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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 36)

“You believe in the devil? Really?” “Yes!”, we might answer our unbelieving friends. The Bible is crystal clear in its teaching about a supernatural enemy by the name of Satan, or Lucifer, or the devil. And I’m pretty sure that my unsaved friends —

36. THEY DON’T HAVE A BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE DEVIL!

But don’t even lost people suspect that there’s something behind the massive cruelty in the world, something beyond the human? How wrong Oscar Wilde was when he said, “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”

Mark Twain has said some humorous things, but one of his most foolish was the following: “I have no special regard for Satan; but I can at least claim that I have no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little his way, on account of his not having a fair show. All religions issue bibles against him, and say the most injurious things about him, but we never hear his side.”

I would argue that we “hear his side” from the moment we enter the world. But we need the Scriptures to tell us the truth about our arch-enemy. Here are several critical truths we learn about the devil:
(1) The Bible is clear that the devil is real and personal. People need to come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). One can “belong” to the devil (Jn. 8:44). We are children of the devil until we trust Christ (I Jn. 3:10). Conversion is defined as turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, “so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:8). However, Satan must report his activities to God and have His permission for whatever he does (Job 1).
(2) The devil majors in tempting human beings to rebel against the Lord (Mt. 4:5).
(3) Scripture does not sugar-coat the fact that he is able to sow seeds of unbelief among the Word sown (Mt. 13:39). We read that “the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” (Lk. 8:12). We also read in I Peter 5, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (v. 8). He roams throughout the earth, going back and forth on it (Job 1-2). He masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
(4) He is the one who prompted Judas to betray Jesus (Jn. 13:2). We learn that he somehow has power over sickness (Acts 10:38) and kept a woman bound for 18 years (Lk. 13:16). He holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14).
(5) Regarding believers, Satan asks to sift believers as wheat (Lk. 22:31). Believers can give the devil “a foothold” (Eph. 4:27), but we are to be aware of and take our stand against the devil’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11). He is quite capable of invading the bedrooms of believers for we read in I Corinthians 7, “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (v. 5). Satan can fill the hearts of believers to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3).
(6) In terms of the believer’s response to the Evil One, we are to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). God can use Satan “for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” (I Cor. 5:5). Wayward believers can be “handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme” (I Tim. 1:20) Paul gets a thorn in the flesh, “a messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Cor. 12:7). He can block the way of believers (I Thes. 2:18) and can do signs and wonders (2 Thes. 2:9).
(7) Satan’s fate is sealed, as are the demons who assist him. We read that “the eternal fire has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41).

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I don’t think I’ll talk much to him about the devil. But I won’t duck questions about the Evil One either. And I pray for my friend that he would realize he is not yet in the family of God, but in the family of the devil. I will pray earnestly his status will change. (to be continued)

 

 

 

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Satan Is Alive and Well and . . . Hungry! (I Peter 5:8-9)

Satan Is Alive and Well and . . . Hungry! (I Peter 5:8-9)

I.    Be Mentally Prepared! (v. 8)

II.   Know Your Enemy! (v. 8)

III.  Don’t Give in to Your Enemy! (v. 9)

IV.  Stand Firm in the Truth! (v. 9)

V.   Identify with the Rest of God’s Family (v. 9)

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2020 in Satan

 

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UNFORGIVENESS — “One of the Best Weapons in My Arsenal!” (Satan) (2 Cor. 2:5-11)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses in chapter two:

UNFORGIVENESS — “One of the Best Weapons in My Arsenal!” (Satan) (2 Cor. 2:5-11)

What does it look like to be outwitted by Satan? When we make choices for our happiness that ruin our holiness, he wins. When we follow our own priorities and lose our passion for Christ, he wins. When we immerse ourselves in everything but God’s Word, he wins. When we live for our own comfort and choose not to risk anything for the gospel, he wins. When we settle only for what we can provide for ourselves and forget to pray, he wins. When we fudge the facts, turn away from honesty, and engage in lies black or white, he wins. When we are determined to keep a grudge going, to steadfastly refuse to forgive another, he wins.

In our passage this morning, the context is UNFORGIVENESS. The Corinthians had a lot to forgive, didn’t they? This man who was sleeping with his mother-in-law disgraced them. Now they needed to forgive him.

When we choose not to forgive, we have been outwitted by the Devil himself! He is somehow invested and involved in our conflicts — and unforgiveness is his primary goal. When unforgiveness is the result, love dies — and he wins.

Today’s challenge: Anyone you need to forgive? We are to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us (Col. 3:13). For the sake of God’s people, in the sight of Christ, choose to forgive that other person. Today. Right now.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2020 in forgiveness

 

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FOCUS! Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted World (Part 7)

THREE DISTRACTIONS: As we think about our FOCUS on the Lord Jesus, we have touched on two distractions that are very real. The distraction from the world is the issue of entertainment. The distraction from ourselves is our desires which often run counter to the will of God.

But what is the third distraction? I would suggest that our third enemy, the devil, deserves some serious attention in that he wishes to destroy us and do everything in his power to get our eyes off Jesus!

But we must become thoroughly biblical in our understanding of our enemy, the devil. Here are some passages that will clarify some details about the arch-enemy of our souls:

1. The devil is a real personal being, a high-ranking fallen angel (Is. 14; Ezek. 28; Lk. 10:18). He is the believer’s enemy (I Pe. 5:8). He has been sinning since the beginning (I Jn. 3:8).

2. He is in the business of tempting human beings to turn away from God (he tempts Jesus in Mt. 4; he tempts God’s people as we see in Gen. 3 and I Cor. 7:5). He is the accuser of God’s children (Zech. 3:1).

3. He majors in corrupting God’s Word, taking it away from those who might believe and be saved (Lk. 8:12).

4. He is described by the Lord Jesus as a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).

5. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (Acts 10:38; I Jn. 3:8). The devil holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) and is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1-2). He has the power to bind people with affliction (Lk. 13:16).

6. He can influence Jesus-followers to deny Jesus (Jn. 13:2) or to lie to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). He takes people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). He looks to devour believers (I Pe. 5:8).

7. He has a whole host of fallen angels to do his bidding called “demons” (Mt. 7:22; 8:31; 10:8; etc.).

8. Whatever Satan does, he does by God’s permission (the book of Job).

9. He is capable of doing great acts of wonder to deceive people (2 Thes. 2:9).

10. His fate is sealed; he will be cast forever into the eternal fire prepared for him and his followers (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

Our response?
1. We are not to give the devil a foothold in our lives (Eph. 4:27).

2. We need God’s full armor to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:11).

3. We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We must not forget that he desires to “sift” us like wheat (Lk. 22:31).

4. We are not to be unaware of Satan’s tricks (2 Cor. 2:11), for he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

5. He can and often is used by God to keep His servants humble (2 Cor. 12:7).

Most of us are probably not important enough to receive Satan’s direct attention, but he has many demonic followers who can do his will. Our primary attention is not to be on Satan and demons, but on the Lord Jesus. However, this does not mean that we shouldn’t understand our spiritual enemy and resist him. But we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. (to be continued)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2020 in the devil

 

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Message #1: “With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness”

This past Sunday I began this series at our church. The Pastor and I will be sharing four messages that survey the whole book of Job. I will do my best to post our sermons.
For this 1st message (on Job chapters 1-3), I drafted four men from the congregation to reenact the four messengers bringing the bad news to Job. The sound quality of the lines isn’t very good, but you’ll get the idea.
Here’s my 1st sermon — I appreciate any comments you might have.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in friendship

 

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With Friends Like These: Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness! (Part 1)

We’re beginning a new series at our church. The Pastor and I Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 5.29.13 AMplan on covering the whole book of Job.  I begin this coming Sunday with introducing the book of Job and going over the first three chapters.

Here’s the outline that I will be following:

I.  Job’s Distress (chs. 1-3)

A.  Job’s Character (1:1-5)

B. God’s Challenge and Satan’s 1st Attack (1:6-19)

C.  Job’s Response (1:20-22)

D.  God’s 2nd Challenge and Satan’s 2nd Attack (2:1-7)

E.  Job and Mrs. Job (2:8-10)

F.  Job’s Silent Sympathetic Friends (2:11-13)

G.  Job’s Lament (ch. 3)

If you have not heard Pastor John Piper’s excellent poem on the book of Job, you can hear the first part (read by Dr. Piper) here.

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in the book of Job

 

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