Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Devil and His Devices


2 Corinthians 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Devices: Thoughts; aims; strategies; intentions; goals; purposes; desires; plans – what is going on in his head.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have Life, and may have it in abundance.

Satan’s goals are to:

1. Diminish

2. Divide

3. Destroy

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

The primary goal of Jesus is to build His Church upon a rock so that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. This also reveals Satan’s primary goal which is to prevail against the Church. The devil wants to diminish, divide, and ultimately destroy the Church.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Seeing that we have an adversary and that we are to be sober and vigilant against that adversary, the devil, we best not be ignorant of the devices he will use in his attempts to diminish, divide, and destroy the Church. So, in order to better understand his thoughts, aims, strategies, intentions, goals, purposes, desires, and plans, let’s take a closer look this evening at:

The Devil and His Devices

Genesis 3

1 ¶ Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ’You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’ ?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat 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 has said, ’You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Notice here that the devil enters into the garden moment, that place God created and gave to His children for so that they could experience abundant life. The devil’s desire was to diminish, divide, and destroy the plan of God … the resource God gave for abundant life – the garden in Eve’s case – the Church in ours.

The Garden of Eden, by the way, means the Garden of Pleasure. Pleasure in its true sense is what is pleasing to both God and man. When either one is not pleased, the plan of the devil is at work to diminish, divide, and destroy.

The devil has the same goals today in every relationship – to cause displeasure. When a husband is no longer pleased to dwell with his wife, or an employer is no longer pleased with his employees, or when an individual is no longer pleased with their Church – the devil is at work somewhere.

Displeasure and discontentment are the results of the devil at work.

I am not saying that the one who is displeased is automatically at fault. There are many things which can make a person displeased. God was displeased with the behavior of Adam and Eve for example. However, when someone is displeased, somewhere the root can be found in something out of order – it may be our own desires or it could be the actions of others who affect us – but somewhere evil intent is involved.

The devil wants us out of the garden – outside of the pleasure of God – either we are displeased with Him or He is displeased with us and both if at all possible.

Why – remember the devil’s desires are to diminish, divide, and destroy the Church. You are not his main goal but only a means through which he might achieve his goal … he hates Jesus and he hates anything that pleases God.

In these verses from Genesis 3 we see the devil for the first time in scriptures. The immediate picture we get from this initial glimpse is that the devil is subtle – crafty – cunning – shrewd – tricky.

In his attempt to diminish the Word of God, divide mankind from God, and destroy the garden experience, the devil uses his best device to manipulate Eve – Deception!

Only a person who is deceived will diminish the Word of God.

Only a person who is deceived will hide from God.

Only a person who is deceived will live outside of the pleasure of God.

The worst thing about being deceived is that you don’t know it.

How did the devil deceive Eve? By creating subtle displeasures in her life. He tempted her in three basic areas of life – the same three areas of life in which he would later tempt Jesus in the wilderness. These three areas of life are the devil’s continual targets.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.

If the devil can create displeasure in our life in one of these areas, he will get an advantage. Don’t be deceived by:

· The lust of the flesh

· The lust of the eyes

· The pride of life

That’s where the devil deceived Eve and got his advantage over her.

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Good for food: Appealed to her flesh

Pleasant to the eyes: Appealed to her eyes

Desirable to make her wise: Appealed to her pride

She was tempted to be displeased in:

Her Body (What God gave her for her food no longer fulfilling)

Her Soul (What she saw allowed by God no longer satisfied)

Her Spirit (She wanted to be like God … be in charge)

And, if she would just apply the devil’s deceptive suggestions, the garden could be her supply and give her what she wanted for her body, her soul, and her spirit. She could use God’s stuff to get what she wanted.

The Deception: Doing what the devil suggests will get me what I want!

Only … you don’t know it is the devil who is suggesting it – you imagine it’s all your own thinking or some new revelation. By verse 6, the devil is already gone. He planted the subtle seeds of deception and left her to her own deceptive conclusions. All she had to do was keep thinking about it.

As a result – she diminished the Word of God in her own mind; divided herself from God’s will and walk; and ultimately destroyed the garden experience. We cannot allow this to happen to the Church in our generation. A fool tears down his house with his own hands.

There is only one test which God gives us and the Church:

“Is it pleasing to God?”

Since this is the only test it would stand to reason that we should know what makes God pleased with us and with the Church. And, if what pleases God does not please us … we are deceived!

The Church that pleases God is:

· A Spirit-Filled Church

Acts 2:1-4

· A Soul Winning Church

Acts 2:41 – 3000 saved

Acts 4:4 - 5000 saved

· A Discipleship Church

Acts 2:42

· A Signs & Wonders Church

Acts 2:43

· A Giving Church

Acts 2:44-45

· A Fellowshipping Church

Acts 2:46

· A Praising Church

Acts 2:47

· A Respectable Church

Acts 2:47

· A Growing Church

Acts 2:47 – The Lord added daily

· A Praying Church

Acts 3:1

· A Healing Church

Acts 3:2-9

· A Teaching Church

Acts 3:12ff

· A Committed Church

Acts 4:19-20

· A Bold Church

Acts 4:29-31

· A Need Meeting Church

Acts 4:32-35

· A Holy Church

Acts 5:1-11 – Great fear

· An Ordered Church

Acts 5:12-13

· An Expanding Church

Acts 5:14 – Believers, men and women, increasingly added

· An Outreach Church

Acts 5:15-16 Came from surrounding cities

· A Structured Church

Acts 6:1ff

· A Great Commission Church

Acts 8:4ff

These attributes of the Church were continually repeated and continually reproduced throughout the Word and throughout the world.

As the Church continued during those first years it learned to discipline the saints, forgive the repentant, and judge in matters of dispute. We learn from scriptures that the Church is not all about us and that at times it might cost us to do God’s will.

To better protect us from deception we are encouraged to follow the Spiritual leaders God ordains and submit ourselves to their leadership not straying from the principles which were first delivered to the Church. We are also to beware of those who cause division among us and of false prophets who introduce damnable heresies through deceptive practices gathering silly people to themselves laden with various desires.

Watch out for those displeasures which lead you to diminish, divide, or destroy the Church of the Living God.

In conclusion, let all things be done decently and in order so that the we may give no cause for the Church or the way of the Lord to be evil spoken of.