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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 7, 2008
Satan’s Subtle Devices
Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places.]” Whether we like it or not, we are in involved in a spiritual war against a well organized and powerful adversary. We must be strong in the Lord in order to stand firm against his attacks against us. We have talked about this the last couple of weeks by first giving an overview of the nature of this spiritual war (See: Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 1 – The Nature of the Battle) and the nature of our adversary (See: Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 2 – Our Adversary).
In the preface to his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” Later in the book, underdemon Wormwood asks his Uncle Screwtape if he should reveal himself to the human he has been assigned to lead astray. Uncle Screwtape answers that it is a dilemma. “When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism, and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and skeptics.”
The word translated as “schemes” or “wiles” (meqodeia / methodeia) in Ephesians 6:11 is the Greek word from which we get our word “method.” The devil has many methods by which he seeks to attack people. There is a whole segment of our society that has given itself over to following after Satan. They practice overt worship of Satan & the demonic. They practice evil ceremonies, cast “spells,” recite incantations, and some even practice blood sacrifice. Satan has lead them into being magicians. Yet, even though these people are in a real sense given over to Satan, the devil’s greatest victory is not with them, but with those who have fallen for his subtle devices.
The devil and the demons seek to know our weaknesses so that they can attack our most vulnerable position. In our society, which is so given over to materialism and hedonism, it is as Uncle Screwtape says, “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one. This is the road taken by quiet people, responsible citizens, religious people, our neighbors & even people participating in the Christian church.” It is Satan’s subtle devices that are most dangerous to Christians, and in falling for them we become ineffective in the service of the Lord Jesus. It helps to be aware of his schemes in order to prepare for the attacks so that we can hold our position against them.
This morning we are going to be concentrating on some of the subtle devices of Satan. I am going to divide these subtle devices into two broad categories for our discussion today. Some of the particulars in each category will overlap, but at least they will let us start to get a handle on them. There are 1. Strategies Against the Unsaved, and 2. Strategies Against the Saved
STRATEGIES AGAINST THE UNSAVED
The first thing we have to remember is that Satan is the “prince of this world” (John 12:31); the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2); and the “god of this age who has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan has power in this world, and though it is limited by God, he will use it. The grand strategy of Satan is to blind the eyes of the unsaved so that they cannot see the truth. All of his other strategies descend from this one. Satan will do this with both the people who are aware and those who are ignorant of him.
- Devices in Which People Become Aware of Satan
- Direct Awareness. With some, it is to Satan’s advantage to reveal himself to them. The device is to so mix truth and lies that the individuals involved are blind as to who he is fully or the limits of his power. They think the devil is more powerful than he actually is.
Devil worshipers, in whatever form, and those trying to practice witchcraft, spells, incantations, etc. understand properly that Satan has power. Even if they do not call the source of the power Satan, they recognize it as coming from some supreme evil source. Their desire is to tap into that power for their own purposes. Many of them see Satan as just the opposite of God and equal in power. Others may understand that he is not equal in power, but do believe that the devil will one day usurp God. Still others may not believe that, but believe that he will rule his own kingdom in Hell for eternity. In every case they do not know the full truth and that is that the devil is a created being (Ezekiel 28:15) who has rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-15) and will spend eternity in Hell where he will be a prisoner, not its ruler (Revelation 20:10).
- Indirect Awareness. Some who practice occultic rituals may not even recognize a supreme evil being. The device here is to lead people astray into thinking they are tapping into some sort of natural power source. People then think they can use this power to accomplish what they want. An example of this is those involved in New Age practices. They are blinded to the true origin of what they are doing and its source of power. They are also blinded to the ultimate destiny of those practicing such things. This is why such things as the New Age Movement, occultic materials & practices such as Ouija, Tarot cards, seances, fortune telling, palm reading, etc. are so dangerous. So are the fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons and its genre because at minimum they waste time and can skew thinking to accept occultic ideas as just a game, and at worst they open the door to direct occultic practices as the individual seeks the power alluded to in the game.
- Devices in Which People Remain Ignorant of Satan
- False Religions. The greatest device by which Satan blinds people to the truth is to get them involved in false religions and false religious practices. The device is to exchange the true God for a false god or gods. Islam, Hinduism and all its various practices, Animism, Zoroastrianism, the New Age Movement and the so called “ancient religions” of paganism, to name a few, all end up worshiping the devil and demons thinking them to be gods. The cults, including Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Science, those mixing pop psychology and spirituality with the Bible, etc., all exchange the true God for something somewhat resembling Him, but still false. There is also the mixing of various religious ideas and philosophies such as spiritists pushed by Oprah such as Wayne Dyer and “The Secret.” Romans 1 documents this as those who “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image,” (23) and “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (25). A perversion of the true God is just as false and dangerous as a false god.
- Atheism & Agnosticism. Another device is to either deny the existence of God (atheism) or claim that you cannot know if He exists (agnosticism). Religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Secular Humanism, (a tenant of some political philosophies) are based on atheism or agnosticism. This device is becoming increasingly effective in the western world largely due to the increase of religious science. By that I am referring to those who see “science” as the savior of mankind and evolution is a major tenant of it. The philosophical purpose of evolution is to explain the existence of everything apart from God. Evolution is a religious dogma, not actual science. That is why so many so called “scientists” and “science educators” are so afraid of anything being presented to challenge the hypothesis of evolution. (Understand by science definition that evolution cannot be a theory but only be a model or hypothesis since it is not observable, testable and repeatable, the three necessary tenants of the scientific method). Romans 1:18 & 2 Peter 3:4 both speak about these foolish people who deny that creation declares God’s existence.
- Practical Atheism. More destructive in our land than the outright denial of God is Satan’s device that separates intellectual assent from any consequences. This is the idea that is okay to say that God exists and that you believe in Jesus, but that doesn’t have to change your life. This idea allows people to claim that they believe in God, and the vast majority of Americans still claim to believe in God, yet to live as if there is no God. Those falling for this are in reality practical atheists. The man in the parable of Luke 12:16-21 was like this. He lived life without thought of coming eternity, and so Scripture remarks of him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?”
- Procrastination. Similar in effect to the strategy just mentioned is Satan’s device of procrastination. The idea that there is always time, so you can put off dealing with Christ until the last minute. However, the truth is that no man knows when he might die as in the parable in Luke 12 I just mentioned. Scripture says that today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). You do not know if you will have a tomorrow on this earth.
- Doubting the Truth. The final devices in the category of strategies against the unsaved are: all the means and methods designed to cause people to doubt the truthfulness of the Gospel message & the Word of God. This includes philosophy; what is supposed to be “science,” both biological and social; skepticism; and what is called “higher criticism” by those claiming to be Biblical scholars. Each of these finds some way by which they can intellectually deny God or formulate Him to be something they can be comfortable with. They end up creating for themselves a lesser god they can manipulate.
In a group this size, it is reasonable to assume that there are some here today that have fallen victim to one or more of these strategies of the devil. Today is the day of salvation. You need to turn from your sins and give your life to Jesus Christ. Recognize Satan’s lies for what they are and come to the truth. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6). You need to respond to that claim today!
STRATEGIES AGAINST THE SAVED
Most of you here today have already made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and assuming that you have not fallen victim to Satan’s lie that intellectual assent is enough, then as a Christian you will find that Satan has some strategies against you to make you non-effective in serving God.
Christians differ from non-Christians in that the bondage of sin has been broken by Christ (Romans 8:2). However, Satan’s strategies against us are still similar because he is at work trying to lead us into believing that we are still in bondage to sin and must obey it (Romans 6:12f). Satan has three basic devices to entice us to sin. It is the same basic three that he uses for non-Christians. After I share them with you, I want to list some of the more specific devices that Satan may use to entice us to fall into these three basic lies.
The three basic devices are found in 1 John 2:16. They are: The Lust of the Flesh, The Lust of the Eyes, and The Boastful Pride of Life. Satan used these against Eve in the Garden of Eden and won (Genesis 3). He used them to tempt Jesus Himself in Matthew 4, and lost.
Lets briefly look at Matthew 4:1-11 and see Satan’s efforts and Jesus’ response.
The devil begins by trying to use the lust of the flesh. Verse 1, Jesus has been led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Verse 2, He has fasted for forty days and nights and is now hungry. Verse 3, the tempter comes and strives to entice Jesus in the area of the flesh by telling Him to make stones into bread and satisfy His hunger. The temptation is to satisfy the desires of the body though His own means and methods rather than relying upon God to provide. Jesus answers by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Jesus puts his body in subjection to God and waits for His provision.
Next, Satan attacks in the area of pride. The tempter tells Jesus to perform a great sign and miracle by throwing Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple and let the angels catch Him. The devil even quotes from Psalm 91 to prove his point, which just shows that he is also the author of Scripture twisting. The idea is that the people would see it and acclaim Him. The temptation is for Jesus to gain the following of the people by His own means and methods. Again Jesus quotes from Scripture and says, “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.” Jesus subjects His pride to God and will wait for God to do things in His way and timing.
The third temptation against Jesus is in the area of the lust of the eyes by showing Him something that He would want for Himself. Satan, who is the “prince of this world” and the “god of this age” shows Jesus all the kingdoms of this world and their glory and tells Jesus that he would give him all it if Jesus would fall down and worship him. The temptation is for Jesus to gain the world through His own means and methods instead of God’s plan for the cross. This time Jesus not only quotes another Scripture, but rebukes Satan and says, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God and serve Him only.'” Jesus subjected Himself to the Father’s will, even knowing that it would take Him to the cross.
One thing I want to make sure that you understand here is that Jesus did not defeat Satan by quoting Scripture, but by knowing it and being obedient to it. Scripture cannot be used like some magical incantation. Memorization of Scripture without a willingness to apply it and be obedient to it will not keep you from sin.
Those are the three general strategies Satan uses to entice us to sin. Let me give you some specific devices Satan uses within these three general categories. These come from Thomas Brooks’ book, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, first published in 1652 and as relevant today as it was back then.
1. “To present the bait, but hide the hook.” This device denies the consequences of belief and actions. Satan used this against Eve when he lied and told her that she would not die if she ate the forbidden fruit. She ate, gave to Adam and he ate, and death entered the world (Romans 5:12). We fall for this device when we rush to do something without thinking of the consequences. Prevention: Think through the ramifications of what you are about to do before you do it.
2. “Painting sin with virtue’s color.” For example: Pride goes under the name of dignity, self-respect or self-esteem. Lying becomes disinformation, just a story and political spin. Fornication becomes a relationship with your significant other while adultery is just an affair. Covetousness and materialism become patriotic duties to build up the economy. Abortion becomes the right to choose under a made up right to privacy. Prevention: know the Bible well enough that you can recognize an action or attitude for what it really is rather than what sinful man has renamed it.
3. “By extenuating and lessening the sin.” This is the idea that it is only a small sin. It is only a little pride, a little worldliness, a small amount of selfishness, only a “white” lie, and only a small, inconsequential object I pilfered from work. We need to remember that small sins lead to larger sins. David’s adultery with Bathsheba started with a look and lead to the murder of Uriah. We also need to remember that so called small sins have brought about God’s great wrath. All Uzzah did was touch the Ark of the Covenant with his hand to steady it and God struck him dead on the spot. A “little sin” with good motives, but in direct opposition to what God had said to do. Prevention: realize that there are no “little sins.”
4. “Comparing our sin to those of others” Comparing yourself to someone else is never an excuse for your own sin. This idea has two branches. In the first you compare yourself to someone you consider worse. This allows you to minimize your wrong by pointing out someone who did worse. In the second branch you attempt to minimize your sin by comparing yourself to someone considered a great a saint that sinned in a similar way. The common examples are the adultery of David, the pride of Hezekiah, the drunkenness of Noah or the blasphemy of Peter. The idea is that you are not so bad because someone great also did it. Your sin is not justified because other people also sin, but if you think to compare yourself with the sins of the godly men of the past, then you also better compare yourself with their response to that sin as well. If you sin like David, then you had better repent like David including accepting the full consequences of the sin. Prevention: Compare your life to that of Jesus Christ whom you are to be like and not with other people.
5. “God is merciful, he has to forgive you, its His job.” This is often used by people when they knowingly commit a sin. This is the idea that you can go ahead and sin, because God will forgive you anyway. This is very dangerous ground to be on. Remember that God is also a God of holiness and justice. He is merciful and forgiving, but he also judges, chastises and punishes. In the Old Testament, a person who committed this type of sin would be shut out from the congregation. David cried out in Psalm 19:13 for the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins. Prevention: Remember all the attributes of God and never presume on God’s mercy for that would be testing the Lord.
6. “It is easy to repent.” This is related to the previous idea that you can sin now and simply repent later. This is a perversion of 1:John 1:9, and a person that thinks this does not understand the true nature of repentance. True repentance is a hard and difficult thing. It involves a change of mind, heart and direction from self to God. You are commanded to repent, but that does not mean you can just drum it up on your own. Repentance comes as a work of God on your heart which leads you to the truth (2 Timothy 2:25). Think of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 that were called to repent. How many of them did? Ephesus is gone. Pergamum is gone. Thyatira is gone. Sardis is gone. Laodicea is gone. Prevention: Learn what genuine repentance is & do not take it for granted.
7. “Boldness to be in situations of temptation under the belief that you can handle that temptation.” This is the idea of the proud that think they can look and not touch. Solomon warned his son against temptation in Proverb 6:27 saying, “Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?” Job had the better plan for he made a covenant with his eyes not to look (Job 31:1). Paul told Timothy to flee (2 Timothy 2:22). Don’t be surprised when you become like those you hang out with (Proverbs 22:24; Psalm 1), and that includes the information and entertainment sources you fill your mind with. Prevention: Recognize you are not as strong as you think you are and follow the advice of Paul and the example of Job. Avoid when possible and flee when not. Remember as well that 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
8. “The wicked do prosper – consider so and so.” This is the idea that since so many wicked people do succeed, why not follow their example. This is a tough question that the godly have struggled with in the past too. Why do those who do evil and are against the ways of God prosper financially, socially, and even medically? Asaph considered this in Psalm 73 for he had come close to stumbling over this issue. He strived to live righteously but was doing poorly while the wicked were doing great. He got his answer when he went to the temple and considered the end of the wicked. Final judgement does not occur in this life. Prevention: Consider eternity, not just the temporal.
9. “The Christian life is too hard.” Asaph faced this question as well in Psalm 73. There did not seem to be much reward in the present for his hard work to live righteously. Again, it was a loss of perspective. Christians are to live with eternity in view and not just the present. Hebrews 12:4 even challenges us on how hard we actually are striving to walk in righteousness stating, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” The easy way is the road to hell. It is the narrow gate and way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13,14). Prevention: Stay on the straight and narrow path by setting “your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
10. “Casting doubts on the truthfulness of God’s Word.” You will be challenged to question the Bible by philosophy, what is proclaimed as science, other religious books, cults, liberalism, and by the experience of others and maybe even your own. These challenges can be direct as was Satan’s contradiction of what God said to Eve (Genesis 3:4), or it could be more subtle questioning and assertions to lead you only slightly astray. Did God create the world in six days or is that referring to some sort of ages? Was Jonah really swallowed by a big fish or is that just a whale of a story? Wasn’t Daniel really written in the second century B.C.? Wasn’t the gospel of Matthew written based on the account of Mark?
None of these seem crucial in themselves for you can still be saved even if your understanding of these issues is wrong, but each undermines the validity and therefore the authority of the Bible. Can you trust Matthew, an eyewitness, if he had to rely on Mark who was not there to tell him what happened? If Daniel was written in the second century B.C., then Daniel, who lived in the fourth century B.C. did not write it and it is not prophecy. If Jonah was not swallowed by a big fish, then why did Jesus believe a lie (Matthew 12:40)? If creation was not in six days, then can you really believe or trust you can understand anything else Moses recorded?
It is amazing how many people are willing to gamble their eternal destiny on their own supposed sources of authority. Even more amazing, their skepticism does not seem to apply to those sources as it does to the Bible. What is your basis for knowledge and truth? The Bible claims to be true and from God. Jesus said in John 17:17, “Thy word is truth.” 2 Timothy 3:16 claims that “all Scripture is inspired by God.” 2 Peter 1:21 says it came as “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Prevention: 1. Be an honest truth seeker. 2. Challenge the competing sources of authority to stand up to the same scrutiny they are applying to the Bible. The Bible will win every time for those honestly seeking the truth.
11. “You cannot do anything for the cause of Christ.” The Christian’s identity is bound up in serving Christ for that is the way Paul even identified himself, a bond-servant, a slave of Christ (Romans 1:1; Ephesians 6:1; 6:6, etc.). It is the Lord Christ whom we serve (Colossians 3:24). Satan will try to thwart that if he can, and one way is to give us the idea that we cannot accomplish anything for Christ. All the devices mentioned above will diminish our effective service for God because any sin will do that. But Satan also tries to reduce or eliminate our service for Christ by suggesting in various ways that our involvement is not important, or would be a failure anyway, or you do not know what you are doing so don’t even try. This can come through ideas that pop into our own minds, through the discouraging words of other people, through feeling overwhelmed at what needs to be done, or through the experience of failing or achieving less than desired. Any time we get the idea that success is dependent upon us rather than God working through us, then we will be subject to this subtle device of Satan.
The truth is that the Holy Spirit has equipped each one of us for serving in the body of Christ (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4). Every gift is needed regardless of whether it is great or small and whether we or anyone else personally thinks it is important. I spoke on this six weeks ago when we were studying 1 Corinthians 12 (See: Unity in the Body). Prevention: First, begin praying about your involvement and then get involved. You will never be effective in the body of Christ until you start doing something. Trust the Holy spirit to guide you where he would have you serve. Second, remember that we are slaves of Christ and it is up to Him to assign us what He wants us to do. He will not have you do something he does not equip you to do, but keep in mind that part of the process of equipping you is having you do things you have not done before so that you can go on to even greater things.
12. “My motives were right.” “I was sincere” That is a common way to try to justify our actions even when they were wrong. We state that we were just trying to accomplish a good thing. That may well be true, but sincerity does not always equate with righteousness or even wisdom. This mindset can move us to do things that are contradictory to God’s commands and then still try to justify them.
Let me state emphatically that the end does not justify the means, and the motive does not justify either the means or the end. Good motives do not justify disobedience to the commands, principles & precepts of God’s Holy Word. I already mentioned Uzzah from 2 Samuel 6. David wanted the Ark of the Covenant brought up to Jerusalem, the city God had chosen for Himself. This was a good thing. They had great motives for what they were going to try and do. However, the book of Numbers gives a very precise method by which the Ark was to be transported. It had to be on the shoulders of a certain priestly line, the Kohathites (Numbers 3:29f). Instead, because they were anxious to get the ark to Jerusalem they did what seemed wise to them at the time. They got a new ox cart and loaded the Ark of the Testimony into it. All Uzzah was trying to do when he touched it was to keep it steady on the cart when it hit a rough place in the road. This was a very good motive. He did not want the Ark to get damaged in any way. Yet, 2 Samuel 6:7 says, “The anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and Uzzah died there by the ark of God.” Uzzah’s good motives carried out contrary to God’s command resulted in him being irreverent and disobedient to God resulting in his death. The end does not justify the means, and good motives are not enough. Prevention: Follow the Word of God over and above feelings, emotions and even conscience.
There are of course many other devices Satan may use against you. Maybe there is one that he has used successfully on you that I have not mentioned. My purpose was not to be exhaustive, but to challenge you to become more aware of what you do face in order that you might be more effective for the cause of Christ. Have any of these been used against you? Practical Atheism; Not considering the consequences; Paint sin with virtue’s colors; Lessening the sin; Comparing your sin to others; Presuming on God’s Mercy; Thinking it easy to repent; Being foolhardy when tempted; Discouraged by the prosperity of the wicked, or the hardness of the Christian life; Doubting the Bible; Believing you are unimportant to the cause of Christ; Using “good motives” as an excuse? Be aware and follow the advice of James 4:6 & 7 “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore [it] says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” I pray that this morning’s message will make you more effective at resisting the devil.
Let me close by mentioning a few books that do a good job of bringing out the schemes that Satan uses against us in this spiritual conflict. The Strategy of Satan by Warren Wieresbe; Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks – a reprint of a book written in 1652, and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Any one or all of them will help you be better prepared to be strong in the Lord and stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
The next sermon in this series is: Spiritual Warfare, Part 4: The Belt of Truth – God’s Existence)
Sermon Notes – 12/7/2008
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times the devil or sin is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about how to protect yourself from the devil’s efforts to get you to sin.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What are the two most common strategies Satan uses to keep people from effective defense in spiritual warfare? What is the general strategy of Satan against those who are not true Christians? How can direct awareness of Satan and demons cause people to sin? What truths are rejected or are missing for those who knowingly follow Satan? What is the danger of tapping into demonic power even if you sincerely believe it is a natural power? How do false religions keep people ignorant of the true God? What religions and philosophies incorporate either an atheistic or agnostic belief? Why is evolution not science? What is its philosophical foundation? Why do some people claim to believe in God, yet live as if He does not exist? What is the danger of putting off dealing with truth? With Christ? What are some of the ways the devil can cause people to doubt the truth? Give some examples in each of the following categories: philosophy, “science,” and religion. What is the overall strategy of Satan against believers? What are the three basic ways in which the devil seeks to entice you into sin? How have you experienced each of these three areas of temptation? How was Eve tempted in each area (Genesis 3)? Why did she fall into sin? How was Jesus tempted in each area (Matthew 4)? How did He overcome the temptations? (Hint: It was not by just repeating Scripture verses). How have you been enticed to sin without understanding the consequences of yielding to it? How do you protect yourself from this? What are some of the ways that our society makes sin seem okay or even like a good thing? Is there anything such as a “small sin?” Why or why not? Can comparing your life to someone else ever justify your own behavior? Who should the Christian compare their life to? What is the danger of willful sin? Does God forgive even defiant sin? If so, on what basis and does that remove the consequences? Define repentance. What is its source? It is easy to do? What was Job’s defense against sexual enticements? What did Paul tell Timothy to do regarding youthful lusts? What is the danger of not following those examples? The wicked can prosper in this life with wealth, good health and easy lives. What does God say their end will be? What motivates you to keep going when living for Christ gets hard? What are some of the sources that can cause you to doubt God’s word? How do you overcome those doubts? Does your service for Christ matter? Why or why not? Do you have to have the ability to succeed before you start serving Christ? What is required of slaves? What does Christ require of you? Do motives matter if the method or the outcome is evil? If so, how and to what extent? What is more important to God than motive? What is God’s response to the proud? To the humble? How can you make the devil flee from you? How well are you doing at making the devil flee?
Spiritual Warfare, Part 3: Satan’s Subtle Devices – Selected Scriptures
We are in involved in a spiritual ______ against a well organized and powerful adversary.
There are two equal and opposite errors: 1) ________in demons and 2) believe with an _________interest
“Schemes” (“wiles’) in Ephesians 6:11 is from a word from which we get “__________”
The devil and the demons seek to know our ___________ so they can attack our most vulnerable position.
STRATEGIES AGAINST THE UNSAVED – To ________ the eyes of the unbelieving
- Devices in Which People Become Aware of Satan
Direct Awareness: A recognition of power coming from a supreme _____source and wanting to tap into it
Blinded to the full _______: Satan is a rebellious created being who will be eternally punished in _____
Indirect Awareness: An effort to tap into demonic power they think is some sort of __________source
Blind to the _________ of the power and the destiny of those yield to it.
- Devices in Which People Remain Ignorant of Satan
- False Religions: An exchange of the true God for a _______ god or gods.
This includes both non-Biblical religions and “Christian” _______.
- Atheism & Agnosticism: A ________ of God’s existence or claim that you cannot know.
An element in several religions and the major tenant of _______humanism and evolutionary materialism
- Practical Atheism: A separation of intellectual assent from its ______________.
This allows a person to claim to _________in God while living their life as if He does not actually exist.
- Procrastination: The idea that there will always be ________ in the future to deal with Christ’s claims.
- Doubting the Truth: All means and methods designed to doubt the truthfulness of ______and His word
STRATEGIES AGAINST THE SAVED – To tempt & lead us into thinking we are still in ________to sin
The Lust of the Flesh: to _________the desires of the body through your _____methods instead of God’s
Boastful Pride: to _________ the acclaim of others by your own methods instead of God’s
The Lust of the Eyes: to gain the ___________ of this world by your own methods instead of God’s
We overcome temptation by knowing God’s word and being _________ to it
1. To present the bait, but hide the hook – denies the consequences of belief and __________
Prevention: Consider _______________before you act
2. Painting sin with virtue’s color – ________or redefines sin to be something acceptable, even virtuous
Prevention: Know the Bible well enough to recognize the __________ about any belief and action
3. By extenuating and lessening the sin.
Prevention: Recognize that there are ______ “little sins.”
4. Comparing our sin to those of others – your not as _____ as others, or even great saints have done it
Prevention: Compare your life to the example of _______________
5. God is merciful, he has to forgive you – you can _________sin because God will forgive you anyway.
Prevention: Remember all of God’s attributes – He is also holy and just and sin has ______________
6. It is easy to repent.
Prevention: Learn _______________ repentance & do not take it for granted.
7. Assuming you can handle the temptation –
Prevention: Follow the examples of Job & Paul – _________it when possible, _______from it when not
8. The wicked do prosper.
Prevention: Consider __________, not just the temporal.
9. The Christian life is too hard.
Prevention: Set your mind on the things ________, not earth (Col. 3:2).
10. Casting doubts on the truthfulness of God’s Word – Philosophy, “science,” religion, experience
Prevention: 1. Be an honest ______seeker. 2. Hold competing sources of authority to the _____standard.
11. You cannot do anything for the cause of Christ – you’re unimportant, you will fail, you’re ignorant
Prevention: First, begin praying about your involvement and then ______involved
Second: Remember you are a _____of Christ & it is up to Him to assign you what He wants you to do
12. My motives were right, I was sincere – as if those cancel out sinful means and sinful consequences.
Prevention: Follow the Word of God over and __________feelings, emotions and even conscience.
James 4:6 & 7 – God gives grace. Be _________. Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.
Good Books: *The Strategy of Satan by Warren Wieresbe;
*Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (reprint of a 1652 book).
*The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
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