Know Your Enemy

Part 1

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

agf-blanco.com

            Read Eph 6:10-18.  Here, the Apostle Paul encourages the Christian to put on the full armor of God, in order that they may stand against the tricks of the devil.  A soldier must know his enemy.  The Christian must always remember that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil.  Positionally, the Believer is a child of God, and a betrothed bride; but functionally, we are Christ’s Body on earth, and soldiers of Christ.  Denying we are in the battle, doesn’t remove us from it.  We must understand that we do have an enemy, and taking on God’s full armor is essential in order to enforce the victory that Jesus won on Calvary.

            Two extremes the Christian should avoid is: 1. Making too much of Satan, and focusing all their efforts and attention on Him.  2. Denying we have a real enemy; attributing everything that happens to God; and not taking our spiritual authority in Christ.  Both can be detrimental mistakes in the Believer’s life.  The truth is found in between these two extremes.

            Again, a soldier must know his enemy.  Knowing who Satan is; where he is going; what he does and how he works, is important for the Christian to understand.  First of all, we must understand that Satan is not a generic term for evil.  Satan is an individual, a personality, who stands against the people of God, and provokes them to do evil (1Chr 21:1).  Satan means adversary or opponent.  He is a spirit (Eph 2:2), and works in the children of disobedience.  He seeks to impose his will (which is opposed to God) upon individuals.  He is the prince of demons, also known as Beelzebub (Mt 12:24-26).  He has a certain amount of angels subject to him (Mt 25:41, Rev 12:7 & 9).

            Angels are spirits (Heb 1:7, 14); so Satan, being the head of these angels, would make Him an angel himself.  Since he wars against God and the people of God and all that is good, he can be none other than a fallen angel (Jude 1:6).  Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lighting fall from heaven” (Lk 10:18).  He also appears before God with the “sons of God” (angels – Job 38:7), which would also show him to be an angel (Job 1:6,12; 2:1).

            We also see from Rev 12:9 that Satan is also called the great dragon; that old serpent; & the Devil (which means slanderer).  “That old serpent” refers to Genesis 3, the deception of man by Satan and the fall of mankind.  How did Satan become Satan?  While the Bible is not explicitly clear on the subject, passages like Ezek 28:12-19 and Isa 14:12-15 seem to elude to Satan, since certain things said could not be speaking of any earthly man.

            For instance, in Ezekiel, an earthly King of Tyrus would not be the anointed cherub; he would not be perfect in wisdom and beauty; he could not have been in the garden of Eden; he could not have had musical instruments created within him; etc..  Based on these references and many others, the following is only my opinion on Satan’s origin:

            Lucifer was created a beautiful angel that was the anointed cherub that covered the throne of God, and possibly lead worship in Heaven.  God created man in His image – the crown of His creation – and gave man authority and dominion.  Since angels are ministering spirits, he may have been sent to minister to Adam and Eve in the Garden, since he was in Eden.  Perhaps through pride and envy of God – and maybe of His crown jewel, man – iniquity was found in him.  He rebelled against God, and was cast out of heaven.  A hosts of angels apparently rebelled with him (perhaps a third? Rev 12:4).  I believe this is when Lucifer became the fallen angel now known as Satan.  I believe it was after this event, that since he couldn’t usurp God’s authority, he would seek the authority God gave to man.  He then, through his deception, became the prince and god of this world (Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2Cor 4:4).  He continues to seek to blind mankind to the glorious light of the Gospel.

            As god of this world, Satan tempted Jesus by offering Him “all power over all the kingdoms of the world”. (Lk 4:5-8).  If he had did not have it to give, it would not have been a temptation.  Notice also that he tempts – he cannot force.  Don’t buy into, “The devil made me do it” mentality.  He tempts, deceives, provokes, etc..; but we can submit to God and resist him, and he will flee from us (Jam 4:7).  We must use the truth of God’s word to combat his lies and deception.

            Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10); he is a murderer, liar, and the father of lies (Jn 8:44, 1Jn 3:12)); he is a destroyer (Apollyon – Rev 9:11); a thief who comes only to kill, steal, and destroy (Jn 10:10).  Jesus is the opposite.  He comes to give abundant life; He comes to heal and make whole; He comes to bless; he comes to give joy, peace, love, mercy, grace, acceptance, deliverance, forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  His name is above every name, and it is to Him that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.  Selah.

Know Your Enemy

Part 2

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

agf-blanco.com

            I encourage you to read Eph 6:10-18.  A Christian is a soldier of the cross, and must put on the armor of God.  We are engaged in a spiritual war, whether we like it or not.  We must understand who our enemy is, and how he operates, to gain victory over him.  This is called spiritual warfare.  I encourage you to read last week’s article to get you up to speed, if you haven’t yet.  Let’s get into God’s Word.

            1Pe 5:8-9 says, “Be sober (alert), be vigilant (keep awake, watch); because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”  As Christians, we need to be alert and watchful.  Satan is on the prowl, and seeks to devour mankind.  He longs to sift God’s people as wheat (trod them under foot – Lk 22:31-32); but praise God, we have a unbeatable defense attorney in heaven, The High Priest and Eternal Intercessor, Jesus Christ.  This is why Satan seeks whom he may devour, because he can’t devour a Christian who knows their authority in Christ.

            Satan uses tricks to deceive (Eph 6:11).  We are not to be ignorant of his devices (evil purposes).  We must prevent him from getting the advantage (2Cor 2:11).  The Antichrist, who is possessed of Satan, deceives with signs and lying wonders (2Th 2:9). Satan is not a creator, but only an imitator and corruptor.  Don’t be a sign seeker.  Signs follow the preaching of God’s word (Mk 16:20).  Satan deceives through trickery, that he may corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ (2Cor 11:3).  He comes as an angel of light, in order to present sin and death as righteousness and life (2Co 11:13-15). 

            Satan attempts to influence the mind, in order that the one being influenced may speak for him and do his will.  Mt. 16:22-23 says, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he (Jesus) turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”  Obviously, Jesus knew it wasn’t Peter who inspired that statement, but Satan.  Do not allow Satan to use your mouth.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prv 18:21).  When Jesus says something, never rebuke Him.  Believe and do whatever He says (Jn 2:5).  This will shut Satan out.

            A chief way we combat Satan is through taking our thoughts captive (2Cor 10:3-5).  Our spiritual weapons are mighty through God, to pull down strongholds (ways of thinking that are contrary to truth).  We must cast down imaginations (lying images), and everything that tries to exalt itself against the knowledge of God (The Bible).  We must bring every thought into captivity, and make it obey Christ.

            A simple thought is not a sin.  Satan attempts to influence our thought life.  When an ungodly thought enters our minds, we must grab hold of it and cast it down, and make it obey Christ.  If we do not take it captive, it can take root.  We may find ourselves dwelling on it constantly.  Then, it soon becomes a sinful action; and the sinful action will bring forth death in some form or another.  As the old saying goes, the Christian wins or loses between their ears.  We must renew our minds in the truth (God’s Word), so that His word will come forth out of our mouth as a weapon of mass destruction (Rom 12:2, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12).

            By the power of the Holy Spirit, refuse to think thoughts that are contrary to truth.  You do not have control of every thought that may pop in your head; but you do have control over whether or not you will dwell on them and make them your own.  You can choose to meditate on good things (Philp 4:8).

            To gain victory over the work of Satan, we must first be submitted to God; then, we can resist the Devil, and he will flee from us (Jam 4:7).  These steps cannot be out of order.  Submission to God’s Word and His will are not optional.  We cannot live contrary to God, and expect Satan to flee from us.  If we live in disobedience to God, we leave open a door for Satan to get an advantage.  We must close that door through submission; then we must actively resist the Devil’s lies; and then the result will be Satan running from the Believer.  God has given us the keys to victory, but we must take them.  Selah. 

Know Your Enemy

Part 3

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

agf-blanco.com

            Our text is Ephesians 6:10-18.  Vs. 11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (tricks) of the devil.”  The Christian has a real enemy, and is instructed by the Apostle Paul to put on God’s full armor.  To effectively defeat our enemy in spiritual battle, we must know our enemy, how he operates, and what power he does or does not have.  This series is for information purposes, and we should not attribute to Satan more power than he has; nor mistakenly relegate him to mere superstition.  We will finish this next week by looking at our ultimate victory and authority in Christ Jesus.

            Satan seeks to enter into a person to carry out his will (Luk 22:3).   Some ask if a Christian can be demon possessed.  I will say this: Satan cannot take up residence where God’s Holy Spirit dwells.  Therefore, Satan cannot touch a Believer’s spirit.  However, a Christian can be demonized, which means they can be influenced by Satan in mind and body if they yield themselves to him.  The Christian is to yield to God (Rom 6:13-19).

            Satan seeks to steal the Word of God out of people’s hearts (Mar 4:15).  He knows the power of God’s Word, and wants to steal it asap, so that it will not take root and yield fruit in the life of a person.  We prevent this by taking our thoughts captive; paying attention to the preaching of God’s Word; and having a sensitive heart that is receptive and yielded to the Truth.

            Satan seeks to fill a person’s heart to do evil (Act 5:3).  We must not allow evil thoughts to remain for even a moment.  Upon the first temptation, we must cast down the thought, lest it take root and becomes the act of sin, which brings forth death (Jam 1:12-15).

            Satan tempts people to commit sexual sin (1Cor 7:5).  The only sexual relation that is not sin is that between one man and one woman in the marriage covenant (Heb 13:4).  All other sex is called fornication, and is a sin against God and one’s own body (1Cor 6:13-20).

            Satan has a spiritual power, though far inferior to the power of God (Act 26:18).  He is deceptive, and his signs and wonders are “lying” (2Thess 2:9).  He is a master counterfeiter of God’s genuine power.  The Believer must be grounded in the Word to avoid this deception.

            Satan at times sends demons to buffet the people of God who are doing the work of God

(2Co 12:7).  Persecution was Paul’s thorn in the flesh (Num 33:55, Josh 23:13, Judg 2:3).  If a Christian lives godly in Christ Jesus, they will suffer persecution (2Tim 3:12), and Satan is the author of this persecution (Rev 2:10).  Whoever persecutes a Christian is influenced by Satan.

            Satan can hinder the Christian, but not stop them (1Th 2:18).  Do not allow Satan’s trials and temptations to stop you in your walk with Jesus.  Satan cannot derail you, but only throw up roadblocks.  However, if you submit yourself to God and resist him, he will flee from you (Jam 4:7).  We have the choice of what mold we will be poured into (Rom 12:1-2).

            Not all sickness is spiritual in nature, but Satan can be the cause of sickness (Luk 13:11-16, Acts 10:38).  Sin could be the inroad of Satan to afflict the body, but this can be remedied by confessing it a turning away from it (Jam 5: 14-16).

            We are not to turn aside unto Satan by disobeying God’s Word (1Ti 5:15).  Those who disobey God’s Word oppose themselves, and the Devil snares them and takes them captive at his will (2Ti 2:24-26).  Obedience to God’s Word brings blessings and happiness, and shuts the door on Satan.  The old Flip Wilson saying, “The devil made me do it” is a cop out.  The devil can’t make a Christian do anything.  We either yield to his lies, or we resist them.  It is our responsibility to heed God’s Word and yield to His Spirit.  Jesus did not rise victorious and give us His authority, so that we may play the victim.  We are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37).

            We must not give place to the devil through sin.  Eph 4:26-27 says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  Neither give place to the devil.”  Let us not for a moment give place to the devil.  May the sun never set on our hatred for sin and Satan and his evil deeds.  We should hate his evil influence and the destruction he instigates.  We should not hate people, for they are immortal souls, created in God’s image.  However, we are certainly supposed to hate wickedness and evil.  We must stop tolerating what is intolerable to God.  We should hate what God hates, and love what God loves – if the Spirit of God dwells within us.  Selah.

Know Your Enemy

Part 4

 

By Pastor J.D. Link

agf-blanco.com

            Our text is Ephesians 6:10-18.  Vs. 11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (tricks) of the devil.”  In our previous three lessons, we have learned about the person of Satan; who he is; how he operates; and some steps we can take to resist Him, like taking our thoughts captive (2Cor 10:3-5) and submitting ourselves to God (Jam 4:7).  In this final lesson, we will look further at how to walk in victory over him; our position in Christ; what Jesus came to do; and Satan’s ultimate and total defeat, as well as the Believer’s ultimate and total victory.

Jesus came to destroy the Devil and his works (Heb 2:14, 1Jn 3:8).  The word “destroy” in Heb 2:14 means “render inoperative”.  Satan’s ultimate destruction will not take place until after the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Rev 20:7-10), but since the Cross, his influence and power has been greatly diminished.  He now operates chiefly by lies and deception through those who are not aware of his devices.  Though Jesus will utterly destroy Satan’s works at the end of the age, Jesus now does this work through His people who are filled with His spirit and power, and are armed with the truth of God’s Word.

            Legally, Satan is under our feet (Eph 1:21).  The church is Christ’s Body on this earth, and Christians  are His arms, voice, feet, etc..  If Satan is under the feet of Jesus (and he is), then he is under our feet.  Jesus conquered, making us more than conquerors (Rom 8:37).  This means that in and through Christ, we have (past tense) overcome  the wicked one (1Jn 2:13-14).  This is our standing in Jesus.

            The Believer who keeps himself (stands diligent watch over himself), Satan cannot attach himself to (1Jn 5:18).  The Christian should not be a spiritual dunce; sleepy, dull and unaware of the times and the enemy’s devices.  We should be awake, alert, watchful – our eyes wide open to the temptations, lies and deceit of Satan.  The Believer keeps himself by putting on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-18).

            If we put on (are clothed with) God’s complete armor, we will be able to stand.  If we do not, the Devil has open season on the Christian, as he does over the unbeliever (whether they realize it or not).  The “putting on” of the armor is done mentally and spiritually.  It is understanding who and what we are in Christ; and what we have in Christ.  This armor we wear to bed.  We are to never take it off.

            The seat of power and strength is the quads, glutes and core.  The belt of truth keeps everything tight and together, in order to exert maximum power (think power lifting belt).  In all we do, the belt of truth needs to be cinched up tight.  Never deviate from the truth of God’s Word.  Never loosen up on the truth.

            The breastplate of righteousness protects the heart and vital organs.  Believers must understand that they are the very righteousness of God in Christ (2Cor 5:21).  Lack of understanding in this area will result in lack of confidence, and leave our heart exposed to attacks of the enemy.  This must be a constant in all we do, that through faith upon Jesus, God has made us righteous with His very own righteousness.

            Our shoes are the Gospel of peace.  The Believer will maintain sure and solid footing, if they hold firm to this truth: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of our peace with God through His sacrificial death and resurrection. 

            The helmet of salvation protects the head.  Through the inward witness of the Spirit, and through firm belief in God’s promise written in His Holy Word, the Believer can maintain confidence that they are saved (1Jn 5:13); and therefore be protected from Satan’s lies and deception that they are “his kids”.

            “Above all” take the shield of faith and Sword of the Spirit.  These work in conjunction, protecting the whole soldier.  The shield protects from Satan’s lies and temptations, while the sword attacks.  The shield quenches fearfulness, while the sword strikes with, “The Lord is my Light and salvation – whom shall I fear?” (Ps 27:1).  The shield quenches “you can’t do it”, while the sword strikes with, “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil 4:13).  Etc.

            The Believer’s end is ultimate victory and eternity with Jesus in heaven.  Satan’s end, and all unbelievers, is eternal torment in the Lake of fire (Mt 25:41, Rev. 20).  Stand firm on the truth; do not be moved away from your hope in Christ (Col 1:23).  We may receive some battle scars in this life while enforcing Calvary’s victory here on earth, but our eternal inheritance will prove to be more than worth it.  Selah.