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The Enemy: A Close Look - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2023 12:00 am

The Enemy: A Close Look - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 17, 2023 12:00 am

Understand the mind of your opposing general, Satan, so you can be ready during spiritual battles

Alex McFarland Show
Alex McFarland
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, May 17th.

To gain an advantage on us, Satan attempts to blend in with the surroundings. Today's podcast helps you uncover his hiding places with a close look at the enemy. If you were a general in the army and you were going to war against another nation, one thing you would do very carefully, you would study the life of the opposing general. You would learn everything you possibly could about him. You'd know all about his birth.

You'd know all about his background, all about his childhood, where he was educated, when he got into the military, what kind of accomplishments that he had made. You'd study everything about him because what you would be trying to do is to find out how does this man think? What motivates him? What causes him to react? What gets him angry? Is he cool-headed? Is he the kind of person who responds quickly?

Does he delay in his decisions? You'd learn everything you possibly could because you see, oftentimes, it is not who is the most powerful. It is the one who can outthink the other. It is being able to understand how this general thinks. And if you can outthink him and you can think the way he thinks, then you will know his next move and more than likely, you'll win that battle.

Well, it's interesting how in the military, men study very, very thoroughly their opposing enemy. Well, you and I have an opposing enemy and he opposes us at every turn in our life. Everywhere we turn, he is there with his demonic powers in some fashion, in some way to cause us to falter and to fall, to step out of God's will and to miss his plan for our life. But isn't it interesting that we can just sort of go through life and somehow never think to realize that it's very important that we understand how the enemy thinks. We have someone who is opposing us, who is against us. It's very clear in the Scriptures how he thinks. In fact, you and I have a manual called the Bible that gives us several thousands of years of how this opposing general, how this satanic power is going to act, how he responds, how he works in the lives of others, how he has failed and how he has succeeded so often. So, if we're going to be able to live in the victory that our Lord provided for us, then one of the wisest things we can do is to understand the mind of our opposing general. Who is this? Where did he come from?

What has he been doing? Well, you and I can never cover all that in just a short, brief period of time, but at least we can get into it and at least stir your heart to begin to think and ask yourself some questions that you may need to ask because of your personal circumstance. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to Ephesians chapter six. And in this message, I want us to talk about the enemy, a close look. And you'll recall now that the Apostle Paul has written these first three chapters of Ephesians to tell us what we have as a result of being a believer. And chapters four through five and a half here of how we ought to live.

And now he says you have a problem. You have an opposing force. And this is what he says beginning in verse ten. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of your opposition, your opposing general, your enemy, the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. What the Apostle Paul has done in those few verses is to identify to us who our enemy is. There's a whole host of enemies and it seems, according to the Scripture, though some things are not as clear as we'd like for them to be, that not only do we have an opposing force here, but there is a whole recognized kingdom of these forces, of course, Satan being the primary one. And for example, if you'll turn back to John chapter eight for a moment, and here in just one verse in this eighth chapter here, as Jesus again in seventh and eighth chapters of John, several chapters in John, are taken up primarily with Jesus just battling out with the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who certainly had the mind of Satan in many things. But listen, if you will, in verse forty-three, Jesus said, Why do you not understand what I am saying?

It is because you cannot hear My word. Now look at this, verse forty-four. You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Now that's a rather very clear explanation of what Jesus' opinion of Satan was.

He said he's a murderer, he's been one from the very beginning, that he's a liar, he does not speak the truth, and that besides that, he says he is the father of all lies. The Bible says he's the ruler of this age, he's the prince of the power of the air, that he is their adversary. He's called a serpent, he's called a dragon, and he's called the accuser of the brethren, he's called the wicked one. There are about twenty-five names in the Scriptures that allude to Satan or identify him. And so every single one of them says something about his character and about his nature. Now you and I know that Satan is a spirit, that he is a force. He is certainly not just a force and just a spirit, but he is a very specific one.

But what I want you to see is that he is head of a kingdom of evil forces. And you'll recall that that kingdom was identified in Colossians chapter one. And you'll notice that here Paul is talking about giving thanks and he says we're to give thanks to the Father who's qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

And then in verse thirteen of Colossians here's what he says. He says, For he, speaking of Jesus, has delivered you and me from the domain or the kingdom of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. So before you and I trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we were a part of the kingdom of Satan. That is, you and I, we're doing what he said do.

We were following his leadership and his guidance. But you see there is a whole kingdom of which Satan is the leader. The Bible says he is the ruler of this age. Even Jesus said twice in the fourteenth chapter of John and also in the sixteenth chapter of John, Jesus says this very thing.

He says, Yes indeed. He identifies him in verse thirty of chapter fourteen. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming and he has nothing in me. Jesus called him that. In the sixteenth chapter, in the eleventh verse, he says, In concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. So Jesus does not deny the fact that Satan is a kingdom leader. He doesn't deny the fact that he has a kingdom. He doesn't deny the fact that he has a whole host of forces, that it's a powerful kingdom and what he's doing, Satan is trying to do, is to blind the minds of men so they will not move from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. When he says he's the prince of the power of the air and when he says he's the ruler of this age, that means, I want you to listen, there's the word in the New Testament, the word for world is the word cosmos. And that word really in essence simply means this, when Jesus talks about him being the ruler of the world, he doesn't mean that he himself has abdicated his own throne, abdicated his power, and now Satan has risen above Jesus and he's the ruler of the world.

No. This world that the Bible speaks of is the world system. That is the system that's in this world that governs it.

We've said this before. Now, what is he talking about when he talks about this world? He's talking about a world system. How do we operate in this world?

Scientifically, politically, medically, religiously, educationally, in our communities, in our nations, in our wealthy areas, in our slummy areas, doesn't make a difference where it is. There is a kingdom of darkness and Satan's goal in this kingdom of darkness is to rule and reign. And the truth is, in every segment of our society, whether it is financial or educational or even religiously, in every segment of society, Satan has penetrated. And so he is ruling and he is reigning in this world that is the world system. You and I live in this world and on this globe. You and I do not belong in the world system.

You and I, listen, we're not products of this age. While we live in it and we bear the blunt of it, and oftentimes we suffer the results of it, you and I belong to a different kingdom. The ruler of this age is Satan.

The ruler in your life and my life is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have two kingdoms at war with each other, warring against each other, and so things are not going to get any better. I cannot even imagine people teaching the idea that one of these days things are going to get better and better and better and then Jesus is going to come. Well, I'm here to tell you, friend, we are going backwards as fast as we can go. Things are not getting better. They're getting worse and worse and worse. And the persecution of Christians all of this world is intensifying and it's getting worse in our own nation in a very subtle fashion.

That is exactly what's happening. So when the Bible says, for example, in 1 John, when the Scripture speaks here that the world lies in the evil one, the whole of 1 John chapter 5 verse 19, we know that we are of God and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. That does not mean, I want to say, that the world is now under the absolute control of Satan, but this world system is. The world system, every facet of society penetrated by unbelief, ungodliness, and what the world system is, it is a society without God.

The system that runs this world is a society without God, whether it is politically or whatever it may be. So when we look at Satan that way, this is who we're talking about. Now, somebody says, where in the world did he come from? Well, God created him.

How do I know that? Well, there's several reasons, but if you'll turn to Colossians chapter 1, and I just want to give you some straight verses here that will answer those questions rather quickly. If you'll notice what he says in the Colossians chapter 1, the Bible says, and he, that is Jesus, is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Then he says, for by him, that is by Jesus, all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, rulers or authorities, all things have been created by him and for him. So when somebody says, well, where did he come from? He was created. How was he created? Well, tell me, if Satan was created, how was he created? He was created good.

How do I know that? Go back to Genesis chapter 1. Genesis chapter 1, if you'll notice in this chapter, what the Scripture says in verse thirty-one, when we read the creation story, the Bible says in verse thirty-one, And God saw that all he had made, and behold, it was very good, and there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day. God didn't create anything evil. God allowed the idea and the potential of evil to erupt and to be a part of life, but he didn't create anyone evil. He didn't create evil angels. He didn't create evil demonic forces. He created everything good. Now somewhere between Genesis 1.31 and the third chapter of Genesis, somewhere Satan rebelled against God, carried with him a whole host of angelic beings, and so we find him now as a serpent in the garden. So we find here that we ask about what is his origin.

It's very evident. Now I want you to turn to 2 Peter for a moment, 2 Peter chapter 2 and Jude verse 6. Look at these, 2 Peter chapter 2. And in this 2 Peter chapter 2, look if you will in verse 4 of this chapter, and I want you to notice two references here, one in 2 Peter and also in Jude about these angels, these fallen angels. Look at this now, 2 Peter chapter 2, For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment.

All right, and then move on if you will to Jude. Look if you will in the sixth verse. The Scripture says, And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, he has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. So it appears that their sin was they were not satisfied in the position that they had. And in their pride and arrogance they wanted, following Satan, to be above and beyond their particular position, and so they fell with him. Now the implication of Scripture is that some of those angels are confined to a place of torment and some are not.

And so the Bible doesn't give us all the details we would like. But isn't it interesting when you read that, you go to Proverbs chapter 6 for a moment, look that if you will, and isn't it interesting when God in this sixth chapter of the Proverbs, when the writer of Proverbs begins to talk about the things that God hates, what do you think he puts first? In the sixth chapter of Proverbs in the sixteenth verse, he says, There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven, which are an abomination to Him.

And the first one he says is haughty eyes. That means pridefulness. God hates pride. I believe it's the thing He hates above everything else. Now why does He hate pride above everything else?

For this reason. Because, number one, every other sin that you and I commit other than pride is an expression of something we need. For example, if we steal, it's something we say we need.

If we lie, we need to look like something else than we are. Or if it's some form of sensuality or sexual sin or whatever it may be, it doesn't make any difference what the sin may be, gossip, you name it. A person feels like they just got to tell or they just got to be in the know.

It doesn't make any difference. Every single sin that we commit is some expression of need we have. But when it comes to pride, pride says I don't need it.

I don't need you. Pride is an independence. Pride is a haughty expression of an independent spirit.

It is the very thing that got Satan where he is and it's the very thing that brought his angels down with him and it's the very thing that causes people to fail and to fall by today. Pride and arrogance. I don't need. I have enough.

I'm better than. God hates pride. Any expression of it in us? And all of us should have somebody around us close enough that we can say, if you see any pride in me, I want you to tell me right now because it is the one thing that God hates. It's the one thing He will not tolerate. It's the one thing He will bring down sooner or later. And I think oftentimes we see people falling in their life and oftentimes it is because of this arrogance, this pride. They don't need anyone or anybody. Friend, I don't even want to be around somebody who's got that kind of arrogance because I know God's hand is coming down sooner or later.

He will not tolerate it. It was the sin of the angels. It has been the sin of many great people in the past and they fell because they've had this independent spirit.

They didn't need anybody, including God. And so when you look at Satan, this is the kind of person you find. Now, when I think about this kingdom and I think about his position, we said he has a position certainly of prominence.

There's no question about it. When Jesus said He's the prince of the power of the air, He's the ruler of this age. He's the God of this age. That is, Satan today has a place of prominence. I mean, the Scripture says he does because he is the head of a kingdom.

Now, though he may have that, and along with that goes, of course, a position of power. That is, Satan is a powerful being. Now look, if you look around you, not on this country but the world, if you look around you and just sort of evaluate things, who does it look like is winning? Who does it look like is winning? Satan.

I mean, there's far more of them than there are us. And you look at all the religions in the world and all the era and all the different plans of salvation, none of which have a part for Jesus Christ, it looks like he's winning. But the truth is we know he's not.

And so he wants to blind the eyes of men to believe that somehow he's winning. Now, when I look at his position, I have to think about also, I know he's a powerful one because Paul said in this particular chapter of Ephesians, he says we're to stand against him. He said stand firm. He said put on the whole armor. He talked about the armor we have.

Everything from a helmet of salvation to wielding a sword and standing behind this shield of faith. So we're talking about a powerful being. But I want you to remember this also that Satan has limitations. Satan is not a free-wheeling general of a confederacy of opposing wicked, vile forces who has all power and who is unlimited in what he can do to you and me. The truth is Satan cannot do anything to you and me. He can't tamper with anything that you and I possess. He can't tamper with your body. He can't tamper with your mind. He can't tamper with anything in your life and mind other than what Almighty God allows him to tamper with.

And as we said before, if you and I will respond the right way, no matter what he does, we're going to come out a winner and he gets defeated. Now, in 1 Corinthians, for example, verse, chapter ten, verse thirteen, turn to that for just a moment because here's one of those things all of us have to deal with, and that's temptation. And here's what he said in 1 Corinthians. Here's the limitation because if Satan could, he would put such pressure on us that all of us would yield.

But listen to what he says. This is the promise that God has given us. We face difficulties and temptations. Verse thirteen of chapter ten, no temptation. He didn't say most.

He said none. No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man. Somebody else has been there. And God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted above what you're able. Now, how does this temptation come? The Bible says we're tempted when we are drawn away by our own flesh, our own lust, but also Satan is behind all temptation.

So we can't blame him for falling ultimately because we don't have to fall. But the truth is he is the ultimate one. He's the ultimate culprit behind every temptation. And here's what he says. No temptation has taken you, but such is common to man. But God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able, but will make a way of escape that you may be able to endure it.

So here's what he says. He says Satan can't tempt you with all of his power. If Satan were able to exercise all of his power against you and me, we couldn't handle it.

So God has put a limitation on it. He can only tempt a believer up to a point. And God knows how much you and I can stand. He knows how much pain you and I can stand. He knows how much pressure we can stand. He knows how much difficult and hardship we can stand. And he also knows, listen, not only how much and how intense and how heavy, he knows how long we can stand it. Sometimes it is pain that is very intense but short-lived.

Sometimes it is difficult and hardship and pain that is not only, listen, not only intense but long-lived, not short-lived. You say, well, God, how long do I have to handle this? You can rest assured of this, that Almighty, sovereign, unconditionally loving God has put an absolute limitation on the weight, on the time, and on the intensity. And God will not allow Satan to tempt you in weight, intensity, or length of time any more than he knows that you can bear if you and I will rely upon him and put our trust in him. There is a limitation because God has our best interest in art. And here's what he says. He said he will not allow you to be tempted more than you can bear. Thank you for listening to The Enemy, A Close Look. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-17 08:03:37 / 2023-05-17 08:13:01 / 9

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