Posts Tagged ‘satan’

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

One Jewish writing (the Apocalypse of Moses) says that the story of Eve’s temptation includes Satan masquerading as an angel. Paul may have been thinking of this story, or he could have been referring to Satan’s typical devices. In either case, nothing could be more deceitful than Satan, the prince of darkness (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13), disguising himself as an angel of light. In the same way, these false apostles were pretending to be apostles of Christ, “servants of righteousness,” while in reality they were agents of Satan.

Satan and his servants can deceive us by appearing to be attractive, good, and moral. Many unsuspecting people follow smooth-talking, Bible-quoting leaders into cults that alienate them from their families and lead them into the practice of immorality and deceit. Don’t be fooled by external appearances. Our impressions alone are not an accurate indicator of who is or isn’t a true follower of Christ; so it helps to ask these questions: (1) Do the teachings confirm Scripture (Acts 17:11)? (2) Does the teacher affirm and proclaim that Jesus Christ is God, who came into the world as a man to save people from their sins (1 John 4:1-3)? (3) Is the teacher’s lifestyle consistent with biblical morality (Matthew 12:33-37)?

Paul reminds the Corinthians that for the false teachers and hypocritical leaders, “their end will be what their actions deserve.” The principle of judgment applies to all who speak on God’s behalf. The apostle James said that teachers will be judged by the Lord with closer scrutiny than will those who sit under their teaching (James 3:1).

Lets Bring it Home: If it is not already your practice, each time you sit down with the Scriptures to prepare a lesson or a sermon, spend some quiet moments in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide your preparation.


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Paul explained that it was time to forgive the man who had been punished by the church and had subsequently repented. He needed forgiveness, acceptance, and comfort. Satan would gain an advantage if they permanently separated this man from the congregation rather than forgiving and restoring him. This may have been the man who had required the disciplinary action described in 1 Corinthians 5, or he may have been the chief opponent of Paul who had caused him anguish (2:1-11). The sorrowful letter had finally brought about the repentance of the Corinthians (7:8-14), and their discipline of the man had led to his repentance. Church discipline should seek restoration. Two mistakes in church discipline should be avoided: being too lenient and not correcting mistakes, or being too harsh and not forgiving the sinner. There is a time to confront and a time to comfort.

We use church discipline to help keep the church pure and to help wayward people repent. But Satan tries to harm the church by tempting it to use discipline in an unforgiving way. This causes those exercising discipline to become proud of their purity, and it causes the person who is being disciplined to become bitter and perhaps leave the church entirely.

Lets bring it home: We must remember that our purpose in discipline is to restore a person to the fellowship, not to destroy him or her. We must be cautious that personal anger is not vented under the guise of church discipline.

Under Gods Command


1 Corinthians Chapter 5

1-5: It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed, and his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

6-8: Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast
leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9-11: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12: What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

The church must discipline flagrant sin among its members—such sins, left unchecked, can polarize and paralyze a church. The correction, however, should never be vengeful. Instead, it should be given to help bring about a cure. There was a specific sin in the church, but the Corinthian believers had refused to deal with it. In this case, a man was having an affair with his mother (or stepmother), and the church members were trying to ignore the situation. Paul was telling the church that it had a responsibility to maintain the standards of morality found in God’s commandments. God tells us not to judge others. But he also tells us not to tolerate flagrant sin because leaving that sin undisciplined will have a dangerous influence on other believers

To “hand this man over to Satan” means to exclude him from the fellowship of believers. Without the spiritual support of Christians, this man would be left alone with his sin and Satan, and perhaps this emptiness would drive him to repentance. “For the destruction of the flesh” states the hope that the experience would bring him to God to destroy his sinful nature through repentance. Flesh could mean his body. This alternative translation would imply that Satan would afflict him physically and thus bring him to God. Putting someone out of the church should be a last resort in disciplinary action. It should not be done out of vengeance, but out of love, just as parents punish children to correct and restore them. The church’s role should be to help, not hurt, offenders, motivating them to repent of their sins and to return to the fellowship of the church.

Paul was writing to those who wanted to ignore this church problem. They didn’t realize that allowing public sin to exist in the church affects all its members. Paul does not expect anyone to be sinless—all believers struggle with sin daily. Instead, he is speaking against those who deliberately sin, feel no guilt, and refuse to repent. This kind of sin cannot be tolerated in the church because it affects others. We have a responsibility to other believers. Yeast makes bread dough rise. A little bit affects the whole batch.

As the Hebrews prepared for their exodus from slavery in Egypt, they were commanded to prepare bread without yeast because they didn’t have time to wait for it to rise. And because yeast also was a symbol of sin, they were commanded to sweep all of it out of the house (Exodus 12:15; 13:7). Christ is our Passover lamb, the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Because he has delivered us from the slavery of sin, we should have nothing to do with the sins of the past (“old yeast”).

Paul makes it clear that we should not disassociate ourselves from unbelievers—otherwise, we could not carry out Christ’s command to tell them about salvation (Matthew 28:18–20). But we are to distance ourselves from the person who claims to be a Christian, yet indulges in sins explicitly forbidden in Scripture and then rationalizes his or her actions. By rationalizing sin, a person harms others for whom Christ died and dims the image of God in himself or herself. A church that includes such people is hardly fit to be the light of the world. To do so would distort the picture of Christ it presents to the world. Church leaders must be ready to correct, in love, for the sake of spiritual unity.

The Bible consistently tells us not to criticize people by gossiping or making rash judgments. At the same time, however, we are to judge and deal with sin that can hurt others. Paul’s instructions should not be used to handle trivial matters or to take revenge; nor should they be applied to individual problems between believers. These verses are instructions for dealing with open sin in the church, with a person who claims to be a Christian and yet who sins without remorse. The church is to confront and discipline such a person in love.

Lets Bring it Home: Blatant sins, left uncorrected, confuse and divide the congregation. While believers should encourage, pray for, and build up one another, they must also be intolerant of sin that jeopardizes the spiritual health of the church. The church is to confront and discipline such a person in love.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 7:19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey

Fornicators and adulterers often say, “We will not get caught.” In this proverb, an adulteress enticed her victim by promising safety for a secret liaison. Lying no less than Satan to Eve, she told him no harm would come, for her husband was traveling. Lying no less than Delilah to Samson, she did not tell him that his God was not on a long journey!

The older English word “goodman” means a husband. The sly Jezebel here in Solomon’s parable used this word to speak of her husband distantly and disrespectfully (Pr 2:17), to keep both consciences silent from thinking of her innocent husband, her lover from her youth. Adultery usually requires some degree of criticism of spouses for it to ever occur.

Using male pronouns like “he” and “him” to slight her diligent husband (Pr 7:19-20), she suggested her own bed as a safe place for their tryst (Pr 7:16-17). She offered much time for great lovemaking, as he would be gone a good while (Pr 7:20). See the comments on Pr 7:18. It is godly wisdom for women to remember the reverence of Sarah (I Pet 3:5-6).

She further spoke of her husband’s long journey, and implied frequent business trips by it, to solicit sympathy from the fool that she was lonely and needed his love and affection. How many adulterers have excused their heinous sin by blaming a spouse, when it is rather a lack of the fear of God and temperance to keep them content in their marriage?

Sin is deceitful, but sexual sins are more deceitful than most (Pr 3:13). The short pleasure can be so great and the distant consequences so obscure, sexual sins are considered victimless as long as both parties consent. But sin does not tell you about sexual diseases, unwanted pregnancies, guilt, shame, jealous husbands or angry fathers, future sexual dysfunction, unwanted memories, confusion of love and sex, resentment, loneliness, etc.

America and much of the world now entertain themselves with such sexual intrigues as this parable describes by their songs, novels, and movies. Adultery is epidemic and encouraged by the media for women to find themselves and for older women to have fun with younger men. Men think it is their prerogative and role to bed as many women as possible. But what does God and the Bible say about such heinous wickedness?

Solomon’s lesson here would be a great plot for a movie or novel today, and the whore would be the heroine. All would enjoy her arts of beguiling the young man; her conquest would be celebrated as the triumph of love; the drama would conclude pleasantly; and most young men that saw or read it would desire to be so lucky. Thus fools make a mock at sin (Pr 14:9). Thus Satan sells his poison (Ps 101:3). But what does the LORD say?

He condemned both parties to death (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-24; II Sam 12:13; John 8:5). What if both were consenting? It is a sin worthy of death (Heb 13:4; Rev 21:8). A husband in Israel returning from a business trip could take his wife to the priests for the test of jealousy, with no need for circumstantial evidence. If she were guilty of sexual infidelity, her belly would swell and her genitals would rot immediately (Num 5:11-31).

Business trips are often more dangerous for men, for there are many temptations in a fine hotel far from home, with much time, luxurious food and wine, and anonymity. Let every man that nameth the name of Christ limit his travels and keep his vessel (I Thess 4:1-8). To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let Joseph be your example (Gen 39:7-12).

Keep your marital separations to a minimum. Separation only makes the heart grow fonder if both parties are godly and the separation necessary. Otherwise, spouses have daily lovemaking obligations, and unnecessary separations become covenant breaking and defrauding and give sexual place to Satan (I Cor 7:1-5). God knew separations would occur due to business and war, so He prohibited them for the first year (Deut 24:5).

A virtuous woman can always be trusted, no matter where she is (Pr 31:10-12). Yet to be safe, women should limit and guard their time away from home (Pr 7:11-12; I Tim 5:12-15), for the woman is an easy target for seduction (Pr 30:19-20; Gen 3:1-6; I Tim 2:14; I Pet 3:7). She can help herself much by staying busy at home (Pr 31:13-27; Titus 2:3-5). And she must have fulfilling and frequent lovemaking with her husband (I Cor 7:1-5).

Though a husband leaves for a long business trip, the eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching everything the sinful wife thinks and does, and be sure her sin will find her out (Pr 15:3; Num 32:23). The husband far from home should remember that God watches his sexual intentions and actions also (Pr 5:21; Job 34:22; Jer 23:24; Heb 4:13). Beware!

Dear reader, the goodman of the church will soon return, the Lord of glory, the bridegroom and husband of the church (Matt 24:42-51; Mark 13:34-37; I Thess 3:13; 5:1-10; II Pet 3:9-17). Will He find you waiting in adoring purity and faithfulness? Or in bed with the world (James 4:4)? The pleasure of meeting Him confidently far exceeds any pleasures of sin for a season here, ask Moses or Jesus (Heb 11:24-26; Mark 10:28-30).

Under Gods Command

John 14:30-31 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming.  He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.  “Come now; let us leave.       

Although Satan, the prince of this world, was unable to overpower Jesus (Matthew 4), he still had the arrogance to try.  Satan’s power exists only because God allows him to act.  But because Jesus is sinless, Satan has no power over him.  If we obey Jesus and align ourselves closely with God’s purposes, Satan can have no power over us.