Acts: New Beginnings – Part 6

Facing Our Adversary

Listen to the sermon from Sunday, August 13 for the message this blog relates to this week at http://www.gallowaychurch.org

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

We have an adversary. He is a spiritual being created by God who turned from God. He is a fallen archangel named, Lucifer (also called Satan, the devil, the evil one, the father of lies, the accuser, etc) who rose against God in pride and vanity. He was therefore, cast down from heaven with one third of the angels of heaven (which are now reffered to as demons, evil or unclean spirits, etc.). I cannot take time today to biblical document all this but scripture indicates that Jesus confronted such beings and that the Apostles did as well (see Acts of the Apostles 5:15-16; 8:6-8; 16:16-21; 19:11-12 for examples of the Apostles casting out demons). 

Consider how one could stand in the very presence of God and yet take such vanity to heart as to rise up to take God’s place. Now, cast down from his honored place, Jesus describes Satan as a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus says that this is in opposition to his purpose, which is to give us life that is abundant and full.

Satan would steal all the good that God would give you. Jesus said he gives peace to us like nothing in this world can (John 14:27).  Jesus said that he would give us overflowing joy (John 15:11). Jesus invited us to come to him, weary and burdened, and he would give us rest (Matt 11:28). Satan would steal every bit of it.

He would kill you or hurt you physically as he did to Job (Job 2:4-8) or as he afflicted the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Satan would at destroy that which is vital to your life. What does Jesus say is most valued for us?  He said the two greatest commands, our two highest priority needs, are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:36-40). These are not arbitrary rules that he presents. These are God’s select expression of that which is most vital to life and these are targets of Satan’s attacks. He will destroy your relationship with God and with other people. He will destroy your marriage, your family, your community, your walk with God, and your love, unity and ministry in the church.

Here are some questions for you to consider and discuss with friends.

  1. Do you struggle with an internal battle to do the right thing? Our desires draw us into temptation that leads to sin. (James 1:14-15) How do you discipline yourself to avoid or to resist temptations. What are the most challenging temptations you face?
  2. Do you ever find yourself saying of a thought or attitude, “I don’t know why thinking/feeling that, that’s not me?!” I tell you about experiences like that in the sermon. Where does it come from? The Apostle Paul describes an inner battle between the desire of our heart and mind to do the will of God and the desire to do the opposite.  He says that if his desire is to be do God’s will but he fails to follow through that this is not him but sin in him creating the failure. (Romans 7:14-25) What if that voice in your head is not you? What if it is the voice of the enemy? How would you know?
  3. How can the devil rob you of your peace, joy, and rest? Does that deceptive voice inside, lead you to worry, lose sleep, be discouraged from taking action? Does it encourage you to act selfishly, increase anger or doubt, steering you away from God or loved ones?
  4. How can you battle the enemy spiritually?
    So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
    Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. 1 Peter 5:6-9 NLT 
    So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NLT
  5. Recognize that you have an spiritual enemy. Live in faithfulness to the Lord. Take on the victorious life Christ gives.  Romans 8:37 NLT ….despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
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