What Would Satan Do?



APRIL 23, 2006

In my message of a few weeks ago I related an account of a fictitious young family. They had been traveling southbound on the interstate headed towards their favorite campground on the Main coast. Along the way their car got a flat tire and so they pulled over onto the shoulder. While the father struggled to get the tire off the rim, the mother and their three frightened little children took everything in.

Cars and big trucks zoomed right on past them. Finally, a car driven by a Christian on his way to a weekly Bible Study he led for a number of years approached the scene. The man slowed down to scope out the situation. Correctly guessing that sooner or later someone with more time on their hands would stop and help, he accelerated and sped past them.

After our service a friend asked me if I believed the man had done anything wrong by not stopping. In other words, did he sin? I promised her I would try to work that in to a future message. But first I had to concentrate on Palm Sunday and Easter.

Driving home that Sunday I thought I would be able to pick up on her question by asking, what would Jesus do? But the Lord had other plans. Instead He wanted me to begin this morning by asking, what Satan would do; not about the Christian who didn’t stop to help the family, but rather, what would Satan do in response to everything our Risen Savior accomplished by His death and resurrection. What would Satan do about the new Christian Church?

I believe he would do everything demonically possible to destroy the church. Satan would start with what he had to work with. He already had the Jewish religious leaders in the palm of his hands. So much so, that they murdered Christ. However, the incredible event of that first Easter Sunday posed a big time problem. What would Satan do? For starters, I believe Satan would have zealously kept those Christ haters agitated.

Acts 4:1-22 (ESV) 1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

These were the guys that believed that once you are dead you’re dead. It’s all over. Now they have to contend with Peter and John, not to mention Lazarus, the formerly dead man they had been plotting to kill if they could get their hands on him.

3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, [then referring to the formerly crippled man,] they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,

10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

These Jews must have help remembering the one who said: John 14:6 (ESV) 6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”

18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. [Knock it off you two. You’re making us crazy].19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

Later we find that Peter and John couldn’t keep quiet. They were showing evidence that they had been empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak out boldly regardless of the consequences. Sure enough the captain of the temple and the chief priests responded by bringing them back to the council.

Acts 5:27-33 (ESV) 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.

Satan was relentless in his assault upon Christ’s church. And the church was just as persistent in defending itself and even in counter attacking. And they didn’t mince words or decide to agree to disagree and to live and let live. On the contrary, they preached the truth about Jesus, the Risen Savior.

Acts 7:51-60 (ESV) 51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” [You despicable slime balls! Your guys are even worse than your fathers.

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 But they cried out with a loud voice [much like the poor suffering demoniacs] and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

This fearless godly follower loved those Jews so much, that, regardless of the price he knew he would have to pay, told those poor lost souls exactly what God wanted them to hear. May the Lord incline and empower His pastors today to go and do likewise.

Acts 8:1-3 (ESV) 1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.

That kind of persecution takes a lot out of people physically, emotionally and financially. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6 that they endured great tribulation and all of the suffering and heartache and agonizing misery that accompanies it. Some of them were beaten and thrown into prison. They often found themselves in the midst of riots. They knew what hunger felt like as well as what it was to experience sleepless nights worrying about the safety of someone they loved dearly or whether or not they would be executed in the morning.

But Satan wasn’t content to assault Christ’s Church through the Religious leaders. He infiltrated the church in the person of false teachers who were talking up a storm about a different gospel. Paul warned the Galatians Christians about this kind of heresy,

Galatians 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

2 Peter 2:1 (ESV) 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

These people were demonically destructive. This stuff they were teaching was lethal and spread like a cancer.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 (AMP) 16 But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. 17 And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus,

Avoid these guys like you would the plague. Stay away from them or risk contamination.

2 John 1:10 (AMP) 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement.

You know the kind of guys I mean.

2 Timothy 2:18 (AMP) 18 [All those] Who have missed the mark and swerved from the truth by arguing that the resurrection has already taken place. They are undermining the faith of some.

Colossians 2:8 (ESV) 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Hebrews 13:9 (ESV) 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

1 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) 7 [Watch out for those phony’s who are] desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 (ESV) 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 [and all those who] through the insincerity of liars, whose consciences are seared,

1 Timothy 6:3 (ESV) 3 [Remember] If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,

2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV) 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

Titus 1:11 (ESV) 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

2 Peter 2:1 (ESV) 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Acts 15:24 (ESV) 24 [We’ve been saddened]Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions,

2 Peter 3:17 (ESV) 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

Colossians 2:8 (AMP) 8 See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).

1 John 3:8 (ESV) 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Colossians 2:15 (AMP) 15 [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].

Hebrews 2:14 (AMP) 14 Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to naught and make of no effect him who had the power of death—that is, the devil—

Nevertheless, remember that Satan still prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1Peter 5:8-9). Watch out! Be on Guard! When you spot him take up your shield of faith with which you can extinguish every one of those invisible fiery darts and flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16). Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Lord willing, next week we will consider how Satan is relentlessly assaulting Christ’s Church today. .

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April 23, 2006 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized No comments yet

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