God has given you an eternal soul that is either going to be with Christ in heaven forever or is going to suffer eternal judgment with Satan forever.
There is no other alternative. There is a dark domain, one led by a very real enemy, not some red-costumed character holding a pitch for you. He is the enemy of our souls. And today, as Pastor Don Green continues to teach God's people God's Word here on The Truth Pulpit, he identifies him a little more fully for you as he presents part one of a message called, Who is Satan?
It's a continuation of our current series, Key Questions Answered. Don, why is this message so important? Well, you know, friend, if we are going to succeed in our Christian lives, we need to know how to overcome our enemy. Scripture tells us to be of sober spirit, be on the alert, because your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. God's Word tells us who Satan is and tells us how to resist him.
It's an important broadcast, and I'm glad you've joined us today here on The Truth Pulpit. Well, friend, here now is Don Green teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit. Who is Satan?
Let's start here. Satan is an evil spirit who has some manner of access to God and who is the accuser and the adversary of our souls. Satan is an evil spirit with some manner of access to God who is the accuser and adversary of our souls.
You are not walking through life as an innocent, stand-alone, independent person. You are walking through life in the midst of a spiritual battle that you need to be awake to, that you need to alert yourself to, that Scripture makes plain for us. And if you'll turn to the book of Job in the Old Testament, this is going to be our starting point.
And we're going to go to many passages. One of the reasons that we're going to go to many passages today is to help you see how much the Bible addresses the reality of Satan and speaks about his impact on our lives. But we're going to start with this narrative account in the book of Job as Satan approaches the throne of God and the Lord institutes a question about a righteous man named Job.
Job chapter 1, verse 6. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, From where do you come? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.
That should tell you something right there. Satan, despite what sometimes we mistakenly think, Satan is not omnipresent, he is confined spatially, he is not omnipresent like the Lord is. He roams about on the earth and walks around on it because he's not everywhere present all at once. And so Satan answers the Lord's question, verse 8. And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job fear God for nothing?
Have you not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands and his possessions have increased in the land, but put forth your hand now and touch all that he has, he will surely curse you to your face. Then the Lord said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him. So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. That's one of the clearest narrative portions of scripture that talk about Satan.
And you see him, you see him somehow approaching the throne of God. You see somehow the Lord calling a righteous man named Job to his attention. And you immediately see the malevolent, evil, wicked spirit of Satan in that he immediately tries to turn God against this righteous man named Job. And accuses Job of serving God out of self-interest rather than for God's own inherent worth and doing everything that he can to besmirch Job's reputation in the throne room of God and to stir up opposition against him. Now, in the course of the book of Job, we're not going to look at this whole book at all by any stretch of the imagination. But God is content to allow Satan to attack Job and to inflict pain and loss upon him so that Job would become an instrument of the display of the inherent worth of God. In the end of the 42 chapters of the book of Job, you see that Job maintains fast his faith in the glory and the goodness of God even though Satan stirs up all kinds of evil and sorrow and loss and wickedness against him.
The point here is this. Is that Satan went into the presence of God with a design to inflict harm against Job. And that tells us a lot of things in that little bit of overview. Satan is an intelligent being. He is an intelligent spirit.
You see him engaging God in conversation about Job. And so he's not merely a force of evil as if somehow, you know, if you think about gravity as a force of physics. Satan is not simply a spiritual force. He is an intelligent being with spiritual powers that transcend anything that we could imagine. Now, knowing that many of you have been exposed to all kinds of silly teachings about exorcisms and things like that, our goal is not to speculate about what happens in the heavenly realm between Satan and God except to acknowledge that there is some kind of engagement like that that takes place.
All of that hasn't been revealed to us. What we want to do here is understand Satan's threat to us and how to be protected against it. We want to understand his threat and how to be protected against it.
And to do that, we're going to consider three primary points and then work out some points of application at the close of the message. As we answer the question, who is Satan? First of all, the first answer to that question is that Satan is a supernatural deceiver.
He is a supernatural deceiver. During the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, he gave us some defining statements about Satan's character, about what he is like. And I want you to turn to the Gospel of John, chapter 8, for one of the clearest statements.
John, chapter 8, verse 44. As you're turning there, let me remind you that we said in our first message that we receive the authority of the Bible based on the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. No one understands the spiritual realm in a superior way to our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are dependent on him. We are humbly looking to him to tell us the truth about the adversary of our souls. And so when Jesus speaks about the nature of the devil, we find that we have the answers to our questions.
We find that it is explained for us. Now the Bible uses the term devil and the devil and Satan in an interchangeable way. And so when we see the Bible speaking about the devil, we see a description that helps us answer the question, who is Satan? Here's what I want you to see in John, chapter 8, verse 44. Jesus is speaking to unbelieving Jews and he tells them, you are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and 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.
That gives us a sense of the supernatural deception that the devil wields in his power. The gospel of Christ is the only hope that men have from being delivered from this wicked deceiver. Without the gospel, men will go to hell.
And Jesus tells us, as he addresses those unbelieving Jews, he says, understand that as you oppose me, you are acting consistently with the one who is your spiritual father, the one who is a murderer. But just think back to the opening chapters of Genesis. It was the work of the devil to tempt man into sin, and with man willingly embracing the temptation that was placed in front of him, the entire human race was cast into destruction. He murdered the entire human race with his temptations.
We're all bearing the consequence of that. Billions upon billions of people who have been generated ultimately from the loins of Adam, a real historical person, I might add, are bearing the consequences of the murderous intentions of the devil. And he is a liar by nature. He deceives men with false teaching in order to lead them away from God.
We're not talking about a comic book figure with a red pointy tail. We're talking about a supernatural spiritual being who somehow works through those who propagate false philosophies, false doctrines, both inside the church and outside of it. It's not that the devil is simply at work in the raging murderer or the town drunk in the gutter. He's working equally through the arrogant university professor who propagates his views on the philosophies of a godless life. He's at work through the shining million dollar smiles of celebrity pastors who don't preach the truth.
He works through a variety of different ways, all designed and calculated either through your love of sin, your love of self, or your love of lies, anything that would tempt you away and lead you away from Christ finds its ultimate source in the father of lies, the devil himself. You see, biblical doctrine and what a church teaches you is not a matter of some small difference of opinion. It's not a matter of things of inconsequence. We're talking about the difference between being sourced ultimately in the authoritative word of the Lord Jesus Christ or being sourced ultimately in the father of lies. If you think I'm overstating the case, let me encourage you to turn to 1 Timothy chapter 4. 1 Timothy chapter 4. The apostle Paul, writing toward the end of his earthly ministry, says that the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron. Then he goes on and describes something that looks an awful lot like the teaching of the Catholic Church. Verse 3.
Men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared by those who believe and know the truth. Doctrines of demons. And it's not going to be necessarily fiery displays of evil. It's going to be cloaked in things that sound palatable to the human ear, things that sound plausible, things that give you the sense that you can work your way into heaven or that perhaps God is ultimately going to forgive everyone and no one will go to hell.
Or perhaps that God isn't as holy or that you're not as bad as the Scriptures say you to be. The vast diversity of deceit that the devil propagates through so many different systems ultimately shouldn't confuse us from the fact that there is a common root. If you've ever worked in a garden, you know that sometimes a single weed will spread itself out over a lot of different area.
But when you pick up the weed, you find that it just has one common root that you have to pull up. Well, in that way, there is a sense in which Satan is the father of every lie that opposes the gospel. Jesus said he's the liar and the father of lies. And so when we see false doctrine being taught, we need to understand that there is more going on than simply a man being mistaken.
There is a spiritual force that's at work whether the man is aware of it or not. If you think back, Jesus even saw this and explained it during his own earthly life when Peter said, God forbid that you would die on a cross, Lord. What did Jesus say in response to him? He said, Get behind me, Satan. Get behind me, Satan. Men, become the mouthpiece for this deceiver, this supernatural deceiver of our souls. And, beloved, what should humble us?
What should frighten us, apart from Scripture and apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, is to realize that Satan has the supernatural capacity, the supernatural capacity to make himself look like and to present himself as one who is bringing light, not darkness. Turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 11. 2 Corinthians 11.
And you'll see more about what we just said, about the doctrines of demons, about the threat of supernatural deception. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11, verse 12, is defending his apostolic ministry. And he says in verse 11, he says, Why am I doing this? Because I do not love you?
No, God knows that I do. Paul, speaking from an urgent love for the Corinthian church, speaks to them about the nature of his ministry and about the opposition, the spiritual opposition that he faces that comes through the false teaching of men. He says in verse 12, What I am doing, I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. Verse 13, For such men are false apostles. Notice, these men, these men that they saw, flesh and blood, human beings, they are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ for purposes of today. Watch what Paul says. No wonder.
No wonder. For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants, whose servants, Satan's servants, also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness whose end will be according to their deeds. They come and they look like Christian teachers. They come and they look like instruments of righteousness, instruments of truth. But behind the veil of the deception, the supernatural deception, behind the disguise, behind the mask, they're agents of the devil. Servants of Satan. Seeking to bring influence on those who come under the realm of their influence. And here's the thing, beloved.
Here's part of the humbling that you and I have to go through in order to be able to be protected and insulated from this kind of threat. We have to understand that in our natural abilities, we do not have the power, you do not have the power to discern that, to see it, to recognize it. Because it is a supernatural, transhuman power that is at work bringing that deception to bear upon the human race.
And in the confines of individual local churches. We don't have the power to recognize that on our own. We can't see it. We are natural.
We are fleshly. There is a supernatural power at work that goes beyond human ability that is at work trying to deceive men and to hide the gospel from them. And so, so, what should that do to you?
What's the impact, the spiritual impact that that should have on your heart? It's not overstating it to say this should be very sobering, even frightening, to realize that there is this supernatural power at work that you don't have the ability to guard yourself against. In your own strength and in your own power. There is this wicked, malevolent spirit who is at work trying to deceive men and he is so powerful and so deceptive in his work that he'll look just like a safe guide to heaven to you. And that should put the fear of God in you enough to cast yourself upon the one true authority, the one true Lord Jesus Christ saying, Lord, you've got to help me. I'm defenseless in the midst of this realm. I'm defenseless against this foe to my soul and the one, the ones whom he uses.
It's a disguise, it's a ruse, it's a mask. You don't recognize it on your own. And if that doesn't sober you up, I don't know how to help you. If that doesn't frighten you, I don't know what to do for you. You've got to take this seriously because God has given you an eternal soul that is either going to be with Christ in heaven forever or is going to suffer eternal judgment with Satan forever.
There is no other alternative. And you have to value your soul. You have to treasure the eternal value of the soul that God has given you enough to realize that you're in danger and you need help. Because a supernatural deceiver is at work and you don't have the ability on your own to discern truth from error.
Now, that's our first point. Secondly, we said that Satan is a supernatural deceiver. Satan is not someone to play games with because point number two, Satan is a sadistic destroyer. He is a sadistic destroyer who has no compassion on the human race, who has no compassion on you. His desire is to murder your soul. His desire is to bring you down into eternal judgment in hell with him forever. He is a perverted tyrant. He is opposed to God's commands. He is bent on destroying every possible element of the human race that he possibly can.
He is bent on hiding the truth of the gospel from you. And this evil in his sadistic, destructive ways plays out in different manners. We alluded to Genesis 3. He tempted Eve into sin. Eve brought Adam into the sin and thus cast our whole race into destruction, promising them that they would be like God, promising them that he was offering them blessing and freedom that God was withholding from them, and in the bait was the hook that brought the whole race down.
This is sadistic. There should be no underestimating the wicked designs of Satan upon the human race and you as a part of the human race being threatened by those same intentions. Satan blinds men to the truth and he holds them hostage. Look at 2 Corinthians 4. And I'm about to describe, for those of you who are not Christians, I am about to read a scripture which describes your existing spiritual state.
And as I do, the prayer of my heart is that God would strike you with fear so that you would take this seriously and stop playing games. Look at 2 Corinthians 4. We'll start in verse 1.
We'll see how Paul lays out the truth and then contrasts it with the era that's around. Again, Paul is defending the truth and the authority of his apostolic ministry. And in chapter 4, verse 1, he says, Since we have received this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the Word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. Watch this, verse 3. This is where it becomes pertinent to our message today and to the lost soul here. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In whose case, those who are not Christians, here is a description of your present spiritual state. In whose case, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. How wicked, how sadistic, how destructive is Satan?
Here's a picture of it for you. He has actively blinded men from understanding the truth of the gospel so that they could be saved from their sins, so that they could be delivered into eternal life. There's a supernatural blinding that has been placed over the eyes of the unbelieving and Scripture attributes that to the God of this world, having actively blinded the minds of those who do not believe in Christ. It's frightening. It's terrifying. It's terrifying to think that I am, as it were, standing between heaven and hell and addressing people that are on the receiving end of this kind of destructive influence upon their minds and that they're blind to it and I don't have human power to do anything to help them. It's frightening. The God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving. A force that you cannot see, that you have no power over, has acted against your interests and done something to your mind and to your heart that keeps you from understanding the only truth that could save you. This is horrifying to contemplate. This is the condition of the human race according to the authoritative testimony of Scripture. This tells us you can be a slave and not even know it.
You can be blind when you think you see. Today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green has shown us that Satan is both a supernatural deceiver and father of lies as well as a sadistic destroyer. Don will provide other characteristics of this evil one and measures we can take against him next time.
Don't miss a moment. You know, you can hear any part of this series again at your convenience when you visit our website, thetruthpulpit.com. You can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies for your personal study library. Plus, you'll find the link Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing needed for radio broadcasts. Again, that's all at thetruthpulpit.com. And may we also say thank you for your support of this ministry. Without you, this program would not be possible. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time as Don Green continues to teach God's people God's word from the Truth Pulpit.
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