Today we continue looking at the Lord’s Prayer. As we come to Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” we see we need our Father to deliver us from satan. Last week I talked briefly about the power that satan has been given over the church due to our rebellion against God and His words. Daniel 9:27 “At the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” satan has been allowed to do this due to our disobedience to God’s word. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Because truth has been thrown to the ground, millions of Christians have been deceived into thinking they were Christians and eternally secure. They were also led to believe they were filled with the Holy Spirit, yet there was no power present. Jesus warned us this would happen. Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Last week I also made this statement that “satan is everywhere in the church. He stands behind pulpits, travels the land as missionaries or evangelists, teaches in Sunday schools, seminary’s and bible schools. He teaches other gospels and people are falling for them and deceived by them.” I hope this really bothered you to the point of repentance but don’t just be bothered. Turn away from the wickedness of following other gospels and yes most likely what you have been taught in church is another gospel because of the abomination that causes desolation. satan has been given enormous power. Any church that says follow our certain distinct view of the bible is leading you astray. Again there is no such thing as a Baptist or Catholic or Reformed Christian just to name a few. Also, just because someone states that they are independent, doesn’t mean that doctrinally they are. So if you belong to any of these groups, you need to turn from wicked ways. Wicked ways are any ways that put man’s ways and words above or equal to God’s.
Before I go on it is important to understand that satan is very deceptive. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” As halloween approaches people have already begun their decorations. On our street two houses have gone all out with the gore. My son made an interesting comment the other day. He said, “this is their Christmas.” You may have also noticed commercials for the movies in the horror genre. We have been taught to think about satan in red with horns but where the church has failed is to teach is how deceptive satan really is. Paul made these statements about satan. 2 Corinthians 2:11 “in order that satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” While evil is horrible, there is a deceptive side to it that appears okay but in the end leads to the horror of eternal damnation. Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Hell is another area not taught about with accuracy. Remember satan is deceiving the church, so he is painting a picture that hell isn’t so bad, even leading you to believe God would never send you there for disobeying. satan even questions the authenticity of hell which many have fallen for. As I said satan is everywhere in the church today and has been since the beginning. If he was there when Jesus walked the earth, he is here now. Jesus said to Peter Matthew 16:23 “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” I will talk about Job a little latter which shows satan having to be accountable before God.
satan comes in all shapes and sizes. If he stood before you with an appearance of horror as most think of satan, you would run away. Jesus warned us not to be deceived for a reason, as satan also comes against us from within. Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” If you had two teachers teaching, you can only tell their difference by their words. False teachers, preachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles are men and women in the church and they are everywhere. The problem is no one is really looking as many are taught this is a future event. Yes the non charismatics think the charismatics are false and vice versa. Again, this is how satan deceives. They may look like sheep but they are ferocious wolves. Paul said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” This has been going on ever since Paul said this.
In the garden, satan approached Adam and Eve as a serpent, just one of the animals in the garden. Genesis 2:8 “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” So you have Adam and Eve who were given one specific command. They were told if they disobeyed, they would die.
Then satan comes along who is the great deceiver. Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” satan wants to take you to hell with him. His sole purpose is to turn you from God and against God. Adam and Eve were told very specifically by God not to eat of the tree. satan comes along and questions the authority of God. 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” So they ignored God and listened to satan. Paul said 2 Corinthians 11:1 “I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” This is happening all throughout the church.
We then see the lasting results of their disobedience due to the temptation of satan. Genesis 3:16 “To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” We then see death come to all mankind.
The good news is that Jesus gives us life. Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Remember satan knows who Jesus is. Matthew 8:28 “When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” satan knows who Jesus is and the power available to all who would believe. He continues to turn God’s children against him and today there is only a remnant left. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.”
satan wants to destroy this good news and will do so if we give him opportunity. Today I am not talking about the temptation to eat chocolate but the temptation to turn from and against God. You turn away by turning your back on Him. Here are a few verses to describe what the church has done. Isaiah 1:4 “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” Deuteronomy 32:5 “They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. 6 Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? 28 They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be! 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.” Jeremiah 32:33 “They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline.” Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.” Nehemiah 9:26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 29 You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.”
The amazing part of this is that God gives us a choice, albeit eternally detrimental if you choose wrong but you still are given a choice. Deuteronomy 30:5 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” We still have the choice to obey or not. Luke 11:28 “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Like Adam and Eve, we were given a choice to believe and obey Jesus. John 8:51 “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” Romans 2:13 “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Matthew 28:20 “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Many people in the church do not think the Old Testament applies to the church. This dispensational teaching is another false teaching. God does not change as they teach. Jesus said Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” You now read the Old Testament in light of what Jesus taught. Now you may think that if you focus on the Old Testament, you would be like the Jews. You would be wrong in your thinking. You have to remember the Jews do not believe Jesus is the Messiah. 2 Corinthians 3:12 “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 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. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” When we read the Old Testament, we gain understanding of what happens to the church if we disobey and rebel against God. Another false teaching tells you that you can never fall but we are told 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” We are only secure if we remain In God’s word. John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” If you are following another gospel, you have been deceived and are not remaining, even if you prayed a prayer and go to church. We are supposed to learn from the Old Testament, so we do not do what they have done. Due to their disobedience Adam and Eve were removed from the garden, Israel was vomited from the land and like the Jews who crucified their own savior, today many in the church are doing the same thing. Hebrews 6:4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
We learn from the Old Testament so that we can stand firm and have nothing move us, so we are not tempted by satan to turn away from God or curse Him. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Luke 21:19 “Stand firm, and you will win life.” So we look back to the Old Testament as an example of how we are supposed to stand. Sadly, most of the Kings of Israel and Judah turned away just as the Jews continue to turn away. The church is following in their footsteps and refuse to turn to the truth. We have the bible, God’s living word for a reason. 1 Corinthians 10:11 “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
One of the great examples of a man of God standing firm no matter what, was Job. Job 1:1 “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” It is here where we learn more about satan. We also learn why we must stand firm in our faith as God is in charge, even over satan. Job 1:6 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to satan, “Where have you come from?” satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Before I go on think about this question. Will you remain faithful to God if God allows satan to have power over your life? 8 Then the Lord said to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” We then see the destruction that came against Job and everything he had was gone in an instant. Yet Job said “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Then in chapter two satan comes before God again. On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to satan, “Where have you come from?” satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” 4 “Skin for skin!” satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 6 The Lord said to satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” It is important to understand that satan is trying to get Job to curse God just as he is trying to get you to curse God and turn from Him. “Strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” “Stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” It is here you will notice a similarity to Adam and Eve. In the garden he used Eve to get to Adam. Here satan used Job’s wife to get to Job. She even said Job 2:9 “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” Adam should have responded to Eve this way. Job said “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Then satan used Job’s friends. I find it interesting that all the loss Job faced was in the first two chapters and the rest of Job is mostly an intellectual onslaught by Job’s so-called friends which is a lot of what we see in the church today. This verbal onslaught went on and on. Job said Job 27:2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes— I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
We need to learn from Job. James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” At the end of Job, God then steps in and cuts off the arrogant Elihu and questions Job. Job 38:2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Elihu was arrogant and spoke in ignorance yet Job in complete humility responds to those words from God himself. Job 42:1 “Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job was a man of integrity but repented before God. God then said Job 42:7 “to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.” 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
Job had no idea what was going on behind the scenes, but we do, so we have no excuse. We need to stand firm because we know that satan is scheming against us and God is allowing it. We know that he is trying to get us to curse God and die. That is the temptation. We must understand that it is an eternal death if we listen to satan. Job could have given up after he lost everything and his body fell apart but he didn’t. He persevered and in the end Job 42:10 “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” It shouldn’t be a shock that satan is against us, but he is. What most people who call themselves Christians fail to understand is that satan has been given authority over the church due to our rebellion. Therefore, the power we read about in the New Testament is not happening. Since we failed to learn from the Old Testament and have rebelled, the church has been taken captive and is desolation and truth has been thrown down. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” We are not waiting for this to happen; the desolation is already here.
That is not how it was supposed to be as Jesus came to destroy the work of satan. 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Luke 6:17 “He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.” Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Luke 7:21 “At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Not only did Jesus come to defeat satan, He empowered His disciples to do the same. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Acts 5:16 “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 5:5 “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Jesus said to Paul Acts 26:15 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” This is what the church was to continue doing. Instead of rescuing people the church itself has been taken captive.
The only way to defeat satan is to return to the word of God and turn away from the words of men and woman who say they speak for God but unfortunately most will not turn away from their wicked ways. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 12:10 “Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field into a desolate wasteland.” It is obvious that satan is behind this. There are many shepherds where it is also obvious to see they are false prophets like your Copelands, Hinns, Meyers, MacArthurs, and many who are not so easy but you can tell by carefully listening to what they teach. satan is so arrogant he usually tells you what the problem is. Many like Bill Hybels have been shown for who they are and many are still getting away with their falseness but they won’t. Think about how many churches followed his teaching over the years. 2 Peter 2:7 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
satan is very much alive and continues to decimate the church. Millions of people who think they are saved have been lost to deception and continue to be lost. satan is very powerful and the only way to win this war is to have the power and authority of Jesus Christ once again. Like the early disciples, we too need to be clothed with power. Luke 24:46 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” This is the only way we can stand firm, Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” satan is not defeated with fancy church buildings or high-tech worship or programs. satan is not defeated by simply attending church. He is not defeated because he has infiltrated most churches and going to church in many cases makes it worse. Going to church is just a very small part of what Christianity is all about. The true church has so much more. Ask yourself is Jesus the Messiah? Did He rise from the dead? Is He alive? Do you believe He is alive? Are you His disciple? If so, why is the above not happening. If the gospel was really being preached, power would follow. There is only one answer and that is the church is in rebellion against God’s word. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”
satan said to Eve, “did God really say” and he is still deceiving the church today with those words. The church believes it is okay to add to and subtract from God’s word as most have done this. Just look at all the manuals and how to books that go along with the bible. God said Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” The church teaches that God is a loving God who doesn’t mind if we don’t follow wholeheartedly and go our own way. Read the Old Testament to see what happens when they went their own way. Many teach that if you prayed the prayer or have been baptized you are good to go, no matter what. This security is only true if you are following the true gospel of Jesus Christ, not the man-made version. Man’s teaching has replaced the word of God. Many of these teachings are doctrines of demons and many are just plain ignorance and a lack of knowledge. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 1:3 “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”
This all may seem hopeless but there is hope because God has given His promise to David that there will always be a remnant. He said Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
The failure of the church has nothing to do with God not being able to defeat satan but everything to do with the rebellion of the church. Because the church has rebelled, God has hidden His face from us. Ezekiel 39:21 “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. 22 From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. 23 And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.” God hiding His face from us is not a topic you hear much about. When God hides His face, prayers go unanswered and satan ravages the land. Meanwhile most in the church talk as if God is clinging to their every word. Jeremiah 40:1 “The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon. 2 When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The Lord your God decreed this disaster for this place. 3 And now the Lord has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him.” Jeremiah 52:1 “Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.” 2 Chronicles 36:20 “He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”
The rebellion was so bad even the remnant went into captivity but as Jeremiah prophesied there was hope. Today the whole church is in captivity. The temptation is to be angry with God and curse Him. Most people will not curse God with their mouths, but they curse Him with their actions. They don’t trust Him, they don’t listen to Him, they ignore His words and commands and they go their own way. Many go their own way and expect God to bless them. Some even give glory to God but it is not God but satan who has empowered them. Luke 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Don’t fall for the deceptions and lies of satan. Another problem for the church is delusion. This doesn’t come from satan but God Himself. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” This happens when the church does not believe the truth, which most have not. What they have believed is words about the truth that are not the truth but man-made ideas and visions, most of which satan is behind such as the rapture. The lack of power in the church proves this to be true. Honor God with your faith and believe His words. If you don’t, you will fall prey to satan and he will tear you to pieces. The temptation to turn from God could be subtle or it could be similar to what Job went through. Hebrews 10:32 “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” If we want to be delivered from the evil one, we must surrender to God; our surrender is the only way to defeat satan.
Our only hope is to truly repent. Lamentations is about repentance and Jeremiah’s lamenting. Lamentations 2:11 “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city. The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” I want to include this lament from Jeremiah. You have many going to church and saying everything is fine but there is no power and the church has been defeated, so not fine. Our church looks nothing like the gospels because most follow other gospels so it is definitely not fine. This is how serious we need to take our repentance. Lamentation 5:1 “Remember, Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace. 2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. 3 We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows. 4 We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price. 5 Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are weary and find no rest. 6 We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread. 7 Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment. 8 Slaves rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands. 9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert. 10 Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger. 11 Women have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah. 12 Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect. 13 Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood. 14 The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music. 15 Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. 16 The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned! 17 Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim 18 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it. 19 You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. 20 Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? 21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old 22 unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.”
We see that satan’s reign will come to an end. Daniel 7:25 “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. 26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” The remnant will once again rise up and the church will do as it was called to do. The church will continue the work of Jesus by destroyed the work of the devil but only in the power and authority of Jesus name. Because of God’s amazing promise to David, we have this hope. Ezekiel 39:25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.” As we wait Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 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. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”