Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 11)
We’ve seen desperate people who will do anything to get what they want, but they are not supernatural beings with the mind and power of an angel. Satan is very old and has learned a great deal through the ages about how to wage spiritual war against God’s people. He is also very experienced in spiritual battles.
One of our biggest mistakes as members of the Church is underestimating Satan’s power and cunning. If you think I’m wrong about that, read Revelation chapters 12 and 13. Satan wants worship from the whole earth and he will get it, though for only a short time.
One of the best things we can do to prepare ourselves for spiritual battle with Satan and his forces (Ephesians 6:10-18) is to learn everything we can about him from the One who knows Satan best. God has given the Church a lot of information and insight into how Satan thinks, plans and works. For instance …
Satan copies (mimics) God. That comes from wanting to be “like” God. However, what Satan does is turn everything “godly” into “ungodly.” His thinking is opposed to God’s thinking. As Jesus said of the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Did you see the insight Jesus just gave us into Satan’s character and his thinking process? Satan “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” Satan is warped, twisted, upside down, inside out. He apparently believes himself, even though there is no truth in him. With that insight in mind …
Watch how Satan attacked Eve.
Satan – “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Doubting God’s Word)
Satan – “You will not surely die.” (Challenging God’s Word)
Satan – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Questioning God’s purpose and motive)
Watch how Satan attacked Jesus.
Satan – “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
Satan – “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Satan – “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Look at how the apostles describe how “the prince of the power of the air” impacts the human race.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
Satan’s single attack on our first parents multiplied and gives the human race three distinct dangers to face.
- Course of this world
- Satan – prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience
- Lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind
1 John 2:16
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
This is another list of three dangers humans face in this world:
- The lust of the flesh
- The lust of the eyes
- The pride of life
We know that Satan is cunning, a murderer and a liar. Does that frighten you a bit? It should. We need to understand that Satan has a plan and a plethora of devices. He had a plan when he attacked Eve and Adam. He had a plan when he attacked Jesus. He had a plan when he attacked God’s people in the Bible. He has a plan when he attacks the Church today. We must not be ignorant of his plans and his devices.
The lists above give us all the information we need to arm ourselves for this battle. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, we need to be careful that Satan not take advantage of us, “for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
We also learn about Satan’s devices from his discussions with the Lord in Heaven.
Satan has access to Heaven …
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” Job 1:6
Satan has access to God …
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?” Job 1:7a
Satan has access to the earth …
“So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:7b
God praises His faithful servants on earth ...
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8
Satan accuses God’s faithful servants on earth …
“So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:9-11
God demonstrates His Purpose and Power through His servants on earth …
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” Job 1:12a
Satan needs God’s permission to attack God’s faithful servants on earth …
“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” Job 1:12b
Satan carries out his evil plans to attack God’s faithful servants on earth …
“Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!’ Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
Satan repeated his efforts to destroy Job and God called what Satan did “inciting” Him (Job 2:3). What came from the sufferings of Job and Satan’s attempt to destroy him was great insight to the majesty of God and the brilliance of His ways. Though Job was, as God called him, “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil,” Job’s knowledge of God was not complete. What Job learned during his time of suffering led him to a deeper understanding of the power and majesty of God.
“I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” Job 42:2
The knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the faithful servants of God have been deepened by the attack of Satan on Job. Was it hard for Job to go through what he did because of Satan’s evil purpose? Absolutely. Have millions of people benefitted from Job’s sufferings? Absolutely.
I’m reminded of Satan’s attacks on Jesus Christ, God’s Son and Faithful Servant. The devil “entered Judas,” who then betrayed Jesus Christ. That betrayal led to the crucifixion of Jesus. Was it hard for Jesus to go through what He did because of Satan’s evil purpose? Absolutely. Have billions of people benefitted from Jesus’ sufferings? Absolutely.
As we continue in this special series about Satan’s attack on the Church and the Church’s many opportunities to use the attack for the Purpose of God, we will often refer to the Scriptures and insights in this post. Everything you’ve just read will help you effectively “stand against the wiles of the devil.”
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”