Sunday, July 28, 2013

Activities of the Devil (Part Two)

Busy little bee
Image Source: Andrew Larsen

We have been looking at the activities of the devil. He not only imitates God but goes to any length to lead people astray and away from God. We continue today from where we stopped last Sunday.

The devil tempts people to do evil:  To tempt is to entice. The devil entices people to do evil. It is not a sin to be tempted. When the devil does not tempt any Christian, it is an indication that the devil does not consider the Christian a threat to his kingdom. Every Christian should resist the devil’s temptation. The devil even tempted Jesus Christ. The Bible records: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1) and that is why Paul warns every Christian to beware, and be prepared: “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) the devil is constantly scheming ways to lead people to do evil.

The devil afflicts people:  The devil is a sadist.  He rejoices when he sees people suffering especially when he afflicts them with painful sicknesses and situations. He cannot possess the believer but oppresses him physically, mentally, emotionally causing him to sometimes, doubt the love of God. He did this to Job, he did it to Paul and Jesus came into the world to release people from the oppression of the devil. 
“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head.” (Job 2:7)  
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (Second Corinthians 12:7)

The devil deceives: Have you ever heard an unbeliever preach a seemingly Spirit-filled message? Sometimes the devil can arrange it to cause the unbeliever develop a false sense of security about himself and to make the listener have a wrong opinion of the preacher. In doing that, he keeps the two parties on different wave-lengths while he operates. This is deception. The only antidote against deception is a good knowledge of the Word of God. 
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9) 
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7-10) 

The devil undermines the sanctity of the home: Often homes are broken as a result of infidelity on the part of either or both of the marriage partners. Like someone put it: “When wine or woman enters the home, it breaks” Have you ever wondered why a man would prefer to spend his salary on drinks, smoking and gambling rather than use it to feed the family. Why should a married man find better comfort in another woman most often not as pretty as his own wife at home? The reason is that the devil is at work to wreck the family unit. A wrecked home gives rise to a wrecked Church and of the government. Paul knew the importance of the family unit. That was why he warned that couples should not allow the devil to get in between them and wreck their homes.  Let us read it together in First Corinthians 7:3-5: “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Do not give the devil a chance in your home. He will surely abuse the privilege.

Satan carries out his activities through men: I was discussing with a friend the other day and he said to me: “I have never met the devil; when I meet him, I shall surely recognize him.” I told him that he was very wrong because he was looking for perhaps a horned weird-looking creature. The devil is not like that. It could be that very beautiful lady in your office. Examples abound of people who have been used by the devil to carry out his activity.
  • It was Devil who caused David to disobey God and count the children of Israel contrary to God’s command: the Bible says “now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel” (First Chronicles 21:10
  • It was Satan who caused Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus: “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him” (John 13:2)
  • It was Satan who caused Peter to rebuke Jesus Christ and later to deny Him not once but thrice! Jesus just finished talking to His disciples about His forthcoming suffering and death. “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”  (Matthew 16:22-23)
  • It was Satan who caused Ananias and his wife Sapphira to lie to the Holy Spirit: “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.” (Acts 5:3-5)

The activities of the devil are as varied and as many as the sand on the sea shore. Like a man once put it in a letter to me after reading an article on the devil that i published in a Newspaper; he said: 
“The devil is responsible for everything bad from the minor headache to the holocaust” We have not yet exhausted what we have to say on the activities of the devil but from what we have so far discussed, you have, no doubt, identified some of the maladies that you have experienced and now know it was the devil at work. The only security we have against the devil and future failures is “Put on the whole armour of God” and this armour of God is Jesus Christ. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ'' (Romans 13:14) 

One of the main aims for the series of messages on the activities of Satan is that men would recognize the devil even when he comes masked-up in sheep’s clothing. He is still the vicious ravenous wolf. He is still the enemy of the brethren. Many people cannot recognize the devil because they are expecting him to appear in a form that would give him out and make everybody recognize him. But he never does. Rather, he comes in a form in which they never expected him. The result is that they fall victim to his tricks and unknowingly obey him.

Another major objective of this series is to warn Christians about relying on their own intelligence and power to recognize and overcome the devil. Unless you depend on Christ and His power, you will never be able to overcome the Devil. The devil does not consider a weak Christian a major threat to his kingdom. He only makes sure that the weak Christian is comfortable and happy being weak and does not attempt growing up. He keeps him from sanctification. But the devil’s major concern is the active, witnessing and growing Christian. He knows he has lost the Christian, but he tries all in his arsenal to make him uncomfortable and prevent him from snatching more people from his clutches. The devil does not like any good Christian. He places his name in his hit list. The devil knows all real Christians.

In summary, we have a very vicious foe in the devil, but equally we have a very potent weapon to defeat this enemy. Our weapon fortunately is a Person. Turn to Christ and you are best equipped to defeat the enemy. We invite you to come to Him today. The Bible warns, “Today, if you will hear His voice; do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, and as in the day of trial in the wilderness ...for “behold, now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation” (Psalm 95:7-8; First Corinthians 6:3)

God bless you all.

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