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Satan's Attack on the Spirit-Filled Church (Includes Rev. 2-3)

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
October 4, 2021 4:00 am

Satan's Attack on the Spirit-Filled Church (Includes Rev. 2-3)

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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October 4, 2021 4:00 am

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It is impossible to live in the manner that Ephesians outlines without having conflict with Satan's impossible and that's why having said all of this piece is the final thing you need to know is that you have to be strong you have to put on your God because you're in a spiritual stand firm against spiritual attack than the one we start today you're going to see how your enemy, Satan goes after Christians and how you can fend him off with the amazing defenses. God is given you stay here as John shows you how to take hold of the believer's armor. John, the title of this series the believer's armor. That word armor has a kind of military significance and it suggests the idea of combat violence. So what does that mean with regard to the Christian life. The world we live in. Well it it all is laid out in Ephesians chapter 6 by the apostle Paul where he says you don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly's basically talking about the fact that we're in a war with Satan and his demons and Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Paul says we cannot be ignorant of his devices. The apostle Paul graphically describes his combat with Satan, he says, in Ephesus, for example, is a wide open door.

There are many adversaries and spiritual adversaries so we have to battle the flow, the arch enemy of God. Lucifer the fallen angel and all of his demon hordes, and even all the human people who are part of his kingdom of darkness in order to go into that battle. We have to be protected and prepared and each piece of armor has a very clear spiritual significance. There are symbols of the preparedness student to do to do symbols of preparedness to do battle with the enemy.

The believers armor is going to be a powerful powerful experience for those of you who listen through to this series, and especially if you have copies already of the study guide on this to be doubly blessed.

Will be looking at 15 verses in Ephesians 6 of these verses will help us define the battle learn how the enemy attacks learn what he uses to discourage, distract and destroy were going to look at the spiritual weapons that we possess the role of prayer principles for the power of God to be unleashed in our lives. The study is the really important one for the one who seems to be losing battles and we all lose them. Sometimes that some people seem to be losing more times than others. And certainly more times than necessary. So while the words of Peter, gird up your loins and put your armor on his Paul lays it out. God gives you plenty of protection and offense of power to win the spiritual battle each piece of armor is important. Don't miss the day. How do you resist the temptation Satan throws at you. What defense do you have find out right now. As John shows you the powerful protection you have is a Christian here is to look at the believers armor.

You'll notice in verse 10 of Ephesians 6. Finally, my brother and be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly.

There is, I was reading that I was saying to myself that really is the way to end the book of Ephesians because what the apostle Paul is saying is that if you are a true Christian, as defined in chapter 1 Chapter 2 and chapter 3 and if you are living the way a true Christian should live as defined in chapter 4, five and six.

Then you can be sure of one thing and that is that you are going to run right into the enemy is impossible to live in the manner that Ephesians outlines without having conflict with Satan's impossible and that's why having said all of this piece is the final thing you need to know is that you have to be strong you have to put on the arm of God because you're in a spiritual war. It's a war. I remember when I first came to Grace Church that I thought it was a honeymoon in a few light years later I kind of felt it wasn't quite so adventurous.

It was more like work, I'd have to crank out all the sermons preached on Sunday start all over again on Monday. Again, and since I hadn't had any backlog. I was racing like mad to stay up.

It was work.

I woke up and realize it is not honeymoon it is at work it's war we're in a battle. It's a war and that's essentially what Paul is saying here. If we are as Ephesians 41 says walking worthy of the vocation to which were called. If were walking in humility and unity, not in the vanity of our mind as the Gentiles were putting on the new man. If were walking in love not last. If were walking in light not darkness if were walking in wisdom, not foolishness. If were not drunk with wine but filled with the spirit, if were not singing the world songs but Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and, if rather than being proud and individualistic. We are submitting ourselves one to another, and if we are submitting is, why should the husbands as to the Lord, and of husbands are loving their wives as Christ loved the church and of children are obeying their parents and parents are nurturing and rearing their children the things of God.

And if employees and employers have right relationships biblically and with spirit filled impact and believe me, we will counter the system. I think American Christianity is become very smart and very content and almost subcultural, rather than confronting. We're just kinda waltzing along with the system trying to accommodate. We believe we can win by becoming what they are just the opposite is true. We have to counter the system. Well, we need to be aware of the fact this angel to attack you know James and chapter forces resist the devil and he will flee from you. First Peter chapter 5 verse eight, nine, Peter says, be sober, be bit vigilant why because your adversary the devil like a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour whom resist steadfast in faith doing the same afflictions are accomplished in your brother that are in the world. In other words, Satan is going to be there resist in the silver be vigilant.

Be aware, be alert know what he's doing. Second Corinthians 211 says that we should not be ignorant of his devices, lest he gain an advantage of us in acts chapter 20 Paul was talking to those same leaders in the Ephesian church and he said to them this. He said I know that after my departing grievous wolves a letter and not sparing the flock and of your own selves shall men arise teaching perverse things. He says I know as well as I know my name. I know as well as I know the sun comes up tomorrow you're going to get it as soon as I leave from outside and inside wolves from the outside and false teachers from the inside.

Therefore, verse 31 of acts 20 I have not ceased to warn you night and day for the space of three years, with tears part of the ministry as a warning ministry. When God has blessed us as he has when God has multiplied our audience as he has, and God is using us to cut a path through this evil world, then, believe me, Satan is going to come after we have to be ready. We have to get the armor but first of all we got to understand his attack got to understand his ploy. We do not want to be ignorant of his devices.

How does Satan attack us well for the answer that I want you to turn to Revelation chapter 1, you know.

An interesting thing happened to me. One time I went into a room. I was called into where a girl was still filled with demons and the demons all had different voices that used her. Her mouth, and so forth to speak, but the voices were not hers, and it was amazing because there was a terrible thing going on in this room and this girl had flipped over the desk and was slashing and smashing things around, and when I walked in the door. All of a sudden she hit the chair and just looked at me in a frenzied look in a voice not her own, because I knew her own voice. The voice said, getting him out.

Nyhan get him out my my reaction to that was, I was excited because I was glad those demons knew whose side I was on they know believe me, they know me and they know what God is doing here and there, try to stop in the way they'll stop it or try to stop it is through you because the church is only a collection of links like a chain and only as strong as its weakest work.

Satan is going to attack housing attack.

I believe the Lord shows us in the letters of Revelation 2 and three. I believe in the letters to the churches. The seven churches of Asia minor.

The first of which is Ephesus, and then the others that were literally born out of the Ephesian church. The other six being also in Asia minor. I believe the Lord gives us insight into how Satan attacks the church not set the scene by looking at Revelation chapter 1 and verse nine. John the beloved apostle is on the Isle of Patmos in exile for his faith. And here it is that God gives him her marvelous vision, and in these visions he sees what God wants to reveal about the church and you will notice in verse 10 John says I was in the spirit. By that, I think he means that he is in a position to receive revelation from the spirit on the Lord's day I would be on Sunday, and I heard behind me a great voices of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and what now see us write in a book and send it on to the seven churches which are in Asia. Asia minor under Ephesus under Smyrna under Pergamum under fire Tyra on the Sardis on to Philadelphia and on to Laodicea.

Now the Lord has a word for the seven churches. Most interestingly, these are seven historical actual real churches, but they are also prototypes of churches that exist in all periods of church history because each of them has a unique characteristic to which the Lord speaks, and there are churches in every age, including today, that could be classified as Ephesian churches or Smyrna churches or Pergamum churches with fire Tyra or Sardis or Philadelphia or Laodicean church and so they are not just historical churches, though they are that but they present to us a prototype for other periods of history none. Notice the scene in verse 12, I turned to see the voice that spoke to me and being turned I saw seven golden lampstands, one of the seven golden lampstands. Verse 20 tells you at the end the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

So here is John's vision.

He sees a lampstand which is symbolic of each of the churches and the lamp is blue is blazing its lift and the church is to be a light in the world as it is to be the place that lights up the darkness.

And so there they are the seven churches of Asia minor, each represented by a lampstand in the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man, this is Jesus Christ and he's moving in his church. He's moving through the church and is clothed with a garment down to the foot.

By the way garments like that were worn by priests, prophets and kings and so the consummation of all of those elements in Christ, he was girded about his middle with a golden girdle.

His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. Speaking of his holiness and his purity in his eyes like a flame of fire, searching and penetrating. So here is the Lord and we see him in his kingly, priestly, prophetic car and we see him with a white so that he sees symbolizes purity and then his eyes searching, penetrating as he evaluates the church and his feet like fine bronze as if they burned in a furnace why because he asked the judges church.

Sometimes Peter even said it judgment must begin at the house of God. We see also that is voices like the sound of many waters. A great commanding authoritative voice he had in his right hand seven stars, what are they, verse 20 tells you the seven stars in the middle of the verse are the angels are the ministers of the seven churches, and so in his hand on the ministers any moves among the churches, evaluating, searching, penetrating, examining the churches getting ready to write the seven letters is a valuation is a chapter 1, the result is in chapter 2 and three and so he begins. John does with the letters in chapter 2, and what does the Lord say to these church well below the limit.

These are seven absolutely incredible letter.

Five of them market our warnings to two other churches there is no warning to the church at Smyrna and Philadelphia. Apparently, there needed to be no warning. The church at Smyrna was the persecuted church. The church of Philadelphia was the evangelizing aggressive soul winning church seems to me that those two things are wonderful, preservatives.

When the church is persecuted, it tends to maintain its purity because all of the impurity drops out. You're not about to identify with an outfit where you go to get persecuted. I was a pretty serious right so persecution has a way of purifying and so does evangelism. Because as long as your heart is toward the world and as long as you're aggressively reaching the lost. You tend to be going out word rather than ingrown in the Philadelphia church. The church with the open door was a blessed church in the Smyrna church.

The church was being rained on by the fires of the opposition was a blessed church. But the other five stood in need of deep warning and there's a progression to the five warnings they start. What seems a very a very light kind of situation and they become so oppressive as to finally become apostate in the church which is utterly no church at all is a descending thing that you we seen happen in many churches throughout history.

I'm very much aware that the same thing can happen to us. It's happened to thousands and thousands and thousands of churches around the world. You start out so good. You start out like the Ephesian church did in the dissent comes a pretty soon you got nothing left. I've been in auditoriums in this country to exceed 4000 people on a Sunday morning is 150 liberals huddled in the front next. I've seen I've seen God write about a lot of things and a lot of churches. So what we need to be warned about. Let's look and see first of all, the thing that hit the church at Ephesus. They left their first love. They left their first love.

This is enough to make a message all on its own. Notice verse one under the age of the church of Ephesus write these things that he that holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. This is the Son of Man. This is Jesus Christ writing to his own church. This is in somebody's opinion, this is Christ, and he says in verse two. To them I know thy works in man, it was a fabulous story in Ephesus was incredible history. There how they had literally thrown the city in the confusion and chaos.

They overturned the system of religion that little group of believers. It started out in the midst as if they were an island of purity in a sea of wretchedness had been able to so infiltrate and purify parts of that city that they brought to a halt. Some of the most complex systems of religion at that time that little group of people had an incredible beginning in who could think of a better one to begin at Depaul, and who could think of more wonderful pastors than Apollo's, who was the greatest proclaimer of the word of God and oratorical ability perhaps never lived and better than Timothy, who was one who would teach them the same things in the same way Paul did.

They had those people for their leaders and they were working church. I know your cop posse says your hard work to the point of sweat, you really go after it.

Your involved, your labor, your patient, you have moved to Monet.

You are able to endure through the tough times in man be in Ephesus wasn't an easy place. The center of the worship of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world. The temple was an incredible mess. There were scores of UNIX thousands of of up priestess prostitutes Harold singers of flautist's and on and on just creating a hysteria music in orgy and drunkenness and frenzy and sexual mutilation so that Heraclitus said that the morals of the people of that temple were less than that of animals with the preaching of Paul and so affected all of that that the idle sales dropped off in a riot resulted. There were a tremendous church. They had endurance in the midst of a tough place really tough and he says not only that but you know you can't bear them that are evil, you can handle as a release you're dealing with sin, you will tolerate sin for a minute when somebody comes along and they're doing evil you deal with that you are intolerant of sinners.

Look at verse six it says this thou hast, that thou hey just the deeds of the Nicollet attends, which I also hate in the Nicollet.

It was apparently were resulting from an individual named Nicholas who was a man who espoused sexual immorality. Someone said of Nicholas, he abandoned himself to pleasure like a goat or whatever this thing was were not really sure. It seems to have come from that. We know that it has to do with Placentia sloughed in moral evil fornicating type of behavior and he says you hate that you haven't you have the works on your laboring your patient you don't tolerate sin in verse two says you even try them, who say they are apostles and are not, in other words you deal with the false teachers you have a biblical standard you got a statement of faith. You got a theology and you measurement by it. Your doctrinally solid. You're dealing with sin you're working hard minutes is a great church and it says in verse three repeating you have born you've endured things in the past you've come out all right and you have patience and for my name's sake you labored us and that's the greatest motive for anything a Christian does for my name's sake, you did the glory of God was there motive the highest motive in all the universe you have the right motive you are serving my glory, my knee and you labored and you didn't faint will a great church man doctrinally solid busy unmasking the false teachers disciplining those that were sitting. They really had it together but they had one fatal flaw and you go back to verse 14 of chapter 1 and you see the Christ eyes are like a flame of fire. They search and they penetrate and the searching, penetrating eyes of Jesus Christ found a fatal flaw in verse four nevertheless I have this against deed, because thou hast left thy first love. This is the church where love died orthodoxy activity without love when they read it must've hit like a thunderbolt because nobody thinks he loves God as much as the Orthodox do the fundamental evangelical yet their definition of love wasn't God's they missed the one basic thing that Jesus and said to Peter three times Peter before I ask you to feed my sheep. I got asked some else Peter do you love me Peter do you love me Peter do you love me if you say yes then feed my sheep. Why, because you cannot be effective for God, apart from loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This is one of the greatest churches in all history. And yet the Lord's penetrating eyes, found this fatal flaw.

They had turned in their hot hearts for cold orthodoxy. They were becoming. Those who simply carried out in a very biblical ministry just wasn't any passion, there if we ever get to the place where what we do is in Orthodox performance without logged at step one, and Satan has a foothold and you only want to know what the rest of the steps are. But you go to find out when you come to the place where the honeymoon ends and you don't do what you do out of an overwhelming love for Jesus Christ you're in real trouble. Get your own life is the enthusiasm for Christ. There was the thrill God is a fair description of your Christian life to say well I just can't do it. I don't have the same love, used to have. If you love anything in this world more than you love Jesus Christ you've lost your first love yourself, your family, your leisure, money, success, anything you lost if the honeymoon is over in your life like it was in Ephesus were in real trouble realtor if you're serving the Lord Jesus Christ as an Orthodox performance rather than a passion of love for him, then you missed you have missed altogether. See what I do if I feel that way. Verse five.

Three things. Remember, remember Chino's amazing spiritual defection usually comes from forgetting spiritual defection usually comes from forgetting choices. Remember, did you forget used to be. Remember how it is before your love grew cold. Remember that one cannot fire and that joy and exhilaration. Remember, secondly, repent, remember therefore from where you're falling and repent is a fall. You know not to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength in your neighbor as yourself not to have that first love for him and for others not to have that first love is a fall from which you must repent wasn't the first reaction you have to a believer is anything but love you lost your first love. If the first reaction you have to Jesus Christ is anything less and consummate love you lost your first love and need to repent and this is 1/3 thing. Remember, repent, and repeat and do the first works go back to how it used to be. If it's cold, mechanical, service and orthodoxy go back to where it all started get back to your knees, get back to the book get back to witnessing get back to fellowship.

Get back to prayer get back to sharing and praising the Lord stay close to the fire. That's what he say you know what happened in Ephesus. They didn't do it. They didn't remember and they did repent and they didn't repeat and so what it says in verse five happened, I will come under the quickly and remove thy lampstand out of its place. Except I repent the church in Ephesus died went out of existence. Great evangelical Orthodox historic monumental church went out of existence, because it lost its first love but spring father. We know that judgment must begin at the house of God, help us father to be warned aware we seen so many churches around us die so many feet away. Lord, that's not our desire at all. That doesn't bring you glory. God help us to be faithful to maintain that first never to compromise the world never to tolerate sin never to substitute reality was foreman program and functioning organization, never to be filled up with those who are lukewarm pretenders help us to be read. Do your work in our midst, as you move in some those lamps may ours be one that shines bright for your glory and Jesus event that's John MacArthur showing you not only how to recognize Satan's attacks but how to withstand them when they come the believers armor. That's John's current series here on grace to you. Doubt friend.

We want to help you take in all you can from this practical series.

So let me mention the companion study guide that we've created. It takes you deep into each lesson from the believers armor series giving you detailed outlines, plus questions that will enrich your personal or group study is about 200 pages and its affordably priced the believers armor study guide is available right now. Order yours when you contact us today.

Call our toll-free number 855 grace or go to our website The believers armor study guide costs $11 and shipping is free to order a copy of the believers armor study guide for yourself for a few copies for your small group call us at 855 grace or go to TTY.if you'd like to download the messages in John's radio series on the believers armor go to and there you'll find every message in this series, plus dozens of other topical studies, as well as hundreds of sermons that you've never heard on radio. In fact, all of John's sermons more than 52 years worth of them are free to download an audio and transcript The website is also the place to purchase John's New Testament commentary series, the MacArthur study Bible.

The systematic theology: biblical doctrine and much more. Our website again now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to use staff on Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and invite a friend to join you tomorrow when John continues his study on the believers armor with another half hour of unleashing God's truth at a time on grace to you

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