Prophecy – Part 94 – Satan’s Deceptions, Revelation 12
We left off in our previous study by examining some major principles of Satan’s attack on the true Christian. Today, we want to begin with the Time of Satan’s Approach in the Christian’s life:
While the Devil may attack anytime, he will do so when it is most suitable for his purposes and when we are LEAST EXPECTING IT. For example, he may approach us when:
- we are in the wake of some great spiritual experience (Matthew 3:16; 4:1-2).
- when we are at the beginning of a spiritual endeavor (Matthew 4:17).
- when we are physically weak of mentally exhausted (Matthew 4:2).
- when we are alone (Matthew 4:1).
We can expect Satan to challenge our commitments to the Lord as he challenged Jesus’ commitments to the Father’s will throughout His ministry (Matthew 4:1-11; Matthew 16:21-23).
FACT: We must always be alert for the adversary, (Satan). “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting ALL your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (I Peter 5:6-9).
- Satan generally attacks us unexpectedly, so we must always be alert for his attack (Matthew 16:21-23). Now let’s examine his deceptions.
It is really important for all Christians to recognize the “deceptions” that Satan will use to mislead those who are truly saved.
FACT: The Christian’s arch enemy [Satan] is a master of deception and he has a load of false teachers to help him. Satan misleads people by his disguises, maneuvers, and lies (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14).
We who are truly saved are vulnerable to his deceptions when we are ignorant of spiritual truth or are not walking in God’s fellowship. Only by learning God’s truth about the Devil, about God’s will for us, and by walking in God’s fellowship can we avoid being deceived by the Devil’s lies (John 8:32). Let us look at this more closely.
“This I say then, WALK [live] in the SPIRIT, and ye shall NOT fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, emphasis added, KJV).
(1) The answer to conquering the flesh is the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18).
(2) The works or acts of the flesh are identified in v. 19-21.
(3) The judgment of those who live by the flesh is explained in (v. 21).
However, if one wants to defeat the adversary by conquering the flesh, one must “walk in the Spirit” – Galatians 5:16.
FACT: The answer to conquering the lusts of the flesh is the Holy Spirit of God. The believer is to WALK in the PRESENCE and the POWER of the Holy Spirit. It is the only conceivable way the true believer can keep from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. No person has the power to control the lusts of his flesh — not within himself.
- The Christian must keep in mind the following four reasons given by Scripture.
- The flesh fights for dominance. It lusts against the Spirit, struggles and fights to control the man. The picture is that of a tug of war (A. T. Robertson. Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 4, p. 311). The flesh stands contrary to the Spirit – toe to toe, face to face – and it seeks to control man.
The word “lusts” (epithumei kata) means a yearning passion for. Every person has experienced the flesh…
*yearning *craving *grasping
*pulling *hungering *grabbing
*desiring *thirsting *taking
Every person knows what it is to have his flesh lusting after something, to have it yearning and yearning to lay hold of something. The flesh is very strong and difficult to control.
This is the first reason why a believer’s only hope to control the flesh is the Spirit of God.
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23).
“Because the carnal mind [fleshly] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be” (Romans 8:7).
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:1-2).
- The flesh is contrary to the Spirit. The flesh has within itself base and unregulated urges and passions. A man senses the desire to do what he likes, to lift the restraints and follow his own inclinations, the desires, passions, and emotions. This is what the Bible means when it speaks of the “lust of the flesh.”
However, the true believer has another force within his life — the force of the Holy Spirit. When the believer feels the constraint and the pressure between the flesh and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is giving power to overcome the flesh.
The constraint IS THE POWER. The believer who listens to the constraint and walks away from the object of the pressure, and calls upon God for the courage to stay away is the believer who walks in the Spirit. The believer is to know no such thing as peaceful coexistence between the flesh and the Spirit. (See Romans 7:14-25; 8:18; 8:28-39).
- The flesh keeps a person from doing what he would. Every person has experienced the power of the flesh; everyone has caved in to the flesh and done something that he did not want to do. He fought against doing it — knew it was harmful or hurtful — yet he did not resist the flesh. He gave in to the power of the flesh and did it. He…
*overate *did evil things *acted selfishly
*became angry *lusted *committed immorality
*began smoking *became prideful *cheated, lied, or stole
*got drunk *cursed
NOTE: All of us have been tempted and we have known how to combat and overcome the temptation. However. The flesh was so strong we did not overcome it. The struggle we experienced involved that of…
*controlling *sacrificing *showing kindness
*reaching out *giving in *giving
*loving *being patient *helping
The point is this: the flesh is so strong that it often keeps us from doing what we would. The only hope of ever controlling the flesh is to walk in the Spirit of God – in His presence and power. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would that do l not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:15-20).
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [fleshly], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
- The flesh fails to keep the law. This has been clearly shown previously. No person keeps the law all the time: the flesh causes us to fail, and no matter how much we try, we cannot do everything the law says – not all the time. What then is the answer? It is essential to know the answer, for every time we fail to keep the law, the law is broken and we stand condemned.
Also, we cannot satisfy the demands of the law, not perfectly. Therefore, we are guilty and must pay the penalty.
Note another fact: our conscience condemns us. It bothers us if we are trying to live for Christ and yet we continue failing time after time. Again, what is the answer?
THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS THE ANSWER; BEING LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL FREE US FROM THE FLESH AND FROM THE CONDEMNATION OF THE LAW.
NOTE: It means that the Holy Spirit frees us to live as Christ lived, to actually live out the life which Christ lived. The active energy of life, dynamic force and being of life — all that is in Christ Jesus – is given to the believer. The believer actually lives in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit of life, which is in Christ, frees the believer from the fate (law) of sin and death. This simply means that the believer lives a consciousness of being free.
The believer breathes and senses a depth of life, a richness, a fulness of life that IS INDESCRIBABLE. He lives with power — power over the pressure, strain, impediments, and bondages of life — even bondages of sin and death.
The believer now lives and shall live forever. He senses this and knows this. Life to him is a SPIRIT, A BREATH, A CONSCIOUSNESS OF BEING SET FREE THROUGH CHRIST. Even when he sins and guilt sets in, there is a tug, a power (Holy Spirit) that draws him back to God. He asks forgiveness and removal of the guilt (I John 1:9), and immediately upon asking, the same power (the Holy Spirit) instills an instantaneous assurance of cleansing.
The Spirit of life, the consciousness of living instantaneously, takes up abode within him once again. He feels free again and he feels full of life in all its liberating power and freedom. He bubbles over with all the depth of the richness and fulness of life itself. He is full of the “Spirit of life.”
NOTE: Life itself becomes once again a spirit, a consciousness of living. He lives now and forever.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (Romans 8:2-3).
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13).
The works or acts of the flesh show just how strong the flesh is. NOTE a fact of extreme importance: the flesh in of itself is not sinful. The flesh or human body is given by God; it is for God’s use Galatians 5:19-21.
NOTE: When a person is converted to Christ, his body becomes a temple for God to dwell in through the Holy Spirit. The Christian is not told to cleanse himself from the flesh but from “the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16), “the filthiness of the flesh and Spirit” (2 Corinthians 7:1), and from “the works of the flesh and darkness” (Romans 13:12; Galatians 5:19).
The works of the flesh are the fruit of indwelling sin—and sin originates in the heart, not in the flesh. The sins of the flesh listed in this passage are clearly seen throughout all society; and tragically they are not only seen on the daily newscasts of every city, but within every community, home and life on planet earth.
NOTE: The very presence of such fleshly sins shows just how strong the flesh is and how helpless man is to control his flesh.
In our next study we will examine further proof of the reality of the flesh and its strength, power and control of mankind.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT SALVATION, WE WILL LOOK FIRST AT THE SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE THAT GOD LOVES YOU AND WANTS TO GIVE YOU HIS GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE. SEE JOHN 3:16 AND EPHESIANS 2:8-9.
Let’s get started with thinking about what we are before God saves us. Please fill in the blanks. God cannot lie and so His Word is absolute truth. Keep this in mind as you fill in the blanks by following Scripture:
I was like a sheep going ____________ (Isaiah 53:6).
I was a ____________________ (Romans 5:8).
I was without _________ and I was _________(Romans 5:6; 3:23). I was a sinner (I Timothy 1:15)
God says I was ________in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).
I was following Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).
As an unbeliever, I was already ________ (John 3:18).
God’s _____________ was upon me because I was an unbeliever (John 3:36).
God says, “All have sinned.” I must acknowledge that I AM a_________________________ (Romans 3:23).
The ____________________was my father (John 8:44).
I was ___________________ Christ, an ________________, a
___________________. I had no ____________________, and I was without God (Ephesians 2:12).
I was far off from God (Ephesians 2:13).
That is what I once was; but, if I accept Christ as my personal Savior by following Romans 10:9-13, the path to heaven, I will be saved. I will become God’s Child and I will be going to Heaven, my eternal home.
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