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01 Satan-The Deceiver

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ONE

Satan: The Deceiver

  John 8:44 (KJV) Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

  Revelation 12:9 (KJV) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 2 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 2 John 1:7 (KJV) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

 Genesis 3:1-7 (KJV) 1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

1.     SATAN’S TARGET—YOUR MIND

When Satan wanted to lead the first man and woman into sin, he started by attacking the woman’s mind. This is made clear in 2 Corinthians 11:3.

 2 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Why would Satan want to attack your mind? Because your mind is the part of the image of God where God communicates with you and reveals his will to you. It is unfortunate that some Christians have minimized the significance of the mind, because the Bible emphasizes its importance.

  Colossians 3:9-10 (KJV) 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

  Ephesians 4:17-24 (KJV) 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

  Romans 12:2 (KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God renews our lives by renewing our minds, and he renews our minds through his truth. This truth is the Word of God.

  John 17:17 (KJV) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

If Satan can get you to believe a lie, then he can begin to work in your life to lead you into sin. This is why he attacks the mind, and this is why we must protect our minds from the attacks of the wicked one.

    Philippians 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

“If it is not true,” Paul writes, “do not let it enter your mind.”

In recent years, science has discovered many fascinating things about the human mind. Like a computer, your mind can store facts and impressions—and even emotions—and recall them years later. Your mind can reach into the past through memory, or it can reach into the future through imagination. Your thinking affects your feeling and your willing.

  Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

The doctor says, “You are what you eat.” The psychologist says, “You are what you think.”

Satan knows the tremendous power of your mind, and he tries to capture it for himself.

    Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

    Romans 8:6 (KJV) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Your mind affects your whole being. While I do not totally agree with the “success psychology” and “healing psychology” of our day, I must admit that attitudes are important to health and success in life. The exciting new field of “holistic medicine” draws upon the influences of the mind to help the patient cure himself. Sales managers “psych up” their salesmen with thoughts of accomplishment and success, just as coaches do their football teams. While thinking alone does not make it so, it certainly helps!

2.     SATAN’S WEAPON—LIES

Satan came to Eve as the serpent, the subtle deceiver.

    Revelation 12:9 (KJV) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

  John 8:44 (KJV) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

It is important that you notice the steps Satan took in getting Eve to believe his lie.

 (1)  He questioned God’s Word. “Indeed, has God said...?” He did not deny that God had spoken; he simply questioned whether God had really said what Eve thought he had said. “Per­haps you misunderstood what God spoke,” is Satan’s suggestion. “You owe it to yourself to rethink what he said.” It is worth noting that in this suggestion Satan is also questioning God’s goodness. “If God really loved you, he wouldn’t keep something from you.” He tried the same approach with our Lord in the wilderness: “If you are God’s beloved Son, why are you hungry?”

(2)    He denied God’s Word. “You surely shall not die!” It is but a short step from questioning God’s Word to denying it. Of course, neither Adam nor Eve had ever seen death. All they had to go on was the Word of God, but this was all they needed. If Eve had not listened to Satan questioning God’s Word, she would never have fallen into his trap when he denied God’s Word.

(3)   He substituted his own lie. “You will be like God!” Adam and Eve were already made in the image of God, but Satan tempted them with an even greater privilege: to be like God! This was, of course, Satan’s great ambition when he was Lucifer, God’s angelic servant.

       Isaiah 14:12-14 (KJV) 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Satan is a created being, a creature; but he wanted to be worshiped and served like the Creator. It was this attitude that led him to rebel against God and seek to establish his own kingdom. “You will be like God” is the one gigantic lie that has controlled civilization since the fall of man.

    Romans 1:26 (KJV) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Satan desires worship and service, and Jesus Christ would give him neither!

    Matthew 4:8-10 (KJV) 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Satan’s lie “You will be like God” motivates and controls much of our civilization today. Man is seeking to pull himself up by his own bootstraps. He is working to build a utopia on earth and possibly take it to outer space. Through education, psychiatry, religions of one kind or another (most of which ignore Jesus Christ, sin, and salvation), and better environment, men are defying God and deifying themselves. They are playing right into the hands of Satan.

How did Eve respond to Satan’s approach? She responded by making three mistakes that led her into sin.

(1)   She took away from God’s Word. In verse 2, Eve omitted the word “freely.” God’s original word in Genesis 2:16 was, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.” We get the impression that Eve caught Satan’s subtle suggestion, “God is holding out on you!” When you start to question or forget the grace of God and the goodness of God, you will find it much easier to disobey the will of God.

(2)   She added to God’s Word. We do not find the words “or touch it” in God’s original command. They may have been there, but they are not in the record. Not only did Eve make God’s original wordless gracious by omitting the word “freely,” but she also made the commandment more grievous by adding “or touch it.” “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Satan wants us to believe they are burdensome, and that he has something better to offer.

(3)   She changed God’s Word. God did not say, “Lest you die.” He said, “For in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The penalty for disobedience as presented by the enemy did not seem as harsh; therefore, Eve could consider forsaking God’s will and obeying Satan’s will.

Once you have treated God’s Word in this fashion, you are wide open for the devil’s final trick. He merely permitted Eve to consider the tree apart from God’s Word. “Get a good look at it! See it as it really is!” It was “good for food... a delight to the eyes... desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). She had to make a choice:

God’s Word or Satan’s word? She rejected God’s Word, believed Satan, and sinned. You and I have been suffering from the consequences of her decision, as has the whole human race.

God accomplishes his will on earth through truth, Satan accomplishes his purposes through lies. When the child of God believes God’s truth, then the Spirit of God can work in power; for the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). But when a person believes a lie, then Satan goes to work in that life; “for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Faith in God’s truth leads to victory; faith in Satan’s lies leads to defeat.

However, Satan never advertises, “This is a lie!” He is the serpent, the deceiver, and he always masquerades his lies as God’s truth.

    2 Corinthians 11:13-14 (KJV) 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Satan did not approach Eve in his true nature; he masqueraded by using the serpent. Satan is a counterfeiter, an imitator.

There are counterfeit Christiansdangers among false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26), “...the tares are the sons of the evil one.” (Matthew 13:38), “You are of your father the devil.” (John 8:44)

There is a counterfeit gospel.

    Galatians 1:9 (KJV) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

There are counterfeit ministers of the gospel.

    2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (KJV) 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

There is a counterfeit righteousness.

    Romans 10:3 (KJV) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

There is even a counterfeit church of Satan.”

    Revelation 2:9 (KJV) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

And this counterfeit church has counterfeit doctrines.

       1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

All of this will end, of course, in the appearance of a counterfeit Christ—the Antichrist who will accept for Satan the worship and service of the whole world.

       2 Thessalonians 2:8 (KJV) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

       Revelation 13:8 (KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

3.     SATAN’S PURPOSE: TO MAKE YOU IGNORANT OF GOD’S WILL

Satan attacks God’s Word because God’s Word reveals God’s will.

    Psalms 119:106 (KJV) I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. Psalms 40:8 (KJV) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. -

Apart from the Word of God, we have no sure understanding of the will of God. The will of God is the expression of God’s love for us

    Psalms 33:11 (KJV) The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

 

God’s will comes from God’s heart. It is not an impersonal thing, but a very personal matter with the Lord. He has a personal understanding of each of his children—their natures, their names, their needs—and he tailors his plans accordingly.

God wants us to know his will.

  Acts 22:14 (KJV) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

He also wants us to understand his will.

    Ephesians 5:17 (KJV) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

He wants this understanding of his will to fill us and control us.

    Colossians 1:9 (KJV) For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

The result of all this is the believer

  Ephesians 6:6 (KJV) Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

God’s will is not a duty; it is a delight. The Christian delights to discover the will of God and then obey from the heart. The will of God is his nourishment.

    John 4:35 (KJV) Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

       Colossians 4:12 (KJV) Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

If Satan can make you ignorant of God’s will, he will rob you of all the glorious blessings God has planned for your life. You will make bad decisions, get involved in sinful activities, and build the wrong kind of life. And, sad to say, you will influence others to go wrong! In my ministry of the Word in many places, I have seen the tragic consequences of lives out of the will of God.

Christians who are ignorant of God’s will lose the enjoyment of God’s peace and power. They cannot grow into their full potential, nor can they accomplish what God has planned for them. Instead of traveling first-class, they travel second- or third-class, complaining all the way. They live like paupers because they have cut themselves off from God’s great wealth. They spend their lives—even worse, they waste their lives—when they could be investing their lives.

    1 John 2:17 (KJV) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

4.     YOUR DEFENSE THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD

Only the inspired Word of God can reveal and defeat the devil’s lies. You cannot reason with Satan, nor (as Eve discovered) can you even safely -converse with him. Man’s wisdom is no match for Satan’s cunning. Our only defense is the inspired Word of God.

It was this weapon that our Lord used when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11

Our Lord did not use his divine power to defeat Satan. He used the same weapon that is available to us today: the Word of God. Jesus was led by the Spirit of God and filled with the Word of God. As we shall see, the Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17); and the Holy Spirit can enable us to wield that sword effectively. If you and I are going to defeat Satan’s lies, we must depend on the Word of God. This fact lays several responsibilities upon us.

(1)  We must know God’s Word. There is no reason why any believer should be ignorant of his Bible. The Word of God is readily available to us. We have the Holy Spirit within us to teach us the truths of the Word (John 16:13-15). There are a multitude of Bible study helps available. We can turn on the radio and listen to excellent preachers and Bible teachers expound God’s Word. In local churches, there are pastors and teachers who minister the Word; and in many areas, there are seminars and Bible study groups for further study. If an intelligent believer today does not know his Bible, it is his or her own fault!

This means, of course, taking time to read and study the Bible. No one will master God’s Word in a lifetime of study, but we should learn all we can. We must make time, not “find time,” to read and study the Word of God. Just as a machinist studies the shop manual, and the surgeon studies his medical texts, so the Christian must study the Word of God. Bible study is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

     (2)  We must memorize God’s Word. Our Lord did not have a concordance with him in the wilderness! He reached back into the Books of Moses, selected Deuteronomy, and quoted three verses from that book to silence Satan. Most adults think that Bible memorization is for children in Sunday school, when actually it is for every believer. Adult Christians need the Word far more than the children do, although it is good for children to memorize God’s Word.

      Psalms 119:11 (KJV) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

      Psalms 37:31 (KJV) The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

      Psalms 40:8 (KJV) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

(3) We must meditate on God’s Word. Meditation is to the inner man what digestion is to the outer man. If you did not digest your food, you would sicken and die.

       Joshua 1:8 (KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

       Psalms 1:2 (KJV) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

       Psalms 119:103 (KJV) How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

       Psalms 119:148-149 (KJV) 148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

    Psalms 119:14 (KJV) I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

       Psalms 119:72 (KJV) The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

    Psalms 119:127 (KJV) Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

(4)   We must use God’s Word. The believer’s mind should become like a “spiritual computer.”

It should be so saturated with Scripture that when he faces a decision or a temptation, he automatically remembers the Scriptures that relate to that particular situation. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Word to our minds when we need it.

      John 14:26 (KJV) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

But the Spirit of God cannot remind you of something that you have not learned! You must first let him teach you the Word. You must memorize the Scripture that he opens up to you. Then the Spirit of God will be able to remind you of what you have learned, and you can use that truth to battle Satan. Please keep in mind that Satan knows the Bible far better than we do! And he is able to quote it!

The Spirit of God will enable you to use the Word of God in the battle against the devil. The Spirit will show you when Satan is “using” the Bible to promote his own lies, as he did with Jesus in the wilderness. Satan quoted Psalm 91:11, 12, but he adapted it for his own purposes by omitting “in all your ways.” God promises to protect us only when we are in his ways. If we foolishly go our own way, God is not obligated to care for us. This explains why Jesus replied, “On the other hand, it is written” (Matthew 4:7).

Jesus was comparing Scripture with Scripture. He was taking into consideration the total message of the Bible and not stopping (as did Satan) with one isolated passage. Satan enjoys taking verses out of context and using them to “prove” his false claims. You and I must have a grasp of all Scripture if we are to detect Satan’s lies and defeat them.

It is important, too, that we look at the world around us through the “eyes” of the Bible. We must -

  2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

If we try to evaluate things around us on the basis of our own thinking and knowledge, we will get into trouble. We must believe that what God says about things in his Word is true.

       Psalms 119:128 (KJV) Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

A business proposition may “look right” to the natural mind, but if it is not based on the truths of God’s Word, it will fail. A marriage may seem like “just the right thing” from the human perspective, but if it contradicts the Word of God, it is wrong. In my pastoral ministry, I have seen business deals fail and marriages collapse because they were not done according to the will of God. Somebody believed Satan’s lie.

Taking Inventory

(1)     Do I spend time daily reading God’s Word and meditating on it?

(2)     Do I systematically seek to memorize Scripture?

(3)     Do I find myself automatically “thinking Bible” when I am tempted or when I face decisions, or must I telephone my Christian friends to get spiritual guidance?

(4)     Do I find myself better able to detect Satan’s lies?

(5)     Are there any lies in my mind right now that I am believing?

(6)     Do I know God’s will for my life? Do I really want to know?

(7)     Am I delighting in God’s will and doing it from my heart?

(8)     Am I guilty of telling lies? Why do I do it?

(9)     Am I willing to take as true everything God’s Word says about everything in my life? Or do I occasionally ask, “Has God really said that?” Do I argue with God’s Word?

(10)   Is the Word of God becoming more wonderful to me? Do I enjoy it more than the natural pleasures of life, including eating and sleeping?

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