Standing Nose to Nose with the Devil
INTRODUCTION: Here are two statements to remember.
As Christians, we face a relentless diabolical ARCH-ENEMY – the DEVIL, who hounds us constantly. He never lets up.
The devil is a FIERCE, UNRELENTING, HATE-FILLED ENEMY, described as a ROARING LION.
It is one thing to DISCOVER Satan's alive. It's another to KNOW what to do about it. As believers it is absolutely essential we know who Satan is.
In His book “Your Adversary the Devil,” Dwight Pentecost compares the tactics of a physical battle to those of the spiritual one.
“No military commander could expect to be victorious in battle unless he understood his enemy. Should he prepare for an attack by land and ignore the possibility that the enemy might approach by air or by sea, he would open the way to defeat. Or should he prepare for a land and sea attack and ignore the possibility of an attack through the air, he would certainly jeopardize the campaign. Likewise, no individual can be victorious against the adversary of our souls unless he understands that adversary, unless he understands his philosophy, his methods of operation, his method of temptation.”
This being the case, it should not surprise us Peter would address the issue of identifying the enemy of our souls and his general “modus operandi.”
At the outset, I want to call your attention to two incidences in the life of Peter concerning Satan.
FIRST: Matthew 16:13-23. In verse 13 Jesus asks His disciples, "who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" Peter answered in verse 16, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." After Peter made this confession of faith, Jesus told the disciples That He was going to Jerusalem to die, verse 21, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
Notice Peter's reaction in verse 22, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Interestingly, the word "rebuke" literally means, "to take one by the shoulders and shake them."
Peter was trying to shake some sense into Christ. It was here that Jesus turned to him with these words in verse 23, “Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offense unto me…” Jesus recognized Peter was a vehicle being used by Satan.
SECOND: Luke 22:31-32. In Luke 22 we have the second incident involving our Lord and Peter concerning Satan. Notice please as I read verses 31-32,
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (32) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
These words followed one of the most precious experiences that the disciples had with the Lord at the Last Supper. Our Lord had reached out and drawn these men intimately into His own heart. They were occupied with Him. His words filled their minds and His love filled their hearts. Yet our Lord said, "Peter, Satan is right here, and he desires to sift you as wheat."
Our Lord then went into the garden; where he bowed before the Father and prayed three times, "Not my will, but thine be done." It was shortly after that, Jesus was arrested and taken to the judgment hall.
Now everyone's attention was focused upon listening to the dialog between the High Priest and the Lord Jesus Christ. However, it appeared that Satan’s attention was focused upon Peter, for in Luke 22:54-62 we read,
“Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. (55) And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. (56) But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. (57) And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. (58) And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. (59) And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. (60) And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. (61) And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. (62) And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”
Almost immediately after the time of Peter's blessing by Christ in the Upper Room comes this denial. Why? Because Peter was not sober and vigilant. SATAN was LOOKING for an OPPORTUNITY, and FINDING that OPPORTUNITY, HE POUNCED!
Listen, failure in the Christian life, or sin that comes into a believer’s life is not necessarily the result of a premeditated plan.
Satan looks for an opportunity where he can attack us at the very strong points of our lives because he knows we can get PROUD at either who we are or what we are doing. Some of the best Christians I have known have fallen prey to the Devil because of Spiritual pride or doing things in the energy of the flesh and not in the energy of the Spirit of God.
Satan looks for an opportunity where he will find us living in some DISAPPOINTMENT or DISCOURAGEMENT.
Satan looks for an opportunity where he will attack us at the very weak point of our lives with our guard down. I have seen loving, faithful, spiritual believers give an inch to the world, to sin, to spiritual pride, or simply lash out with an unforgiving spirit, and the Devil gets them.
Now if Jesus warned Peter that Satan had a desire to have him and use him then how does Satan work his work?
I want you to follow as I read three passages of scripture on how Satan works his work for which we are to on guard:
Number 1: I Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Here in verses 8-9 it appears that Peter got an education, but the tuition cost was very high. Notice what he learned by way of a number of important words.
"Be sober" conveys the idea of being serious-mined. When it comes to our adversary the devil, we cannot afford to live in a light-hearted or flippant way. We must be alert, with our minds under control when it comes to our conflict with the Devil.
"Be vigilant" means to watch carefully for the presence of an adversary. Vigilance deals with our external defense. In war, the consciousness that behind every bush might lurk an enemy would produce vigilance. And yet how many of God's children treat life as though it were a Sunday school picnic. You know Satan exists, perhaps, and yet you are unconcerned that you have a diabolical enemy.
"Your Adversary, the Devil walketh about."
The word Satan means “Adversary.” The original term translated “adversary” refers to an opponent in a lawsuit. This individual is a person on the other side. An “adversary” is neither a friend nor a playmate. An “adversary” is no one to mess around with, and no one to joke with. Satan’s constant relationship with the child of God is an adversarial relationship. Make no mistake about it; he despises us. He hates what we represent.
The word “Devil” comes from the Greek word, “diabolos,” which means “the accuser, the slanderer.” Revelation 12:10 tells us the enemy of our souls “accuses the brethren day and night.”
The words "walketh about" are in the present tense. It should read, "Your Adversary, the Devil constantly walks around you, constantly stalks you." Satan never relaxes. You sleep. He doesn't; he is planning for the next day’s attack. You sit here in church. Satan is waiting for you outside the door. He doesn't leave you alone. He's waiting to attack and snatch away the Word of God that is being taught.
Satan is pictured here as a roaring lion that stalks. It suggests Satan has already conquered his prey. No lion stalking its prey announces the fact by roaring. It stalks and destroys the prey and then roars.
Personalizing this verse makes it very powerful, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour ______.” I find that has a chilling effect on my nervous system.
When it comes to Satan, after he has destroyed or overthrown the child of God, he roars in defiance against Almighty God, to challenge Him to do something about the devastation that he has brought into your life. I hope you are getting a true picture of your enemy.
Satan is no sly-looking imp with horns, a red epidermis, and a pitchfork. He is the godless, relentless, brutal, yet brilliant adversary of our souls who lives to bring us down, to watch us fall.
Number 2: Ephesians 6:10-18, we have described for us the organization of the Devil's armed forces and the full armor we are to put on as a defense against him. In Ephesians 6:11 we read, "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Notice the phrase, "the wiles of the devil." This refers to the strategies of the devil.
Just what is a “wile of the devil”? Wiles are ideas disguised in the form of thoughts that look good and sound good, but they are corrupt to the core. Satan knows that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is…" So, how does he use his wiles? It is through the power of suggestion. It all starts in the mind and then it comes out in visible action.
"Remember he who controls the mind will eventually dictate to us the control of our behavior."
Does it not say in Philippians 2:5, "let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
Does it not say in Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND…"
Does it not say in II Corinthians 10:4-5, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God…casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST."
Make a suggestion to an individual which matches their passion, appeals to their weakness at the right moment, and you will see the devil’s wiles at work.
Number 3: II Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Notice that phrase, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us…"
The word "advantage" means "a toe-hold." A good mountain climber doesn't need a bulldozer to build a road to the top of a mountain. Just give him a "toe-hold." Somehow, we have been led to think that unless we give Satan a paved four-lane super-highway he can't attack us or overcome us and defeat us.
The word "advantage" could mean in military terms a beach-head. Once an army establishes a beach-head, it can launch a successful attack. Satan can establish a beach-head in your life.
Satan doesn't have to get you to deny the holiness and the righteousness of God to pervert your conduct. All he must do is get you to turn the LEAST bit from the path of perfect obedience to God and he, from that beach-head, can destroy a life.
We have an adversary who is watching every move you and I make day after day and moment by moment. He is going to stalk you looking for a toe-hold or beach-head. And when that opportunity comes, he will work his strategy. LISTEN, SATAN CAN NOT OVER TAKE YOU OR PENETRATE THE ARMOR MENTIONED IN EPHESIANS 6 UNLESS YOU PROVIDE HIM THE OPPORTUNITY.
In I Peter 5: 8-9 we read that "Satan stalks us like a roaring lion".
In Ephesians 6:11 we read of the "wiles of the Devil."
In II Corinthians 2:11, we read "that we should not be ignorant of the devices of Satan that he seeks to use to get a toe-hold in our lives.
What are these devices Satan uses to gain a toe-hold or beach-head? What are these wiles of mind suggestions? How does Satan stalk us?
First: There is the WILE of worry, yet God said, "Be anxious for nothing." God also said, "to cast all your care literally all your worries upon Him, for he careth for you."
Second: There is the WILE of gossip, the most vicious crime of Christianity, yet multitudes do it, and enjoy seeking to do this work of the Devil. Proverbs 18:8, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds…"
Third: There is the WILE of discord. The splits in our Bible churches have been more over DISPOSITION than POSITION; more over DISCORD than DOCTRINE. I remind you, "sowing discord among the brethren is an abomination unto the Lord."
Fourth: There is the WILE of getting your eye on people. Every believer has an old sin nature he has to deal with. In Hebrew 12:1 we are "to look upon Jesus the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our Salvation."
Fifth: There is the WILE of covetousness, yet the Bible tells us "to set our affection on the things above, not the things of this earth."
Sixth: There is the WILE of being dissatisfied, yet the Bible says, "Be content with such things as ye have."
Seventh: There is the WILE of worldly lust, yet the Bible says, "Be ye holy for I am holy."
So how can we deal with the devil? Again, notice I Peter 5:9, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” From this verse, let me quickly give you three simple statements to remember as we respond to Satan.
1. Respect Him, He is Dangerous. I admire people who can do electrical work, the latter especially because, “I have a very healthy respect for electricity.” Likewise, we must have a “healthily respect for Satan,” as he is a very dangerous enemy.
He is a serpent who can bite us when we least expect it.
He is a formidable enemy; we must never joke about him, ignore him, or underestimate his ability.
The Devil’s greatest hope is that he will be written off as a childhood fairy tale, or dismissed from the mind of the educated adult. The thing he fears the most is the searchlight of the Scriptures revealing precisely who he really is and what comprises his battle plan.
2. Recognize him, he is a great pretender. Because he is a subtle foe, we must be “vigilant” and always on guard.
Be alert and sober; calm and watchful. Keep awake in the heat of the battle stay cool, calm, collected and clear headed. This is no time for a snooze, while he is silently maneuvering a brilliant strategy with plans to destroy you. This is serious stuff!
Remember his strategy is to counteract whatever God does. Whenever God plants a true Christian, Satan seeks to plant a counterfeit.
Therefore, the better we know the Word of God and allow the Spirit of God to control us, the keener our spiritual senses will be to detect Satan at work.
3. Resist him, take your STAND on the Word of God and refuse to move. When Satan puts some temptation in front of us, we think the best thing to do is to run, to flee from it.
However, God's method of defeating the devil is not to try to outrun him but "RESIST HIM." That simply means "to stand against."
In I Peter 5:9 we read, "…your adversary the devil …walketh about seeking whom he may devour; WHOM RESIST STEAD FAST IN THE FAITH…"
In James 4:7 we read, "Submit yourselves therefore to God, RESIST THE DEVIL, and he will flee from you."
In Ephesians 6:13 we read, "Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…"
My friend, Satan has you fooled, he wants you to believe he is a fearless lion, but he is really a coward. However, when we resist him with the authority of the Word of God, and stand firm in the faith, he will flee from you.
The end of this age is fast approaching. The devil is aiming every FORCE he has and has called out every TRICK and every WEAPON in his arsenal.
We must be continually alert, "SOBER and VIGILANT" to all sin and all temptation of sin.
We must daily keep on confessing our sins.
We must daily put on the whole armor of God for protection.
We must keep on watching and praying for the power of God upon our lives.
We must daily keep our minds in the Word of God and use it as a sword against Satan.
We must daily be RESISTING Satan continually, "claiming the blood of Christ" over our lives and ministry.
We have got to stay at doing everything we can to keep ourselves and our kids PURE and HOLY.
We have got to keep busy living for Jesus and serving God.
We have to fight this thing called a bitter spirit in our hearts, as well as an unforgiving spirit in our lives.
We have got to stay in the battle. We must not quit, or turn, we must stay in the Battle until the upper-taker or the undertaker takes you.
Before we can stand before Satan, we must bow before God. May we rise up and ever sing Onward Christian Soldier like a mighty army, realizing we are ON THE VICTORY SIDE.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “Standing Nose to Nose with the Devil” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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