Tag Archives: the devil
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).
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).
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)
I am looking forward to Cedar Valley Bible Church’s “Second Coming Conference” (November 16-17) in Iowa. I am working my way through three prophetic texts: I Thessalonians 4:13-18, II Peter 3:1-18, and I John 3:1-10.
We’ve looked at I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and seen how the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus ought to encourage our hearts! We have also looked at our second text, 2 Peter 3:1-18 and seen the theme of final judgment.
There is so much in this passage to consider! Peter begins by challenging us to wonder at God’s love for us (vv. 1-2). We are not only “called” children of God — we are children of God!
Second, Peter addresses a prospect which cannot be surpassed — to be like the Lord Jesus (v. 2). “We know,” says Peter, “that when Christ appears, we shall be like him” (v. 2). Why? “for we shall see him as he is.” What theologians call the beatific vision (= seeing God) will change us, will make us like Him!
Third, that amazing eschatological hope and certainty should lead to the goal of personal purity right now (v. 3)! Verse 3 says, “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Knowing that He will finish the job and make us like Himself is no excuse for not pursuing purity right now!
Fourth, the truth of ultimate glorification should develop in us a vigilance which stands against the efforts of the devil (vv. 7-10). There are forces that want to lead us astray (v. 7).
This section gives us a bit of a refresher course on the Evil One. The one doing evil is “of the devil” (v. 8). The devil “has been sinning since the beginning.” This topic is so important that Peter attributes the Incarnation to it! He says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”! [I would have said something like, “The reason the Son of God appeared was . . . to provide salvation for people” . . . OR . . . “to do His Father’s will” . . . OR . . . “to give His life a ransom for many.”] Peter’s point is that there are two and only two categories of people: “the children of God” and “the children of the devil.” Doing what is right + loving one’s brother or sister = the child of God! (to be continued)
We are thinking about Sunday School class at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on January 27. The passage will be Ephesians 2:1-10 and we have already noticed the following:
1. If we think about WHAT WE WERE B.C. (before Christ), verse 1 says we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins.” The word “transgression” (παράβασις) literally means “a going aside, overstepping, deviation” and comes from two words meaning “contrary” and “to go.”
2. We were also “dead . . . in [our] SINS (v. 1). The term “sin” is the common word ἁμαρτία and is used 173 times in the New Testament and indicates “wrongdoing, any act contrary to the will and law of God, offense.” Let’s continue noticing that —
3. Dead men don’t live, do they? But our text says that, even though we were “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” — we used to live [in them] when we followed the ways of this world! (v. 2). Zombie living — that’s what I call it! We lived in our transgressions and sins — even when we were dead!
4. And we usually don’t think that dead men FOLLOW anyone or anything! They are dead. But the text says we “followed the ways of the world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (v. 2). We not only followed WAYS — we followed a PERSON! Who is that person? He is called “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” and “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (v. 2). That’s none other than SATAN!
Jesus spoke often of the devil and once said to the religious leaders, “You aren’t following your father Abraham — you belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).
It is a sobering truth that each of us comes into this world, not as children of God, but as children of the Evil One. And only the GOSPEL can rescue us “from the dominion of darkness and [bring] us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13).
Today’s Prayer: “Father, thank You for the sobering truth of my BEFORE CHRIST condition. Teach me not to follow the ways of the world or give any of my allegiance to the Evil One! I praise You for rescuing me from my transgressions and sins! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
What a privilege to study the Spirit of God! We’ve seen much in these posts on His ministries to believers. Preachers are a sub-category of believers, right? So the work He does in believers He does in preachers!
Let’s look at the third area in which the Spirit proves the world wrong: the issue of JUDGMENT!
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. . . . 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.
1 Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from the violent,
2 who devise evil plans in their hearts
and stir up war every day.
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s;
the poison of vipers is on their lips.
4 Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent,
who devise ways to trip my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a snare for me;
they have spread out the cords of their net
and have set traps for me along my path.
6 I say to the Lord, “You are my God.”
Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy.
7 Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer,
you shield my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord;
do not let their plans succeed.
9 Those who surround me proudly rear their heads;
may the mischief of their lips engulf them.
10 May burning coals fall on them;
may they be thrown into the fire,
into miry pits, never to rise.
11 May slanderers not be established in the land;
may disaster hunt down the violent.
12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor
and upholds the cause of the needy.
13 Surely the righteous will praise your name,
and the upright will live in your presence.
If you think you aren’t going to encounter any attacks — and you’re a believer in Jesus — let me remind you that there is an invisible world of demonic forces that want to see your downfall. Invisibility does not equal non-existence. Demons are real and the devil is real — and they want to see your life wasted and ruined. Why? Because they hate God.
C.S. Lewis does a masterful job of analyzing some of Satan’s attacks on the believe in his The Screwtape Letters. I highly recommend it! (Click here for a list of great quotes from Screwtape Letters).