Know Your Enemy (1)

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Know Your Enemy (1)

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: 1 Peter 5:8



Sunday, March 18, 2019 am


      We have been addressing our need to shine as lights in this dark world.   We have seen the importance of being a proper example and letting our light shine. This has included descriptions and many scriptural examples of that light.

We now turn our study to an understanding of the darkness wherein our light needs to shine. Ephesians 5:11 challenges us to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them.     So with that in mind, we now want to begin an examination of the darkness in this world. We will begin today with a study of Satan and his influence.   This will be followed by an examination of some passages that describe darkness. Next we want to take a look at society around us and be aware of the darkness of this society and world. Then we want to notice some examples of darkness (people who showed darkness) in scripture. So let’s get started with this study.


I.  Who is Satan?

  1. He is a real being, not merely the personification of evil.
    In scripture he is referred to with personal pronouns (he).   In the NT, he is referred to as “devil” more than 30 times and Satan more than 30 times.
  2. Named and described
    • Satan – a transliterated Greek word that means an adversary.   Truly Satan is our enemy and against us.   If we were to give him a name, this is it.   1 Peter 5:8 – he is described as our adversary.
    • Devil – a word meaning, a deceiver
    • Described as a liar and murderer – John 8:44
    • The serpent – Genesis 3:1.   This description of Satan is found a few other times in scripture.
      2 Corinthians 11:3 – as the serpent deceived Eve; Revelation 12:9 where the “great dragon” is described as “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan…” (Also 20:2)
    • The evil one – Matthew 6:13
    • Other names associated with him – Belial (2 Cor. 6:15); Apollyon and Abaddon (Revelation 9:11, 12:9 – means destruction in Hebrew and Greek); Beelzebub – Matthew 12:24.   NOTE: These descriptions may not be specifically Satan, but they are associated with him and his servants.
  3. He is associated with darkness – Acts 26:18, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
    He is behind the ways of darkness.   Consider Revelation 2:10 where Smyrna is warned   that the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested…
  4. The world is his dominion – 2 Corinthians 4:4 – god of this world; John 12:31 – ruler of this world; Ephesians 2:2, prince of the power of the air, etc.
  5. 1 John 3:7-8 – he who sins is of the devil

II.    How he works

  1. He deceives – one might say this is his primary work. This is how he works today. I am convinced that Satan does not have miraculous powers today.   He cannot possess us, as demons in the first century.   With what we know about him, he can only do what we permit him to do.
    INSTEAD, his greatest work is through deceit.   Convincing us that sin is ok, that God doesn’t exist, doesn’t see or doesn’t care. That selfish pursuits are your best home and give you fulfillment (which they don’t). Etc.
    Genesis 3:1-2 – his first work was to lie and deceive.   He lied to Eve.
    2 Corinthians 11:14 – he transforms himself into an angel of light.   He makes himself look appealing.   There is such a thing as Satanic worship, but far too many do not see Him as evil and wicked. NOR do they see his ways for the destruction they are.
    2 Thessalonians 2:9 – his working is with all power, signs and lying wonders. One might see in this text that Satan DOES seem to have miraculous or super-natural abilities, but note that this includes LYING wonders.   Whatever powers and wonders are manifested through Him are LIES!
  2. He tempts – Matthew 4:3 he is described as the tempter. This is the beginning of Matthew’s account of the temptation of Jesus (4:1-11) by Satan.
    it is a part of his deceitful scheming.   The idea of a temptation is a lure that is appealing to you.   It is designed to capture you, the way that bait captures an animal in a trap. That is what James warned of in James 1:12-16.     Note the warning in vs. 16, “Do not be deceived”.
    Satan appeals to the lusts of the flesh – 1 John 2:15-17
    Jesus resisted temptations and so must we.   More later.
  3. He will take advantage of you
    2 Corinthians 2:11, he knows your weaknesses and will exploit them.
    1Peter 5:8 says he is seeking to devour you.
    2 Timothy 2:26 speaks of the snare of the devil.
    As an example: John 13:2 tells us the devil put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.
    – He sought to sift Peter as wheat   – Luke 22:31
    – Acts 5:3 – Ananias (and Saphira) – “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…”
  4. He seeks to undo what good others have done
    Mark 4:15 – parable of the sower, Satan comes and takes away the word from the unreceptive heart.
    Matthew 13:39 – explaining the parable of the tares, he sowed poisonous tares (weeds) in a field of good wheat.   He seeks to sow his poison against God’s word – trough divisions, doubts, etc.
    1 Thessalonians 2:18 – he hinders us.   In some way he tried to hinder Paul.
  5. He uses his “angels of light” to do his bidding – 2 Corinthians 13:15.   Sadly, he has plenty of help in this world.   And he is not having difficulty finding new recruits.   Partly because too many followers of Jesus are failing to ground others.
  6. He will take whatever you give him – no more and no less.   The point being he can only work on you, if you let him.

Understanding who Satan is, is where we begin a study of darkness.   Understand that while he works in this world, he will be defeated, and so will his workers of darkness.   Let us take consolation in that. And thus, we must still shine as lights in this dark world.   How is your light shining?