And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
Satan is not the personification of evil, he is an individual. He is not a metaphor, he is a real being. The message of inspired Scripture affirms this beyond all doubt (Job 1:6; Matt. 4:1-11; Jno. 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8).
“Satan” means “adversary,” one who opposes another in purpose and action. His goal is to gain an advantage over us and to destroy us with sin. He works to achieve this by being the adversary of God and Christ (Lk. 4:8; Mk. 1:13). He is the adversary of God’s people (1 Chron. 21:1; Zech. 3:1-2; Lk. 22:31; 1 Thess. 2:18). He is also the adversary of the entire human race (Acts 26:18; 1 Jno. 5:19).
“Devil” means “accuser, slanderer.” He is a liar and the father of lies (Jno. 8:44). His lies deceive the world and accuse our brethren (1 Jno. 3:8; Rev. 12:9-10). Those who slander and lie are children of the devil (1 Jno. 3:10).
The devil slanders and accuses God to mankind, just as he did when he deceived Eve (Gen. 3:1-5; 2 Cor. 11:3). The devil accused God of being a liar (he lied about God’s integrity, v. 4), and he accused God of evil motives (he charged God with selfish pride, v. 5). Do you see how the devil accused God of his own evils (lying, selfish pride)? He still uses this tactic as he oppresses us and tempts us to lose faith in God and sin against Him (Acts 10:38; Job 1:6-12; 2:3-6). We cannot be ignorant of his devices. He gains his advantage over us when we are (2 Cor. 2:11).
The devil also slanders man to God, as his exchange with the Lord about Job reveals (Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6). However, we know God does not believe the devil’s lies about His faithful ones. God will never abandon you while you resist the devil (Jas. 4:7-8).
Satan is not “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12. The word means “bright one,” and is applied to the king of Babylon by Isaiah before the king fell from his power due to God’s judgment against him (Isa. 14:3-4, 10-17).
Satan is not a fallen deity. He is not all-knowing. He did not really know what Job would do when he was tempted (Job 2:3). Satan is not all-powerful. He can be resisted (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). “The devil made me do it” is one of his lies. The devil tempts us to sin, but we choose to sin (Jas. 1:13-15). Do not be deceived about your sin and about what sin causes (Jas. 1:16). Furthermore, do not be deceived about how your sins are forgiven by Christ (Jno. 14:6; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41).
Christians who were martyred for their faith overcame Satan “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11). We can, too (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
At the Lord’s last Passover, John records, “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus” (John 12:20-21). The Father spoke from heaven and Jesus warned that Satan is about to be cast out and He lifted up. Their statement, “Sir, we would see Jesus” has a lot of implications because through the scriptures, we indeed “see Jesus.” But realistically, how do you see the Jesus of the New Testament?
Do you see Him with the eye of reality? It is fundamental to our faith to believe that Jesus really existed. John describes, “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord” (20:20). The gospels were written to establish be-yond doubt the veracity of the claims of Jesus.
Do you see Him with the eye of recognition? When Mary mistook Him for the gardener, “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master” (John 20:16). Seeing Jesus for who He really was means seeing Him as the Son of God, the Messiah, God’s way of dealing with sin and death, a critical example for your life, and the ruler who will judge.
Do you see Him with the eye of spiritual understanding? “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Overcoming unbelief is accomplished by looking to Jesus who overcame all obstacles and sat down at the right hand of God.
Do you see Him with the eye of faith? Luke 17:5 says, “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” The increase of faith comes from acquainting ourselves with Him through scripture. While we didn’t see Him walk the earth, we are blessed when we act as though we did (John 20:29).
Do you see Him with the eye of love? Stephen, willing to give himself for Christ, said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). That level of sacrifice exists only because of love — love for the Lord and for His truth. Jesus wanted the depth of His disciple’s love to be beyond anything else (Matthew 22:37), and love can only find a proper expression in truth (Ephesians 4:15; 3 John 1).
Do you see Him with the eye of hope? “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). We endure persecutions and trials for the eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Jesus is coming again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and the eye of hope keeps us centered until we see Him.
When you “see Jesus,” you see Him from different angles with different lenses. The allure of the New Testament is its ability to present Him in all His beauty and complexity, and for us to respond to these superb snapshots with love and obedience.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: John 12:34-41
1. “I want
to be sure” can become a crutch that hinders us from doing what we know
to be right, Jas. 4:17; 2 Cor. 6:2.
I. “I WANT TO BE SURE…”
My Faith.” 2 Cor. 13:5; Col. 2:8.
II. DANGERS IN THE “I WANT TO BE SURE” THINKING.
Can Occur When it Shouldn’t, Acts 22:16; 16:33.