Sunday, May 26, 2019
   
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On Being Hunted by a Lion, Part 2

The Light Became Darkness: an Introduction to the Evil One, and How to Overcome Him. This lesson explores the following questions: Is Satan real? How did Satan become the enemy of God and us? What is he like? How can we escape him?

 

 

Paul’s advice and promise to the Romans in Rom. 16:19-20 needs to be heard and applied today. He writes: "Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20] The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."

 

While Paul urged upon the Church a sophistication, a wisdom regarding that which is good, he suggests that Christians maintain an innocence about evil. It is certainly possible to be a little too clever, a little too sophisticated with regards to evil, and not be as knowledgeable and confident about God’s power as we should be. C. S. Lewis obviously had this in mind when he warned that there are two errors regarding the devil. "One was not to believe in him at all, and the other was to pay too much attention to him."

 

So as we approach our subject today, the words of Scripture are certainly not calling us to be simpletons or foolish, but warn that we keep this subject of evil and Satan in balance with the glory and power of God Almighty. We want to answer four basic questions dealing with Satan:

  1. Is Satan real?
  2. How did Satan become the enemy of God and us?
  3. What is he like?
  4. How can we escape him?

 

Is Satan real?

Some people tell us that the idea of Satan was borrowed by the Jews from Babylon, or that the idea grew out of the Dark Ages when evil men were weaving their superstitious nets to catch the common people. They want us to think that Satan is just a matter of superstition.

 

Both of these ideas are false. There are three basic arguments, in fact, that prove Satan is real.

Satan is real because logic demands it.

Let’s stop and think of all the evil in the world. Why does it exist? Some say it is because there is no God—that man is just a collection of matter has just evolved. If you say there is no God, however, you’ve got a bigger problem: Why is there any good in the world?

Another explanation is that the evil is not real, but it seems to me that it is cruel to tell someone it isn’t evil.

The only explanation is that there is a spiritual person opposing God: not equal to God, not eternal, not omniscient, not all-powerful. But there has to be someone promoting and coordinating evil.

 

Satan is real because Scripture declares it.

When you read the Word of God, you come face-to-face with our enemy, Satan.

  1. Back in Genesis 3, Satan is in the Garden of Eden.
  2. In the book of Job, Satan is in heaven accusing God and Job.
  3. David in 1 Chronicles 21 is being opposed by Satan and led into sin that results in the death of thousands. "Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. 2] So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are."
  4. When we read the four gospels, we find that when Jesus came to this earth as God in the flesh, Satan unleashed all the artillery he could find. He used demonic powers as he had never used them before—Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 22:3, etc.
  5. Jesus Christ’s testimony is the greatest proof that Satan is real—Matt. 4:10; 16:23; Mk. 4:15; Lk. 10:18; 13:16; 22:31; Acts 26:17.

Jesus always told the truth, including when He said Satan is real! Some might say at this point, "Don’t you think Jesus accommodated Himself to the knowledge of the people"? No. Jesus said "I am the truth." He can’t lie!

 

Satan is real because experience supports it.

When a person has not been born again, he/she doesn’t have a fight with Satan, because Satan is already influencing his/her life. The minute we give our life to Christ, He delivers us out of darkness and puts us into the kingdom of light, however, we find ourselves in conflict with a supernatural power that resides in Satan and his demonic forces—Eph. 6:10-12.

Some people never experience conflict with the devil, because they just follow the ways of the world, the cravings of their sinful nature, and Satan—Eph. 2:1-3. They don’t fight these influences, but do as their cravings, the world, and Satan tells them—Eph. 2:2-3. They do not love or do what is right—1 John 3:10. Therefore, the devil isn’t going to waste his time on someone already controlled by himself or the world.

 

In light of this teaching, the following truths apply:

  1. If Jesus isn’t the Lord of your life, Satan already has you—Acts 13:9-10.
  2. If you are a believer, he can’t take your soul, but he would like to ruin your life and testimony, and he’d love to destroy your body.

How did Satan become the enemy of God and us?

Satan is not God.

 

He is not eternal. He is a creature, who has a beginning and an end; therefore, he doesn’t have the attributes of God. He is not all-powerful, all-knowing, or present everywhere. The reason Satan seems to be everywhere is because he has a vast army of demonic beings assisting him. This army is well-organized, disciplined, and structured.

Satan is also not a man.

He doesn’t have the limitations we have as people.

Satan is a created being.

Satan is an angel. We are told very plainly in Scripture that he is an angel—2 Cor. 11:14; Job 1:6; Rev. 9:11.

2 Cor. 11:13-14—"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14] And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."

He pretends to be an angel of light, when he is an angel of darkness. Satan was originally created perfect. To get the picture, we need to go to the book of Ezekiel. This is really an interesting passage. In Ezekiel 28:1-10, Ezekiel is talking about the ruler of Tyre, a city in Phoenicia—proud, rebellious city, and an enemy of God’s people. In verse 2, the human ruler/prince is addressed:

Ezekiel 28:2—"Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In the pride of your heart you say, I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas. But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.’"

 

(You will notice in that passage that the ruler is called a man in verses 2 and 9.)

Then we come down to vv. 11-15a, where a change takes place. In this section the word of the Lord is being addressed to Satan through the human king of Tyre. This doesn't happen often in Scripture, but it does happen a few times.

"There are a few other instances in Scripture where Satan is addressed through one of his instruments. The earliest, of course, was in Eden after the fall, when God addressed Satan through the serpent (Gen. 3:15), and in the New Testament the Lord Jesus said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me Satan!’’ (Matt. 16:23)— Alfred Martin, Isaiah, p. 73.

This passage is so helpful to us, because here in vv. 11-14 we see the description of what Satan was actually like before the lights went out and he fell. Here we are also reminded that there was a time when everything in God’s universe was harmonious; everything was working together beautifully—no conflict, no rebellion.

 

Ezekiel 28:11—The word of the LORD came to me: 12] "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13] You were in Eden, the garden of God; [obviously not the earthly ruler is not being talked about here], every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14] You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15] You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created. . . ."

Cherubims were God’s guardians, the highest created beings; an anointed cherub guarded the very throne room of God. Then in Ez. 28:15b we have a description of why the light became darkness—"You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you."

 

What was the wickedness found in him? Satan became proud because of his beauty. Ezekiel 28:16-17—

"Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17] Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings."

 

What was the beginning of his downfall? The highest created being wasn’t satisfied to be a created being. What else corrupted Satan? Turn to a passage where Satan is being addressed through another—Is. 14:12-14. Here we find Satan’s desire to exalt himself and to be like his Creator—Isaiah 14:12-14.

"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13] You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14] I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'"

 

He slandered God. In vv. 12-14, the five "I wills" uttered by Satan constitute the very essence of sin:

  1. "...I will ascend to heaven..."—v. 13a.
  2. "...I will raise my throne above the stars of God..."—v. 13b.
  3. "...I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly..."—v. 13c.
  4. "...I will ascend above the tops of the clouds..."—v. 14a.
  5. "...I will make myself like the Most High..."—v. 14b.

His sin culminates in that last boast. Likewise, in the New Testament, Paul warns all of us that being conceited will cause us to fall under the same judgment as the devil—1 Tim. 3:6.

In verse 14 we see the whole secret of and reason for Satan’s work:

He is an imitator. He was a created a cherub—the highest possible place God could give His creation—but Satan wasn’t satisfied to remain a creation. He wanted to be God, so God cast him down! What happened when God cast him down? Satan fell from heaven and drew many other angels with him—Rev. 12:7. Here’s an interesting sequence of events in Revelation 12:

The red dragon is Satan, and with his tail he swept 1/3 of the stars out of the sky, flinging them to the earth. v. 3—"Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4] His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth."

Job tells us that stars are symbols of the angels. So the dragon (symbolic) is being cast out of heaven, and as he does, he brings 1/3 of the angels with him. This myriad of angels is now part of Satan’s army, an invisible army that has invaded the lives/ homes of people everywhere—Eph. 1:21.

 

What is Satan like?

 

Satan and his demonic powers must rejoice to see the foolish caricatures of him—a creature with horns, a long forked tail, carrying a pitchfork and wearing red flannel underwear. How foolish can people get? Satan can best be described by looking at the various names used in Scripture.

An angel of light

2 Cor. 11:10-14—"As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11] Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12] And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13] For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14] And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."

Satan never comes in his true ugliness—He is an imitator. Satan and his emissaries offer only what is false.

2 Cor. 11:1-4—"I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2] I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3] But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4] For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough."

  1. False Christ/Jesus—2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:8; Matt. 24:24
  2. False/different spirit—2 Cor. 11:4b
  3. False gospel—2 Cor. 11:4c; Gal. 1:8-9
  4. False apostles—2 Cor. 11:13
  5. False brothers—2 Cor. 11:26
  6. False miracles, signs and wonders—2 Thess. 2:9
  7. False prophets—2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 4:1
  8. False teachers—2 Pet. 2:1
  9. False humility—Col. 2:18,23
  10. False doctrines—1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3

An enemy

In Matt. 13:27-29, he’s called an enemy. "The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28] ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29] ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them." (See also 1 Pet. 5:8.)

Jesus scatters good seeds, "His children." The enemy scatters weeds.

A roaring lion.

I Pet. 5:8—"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

(See Part One—I Pet. 5:8-11.)

A destroyer

Rev. 9:11—"They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon." [ Abaddon and Apollyon mean "Destroyer."]

He destroys our bodies through sin, addictions, disease, etc., and he'll use any means he can—e.g., temptation, persecution, pressure, finances, others.

 

An accuser

Rev. 12:10—"Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.’"

Whenever we sin, Satan loves to accuse us before God and in our hearts: "Look what you’ve done; why don’t you quit?" Satan accuses us in hate to drive us away from God, but the Holy Spirit convicts us in love to bring us back to God.

 

A liar and a murderer

John 8:44—"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. 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."

 

Satanic lies rule the world today, and Satan is the father of those lies. He accomplishes his purposes through lies—John 8:44.

 

The Holy Spirit on the other hand, accomplishes his purposes through truth—John 14:16-17a; 15:26; 16:13a. When we believe the truth of God’s Word, the power of the Spirit goes to work in our life. When we believe the lies of Satan, the power of the devil goes to work in our life. When the devil can get a Christian to believe a lie, he starts to control his mind. He is a liar and a murderer.

The Prince of this world

John 12:31—"Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out." Just as God has His angels working unseen in the affairs of man, Satan has his army and special angels controlling the nations of the world.

The Prince of the Power of the Air

Eph. 2:1—"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."

The god of this age

2 Cor. 4:4—"...the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." ("God of this age" means "god of the world.")

Satan is in the business of blinding people's minds. Anyone who doesn’t truly worship Jesus from their heart is worshipping Satan. Behind the false religions of this world is the one who has always wanted to be worshipped as God: Satan, the god of this age.

How can we escape him?

We are talking about an adversary as subtle as a serpent. He cannot read my mind, but he listens to my words and watches my actions. Although he is limited in time and space, he has such a vast network of demonic creatures, his influence is almost everywhere at once.

 

How can I fight Satan?

Know the Lord’s authority.

I John 3:8—"He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work."

Know the cross sealed Satan’s defeat.

Col. 2:13-15—"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature [or your flesh ], God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14] having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15] And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

 

Remember this: whatever appears to be the state/condition for God’s people here on earth, the victory over Satan has already been secured.

 

Know the hope, riches, and power we have in Christ, and claim them in response to Satan’s schemes.

Eph. 1:18-23—"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19] and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20] which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21] far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22] And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23] which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

Jesus is seated above all. All what? The principalities, and power, and might, and dominion—the names of the four divisions of Satan’s army. Jesus Christ has been raised above the army; the army can’t touch Him. When God raised Jesus from the dead, Satan was conquered!

Where are we seated? Eph. 2:6-7—"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

I want you to know, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Physically we’re here, but spiritually we’re in heavenly places. This means my position in Christ puts me far above all the powers Satan can muster, and the only way Satan can get to me is if I let him. I am ". . .far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come"—1:21.

In Jesus Christ we have deliverance and victory. No Christian needs to fear being demon-possessed, or being under the dark cloud of defeat. No Christian needs to succumb to the wiles of the devil. We are seated with Jesus far above everything, and the power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that lives in our bodies now—the Holy Spirit of God.

Satan doesn’t want people to know that; no wonder he tries to keep us from reading our Bibles; we just might find out he’s been defeated! Satan is real and he’s an enemy, but he is a defeated enemy. Satan can’t get to us unless we let Him.

Know the lie and replace it with the truth

Rom. 1:25; Eph. 5:8-12.

The basis of every temptation or moral failure is a lie. We need to expose the lie and replace it with the truth. Rom. 1:25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen." Satan’s attacks are usually against the light, in particular, he attacks the the truth, righteousness, and goodness.

Our response therefore is to shed light on the lie.

Eph. 5:8-14—"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9] (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10] and find out what pleases the Lord. 11] Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12] For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13] But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14] for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’"

 

Know your mission to others in this warfare

In Acts 26:17b-18, God is talking to Paul, but he’s also talking to us. "...I am sending you to them 18] to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and 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."

 

God intends that we use our authority, possession, and riches in Christ to rescue others from the darkness.

 

Know your authority, but keep it in perspective with where your name is written.

Luke10:17-20—"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ 18] He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19] I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20] However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’"

An Invitation

For those who don’t know Christ, I hope you realize Satan wants to destroy you.

Give your life to Him; take His Word seriously, and He’ll give you victory.

  1. What have you learned in this lesson about the enemy that you didn't know?
  2. Read the Scriptures cited in the section about Satan being real because Scripture declares it. Which passage(s) would you use in discussions with people who don't believe there is an enemy?
  3. Describe in your own words the extent of Satan's fall. From what, to what did he fall? What was the impact of his decision to rebel against God?
  4. Satan offers only what is false. Have you succumbed to any of his lies in the past, about yourself, God, eternity, or anything else? With what truth did you replace the lie?
  5. Where do you see the evidence that Satan is the god of this age?
  6. What is the impact of the cross in fighting our enemy?