Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 6. Experiencing the power of the cross . No 08:- Dead to Satan (Part 4) How Satan attacks.

. No 08:- Dead to Satan (Part 4) How Satan attacks.

 

 

EXPERIENCING THE POWER OF THE CROSS


DEAD TO SATAN (PART 4)

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV) 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Introduction.

We continue in our series on ‘Dying to Live’ with specific reference to us as believers experiencing the power of the cross. Over the last four weeks we were able to say that ‘if one died for all, namely Jesus Christ, then we all died to sin’, and we were also able to say based on the message two weeks ago that: ‘when one died for all namely Jesus Christ, we all died to Satan.

However even though we recognised that Satan is a defeated foe, that his power has been reduced, that he is under subjection to God, he is still our enemy and he goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but he is doing this without teeth. He is not functioning on 220v but on 9v. He can shock you and irritate you and be in your face, and tempt you and cause you to sin and to disobey God, but he cannot kill you or damn you or turn you away from God if you are truly saved.

So last week we started looking at our personal victory over Satan. We recognised again that you cannot bind Satan, you cannot stomp Satan lower and you cannot keep on kicking him as one favourite saying goes. He is real, his power is real and his demons are real and he needs to be dealt with, because the word of God is clear according to Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV) “that we stand against the schemes of the devil,” AND THAT “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

So what do we do with the Devil? We saw last week that:

  • We must firstly, take note that the devil is going to attack you.
  • Secondly, you need to resist the devil and he will flee from you.
  • Thirdly, you need to keep your spiritual eyes wide open.
  • Fourthly, you must not be ignorant about his devices.
  • Fifthly, never underestimate the importance of prayer in the battle.
  • Sixthly, which is our point for today and next week, you need to put on the whole armour of God.

Before we can look at the whole armour of God, we need to understand something of how Satan will attack believers. There is one reality that I need to highlight which is critical and it is that the armour always has to be relevant to the battle you face. You do not take a sword onto the rugby field, even though you might wish to, even if it is just to kill the ref. You do not attack a man with a gun in his hand with a pea shooter. You do not fight your mother-in-law with a canon, your mouth will do. You have to meet strength with strength. The armour has to be relevant to the enemy and their armour. So if we are going to understand the full armour of God by which we will stand against Satan, we need to understand how he attacks us, as the armour has to be relevant.

Let me give you ten ways in which Satan attacks, and then you will understand the relevance of our armour as explained in Ephesians 6.

  1. He will question God’s character and credibility in our lives just as he did with Adam and Eve. Because our greatest strength is to trust God he will try and get you to distrust God. Remember his statement to Eve: “Did God say?”, then Satan explains what God actually meant ‘okay Evie, let me explain, God said it because God knows that if you eat of the fruit your eyes will be opened and you will be like God’ (Genesis 3:1&5). So when you distrust God in your circumstances, whatever they are you join Satan in questioning God’s truthfulness. He even tried to get Jesus Christ to distrust His father in the wilderness.

 

2. Satan tries to undermine present victory by generating trouble in your life, thereby tempting us to forsake obedience to God’s standard and calling. He will do this through hardships and persecution. How many Christians do not obey God’s Word simply because they fear peer pressure of persecution in the work place.

 

3. Satan attacks Christians through doctrinal confusion and false teaching. Christians who are untaught in God’s Word, or who sit under shallow teaching easily fall prey to false teachings. Why do you think people will gather for themselves teachers that teach what their itching ears want to hear? It is because they do not know how to discern truth from error. When this happens the enemy comes in as a Wolf in Sheep clothing.

 

4. Satan attacks believers by hindering their service of God. He will actively hinder your service when you want to serve, as he did with Paul as we see in 1 Corinthians 16:9 (ESV) 9for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” Satan even hindered him in his service in Thessalonica:- 1 Thessalonians 2:18 (ESV) “18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.” 2 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV) 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” What Satan meant as harm and hindrance God used as a plan to keep Paul from becoming conceited.

But he will also actively provide you with the excuses when you are cold in your faith and you are looking for excuses not to serve. You want excuses, he will give you excuses. The story is told of a farmer who came to borrow his neighbour’s plough. His neighbour refused as his wife was using it to comb her hair. When his neighbour remarked that it is impossible, as you cannot comb your hair with a plough, the farmer was quick to respond: “listen buddy, if you do not want to do something, any excuse is as good as the next one.”

Think of all the excuses that you and I have used in the past when we do not want to honour or serve the Lord, because it might cost time, money or effort. In your heart of hearts you know it was nothing but an excuse. That’s why I always say, find a young man with no time money or energy for the work of the Lord, and give him a girlfriend and you will see how much time, money and energy he has.  Satan will tempt you on this level Christian. Just think back over the past few weeks and any excuses you have come up with for not doing the will of God. You know where it comes from? Our enemy!


5. Satan attacks believers by causing divisions. That is why Jesus prayed so earnestly for the unity of His followers in John 17:11 (ESV) 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” That is why Christians are commanded to quickly and willingly reconcile to one another. Matthew 5:24 (ESV) “24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Christians there are no ‘ja-but’s’ in this one. Satan will always lead you to believe that your circumstances fall out of the realm of what Christ has intended. Then we have to ask, so what did Jesus mean when Jesus said this. I am amazed at how many believers I meet who justify their lack of forgiveness or reconciliation on the basis of the fact that their situation is unique. My friend, when Christ died on the cross He died to forgive all sins, not unique sins. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin against the Holy Spirit which is to say that Christ is of Satan and to therefore reject Him.

 

6. Satan attacks believers by getting them to rely on their own resources instead of God.

Remember what happened to David when he was in battle.  1 Chronicles 21:1-8 (ESV) 1 Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” Now even Joab, had some spiritual discernment and knew this was wrong. You see this in verse 3-4. 3 But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” Well, David was King so Joab did as he was told, but look at God’s view on the matter. 7 But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. 8 And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” David forgot the story of Gideon and his army of 300, right? He also forgot about Jehoshaphat and his little choir going ahead of the army.

How often do we forget the 5 loaves and the 2 fish? How often do we forget that Jesus said: Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV) 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen?” We are a new church and we are going to face major challenges, but may we remember that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Do you know that as a believer you can even rely on God’s word and not rely on God? There are many Christians who fall into religious orthodoxy where it becomes Father, Son and Holy Book. You can understand the Word of God in a superior manner, you could have attended all the courses and have all the certificates on your wall, but if you do not rely day to day on God’s leading by His Spirit, and live in constant faith and prayer you can just as easily experience your Christian downfall. Right doctrine without right devotion is a serious pitfall and you are as guilty as David counting his army. If you lean on your own understanding instead of leaning on God you play right into the hands of Satan. Remember the church in Ephesus as we see them in Revelation 2, they had all the knowledge, they had the greatest teachers in Paul and Timothy, but they departed from their first love. Right theology without a right relationship cannot prevent the death of a church.


7. Satan attacks believers by leading them into hypocrisy. One of Satan’s greatest strategies over the years has been to populate the church with unbelievers who behave like Christians and believers who behave like unbelievers. The believer who is more concerned with his outward appearance and with rules and regulations and rituals and symbols plays into the hands of Satan. You cannot cover your sins with a mask of piety, then you are simply like the Pharisees who were like dirty cups on the inside while clean on the outside, you are no less than white plastered graves. Satan’s greatest threat for a believer is to get him to trust in himself and not in God.  The sad reality is that we can preach on hypocrisy as many times as we want to, but only the real Christian will always take it to heart, and think that he might be hypocritical as he realises that he always has room for improvement, but the genuine hypocrites will always think they are real in their faith, as they become numb to their own self-righteousness.

 

8. Satan attacks believers by leading them into worldliness. A preacher remarked one day that the biggest problem with the church today is that the church is in the world and the world is in the church. What he meant is that Christians live worldly and that many Churches have embraced worldly standards to attract the world into the church and they have lost their Christian identity. That is why Paul writes in Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I have a book on my shelf where the author claims that Satan has tripped up the church by allowing it to have the world’s agenda, the world’s theology and the world’s wisdom. We have sadly forgotten that the answer for this world is out of this world, it lies with God. We will look at this in a sermon later on when we realise that we are dead to the world in Christ. But in the meantime we know this that Satan is the god of this world, and he is the reason why many people do not believe in God at all. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (ESV) Paul says: “3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

 

9. Satan attacks believers by leading them to disobey God’s Word. Satan will always tempt you to act contrary to the Word of God. Throughout the New Testament you see the contrast between God’s desires and Satan’s desires, the works of the Spirit and the works of the flesh, the fruit of light and the fruit of darkness the old man versus the new man and God’s thoughts versus man’s thoughts. Remember the occasion when even Peter fell in this regard and Jesus had to rebuke him. Matthew 16:23 (ESV) 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

 

10.  Satan will attack us by pretending that man is Big and God is small.

If you study Ezekiel you will see the age old problem as many Kings thought they were greater than God. This still happens today as we put our confidence in the flesh. We see it in the doctrine of salvation. You will hear a preacher say that you must give God a chance, try God, test Him and if He does nothing for you then discard Him. Do they not realise that it is God who gives us a chance? Do you realise that you cannot even believe in Christ and receive Christ if the Holy Spirit has not done a work in your life from above and birthed you from above.

I look with sadness at the many ministries in the world that go by the name of the preacher. We saw this last week, that we must humble ourselves before the Lord and draw near to Him as He is Big and we are small. Wendy and I drove past a church in Johannesburg that had this major billboard on the road that was advertising their goal for the year and it said: ‘I CAN with a little help from God’. Oh how small we have made God. This is exactly what Satan said to Eve. Did God say to you, well I say to you, ‘you can with no help from God because you will be like God.’

Oh may the God of Logos always be BIG in our eyes and us small.

 

Implications.

I want to end here today, as I believe this has set the platform for us understanding what it is to put on the whole armour of God. People we know something of the force we are facing, we know something of his attack, his schemes, his strategy and methods. So next week we will put on that armour and see how it will help us to combat Satan.

Remember that our defence against Satan is not the knowledge how he attacks but the provision that God provides. Ephesians 6:13 (ESV) 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

All of what I shared today becomes a day of evil for believers. You will be attacked in one of these or many of these. We cannot always know when, where and how Satan is going to attack, so do not miss next Sunday as we look at what the full armour of God is. Remember, we are not called to put on the partial armour. One of the things that you will see next week is that God’s armour will protect you even at the times you do not even know that you are under attack.

So next week we will look at the seven pieces of armour that are critical for victorious Christian living. Don’t let Satan keep you away, by providing you with excuses. No, you cannot comb your hair with a plough, you know it, we know it, God knows it and Satan knows it, but he will pretend that all our excuses are valid at least in our own minds.

 

Amen.

Logos Community Church: - 5 May 2013