[‘encouragement’, ‘exhortation’, for life and ministry]
‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ [I Peter 5:8].
- Jesus prayed for his disciples: ‘protect them from the evil one’ [John 17:15].
- Jesus told us to pray: ‘deliver us from the evil one’, in the Lord’s Prayer [Matthew 6:13].
- Jesus warned Simon and the disciples: ‘Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat’ [Luke 22:31].
Though God is all-powerful, in this age we do not live in neutral territory. As we see constant signs of God’s goodness, glory, power, generosity, mercy, grace, and love, so we should also expect to see Satan’s grubby finger prints in our lives, church, ministry, and world as well. Here they are:
The devil, the evil one, Satan is:
- The originator of sin. Gen. 3, 2 Cor. 11:3 … One who has power in this world: ‘the ruler of this world’, Jn. 12:31, ‘the prince of the power of the air, who is now at work …’ Eph. 2:2. ‘I know where you are living, where Satan’s throne is.’ Rev. 2:13 … The liar and the father of lies. Jn. 8:44 … The murderer. Jn. 8:44 … the accuser of believers. Zech., 3:1, Rev. 12:10
- The one who has the power of death. Heb. 2:14 … who promotes false religions and idolatry, and who receives the worship of idolators. Deut. 32:16,17, Ps. 106:35-37, 1 Cor. 10:20 … One who brings temptation. 1 Chron. 21:1, Mt. 4:4-11 … who oppresses people. Mt. 11:18, Lk. 7:33, 13:11,16, Jn. 7:20.
- The one who opposes God’s gospel plan. Mt.16:23 … who pecks God’s word out of our minds, our memories, and our lives. Matt 13:39, who causes disagreement and misunderstanding among believers. 2 Cor. 2:11 … who brings pressures on believers. 2 Cor. 12:7 … who blinds the minds of unbelievers. 2 Cor. 4:4 … who brings false doctrine. Gal. 1:8, 2 Cor. 11:14, 1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 2:26 … who uses the disguise of an angel of light. 2 Cor. 11:14 … who does miracles to deceive people. Rev. 13, and 16:13,14 … and who persecutes the church. Rev. 12,13.
Do you not see Satan at work in your life, in your church, in your ministry, in your world? Do you not see his fingerprints? Accusing saints, blinding unbelievers, opposing the gospel, spreading heresy and persecution, pecking God’s word out our minds and lives, causing disagreement and misunderstanding, tempting us, oppressing us, discouraging us?
In the words of John Howard, be alert, but not alarmed! Please don’t skim read the following Bible verses: read them out loud, slowly!
Satan, the devil, the evil one:
- Is kept under God’s control.
‘Kept in eternal chains’. Jude 6. ‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’. Rom. 8:38,39. God ‘will protect you from the evil one.’ 2 Thess 3:3. ‘The One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.’ 1 John 5:18. And see Job 1:12, 2:26.
- Was defeated by God’s power through Christ, his death on the cross, and his resurrection and ascension.
‘Now the prince of this world is cast down.’ Jn. 12:31. ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.’ 1 Jn. 3:8. ‘That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death were subject to life-long bondage.’ Heb. 2:14. ‘God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.’ Eph. 1: 20, 21.
- Will be finally overpowered and judged at the return of Christ.
‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.’ Rom 16:20. ‘Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.’1 Cor. 15:25. ‘And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.’ 2 Thess. 2:8-12. ‘Now have come the salvation and the power the kingdom of our God, and of his Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down … they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.’ Rev. 12:10,11. ‘And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.’ Rev. 20:10.
Believers should be alert to him and his schemes, resist him, pray, and trust in the blood of the Lamb!
‘…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.’ 2 Cor 2:11. ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ James 4:7. ‘Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, resist him, steadfast in faith’. 1 Pet. 5:9. ‘Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, and give no opportunity to the devil’. Eph. 4:26. ‘Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world.’ 1 Jn. 4:1-3.
‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.’ Eph. 6:10-20.
‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’. Luke 22:30,31. ‘Deliver us from the evil one’. Matthew 6:13.
‘… they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.’ Rev. 12:11.
If you are wary about these ideas, please remember they do come from the Bible, God’s inspired word, most from Jesus and his apostles. You may worry that some Christians focus too much on Satan and his works. That is possible. But ignoring him is not a satisfactory response! Reacting against someone else’s imbalance, is no way to find balance! Reaction against error is no way to find the truth.
May the Lord Jesus protect you, your family, your ministry, your church, from Satan’s tricks and attacks, by the power of his saving blood, his mighty resurrection and ascension, and by his constant intercession for us at his Father’s right hand. May you stand firm, and triumph in the blood of the Lamb.
The word can be translated ‘evil’ or ‘evil one’ in Matthew 6:13. It is also translated ‘evil one’ in John 17:15; as also in Matthew 13:18,19. ‘Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.’
And in Matthew 13:37-39. ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels’.