“I want to speak to the church leaders among you. I am a church leader also. I saw Christ suffer and die on a cross. I will also share His shining-greatness when He comes again. Be good shepherds of the flock God has put in your care. Do not care for the flock as if you were made to. Do not care for the flock for money but do it because you want to. Do not be bosses over the people you lead. Live as you would like to have them live. When the Head Shepherd comes again, you will get the crown of shining-greatness that will not come to an end.
In the same way, you younger men must obey the church leaders. Be gentle as you care for each other. God works against those who have pride. He gives His loving-favour to those who do not try to honour themselves. So, put away all pride from yourselves. You are standing under the powerful hand of God. At the right time He will lift you up. Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you.
Keep awake! Watch at all times. The devil is working against you. He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat. Stand against him and be strong in your faith. Remember, other Christians over all the world are suffering the same as you are. After you have suffered for a while, God Himself will make you perfect. He will keep you in the right way. He will give you strength. He is the God of all loving-favour and has called you through Christ Jesus to share His shining-greatness forever. God has power over all things forever. Let it be so.” – “1: PETER: 5:1 to 11”
It is an undeniable fact that we as the Church of Jesus Christ have a wonderful and magnificent Savior in Jesus.
- He is not just Mighty but Almighty not only Powerful but also All Powerful and not only does Jesus Save but He saves to the Uttermost.
The children of God have every right to be confident and to rest in the assurance that He is not only in control of all things but that He is well capable in His sovereignty of determining the results of all circumstances. To that there is the fact of having been given over 30,000 promises within God’s Word. Truly, we do well to rejoice as the songwriter puts it with “Joy unspeakable and full of glory”.
It is however true though that with all the justifiable rejoicing that we do that we should not neglect the fact that where there is one who is for us there is also one who is unmistakably against us.
He is the great enemy of the child of God and the entire Church of Jesus Christ. The World is blinded to this, and in this blindness do not recognise that he is also their greatest enemy. “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” – “2 Corinthians 4:4” New Living Version.
It is therefore important that we understand how exercises his devilish ministry.
In “1 Peter: 5:8-9” we read the following words of counsel and of warning.
“Be well balanced, temperate, and sober-minded; be vigilant and cautious at all times. For you that enemy of yours the devil roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him, be firm in faith against his onset. Rooted, established, strong and immovable and determined …. Knowing that the same identical sufferings are appointed to the whole body of Christians throughout the world”
It is of vital importance that we know our enemy, for not only what he is, but also his destructive desires.
- The Devil is a Real Person
It has been said in the Past by many a learned Theologian that the Devil is merely a mythical monster or that he is just the evil and unsociable aspects of people’s characters. No Christian should ever be caught in this folly.
- The theologians have in many cases now passed on and found to their eternal loss how very wrong they were.
- They will bear the responsibility and the reward for the many they have taken with them.
The Devil is very real, and he is the enemy of God and all His ways.
- The Devil is a Powerful Person
In the Verses we read earlier Peter described the Devil as a “Roaring Lion” the animal that is denoted to be the King of the jungle reigns powerful in his domain.
The domain of the Devil is this entire World. Peter is exactly right in his description of him. The Bible tells us that he is the “prince of the power of the air” and as such, he holds sway over all the activities of the world.
This is what Peter tells us: – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” – “Ephesians 2:1–2”
- The Devil is an Active Person
Peter tells us again that the devil in his roaming is behind all the dramas of world events. He is the source of: –
- Division – The Greek root of the word “diabolical” (diabolein) means to cut, tear, or divide and it is significant that Jesus prays and works to reunify what the devil divides.
- Deception – Jesus says “The devil was a murderer from the beginning he does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks according to his own nature, he is a liar and the father of lies.” – “John 8:44”
- Dissention – “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve” – “Romans 16:17-18”
- Schism – The Church in Ephesus was earnestly warned by the Apostle Paul about savage wolves that would if allowed tear people away from the church – “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock” – “Acts 20:28-29”.
All of the above and more is not confined to the world only, but also finds its way into the Church of Jesus.
Satan is the great destroyer.
The Bible liken Satan to different animals: –
- He is a serpent trying to deceive God’s people – “Genesis 3:1″ – “Revelation 12:9”
- He is a bird trying to despoil God’s harvest – “Matthew 13: 4-19”
- He is a wolf trying to defeat God’s flock – “John 10:12″ – “Matthew 10:16”
- He is a lion trying to devour God’s children – “1 Peter 5:8”
Satan is consumed by his obsession to destroy the work of God so it is important to:
The Bible tells us in a word of warning that the Devil shrouds and conceals himself when it suits him as “An Angel of Light” – “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” – “2 Corinthians 11:14b” in other words. Although he is going about as a roaring lion, he also conceals his activities under the guise of good works and worthy activities.
He utilises many methods such as: –
- He plays on vulnerabilities.
- He uses leadership.
- He uses the mind.
- He lies through well-meaning people.
- He makes use of us being busy.
We must not be deceived; his activities are wholly evil. It may appear that organisations such as Spiritualists, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons etc. are doing a good and worthwhile work, but at the root of it is the devil with his deceptive ways, leading Men and Women and Children’s lives away from a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Thus, we as the children of God need to be on our guard and ever Vigilant relating to his devices, and to aid us in this let’s look at the 3 main spheres in which the devil is operating, which are: –
- The World in relation to the Unregenerate.
- The Church in relation to the Works of God.
- The Child of God in relation to his Individual Walk with Christ
- THE DEVIL’S METHOD WITH THE UNSAVED
The majority of the world’s population does not know in a personal way of Jesus Christ as Saviour. Even though there are vast amounts of religious people who go to Church and many millions of very respectable people who do good works and are the Pillars of society they are the Bible declares in “Ephesians 2:12” – “without hope whilst they are without God” and not only that they are in detention, dwelling in darkness and are bound for eternal destruction.
Why because the devil has done all he can to lead them away from a knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour. Let me read to you what the Apostle Paul says in “Ephesians 2: 1-3” as it clearly portrays for us what the adversary has accomplished.
“And you has He made alive, when you were slain by your trespasses and sins, in which at one time, you walked habitually. You were the following the course and fashion of this world and were under the sway and tendency of this present age…following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to him and were under his control, that same demon spirit that constantly works in the sons of disobedience, the careless, the rebellious and the unbelieving who go against the purposes of God. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh our behavior being governed by our corrupt and sensual nature; obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind. Our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings. We were by nature children of God’s wrath and heirs of His indignation, like the rest of mankind”
These words very graphically show to us what has done; they clearly show that every person who has not made an individual decision to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour followed by an open confession of the fact of His Lordship is in fact held captive against their will by the devil.
The reason why they stay there is that is that even when the truth like a light comes to them the devil keeps them in darkness. In “2 Corinthians: 4:4” we are told “For the God of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds that they should not discern the truth, preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of Christ who is the image and likeness of God”.
I said earlier that not only does the devil Detain and keep in Darkness but that his evil intention is to also Destroy lives, and this is shown in the description Jesus gave to us of him in “John: 10:10″ – “The thief comes only in order that he may Steal, Kill and that he may Destroy”.
This description of the devil reminds me of the days when I was in the Police Force when we had incidents of men dressed very innocently as Gas or Electricity officials who would go to the homes of people, usually the elderly on the pretence of doing good and the real intent was only evil.
In the same way, the devil comes in the pretence of doing good, whereas his real desire is to steal the souls of men and women and to impoverish the lives of all.
Captain Thunderbolt – Frederick Wordsworth Ward (1835 – 25 May 1870)
When an English robber called Captain Thunderbolt escaped the law and moved to the eastern US in 1818, he began practicing medicine. He took on the name Dr. John Wilson. Often, he wore three suits of clothes to escape recognition by making himself look larger and covering up a deformed leg.
Just before the man died, he asked his friends to bury him without removing his clothes. But to prepare his body for proper burial, that request could not be honoured. The mortician was surprised to find scars from wounds and a withered leg. A search of “Dr. Wilson’s” house revealed a stash of watches, jewellery, and diamonds. The sheriff learned that the doctor was in fact Thunderbolt, a thief in disguise. They had been fooled!
Satan and his followers have disguises too. It says in “2 Corinthians 11:15″ – “Satan’s ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.” But how? One way is through false doctrine. Ever since Paul’s day, false teachers have taught that good deeds can earn salvation.
Paul warned us not to be deceived by the devil’s craftiness (v.3). The truth is: “By grace you have been saved through faith it is the gift of God, not of works” – “Ephesians 2:8-9”
Don’t be fooled. “Satan has many tools, but deception is the handle that fits them all.”
- THE DEVILS’ METHOD WITH THE CHURCH AND GOD’S WORK
The Church of Jesus Christ is the only bulwark of righteousness this world has and consequently the devil hates it. His strategy therefore is to wherever and whenever and by whatever means he can to bring destruction. His ways can be summed up in three ways: –
The Lord Jesus prayed in “John 17:21” – that “We might all be one” and the constant desire of almighty God is that unity might prevail. What however do we see around us “disunity” and churches that are suspicious of one another? This ought not to be the case, but unfortunately, it is.
Now when I speak of unity I do not mean that there should be one gigantic church in every locality everyone should attend it. If that had been the desire of the Lord, then He would have tried to close all the synagogues in Jerusalem. No, His desire is that we all be one in a heart’s desire to win the lost and to further His cause and above all to glorify His Father in heaven.
This was the desire of Jesus whilst He was on earth and remains so now that He is in heaven, but the devil is doing his utmost to divide the children of God.
Not only does the Devil love to divide but also where there are Churches and people who are wise to his ways he then tries to bring in diversions to distract them from their prime cause. It can take the guise of so many legitimate things.
There are so many churches’ today that are caught up with their church program that even if Jesus walked through the doors they would ask Him to wait.
- God’s fundamental desire is to find “worshippers” and not only “workers” because when He finds a worshipper He also finds a willingness to work.
We must be careful not to love the work and miss the Lord of the work.
The Devil’s most commonly used method is to sow seeds of discord amongst people and to get us “rubbed up the wrong way” by our dearest fellow believer in Christ. As a result, we need to put on the whole armour of God that we find in “Ephesians: 6: 10 – 13” to help and defend ourselves.
“This is the last thing I want to say: Be strong with the Lord’s strength. Put on the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will not fall into the traps of the devil. Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. Because of this, put on all the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will” “New Life Version”
- THE DEVIL’S METHOD WITH THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER
We have thus far seen the Devil at work in Detention, Darkness, Destruction, Diversion and Disaffection in the Unbeliever and in the Church of Christ but what does he try in the individual believer’s life again there are three areas where none of us are able to say we have escaped.
It is Gods purpose that every one of His Children enjoys perfect peace in their hearts and lives. The peace He gives permeates and becomes part of every activity we are engaged in.
Is it not true however that when we are at work, or elbow deep in dirty nannies or the Car has just broken down on us that instead of peace there is panic and alarm. Well! be alerted to the fact that the devils desire is to do just that and in doing so rob you of your poise and power to overcome in the situation and leave us with a sense of defeat and condemnation.
I believe that I am relating what is truly the experience of us all. Well, if I am let me point you to a secret that has been given to us in order that we may overcome
“You will guard him and keep him in perfect peace and constant peace whose mind, both in its inclinations and character is stayed on You and hopes confidently in you” – “Isaiah: 26:3”
Now in this, we are not to be so “Heavenly Minded” as to be of “No Earthly Use” but we are to seriously commit our way to Him each day.
The Devil is the great tempter the Bible declares, and he has been in control of our lives right up until we gave them to Jesus.
Even after finding Jesus, he has been watching our every move. He knows our every Inclination. He knows our Strengths and Weakness; he knows our Likes and Dislikes.
Is it really any wonder that he so often trips us up, but we can have the victory. We are not a defeated band but victorious in the victory that Christ gives and in “Philippians 4:13” we read and have a tremendous verse of encouragement – “I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything. I am equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me. I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency”.
Ye are not a defeated rabble, but an army of Christians who are in warfare and as a result, the devil’s desire is to get us into a place of defeat. If he does, we will achieve nothing for God or His Kingdom.
If today you are a Christian in defeat, then throw it aside and cling to the fact that you are and will be as victorious in the same measure that you allow Jesus by His Holy Spirit to both live in you and work through you.
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure whilst the billows roll fastened to the Rock that cannot move grounded firm and deep in the Saviours Love.
R.C. Sproul once said:
That what we are but God is making “Diamonds out of Dirt”.
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