Last week Dr. Easley began a subject that can be a bit tricky depending on your particular upbringing and beliefs: the person and work of Satan.
As an adversary, satan hates Christ. He is our enemy and desires that we would live eternally separated from God. Yet God, in His sovereignty, is using Satan.
Join us today as Dr. Easley finishes our Why We Believe What We Believe series with Part 2 of The Person and Work of Satan.
We have two eternal realities: Live forever in relationship with Christ, or apart from Christ.
We don’t like to talk about the “apart from Christ.” It’s politically incorrect, and even in evangelical circles there is a move to sort of ignore satan and the doctrine of Hell.
People will say, “God would be merciless to send someone to hell, therefore hell can’t be a reality.”
This is why understanding why you believe what you believe is critical.
We must align what we believe with what Scripture says, not with what well-intentioned (or ill-intentioned) people might mean.
1. His character is evil.
The character of satan is to deceive and accuse. He doesn’t want you to think you’re forgiven, saved, worth God’s love, or secure in your position in Jesus Christ.
He uses every wedge he can in your soul and your intellect and your heart to accuse, to cast doubt, and do deceive. As the father of lies, all he can do is lie. That’s his character.
2. He is our adversary.
He’s smart and skilled at deceit, and when we talk of him, we open up an opportunity by drawing attention to him. That’s how powerful he is.
The problem we have as believers is that God allows this adversary to do things we don’t like.
Some of the suffering we experience in this life – not to say Satan is under every rock – but there is an ascription that some of this adversity and suffering is from the power of satan in our lives.
He is a formidable adversary.
In college there was this group who would gather in this house and worship satan, and there were some Christians decided they were going to go out one night and surround the house and pray for them. A very wise leader instructed them to stay home, “you have no business going out in the woods in the middle of the night and praying around a group of people who are allegedly worshipping satan.”
We’re not called to fight satan. We’re called to resist him, to watch our own lives, to walk closer to Christ – but we aren’t called to fight Satan.
As an adversary, satan hates Christ. Yet God, in His sovereignty, is using Satan.
3. Satan hates Israel and has from the moment that God chose Abraham.
When God selected a people-group to give convenance to, Satan went to work against them.
There are all sorts of opinions about the role of the literal land of Israel in God’s plan, but Scripture teaches clearly that Satan has always hated it.
4. Satan opposes the Gospel.
Luke 8:12. He does not want men to be saved, He holds men and women captive by his will. They think they are aware and he deceives them.
5. He attacks believers.
He delights in distorting, deceiving, creating doubt, and discouraging believers.
Martin Lloyd Jones – Spiritual depression. Understanding Satan’s hands in this process of discouragement.
6. We should respect him, but don’t overstate him.
There are those who see Satan behind every little problem or challenge. I think we give him too much credit sometimes.
Sometimes, my sin is the problem. We don’t lay all responsibility or use satan as an excuse for all of our discomfort.
7. The believer can resist temptation.
We have been provided the Holy Spirit who is stronger than Satan. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Temptations to sin sexually, ethically, in power, greed, avarice – no temptation is unique.
Sometimes when we’re lonely in the spiritual battle we feel like no one can bear the problem we face, and that’s when we are susceptible to giving in to sin.
We must remember we have the Holy Spirit, who can indeed bear any temptation.
Loneliness is an environment that makes us susceptible to temptation.
When we think, “God has not done right by me,” we have been deceived.
You and I, walking closely with Christ, can resist temptation.
A good, practical guide: HALT
If we are experiencing any of these, we need to take care of it in order to be less likely to let temptation get the best of us.
- Satan is after you, but Jesus is advocating for you.
- Satan exalts himself for man’s ruin, Jesus Christ humbled himself for man’s salvation.
- Satan accuses us before God–he never stops. Jesus Christ intercedes for us before God and never stops.
- Satan’s followers will share in his ruin, Jesus’ followers will share in His reign in His Kingdom
- Satan is the deceiver, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
- Satan tempts and promises freedoms you’ll never Get, Jesus takes slaves and frees them.
- Satan hates God, Jesus Christ loves and submits to God.
- Satan is cruel, evil and seductive; Christ is gracious, good, and holy.
- Satan’s goal for your life is to destroy you. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, satan’s goal is to ruin your life.
Think about how clever he is – before you’re married, he tempts and entices you to go to bed with some person. When you get married, he then entices you to go into other beds. Everything we do in life, he deceives us in.
He’s a counterfeit and a substitute–and substitutes never satisfy.
1 John 4:4
Some are prone to worry about Satan, and if that’s you, take comfort in this: He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
We may have raised more questions than we’ve answered in this series and I’m happy to hear your comments and questions. Send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.orgHave a Biblical or Theological question? Ask Dr. E! Call us at 615-281-9694 and leave a voicemail with your question or email us at email@example.com. Michael will answer it on an upcoming Ask Dr. E episode!