroyed!
This means also a complete work. The product of evil is not to be cut down for a time and left to grow again. The tree ofthe forest is felled by the axe, but the root remains-and at the scent of water it will bud and send forth branches. But thepurpose of God is utterly to destroy the works of the devil and destroyed they shall be! In the heart of man, when God beginsHis work, He does not cease till He has utterly destroyed all sin, yes, the very tendency and possibility of sin! And thenHe conducts the purified spirit up to His right hand, having neither spot or wrinkle, nor any such thing. In the world, also,do not doubt it, oh you soldiers of Christ who are ready to turn your backs in the day of battle-He will yet drive sin outof its entrenchments-the habitations of cruelty shall become the temples of adoration!
All people shall bow before the Lord and there shall be a new Heaven and a new earth in which dwells righteousness. Up fromthis poor planet there shall ascend, like smoke from a great golden altar of incense, the perpetual hallelujahs of a ransomedrace, redeemed by blood and power from all the rule of the enemy! Glory be to God, He has purposed it and He will accomplishit! It is a complete work and a conclusive work, for the Lord Jesus will so break the head of the old dragon that he shallnever again wear the crown! Christ has come, not to fight a battle with Satan which shall continue throughout all ages, butto win a victory which shall so crush the power of evil that it shall not molest the world again!
The powers of darkness upon this earth hang out their flags and ring out the clarions of victory, but they are too fast. Waita little while and He that will come, shall come, and will not tarry! And when He comes, He shall lead captivity and the reignof captive goodness and truth-and love shall be established forever and ever! Rebellion shall not rise up a second time. Oh,how glorious is the text-"For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that He might destroy the works of the devil." Sin,in every shape and form, the Lord shall destroy from off the face of the earth forever!
III. Thirdly, our text plainly tells us how this is to be done-By THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SON OF GOD.
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested." The work of the devil was so clever; the foundations of it were so deeplylaid and the whole thing had such a semblance of omnipotence about it, and was, indeed, in itself so strong, that no championwas found in Heaven or on earth that could hope to destroy it. It never entered Satan's thoughts that God, Himself, coulddeign to suffer and to die. He said within himself-"If I can make man to so offend God that He must justly be incensed againsthim, then I shall have done the work effectually. If I can make man a rebel, God's infinite holiness cannot overlook his rebellionand He must punish him! And so I shall have made for God a perpetual race of enemies and He will have lost the love of myriadsof His creatures."
He did not know the boundless love and wisdom of Jehovah! Even his angelic intellect could never have conceived the matchlessplan of atonement by a sacrifice, propitiation by substitution! The blessed fact of the Son of God becoming manifest in humanflesh and dying in human form-to destroy the works of the devil-entered not into a creature's mind. Yet this was always inGod's purpose, for the better display of His Divine attributes. Behind, under and over the works of the devil, the Lord hadalways the design that this evil should be permitted that He might baffle it with love and that the glory of His Grace mightbe revealed! My text has in it, to my mind, a majestic idea, first, of the difficulties of the case-that the Son of God mustnecessarily be manifested to destroy the works of the devil. And then, secondly, of the ease of His victory.
Have you been abroad at midnight when darkness has been all around you, dense and palpable? Not a star was visible, the moonhad forgotten to shine. You could scarcely see your hand when you held it before your eyes. The blackness seemed to be notonly above, beneath and around, but also within you! You were embedded in a thick, heavy, sensible ebony mass. How could allthis be scattered? What power could lift up the veil and scatter the mass? Lo, in the east old Sol has lifted up his headand the black walls have vanished! Not a speck remains! The works of darkness are destroyed by the manifestation of the light!That is the thought of the text-"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested." Rising up from His Divine retreat in thesilences of eternity, Christ appeared in human form and scattered and utterly destroyed the works of darkness!
Let us see how this was done. First, Christ's manifestation, even in His Incarnation, was a fatal blow to the works of Satan.Did God come down to men? Was He Incarnate in the Infant that slept in Bethlehem's manger? Then the Almighty has not givenup our nature to be the prey of sin! Despair may not be! If one is born on earth who is Divine as well as human, then peacebe unto you, O race of Adam! Hear you not the song, "Glory, joy to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towardmen"? It cannot be that the race is given up to perpetual night if the Son of God is manifested in such fashion as this!
Next, look to the life of Christ on earth and see how He there destroyed the works of the devil. It was a glorious duel inthe wilderness when they stood feet to feet-the champions of good and evil! How dexterously the Evil One played his weapons!How cunningly he tempted the Christ of God! But the Lord Jesus used the sword of the Spirit and, "It is written!" "It is written!""It is written!" struck home till the Evil One spread his dragon wings and fled away, for he had found his victor. Evil spiritshad taken possession of human forms! Legions of devils were established in men! But the Lord Jesus Christ had only to speakand away they fled, glad to leap into swine and rush into the sea to escape from His Presence! They knew that He had comewho was ordained "to destroy the works of the devil."
All our Lord's preaching, all His teaching, all His labor here below was in order to the pulling away the cornerstone fromthe great house of darkness which Satan had built up. But oh, dear Friends, it was in His death that Jesus chiefly overthrewSatan and destroyed his works! Satan built upon this-that man had become offensive to God and God must punish him-that punishmentwas his hope for the continuance of alienation. Behold, the august Son of God takes the offender's place! Marvel of marvels,the Judge stands where the criminal should have stood and is "numbered with the transgressors!" Behold, the wrath of God fallsupon His Well-Beloved and Jesus suffers, that He may reconcile man to his God and heal the breach which sin had caused!
The deed was done! Man is no more offensive to Heaven, for one glorious Man's boundless merit has put away the demerit ofthe race! Jesus has, by His unutterable beauties, removed the deformities of all who are in Him. By His obedience unto deaththe Law is vindicated, justice is honored, Grace is glorified! Man, accepting this great Sacrifice, loves and adores the Fatherwho ordained it-and so the works of the devil in his heart are destroyed! Our Lord's rising again; His ascension into Glory;His sitting at the right hand of the Father; His coming again in the latter days-all these are parts of the manifestationof the Son of God by which the works of the devil shall be destroyed! So, also, is the preaching of the Gospel.
If we want to destroy the works of the devil, our best method is to manifest more and more the Son of God! Preach up Christand you preach down the devil! All kinds of reforms are good and we are on the side of everything that is pure, honest, temperateand righteous. Still, the best Reformer is the Christ of God! The one medicine for man's moral sickness is the Cross and nothingbut the Cross. Preach the Crucified Savior! Preach the Incarnate God! Preach Christ full of forgiveness and love, reconcilingthe world unto Himself and you have applied the best remedy to the sore! Only let it never be forgotten that Jesus destroysthe works of darkness by His Spirit. It is the Spirit of God who puts Divine energy into the sacred Word of God. When theSpirit manifests Christ in a man-the works of darkness are destroyed in that man! When Christ is manifested in a nation-theworks of Satan begin to fall in that nation! And in proportion as the Holy Spirit shall more and more reveal Christ to heartsand consciences, bringing them into obedience to the faith-in that degree shall the works of Satan be destroyed!
Lastly, on this point, our blessed Lord is manifested in His eternal power and kingdom as enthroned in order to destroy theworks of the devil, for "the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful, The Mighty God,The Father of the Ages." He is such a Father and the age is made to feel His forming hand. Kings,
presidents, parliaments, poets, leaders and such like these are visible powers-but there is, over them all, an invisible power.A late philosopher asserted that over all the confusion of affairs he could see a power over all which works towards righteousness.There is such a power! There is a King of kings and a Lord of lords! And who is He? It is He of whom we read, "The Fatherhas committed all things into His hands."
He is ruling! He is reigning even now and, despite our unbelief, things are moving on! God is being glorified! His kingdomis coming! The ultimate destruction of evil on the earth is sure and the eternal reign of the right and of good is certain."The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof." Enthroned at the right hand of the Eternal,Jesus sits, the Man of Love, the Crucified! He has reassumed His eternal Glory and Sovereignty, and without His bidding shallnot a dog move his tongue! The dominion is with the Son of God and He shall end the reign of evil. Glory be to His name foreverand ever!
IV. Lastly, I would come close home to each dear friend as we utter a few words of inquiry as to THE EXPERIENCE OF ALL THISIN OURSELVES. Has the Son of God been manifested to you to destroy the works of the devil in you? Come to the point and lookat yourself! At first there was in your heart an enmity to God, for, "the carnal mind is enmity against God." Is that enmitydestroyed? Has the love of God in Christ Jesus appeared to you in such a way that you can truly say you no longer hate God,but love Him? Though you do not love Him as you wish to do, yet your heart is toward Him and you desire to be like He andto be with Him forever. This is a good beginning-the Son of God has destroyed your enmity-you have seen the love of God inChrist and your rebellion against God has ceased.
The next work of the devil which usually appears in the human mind is self-righteous pride. The man says, "I am no enemy toGod! I am righteous! If I am not perfect, yet I am tolerably good. God, I thank You that I am not as other men are. I do thisand I do that, and I do not do the other." This is our natural boasting, but the Son of God destroys it! Has the Son of Goddestroyed all your self-righteousness? It is a precious lot of rags! But we so constantly practice the art of patching andmending that we dream that we are clothed in royal apparel. Have all those rags gone from you? Has a strong wind blown themright away? Have you seen your own natural nakedness? Why, if I were to talk about my own righteousness, I would be a fooland a liar in one! I have no righteousness of my own! I dare not dream of such a thing!
Is that your case? Then the Lord Jesus Christ has been manifested to destroy in you the works of the devil! That is a prettyname for your righteousness, is it not? It deserves that name, for the best righteousness of man, when it is set up in oppositionto the righteousness of Christ, deserves small compliments-it is one of the works of the devil. When the Lord has destroyedself-righteousness in us, the devil generally sets us forth another form of his power-and that is despair. "Ah," he says,"you see what a sinner you are-God will never be reconciled to you! There is no forgiveness for you!" Oh that ever he shouldhave the impudence to make a man believe so gross a slander of such a God as ours, whose very name is Love and who gave HisSon to die for sinners!
But, if the Lord Jesus Christ has been manifested to you, despair has gone-that work of the devil has been all de-stroyed-andnow you have a humble hope in God and a joy in His mercy! Though you speak, sometimes, with bated breath, yet your doubt isabout yourself, not about your Lord. You know whom you have believed and you know that He is a God that passes by transgression,iniquity and sin. Thus three sets of works of the devil are gone already-enmity is gone; self-righteousness is gone and despairis gone. What next? Have you any unbelief in your heart as to the promises of God? That is a favorite work of the devil-unbeliefis one of his darling children. Now, I beseech you, do not say, "I must always feel this unbelief." No! Down with it! Christwas manifested to destroy the works of the devil. Grind your cutlasses and cut down these doubts!
All mistrusts must die. Not one of them must be spared. Hang them up before the face of the sun! Jesus has not come that Hemay lock up our sins and keep them quiet, hidden away in a dark corner. He has come to destroy them. Israel was not to makea league with the Canaanites, as they unwisely did with the Gibeonites-they were to sweep out the entire race, root and branch!Thus must sin be exterminated and extirpated. Cry to the Lord Jesus Christ that you may never tolerate the sin of unbeliefand look upon it as a pitiable infirmity! No, it is a grievous sin-war to the knife with it- the Son of God is manifestedthat it may be utterly destroyed. Happy is that man who no longer doubts his God, but exercises the Abrahamic faith whichstaggers not at the promise through unbelief!
Do fleshly lusts arise in your heart, my Brothers and Sisters? In whose heart do they not arise? The brightest saint is sometimestempted by the foulest vice. Yes, but he yields not. By the Grace of God, he says, "Christ is manifested to de-
stroy the works of the devil." He will not play with these things and dally with them, and let them be his Delilah, for heknows that they will cost him his eyes, even if they do not ruin his soul. He cries, "Away with them!" It is not meet, even,to mention these vile things-they are works of the devil and to be destroyed! My Brothers and Sisters, do you quickly becomeangry? I pray God you may be angry and sin not, but if you are of a hasty temper, I entreat you to overcome it. Do not say,"I cannot help it." You must help it, or rather, Christ must destroy it. It must not be tolerated. Does your anger ever intensifyinto hate? Do you ever feel envious of those who are better off than yourself, or better than yourself? Does that envy everlead you to think harshly of them, to indulge yourself in suspicions that are groundless concerning them?
Oh, for the sword of the Lord and of Gideon! Slay all these Midianites, for Christ is revealed on purpose to clear the heartof the whole brood of them! God is Love and he that dwells in love dwells in God-and hate and sin must not live! Every formof evil must fall! Destruction is meted out to them all. Every idol must be broken. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, there is tobe in every true Believer the ultimate abolition of sin! What a prospect this is! The cutting up of the very roots of evil!The sooner the better. The day shall come when every child of God shall be transformed and transfigured into the likenessof Christ-and shall be without fault before the Throne of God. This is already foreshadowed upon us, for the outlines aredrawn in the fact that we hate all sin and long after perfect holiness. The great Father has put His mark upon the lump ofclay and we can see from the rough draft that He will fashion it and form it into the perfect image of His dear
After that image we are struggling. It is begun in us by the power of the Spirit of God and He will not fail nor be discouragedtill the purpose of God shall be accomplished and all the works of Satan in us shall be destroyed! This robs death of alldread-the prospect of being totally free from sin makes us welcome, even, the grave, if by that road we are to come to thehome of the perfect! Meanwhile, let us seek after sanctification. Let us labor after holiness and let us abound in it to theglory of God. Despite our failures and mistakes let us pursue holiness! Taking it by the heel, let us keep close to it. Somay the Lord enable us for Jesus' sake. Amen.