A woman once bragged that she could say something positive about anyone. Her preacher said, “Name one good thing about Satan.” She replied, “You have to admit his persistence.”
Indeed, we must admire Satan’s persistence—how many of us would be that persistent? But, his persistence is not all that we can admire about him, because he does so much well. This morning, we want to think about the things Satan does well.
Satan Lies Well
Since time began Satan has been lying. When he tempted Eve, Satan said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4-5). Satan here calls God a liar; he says, “Look, Eve, what God has told you is a lie; go ahead and eat.” Satan succeeded, for Eve saw the fruit was “desirable to make one wise” and ate of it (Gen 3:6). Because Satan lied so well to Eve, sin entered the world. Jesus said, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn 8:44). “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thess 2:9).
Satan lies, and he does so well. There are many lies he tells us:
“You will lie forever.”
How many times do we really think of our own mortality? How many times do we say, “I’m just running to the store; I don’t need a seatbelt?” How many times do we say, “I don’t need to go for that physical; it happens to other people but not to me?”
Satan wants us to believe this lie. He wants us to believe that we’re going to live forever so that we take no thought of our soul. Yet, we know that we shall not live forever: “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (Js 4:14).
“You have time to obey the Gospel.”
This lie dovetails with the other. Satan wants us to believe we can put off becoming a Christian or being restored until some other time; that we need to be in no hurry. We know better: Our lives could end at any time or Jesus could return at any moment. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2).
“Sin has no consequences.”
How many times have you heard someone say, “What I’m doing doesn’t hurt anybody?” The alcoholic believes he hurts no one but himself, so does the adulterer, so does the gambler. Satan wants us to believe this lie. He wants us to be blind to how our sins affect others; if we are, we will have a much easier time sinning. But, we know tis is a lie: alcoholism, sexual unfaithfulness, gambling, and a myriad of other sins affect our families and those with whom we sin.
Satan lies about himself.
“Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14).
Satan wants us to believe that he isn’t nearly as dangerous as Scripture presents him. In the Middle Ages, audiences loved miracle plays, plays which acted out religious stories. Satan was nearly always depicted dressed in red, horns on his head, and a tail behind him. His hoofs were cloven, and he had a pitchfork in his hand. Onlookers were quite thrilled to see his character sneaking up on the hero or heroine.
Satan wants us to believe that he is a harmless, little fuzz ball, But we know better: “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8).
Are you believing Satan’s lies?
Satan Tempts Well
Since he succeeded in tempting Adam and Eve, Satan has been tempting man. “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel” (1 Chr 21:1). “Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered [Judas Iscariot]” (Jn 13:27). “Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?’” (Acts 5:3).
A learned man went to a preacher and said, “I don’t believe in the devil.” The preacher simply said, “Resist him for a while, and you will believe in him.”
Stan tempts us in one of three ways: “All that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 Jn 2:16).
Satan tempts us through the lust of the flesh.
Although this has reference to sexuality, the lust of the flesh means far more than sexual temptation.
This has reference to anything pleasing to the flesh. Satan tempted Jesus through the lust of the flesh when he encouraged the Lord to turn the stones into bread (Matt 4:2-3). When we are tempted to give our bodies pleasure, even though such pleasure is sinful, we are being tempted through the lust of the flesh.
Satan tempts us through the lust of the eyes.
This refers to lusting after what we see. When Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and encouraged him to worship him, Satan tempted Jesus through the lust of the eyes.
When we see something we just have to have, we are tempted through the lust of the eyes. If we see someone driving a car we’d just die to have and we being to covet that car, that’s lust of the eyes. I we go shopping and see something we just have to have and spend the money we would otherwise give to the Lord, that’s the lust of the eyes.
He tempts us through the pride of life.
The “pride of life” means boasting in one’s livelihood, what one has.
This is the temptation to believe we are better than other people because we earn more. This is placing confidence in what we have instead of in God. When we see someone who doesn’t’ have as much as we do and we don’t want to be associated with that person, that’s the pride of life. If we were to buy a vehicle or a house just to show our standing I the world, that’s the pride of life.
Satan tempts so well that the only individual never to sin was Jesus. The rest of us have sinned: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
When we overcome temptation, Satan will come to us again and again tempting us to sin. Luke records that when Jesus overcame Satan in the wilderness, the devil “departed from Him until an opportune time” (Lk 4:13)—Satan was going to come back when he thought he had a better chance of succeeding. Likewise, if Satan intended to come back and tempt Jesus again, we can rest assured he will tempt us again.
Satan Blinds Well
Satan blinds the hearts of people to make them believe something they ought not. In explaining the parable of the sower, Jesus said, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside” (Matt 13:19). 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
Satan blinds the hearts of individuals. Satan does not want people to come to the truth; he wants them to stay in error and be lost. Satan blinds people in many ways.
- Many throughout the world follow non-Christian religions–Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the like.
- People will believe anything–We see this in certain cults, e.g., the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, etc.
- Many refuse to give up what Mom and Dad always believed. When people understand they are in error, many refuse to give up what they’ve always believed. The idea is that if it was good enough for Mom and Dad it’s good enough for me.
- Many buy into liberal scholarship. They will believe that miracles never occurred, thus Jesus could not have been raised from the dead. They will believe that the Creation is unbelievable, and that the universe must have evolved.
- To many, error sounds so convincing–The TV preachers seem to knowledgeable; they have to know what they’re talking about.
Yes, Satan is so very good, good at what he does. Although Satan is very good at what he does, Paul says, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor 2:11). We know how Satan works—we examined Scripture this morning so that we could know how he works.
We can have victory over Satan: “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:37). Do you need to come this morning and gain that victory?