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2-22-23 What the Devil Fears (Ash Wednesday Service)

What the Devil Fears

David Peterson / General

Lent; Repentance; Devil; Spiritual Warfare / James 4:6–10

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: The devil stands behind the destructive pattern of the world when we resist his pattern he flees in fear. Lent is about resistance.


1. It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful world

I. Yet, there is this a sad, recurring pattern

1. Described in James 4:1-2—fights, quarrels connecting with wanting.

Jewish revolutionaries had already begun killing aristocrats, and inflammatory rhetoric was certainly even more common.

Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Jas 4:11). InterVarsity Press.

2. Behind this human pattern is an even deeper spiritual pattern (James 4:7)—an accuser, an adversary

he reveals (as in 3:3, 15) that behind the evil impulse lies the devil: suprapersonal forces of evil are behind personal evil. Here James agrees not only with Paul (e.g. his ideas on the devil and “the principalities and powers”), but also with the gospel tradition (Mt. 4:1–11 par.; Mt. 8:28–34 par.; Lk. 22:31; Jn. 13:2, 27).*

Davids, P. H. (1982). The Epistle of James: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 166). Eerdmans.

II. Still, there is a greater pattern that causes the devil to flee

1. Awaken to the situation—grieve, mourn, wail (ashes and fasting) v. 9

2. Recognize the answer—Come near to God v.8 (prayer, Bible study, communion) v. 8

3. Live God’s pattern, submit to him (Give, serve, love)


In doing these things the devil is defeated and God’s kingdom is extended


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