Session 6 – Saturday Morning Service – January 14, 2012
The Subtlety of Satan
The vast majority of people who call themselves Christian do not believe in the existence of Satan, but rather just an amalgamation of the evil of mankind. However, the Bible assumes that Satan exists.
Genesis 3:1 describes Satan as subtle. It also is translated as crafty. Something that is subtle is not readily obvious. It is something that requires us to think. Satan hides his real intentions by a different outward appearance. The word subtle is related to the opposite of the word naked in Genesis 1:25. Adam and Eve were not hiding anything.
Why is the serpent said to be more crafty than the beasts of the field? Was he not an angel? Because of the fall of Satan, Satan was placed in a position where Adam was to take authority over him in the same way that Adam was to have dominion over the beasts of the field. Temptation comes from those things that should be subservient to us.
The dialogue of Satan with Eve:
1) Satan begins with a question. This question is a twisting of God’s word in order to plant doubt. The question attempts to plant the seed of usurping God’s authority.
2) Eve responds by adding and changing God’s words. She added “touching” and she did not call the forbidden tree by its proper name.
3) Satan contradicts God’s statement of the consequences of eating from the tree. This statement plants a seed of rationalization.
4) Satan then offers Eve an alternative form of happiness. But it is poison wrapped in a subtle wrapper. It is spiritual suicide wrapped in an appearance of happiness.
Satan tried the same subtle approach with Jesus Christ in the wilderness. And this subtlety is the same means that Satan operates in the world today. See 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. This is also seen in Romans 1:18-32.
1) Romans 1:18-20 begins with the truth that God exists and everyone knows it.
2) But Satan has made people doubt the veracity of God.
3) Next, Satan has given people a rationalization that they are god.
4) Next, Satan offers people alternative forms of happiness.
5) And finally, people deal with the wrong they do by getting everyone else to participate in their sins.
Satan is also subtle in how he deals with the church. Satan does not attack the church openly, but in subtle ways. He just tries to shift the gospel a little.
1) He starts with questions that cause doubt. Did Jesus really do everything needed?
2) He then creates a rationalization about the self-centeredness of the gospel.
3) He then offers an alternative form of happiness – morality and therapy – doing good and feeling good.
What is our response? Be sober-minded, be watchful, be observant, be able to discern, notice the times in which we live.
Satan is subtle. But God is not. And we must not be either. Everything about salvation was/is done in public and is open to scrutiny. See 2 Corinthians 4:2. We must proclaim the full counsel of the word of God in the public arena with no subtlety.
Subtlety of Satan by Mark Gervais
This was too good for just a comment box! :0
You will enjoy my brief synopsis of our pastor’s explanation of justification and what the cross bought for us from Sunday’s service:
Imagine you died. You’re brought before a large judicial bench, where The Father sits awaiting to tell you your eternal destiny. The prosecution, if you will, calls 3 witnesses. The first is the law, which condemns you outright. And that’s based on the law you broke even after coming into relationship with the Father. The second witness is Satan, the accuser of the brethren, who for the first time in his lying life tells the truth about how no good you are. The third witness is your conscience, which also condemns you as it testifies to the times it tried to implore you to do the right thing and you ignored it so much it became seared. Your doom seems set. Until the only hope you have steps forward. Your Defense Attorney/Propitiation/Mediator all in one rises not to defend you (we have no defense) but to proclaim that your guilt was imputed to Him, and His innocence conferred upon you according to the terms that the Judge set Himself. Your faith in Him justifies you, and you are freed from the curse you rightfully deserve according to the law, the accuser, and even your conscience.
Why anyone would choose the law over a deal like that is truly beyond me!
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ESV
Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made,
and behold, it was very good.
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. ESV
14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” ESV
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” ESV
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. ESV
Isaiah 24:6 Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; ESV
However the Lord is merciful to us though we deserve His wrath.
Psalms 103:8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. ESV
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. ESV
Personal Note: We have killed four copperheads in four days! The serpent did not strike our heels but we have struck their heads. (Genesis 3:15) Thankfully, Jesus dealt the blow to Satan for us.
Our state has had hail storms, tornados, damaging straight line winds, derecho (That was a new one!), an earthquake, and flooding just this week! Talk about a world suffering from the effects of sin.
But we have been blessed immensely. No storm damage of any kind. No one bitten by snakes although the two in the picture were just in front of the flower bed while the children were all outside playing and working.
We have also enjoyed lovely flowers and we made lots of strawberry preserves.
But we await the New Heavens and the New Earth.
2 Peter 3:13 But according to his promise
we are waiting for
new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells. ESV
Lately piracy in the seas around Somalia has been in the news. Just this past weekend the Captain of the Maersk Alabama was rescued from pirates after being held captive for five days. The US military ships surrounded the lifeboat containing the four pirates and the American ship captain. After a standoff, the Navy Seals shot and killed the pirates and rescued the American when the captain was deemed to be at risk of being shot.
Today the news has included several more reports of hijacking and piracy attempts. A pirate has stated that they are actually searching for American ships with the plans to hijack and kill all the Americans. They are specifically looking for the American Flag flying over a ship. This is in retaliation for the Navy killing the pirates in the rescue.
When a ship out at sea is found to be flying an American Flag that means something. What does it mean? It means that the ship is backed by the US government. All terrorism and attacks against the ship run the very high risk of retaliation by the US government.
My studies in military history have shown there is much in a name. While a small country could be at the mercy of pirates, larger countries are not helpless. Countries such as the US can escort ships and they can retaliate in the case of an attack. Also the US has political sway over other countries, granted not as much as before, but we still do. Small countries are dependent on their political allies. This is much of the reason for the First Gulf War – protecting Kuwait from Iraq. There are Fillipinos who have been held captive by pirates since November and there is little their country can and will do about the situation.
So how does this apply here in our Christian Life?
Whose flag are you under? Are you under the flag of the Lord?
In the Bible, the phrase Yehovah Nicciy means Jehovah my banner. Nec (root word) might be translated as banner, flag or standard while the word Degel is also translated flag, banner or standard.
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. KJV
15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner,
16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” ESV
Psalms 60:4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah ESV
Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. ESV
Isaiah 13:2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. KJV
We as those who Christ as ransomed have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. ESV
We are flying the Lord’s Banner or Flag with the Holy Spirit as our guarantor.
When others decide to “mess with us” then they run the risk of facing the full wrath and fury of the Lord. We are backed by the Lord and all His resources.
However, just like today with the shipping situation, those under the Lord’s banner also risk being singled out by Satan for attacks. Satan hates the Lord and by association us. Satan will do all in his power to attack those flying the Lord’s banner.
As a matter of fact, the Lord has warned us that this will happen.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ESV
Just as the US has warned American ships to be extra vigilant during the recent pirate crises; the Lord has warned us that Satan is sneaking around looking for those who are caught off guard.
But we shouldn’t live in fear because the Lord is on our side.
4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. ESV
Having the Lord as our protection and shield is better than having all the military might of the whole world behind us.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ESV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (NIV)
Just as we found that the first sin of Satan was the sin of pride, we discover in Genesis chapter 3 that the first sin of man was also the sin of pride. Pride in mankind has its roots in the Garden of Eden. We know that Adam and Eve first sinned when they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil against the direct command of God. But the question remains: Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit? They ate the fruit because of pride. Yes, there were other reasons which we will examine in a moment. But for the purposes of this study we will concentrate on the sin of pride.
The first thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride had its beginning when truth was exchanged for a lie. Notice in verses 2-3 that Eve begins with an orthodox belief. “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” (NIV) Eve correctly repeats the command of God that was given in Genesis 2:16-17. However, in verse 4, we see that Satan exchanges the truth of God’s word for a lie. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.” (NIV) The words of Satan are in direct contradiction to the word of God. I believe that it is a universal truth that all sin is based on a lie which is in contradiction to the word of God. In Romans 1:25, in Paul’s great treatise on the utter sinfulness of man, we read “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.” (NIV)
The second thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride is based on the temptation that man can share in the glory that is due only to God. Just as Satan himself was deceived and believed that he could in some way be equal to God, so man in his pride can be deceived that we can also be, in some small way, equal to God. We see this temptation in Genesis 3:5. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV) What is the temptation which Satan lays out before Eve? The ability to be like God. And it is the pride of man which tells us that this might just be possible. But God tells us that this is impossible. We read in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV)
The third thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride was accompanied by other sins in the fall of Adam of Eve. In Genesis 3:6, we read “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (NIV) When Eve looks on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil looking through the glasses of the lie of Satan, what is it that she sees? She sees fruit that is: 1) good for food, 2) pleasing to the eye, and 3) desirable for gaining wisdom. Looking through the glasses of God’s word, none of these three things were true. But believing the lie of Satan changed the appearance of the fruit to Eve.
Allow me to draw a parallel here. Consider Genesis 3:6 in light of 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.” (NIV) Notice the equivalence between these two passages. Good for food = cravings of sinful man. Pleasing to the eye = lust of his eyes. Desirable for gaining wisdom = boasting of what he has and does, or “pride of life” in some Bible versions. But also notice the last phrase in 1 John 2:16. These lies do not come from the word of God, but from lies of the world.
The fourth thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the fruit of the sin of pride is bitter. Adam and Eve gained no wisdom from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they did gain some knowledge. We see this in Genesis 3:7. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (NIV) What is the knowledge that they gained? They gained a knowledge of their shame. How bitter is the fruit of pride. We think we are something special and that we are due some special privilege that others cannot have. But when we learn the truth we find that our pride gives us nothing but shame.
So is there a lesson to be learned here? I believe there is. The lesson we can learn is how to resist the temptation of pride. Consider 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (KJV) Adam and Eve faced the temptation of the sin of pride. You will too. God gave Adam and Eve a way of escape. There was another tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden as well. It was the Tree of Life. More about that in a minute.
Let’s consider a student in school who has just failed an exam. He goes to his teacher and he argues that it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t pass the exam and that he deserves a passing grade. He tries to blame everything. The test was too hard. I didn’t have enough time. I wasn’t told what to prepare. We do the same when we don’t pass the test of temptation. Notice the three “BUT’s” in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
I argue “My temptation was unique – no one else has ever faced such a temptation.” But what does God say? “BUT such as is common to man.” Your test was no different than anyone else’s.
I argue “My temptation was too strong.” But what does God say? “BUT I am faithful and will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that you are able.” Nothing comes to you that God doesn’t allow and he allows no more than we can bear.
I argue “my temptation was impossible to get through.” But what does God say? “BUT I will make a way of escape so you can bear it.”
We can face the temptation of the sin of pride with God’s help. Pride has been successfully defeated by others in the past. Pride is not too strong to be defeated now. God offers a much better way than the way of pride. This is the way of humility and servanthood. But those are the subjects of future posts.
Now, what was the way of escape that God gave Adam and Eve? It was the Tree of Life. What would have happened if Adam and Eve had chosen the fruit of the Tree of Life instead of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? We are told the answer to this question in Genesis 3:22-24.
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (NIV)
The fruit of the Tree of Life would have granted Adam and Eve eternal life. However, once Adam and Eve had fallen, the fruit of the Tree of Life was forbidden to them. God drove them from the Garden and placed an angel to guard the way back to the Tree of Life. When we are faced with the temptation of pride, we too have a choice. We can choose to take and eat that fruit of the sin of pride. It looks good, and it tastes good, but it turns to bitterness in the belly. Or we can choose to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Life. The way will be hard for we must take up and bear a cross daily, but the fruit will be sweet to the soul.
By Berean Husband
In my husband’s Sunday School class today we were studying the Book of Acts and the New Testament Church. A point we discussed was:
Who adds people to the Church?
Acts 2:47 And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. NIV
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. KJV
A Preacher once met a Drunkard stumbling down the road. The Drunkard yelled “Hello, Preacher! I’m one of your converts.” The Preacher sadly looked at the man and said “You very well may be one of my converts, but you’re not one of God’s.”
How many times have you heard someone say they had gotten a person saved?
Who is adding to your church?