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Believer’s Basics #8 – Spiritual War with Satan (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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November 15, 2022 6:00 am

Believer’s Basics #8 – Spiritual War with Satan (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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November 15, 2022 6:00 am

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John says this at the end of his first letter, The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, the planet, everybody on it. But that those human beings who are not interested in Jesus Christ, that is the world. And they are under the sway, the control, the influences.

They are playing into the hands of this monster. So we find men disregarding their own souls. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through his series called The Believer's Basics.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Luke chapter 22 as he begins his message, Spiritual War with Satan. You can't even say Satan without hearing the hiss of the serpent.

Well, there's no use in pretending that the elephant isn't in the room. We have to deal with these things. So if you look at verses 31, we'll take verses 31 and 32. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, indeed Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren.

Please be seated. The text is verse 31, and just this part of it for us this morning, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat. This was a demand. In the Greek, the asking of Satan is a very emphatic word. He is demanding. It is Jesus saying to Peter, doorbell Peter, and it's Satan.

And he's asking for you to go with him. The reality is, though, there's nothing humorous about this event. It was too serious at this moment for Peter or anyone else to find anything funny about it. It was not intended to be so.

This was life or death. Just after they observed the Passover in the upper room, just after the Lord instituted what we call the communion table, comes this attack on this believer, singled out. Well, he wanted all of them. It's plural. He has asked for you. But as the story continues, it returns to the singular. And so Satan wants all the disciples, but he's singling out Peter at this moment.

There's nothing peculiar about any of this. Having already captured Judas Iscariot, he said, I'll have another. So he asks for more. Satan desired to have Peter. He desires to have you. And he desires to have me. And what's going to be done about all this? Are we to leave it all in God's hands?

Well, in one sense it is, but in another sense we have a responsibility also. So don't hesitate to insert your name. Where he says, Simon, Simon, put your name there twice for emphasis. He's asked for you. Satan has asked for you also to sift you like wheat, to toss you, put you in a sieve, find out what comes out.

Will it be chaff or will it be fruit? He's hoping, again, to do to you what he just accomplished in this text with Judas Iscariot. The same Satan desires to have us to gain possession of our soul. And whenever the seed of the word of God or the works of God is planted, you can be sure that this thief, this murderer, will come along and steal it if he can. He will seek to pluck it up. Peter, of course, survives this attack, which is encouraging to all of us.

If Peter can survive it, I can survive it the same way he did. Many years later, Peter will write, be sober, vigilant, because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. A better word for us than adversary probably is enemy.

It gets to the point. Adversary will do, but it's not part of our everyday language. Enemy, that's what Satan is.

I don't have to tell any of you that. We have to tell a world that pretends that he doesn't exist or that he's relatively harmless or that he's only for this or that, and we have to tell the world this is your enemy. This is man's predicament, the presence of evil in this life. Wherever man is, there we will find evil. Wickedness is universal, except the fact, cannot escape it. An education alone will not inoculate anyone from this evil's filth and works. And with all man's advancements, events assure us that evil advances with him. Just think of computers.

Man has been allowed, God has opened up that track of knowledge for man to develop the computers we use, and yet people come up with viruses for them. There's no escaping this. Again, it's the obvious, and pretending that the obvious doesn't exist is ill-advised. John says this at the end of his first letter. The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, the planet, everybody on it. But that those human beings who are not interested in Jesus Christ, that is the world, and they are under the sway, the control, the influences, they are playing into the hands of this monster. And so we find men disregarding their own souls. And it's not without Satan's help, there's enough evil in man to do it all by himself. But Satan's not going to settle for that.

He wants to protect his interests at any cost, and he's not taking any chances. We'll get to the part of how to beat back on this monster, but for now we've got to open it up a little bit more, because look around at how lightly men esteem their own souls. I just think magically it's going to work out for them, that if they check a box somehow, they'll end up in heaven. I mean, man's ideas of heaven are just ridiculous. People playing harps and sitting on clouds and walking around with halos, what is that? Who even cares where it comes from?

It's kooky! And yet they're very serious about this, ready to trade their souls for a little piece of pride, a little piece of money or fame or the world's pleasures, because they are under the sway of the wicked one and they have a sinful nature to begin with, and collectively they're romping off together to hell. The world is in trouble. Now about this sway of Satan, our knowledge of his existence, we know that he is a person, that he is intelligent, that he is able to think, that in the spiritual realm he is an enemy. This is made clear in the scripture, a combination of, not only the scripture, a combination of revelation and reason.

Those two alone are enough to establish that we have a big enemy. Billy Sunday was a preacher from many, well, early 1900s, and this is one of my favorite quotes of Billy Sunday. He says, I believe the devil exists because the Bible declares it. I believe the devil exists because I've done business with him. Every human being on earth knows that there is something extra about evil in this life that has to be dealt with, and if you ignore it, you are playing into its hands. And so we have the revelation from God's word.

God declares it, and then by reasoning and looking around and seeing it, I mean, look at the battlefields, the hospitals, a veterans hospital from war veterans that will forever live the rest of their life there because no one else can care for them, things that evil people do to the innocent ones. This is not human. These things are satanic. We get nothing from Hollywood concerning Satan unless we look at their off-screen lives.

Then you can see better the works of our adversary. It is not surprising that Satan never reports the good of God, the blessings of the Lord, the truths of God, not without a follow-up lie to ruin it all. And so God informs us he's a murderer. He's a killer. He's deadly. He's a liar. He's a tempter trying to lure souls into his trap.

The psalmist called him a fowler, one that catches birds, all elements of his personality. You say, I know this. Why are we discussing this? Because do you know it enough to have it ready at your side to preach it to the lost? This is something we have to preach. We have to let them know that there is a real boogeyman, and he is after them and cares nothing for them. He devotes what remains of his freedom and that is limited to harming humans, to strip men of any chance of being saved from a very real hell or being useful to God. He'll take both if he can, either or.

A great many humans are determined to allow him that much. It's not worth it. That's what we want to tell the lost soul. The weeping and gnashing of your teeth that will most certainly come if you go to your grave rejecting your Savior, it is not worth it. Today is the day, and don't harden your heart.

Again, it is not worth it. His names, plural, give us insight into his evil character. And I will add that the characteristics of Satan at some point evidence themselves in human beings.

Not all the characteristics at one time in one human being, but over the course of the human experience you will see satanic activity flowing out of human beings. The book of Revelation makes this also very clear to us. The things that spew out of the mouth of the demons and satans has to find its outlet in human beings. But the names, and remember in Scripture, name is nature. The names of our Lord tell us of his nature, his grace, his love, his superiority. The names of Satan tell us of his actions, what he's up to. As I mentioned, the adversary, the word Satan in the Hebrew, and then it makes its way into the Greek of course, it means the one who lies in wait that is an enemy.

It means enemy. And when we talk about Satan, it's not limited to a single spiritual being known as Lucifer, but it includes those in his kingdom. So when we say Satan confronted me, you're not talking about Lucifer himself, because he cannot be everywhere at the same time. He is not ubiquitous. He is not divine. He is a created being. He is a fallen cherub.

He doesn't know everything. He is not the opposite of God. When it refers to him as the God of this world, it is not referring to him in the context of deity, but of a ruler that they have submitted to, consciously or unconsciously. It is irrelevant.

The fact remains they have not submitted to God, and by default they belong to the enemy of God and the enemy of God's people. And so, a very real devil, through taped letters by C.S. Lewis, has made a great attempt to try to get us to understand how the demons and the underworld is working to destroy us.

There, in screw tape, in C.S. Lewis screw tape letters, his book, that's the name of it, Screw Tape Letters, one of the demons is named Screw Tape. His uncle, I think, if I remember, is Slub Gob, creative C.S.

Lewis. He does a good job. And if you have the time, in between listening to my sermons, read the book. But every now and then you've got to stop and remember that you're reading about the devil, one of the devils, telling another devil how to take down the human being that he's been assigned to. And, again, it's good reading, but he is also called the devil. That word, diablos in the Greek, it is the slanderer.

The one who is going to make false charges against you, misrepresent you, defame you, with the sole purpose of destroying you. That is the work of the devil, and we see human beings do this with a passion. The god of this age, Paul calls him in 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verse 4, whose minds the god of this age is blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, of course, should come through and shine the light. This is what the devil does. This is why he is referred to the god of this age, because the people of this age, of humanity, this part of creation, they submit to him by rejecting the Christ.

Now, I said that earlier, but it needs to be repeated. He is an imposter, 2 Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 14, for Satan himself transformed himself into an angel of light. He adapts to his environment. The only protection against that is knowledge of the word and the discernment that the spirit gives. Ruler over vast armies of unclean spirits, principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness. Listen to this from Ephesians, chapter 2, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, once you were under that god of this age, and then he goes on to say, Paul does, according to the prince of the power of the air. The power of the air means the spiritual realm in this context that Paul is using it in Ephesians. He is the ruler of a kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, that makes contact with the physical universe through human beings and pigs sometimes, if permitted. So Paul says again, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, those under the god rule of Satan.

He lures human beings to reject Christ even after they have accepted him. First Thessalonians, chapter 3. For this reason, Paul writes to the Thessalonians, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain. What labor in vain?

The labor of preaching the gospel and converting souls. Paul was worried about this. When he left Thessalonica, he said, what is happening to those new believers, those new converts? Has Satan snatched up the seeds? Is he devouring them? Because he is a tempter.

He lures you to do what God does not want you to do, and he always tries to get you to do what is harmful to you in some form. Here are some of the names. We don't have time to go through all of them, but here are a few.

Eighteen, to be exact. Abaddon, pardon me. That means destruction. The accuser, we've covered that one. He is the one, the devil, that will slander you, but he will charge you before God. Lord, they're sinning, they're breaking your rules, they're doing this, they're doing that. How many Christians are laden down with guilt because of the accuser?

And they do not take advantage of the Savior's grace, the knowledge of the Word, the fortification of the saints that's found in the fellowship. You try to fight this devil alone, you're going to lose. Well, the adversary, of course, Satan, Apollyon, the destroyer. So not only is he into destruction, but he's into destroying. You say that's the same thing.

No, it's an emphasis that he's serious about this. You could say he's obsessed with destroying. Beelzebub, ruler of the flies. Some believe that the ancient pagan temples were infested with flies. The practices were not clean. Blood, sacrifices, these things brought flies. But the Jewish temple, places of worship, were free of flies because of the constant labor they put into keeping the grounds clean.

We read so much about those, you know, in Ezra we talk about the nethanim, those who were not Levites, who were serving at the temple, doing the menial task of hauling water and chopping wood and cleaning up. And so, by contrast, he became the god of the pagans, the god of flies. Belial, the worthless one. The devil, of course, the one that slanders. The dragon of old, means he's been around a long time. The enemy, the evil, wicked one. God of this age, the liar, the murderer, ruler of this world, ruler of demons, roaring lion, serpent of old, tempter, and trapper.

Those are just some of the names given to this enemy. Now about him talking to people, the voice of the devil in scripture. First we see him and hear him talking, we hear his voice in the garden of Eden, speaking to Eve in what we could say is created paradise before the fall, but on the way to it. And there he is talking to man about God, he is slandering God. He starts off with, did God really say that? How many of these lost souls in the universities are going after our children and saying to them, did the Bible really say that? Do you really believe that God said that? I've got something else, I've got another bag of goods for you.

Stick your hand in the bag as the serpent bites and latches onto you. The next time we hear the voice of the devil, he is in heaven. He's talking to God. But this time he's not talking to man about God, he's talking to God about man.

He is bad-mouthing Job. Yeah, I saw him, I want to get my talons into him. Would you protect him? God says I will withdraw some of that protection. The last time we hear him speak is there in the wilderness when he now is dealing with the God-man, the son of God, the man of God who has come in human form. And there he is lying about the word of God.

He is lying about its application. Because it's written, he would say, that he'll give his angels charge over you, that you can take these stones and turn it into bread. He's twisting the scriptures and so the Lord fought him with scriptures.

It's written again. Let's keep this in context, Satan. And finally, the devil gets to the point, worship me. Worship me and I will give you everything. Well, everything's not yours to give.

But he's a liar and he likes telling his lies and he always finds someone to believe him but not this time. He had never encountered anyone like the Christ. Understand when you read the temptation of Christ, we really cannot get how intense it was.

We're getting just a sort of a summary of what happened if you were listening in. But we really can't get to the depths, the power of evil that was exposed to the Lord. The Lord was ready for it. The purpose of that temptation was to demonstrate that the Christ was not your average prophet. He's not just a righteous man. No one else could withstand such a temptation. And when Satan walked away, he knew that he had been defeated.

He knew that Christ was not like everyone else. We have to take a moment here just to talk about the demons a little bit. These unclean spirits that are wicked, that are evil, that are deceiving, they're very active.

Their origin in Scripture is not given to us. They just show up. They're there.

But it doesn't take much to do the work and track down at least some thoughts about where they might come from. But what is important is who do they belong to? They are organized.

Jesus told us that. Satan won't cast out Satan, the kingdom divided. They are organized.

They have a ruler over them. The god of the flies is the one that rules over them, Satan himself. But Satan is never referred to as a demon. But they are the enemy. And so they come under that umbrella of being our adversary, Satan's kingdom. And they mess up everything.

They mess up the world. They teach people how to live in opposition to Christ, even believers. If they can get a believer to become an apostate, 1 Timothy 4 verse 1, the Spirit, and that is the Holy Spirit, expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Now, if you're a student of the Scripture, that word doctrine to you, you're familiar with it, you know what it means.

But maybe you've heard it so much you're missing some of the other points that are critical to that word. The teachings of demons, the influences of demons, the ideas of demons, the stupid ideas of demons that men fall for. Those are the doctrines of demons, the new age, the world's false religions, the cults that belong, they say, to the Bible. They use it, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, for example, the Unitarians. These have fallen for the teachings of demons.

They don't believe it, you don't have to believe it. Satan does not need you to sign off on this any more than a rabbit caught in the jaws of a wolf needs to agree with him that he can do this. He's captured, and he's at the mercy.

He's not really mercy, he's at the dinner table is what he is. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. We hope you've been blessed by this Believer's Basics series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series or share it with someone you know, please visit We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-17 13:49:43 / 2022-11-17 13:59:05 / 9

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