A Briefing: The Enemy

I Peter 5:8-9

Ever feel like you’re in bondage, or in a battle?

What kind of chance do you have of winning a battle if you don’t know the enemy?

Today – a briefing (address 4 questions)

  1. Who is the enemy?
  2. What is your battle strategy?
  3. How are you most vulnerable?
  4. Why can you be confident?

“Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”    I Peter 5:8-9

NY Time reported on a Barna Group survey – 2/3 of Americans do not believe the devil is a living entity.

There is a huge amount of scriptural evidence that Satan and fallen angels (demons) exist, and that they are not just symbols of evil or figures of speech.  Satan doesn’t appear in the first 2 chapters, nor the last 2 chapters of the Bible, but he does most everywhere else.

He is identified as an angelic being, created by God, fallen in rebellion, and leading 1/3 of angels in rebellion and opposition to the person, purposes, and people of God.

In Genesis 3, Satan works to cause the fall of mankind into sin.

In the book of Job – Satan does battle in the heavenlies for the soul of this devout man

In wisdom literature (Ps.106) and prophets (Isa.14) – Satan is presented as a real personality opposing God and accusing His people, Israel.

Satan’s existence is recognized by every writer of the NT (though not in every book) 19 of the 27 books mention Satan by one of his names. Of the 8 books that do not mention Satan,  4 imply his existence by referring to demons

In the gospels, there are 29 references to Satan. In 25 of these, it is Jesus Christ who speaks of Satan as an existing personality. Jesus calls the devil by name (Mt 4,16; Lk 22).

“There are two equal and opposite error into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence.  The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” —C.S. Lewis in Screwtape Letters

Some evidences of enemy presence and engagement: disrupting, deceiving, discouraging, defeating, dividing, destroying, and devouring.

1.  Who is the Enemy? Names: Describing Nature

a.   Satan (Zech.3:1; Rev.12:9) – adversary/accuser (accuses to lead astray)

b.   Devil (Lk. 4:2; Rev. 12:9) – slanderer (tempts to lead astray)

c.   Serpent (II Cor.11:3; Rev.12:9) – crafty deception (deceives to lead astray)

d.   Great Dragon (Rev.12:3-9) – destructive beast (attacks to harm)

e.   Evil One (Jn.17:15; I Jn.5:18) – embodies evil (corrupts to harm) 1 Jn.5:19  “whole world is under the control of the evil one”

2.  Names: Describing Position

a.     Anointed Cherub (Ez.28:14) – original exalted position; high class of angels

b.     God of this age (II Cor.4:4) – aion (system of philosophy or spirit of the age)

c.     Prince of this world (Jn.12;31; 16:11) cosmos (ordered system of angels and humans separated from God)

d.     Prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2) dominating leader of fallen angelic beings

e.     Prince of demons (Mt.12:24; Lk.11:15) ruler of demonic hosts doing battle to bring people into spiritual bondage

3.  Names: Describing Activity

a.     Tempter (Mt.4:3; I Thess.3:5) – tries to entice people into evil. Christians – tempts to preoccupation with the world (I Jn.2:15-17). Unbelievers – blinds minds to the gospel (II Cor.4:3-4)

b.     Accuser/Slanderer (Rev.12:10) – “accuser of the brethren”

c.     Angel of Light (II Cor.11:14) – appears fine, even good to the naïve

d.     Opposer (II Cor.4:4; I Pet.5:8) wages war against the person, purposes, and people of God

e.     Deceiver (II Cor.4:3-4; Rev.12:9) – “deceives the whole world”

II Cor.2:11 – urged not to be ignorant of his schemes.  temptation, accusation, confusion, opposition, and deception.

IS THERE A SCHEME YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

4. What is Our Strategy?

Basis Battle Strategy – 1 Peter 5:9;  James 4:7;  Eph.6:10-18

“have the power to demolish strongholds” (II Cor.10:4)

a.     Resist him, being firm in your faith (I Pet.5:9; James 4:7)

b.     Stand firm against his schemes (Eph. 6:10-11; II Cor.2:11)

c.     Put on full armor of God (Eph. 6:13-18)

truth, righteousness, faith, assurance, word of God, praye

5.  How are We Vulnerable?  see Clint Arnold & Doug Hayward, Biola Univ.

a. Worship of or appeals to a false god.

b. Sins or spiritual oaths of earlier generations.

c. Childhood abandonment.

d. Childhood abuse or emotional trauma.

e. Improper sexual bonding or soul ties.

f. Substance abuse or mind-altering behavior.

g. A curse directed at you.

h. Personal anger/bitterness (Eph.4:26-27)

i. Persistent sinful desires and habits

6. Why are We Confident?

The work of Christ

a. Christ defeated Satan through His death and resurrection (Col.2:13-15).

b. Christ is our deliverer from bondage to Satan (Heb.2:14-15)

c. Christ will judge Satan, who now awaits his final judgment (Eph.1:19-21)

d. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn.3:8)

e. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (I Jn. 4:4)

Feel like you’re in a battle?  Maybe bondage?

(Birds in a bag story)

That’s your briefing.

Some need to join a fellow soldier in prayer.

Be alert – resist – stand firm – get the full armor on – employ spiritual weapons!

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