Destroying the works of the devil with Jesus

Doubt, lies, rebellion, fear, discord, greed, and death … Everything that comes from the evil one separates man from his fellow human beings and from God. But Jesus provided an antidote long ago. All we have to do is listen to Him.

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.” The Chief Apostle used this sentence from 1 John 3: 8 as basis for his divine service in Leeuwarden (Netherlands) on 17 December 2017.

“What exactly was the work of the devil?” he asked at the beginning of his sermon. He wanted to separate man from God. And the reaction of the Son of God was: He created a way so that man could once again have fellowship with God.

God does not force salvation upon anyone. He merely offers the possibility. “If we want salvation, He can help us destroy the works of the devil.” Using seven examples, the Chief Apostle explained how this can be done.

  • Doubt. When he approached Adam and Eve, the devil’s first work was his question, “Has God indeed said …?” When the devil comes with the intention to sow doubt, let us turn to Jesus. He tells us: “I have proved that God is the truth. He keeps His promises.” Through our faith we battle doubt and overcome it.“
  • Lies. Another work of the devil was to sow distrust in man’s heart. He wanted mankind to believe: “I can give you more than God.” They quickly realised that that was a lie. Then Jesus came and made clear: “I will give you everything.” Let us trust in God’s love.
  • Rebellion. A third work of the devil was to incite man to rebel against God by telling them: “You are free!” Only Jesus was truly free, and He proved that obedience to God is the real way to freedom. Whoever is obedient will receive strength from God to do exactly what they have set out to do.
  • Fear. A typical work of the evil one: the sinner is afraid of God, hides from Him, comes up with lame excuses, and blames his neighbour. Jesus made clear: God is a God of love and grace. Come to God, confess your sins, repent, be humble. God will fix everything.
  • Discord. The devil is always out to sow discord, strife, envy, and hatred. His aim is to also destroy the relationship between human beings. The Lord Jesus came and destroyed this work of the evil one. Jesus proved that He loves all human beings the same. This love gives us the strength to overcome differences and to build unity in Jesus Christ.
  • Greed. It is the devil’s aim to destroy man’s relationship to creation. It is evident how man abuses creation today. His greed and constant desire for more is destroying it. Jesus Christ taught: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” If people live a God-fearing live and love their neighbour, they will treat all of creation with reverence and respect.
  • Death. The final work of the devil was to bring death into the world: physical death and, specifically, eternal death—eternal separation from God. Jesus Christ destroyed this work too. Through His resurrection He triumphed over death. He overcame eternal separation from God, and created the possibility for human beings to once again have fellowship with God.

In conclusion Chief Apostle Schneider summarised as follows. The devil wants to

  • destroy our relationship with God.
  • destroy the relationship between human beings.
  • destroy our relationship to creation.
  • lead us into death.

With the help of Jesus Christ we can destroy these works and

  • enjoy a wonderful relationship with God, based on faith, trust, obedience, and humbleness.
  • have a wonderful relationship with our neighbour thanks to God’s love.
  • treat all of creation with respect and the fear of God, and our neighbour with esteem.
  • let the new creation, which will not know death, grow in us.

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service