Last week we looked at the person of Lucifer or Satan. We looked at his creation as an angel. We saw his fall from glory as he chose to rebel against the authority of God. He sought to site where God sat at His throne and receive His worship. We read that he was cast out of heaven though he still has access there. A third of all the created angels seem to have joined him. We saw that Satan's desire to be as God and his ongoing defiance to our lives will eventually bring him home to the eternal place of judgment: the Lake of Fire.
This lesson we want to look at some ways in which Satan keeps the world lost. Read Ephesians 6:10-13.
[Eph 6:10-13 NKJV] 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places]. 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.
We will learn that Satan's tactics in the world don't change very much. And in that regard he is predictable, but he is cunning and sly. The Lord has given us many insights about our enemy so that we can stand. There are only two categories of people in this world: thos who belong to God and have come to Him through His Son Jesus Christ and thee are the others who believe that Jesus is not God. They find themselves under the control of the evil one, the god of this world. There is no third category.
1. [Jhn 3:3 NKJV] 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
How does Satan keep those in this world blind? What does he do to keep them away from Jesus? You would think he would be satisfied with a bunch of indifferent people, but that is not the Devil. He is not done until he has destroyed you.
2. [2Co 4:1-2 NKJV] 1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Paul found one thing absolutely necessary when reaching the world was to be transparent in the teaching of God's word. Paul assures the Corinthians that his ministry is honest, open, and dependent soley upon the clear simple teaching of God's word.
3. [2Co 4:3-4 NKJV] 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
The gospel is open and revealed to everyone except to those who refuse to believe. So if there is a lack of response, it is not due to the honest representation and life in Christ but rather is a consequence of the work of the enemy who wars for the souls of men. Paul knew he was in a spiritual battle and expected to see this battle unfold was Jesus was preached.
4. According to 1 John 3:1-5 what was the purpose of Jesus coming to this world? ________________________
[1Jo 3:1-5 NKJV] 1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Those who are perishing and refuse the Gospel do so under influence of the wicked one who works to keep men's eyes from beholding God's grace. He seeks to have men forgo the cross, even as Peter tried to convince Jesus to do in Matthew 16:22-23
[Mat 16:22-23 NKJV] 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" 23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
5. Whose way was Peter advocating and what did Jesus tell him? Satan was talking through Peter.
Jesus has overcome the enemy and one day we will see it as the title deed to earth is handed to the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5)
[Rev 5:1-14 NKJV] 1 And I saw in the right [hand] of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power [Be] to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!" 14 Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
Yet for now blindness due to sin and the activity of the enemy grips people's hearts and leaves them in darkness, needing the reason and hope of God's love.
6. [Isa 1:18-19 NKJV] 18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
The Lord invited His people together to come and reason together with Him in spiritual things.
We are called to go out and share our faith often because of this blinding influence of the devil upon man who isn't able to see clearly through his own sin. Rational people who you admire, that are wise and caring and insightful tend to change dramatically when you start to talk about Jesus like you know Him. What is normal now becomes this big battle ground between you and them. The rational is set aside and opinion, fault finding, self-justification and myth come to the forefront. Paul's advice to Timothy and to all who teach God's truth is to be kind and gentle, patiently and courteously explaining the truth.
7. [2 Tim 2:24-26 NKJV] 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and [that] they may come to their senses [and escape] the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to [do] his will.
The gospel sets people free from the lies and the blindness of the enemy. Satan will use lies to bind, control, and deflect the seeker. He will encourage self-confidence that makes no allowances for repentance, self-examination, and honesty. The plan of the enemy is to keep the lost laughing at God and His word.
8. Read Isaiah 42:1-9. These verses talk about how God wants to bring the world to knowledge of Him. Jesus would fulfill this task and show God Himself to the world.
[Isaiah 42:1-9 NKJV] 1 "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One [in whom] My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. 2 He will not cry out, nor raise [His voice], Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law." 5 Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: 6 "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, 7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. 8 I [am] the LORD, that [is] My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. 9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them."
God calls us to be servants of His Son, demonstrating God's righteousness and bringing His light. God gives man a choice, but know that Satan does not; he just wants to destroy you. Since it is a spiritual battle, how vital it is that we go on the offensive in prayer to ask God to open the eyes of those sitting in darkness and under the power of the devil. If they could truly see God clearly, many would no doubt turn to Him (Colossians 4:3). It is vital that we do a lot of praying.
[Col 4:3 NKJV] 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
Jesus' illustration of the blinding influence of the enemy of our souls in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 the parable of the sower, teaches us that it is the condition of the heart that determines its receptivity to the seed (Word of God). Here is where the enemy works: keeping the soil unfit for receiving, planting, and growth.
[Mat 13:1-9 NKJV] 1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 "And as he sowed, some [seed] fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 "Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 "But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 "But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
[Mat 13:18-23 NKJV] 18 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand [it], then the wicked [one] comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 "But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands [it], who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
9. Name the four soils that Jesus speaks of in verses 18-23 ____________________________________________________
10. The four types of soil represent different responses to God's message. Some are hardened, others are shallow, others are contaminated by distracting worries, and some are receptive. What kind of soil are you?
Satan wants to snatch the seed away, but this time he is going to let you eat the seed; however he's going to change it. Read 1 Timothy 4:1-3
[1 Tim 4:1-3 NKJV] 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Paul's word to Timothy in the last days says that one of Satan's arenals will be to deliver religion without the truth. Not that he'll snatch up the seed but that he will change the seed. Perversion of the scriptures is the flip side of the blinding work of the devil. He wants to keep you from the truth and when your heart is hard he will change the message.
A common thread that runs through false teachings is the denial of the truth of the Bible. At some point they depart between God's Word and God. They will reshape and redefine God's Word. These false teachings can be characterized by commonly held threads of evil:
1. Denying the truth of the Scriptures: Many cults write their own version of the Bible to teach what no one would conclude by simply reading the Word. The consequences of adding to or removing from God's word are irreversible (Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19, 2 Timothy 3:16-17); yet men embrace teachings they agree with.
[Pro 30:6 NKJV] 6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
[Rev 22:18-19 NKJV] 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
[2 Tim 3:16-17 NKJV] 16 All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2. Denying the deity of Jesus Christ: For if Jesus is not God then His death is of no benefit (2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 2:22).
[2 Peter 2:1 NKJV] 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction.
[1 John 2:22 NKJV] 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
3. Denying the grace of God: Most false religions offer works/performance approach to God. Yet God's Word teaches otherwise (Eph 2:8-9, Rom 11:6).
[Eph 2:8-9 NKJV] 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
[Rom 11:6 NKJV] 6 And if by grace, then [it is] no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if [it is] of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
4. Denying or altering the second coming to remove immanency and judgment: (2 Peter 3:4) many bring doctrines that remove the coming of our Lord entirely to judge.
[2 Peter 3:4 NKJV] 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of creation."
5. Providing other gods to worship: Satan wants every man on his knees worshiping him alone through a variety of offered idols. Remember Rev 13:15.
[Rev 13:15 NKJV] 15 He was granted [power] to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
6. Controlling world governments: the mandate of many politically is to control the spiritual beliefs of its people. In doing so, billions are left without a witness and overwhelmed by darkness to Satan's delight.
Jesus is more than willing to give you life; run to Him! We are blessed to belong to Him.