Strategies of the Enemy sermon

Posted by Debbie on Saturday, October 6, 2018 - 12:01

Have you ever spent time trying to figure out if it’s God or the devil telling you something? I think all of us have at one time or another, especially if you are a new Christian and are learning; trying to figure things out. We need to know the strategies of our enemy, Satan. , and one of them is his being able to quote scripture to you and you think it is God speaking to you. Remember, Satan used to be God’s most beautiful angel and can quote any scriptures to try and fool you into believing it is God, while he tries to lead you astray. “He can masquerade as an angel of light”, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 11:14. He can access every strategy in the world to try and destroy you and your relationship with Christ Jesus. The enemy’s goal is to keep you away from God and His Son, Jesus Christ so that you will join him in hell! We need the full armor of God to be able to withstand his craftiness and deceit each and every day.
We need to know God’s word and realize just how much power we have by praying about everything and praying in the name of Jesus. Jesus never had a problem with the devil. He simply said to Satan, it is written and quoted scriptures as in Luke 4:7, “The devil says to Him, therefore if you will reverence me and worship me just once, it shall be yours. And Jesus replied to him, Get behind Me, Satan! It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve”. We need to KNOW, really know scripture, God’s very words, so that we can catch Satan in his trickery.
The devil vehemently opposes and stands against anything that is for righteousness, peace, joy, love, generosity, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and all the other awesome attributes of God. We all need to make the decision to walk in Christ’s love that encompasses all these attributes as well. The devil will try to aggravate you and whatever it takes to wear you down, and wear you out, to pull you away from God. Satan has helpers; a specific army of demonic creatures that aid him in his attacks against believers in ways that you don’t even think about as attacks. He will keep you so busy, with what I call “busywork” that you don’t even have time to keep your thoughts and mind on God. This world has become so fast-paced that you do not know if you are coming or going…children’s sporting events are scheduled on Sundays, some have to work on Sundays as my husband does…couples fight and argue all the way to church….your child drags his feet getting ready and makes you late so you stress about it and cannot fully give God your attention at church…Where do we fit God, our loving Father, into our busy schedules? Satan uses all these distractions to pull us further away from God and His word.
Satan knows that love, peace, and prayer are also powerful weapons in spiritual warfare. God has told us in His word (Ephesians 6:10-13 in the Amplified Bible) “Be strong in the Lord (be empowered through your union with Him); draw your strength from Him [ that strength which His boundless might provides]…Put on God’s whole armor[ the armor of a heavily armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able to successfully stand up against (all) the strategies and deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending with only physical opponents], but against all authorities, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore, put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day (of danger), and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. VS 16 tells us that the “shield of faith will be used to quench the fiery darts of the devil”.
Being ignorant of God’s word, uninformed, lacking in knowledge is dangerous. In Hosea 4:16 the scripture communicates to us “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”. Do not be misled, the devil is very real and very much alive today and is hard at work to destroy those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ. He will use anger, jealousy, guilt, offense, and resentment to open the door and deceive us. The devil is the ultimate liar and king of deceit. He wants to steal our freedom; he hates for us to love ourselves and others, and he loves our passivity and complacency so that he has less opposition. Look at the news every day. All we see are reports of murder, theft, rampant immorality, homelessness, natural disaster after natural disaster; all meant to depress us and make us think that there is no hope and compassion left in this world. If we do not wake up and realize that this is the devil’s way of taking us down we are in very real trouble, not only personally, but as a church and as a nation. Where is the tenacity of the early church? Where is the faith and pride in being a Christian? We have been made to feel like second-class citizens; to feel as if we should apologize for being a Christ follower and hide our faith, and it will only get worse! We have all become too passive, myself included, thinking “what can I do? I’m only one person. But think about it; one person had prayer taken out of our schools as just one example. This is what Satan wants us to do and think! We are supposed to be the light in the darkness, the salt of the earth as Jesus died for us to be. As I heard a preacher say, “Evil takes over the world when the good do nothing”! Look at the state the world is in!! How much longer will we sit and do nothing? Imagine how we can change things if we will only stand up and stand for Christ! We cannot afford to sit passively by any longer. Our Lord communicates to us in Romans 12:2 (amplified Bible again) Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove (for yourselves) what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and prefect [in His sight for you]. (This is a very good scripture for new Christians).

In 1 Peter 5:8 God says to…Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), Be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Satan is a strong enemy; he is not compared to a lion and a dragon for no reason. We, as Christians, cannot afford to be ignorant of his strategies. The good news is that Jesus Christ is the LION OF JUDAH!! and is so very much more powerful than the devil. After all, Satan is a being created by God himself and Jesus is God’s Son. 1 John 1:4 tells us…Ye are of God, my little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He (Jesus) that lives in you than he (Satan) that lives in this world. And in Romans 8:37 in the amplified Bible it says…Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loves us. A spiritual battle is going on in this world as well as in the heavenlies. In Daniel 10:13-20, Daniel wrote, “Satan’s angels struggle against God’s angels for the control of nations”. You and I are a part of this battle. Knowing this makes “walking in victory” a crucially important thing to us and to God.

Colossians 1:13 (Amplified Bible) explains; The Father has delivered and drawn us to himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, who is Jesus Christ. And again, in Luke 10:19 (Amplified Bible), Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.
We must make a personal choice to be holy as God has called us to be; to put on the full armor of God; to know God’s word as we are told to do in the scriptures, so that the devil will not be able to gain victory over us as he pulls out all the stops to defeat us. Our problems, trials, and temptations can be painful, but it is important for us to choose to act as Jesus acted during His trials and temptations. After His baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan 3 times. One of those times, in Luke 4:13 which says; “And when the devil had ended every (the complete cycle of) temptation, he (temporarily) left Him (stood afar off from Him) until another opportune time”. Have you ever wondered why our trials seem to come in 3s, in cycles? Well, Jesus went through it as well, but He did not become passive and say, “Oh poor me, I don’t feel like doing anything today. No! He presented Himself as who He was and made hell shake!!

A choice strategy of Satan’s is dissention; being cynical and judgmental within the body of Christ. He will crawl through any little crack in your foundation to get to you. There is entirely too much offense in the church today, and this is one of the signs of the end times as well. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:10-12… (10) And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other (11) And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people (12) Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. The enemy will talk to you through thoughts and through people, some of whom are close to you and don’t realize they are being unwittingly used. They may say hurtful things to you and make you feel badly, but don’t hold a grudge as Satan wants you to do. Do not be offended if your feelings are hurt by someone who loves you, and you thought should know better. Take a deep breath and forgive them as you show them the love of Christ, as JESUS wants us to do. Satan, our enemy, uses offense to push in a wedge between us and God so that we will be ineffective witnesses for Christ. Would you rather be in a church that is warm and welcoming, or, in one that gives you dirty looks because perhaps you don’t have a way to get a shower before coming to church (such as a homeless person). There are so many hurting people who very much need to be shown love and compassion, especially in today’s oppressive world. God’s love is all inclusive and that means everyone, not just those who smell good and look pretty. We are not to judge someone by the way they look for looks can be deceiving. Remember, as I mentioned before, in the scriptures it says that the devil himself can come to you disguised as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and that he is the master deceiver. After all he was created as God’s most beautiful angel; a worship angel, and was loved by God before he chose to rebel against God. Another tactic of the enemy that he quite often favors is discouragement. This can indeed be a devastating tool in our corporate worship as a church, or individually. When we become discouraged we can often lose hope and this, in turn, causes us to give up. Say for instance, that we are planning a wonderful service for homecoming (just an example) and the chosen special speaker comes down with the flu at the last moment. It is very tempting to become discouraged and postpone the entire service. This could be detrimental to that one person whom the Holy Spirit was tugging on to come, but the change of plans discouraged them from coming to church at all that day. That may have been the time they were open to salvation. Discouragement can have quite the domino effect and the enemy will absolutely use it to his advantage to keep us from reaching our full potential; be it encouraging and uplifting a severely depressed person or preaching the gospel and reaching many souls for Christ; disrupting the plan that God has for us. Again, this could in turn cause murmuring and grumbling within the ranks, so to speak, and work to further put in that wedge between us and God.
Our Father tells us in his word, in James 5:9…Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door! The Judge is God himself and He will judge those who are not saved in the White Throne Judgement at the end of time; no one’s words or deeds will escape Him. In Rev. 20:11-15 we read…Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. This is exactly where Satan wants us to be.
Jesus told His disciples “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone”, in Mark 16:15 so that they will have a chance to repent and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior; to not have to go through this unimaginably horrible and eternal experience. Hell was created for the devil and his fallen angels who are much stronger than human beings so, I absolutely cannot fathom how horrible it will be for those who are not saved; who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior. Satan, our enemy, hates it when we tell people of the Good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how they can be saved and go to heaven.
Prayer is an important activity that is taking up God’s armor. God’s people praying in unity, as one body, are so powerful; not just when we are in church, but all the time. When we can come together, in agreement as one, in the name of that most powerful name Jesus, can you imagine how many demons we chase away, as well as halt Satan in his tracks? Jesus told us in Matthew 18: 19-20, Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them”. With Jesus in the mix, how can the devil even stand a chance! As Christians we should pray for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, especially now. Satan is hard at work trying to turn people away from the churches and I have heard many times, “I don’t like organized religion, or, the church is full of hypocrites so, I don’t go to church”. This is but one of the ways our enemy will deceive people into seeking other things to fill that void, that empty hole inside of them that can only be filled by a relationship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus as we were created to do. John Wesley stresses, “that even if one has this armor, resisting the power of darkness requires in engaging in incessant prayer exhibiting continual daily dependence on God, not just the gifts He gives”. Prayer opens the door for God to go to work.
Not only in Ephesians 6, but throughout the Bible, God instructs us about the enemy so there is no reason for us to be caught off guard. Through perseverance and prayer, the church can boldly proclaim the gospel even in the midst of persecution and hardship. We do indeed need special equipment in fighting Satan, his powers, and principalities so, God has provided for us the “whole armor”, not just parts of it. Without prayer, and all the armor of God; faith, truth, salvation, righteousness, the Spirit and the Word of God, it will be very difficult to fight the enemy when he tries harder and harder to pull us away from God. Remember, he is the master of deceit, the prince of lies, a roaring lion seeking to devour and destroy believers, and a vehement enemy of Christ Jesus. The good news is that Jesus Christ has already defeated Satan and if you, quote “read the end of the book, the Bible, we win”, I’ve heard David Jeremiah say. Yet we cannot afford to relax and become complacent in our faith. We cannot afford to compromise God’s word to suit the world. We MUST remain obedient to God and fight with the whole armor of God that He has so graciously provided for us. Satan is a very real and very unrelenting enemy, ready to drag us down at the first hint of even a very tiny crack in our foundation of our faith. We’ve all read of the man who built his house on the sand; it was destroyed. Our firm foundation is Jesus Christ. He is also our conqueror and our victory.
If you have not accepted Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior, and you would like to, just ask Him. Simply pray, and mean it, “Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. I repent (turn away 360degrees) of all my sins and I want to live for you. I believe you are the Son of God and I receive you as my Lord and Savior. In your name I pray…Amen. That’s all it takes and welcome into the family of Christ. Find a local, Bible preaching church and let them know you recently were saved. They will mentor you and show you how to learn what you need to learn. God bless you.