Don't Trade With the Devil!
[A play in one act. Materials needed: Briefcase with cut-up strips of newspaper; sign that says "Satan" to hang around your neck.]
My name is Satan, and I've been to the bank. Some people call me Lucifer. From the bank I've brought $100, 000. (Point to briefcase.) Let's make a deal!
What kind of sin is worth $100,000? Just think of all you could do with that kind of money! But I have some terms. You're going to have to do some things for me in order to get what I have in this briefcase. I am looking for a murderer. You know, someone to kill somebody? I don't really care which one you kill, I really don't. If I did care about people, I wouldn't be the old Devil. $100,000 to killl someone. Who'll do it? I even have a good higher powered rifle to do it with.
No takers? As far as the lesson goes, remember the deal you just passed up. We'll talk about it a little later. As The Old Deluder Satan, I never give all the details up front.
Boy what a squeamish crowd. Not a murderer in the house. Can't find anybody like that when you need a good killing. How about fornication? Who'll go fornicate for a hundred thousand dollars? You might not get pregnant. And then again you might. You might not get AIDS, syphillis, gonorrhea, herpes, hepititus B or C, or clamydia, but then again you just might . . . you don't know where all your partner has been. You know the popular song--"Fornicate, fornicate, dance to the music." Oh they may not say those words exactly, but that's the message the crowd is really sending. No fornicators in the house? Can't find a good fornicator when I need one. You stuck up bunch of people act like you've been hanging around Jesus or something. You're not much fun. Let's try one last thing. But remember--remember the deal you just passed up. We will talk about it later.
How about a drunk? If I can't find a murderer or a fornicator, how about a drunk? Who will get drunk with me for a hundred thousand dollars? Can't be just a social drink. I want you smashed. We will talk later about where I will take you after you get good and impaired. And never you mind about who I'll put you in front of while you are in this condition. There have to be some strings attached to this kind of money, you understand. Where are all the drunkards? No drunkards? Again, remember the deal you just passed up.
Before I leave, I need to find a good liar. I am getting desperate. I need someone to go tell a lie to his or her best friend, husband or wife, close business associate--someone close to them. The lie needs to be about something of enough consequence that your loved one will misspend his life savings, harm his health, lose his marriage, and/or lose his soul over it. One good lie! One hundred thousand dollars, right here in the briefcase. Can't I even find a good liar in this house? Remember the deal you just passed up.
Here's the money. (Open the briefcase and send strips of newspaper flying everywhere. Take off the sign that says "SATAN." At the risk of offending the Courier, what I told you was money was worthless paper. But then that is about as good a deal as the Devil ever makes anyway.
If you wouldn't kill, fornicate or commit adultery, get drunk, or lie for $100,000, why would you ever do it for less? Judas Iscariot sold our Lord--betrayed Him--for 30 pieces of silver, a whole lot less than a hundred thousand dollars. And most people sin today for a lot less than 30 silver coins. For a chance at a second date they give away their virtue. Just so someone won't call them a "goody goody," they will drink one alcoholic drink after another. The gossip tells fabricated stories for a few fleeting minutes of attention. Most sin is bought for a whole lot less money than $100,000 or even $30.
And the deals might as well be struck for strips of newspaper. In Hell a hundred thousand real dollars will be as useless as these strips of The Courier. Money won't be abel to soothe the pain you will feel.
The Devil won't come to you like I did with a sign around his neck. Paul told the Corinthians (2 Cor. 11: 14) "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (KJV). When Satan comes to you, he may look like a beautiful young woman or a handsome young man. He may even tempt you through a Christian friend or acquantance. Small wonder that John told the brethren "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world," 1 John 4: 1, KJV.
But how, Brother Womack? How do people kill, fornicate, abuse their bodies with alcohol, or lie? You say these sins are so commonplace.
Murder--here are two and only two examples: People kill with abortion. After having gone down numerically for several years, abortion is on the rise again. The Centers for Disease Control say "For 2005, the highest percentages of reported abortions were for women who were known to be unmarried (81%), white (53%), and aged <25 years (50%). Of all abortions for which gestational age was reported, 62% were performed at <8 weeks' gestation and 88% at <13 weeks. From 1992 (when detailed data regarding early abortions were first collected) through 2005, the percentage of abortions performed at <6 weeks' gestation has increased. A small percentage of abortions occurred at >15 weeks' gestation (3.7% at 16--20 weeks and 1.3% at >21 weeks). See this at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5713a1.htm . A baby in a womb is undeniably human. The Bible is undeniably plan about murder. Murder is the most explicit command in the Bible--"Thou shalt not kill." Society is not in good shape when it tries to act like it "just can't get it" about this sin.
The second example of murder is that of hating our brother. 1 John 3: 15 says "Whosever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." In the United States of America, we have confused "being tolerant of our brother" with "loving our brother." The homosexual community has done much to confuse this issue. When we read 1 Corinthians 13, we see that love does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in truth. Homosexuals have the gall to want us to accept their sin and then have us believe that we are being hateful if we ask them to turn from it. Their definition of love is as perverted as their physical practice. Those who are not involved in homosexuality (Romans 1: 24-28; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11) need to love the sinner but hate the sin, and not to confuse the two. Murder is not a good trade to make with the Devil.
Is there any fornication and adultery is this country? Our non-virginity rate of seventy percent for people exiting high school and our overall divorce rate of nearly fifty percent is saying something to us if we will only listen to it. Do people fornicate? In our society, they do it a lot. We have over a million illegitimate births a year in this country, and those are just the ones that get caught. About half of the pregnancies end in abortion, adding murder to fornication. God was not pleased when even a man after His own heart, David, did this, and God won't be happy if we do it either.
Adultery can be a matter of the heart. Matthew 5: 27-28--"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Lust, adultery, and fornication can be a matter of the eyes. 2 Peter 2: 14--"Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:" And most people who fornicate or adulterate do it for a very little bit of attention. Some girls do it to try to keep boyfriends. There may be no quicker way to lose a boyfriend than to give in to this temptation. It is more than time for dating-age boys and men to exercise some positive leadership on this. There's too much boyfriend pressure on the girls! The male population has collectively worn down the women in this coutnry to the point where they have mostly stopped trying to hold the line. They are just rolling with the tide. Males have killed virtue in this country by refusing to date the good women and to treat women with respect.
The best way we (males) can turn this around is to want--to treasure, elevate, seek--good women. For those who are single, let's pray for a good woman for a wife. Pray for the woman that you are going to meet. And pray to be the kind of man that a good woman would want. It is time to raise our moral sights on this issue. Especially in the Church, we need to get our sights out of the mud and onto the target. Let's stop trading with the Devil and resolve to create our new homes in the pattern that the Lord intended (Ephesians 5: 22 ff).
Social drinking has been ruining our country for a very long time. When this sermon was first developed for the Mill Creek Church of Christ in 1992, one out of ten drivers on the highway was already legally drunk. Now in 2009 it is closer to one out of eight. That's already legally drunk--not just a little tipsy. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that over half of all highway deaths are alcohol related. Many crimes of violence, including those against spouses and partners, are related to the use of alcohol. There is no excuse for drunkness, even from a safety (not Biblical) standpoint. Intoxication is 100% preventable--just don't drink.
The Bible condemns drunkeness. Ephesians 5: 18--"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." The Bible also tells us to live with the laws of the land. The present legal definition of drunkenness does not allow a lot of room for very many social drinks...about two glasses of wine, two cans of beer, or two shots of hard liquor, and most peoples' body chemistries will be at the threshold of legal intoxication. The Christian who is trying to "avoid the very appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5: 22) will stay away from alcohol. Strong drink is the Devil's brew. Drinking with the Devil is never a good trade.
Lying is a trade with the Devil that never works out well in the long run. It is interesting what the Bible says about lying--it doesn't depict lying as a small matter, and Scripture never speaks about "a white lie." Revelation 21: 8--"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoeremongers, an sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (KJV). Let's be careful about what we tell on each other! It's easy to get carried away with stories.
Deals with the Devil never turn out very well. Remember how my $100,000 turned out to be worthless paper? What if you had agreed to do a murder, had done it, the police were after you, and you had come to collect? How would you feel? Folks, the Devil is after us every day with the same kind of worthless "deals!" Every day!
Romans 6: 23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." and Galatians 6: 7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." God is not a senile old man with poor business sense. He is not forgetful. Rather 2 Peter 3:9-13 " The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
The Devil will never do you right. He never has your best interests at heart. Don't deal with him. Rather deal with the Lord and Christ who bids you "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11: 28, 29). Put Him in charge of all your affairs. He never misses and He will never lead you astray.
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