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Dealing with the Devil, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 17, 2023 12:00 am

Dealing with the Devil, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 17, 2023 12:00 am

Satan is our adversary, our accuser. He accuses us to God and accuses God to us. In this lesson, Stephen highlights some of Satan’s favorite tactics to destroy us, and also reminds us that Satan’s power is Providentially delegated and limited. We also learn from 1 Peter 5:9 how we can resist the enemy’s attacks. But, above all, we must remember that our only hope for triumph is by standing in the Victory already won for us by Jesus Christ.

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The demonic world senses that you're becoming interested in confessing your own sin. Satan switches gears and he encourages you to mind your sin, but not mind your Savior. He essentially says, okay, you want to think about how sinful you really are?

Well then, I'll go along with that. And he attempts to captivate our minds and overwhelm our souls with our record of sinful failure, so much so that we become captivated by our sinfulness and not by our Savior. Dealing with the attacks of Satan effectively requires awareness of what those attacks are. You can't defend against something you don't understand.

But you also need strategies to overcome those attacks. One of the ways Satan will attack you is by causing you to dwell on your sin in unhealthy ways. There's more, and Stephen's exploring them in this message.

It's actually a message he began last time, but didn't have time to complete. It's called Dealing with the Devil. It comes from 1 Peter 5, 9.

And here's Stephen Davey right now. The word resist means to take a stand against him. In other words, you're not going to run away.

You're not battling some physical creature. You're battling his deceptions, his false doctrines, his false teaching, by which he has captivated the world. So you dig your heels in when it comes to his deceptions. You resist him when it comes to keeping your integrity and your purity. You take your stand on the truth of God's word. Resisting the devil means you're not going to back down. You're not going to slack up.

You're not going to run away. By the way, it's interesting to me as I dug into this that the Bible often tells the believer to flee from sin. Verses probably come to your mind if you're older in the faith. Paul wrote to the believers to flee immorality. 1 Corinthians 6, 18.

Flee from idolatry, that is, worshiping something other than the true living God. 1 Corinthians 10, 14. Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to flee from these things. He just described all kinds of evil practices. 1 Timothy 6, 11. He wrote again to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2, 22. Flee youthful lusts. But has it ever occurred to you that while the Bible often tells the believer to flee from sin, it never once tells the believer to flee from the devil? It's an interesting thought.

Never once. In fact, the apostle James uses the same expression for resist, and he says it this way. Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and what happens? And he will flee from you. The one doing the running away is the devil. Now he's not running away because he's afraid of you. The devil isn't afraid of you. He wants you for lunch. But he's afraid of God. And when you draw near to God, that as you walk in communion and fellowship with God, he can't stand the presence of God and he takes off.

He would rather be as far away as he can. I remember getting caught one afternoon by the neighborhood bully. I may have told you about this. I was about 10 years old. You know, he was bigger, badder, meaner, uglier. And I think I told him that on one occasion and he caught me in my neighbor's backyard and began to make me suffer for my faith. Actually, it wasn't my faith, my foolishness. My two brothers, younger brothers, got up on the fence there in the backyard to watch.

It was like front row seats. And he's just pummeling me. But my mother heard the commotion. My mother ran out the back door, leapt over that fence without touching it. The bully saw her coming and he ran away. He was afraid of my mother. I was afraid of my mother, actually.

She saved my life. Imagine this ferocious, demonic creature who comes against us can actually be sent running away. How? Because he's afraid of us? Because we're wearing, you know, you know, our favorite Iron Man suit. We've got our chest all puffed out with self-confidence.

No. He's running away because we're in communion with the one who is within us. And greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world. 1 John 4.

He's terrified of our sovereign Lord. So the first action point is to adopt a defensive stance in confidence of our indwelling Savior, which is what James meant when he said to draw near to God. Secondly, and even more specifically, rehearse the faith. Notice, but resist the devil firm in your faith. You can render that firm as regards your faith.

Your, as italicized, is supplied by the translator and I think not properly. Peter isn't telling you to get your faith as big as it can be. He isn't telling you to muster up the greatest possible faith you can have and then you can stand firmly against the wiles of the devil.

No, he's not talking about that. He's talking about the faith. This is the faith. This is the body of the truth. So you get to know this. This is what Luther meant when he said, one little word shall fail him. This is the little word. Just one word from this.

What he's talking about. The devil is going to tempt you and your resistance looks exactly like Jesus' resistance, where Jesus answered all three temptations by quoting scripture. In fact, all three verses came from the book of Deuteronomy.

I've often wondered how I'd do if all I had to face him was the book of Deuteronomy. The Apostle Paul describes our warfare with the devil as a war of words, a war of ideas, a war of false speculations, which is why Luther said, I fought the devil with ink, with words, truth. We resist him by the truth. Paul wrote it this way, for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. We're not fighting some physically seen enemy. Behind it all is what? The enemy, the spiritual enemy. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh.

They're divinely powerful. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. That's what we're doing. We're taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Second Corinthians 10, three to five. In other words, the battle of the believer against the schemes of the devil is first and foremost a battle in your mind. It's a battle of ideas. It's a battle of truth against lies.

That's how we fight. A woman in our church to whom I'm grateful introduced me to a book she had heard me reference, Puritans. She's new to the church. She came up after her service and she asked me if I had ever come across Thomas Brooks book entitled Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices. I said, I don't know, let me look.

I checked it out, looked it up, I don't have it. She actually gave me her copy which I have read. I would encourage every believer to read it. She warned me, it's by a Puritan.

It's hard to read and they all are. In fact, it was interesting, yesterday I received in the mail a journal I subscribed to, a Christian journal, and in that magazine as I sat to read it was an article written by a guy who in that article quoted Thomas Brooks from this book Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices. I thought, well, the Lord's obviously wanting me to read a little Thomas Brooks along with everything else, so I read this book by Brooks.

He catalogs literally dozens and dozens of devices. I've sort of reworked some of his and I've added a few of my own. I want to give you seven of them.

I could literally spend another session on this and give you 20, but I'm going to give you seven and I think within these seven you could use these as categorical headings for all of them. Number one, Satan reveals the bait but hides the hook. Reveals the bait and hides the hook. None of this is going to be really new, but I just love the way this is expressed by this Puritan.

Another author illustrates the same point, Lutzer on his wonderful little paperback on the devil. He says if you want to catch a bear, you lay a trap with fresh meat. If you want to catch a fish, you use a worm. If you want to catch a mouse, you use cheese. If you want to catch a cat, you use a mouse. I added that one actually into the text. The trick is to tempt your prey with something they like. That's the hook hidden within the bait. Now, as we learned in our last session, demons and the devil can't read your mind, but they can watch you blink.

Remember? They can watch the pupils of your eyes dilate or constrict. They can hear your heart beating.

They can check your blood pressure. They see your actions and your reactions and they take notes. They see what you watch on television. They look over your shoulder and see what you're reading. They listen on your way to work or school to what you're listening to on the radio. They watch what you click with your mouse on the computer and custom make the bait. I think it's a telling illustration even with the computer. It seems to remember, you know, where you've been.

And I've only learned recently it's I know I'm slow and I don't spend my life on it, but it's called cookies. And so you go somewhere and the computer remembers. I ordered the necktie a few weeks online and this is where I figured it out. Now, every time I opened a program on my computer, on the right hand side are all these neckties.

I'm thinking, where in the world? This is amazing. It's cookies. Some of you don't know what neckties are. They're strips of cloth hung around the neck by truly spiritual people.

I mean, older people. All right, let's keep going. Secondly, he paints sin with virtuous colors. Another author wrote that Satan's method is to make sin look good to us. So he's got to rework the terminology, right? He's not going to come up to you and say, look, I'm going to attempt you to do the dumbest thing you've ever done in your entire life. How does that sound? No, he says, I would attempt you with the fulfillment that your life seems to be missing.

You can't live without this. That's how he does it. He renames things so that they sound, as the Puritan wrote, virtuous. We might say, so they sound right.

They're more appealing. You don't have a bad temper. It's personal conviction. It isn't stealing.

It's something you deserve. It isn't materialism. It's good taste. It isn't pornography. It's an appreciation of God's created beauty.

I've actually heard that in my office. It isn't drunkenness. It's Christian liberty. It isn't lying. It's discreetly withholding the truth.

And on and on and on and on. Satan's a master artist, and he can paint temptation with the brightest and most beautiful colors. Third, Satan downplays the consequences of sin. He tells you it isn't going to hurt anybody.

It's not going to entangle you. Come on, this is not the end of the world. And then he gets his foot in the door when early church father wrote that if the devil can claim one hair of your head, he will soon make a braid of it. He's constantly offering excuses as he renames things.

D.L. Moody, the great evangelist from a century ago said it this way often, excuses are the cradle that Satan rocks people to sleep in. This wicked whisperer, Brooks called him, whispers excuses. Fourth, he maximizes God's compassion and minimizes God's commandments. The only time the devil is ever going to whisper in your ear or mind anything positive about God, it's going to be when he waxes eloquent on the love and the mercy and the compassion of God. And then he misapplies it to mean God isn't going to care if you do whatever you want to do. He's compassionate, which is why you go out on the street and you talk to people about the gospel.

And as soon as you start talking about sin or conviction, they're going to say, hey, my God, you know, the God I know is out there. He's loving. He's all love. He's compassionate. See, that's the enemy who's spreading his false doctrine that this is all there is of God.

Compassion. Oh, don't worry about his commandments. Fifth, Satan leads you to compare yourself to greater sinners. Every one of us who are old enough in the faith, I've seen this happening over and over again, right?

All these things. He encourages you to compare yourself to greater sinners. This is a classic device of the devil. He says, yeah, yeah, you got a hateful spirit, but you're not a murderer on death row, are you? You got a problem with covetousness, but you've never robbed a bank yet. There's always a greater sinner out there. I mean, for most of the world, they're grateful that Hitler came along because I've had people say, well, you know, Hitler. Satan doesn't just lead you to compare yourself to greater sinners. The also number six reminds you of the sins of greater Christians.

You'll flip that coin over as well. In other words, if godly people do bad things, then you're not so bad after all. I mean, look at them. They got away with it. They seem to survive another day. And they were great Christians. I mean, look at David.

I don't know how many times I've been told that by people. Look at David, you know, adultery, murder, deception. And you know, when they're somewhere in the Bible that says he was the apple of God's eye, they got that verse memorized. Never mind the fact that if you study his life, you watch his family and personal life fall apart during the course of his reign.

In fact, he dies a dirty old man. You're not nearly as bad as David. Then there's another device of the devil, even more clever.

Watch this. When the demonic world senses that you're becoming interested in confessing your own sin, well, they don't want that. You're beginning to focus on your own sin. Satan switches gears, number seven, and he encourages you to mind your sin but not mind your savior. He essentially says, okay, you want to think about how sinful you really are? Well then, I'll go along with that. In fact, I'll back the truck up and I'm going to bury you with your sinfulness.

I'm going to bring things to your mind you've forgotten that happened years ago. He attempts to captivate our minds and overwhelm our souls with our record of sinful failure, so much so that we become captivated by our sinfulness and not by our savior. He can play the string on that fiddle. You want to play that? Oh, watch me play it. So we become deluged by our sinfulness.

Well, I think it's worthless. Where do I begin? By the way, how do you know the difference between the voice of Satan who accuses you of sin and the voice of the Holy Spirit who wants to convict you of sin? Let me very quickly give you the difference. They're both going to point to the same sin, but they're going to point to it for radically different reasons. When Satan accuses you and reminds you of sin, he does it to ruin you, to cripple you, to discourage you, and with that comes the whispering, there's no hope for you. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, he does it to cleanse you and restore fellowship between you and your heavenly Father. So just ask yourself, where's this taking me? To despair or repentance?

And you'll know whose voice you're listening to. The devil's goal is always despair and discouragement. The Holy Spirit's goal is always cleansing and encouragement. If Satan sees that you're under conviction and just might confess and repent of some sin, he's going to back up the truck and say, which one do you want to confess?

Where would you like to start? I mean, why kneel in prayer confessing one of them when you can't even remember? Let me help you remember some other sins. Satan, Thomas Brooks wrote, is a master at reminding you of your failure but remaining silent on your virtue, which is an entirely different subject, but I think of John Newton, the author of the hymn Amazing Grace, who put his finger on Satan's terror on this particular point when he wrote, Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian going to his knees in prayer.

He don't want you confessing anything. So as you approach that moment, he often says, well, I'll go along with you, but here are a thousand more. Where do you start? You fight in this war against this old lion. These are the action steps to resisting the devil.

One, refuse to flee. Secondly, rehearse the faith. What do we know about the blood of Christ? It cleanses us from all sin.

That's the truth. If we sin, John wrote, that class condition, and we will, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who made satisfaction for our sins and not only ours, but the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2, verse 2. Now thirdly, quickly, remember your friends. Remember your friends. Refuse to flee, rehearse the faith, remember your friends. It's interesting that Peter reminds us here at the end of verse 9 with this text, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished, literally paid in full, by your brethren who are in the world. There's something wonderfully encouraging about knowing that you're not alone in this fight.

Peter wants us never to forget our friends. I think there are several reasons he probably delivered this text. I can't be sure, but I tried to climb in here and then wondered what he was thinking. I think he wrote this verse to encourage us, to keep us encouraged. You're not alone. Temptation is common to man, 1 Corinthians 10, 13. It's not unique to you.

You're not the only one. Secondly, to keep us humble. Other Christians are going through this. In fact, other Christians may be going through more of it than you are. Others are suffering.

Some may be suffering more than we are. I think Peter wrote this thirdly to keep us connected. A lion, you remember, looks for the isolated member of the herd or flock to attack. Peter essentially says, don't do this alone. Don't wander away from the flock, the assembly, the church. In fact, the word translated brethren should be translated brotherhood. It's a collective singular, a word used only by Peter in the New Testament.

In fact, he's already used it in chapter 2 and verse 17 where it's rendered, of the brotherhood. We're in the brotherhood. It's men and women, boys and girls who come to faith in Christ alone. There is a brotherhood that we are members of, that we belong together. We're in this together and there's that sense then. We don't want to let each other down. We want to be able to support each other. We want to be able to pray for each other. We want to be able to encourage each other. Look, we could have sung a mighty fortress as our God and I could have sung that by myself.

It wouldn't have been nearly as thrilling as it was with you. We're in this brotherhood. Don't forget, Peter wrote this finally, I think to keep us grateful. In an odd way, let me kind of turn this around, but you happen to have a problem with sin. You happen to have a problem with Satan because you happen to belong to the redeemed. That's why you're his target. So the fact that you are hounded by the demons of hell is actually great news.

It's great news. Who your enemies are say a lot about who you are. And to be hated by the devil is then a wonderful realization. We happen to know that his hatred will eventually one day come to an end because we know the end of history. Victory is already ours.

Defeat is already his. In the meantime, we know that Satan in a way is out on bail. His court date is set.

We don't know the time, but it's set. He's allowed to roam around until his court appearance, but his eternal verdict is actually already in print. And you don't think he's read that too. It's already in print, which is why we can join our brother, Martin Luther, the reformer, and in the company of the saints. With this, I close by reading over lyrics, which Peter, I think, would hardly agree.

In fact, as I read the traditional lyrics of this hymn in my study, it sounded a lot like 1 Peter chapter 5 verses 7, 8, and 9. And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can't endure, for lo, his doom is sure.

One little word shall fell him. That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth. The spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindreds go.

This mortal life also the body they may kill. God's truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever. And the brotherhood said? Amen. By the way, amen means it's true. I affirm it. It's the truth.

So let's battle in light of these truths. What an important and helpful message this has been. If it would help you to be able to listen to this message again, or if you want to share it with someone that you think would benefit from hearing it, you'll find it on our website.

Visit wisdomonline.org any time. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible lessons, we also have a magazine that we publish. Stephen deals with a different topic each month.

He helps you better understand what the Bible says and how it applies directly to your life. We call the magazine Heart to Heart. We'd like to send you the next three issues as our gift. All we ask is that you help cover the cost of shipping and handling. You can call us at 866-48-BIBLE to learn more. You can also fill out the information form on our website to get yourself signed up. Please do that and then make plans to join us next time right here on Wisdom for the Hearts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 00:11:05 / 2023-03-17 00:20:32 / 9

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