Fifteenth Sun. aft. Pentecost
Fountain of Life Luth. Ch.
September 4, 1994
An old military dictum: "If you are to be able to defeat your enemy, then you must know him well."
Epistle lesson describes an incredible battle of supernatural proportions against forces that need to be recognized and prepared for. Yet, today many dismiss Satan without a second thought, refusing to take him or his fallen angel hosts seriously!
I. THERE ARE THREE WAYS IN WHICH SATAN SCHEMES AGAINST US:
A. One of Satan's tricks is to hold out the possibility that he really doesn't exist.
1. While we don't mind accepting the existence of a "Good" supernatural being
- God, we'd prefer to disbelieve in the existence of Satan.
a. Scriptures mention diabolas and satanas a total of 74 times in the
New Testament alone.
b. Since that is true, some scholars have attempted to discredit the
Bible as a source of truth.
2. The most vulnerable of all is the soldier who doesn't believe there is an enemy to prepare for.
3. Yes, Satan is indeed real:
a. Satan was created as a perfect angel: Lucifer = The Shining One.
b. In the beginning Lucifer and all the angels were in perfect harmony with God.
c. Pride was Satan's downfall - became Satan, the accuser.(Is. 14:12-14)
B. The second trick of Satan is to assume that since we are Christians, Satan can do nothing to harm us.
1. If so, why would so much of the apostolic writings deal with this subject as a warning to Christ's people. (I Peter 5:8, text)
a. Please remember it was Satan who approached those two perfect believers Adam and Eve and plunged the world into chaos.
b. Please remember it was Satan who had the audacity to temp Christ our Lord Himself in the wilderness.
2. Just listen to Paul's words and hear the truth about the battle in which we are engaged. (vv. 10-13)
C. Satan's third trick is to take him too seriously.
1. To become too preoccupied with the power of Satan is to give him power over you.
a. If all of our attention is focused on the danger of the Evil One, then we are giving little or no attention to the Holy One who has conquered Him.
b. Please remember, the battles of life are fierce, but Jesus Christ has won the war!
2. That's what the cross and the empty tomb are all about . . . Satan's ultimate and final defeat!
a. "A Mighty Fortress" (#297, v. 1b-2)
b. ILLUS: Ostrich with head in sand, pretending the lion is not there!
II. GOD PROVIDES ALL THE ARMAMENTS WE NEED TO DEFEAT SATAN IN OUR LIVES.
A. Paul would not tell us to stand ready if we cannot be ready. (vv. 13-14a)
1. In case you haven't noticed, this passage is a clear call to arms!
a. The instruction is to, "...build up your strength in union with Christ."
(NIV: "...be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."
b. This implies that we may also be weak in the Lord, leaving
ourselves disarmed and anemic before the considerable power of Satan.
2. If you've not paid attention to spiritual preparation and training in your life, now is the time to begin!
a. Let me clarify: If you've not grown in your faith since confirmation at age 13, you are in danger!
b. If you're existing on one hour of worship per week as a full course in spiritual self-defense, you're kidding yourself . . . you're not ready for the battle!
c. If you're not engaged in regular worship, regular Bible study and regular service, then you have failed to put on the full armor of God!
B. What is that full armor of God?
1. TRUTH - belt that holds everything together
a. The truth can't help you if you don't know the truth.
b. Studying God's Word is the best way to learn the truth.
c. Truth is the only thing that can defend against the lies of Satan.
2. RIGHTEOUSNESS - The breastplate that protects...Two perspectives:
a. First and foremost, the righteousness of Christ...perfection itself.
b. Secondly, Christ's righteousness reflected in our behavior:
1.) What Paul often calls the blessing of a good conscience.
2.) Not in a hypocritical or self-righteous way, but as a gift of
c. Christian character is an issue!
3. READINESS TO SPEAK THE GOSPEL - The shoes that carry us into our mission.
a. If we are soldiers in Christ's army, we need to carry the fight to the enemy.
b. Without shoes, the soldier is useless...likewise, without speaking what contribution to Christ's cause are we making?
4. FAITH - The shield that deflects the accusations of Satan.
a. Faith grows...what size is your faith...small is dangerous in a fight!
b. Faith is a gift of God that covers our sins and brings us life.
5. SALVATION - A helmet that protects us emotionally as well as spiritually.
a. Knowing we are saved, without doubt, is a strong defense before the attacks of the Evil One.
b. Our salvation enables us to tell Satan to hit the road!...He lost the war and he can't have you!
6. THE WORD OF GOD - A sharp and deadly sword which not only protects, but enables us to take the offense against Satan.
a. The Word of the Lord has the power of God to destroy the lies of the satanic foe.
b. The pure truth of God's Word can expose every lie, destroy every satanic effort and destroy Satan's kingdom of this world.
c. Unfortunately, many followers of Christ do not know His Word well enough to use it well. ILLUS: A well-trained swordsman vs a rank amateur
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