We are going to finish out our section on Satan in this podcast.
If you haven't listened to our previous episodes on Satan, be sure to click these links:
To sum up what we’ve taught it is best to simply say that he exists, he is alive and well, he is present and constantly at work. He is evil, and we are not to discount him.
His primary work is that of deception and twisting of truth. He seeks to disrupt the unity of believers and their faith. He loves to accuse, and he loves to seek to divert the gospel in every way possible.
Now we’ll discuss his powers and limitations.
--- In the angelic/spirit realm
In Matthew 12:24 he is called the ruler of the demons. While in Matthew 25:41 it speaks about demons that are “his.”
In Matt. 12:24 he is said to have a kingdom, which is defined by this age.
In a fascinating passage in Jude 1:9 we read about how he fought and argued with Michael the arch angel over the body of Moses. So we know that Michael has a sort of respect for him and that there are spiritual/angelic battles as well.
---- In the physical realm he is active as well ~
It is likely that he is behind the miraculous actions of various people. Example of this would be likely the Egyptian magicians. The purpose is to deceive into false worship.
Job 1& 2 gives us another fascinating glimpse as well.
In 1:16 it was through Satan that fire came from heaven and devoured Job’s servants and animals. Interestingly it is said to have been a “fire of God.”
In 1:19 he brings a great wind to kill the household of Job.
In 2:4 he is arguing with God about Job and getting permission to harm him as well through affliction of sickness and suffering.
Luke 13:11 we also see sickness that is attributed to a demon, while in Luke 13:6 a woman has been bound up by Satan through sickness for 18 years.
But he cannot harm the soul. Jesus reminds us to not fear those who can harm the body, but rather to fear the One who can destroy both body and soul.
And in Revelation 2:10 John warns the church that some will be cast into prison by Satan and that they are to remain faithful regardless.
---- In the realm of human hearts
The parable of the soils in Matthew 13 speaks of how Satan snatches the gospel from the hardened mind.
In Luke 22:3 it says that Satan entered into Judas and the rest is history, as they say.
In Acts 5:3 Peter has no problem saying, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?”
In a frightening passage in 2 Cor. 4:4 he is blinding the minds of people to not believe the gospel.
---- In the government and social realm
In Matthew 4 Jesus was offered authority over all the kingdoms by Satan. He did not disagree that this could happen.
More importantly in John 12:31 he is called the ruler of this world. We just don’t really believe it.
Jesus rebukes the religious leaders of His day in John 8:44, by telling them that their father is the devil.
1 John 5:19 describes the whole world in the lap of the evil one.
---- In the Church
In the last days, according to 1 Timothy 4:1 many will fall away and follow the doctrines of demons and deceitful spirits.
In Revelation 2:9 he speaks of those who would claim to be Christians but who really belong to the “synagogue of Satan.”
In light of all of this let us give you three cautions:
1.) Don’t associate everything evil as a direct result of Satan -- Satan is not hiding behind every bush. We are sinners and sin is the power of this age. Plus, in and through all things God is present.
2.) Also, do not develop the attitude of saying “the devil made me do it.”
James 1:13 tells us that when we are tempted it is not because of Satan but because of our own sinful hearts.
When you try to blame your actions on Satan you are merely buying into Satan’s deception of your own need for Christ and to walk in a holy manner by putting to death your sin in a daily manner.
3.) Finally, do not be a fool and think there are no Satanic manifestations.
--- Most importantly, he is accountable to God.
Job 1& 2 make this abundantly clear.
Passages like Matthew 25:41 show the great ease in which Jesus will judge Satan and the demons.
--- Along with that, he is also therefore restricted by God.
Again, Job is important to remember.
Matthew 4:1 tells us that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for the express purpose to be tempted by Satan.
For us it is good to note also Luke 22:31 where Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
Also, he is not God and therefore does not possess specific attributes that belong only to God.
--- He is not omnipresent.
So we find the bible describing him as wandering throughout the earth seeking to do his evil.
Job 1:7 "And the LORD said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' Then Satan answered the LORD and said, 'From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.'"
1 Peter 5:8 "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
--- He is not omnipotent.
In Jude 1:9 he fought against Michael, not God, and he lost.
Then in Revelation 12:7-9 “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
--- He is not omniscient.
You find him acting as if he can actually win in the battle against God.
In fact, in Job it seems that he was convinced that if he could screw with Job enough that Job might actually curse God.
--- He can and is to be resisted.
Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (note the order here)
1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
How is the Christian to think about Satan?
--- Never underestimate him or his powers (e.g. Jude 1:8-9). If Michael is not willing to pronounce a railing judgment/curse on him that how should we act? (compare this to the many popular demon exorcists out there)
--- Never overestimate him.
Remember that most of our sin is from our own sinful desires according to passages like James 1;13-14.
Also remember the glorious promise in Romans 8 that nothing, including the fulness of Satan’s kingdom can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
--- Do not give him too large a place in thought and conversation nor invite his attention by your attitude. Remember that Ephesians 6:10ff is almost exclusively defensive.
--- Be on guard for his attacks.
Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
--- Remember that God actually uses Satan for His own purposes.
2 Corinthians 12:7 “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-- to keep me from exalting myself!”
My theology professor described him as a vicious junkyard dog, but on a leash.
--- Be aware of God’s provision of defenses:
1.) The finished work of Christ.
John 12:31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.”
Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.”
2.) The intercessory work of Christ.
John 17:15 "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”
Luke 22:32 “but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
Warnings about his tactics
2 Corinthians 2:11 “...in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
So that’s Satan.
Next time we’ll talk about demons.