Ever been to a home where the sign “Beware the Dog!” was posted and you were about to enter the property?  What were you feeling:  uneasy, unsettled, unsure?  Were you wondering what size the dog might be?  Were you wondering the breed?  Were you wondering if it were just a sign put up to keep those with criminal intent away?  Were you wondering if the dog was on a leash or roaming free?

Whatever you were feeling, the sign itself put you on guard, didn’t it?  It had you making a plan of action for whatever may happen.  You were ready to flee or fight off the dog if it came charging.  You knew what tree to climb or what gate to run through and shut behind you.  You knew how you were going to respond to that dog before you ever saw it.

Yet the one dog that brings the most destruction – that is roaming free seeking to wreak havoc on our lives – is the one we pay very little attention to even when the signs are right in front of our faces.
And so this sermon series is designed to show us those signs and to make us aware of this dog’s lures and the means to escape them.  This sermon series is to help us beware that the dog is real.  It will help us to see that the dog’s role is not to protect a piece of property or human life.  It will help us to know how to overcome this dog by being on guard against its tactics for attack.

So what is the name of this dog?  You got it, Satan. 

And we don’t want to be coaxing this dog to come by saying, “Come here boy.  Come here Satan.  Good boy.”  I think that is lesson #1 – Don’t call the dogJ  And we call him by not being on guard and reading the signs.
Yet here are some Biblical examples of those who did “call the dog”.
Eve got bit by giving into the lure that she could be like God – that she could comprehend good and evil like God does.  Sorry, but that bite has infected us all for thousands of generations.
Cain got bit by giving into the lure of jealousy and anger – that he could rid himself of his nemesis brother Abel by killing him.  That bite cost him his family and his stability – he became a restless wanderer who would always fear for his own life.
Abraham got bit by giving into the lure that God couldn’t be trusted – that in order to have a son to carry out the promise of God he had to have relations with Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar.  That bite brought him a son, Ishmael, but it created a sibling rivalry that still exists today between the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) and the descendants of Isaac (the Jews).  And we wonder why there is such conflict in the Middle East?!
And then there is King David.  King David got bit by giving into the lure of lust and desire – that he could have an affair with Bathsheba and no one would know.  That bite cost him about everything – his integrity as a man after God’s heart, his friend Uriah whom he had murdered in battle to cover his sin, his infant son conceived out of the affair who died due to illness, and his kingdom as his son Absalom removed him from the throne and slept with his father’s wives who remained in the palace. 
One bite did a ton of damage in the lives of these biblical characters, yet I only highlighted a few of the many examples of those bitten by the Dog Satan.
Yet Satan’s bite is still as relevant today as it was then.  And the signs are everywhere.  We have to quit ignoring them.  We have to be on guard.  We have to be willing to put on the armor of God so that when we see the signs we are prepared to be protected from any bite Satan tries to get on us.  And we have to prevent ourselves from being bitten time and time again in the same place.
Ephesians 6: 10 – 18 speaks of putting on the full armor of God, not just part of it, the parts you want,so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes, the devil’s bites.”
How do you put on the armor of God?  You stand firm by putting the Belt of Truth around your waist, and placing on the Breastplate of Righteousness.  You fit your feet with the Gospel of Peace, and extinguish the flaming arrows of Satan with the Shield of Faith.  And you put on the Helmet of Salvation and use the Sword of Salvation for fighting.
In other words you are to equip yourself by:  Knowing the truth as given in the Bible, and Living it out.
Often we see the armor of God as only a means of protection against the attacks of Satan.  We see it as a means to fend off the bite, which is true.  But, what we fail to see is that God is preparing us to go on the offensive – to attack Satan and push his forces back.  God would rather have us go hunting than be the one being hunted.  God wants a game plan – a war plan. 
Yet, there are times, even when on the offensive, when we the dog will come out of nowhere to bite us.  In fact, Satan is looking to bite – to lure us into sin – all of the time.  He loves to bite, and many of us have felt his bite.  Some of us are feeling it right now.  The problem is that when we let ourselves get bit; the bite has consequences that last a long time.
The bite, sin, doesn’t hurt at first.  In fact the bite makes us feel like it is bringing a fix to the problems – the stress – we have.  It makes us feel happy and relaxed.  But the bite acts like poison – it takes a while to infect the body.  But once it does, the consequence is catastrophe, pain, and eventually death.
Basketball players Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant both had adulterous affairs.  Neither one thought they’d get caught.  But Magic admitted publicly that because of his actions, he now has HIV.  And Kobe’s became public because the woman accused him of raping her.  The bite was non painful in the beginning, actually felt good, but once the poison spread, the consequences became a lifetime of pain, distrust, and struggle.
The bite, whether big or small, whether it’s murder or gossip, still has effects on the one bitten as well as those who know him/her.
Right now, Satan is not on a leash or limited to a fenced yard.  No, he is free to roam and is looking to bite.  So, Beware the Dog!  The signs are everywhere.  Start preparing yourself to know the truth (not just that Jesus is Savior) and to begin living it.  Go on the offensive.  And trust that just as Jesus overcame Satan’s attacks, you too will overcome when relying upon Him for your guidance and protection.

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