Title: Surviving in Satan’s Realm
Theme: Our Enemy Explored
Series: Grasping Our Authority in Christ
“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-29)
“Grasping Kingdom Authority.”
“Grasping Our Authority in Christ” will cover six different topics, the first being “Grasping Kingdom Authority.” In this series thus far we have “Exposed Our Enemies,” come to understand “A Battle Rages” and today we will come to know “Surviving in Satan’s Realm.”
In his teaching on this truth, Dr. Adrian Rogers intrigued his listeners with a game called “Antonyms.” He would say a word and those playing were to say a word that was an antonym. For example, when Adrian said the word “good,” many would say the word “evil.” When Dr, Rogers said “light” many would answer “dark.” When he said “up” many would answer “down.”
However, when we say the words, “God, Christ, and Holy Spirit” there is no antonym. The Triune God has no opposite because they have no equal. Satan is not God’s opposite. Satan is created and he is a creature under God’s control. No one needs to give Satan greater status than is due him.
I would propose to you that Satan’s power is limited. However, he has been given power on earth.
He roams through the earth doing as much damage as possible in his limited time and authority. In warfare the better you know your enemy the more effective you are in overcoming him. Christians dare not be ignorant of the devil’s schemes and his limited powers.
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ take to heart what is written by the Apostle Peter, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:8-11)
Just what does the Word of God teach about Satan? How do we survive in Satan’s realm?
Satan was originally created to be a true worshiper of the Lord, yet chose to fall
Christians who “Grasp Their Authority in Christ” know that Satan was originally created to be a true worshiper of the Lord, yet chose to fall. Ezekiel 28 lists some clues to the heart of Satan. Ezekiel 28 contains difficult passages of Scripture to understand because it shifts focus between the king of Tyre and a figurative character that has been in the presence of God who had authority. (The New American Commentary)
It is believed by many that the King of Tyre was being compared to Satan (The New American Commentary; Cooper, L.E. “Ellison, Ezekiel”) and it has been suggested as well that Satan was the true king of Tyre working through a physical man. (Walvoord, Zuck of the Bible Knowledge Commentary) Listen to these Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures that I believe show the heart of man being controlled by a spiritual being who was once in the presence of God and enjoyed authority that was once given by God. “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God… You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:12-15)
The whole of Scripture teaches that mankind is wicked from conception and all mankind’s heart is wicked apart from God miraculous work within man. (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 56:11) The Bible also teaches that unrepentant mankind can be taken captive by Satan to commit continued acts of disobedience. (2 Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 2:2).
I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp that Satan had authority in heaven, was made perfect and had all the opportunity to worship the Lord for eternity, but pride and rebellion invaded his heart, thus causing Satan to be cast from heaven to earth. Satan, the master rebel, has no trouble luring mankind to rebel against God because he is the root of all rebellion and lies. The Bible says Satan entered Judas Iscariot moved him to betray Christ. (Luke 22:3-4; John 13:27) All Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ, walk in a Biblical fear of Satan and say to him as did the Archangel Michael “…The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9) Not with a haughty spirit, but in a true spirit of humility.
Christians make time to understand what caused Satan’s fall
Because Satan is a real threat, Christians make time to understand what caused his fall. Ezekiel 28:15-17 reflects the heart that rebels. “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth…”
It is imperative that you understand that God did not create the devil. The Lord God created an angel and gave angels the power of choice. Along with his perfection, the devil also had freedom, just as you and I. Despite Lucifer’s privilege, position, and power – Lucifer chose pride. (“Kingdom Authority, Dr. Adrian Rogers) Pride can destroy an angelic being. Therefore, pride is something that should be feared by all who want to enjoy their authority in Christ.
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ approach the danger of pride as did Charles Spurgeon, “This great preacher was keenly aware of the dangers of pride. After his sermon one Sunday, Spurgeon was met by a woman who exclaimed, ‘Oh, Mr. Spurgeon, that was wonderful.’ ‘Yes madam, thank you’ Spurgeon replied,
Then Spurgeon thought about this compliment and about compliments he had received on other messages. He wrote, ‘Genuine compliments are no sin, but the puffing up of God’s people with pride is one of Satan’s favorite tactics. One reason the enemy uses this trick so often is because it is so successful.” (10,000 Sermon Illustrations; Galaxie Software)
The splendor enjoyed by the soldier of Christ and the position in which he finds himself during service to the God of the universe can become what Satan so skillfully uses to bring the successful down. Pastor Carter Conlon said, “I fear success more than failure.”
They also know that Satan continues to have power to accomplish
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ beware of the one who is the master of using pride to bring the Lord’s servants down and keep mankind from the Lord. They also know that Satan continues to have power to accomplish only what God allows. In the New Testament Satan is called the God of this age. 2 Corinthians 4:1- 4 says, “Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
The Apostle Paul had a realistic look at the ministering of God’s Word in this realm where Satanstill has limited authority. Christians who rest in their authority in Christ do not lose heart in their work with the Lord because they know that Satan is a real adversary. Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ set their focus on doing away with shameful ways. They do not use deception to get what they want and there is no need to distort the Word of God. Many obedient children of God know what it feels like to share God’s truth with loved ones, friends, co-workers and family members and watch veiled hearts fail to grasp the truths of God.
This is heartbreaking, but they know Satan is the one who keeps the lost from perceiving the things of God. The child of God, therefore, armed with Biblical understanding, is protected from becoming bitter when those with whom he has shared don’t respond as he had hoped. Other Christians have left their church, angry and bitter,and have chosen to pull their Spiritual gifts out a certain Body of Christ because loved ones, friends, or co-workers did not respond to their message. Sadly, these bitter Christians blame church leadership or their brothers and sisters in Christ when the blame should be set upon Satan, the god of this age.
Let us get a mature look at the ministering of Spiritual gifts as they are administered in Satan’s realm. In this world there are four sets of people.
First, there are those who will not lose heart with what the Lord has called them to do, regardless of the response to the message given. They are the true proclaimers of truth, sent to a people who speak the same language, who live in the same conditions and are in the same trials of life. Even though few will follow the truth proclaimed, they continue to proclaim the truth because their Lord, Jesus Christ sent them to do so. These Christians work diligently and sacrificially to make sure the work of the Lord is done.
In the book of Acts chapter four we read of Sanhedrin commanding Peter and John to no longer “…speak or teach …in the Name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 4:18) Christians who enjoy walking in the authority of Christ say as Peter and John, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20)
A man fully convicted of a task can do amazing things. One of the great works of musical genius is Handel’s Messiah. It is on record that the whole works was composed and written down in twenty-two days, and that during all that time Handel would scarcely consent to eat or sleep. (Daily Study Bible Series; Barclay) The great communitarian Matthew Henry would spend 15 hours per day expounding the Scripture and putting into print what the Lord had revealed to him, thus giving us great teachings on the Word of God that uses Scripture to interpret Scripture.
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ are fully surrendered to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit of Christ because they live in the memory of the mercy they received from the Lord. This enables them to sacrificially exercise their Spiritual gifts in the Lord’s service, regardless of the response of those they serve, thus accomplishing amazing things with the Lord. Today, Christians who have Holy Spirit conviction pray through to completion their vision given by the Lord, thus accomplishing amazing things.
Second; there are people who live in Satan’s realm. Regardless of how well you present your vision in the light of God’s Word these people will insist that you exercise your gift with wrong motives, misuse God’s Word only for your own benefit and use underhanded methods with cleverness to get your own way. Christians who have their motives misinterpreted, their actions misconstrued, and their words twisted out of context understand that this is what happens as they serve the Lord here in Satan’s realm. In the end the Lord will bring to light the heart of their labors, just as God did for the Apostle Paul. These Christians have Holy Spirit illumination of Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. And 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Third; there are those who are blinded to the truths of God’s Word and they cannot see their need to walk in Biblical repentance before the Lord.
Jesus said of these people “The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.” (Mark 4:14-15) The Apostle Paul writes about those who cannot grasp the truths of God’s Word, “But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. (2 Corinthians 3: 13-15)
There is a veil that is between the unrepentant and the Lord. This veil carries many labels, two being the veil of disobedience and of an un-teachable spirit. There are those who hear but a heart of disobedience keeps them away from God’s perfect will.
Elisabeth Elliot told the story about her brother, Thomas Howard. “Their mother told Thomas that he could play with the paper bags that were used to carry the groceries into the house from the store. But, he had to promise that he would pick up the bags and put them in the proper storage place. Later that day Elisabeth’s mother walked into the kitchen to find all the bags laying everywhere but in the storage room. She found Tom at the piano with his father singing hymns.
When confronted, he protested, ‘But mom, I am singing hymns with dad!’ His father stated, ‘It is no good singing God’s praise if you’re going to walk in willful disobedience.”
God has allowed many unrepentant sinners and disobedient Christians the opportunity to use the things He has created as they wished. When accountability came they protested, wanting to indulge their own will in their own time, disobedient of what had been revealed to them through creation and the written Word of God.
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ take to heart the truth the prophet Samuel spoke to disobedient king Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22) Another label that causes mankind to have a veiled heart is an un-teachable spirit. The best instructor cannot get through to one with an unteachable heart. The greatest teacher of all time, Jesus Christ was unable to convince many of the Jews of the truths of God. We read this in John chapter eight. Starting at verse 31 and going to verse 47 we see a people who have veiled hearts. They relied upon their natural birthright, having been born from Abraham’s seed, yet they were not born of God by becoming born again. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Verse 31 starts with, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" (John 8:31-32)
After the Lord had taught this, these Jews begin to argue with Him claiming that they were Abraham’s descendants and that “…God Himself…” was their “only Father.” (John 8:33,41). Jesus’ reply to them was, “Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father the devil…” (John 8:43-44) “He who belongs to God hears what God says…” (John 8:47)
The reason why the Jews or others who are without Christ cannot grasp the truths of God is because the have “veiled” (kalupto) hearts. This Greek word is used figuratively meaning the preventing of spiritual comprehension. (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) Those who willfully choose to walk in disobedience and remain unteachable are allowed to be blinded by Satan thus they are prevented from understanding spiritual truths. This heart condition is reflected in every part of life. As a matter of fact a person’s life flow is often a reflection of his relationship with the Lord.
In the horse business you meet horse lovers and horsemen. The lifestyle of horse lovers versus that of horsemen perfectly illustrates the danger of a heart that is disobedient and unteachable. A horse lover is someone who loves horses as long as they satisfy his personal gratifications. A horseman, whether man or woman, shows true acts of sacrificial love.
A horse lover likes to be with horses and especially to be seen around horses with the recognition of being a horseman. They will take a horse and ride him all day long showing no concern whether or not the horse has been properly conditioned for the ride. They will not consider if the horse has proper diet, adequate care or safe conditions. It is a “satisfy me” attitude veiled by an outward show of affection. Just like the Jews in Jesus’ day their hearts are veiled to the truths about themselves.
A horseman will sacrifice time and money to learn all he can about being a true horseman. I did not say he is an expert on everything, just that he has a heart to learn all he can by any means available to gain knowledge and develop a skilled hand.
Real horsemen learn the joy of serving other horsemen to help them achieve their goals. They sacrifice for a season the painstaking hours it takes to learn and develop their hand in horsemanship. This means when their friends say, “Let’s party or doing something,” they say “No” so they can spend the time it takes to study, develop the skills and serve those who want to achieve their high goals in horsemanship. When their body hurts and they become exhausted, they do the extra time and put out the extra effort. They know the truth to “No pain, no gain.” Most horsemen know what it feels like to be taken advantage of and to be abused for a season.
The principle is the same as everything in life, especially in the child of God’s life. All Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ in Satan’s realm came to that point in their life that caused them to make choices. They had to choose to follow Christ, they counted the cost (Luke 14:25-34) and decided in their hearts that the Lord who died for them is worthy of full hearted devotion. In key seasons of life they said “No” to TV watching or doing other things so they could prayerfully read their Bibles. They have sacrificed finances, time and effort to put into life application the truths revealed to them as they prayerfully read and study the Word of God. When others were laughing, making accusations or giving out critical statements, they were singing in their hearts “The world behind me and the Cross before me.”
Enjoy the authority given to him in Christ Jesus
We live in the realm in which Satan has limited authority, therefore, there is Biblical application that will enable the child of God to enjoy the authority given to him in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18 says, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
The fourth type of person who lives in Satan’s realm is that person who unashamedly follows the example of those who follow Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) Christians who walk in their authority of Christ in Satan’s realm have Holy Spirit illumination of the teachings of Christ, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-29)
Christians who resist succumbing to the lures of the world or being devoured by the flesh and the devil are those who visibly personify “obedience.” Living successfully with the Lord requires the ability to hear His voice in your spiritual heart that is fed by the written Word of God and brought to life by the Holy Spirit of Christ.
“During the first World War several Turkish soldiers attempted to steal a flock of sheep from a lone shepherd who was asleep. The shepherd was suddenly aroused and saw his sheep being driven off by the Turkish soldiers. The shepherd knew that alone he could not recapture the sheep by force.
As the sheep were being driven along the hillside the shepherd made his way across the ravine, put his hands to his mouth, and cried out that peculiar call to gather his sheep. The sheep heard the call, listened for a moment and then upon the second call, the sheep bolted down the steep hill, crossed the ravine and went up the other side to be near the one whose voice they knew.
It was impossible for the Turkish soldiers to get ahead of the sheep or stop the herd because of the steep incline on both sides of the ravine. Therefore, the sheep were rescued because they responded to the call of the shepherd whose voice they knew.” (Keith L. Brooks in Sunday School Times; Knights Master Book of Illustrations)
In Satan’s realm there are many solders and snares that lure or drive the people of God from the Lord’s perfect will for them and keep the unrepentant from escaping all that has them in bondage. The Apostle Paul says, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord… they will find that the “…Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18)
The world where we live today is Satan’s realm, however his authority is limited and we need not be lured away by his lies and his world order or surrender our flesh to him. In Christ’s Name, Christians can trust the Lord to deal with Satan. Christians who walk in the authority that Christ has given them will not be overcome by pride as Satan was. Christians who live in the authority of Christ do not become bitter or give up in their labors with the Lord, because they know that it is not the quality of their labors that keeps people blinded to the Word of God. Satan keeps them blinded. They rest in the power of God to do what they cannot do. These Christians have unveiled hearts and are able to walk in obedience to the Lord, thus they are enabled to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit of Christ. In Satan’s realm they are a fragrance of life (2 Corinthians 2:16) and are fully equipped to pray every vision through to completion.
The Holy Spirit has this question for you, “As you live in Satan’s realm, does your life say, “You hear the voice of Christ, the Lord responds to your faith in Him and you follow Christ?”