Pastor Tony Evans said God uses the devil to show Christians who they really are, and Christ is ready to come to the rescue as long as His followers "draw near" and pursue an intimate relationship with Him.
Evans, the longtime pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Texas, said in a sermon delivered Sunday that many Christians are not drawing near to God because they are “leaving a door open for Satan.” He stressed that “whenever God says one thing and Christians say something else, the devil is controlling them.”
“Whenever you disagree with God, you’re under demonic control,” the 72-year-old pastor said. “You can’t have a long-distance relationship with God.”
“If you want help, you can’t just be, ‘a verse a day to keep the devil away.’ You must be pursuing an intimate relationship,” he continued. “Satan is after ruining every Christian, and he wants to make it so [that] God can’t use you so that he can, because he’s building a kingdom too.”
God uses Satan to put Christians in their place, he said, because God will allow the devil to break and humble Christians. However, to do so, Satan needs God’s permission first.
“The devil is not just the devil, but he's God’s devil because he can only do what God says he can do," he said. "Believing in the devil doesn’t make him sovereign. He has to ask permission to disturb your life.”
Evans said that Satan comes when Christians give him the opportunity to invade their lives. Sin, he said, "creates an open door for Satan to enter to do the shaking in order to rip Christians away from God’s purpose and usefulness and plan.”
“[Satan] wants to thwart your purpose, God’s calling on your life, your vision for your destiny [and] God’s goal. He wants to rip you up. ... Satan wants to get you. And Satan has demanded permission,” Evans emphasized.
“God uses the devil to break a brother or a sister down. And you thought you were just fighting your emotions, you thought you were just fighting people, you thought you were just fighting systems, you thought you were just fighting situations. No, God has let the devil in because you opened the door. He uses the devil to accomplish His purpose even with His people.”
Still, Jesus prays for humans and has final authority over their salvation, according to Evans. He declared that Jesus lives in order for Christians to have a chance to experience God’s favor.
“Jesus intervenes in the situations of Christians that need divine intervention,” he contended. “Jesus Christ has a full-time job in Heaven right now. When Satan comes against you and as Satan has sifted you like wheat, has tore you up from the floor up, God interjects His sacrifice on your behalf to be your advocate in the courtroom of Heaven.”
Because Jesus knows what it's like to be tempted, He's ready and willing to help those who are tempted
“People don’t have the last word, demons don’t have the last word, angels don’t have the last word; Jesus has the last word,” Evans concluded. “The devil does not have the last word over you.”