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The Enemy ()

Jason MossJason Moss, January 17, 2016
Part of the Fight on in 2016 series, preached at a Sunday Evening service

We are currently doing a series on ‘The Fight’. The Bible says we have a fight on 3 fronts.

The world (which is the present evil world system in opposition to God), the flesh (which is

or own sinful desires) and the devil (which is what we are going to focus on today).

Today we are going to look at the topic ‘The Enemy’ and so we are specially looking at

Satan and his followers Demons.

-When I was about 15 years old, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to England

for a month to play some cricket. One of the things that England is famous for is their soccer,

also known as the English Premier League (or the EPL). So this includes famous teams like

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

When I was there, a lot of my mates bought the England soccer jerseys. And everywhere we

went, the locals loved them. When they found out they were Aussies wearing their countries

soccer shirts, people loved them, put their arms around them, gave them high fives, told them

why England would win the next soccer world cup. It was like they were one of them.

Now for some reason, I really liked the look of the German soccer shirt and I liked the way

Germany played soccer, so I bought the German away strip which was green.

Late one night, a few mates and I went out to get some dinner. They were wearing their

English soccer shirts and I was wearing my German soccer shirt. And as I was walking down

the street, I heard some men swearing at me, going off and abusing me. As I walked a little

further I heard a bottle smash meters behind me as someone had thrown a beer bottle at me.

And I thought what is going on. As I walked a bit faster, a stranger came up to me and said

‘Young man, please, go home, change your shirt or you will get killed tonight.’ I said why?

He said “Germany has just beaten England in the Eurocup semi-final in a penalty shoot out.

You’re crazy to be wearing that shirt around here tonight.”

I was in a war zone and I had no idea. That is often like our life The Bible says we are in the

middle of a spiritual war zone and we have often are oblivious to it.

Last year NZ played Australia in the world cup rugby and a few days before the game, there

was a photo on the front page of the paper. It was a photo of the Australian coach Michael

Cheika holding the Australian game plan. A camera had zoomed in and taken a photo of it.

This was such a huge issue because if the opposition knows your game plan, they can get

ready with the right attacking and defensive systems to counter it. And if we know we are in

a war zone, and if we know what the enemies strategies are, it means we can be more

prepared to counter them and live a life for Jesus that he wants.

There are often 2 errors people make when it comes to thinking about Satan and Demons.

The first one is that people don’t think about him at all and he is not on their radar. Satan

loves this because these people aren’t alert and aware of his schemes. The second error is the

opposite, some people are so obsessed or fascinated with Satanic things that it become

obsession. Satan loves this because these people often fear him, they place lots of energy on

him rather than Jesus and they spend their time finding Satan in everything from a flat tyre to

their coco pops. Need to have a healthy awareness of him and his schemes but not be fearful or obsessed with him.

1.Who is the enemy?

V8a ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion

looking for someone to devour.’

We are told here that we have an enemy. That there is someone who is opposing us,

someone trying to bring about our downfall, someone trying to destroy our lives and someone

who is trying to destroy our relationship with God.

The enemy we are told is the ‘Devil’. The word ‘Devil’ or ‘Satan’ means ‘to slander’ or

‘adversary’. And so the devil is our enemy and his job description if you like is to oppose the

people of God and to slander us and to slander our God. John 10:10 tells us he has come to

kill, steal and destroy our life.

Now you might ask yourself ‘where did this Devil come from? Because we are told in the

last sentence of Genesis 1 that “God saw all that he had made and it was very good (or

perfect).” … But then just two chapters later in the beginning of Genesis 3 we are told that

Satan appears in the form or a serpent, tempting Eve to disobey God. Therefore sometime

between the end of Genesis 1 and the start of Genesis 3 there must have been some sort of

rebellion in the angelic world where angels turned against God and became evil.

2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6 and Isaiah 14:12-15 suggest that some angels rebelled against God. And it

seems to be that in their pride they wanted to be God rather than to worship God. So as a

result these angels got kicked out of the presence of God and are now what the Bible calls

demons of which Satan is the team captain.

So the Bible teaches that Satan is real. That Satan and his team of demons ferociously

oppose God and God’s people. So Satan and his team of demons are our enemy.

2.What are his strategies?

Read v8 again with me. ‘V8a ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls

around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’

Satan we are told ‘prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’.

When we think of Satan and his strategies, I think for many of us we have been influenced

by Hollywood. So unless someone has two heads, black eyes, is walking on the ceiling and

their head is spinning around in circles we think that Satan isn’t at work. But our enemy

usually works much more subtly than that.

Look again at how the devil is described. We are told that ‘he prowls around like a roaring

lion’. I have seen lions locked behind fences at a zoo but I have never seen a lion out in the

wild. BUT I’ve watched the Lion King (which is of no help) but I also love watching wildlife

documentaries. If you have ever seen footage of a Lion before they pounce on their prey and

devour them, they aren’t thumping around the jungle, banging their chest, letting everyone

know they’re around. They just lie in the grass for ages, hiding, watching, learning, waiting.

They are just feeling out their prey, learning their movements, watching their weakness,

getting closer and closer and closer slowly. They are looking for a moment when their prey

isn’t paying attention , isn’t alert and isn’t expecting them to strike. Lions are quietly

cunning. Then when the time is right, they execute their plan, they strike and devour their

prey.

Often the way Satan works is very similar. He is cunning. He often lies hidden, watching,

observing, learning, waiting. And then when the time is right he executes his plan to destroy

his prey.

It is interesting how the Bible describes Satan. He is described as a liar and the father of lies

(John 8:44), he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), crafty (2

Corinthians 11:3), deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9), tempter (Matthew 4:1),

schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10-11),

We see this in the Bible. Think about how he got Adam and Eve to walk away from God. It

wasn’t with heads popping out, but with a few lies, planting a few seeds of doubt about the

goodness of God in their minds. Think about how he tried to get Jesus to walk away from

God in the dessert. He waited until Jesus was at his weakest point haven’t not eaten for 40

days and nights. He doesn’t try to wrestle him or scare him. He says turn that stone into food,

jump off the temple- God will catch you, bow down and worship me and I’ll give you all the

kingdoms of the world. Satan strategies are to lie to you, to deceive you, to whisper in your

ear and lure you away from Gods truth.

There was a guy who lived in the 17th century called Thomas Brooks. He wrote a book titled

‘Precious remedies against Satan’s devices. He list 60-70 different way that Satan in his

cunning tempts us and accuses us. Tim Keller expands on some of them in one of his talks.

As I was preparing for today and thinking through this area of my life, I found them really

helpful. So I’m going to read out a few ways Thomas Brooks describes the way Satan tempts

us and accuses us. I want you to think if any of these sound familiar to you and is the way he

works in your life and your thinking.

Firstly, some of the ways Satan Tempts us

1.Gives you the bait and hides the hook.

Satan will tempt you with the short term pleasures but he hides the long term damage.

He will say go and sleep that that man or that woman- but he doesn’t remind you of the

damage it will do your spouse, kids and your life. All for a fleeting piece of excitement. Or he

says skim a bit of money off the top at work for a new computer or some new clothes but

doesn’t tell you of the friendships you will destroy or the guilt you will have to live with.

2. Rationalise sin as virtue.

Not being greedy just being a little thrifty. I’m not a gossip, I’m just concerned about others

lives and want to know everything about everyone so I can pray for them. I’m not an

alcoholic, I just like the social life and been around people.

3.Making them bitter over suffering

Keller says that this why so many prominent businessmen and leaders sin. They believe the

lie that I have worked so hard (maybe even for the gospel), I go without sleep, I have

sacrificed, I work huge weeks, I do all of this for others … I deserve this. So they get bitter

over the hard lives they have and justify their ungodly out workings.

4.Show Christians how bad people seem to be having great lives.

Classic for me. I see my mates who hoard their money and there onto buying their second

and third houses now and we aren’t close to nailing one. I hear the boys talk about the big

night out on the drink and all the fun and excitement they had getting drunk, I was at home

putting the kids to bed trying to do the right thing, I feel like I’m missing out. Try to share the

gospel at work, with family, friends and all of a sudden you’re an outsider rather than an

insider and can’t quite get back as an insider.

5.Compare one part of your life to the other

I have talked to guys who have been in gaol for murder and they look at me and say I’m not

a bad bloke, I don’t abuse kids like those other guys in there. Because on area of their life is

clean, they think it excuses the other area of their life. I go to church, I give money in the

plate, I’m the first to put my hand up to help people in my street, who cares if I get drunk, or

swear at my wife, husband, kids. I do the right thing every other area of my life, surely a bit

of office gossip or a bit of lying to get ahead is ok.

… Any of these sound familiar??

Secondly, some ways Satan accuses us.

1.He causes us to look more at our sin than our saviour

We get so obsessed with our sin, being introspective, examining our lives, with what we’ve

done wrong that we can’t break the condemnation. Once said that for every look you have at

your sin, take 5 looks at your saviour. Are you spend more time mediating on your sin or

your saviour?

2.He causing Christians to obsess over past sins that have done damage that can’t be

undone.

Some of us have done terrible things in the past for which Jesus has died and promises to set

you free. But Satan keeps on reminding you about it and every day you feel sick in the

tummy, feel like looking over your shoulder and do whatever you can to escape that feeling.

The gospel is that Jesus has even died for that and offers you complete 100% forgives and

freedom for that, yes even that.

3.He cause Christians to think suffering and hard times this is punishment for things they

have done wrong

Just because you are suffering doesn’t mean you have done the wrong thing and that God is

out to get you. We live in a broken and sinful world that is marked by suffering. Suffering

isn’t always karma for not living for God. In fact often in the Bible, suffering is a result of

living for God. The car has broken down, I lost my job, my relationships are in turmoil. It

doesn’t mean God is punishing you.

4. He causes Christians to feel condemned about inner struggles and feelings they think real

Christians shouldn’t have.

If I were a real Christian I wouldn’t be having this struggle and desires. If I was a real

Christian I wouldn’t be thinking these things.

Application

I wonder if Satan has used any of these strategies on you? I wonder if any of those

temptations or accusations ring true for you? I wonder if any of those voices or conversations

have gone on in your head before? Satan will continue to feed you those lies, accusations,

temptations waiting for you to take the bait, to believe it and live it.

Satan ultimately wants you to throw in the towel and walk away from Jesus. That’s what he

wants. I wonder how many of you have been close to doing that in your Christian walk?

But if he can’t do that he wants to ruin, kill, destroy your life as a Christian. So he accuses

you so you feel like a failure, worthless, inferior, unlovable, that you deserve to be rejected,

pushed aside, left alone, abandoned. He wants you to be so discouraged that you give up hope

of God delivering you and restoring you. He wants to numb you into a coping kind of

Christianity that has given up hope of seeing Gods resurrection power at work in your life.

Just surviving. I wonder if any of you have ever felt like that, maybe your there today?

For some of us he works the other way. He works on our pride rather than discouragement.

He wants to ruin our life by stroking our ego, encouraging our pride so we feel like we don’t

actually need God, our lives are quite good without him. So we do our religious duty but we

are practical atheist as our day to day lives are lived with no thought of God. Satan has won

when he has us there as well.

3.How do we overcome him?

If Satan is our enemy, and his strategy is to accuse us and tempt us. Lastly, how do we

overcome Satan and his attacks against us?

1.Be alert

v8 ‘Be alert and of sober mind’

Recently on beach mission we didn’t lock our doors because we thought we would be ok.

During the Bingo night some thieves came in and stole about $5000 worth of gear because

we weren’t alert. So that night we got together and came up with a game plan about how we

can be alert. We locked the doors, had someone on look out during our night events and set

the alarm. At 5:17 that morning the alarm started blarring. Someone had tried to brak in again

but this time we were alert.

As Christians we often live like we did on beach mission. But the Bible tells us to be alert,

getting ready, expect a hit.

Appl- Be alert, expect Satan to want to destroy your walk with God. Think about what is in

your mind, think about whose voice it is that you are listening to. Maybe it’s not a

coincidence that every time you pray, seek God more, share your faith, take a step of faith

something out of the ordinary happens. Satan hates that so expect, get ready

There have been definite times in my life I have decided to take a step of faith for God and

almost immediately I have seen Satan work to oppose it.

2.Resist him, standing firm in your faith

v9a ‘Resist him, standing firm in your faith ..’

James 4:7 says Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

To resist doesn’t mean just sitting around, it is an active decision to say no to Satan and his

ways and yes to Jesus and your faith in him. U

When I put sunscreen on my son Judah, he doesn’t just say no, he is doing everything to

resist it, Everything in his power to make sure it doesn’t happen.

My friend Bill puts Bible Verses all over his walls at home to make sure he resists the devil

and stands firm.

3.Fight with others

v9b ‘… because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing

the same kind of suffering’

1 Corinthians 10:13 ‘common to mankind’. Suffering and struggle not alone.

Others have doubted truth, others doubted Gods goodness, other looked at the world and felt

like missing out, others tempted to take short cuts or easy road they shouldn’t. The body is

here to help you overcome. Not enough to turn up on Sunday, slip out back door and see you

in a fortnight. We need brothers and sister who can be honest with and share our struggles

with

Ill: I have a mate in NZ who I skype with regularly to ensure we are standing firm in Jesus.

I have a mate from Bible college who has been hearing voices ‘you’re going to lose’ and

every time he goes to read the bible or pray hears it. He hasn’t been to church regularly or

connecting real for years. I said “Mate, you’re a sitting duck, all by self, no encouragement,

protection, praying for you. Like a soldier taking of the Taliban by yourself.

4.God will help you

v10-11 ‘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

Ultimately God will restore you, make you strong, firm, steadfast. He called you to eternal

glory in Christ by his grace and he will help you to the finish line. The basis for our

confidence is not ourselves but Gods goodness and power over Satan. Can be confident, not

because you are great and mighty but because God is and he has promised to hold on to you

in this life and guide you home to the next. Don’t need to fear or cower in the corner.

Cross Satan defeated.

Teaching at Penrith. One of my best mates had his youngest brother at the school in Year 9.

He was a nice kid, quiet, a bit quirky and easy pickings for a bully. One day, my friend rang

and said, look, my brother getting a hard time from this bully. Feeling sick before goes to

school, fearful, hates it. Just keep an eye out. One day in the playground, mates brother

minding his own business and I saw this kids walk past and give him a mouthful and tried to

start a fight. Watched and this kids just looked down and scared and intimidated. So I walked

over and put my hand on my mates brother shoulder. I looked the bully in the eye. I said this

guy here, his brother is one of my best mates, so we ae like family. That means that if anyone

picks a fight with him, he picks a fight with me.

I can remember Connors perosna changed. He stood up, puffed his chest out, looked the bully

in the eyes, new confidence. Nothing in him that made him confident, just because he had the

6’4 PE teacher had his back. Bully new I cared for this guy, new I had the power and

authority to do something about it. So he left him alone. All Connor had to do if he ever felt

scared was to stand near me and knew everything would be ok.

Friends, Satan is real, if you are a Christian he is a bully and wants to make your life hard.

When you walk closely with the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the one who died and rose

again and has crushed the devils head, power over him, one day destroy him forever. When

you stand closely with him, suddenly the fear goes, confident in him and the devil we are told

will eventually flee.

So be alert, be ready…. But stay close to Jesus and he will help you stand firm to the end.

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