Pastor Barry/ The Gathering This I Believe Series #8: Our Foe To hear this message and others go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM
“The Serpent” Genesis 3:1-6,13-15, John 8:42-47
The foe of the Church and of our God is not who you imagine but he is certainly real. Satan is no fiery figure with horns and a tail (horns symbolize power in the Bible and so some ancient artists began that nonsense), he is actually able to appear in many deceitful forms. The first time we read of Satan in the Bible is in Genesis when he took on the form of a serpent (not a snake which cannot speak) and murdered innocence in the garden of Eden. Even then God made Satan’s end clear. One would come from the seed of man and “crush his head”. Later, that “son of man”, Jesus— referred to him when he called out the Pharisees (John 8:42-44) as being sons of the Devil. This is what any man is who refuses the truth of God. Christian brothers and sisters we are children of God, but until we are in Heaven with Him we have a battle fight with our foe!
Lucifer’s Creation Colossians 1:15-18, 1 Peter 5:8-11, Luke 10:19-20
As we previously established, God created all things (Colossians 1:15-16) and therefore even created Satan, but He did not create evil, for all that God created is good (Genesis 1: 31; 1 Timothy 4: 4). God created a good angel (Lucifer), who used his free will to reject God and become evil. Lucifer wasn’t content to worship and serve his Creator. In pride, he rebelled, leading a third of the angels (Revelation 12:4). God cast them down to the earth and they have operated here in rebellion ever since, but God is supreme. His plan trumps our foe!
God knowing all things knew that Lucifer and a third of His angels would rebel if given a free-will. God also knew that men would rebel if given a free-will; however, without a free will there is no true love or relationship with our Creator. Evil is the result of a free-will choice by Lucifer and it is carried on by man’s free-will choice to follow him in his rebellion, but Satan and sin don’t foil God’s divine purposes. Evil in stark contrast to God’s goodness, shows His love and mercy through salvation. Satan and his host fear God because they know that in Christ is victory. God will prevail (James 2:19), but they will never repent. Satan, his army and those who follow them will one day be cast into hell (Revelation 20:10, 14), but until then they are determined to corrupt and destroy all that is good and godly. We are warned to be self-controlled and alert. Our enemy the devil prowls like a lion looking for someone to “devour” (1 Peter 5:8), but God gives His children authority over this foe as Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19-20. Still, we are warned not to get prideful about such authority. We can only resist Satan by standing firm in our faith in Christ. Satan is no amateur His names and actions throughout scripture tell all.
His Names Job 1:6-12, James 4:6b-10, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
His personal name, “Satan” (adversary), tells of his nature —enemy of God, of all He does, and of all loves. He is also called “the Devil” (“slanderer”). In Matthew 12:24, the Jews refer to him as “Beelzebul,” derived from “Baal-Zebub” (“lord of the flies”), a false god of the Philistines in Ekron (2 Kings 1:2). His other titles include tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5), wicked one (Matthew 13:19, 38), and accuser (Revelation 12:10).
Until Satan is cast into hell he roams the earth and even accuses believers before God. We can see that God allows Satan at times to tempt the believer in order to build up his faith and the faith of others (Job 1:6-12). Here is at least one reason why the Christian should never be prideful about his authority over Satan’s attacks and always pray “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13) and why the Christian must always resist the Devil (James 4:7). Any temptations that God does allow the Devil to throw our way (as with Job) may always be overcome for God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Three titles point to Satan’s authority in this world: 1.) ruler of this world (John 12:31), 2.) god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), and 3.) prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). It is also clear that Satan transforms himself into “an angel of light,” a description that highlights his ability to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Scriptural metaphors reveal the character of Satan. Jesus likens Satan to birds that snatch seed off the hardened ground (Matthew 13:4, 19) and the sower of weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:25, 28). Satan is referred to as a wolf in John 10:12, a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), and the “great dragon”, that “serpent of old”(Revelation 12:9)— obviously, referring to the serpent who deceived Eve (Genesis 3:1).
His Fall and End Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12b-17
Prophecies which spoke judgment to earthly kings also obviously spoke to Satan who deceived them. Isaiah 14:12-15 was to the king of Babylon (verse 4), but the narrative shifted to “Lucifer (KJV)” or “morning star” who attempted to overthrow God’s throne. The prophecy in Ezekiel 28:12b-17 to the king of Tyre moved beyond a mere mortal and called out one who was once anointed as “guardian cherub”, but was “expelled” by God Himself for his pride. Chapters 12, 13, and 20 of Revelation also show us Satan’s (the “Dragon”) history, his work in the end times through the false prophet and antichrist (Beast) and their eventual end in the lake of fire. Rest assured Church, in the end we win—but until then we have a battle to fight with our foe.
The Weapons of our Warfare Ephesians 6:10-18
Church, we must remember that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. The battle is supernatural and we must fight it with the supernatural strength that only comes from Christ. The full Roman armor that Paul uses to metaphorically describe what we must “put on” to fight against Satan and his host is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God (Bible) and prayer. That armor only protected the soldier in an advance. There was nothing on the backside! Satan and his host are not all knowing, all powerful or all present as our God is, but they are all in for a fight. Advance like winners and “Fight the good fight of the faith”. 1 Timothy 6:12a