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November 10, 2020 3:00 am
Satan attacks the church and he attacks the church because he wants to attack the work of God because he hates God and that is why when Jesus goes into the temple and makes the web and cleans out the place, he says that I am doing this because you have made my father's house and then of the defendant devil. Then again, there are those who not only say the devil is real, but he someone you need to hunt down control before he controls you is are two extreme views. The question is which view is closer to the truth or are they both completely off target.
What does God's word say about Satan how he attacks in whom he attacks you find biblical answers to those questions today on grace to you as John MacArthur continues a study that's all about preparing you for spiritual warfare.
That's the title of the study spiritual warfare. If you have your Bible turn to first Timothy and here's John now with the lesson. Let's open our Bibles to first Timothy chapter 1 first Timothy chapter 1. Let's look to verse 18. This command I and trust unto the son Timothy, according to the prophecies which pointed to the that thou by them mightiest fight unknowable warfare holding faith and a good conscience, which some, having put away have made shipwreck concerning the faith of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander whom I have delivered on the Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Now let me just say at the beginning that the warfare of which Paul speaks has at its highest level a tremendous conflict between God and Satan. That is the primary level of the warfare. Everything else in a sense, comes under that is a war of the Lord God Jehovah and his truth against Satan and his lines is a war between God and his will, and Satan and his will in such a war is not only thought between God and Satan, but between demons and holy Angels, and between ungodly men and godly men so that this cosmic warfare at the level of God and the highest creature he ever made Lucifer filters all the way down to involve every human being including us, not for us to understand this warfare. We need to take a look at its elements you remember in Luke chapter 14 and verse 31 Jesus laid down a very obvious principle in another context, but the principle applies.
He said what King going to make war against another king sits, not down first and consults whether he is able with 10,000 to meet him. It comes against him with 20,000 in other words, Jesus is saying no king goes to war unless he understands the terms of battle unless he understands the power of his enemy unless he understands that which is at stake in the warfare. We are engaged in a spiritual warfare not listen very carefully to what I say.
Satan is not particularly interested in you as an individual may I say that he is not specifically interested in you as an individual because of you who he is after is God. We understand that Satan hates God your incidental and so my only as we somehow impact God for his own glory. Is he interested in we are not the issue he would destroy us and defeat us not because he hates us but because he hates God whom we serve and represent.
So what you have to understand beloved is that in your warfare. Your victory in your defeat reflect on God when we are defeated is a secession which Satan has effectively attacked God when we are victorious is a sense in which he has been defeated in his attack against God. Isn't it interesting that God himself allows the battle against it to be fought at our level so that he is victorious or he is in some way defeated, although not ultimately defeated by whether we are victorious or defeated present sound strange to you then think again of the words of the apostle Paul. He that is joined to the harlot joins Christ to the harlot first Corinthians 6 so Satan attacks the church and he attacks the church because he wants to attack the work of God because he hates God and that is why when Jesus goes into the temple and makes a wet and cleans out the place, he says that I am doing this because you have made my father's house a den of thieves and is defending the glory of God right is defending the glory of God. That's what were called in some of your say why I don't even see about let's because you went AWOL and the only thing we can hope is that you won't stay AWOL so long that will take you to heaven which in military terms would be a dishonorable discharge, but it's appalling how many Christian people live in a trivia oriented life who have no idea of the warfare because they haven't been in the battle there non-courageous soldiers.
They do not war unknowable warfare. Paul writes to Timothy in second Timothy and he says in chapter 2 words at all of us should remember thou therefore suffer hardship along with me as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that fights in a war entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who had chosen him to be a soldier. We expect to suffer hardship. We expect to be cut off from the affairs of this world and this life. We expect to do what we do for the sake of the one who called us to be a soldier so beloved, we are in a spiritual war. I mean II see it. I trust you do.
I go back to the day in which I went into a room where a demon possessed girl was in the voices out of her scream.
Get him out of here.
Get him out of here, not him, not him, get him out of here and I realize that they knew who I was in the no side I was on minimum in an instant that became a terrorizing realization to me, which was in a few more moments replaced by a calm settled feeling of confidence because it was wonderful to know that the demons know who side I was on and that they were afraid of that credible. I'm aware of the warfare.
I spent 6 to 8 months with a man who wanted me to disciple him at the end of which time he went away, went to a church that doesn't teach the Scriptures wound up in an apostate seminarian of the battle wasn't with his intellectual mind.
It was not a battle on a superficial level. It was a much deeper when I spent a year praying with a man. 6 o'clock in the morning at the end of which time he abandon the faith. This is a warfare.
Now how does Satan attacked the church.
Let me give you some insight into this policy attacked the advance of God's kingdom. First of all, second Corinthians 4 for a number give you some examples of this, not necessarily an exhaustive list in second Corinthians 4.
Three. If our gospel is hidden it is hidden to them that are lost if the gospel is hidden.
If it is dishonestly presented as verse two says if the word of God is handled deceitfully if the truth is held back the ones who suffer are the lost verse four in whom the god of this age that Satan has blinded the minds of them who believe not list the light of the glorious gospel of Christ was the image of God to China to them.
You know what he does not want the gospel to shiner them because it is the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God is the glorious revelation of God and he does not want God's glory to be seen so he blinds the minds of people and the ungodly who are blind and are blinded by Satan. They are blinded by his hosts and he draws those blinds over their eyes in many many ways he can blind them through ignorance. He can blind them through unbelief. He can blind them through the bad testimony of those who call themselves Christian.
He can blind them with lies and false religion. He can blind them with the love of sin. He can blind them with fleshly gratification, which seems to satisfy what he blinds them, not because he particularly hate them, but he hates that the glory of God would be made manifest in the face of Jesus Christ. That's what he hates. Because you see he is set to be more glorious than God. And so he seeks to blind the minds in spite of that God by his grace gives light and site but that doesn't mean Satan ceases. What does he do to those who believe. Let me share Luke 22 with you. Luke 22 verse 31. You remember this account Jesus and Peter and Luke 2231 very important.
The Lord said, Simon, Simon Ellis, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired you. What you think. Satan wanted Satan wanted the safety was wheat. Satan wanted to destroy him to shake them up and make that which was genuine about a blow away in the wind. But I prayed for you.
Your that your faith fail not. When your converted strength in your brother, you see, Satan wants to take Christians and destroy the what is not wonderful that when he comes with that destructive power of the Lord holds us up the interceding high priestly work of Jesus Christ prays for us in our faith will not fail but market beloved Satan wants to tear you up.
He wants to send your life fragmented into the air and have your confidence in God blow away. He wants to destroy you. Peter, probably reflecting on some of his own experience in first Peter 58. Put it this way, be sober. Know your priorities. Get your life order to be vigilant, have your eyes open. Be aware, because your adversary the devil like a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may what does our he's after you.
He wants to eat to take bites out of you. He wants to devour you into sin. So first of all, the strategy of Satan, then, is to blind the minds of people, even when their eyes are open, they see and they believe and receive Christ. He comes back like a roaring lion, and he wants to disintegrate. Those people tear them to shreds, destroy their confidence destroy their usefulness destroy their trust in God. That's how he attacks.
And remember, beloved, when things come to you that do that. Remember the source of those show you another way. First Corinthians chapter 7 first Corinthians chapter 7 what is the unit that God is designed to pass righteousness from one generation to the next. What is the family so you know that Satan will attack the family and we get an insight into that here it says in verse three. Let the husband render unto the wife her due and likewise also the wife unto her husband out what that means is what is due in a conjugal relationship. In other words, husband and wife are to render each other that physical satisfaction which is part of a marriage relationship. To further emphasize that in verse four he says the wife has not power of her own body. She does not control her own body for its own desires, rather her husband and likewise the husband does not have power over his own body, but the life that is to say in the conjugal relationship. The one person's body belongs to the other person, for the satisfaction of that person's needs and that is by the design of God. There should be eight fulfilling physical relationship as a part of the love commitment in a marriage. Now verse five. Don't hold this back from one another. Don't do that. Unless it is with the agreement for a brief time so that you can give yourself to fasting and prayer. In other words, you're not supposed to use the withholding of sexual favors as leverage against your partner or as a way to express your anger or your indifference, but rather only by common consent in fasting and prayer, then come together.
Watch this that Satan tempt you not because of your drawing apart her incontinence. He the point is this Satan is right there doing everything he can to destroy Christian marriage. So Satan will attack in a marriage in this attacking because of the withholding of physical desires is only an emblem of his attacking the marriage of Christians, which is the source of passing righteousness onto the next generation. So what is the warfare as it filters down to us. Satan wants to thwart the work of God. He wants to destroy the church, not because he hates the church, although he does hate the church but primarily because he hates the God who is the author of the church. The issue is God. We are simply instruments by which you can get at God. Think of it when you fail to be what God would have you to be you become a tool by which Satan strikes a blow at God when you and I live as we ought to be. We defend God against that attack. So we are in a warfare and he seeks to blind, but those who come to the site. He will seek to devour and destroy and disintegrate and ruin their usefulness and shred their lives. So the losing their confidence and trust. They become a little help in the battle and then he will attack. Invariably he will attack the family we show you another one. First Timothy right where we are. Chapter 3 in Oregon were talking about this warfare so we know what is were to fight first Timothy three talking about spiritual leadership of Bishop or an elder or pastor describes a pastor here pastor is to be a blameless a one woman man in all of that verse two comes down to verse six and says he's not to be a novice. That is a new convert someone who's not skilled in the things of the word of God. Someone is not mature, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. The devil was condemn with pride and so will someone is lifted up too fast to a place of spiritual leadership and prominence. The point I want you to notice in verse seven. You must have a good report. Also, the people outside the church lest he fall into the reproach and the snare of the devil. Let me tell you something. There's nobody in the church, the devil would rather catch in his trap and the pastor right we notice that he is being very successful today in doing that the church is absolutely without excuse because of its ignorance of these areas of spiritual warfare. The blinds minds, and we somehow don't see that. And even those who see deal they can play around with Satan's domain and they find that he devours them.
He sent them out shredding their lives as it were, they blow away in terms of any strength or usefulness.
And then he comes out their marriages and then he comes at the church and the devastation of spiritual leadership who fall into his traps by your morality by pride by dictatorial authoritarianism. Whatever else there's one other pervasive aspect that you need to note, we could look at a lot of Scripture, but let me just take you to second Corinthians 11 second Corinthians 11 and we draw this together. Notice what it says in verse 13, Paul mentions false apostles. He's been talking about true apostles and false one since back in chapter 10, sort of defending himself against some attacks here. He says these to attack me in a sense or false apostles. They are deceitful workers and they transform themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no Marvel. No wonder, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it's no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works and what he says is this another way Satan attacks and you know as well as I do, is he designs false religious systems is that not so, and sex. People often in their worldwide. Every time you see a person in a liberal church whose hearing someone preacher denies the deity of Christ or denies the lostness of man and I was just reading a series of articles recently, but I am about a man who believes he says is an evangelical and believes everybody's automatically save the Christ dwells in the life of every anyone who teaches there like that course just damns people to hell because they're not responsible for coming to Christ. So Satan then comes against us with false teaching. This is rampant. This is absolutely rampant. I shiver sometimes when I see the things that are being taught in the name of biblical truth and I like to go out through illustration.
After illustration I just read a little booklet somebody gave me.
I went to hell. I went to hell in this man talks about how I withheld three times it isn't true, its allies just lives and yet the menace held up as an astute teacher and bearer of the truth. Recently I've been receiving phone calls and letters from people in Argentina who asked me to come down there because there is an encroaching doctrine of air coming against the church and they have asked if I would come in the last call so they would we would like to rent the Largest Pl. in Buenos Aires and they have 4000 pastors who want to come and be taught the word of God in reference to this air 4000 pastors who are in need of understanding the deceitfulness of Satan. I said you must have somebody there who can do that.
They said we want you to come God's let your hearts right looks like one of these days I'm off to Argentina and that's a privilege for me to talk to 4000 pastors about the truth of God. If they're being attacked by the lies of Satan, isn't that they don't know what to believe.
It's what they want to know how to answer this, and they want to know how to arm their people so that people are not sucked in. This is a war.
This is a balance going on all over the place and if you don't know what it's I said you went AWOL sometime say will how do we effectively flightless, but look back in chapter 10 from the grid instant.
Verse four. And with this will draw two conclusions for the weapons of our warfare are not what fleshy you can use your own intellect you can use your own wisdom your own natural talents. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshy, but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds man we can topple the, the kingdoms of Satan we can cast down his imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself of an against the knowledge of God can be torn down. We can bring in the captivity. Here's the key.
Every thought to the what the what obedience of Christ. As you underline in your Bible to the obedience of Christ and Paul's as I have a readiness in verse six to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled one know some people nor the weapons of our warfare are regular to straight, as Paul gave the weapons of our warfare are not human intellect, human prowess, human ability, human skill, human ingenuity, the weapons of our warfare are reduced to obedience.
When you put on the armor of God, you start with the belt of truthfulness a commitment to fight on the basis of God's revealed truth. You put on the breastplate of righteousness, which is his revealed righteousness. Your feet are shod with the gospel of the preparation of peace revealed his word.
Your helmet is the helmet of the hope of eternal salvation in your sword is the word of what God the only weapon we have is the word of God the Word of God is not a fleshy weapon. When I go out and try to attack the kingdom of darkness of my own opinion I get no place when I go out with the word of God thing start falling. The word of God has tremendous power and that is the weapon of our warfare are not just the word of God. But what Paul says in second Corinthians. Obedience to the word of God as we wield the sword of the Spirit in an obedient life. The life covered with righteousness as our breastplate holding up the shield of confidence and faith in God will going to be victorious I will believe in any little formulas.
I don't believe you got the camp get is that the last all your life. Spirituality is not related to zaps start related to formulas is not related low formula. Prayers little ditties. Spirituality is nothing more and nothing less than learning the life of obedience to the word of God so that you really wield the sword and that's how you carve a swath through the kingdom of darkness. And that's how you win the spiritual warfare and somewhere along the line you start by making a commitment to be obedient and that's how you start to find a noble warfare is why Jesus said teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
Because life and victory is inextricably connected to obedience to what God wants in this noble warfare out of Timothy and what see what he wants out of us is that we should find a noble war in the noble way. Which means with obedient lives and we get our lives down obeying the word of God. That's many of you have fought a noble warrant.
God has given us great victory to his glory for which we praise and if you're not there and you're not in the battle not a part of that nobility that fights is the author fight they got help you this day to be where you should. That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary today.
He showed you that obedience to God's word is the key to fighting the good fight of faith and standing firm against your very real spiritual enemy.
John's current study on grace to you is an in-depth look at spiritual warfare. Jon, I want to come back to a point you made today and I'll paraphrase what you said when Christians fail to be what God wants us to be. We become tools that Satan uses to strike a blow at God, so if there's anything we need to keep in mind in this lifelong spiritual warfare. It's that we need to stay vigilant yeah and have a great illustration of that is beloved Peter.
Peter thinks he's the Lord protector right. He's gonna protect the Lord Jesus is I'm going to want to die and he says none of you looking to die. Lord we were not to let that happen and and Jesus asked him get behind me Satan yeah how fast did he change teams.
How thoughtless was what he said he thought he had a better plan than God. He had a better idea than the son of God. It's pretty frightening to think that any of us as a believer could be that close to doing the enemies work now it's just one short step out of the will of God into the will of Satan that works against God and what that calls for a tremendous amount of thoughtful vigilance. I want to help you with that. And that's overdoing the series but I want to mention a book that I think will be a real encouragement to you it's it's a new book.
It's title is stand firm in the subtitle is living in a post-Christian culture. I told somebody the other day.
I think were coming out of postmodernism, but were coming into downright paganism. This is a post-Christian culture. So the book is stand firm. It's a book about the spiritual fight that every Christian faces.
It'll help you to be vigilant. It'll help you not to change teams in the middle of the battle because of some foolishness on your part. It's a primer on how to hold your ground against a culture that's hostile to the word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. And since the Lord has transformed your life you want to make sure that you are valuable to him in the spiritual battle by being faithful. It's a hardcover book hundred and 50 pages affordably priced from grace to you the title again.
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But then she started listening to grace to you throughout the day and it focused her mind on God and on Google truth and that changed her. It helped her have the strength she needed by God's grace friend when you support grace to you. You help us minister to Christians facing trials and hardships in your community and throughout the world to partner with us mail your tax deductible gift to grace to you.
Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412. You can also make a donation. GT Y.org or call us at 855 grace now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson be here tomorrow when John continues his study on spiritual warfare with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you