SPIRITUAL WARFARE | PART 1 WHO IS SATAN?

Spiritual Warfare, Part 1 – April 21, 2024
Intro: Israel’s defense

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV2011)
10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Who is “the devil”?
Revelation 12:9 (NIV2011)
9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Satan is our enemy
1 Peter 5:8 (NIV2011)
8  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Example: Barna Poll
Satan’s identity:
Ezekiel 28:12-17 (NIV2011)
‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14  You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17  Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
 
Satan’s identity:
Satan is a fallen angel
Luke 10:18 (NIV2011)
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
Jude 1:9 (NIV2011) 

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 

Satan’s identity:
Satan is a powerful fallen angel
Satan’s activity:
Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV2011)
11  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Satan’s activity
Satan commands other fallen angels
Ephesians 6:11 (NIV2011)
11  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Satan’s activity
Satan schemes against Christians
Galatians 6:8 (NIV2011)
8  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Example: Google search
Satan’s activity
Satan influences leaders 
Revelation 2:10 (NIV2011)
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
Application: Importance of godly leaders
Satan’s activity
Satan infiltrates churches 
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (NIV2011)
14  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
15  It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
1 Timothy 4:1 (NIV2011)
1  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Application: Deviation from Scripture
Satan’s plight
1 John 3:8 (NIV2011)
8  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
Revelation 20:10 (NIV2011)
10  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Satan’s plight
He is a defeated enemy
Ephesians 6:10 (NIV2011)
10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
We're going to be starting a new series this morning, and I want to. The series comes with a warning, a disclaimer, if you will. It's going to be uncomfortable. This is not one of those comfortable topics. We're going to be addressing something that is oftentimes not understood, or even worse, neglected in the christian life. You'll remember if you were here in the Sundays before Easter. You'll remember how we spent a number of Sundays studying the first two chapters of the Book of Ephesians, a letter that the apostle Paul had written to the ephesian church. And in those two chapters, Paul gave us great cause for celebration. You remember that he describes how we're brand new when we accept Christ as savior. He adopts us into his family. God the Father does, God the Son redeems us. God the Holy Spirit seals us. I mean, what a wonderful way to kick off the letter to the ephesian church, giving them great calls for celebration. But in the last chapter of the letter, before Paul closes this letter out, he issues calls for caution. Before he closes the letter out, he warns us that our new identity in Christ necessarily puts us at odds with an enemy. And it's an enemy who wants to destroy you. Now, let me explain why the last chapter of Ephesians is just as important as the first two chapters. Last weekend, the world watched as Iran launched an attack against Israel. Y'all all read about that. You saw the reports on television. We now know that over 300 explosive projectiles were launched from Iran en route to Israel. What astounded the world was that over 99% of those incoming explosive projectiles were shot down out of the sky. Over 300 were launched, and not a single person died. There was very minimal damage. Now, how did that happen? Here's one of the ways that happened. Israel knew that Iran was its enemy. Israel knew that Iran wants its destruction. So Israel makes sure it understands what Iran is capable of and what they may be up to within moments of those drones being launched, Israel already knew it. Now, just hypothetically, let's suppose that Israel last weekend thought Iran was its friend. What if Israel thought Iran was an ally with a blind eye toward any threat that might come from that place? If that had been the case, last weekend would have looked much different. See, the point I'm trying to make is the most vulnerable country is the one that is unaware of or uninformed about its enemies. The most vulnerable Christian is the one unaware of or uninformed about his or her enemy. In his letter, that begins with calls for celebration. It ends with calls for caution, reminding us that our identity in Christ makes us a soldier in this war against an enemy. And here's the way Paul begins to describe it. Ephesians, chapter six, verse ten. Finally, before I close the letter out, finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you've done everything to stand. So in this passage, Paul describes how we as believers, he's writing to the Christians in Ephesus, we as Christians have an enemy that he refers to as the devil. And over the next several weeks, we're going to examine this war that we're in, who's involved, what it's about, and most importantly, how we as believers can, can stand firm in this battle. But this morning, I want to start by asking and answering the obvious question. Who is this enemy? Paul refers to him as the devil. Who is the devil? Who are we talking about? In revelation, chapter twelve, the apostle John is describing a battle that takes place in heaven. And listen carefully to what he says. The great dragon was hurled down that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth and his angels with him. Here we see that the devil is identified as satan. So satan is our enemy. The one against whom we battle is satan. Now, satan is real. Satan is against you. Satan wants to destroy you. Peter puts it this way. Be alert in a sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Satan wants to devour or destroy you. Now, in case this is old news to you, let me share why I'm starting here. Let me share why I am making this as clear as I possibly can that satan is our enemy. The Barna group did a survey not too long ago, and here's what they found. They found something I found to be startling. 59% of professing christians reject the idea that satan even exists. 59% of professing christians deny the fact that satan even exists. You know what that means? That means that most christians don't even know the missiles are coming. They are unaware of and uninformed about their enemy, which gives by the way, which gives Satan great advantage. Satan is real. And the Bible tells us much about this enemy we face. So let's begin by talking about Satan's identity. Who is Satan? For this, I'm going to read a passage of scripture from Ezekiel, chapter 28. That's over in the Old Testament. You could turn there if you'd like. Let me set this up for you, though. In this passage of scripture, God is pronouncing judgment against someone called the ruler of Tyre. Place the ruler of Tyre. God was condemning. Through the prophet, he was condemning this ruler. And in the middle of that condemnation, God's language changes from addressing the ruler of Tyre to the king of Tyre. And when he makes that change, it becomes very obvious he's no longer speaking about the human ruler of Tyre. No, he's talking about Satan himself. Listen closely as I read, this is found in Ezekiel, chapter 28. Beginning in verse twelve. God says of Satan, you were the seal of perfection. Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone adorned you. Chrysolite and emerald. Topaz, Onyx and Jasper. Lapis, lazuli. Turquoise and Beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold. And on the day you were created, they were prepared. Watch this. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God. You walked among the the fiery stones. You were blameless in all your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God. And I expelled you, guardian Cherubim, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty. And you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth. I made a spectacle of you before kings. Who is Satan? Satan is a fallen angel. Satan is not a God. Satan is a fallen angel. Satan was created as all angels are. But sin was found in Satan. And Jesus would later say this in Luke. I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. When he sinned, he became a slanderer and a tempter and a deceiver and a liar and a murderer and a accuser, the evil one. On and on, biblical descriptions of who Satan became. Satan is a fallen angel. Now we have a further indication about what kind of fallen angel he is. There's a very interesting verse in this little book of Jude that comes late in the New Testament. I'm going to read a single, very interesting, fascinating verse to you. There's much we could say about it, but I'll get to the point. Jude verse nine says this. Even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander. But said, the Lord rebuke you. There's a lot we can say about this verse. But Michael the archangel did not dare condemn Satan. He left Satan in God's hands to handle. What do we take from that? Satan is not only a fallen angel church. Satan is a powerful. He is a powerful fallen angel. We underestimate the power of our enemy toward our own demise. It is a terrible mistake to underestimate the power of the enemy that we face. If you go toe to toe with this enemy on your own, you will lose as many before you have already done. Satan's identity. He is a powerful fallen angel. What is he up to? What does the Bible say about Satan's activity? Let's go back to Ephesians chapter six. I'll reread a couple of these verses. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against. Now watch this. The rulers against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. One of the things that we know about Satan from scripture is that he commands other fallen angels. Satan commands other fallen angels. Paul here, in here and in other places seems to be describing a hierarchy of fallen angels over which Satan has charge. He talks here about rulers, authorities, powers, spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. Okay, here's why this is important to understand. As I've already mentioned, Satan is not a God. Satan is created. He's a fallen angel, which means, among other things, Satan is not omnipresent like God is. Satan can only be in a single place at a time. But he is so very effective because Satan does not work alone. He has other demons, other fallen angels that do his bidding, that have joined in his purpose to bring destruction. Okay, what else is Satan up to? Verse eleven. Put on the full armor of God so that you may take your stand against the devil's schemes. Another thing that Satan does is he schemes against christians. Satan schemes against christians. Someone describes Satan like this. Satan's like an escaped convict who is trying to take down everyone responsible for his eventual recapture as christians. Satan is against us. Part of his activity is to personally target christians and to tempt them to sin. Why would Satan want to tempt christians to sin? Because Satan understands what God understands. Sin always destroys. Sin is destructive. And if Satan can tempt christians to sin, they will reap destruction. Galatians six, eight. Whoever sows to please their flesh from the flesh will reap what destruction. Whoever sows to please the spirit, on the other hand, from the spirit, will reap eternal life. Satan is all about scheming against christians by tempting us to pursue worldly pleasure and worldly power and worldly influence and worldly affirmation and popularity and all the things that so many pursue. But let me tell you about Satan's temptations. They always present the benefits and never make mention of the consequences. Satan's temptations are high on pleasure and real, really small on the consequences. So Satan will tempt people and cause christians to throw away the most precious things in their lives, the most precious people in their lives, the most precious relationships in their lives for a fleeting moment, pleasure. Satan is a powerful, powerful tempter. How is Satan such a good tempter? Because, as I've already mentioned, Satan's not God, which means he's not omnipresent. It also means he's not omniscient. Unlike God, Satan doesn't know everything. Satan does not know everything about you. Satan cannot read your mind. Satan does not know your thoughts. But he is an excellent student. Let me ask a question. How many of you have ever done a google search for something? Done a google search, and then a little while later, you're scrolling through your social media and lo and behold, ads start popping up for what you searched on Google. Has anybody ever had that happen to them? I just got news for you. Social media is not omniscient. Social media cannot read your mind. Social media, however, does a great job of watching your behavior so that it can bait your hook just right, can bait your hook with the kind of bait that you prefer. See, Satan is not omniscient, but he and his army. He watches our behavior. He watches what we do. He listens to what we say so that he knows exactly how to bait your hook to cause you to sin and destroy your life. One of Satan's activities is that he schemes against christians. Here's another thing the Bible says about Satan's activity. Satan influences leaders. The Bible describes how many gives many examples of how Satan and his army have actually influenced governments toward evil. Now, why would they want to do that? Because governments have great power either to bring human flourishing or dignity or oppression and poverty and fear and violence. One example is in revelation, chapter two. God is writing. God is speaking to the church in Smyrna. And here's what he says to the christians in the church in Smyrna. Do not be afraid of what you're about to suffer, I tell you. Now watch this. The devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown. The devil. Now the devil is going to put you in prison. Obviously, the devil is not a person who is in authority to do that. No. Satan is influencing, governing authorities to imprison christians for a time. And God is warning the church at Smyrna about this. The devil will use, and has used, is using, governing authorities on earth to imprison and to enslave people. That's why. Listen, church. That's why it's so important. In a representative republic like ours, it's so vitally important that we elect godly men and women to serve us, to lead us. That's because Satan knows that the destruction and bondage he can inflict through those who govern is great. So to love our neighbors, well, we elect godly leaders because godliness leads to human flourishing and dignity. But ungodliness leads to human struggle and oppression. Satan's activity. He influences leaders for his purpose. Here's another of Satan's activities. This one's sobering. Satan infiltrates churches. Since the church's beginning, Satan has used error, deception, division, sexual temptation, persecution, and other schemes to destroy otherwise healthy gospel. Proclaiming churches. Scripture says much about how he does this. For example, two Corinthians, chapter eleven, verse 14. And no wonder for Satan himself. Watch this. Now. Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, pretends to be something he's not, masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Therein will be what their actions deserve. First Timothy four. One further speaks to this in the church context. The spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. The Bible teaches us that Satan works undercover to infiltrate churches, not to destroy them from the outside in. That would be impossible for him, but to destroy churches from the inside out. Look around you. Think to yourself, how can some churches celebrate what the Bible so clearly condemns? It very well could be that Satan has infiltrated that church and introduced deception and error for the purposes of. Of causing that church to lose its testimony. Just let me just throw this in. When a church begins to deviate from scripture for whatever reason they may offer, if a church ever deviates from what the Bible says, you should get away from that church because it can be a very destructive thing. So Satan is active. His plan is organized. It's strategic. He attacks on many fronts. But I want to close on a positive note. Let me tell you about Satan's plight. Although Satan is powerful and has an army at his command and has a comprehensive strategy to destroy, he can be and already is a defeated enemy. First, John three eight. The reason the son of God appeared. Who's that? Jesus. The reason Jesus appeared was to destroy the devil's work. Okay, I've already said you are no match for Satan. Satan is no match for Jesus. Jesus came to destroy his work. And John, writing in Revelation chapter 20, gives us a picture of how this war that we're all in, how it comes to its conclusion. I'll read you the last the end of the story. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. What is Satan's blood? Satan is. Is a defeated enemy which makes the war that you and I are in different from any other war in human history. Because ours is the only war whose outcome has already been determined. We know how this end, our infinite God, has shown us the end. So while we can't defeat Satan on our own, while we await our final victory, we can find rest, we can find security, we can find hope in Christ. And I'll close with this. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Christians, we have refuge in, in a mighty fortress, a solid rock, a savior who cannot fail. Close with a final question. Which side are you on? On one side is God and all that's good. On the other side is Satan and all that is evil. And Jesus said something very important while he was here on earth. He said, you are either for me or you're against me. What did Jesus mean by that? He said there's no neutrality in this battle. You can't sit on the sidelines in this battle. You can't have 1ft in one world and 1ft in the other world. No. Jesus said, you are either all in or you're all out. Which side are you on? I'll just say this. I say this from time to time and I mean it. If I were living in this day, and time in this world that is so treacherous and evil and dangerous and all the rest hostile. If I tried to live through life without knowing I was in Christ, I would not be able to sleep at night. But as a believer in Jesus, I can rest, put my head on a pillow at night, knowing that I am secure. I. I am safe in his mighty power. And you can know that too. Heads are bowed, eyes are closed. If you would like to know the security and safety of being in Christ, the good news is Jesus died to pay for your sins so that your relationship with your creator could be restored. I would invite you over these next quiet moments just to have a heartfelt conversation with God. You might say from your heart, God, I recognize my sin has separated me from you. But I believe Jesus, your son, died and rose again so that my sins could be washed away. And in this quiet moment, I confess before you that I'm placing all my trust in what Jesus did for me to wash my sins away and to make everything right between you and me. In Jesus name, amen. Okay, everyone, looking back up here. If that was your heartfelt prayer, I'd like to offer you some free literature before you leave. Because this literature will be a very helpful tool for you as you discover what it means fully to place faith in Jesus. That literature is available for you back at guest services that's out in the lobby. Just go by and say pastor Jeff said something about literature. They know what to do. They'll put it in your hand and you can be on your way. If you're watching online and you prayed along with me just now, I would love the chance to be able to send that same literature to your home, wherever in the world you might be. We've set up a website for this purpose. It's called I made a decision.com dot. Imadeadecision.com dot. If you go there, you'll find many helpful resources and you'll also find a place where we can receive your mailing address from you. If you provide that to us, we'll put that literature in the mail to your home this coming week. Thank you for watching this video on First Redeemer's YouTube channel. If you enjoyed it, click like below and leave us a comment. 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