The Bible in 2 Cor. 2:11 “… I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices”.
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 will gain an advantage if the church permanently separated an offender from the congregation rather than forgiving and restoring him. Church discipline should seek restoration. Two mistakes in church discipline should be avoided, the first one is being too lenient and not correcting mistakes, and secondly being too harsh and not forgiving the sinner. There is a time to confront and a time to comfort. Punishment leads to disgrace and disfavor of erring member. This should quickly be resolved.
We use church discipline to help keep the church pure and to help wayward people repent. One of the deadly weapons or devices of Satan is to try to harm the church by tempting her to use discipline in an unforgiving way. This may cause those exercising discipline to become proud of their purity, and it may cause the person who is being disciplined and his friends and family to become bitter and perhaps leave the church entirely. 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.
For the church of Christ or the Christian to succeed and assure victory we must know Satan’s strength or strong points which he uses against the believers so that we can turn them against him to be victorious.
Satan seems to thrive best when he is either underestimated, ignored or denied. He was the first angel created by God, very powerful angel named Lucifer and was supposed to assist pre-incarnate Jesus in administration in heaven. He revolted against God drawing one-third of God’s angels to side with him. If there are one hundred and four million angels (Rev. 5:11) in heaven, Satan now possess about thirty-five million of them. So don’t ignore, underestimate or deny his existence. In the article entitled, ‘If I were the Devil (The Baptist Bulletin, Dec. 1971, p, 13), the author was quoted as saying “If I were the devil I would deny my existence in the world and downplay it in local churches, thus freeing me to go about my business of destroying God’s work unnoticed, unhindered and unchecked:” Satan and his devils and demons are everywhere around you in the spiritual realm. You need not worry because the angels of God looking after you are there too on duty. They are more than what Satan has.
We have seen two of Satan’s deadly devices: Church discipline and stealth in action. Let us examine the others in his arsenal:
- Disappointment or failure is to fail to satisfy the hopes or expectation of a given assignment. Who has not experienced this emotion literally hundreds of times? But to the knowledgeable Christian, all disappointments are God’s appointments, and must be viewed as such, lest Satan gain the advantage. To be disappointed is to forget Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Discouragement is to be deprived of courage, hope, or confidence. It is disheartening. This is the second stage of disappointment. All discouragements are of the devil. To be discouraged is to forget I Sam. 30:6
- To despair is to be without hope or to loose or give up hope. Despair can lead to depression. Despair is the third and final stage of disappointment and discouragement unless checked it can prove fatal to the Christian life. To despair is to forget 2 Corinthians 4:8. “We are troubled on very side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not despair.”
- Doubt: is to be uncertain in opinion or belief, to be undecided or to be uncertain about something. Satan used doubt for the first time in the Garden of Eden. He began his attack upon Eve by Eve doubting the Word of God. See Gen. 3:1. To doubt is to forget I Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”.
- Disbelieve: is to refuse to believe in God. Disbelief is but the final form of doubt. This was vividly demonstrated in the Garden of Eden. Satan began by doubting God’s word in Genesis 3:1. He then finished (when he realized he had Eve’s ear) by denying the command of the Lord. See Gen. 3:4,5. To disbelief is to forget Hebrew 3:12 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God”.
- Distraction: is to draw the mind or attention away in another direction. It is to divert one’s attention and draw it to conflicting direction. The distraction of the devil can be a very subtle one, for often the distractions are not in themselves bad. In fact, they may be good and wholesome. For example, it is easy to be distracted from God’s perfect will by one’s own family or employment. It has been rightly said that often the real enemy of the best is not the worst, but good.
To be distracted is to forget Matthew 14:30 “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me”.
- Double mindedness. To be doubleminded is to be undecided in mind. It is to show indecision and to sway to and fro. How many believers have been affected by this doubleminded virus! The scriptures are replete with examples. For example, see Matt. 6:24; Eph. 4:14; I Jn 2:15-17.
To be double-minded is to forget James 1:8 and 4:18. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.”
- Dishonesty: It implies the act or practice of telling a lie or cheating, deceiving, stealing, etc. the ways Satan can inflict this deadly device upon Christians are almost without number. The child of God need not simply lie or steal to be dishonest. To hold back certain facts in a given situation may be dishonest. To owe God tithes and offerings is dishonest. To be less than we should be as pastors, parents, or workers is to cheat our people and children and thus become dishonest.
To be dishonest is to forget 2 Corinthians 4:2.
- It is the act of representing as true what is known to be false. The word deceit is found many times in the New Testament. As one considers them, it is amazing just how many occur in those passages dealing either with the Word of God or the last days or both. For examples see 2 Thess. 2:8-12; 2 Cor. 2:17; 2 Cor. 4:1,2; 2 Cor. 11:13; 2 Jn. 1:7.
There are so many deception of people going on in the last days which point to the fact that Satan’s big deadly weapon now is deceit. On the one hand, the weird cults of our day deceive people by attempting to add to the Word of God, while the liberals practice deception by taking away from the scriptures. Jesus warns all in Rev. 22:16-19. To be deceitful is to forget Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it”.
- Dullness: is to be mentally slow and lacking sensitivity. It is to be blunted in feeling or perception, not active or busy, physically slow and slow moving. Spiritual condition in the present time is that Christians suffer from spiritual dullness. There is the need at this time for sound Bible teachings in churches across the world to stem the tide of iniquity, sexual immorality, idolatory, and apostasy now prevalent in the world. People have become so dull that they simply could not be used. Read Heb. 5:12-14; I Cor. 3:1-3.
To suffer dullness is to forget Heb. 5:11 “Of whom we have many things to say and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing”.
- It is characterized by little or no activities, wholly indifference and without feeling, motion or power. Deadness is unchecked dullness. A summary of God’s overall plan concerning sin and sinner is as follows: whereas we were once dead in sin, after God’s marvelous grace, we now are to be dead to sin. Read Eph. 2:1,5; Rom. 6:1,2,11.
Thus, we are to be dead to sin, but alive unto righteousness. But many believers have allowed Satan to twist these two facts whereby they become dead to righteousness and alive in sin. See James 2:17, 26.
To suffer deadness is to forget Rev. 3:1. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”
- To delay is to put off to a future time; to postpone; to stop for a while or to linger.
To delay is to procrastinate. At the Great White Throne judgement it may be revealed that this deadly weapon or device called delay has been used by Satan to damn more souls to hell than any other. It has been remarked that many people are in hell today because they meant to get saved in the eleventh hour, but who died before the eleventh hour. It should be made clear to all sinners the terrible danger of procrastination or postponing making the decision to side with Christ, for God has never promised to save anyone tomorrow. But James and the author of Hebrews warn of this danger. See Hebrews 4:7,8 and James 4: 13-15.
To delay is to forget Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”.
- It is lack of concord, disagreement, dissension or conflict. It has been rightly observed that far more Bible-believing churches have been split over disposition than position. This is to say that the tragic cause of split is usually discord rather than doctrine. Some trouble-maker begins his or her deadly gossip in a local church, raising questions and doubts in the minds of people, doubts that otherwise would have never been entertained. How effectively Satan uses this tool, and how painful it will be at the Bema judgement seat of Christ for carnal sowers of discord. To sow discord is to forget Proverbs 6:16-19.
- It is to make ceremonially unclean, to corrupt; to profane or sully. When we have the desire to work for God in His vineyard at whatever level, our prayer should be more than” Lord, use me”, but Lord make me usable”.
We are earthen vessels. God does not require golden vessels, nor silver vessels, but He insists upon clean ones. A believer who defiles himself with the things of this world can never be used by God, regardless of his education, ability, energy or experience.
To become defiled is to forget I Cor. 3:16, 17: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for temple of God is holy, which temple you are”.
- To defame is to attack or injure the reputation or honour of someone by false or malicious statements. It is to bring infamy on someone or to slander, libel, or disgrace. How often are Christians guilty of criticizing or belittling other believers. In fact, some of the most cutting remarks a child of God may receive are at the hands of another child of God. We should be very careful in guarding against this Satanic device; for all believers will gain or suffer rewards at the Bema judgement on account of it. See Hebrew 6:10 and Matthew 10:41, 42.
To defame someone is to forget Psalm 101:5. “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him will I destroy: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will I not endure”.
- It is refusing or failing to obey. It is failure to follow commands or insubordination. As children of God, we should hold it fast to our hearts to obey God. Disobedience to God’s commands have brought a lot of heartache and even death to some. King Saul became God’s enemy at the end of his life even though he started well with God. People like Jonah, Samson, the children of Isreal in their wanderings etc were also known to have disobeyed God and suffered for it. Jonah was three days in the belly of a great fish in the ocean. Samson had his eyes removed and served as slave of the Philistine until his death. Children of Isreal wandered in the wilderness for fourty years on their way to the promised land of Canaan.
To disobey is to forget Romans 6:14-18. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: …. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness”.
- Satan the Devil. He is the chief evil spirit, a supernatural being subordinate to, and the foe of God and the tempter of man. The Bible is full of accounts of the devil himself getting involved in screwing believers. For examples he tempted Christ, Job, David, Peter etc in order to make them all fall. Read James 4:7; Eph. 6:10-18; Rom. 13:14; Rev. 12:11; 2 Cor. 11:14; Satan transforms himself into angel of light.
- Demons: Demons are devils, evil spirits. They are persons or things regarded as evil and cruel. Demons oppose God and seek to defeat His will. Numerous accounts are in the Bible showing that demons cause dumbness, blindness, deafness, insanity, paralysis, suicidal, mania etc. resist them as you will resist their chief, Satan.
- Satan tries to attack the body and causes us to be nervous wrecks. If he succeeds in this then in our weakened position he gets us to sin easily. He also renders believers useless by making believers sick. For example the woman that was bent over for thirty-eight years, Job struck with all kinds of sickness including boils all over his body. They could not be effective for God in their weakened state.
- Satan wrecks minds. 2 Cor. 4:4, Satan once blinded the minds of the unsaved. Today, Satan is engaged in the battle of the mind trying to regain control of the mind of the believers. Satan attempts to enter the mind through a wrong thought, impression or idea lodged in the realm of thought life. Scripture says a man is as his thoughts make him. Let all your thoughts be subjected to Christ’s authority.
Satan may enter our mind through a root of bitterness, a grudge, a disappointment (in love, school or business), pride etc. Live by faith in the son of God.
- To betray one is to help the enemy of that one. Satan is able to use the weapon of betrayal on the believers to turn them against God. Be careful, no one is immuned against it. We read of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus and of Peter trying to persuade Jesus (in love) to avoid going to the cross.
- Death and sickness. Satan is a murderer and seeks by accidents to claim the lives of mankind. Job 1:12 God gave Satan the power to destroy Job’s family and consequently in Job 1:18,19 his seven sons and three daughters were killed by collapsing buildings and all his livestocks destroyed. He even puts in the mind of terrorists and jihadist to kidnap and murder people in prayer houses across the world. Job was also inflicted with diseases to bring him down.
- It is the act of killing oneself intentionally. Satan tried to get Christ to commit suicide by jumping off the pinnacle of the Temple in the great temptation of Matt. 4:6. Judas Iscariot commited suicide by hanging himself with a rope upon a tree and king Saul and his armour bearer fell on their swords to avoid being captured by their enemies.
When Satan gains an entrance to a person’s mind, he can control it and make the person commit suicide. Once again resist the devil and he will flee from you.
- It is a particular state of mind or feeling; humour, temper, or gloom etc. these are common to man but the devil must not be allowed to take advantage of them for his own pernicious plotting. Don’t use drugs that are mood changers so that Satan will not take advantage of your situation.
- Is any standard pieces of gold, silver, copper, nickel etc; stamped by government authority and used as a medium of exchange and measure of value: Coin or coins are called hard money. Any paper note issued by a government or an authorized bank and used in the same way; e.g. bank notes, bills are called paper money.
The Bible says that the love of money is the root of evils. (I Tim. 6:10). Satan can take advantage of our love for money. He can use poverty, wealth and our habit of using money to derail us in our life and ministry. We must not love money more than God and we should remember that it is a gift from God. It is our servant not our master or creator.
There was this woman who was very rich and has sixteen houses across the world. In ten years she tried to live in each house and she requires new furniture in each of them – what a waste of time and money.
Remember that the devil often takes advantage of a good thing and make one sin by overdoing it. Work diligently so you will not be poor, but use money wisely so that you will not sin against God.
- Fashion craze or habit. Remember that God says that women are to dress modestly. Many err in dressing by following modern fashions without considering the effects that it might have on the opposite sex.
- Use of tongue. The temptation causing the improper use of tongues opens the door to evil spirits. Some individuals seeking special “Spirit-blessings” try to think themselves empty such as in “yoga”. Satan is glad to fill the vacant mind with his own message.
- Finding the will of God. The message of the Lord is clear and specific. Satan comes to the seeking soul with many suggestions, he makes a haze, a fog in the mind by creating a great uncertainty.
Recognize the difference: God’s voice is specific while Satan’s is indecisive, cloudy, and is against the Word of God. Jesus says my sheep knows my voice when they hear it. Learn to recognize the voice of God.
- Day dreaming. Is a pleasant, dreamlike thinking or wishing. It is pleasant but visionary notion or scheme. This is one of the devil’s most fruitful fields. There are good and bad dreams; watch your passive, uncontrolled mental musings.
Flagrant sin is often the outworking of accomplished daydreams.
- It is the act of finding fault or disapproving other people or their work. We must be prepared to receive it. We may be misinterpreted and misunderstood.
This could overwhelm us and lead us to introspection (analyzing oneself) and discouragement.
- Old age. You have served the Lord faithfully; Satan says, “Now you are too old to resist; just relax and take life a lot easier”. This is the devil’s lie. Tell the devil to read the scripture again looking at Isaiah 40:29-31; Psalm 103:5; 2 Cor. 4:16; Joshua 4:11; Psalm 92:12-14.
- Is one’s own person as distinct from all others. I call this devil’s weapon. Satan has used this weapon, the weapon of “self destruction” to destroy many and he is still using it against the believers. We should not think too highly of ourselves. Let us be modest, meek, humble and gentle like Christ and Satan’s weapon of self will not work against us.
Let us look as Samson in Judges Chapter 16. The self indulgence of Samson led to:
- Self-confidence: “I will go out as before” 16:20
- Self-ignorance: “He did not know that the Lord had departed from him” 16:21
- Self-weakness “The Phillistine laid hold on him” 16:21
- Self-darkness “They put out his eyes” 16:21
- Self-degradation: “They brought him down to Gaza” 16:1-3, 21
- Self-bondage: “They bound him with fetters” 16:21
- Self-drudgery: “He did grind in the prison house”. 16:21
- Self-humiliation: “Call for Samson that he may make us sport” Judges 16:25.
- Is to be full of or characterized by sin. Sin is the breaking of religious law or a moral principle, especially through a willful act. The scriptures have declared all under sin. But Christ have paid the penalty for believers’ sin and therefore we are no longer under the law. Satan knows this and he also knows that most believers don’t know it. Therefore, he keeps reminding them of their sins thereby affecting their faith and their effectiveness as children of God. As Christians, we need our walk-faith without which we can not please or walk with God. “Christians must walk by faith and not by sight. When we are strong in our faith, Satan is powerless against us.
- Idolatry is the worship of idols and can also be an excessive devotion to or reverence of some person or thing. Satan has not hidden his desire to be worshipped as god. This was what led to his downfall. Today, he seeks this worship more than ever. This is the reason why he has refused to accept his error or sin. He still does not believe he is finished and that the time of his living free is short and that his kingdom is soon coming to an end.
Satan has gotten many to follow and worship him. Some have boldly declared him such as those of the church of Satan or Synagogue of Satan. Some are worshipping him secretly in various forms of worship of idols. All idol worshippings are under Satan.
Allurement to the worship of Satan includes power, money, fame, fortune, sex or sexual immoralities such as orgies etc, lawlessness, lewdness, ambition, fear, carelessness, etc. say No to idolatry or idol worship.
- Is a feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, opposition, etc, and is usually showing itself in a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of this feeling. It is a feeling of resentfulness or revengeful displeasure. Indignation implies righteous anger aroused by what seems unjust, mean, or insulting. Rage suggests a violent outburst of anger in which self-control is lost. Fury implies a frenzied rage that borders on madness. Ire, chiefly a literary word, implies deep indignation expressing itself in a desire to punish or get revenge.
To be angry is not a sin but to hold on to it is. Satan has used this device of anger to bring many down and he is still using it today. Cain allows his anger to lead to his murder of his brother Abel. The anger of the rest of Israel against Ephraim almost led to the elimination of that tribe in Israel. Moses’ anger of indignation led him to destroy the first set of tablets on which was written the ten commandments. Another of Moses’ anger at Meriba and Nephillim denied him entry into the promised land of Canaan. King Saul in his anger tried to kill David and his son Jonathan. Saul in his anger slaughtered eighty-five of God’s priests at Nod. King Herod the great slaughtered little children under the age of two in and around Bethlehem. Elijah in his righteous anger against Israel’s sins brought famine of three and a half years because there was not rain. The elders of Israel in their anger against Jesus persecuted Him and His followers leading to His crucifixion. Saul of Tarsus in his anger against Christ followers persecuted them from Jerusalem to Damascus.
To fight anger remember Eph. 4:26,27. “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil”. Also remember Psalm 103:8 “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”
- Anxiety or Worry. It is a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about a possible future event. Christians like other people worry about many things, such as marriage, children, jobs, ambition, money, salvation etc. Satan takes advantage of this weapon and uses it to make them anxious and worried. He uses it to distract them and make them loose faith in God. He often uses it to lie to them that God is a tyrant who wants to control their lives by denying them these things. Philippians 4:6,7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus”. Also read about Jesus teachings on worry in Matthew 6:25-34.
- It is a failure to distinguish between things. Satan uses this weapon effectively and encourages his demons to use it too. He mixes truth with lies which become half truths. This is the most dangerous weapon of entrapment and if not for Christ even the very elects will be deceived. He uses this weapon very effectively in the Moslem Quran where he uses passages from the Bible mixed with his intended purpose to confuse those in Islam and others. The Quran cannot really manifest itself as “Word of God”, but must (to some extent) be disguised as the Holy book. The Quran by citing passages from the Bible draws credibility to itself as a religion while denying the Chief Cornerstone of the Bible – Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The Quran dare not expose itself in the raw, as vicious, vile and antichrist wolf it really is, but is forced to assume in some garb of a sheep covering its political ambition with religious intent. The Quran not only disguises itself as the “Word of God” but also actually connects itself to the “Word of God” – the Bible. It is confusion and a shame.
There was a great confusion in Ephesus between Diana idol worshippers led by Demetrius and Christ worshippers led by Apostle Paul (Acts 19:21-34). The Bible reported that “for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together” (Acts 19:32).
Prophet Isaiah says to gods or idols, “indeed they are worthless; their works are nothing, their molded images are wind and confusion” (Isaiah 41:29).
2 Cor. 11:14, 15 “And no wonder: For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works”. These messengers of darkness have thrown the whole world into confusion.
If you find yourself confused, remember I Cor. 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints”.
- Hinder/obstruct/Block/Impede. To hinder is to hold back. Obstruction implies a retarding of passage or progress by placing obstacles in the way. Block implies the complete, but not necessarily permanent, obstruction of a passage or progress. Impede suggests a slowing up of movement or progress by interfering with the normal action.
Satan has mastered the use of this weapons on Christians through the persecution of the church. Rulers of synagogues bar and threaten believers from coming into their synagogues to pray or prevent them from social activities. Even Saul later Paul was used to persecute the church of Christ.
A glaring example of this Satan’s weapon or device of blockage, hindrance, obstruction and impediment was shown in the Bible book of Daniel 10:12-13. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Micheal, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia”.
For twenty-one days Satan caused a delay preventing the good news from reaching Daniel. How many more of these atrocities are taking place everyday. But remember that the ones that are with us are more than and stronger than the ones that are with them. One with Christ is a victor. Our Lord has conqured the world.
- It is the state of believing what is untrue, incorrect or wrong. It is something incorrectly done through ignorance or carelessness or mistake.
Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. Trying to be saved by keeping the law and being saved by grace are two different approaches. Christ’s provision for our salvation will not help us if we are trying to save ourselves. Obeying the law does not make it any easier for God to save us. All we can do is accept His gracious gift through faith. Our deeds of service must never be used to try to earn God’s love or favour. However, this does not mean we should disobey the laws.
Satan is using the weapon or device of error from keeping many from salvation. The nation of Israel rejected Jesus Christ because they pride themselves in the keeping of the law. The people of Islam because they are copying the Jews also rejected the sonship of Christ building long list of laws and regulation which they believe when kept will save them. This is foolishness. No one can keep God’s laws and regulations perfectly and to sin in one is to sin in all.
Don’t follow Satan, embrace Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and salvation.
“Finally, My brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and yours. Amen.