Monday, September 30, 2013
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Missionary pilots are some of my greatest heroes. See, missionary pilots fly around the world and land places where you think a plane could never land. They know how to take their plane apart; they know how to put it back together again.
When I was in college, a few of my friends were in a missionary aviation course and it was tremendously competitive. They studied on campus for two years when we were there, and then if you made the list; if you made the cut, you went down south to the flight campus at an airport. I said if you made the cut. See, only half of the guys would end up going.
One Friday afternoon they posted those names, and I watched my friend sweat it out all week long. For some I think it might have been the longest week of their life. Finally the day came and there was a list. You could hear the shouting of some of the guys who had just experienced one of the most exciting moments in their life, because they found out they had made the list!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hell's Highest Compliment."
Our word for today from the Word of God; we're in Acts chapter 19, and I'll begin at verse 13. "Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, 'In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.' Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, 'Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?' Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding."
That's a pretty enlightening passage because it appears that the forces of darkness have a list of people they consider a threat. The demons said, "We know Jesus. We know Paul. Who are you guys? Let me check the list. You're not there." These guys used the right words and they tried to do spiritual things, but they were spiritually powerless.
I always thought it would be a worthy if unusual goal to have my name known in hell. It's quite a list to be on, huh? I wonder if they've ever heard of me or you there? You don't make the list by attending meetings, or believing beliefs, or just saying Christian things, or even holding Christian offices. No, you make the Devil's list by making a difference for Christ.
Maybe you've been under fire lately. You've felt some pressure physically, or financially, or medically, maybe emotionally. It could be in your relationships. Maritally. Well, it's not time to blame everything on the Devil. You know, I don't like to do that. But it is possible you made his list. Maybe you've started to take Jesus seriously for the first time in your life. Maybe you're starting to take some risks to move out for Him. Maybe you're finally moving from being a spectator to being a player for Him. Or you're daring to speak out about Jesus to lost people. Or possibly you're checking out your priorities and considering leaving your comfort zone to serve the Lord; stepping up to spiritual leadership.
Well, that means you are or you soon will be pushing back the darkness. A wise old pastor said, "The ferocity of Satanic attack upon you increases in direct proportion to your potential usefulness for Jesus Christ." That's true, but you have nothing to fear. No! The Bible says, "Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world." But you need to know that the turbulence may be coming from the Devil, which is God's signal that it's time to get your armor on and fight with spiritual weapons. It may be that nothing is really wrong; something is very right in what's going on in your life. Your new commitment to Jesus Christ has set off an alarm bell in hell.
When you're making a difference for Jesus, you're on the Devil's list, and honestly I hope you're on it. Making that list is hell's highest compliment.