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Sunday, September 10, 2017 pm 

LEARNING FROM SATAN TO STOP SATAN

                I once heard of someone who could always find something good to say about everyone.  One day she was asked, “Can you find something good to say about the devil?”  She replied, “Well!  He’s a hard worker.”  While humorous, there is something to be said about that (not just our need to find something good to say about others).  I ask you is that a true statement about Satan?  And are there other qualities we can learn from him?

I realize that we are clearly warned about Satan in passages such as 1 Peter 5:8-9 which says, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.   We are also told to of such a disposition, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Later in that same letter Paul would warn, For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)  In this we can see that Satan can make himself look good, even though he is not.  (In reality, there is NOTHING good about him.  We shall see this in the end.)  Let us notice some things we can learn from Satan.

 I.                     Why Satan is Successful

a.       He is determined

                                                   i.      As noted above, Satan is working hard to draw you away from God.  He is determined and busy to make his plans work

                                                 ii.      Ephesians 6:10-11 calls for us to be strong in the Lord and His power.  Put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand against the wiles (schemes – NASB) of the devil.  The idea of scheming is planning and implementing methods to accomplish one’s goals, usually sinister.  The word (wiles) is only found one other time in NT – Ephesians 4:14 – deceitful plotting, that we are to avoid.

                                                iii.      1 Thessalonians 2:18 – Paul has a desire to come to the Thessalonians, but he is hindered by Satan

b.       He is busy searching

                                                   i.      A desire that Satan has like God is that he wants every soul to follow him.  He will not rest until he has claimed as many as possible.  He is very zealous in doing what he does.

                                                 ii.      1 Peter 5:8 – he walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 

                                                iii.      Job 1:6-7 describes a day when Satan appeared before God.  He had been going to and from on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.  The context (see vs. 8ff) shows this was him searching for souls to claim.

                                                iv.      He even did his best to claim Jesus – Luke 4:5-8, 13 where he offered the world to Jesus.  When it failed, we are told he departed from Jesus “until an opportune time”.

                                                  v.      Matthew 12:43-45 – Jesus speaks of the wandering unclean spirit.  Even if Satan is cast out, he will try to come back.

c.        He is efficient

                                                   i.      He doesn’t waste time or efforts.  He is focused on accomplishing his task.

                                                 ii.      2 Corinthians 11:3 – with craftiness he deceived Even.

                                                iii.      2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – he will transform himself into an angel of light, and so will his ministers.

                                                iv.      Luke 8:11-12 – the seed by the wayside, Satan is there to snatch it away before it can take root.

                                                  v.      2 Corinthians 4:4 – he is described as the god of this age who has blinded the minds of those who do not believe.   We see his success with so many

d.       He believes in Christ

                                                   i.      There is a reason early on Satan sought to temp Jesus.  He may not have fully understood the plan, but he knew who Jesus was and the victory he would achieve if Jesus followed him.  That is why Satan tried so hard.  He lost! 

                                                 ii.      Mark 1:23-24 – there is fear as demons saw Jesus. 

                                                iii.      Acts 19:15 – Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?

                                                iv.      James 2:19 speaking of believing in one God.  Even the demons believe, and tremble. 

                                                  v.      It is his belief in God and Jesus that causes him to work as fervently as he does to defeat Him – though he WILL fail!

e.       He understands the concept of torment

                                                   i.      Consider Matthew 8:28 and the many interactions of demons with Jesus.

                                                 ii.      James 2:19 – they tremble at the thought of Him.

                                                iii.      We are told that hell – eternal condemnation is prepared for him – Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4 – God did not spare fallen angels but cast them down to hell to be reserved for judgment; Revelation 20:10, the devil and his followers were cast into the lake of fire.

 II.                   How to Successfully Stop Satan

a.       Satan has these qualities that could be described as good.  So why is there NOTHING good in him? 
1) Because many other qualities could be stated that show why he is so evil – he is a liar and blasphemer, the tempter, one looking to exploit us, etc. 
2) Because he uses these qualities for evil.  He wants to claim you and destroy your soul for eternity.  As we have noted Satan is very successful at what he does. 

b.       So how do we stop him?  Use his qualities against him – These same qualities that Satan uses for evil, we need to use them for good as we fight against him. 
Turn them against him.  Consider David as he prayed – Psalm 141:9-10, Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, And from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, While I escape safely.

Psalm 35:8, Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, And let his net that he has hidden catch himself; Into that very destruction let him fall.

c.        Be determined – we have talked about resolve continually.  We need to make our minds to not let Satan hinder us. 

                                                   i.      Like Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:2 who determined to not know anything except Jesus Christ.  Don’t go to places where his influence is stronger than God’s

                                                 ii.      1 Peter 1:13 – Paul calls for us to gird up the loins of your mind.  This is described as getting your mind ready for action. 

                                                iii.      As determined as he is to win you, be determined to NOT let him win.  1 Peter 5:9 says, “resist him, steadfast in the faith…”

d.       Be busy searching - search for truth, search for ways to resist the devil, search for lost souls.

                                                   i.      Matthew 7:7-8 – Jesus told his disciples, ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find…

                                                 ii.      Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

                                                iii.      Be searching for anyone you can claim FROM him – cf. John 1:40-42 – where Andrew found his brother Simon Peter and brought him to Jesus.  Acts 8:4 – they were scattered and took the word with them.

                                                iv.      Be zealous in your quest – Titus 2:14, Romans 12:11 – not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit serving the Lord.  Have zeal for the house of the Lord (cf. John 2:17).

e.       We need to be efficient – don’t waste time or resources.

                                                   i.      Redeeming the time and walking circumspectly – Ephesians 5:15-16.

                                                 ii.      We need to realize we cannot serve 2 masters at the same time – Matthew 6:24.

                                                iii.      1 Corinthians 6:12– even with things that are lawful, not all things are helpful.  WE must determine that we will not be brought under the power of anything in this life.

                                                iv.      One reason Satan has been so successful with this world is our lack of efficiency in resisting him, both personally and as a society.  Far too often, we are complacent and wasteful with the wrong things.  Parents are more interested in material success than spiritual success.  We are more interested in getting along than standing for what is right (and we are letting the building burn down around us), etc.

f.         We need to believe in Jesus – faith is at the foundation our lives as Christians.  It is crucial that we have faith as we fight against Satan.  Faith keeps us trusting God and gives us direction. 

                                                   i.      You need faith to overcome him – 1 John 5:4, (cf. John 16:33 – Jesus has overcome the world). 

                                                 ii.      1 Peter 5:9, resist him steadfast in the faith.

                                                iii.      Ephesians 6:16 – it is with the shield of faith that we quench the fiery darts of the devil. 

                                                iv.      Satan and his demons believe in God and tremble.  We believe in God, overcome him and rejoice. 

g.       We need to believe in torment – the concept of reward for what we do.  Both heaven and hell are designed to reward us.  There is incentive to do the right thing.  Will we avail ourselves of this?

                                                   i.      Romans 6:23 tells us the WAGES of sin is death.  Your eternal condemnation is earned by your sinful works.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 – God’s vengeance will be against those who do not obey the gospel and torment the godly. 

Revelation 20:14-15 – anyone not found in the book of life was cast into this same lake of fire.

                                                 ii.      Similarly, we have a hope of heaven which is some of our motivation. Colossians 1:5 speaks of the hope which is laid up for us in heaven. 
Philippians 3:13-14 – Paul pressed toward the goal for the prize. 

                                                iii.      2 Corinthians 5:10-11 – knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.

 

So what is the answer to defeating Satan?  Take the very qualities he seeks to use against us and turn them against him.  How are you doing in this?  Think about it!