The front cover of Rev. W. S. Harris’ 1904 classic book Sermons by the Devil 1 is decorated with a drawing of a devil-like man gesturing from behind a pulpit. Harris selected the image because he knew that with the exception of our Lord Jesus Christ, earth has known no more effective preacher than the Devil.
Those of us who attended Bible College or Seminary, were taught the art of the three-point sermon. A common technique is the use of a memory aid, such as three words that rhyme or start with the same letter. Three-point sermons are helpful for keeping preachers on track, and listeners retaining the main points of the message.
It is not a stretch to suggest that if the Devil is the prince and power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)2, then he is also a prince among preachers, and can employ well the power of the three-point sermon.
Therefore, I offer for the reader’s consideration THE DEVIL’S THREE DEADLY Ds: A Three-Point Sermon for Defeating Christian Leaders. 3
Dear fellow rascals, if you are to be successful in blunting the good works of Christian leaders, you must be subtle in your approach. You are not dealing with babes. These are men and women who have gone past the milk of the Bible, and have become known for their peculiar gifts and calling.
Therefore, I would like to preach to you on the subject of my highly effective three deadly d’s. The plan is a model of simplicity, and one with which I have had much success. I believe such success is rooted in the fact that I have taken it directly from the Bible. You will do well to listen carefully, and then to go and do likewise.
- Deception – “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (II Corinthians 11:14, 15).
Application – Forget the stuff written before and after these verses, as they are of no account whatever if you do well your work of deception. Just be prepared to disguise yourselves as servants of righteousness. Deceive, deceive, deceive by an appearance of good. That way, when you get to my second point your efforts will be properly disguised
- Distraction – “But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40).
Application – Never mind what Jesus said to her. Keep the distractions – good distractions always – the main issue seasoned with self-pity, and you will find your work most satisfactory. Distract, distract, distract with otherwise good things. In that way when you get to my third point your efforts will once again be properly disguised.
- Delay – “The man came to the second [son] and said the same thing; and he answered ‘I will, sir;’ but he did not go” (Matthew 21:30).
Application – We have no use for the son in the parable who at first said he would not go, but later thought better of it and went to work. We are seeking out those who have good intentions at the first, but who are prone to procrastinate.
Delay always dampens the fire of obedience. Delay, delay, delay with otherwise good things. That way you will have the greatest success in tying the unsuspecting Christian leader in the knot of deceptively good distractions that will delay his or her obedience to those nasty really good things. We do not tolerate the really good things!
Do you not see how easy and ordinary is this plan? All you need are three Ds! Deception distracts, and distraction delays. Delays distract, and distractions create fertile ground for deception. What a wonderfully wicked cycle. Oh, how I love to see it bearing fruit!
By all means, do your dead level best to keep Christian leaders from digging deeply into the Bible through extended study and prayer. The ones who do, are the types most likely to take seriously the verses before and after those in my three point sermon. They make a mess of things.
We must do our best to keep Christian leaders from serious study and prayer through deception, distraction, and delay. If deception and distraction seem to be failing, work harder on delay – that’s the BIG D, and the one with which I have had the most success. The good intentions of obedience are best turned into excuses by delay. In fact, I love the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Delay I say!
In closing I repeat myself – by all means do your dead level best to put into practice the full power of my three point sermon. The fields are ripe unto harvest!
A One-Point Antidote To The Sermon By The Devil
I. “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
A Biblical Application
– When we know what God has called us to do, we can be sure that He will not change His mind.
Therefore, no form of deception and no kind of distraction is an acceptable excuse for delay. Or, to state it in the words of the Apostle Paul, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you” (Galatians 5:7, 8).
Summary & Encouragement
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (I Peter 5:8, 9).
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” ( Colossians 3:23, 24).
The Devil’s three deadly D’s have no power over those who resist him (James 4:7). In fact, THE DEVIL’S THREE DEADLY Ds: A Three-Point Sermon Outline for Defeating Christian Leaders, when turned around, is actually a three-point method by which Christian leaders can defeat the Devil – and without delay!
Dennis D. Frey, M.Div., Th.D., is the President of Master’s International University of Divinity, the.mdivs.edu
1 Sermons by the Devil, by W.S. Harris, has been reprinted by Forgotten Books (April 19, 2018), ISBN-10: 1331647673, ISBN-13: 978-1331647676.
2 All Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Version.
3 The author is indebted to W.S. Harris for his innovative method of projecting the Devil’s presumed preaching style.