… that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:11
… for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor 2:11
Next week, we will continue our consideration of the wiles or schemes of the devil. Thomas Brooks, who wrote the all-time definitive work on overcoming Satan’s schemes, writes in the introduction:
Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices are the four prime things that should be first and foremost studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter. (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices)
Having already studied the nature and character of our ancient foe, in Part I of this message, we discussed three kinds of personal wiles that Satan uses against individual Christians –
1) he presents the bait and hides the hood;
2) he shrouds his lies with truth;
3) he accuses, incites fear in, and condemns the children of God.
We observed how Satan makes light of sin before we fall, but then after we give in to sin, he is first to condemn. We saw the great consequence that the ‘little sin’ of eating a piece of fruit brought upon all of mankind. And we gave six general remedies or shields against falling for his wiles.
In Part II we will continue looking at the wiles of Satan against individuals. In particular how he amplifies the “happiness” that sinners and vain men of this world enjoy in order to provoke a Christian’s jealousy and desire to follow suit. Satan would lie to you and tell you that you were better off when you were walking in the less troublesome, less afflicted, and more sinful ways of your past. We will also see how he provokes the Christian to compare himself to other Christians reputed to be worse than himself.
From there we will turn to consider Satan’s schemes against the church as a whole – his corporate wiles to disrupt unity and introduce sin into the camp of God’s people. We will see how he works through false teachers. Since Satan himself is an angel of light, 2 Cor 11:15 warns, it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. False teaching is perhaps Satan’s most effective wile against the corporate church of God. False teaching has distracted young people from pursing their true calling wasting countless years, it has kept innumerable others staggering around the world in vain futile ministry, even making false converts, and it has literally shipwrecked the faith of many more. Such workers of iniquity are even casting out devils in the name of Christ; but Christ never knew them. Sadly we live in an age of great apostasy where the Word of God is no longer honored and the Gospel considered no longer relevant.
The false teaching that is perhaps most damaging of all is that which either subtly or overtly requires works for salvation or sanctification. It is very rare that a curse is pronounced in the New Testament, but twice Paul curses the Judaisers in Galatia (Gal 1:8-9) for attempting to add to God’s work with human works. Many modern churches would replace sovereign grace with human choice, saying Christ did the work of salvation, but man still must choose it order to be saved – he must open his heart or make a choice for Christ. Certainly these are acts of the will, and as such, are works. I find it interesting at the very least that what got Satan into trouble in the first place were the words, “I will.” Is it possible that Satan has deceived many evangelical churches by requiring an act of the individual will to determine one’s salvation? Is “I will” a stamp of Satan on modern religion?
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