Satan: The Christian’s Foe
Satan is our chief enemy. The Bible never discusses the existence of Satan. The biblical writers merely assume he exists.
This evening, we need to examine Satan and his work.
Names of Satan
Scripture gives many names for Satan; these names help us better understand his work.
He is called the accuser.
The name “Satan” means “an adversary.” Satan is an accuser, adversary. He stood at Joshua’s right hand to oppose him (Zech. 3:1). He is the accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10).
Satan stands before God’s throne to accuse God’s people. When Satan stood before God’s throne, he said that if God removed all his material blessings and health, that Job would curse God and die. No doubt, Satan still accuses God’s people.
He is called the devil.
The name “devil” means “the slanderer.” Because of his slanderous activity, Satan is called the devil. When Satan tempted Eve, he wasn’t honest with her. Eve told Satan that God had commanded her and Adam not to eat of the tree in the midst of the Garden—if any man ate or touched the fruit, he would die (Gen 3:3). Satan told Eve, “You will not surely die. God knows that if you eat this fruit, you will become like God and know good and evil” (Gen 3:4-5).
Satan continues to use such logic today.
He is the tempter.
The Bible refers to Satan as the tempter. The tempter came to Jesus (Matt 4:3). Paul was afraid the tempter had tempted the Thessalonian Christians (1 Thess 3:5).
Satan can be called the tempter, for he tempts God’s people to evil. Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt 4:1). Satan came and tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen 3). Satan moved David to number Israel (1 Chr 21:1).
He is the evil one.
The Bible refers to Satan as the “evil one.” Jesus prayed that we would be delivered from the evil one (Matt 6:13). John wrote to those who had overcome the evil one (1 Jn 2:13-14). As the evil one, Satan is the epitome of all that is evil.
Satan is called Beelzebub.
Beelzebub is the ruler of the demons (Matt 12:24). Beelzebub was originally a Philistine deity whose name means “Lord of the flies.”
Satan is called Belial.
Christ has no accord with Belial (2 Cor 6:15). “Belial” is a transliteration from Hebrew and means “wickedness.” The term came to be applied to lewd and vile persons who had no regard for God. Seeing that Satan is the epitome of wickedness, “Belial” seems an appropriate name.
Satan is the ruler of this world.
Scripture refers to Satan as the ruler of this world. Jesus said that the ruler of this world would be cast out (Jn 12:31). Jesus said that the ruler of this world was coming (Jn 14:30). Paul referred to Satan as the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4). “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 Jn 5:19).
That Satan is the ruler of this world means that the present world is under his control. Because Satan is the ruler of this world, this present world is full of evil. Evil abounds in this world because Satan rules this age.
Satan is the prince of the power of the air.
Paul refers to Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2). Demons were said to inhabit the air, and Satan as their overlord is the prince of the air. When we read of demonic activity in the New Testament, we know full well that Satan was active through these demons.
The Work of Satan
Satan tempts individuals to sin.
Scripture teaches that Satan tempts individuals. Satan moved David to number Israel (1 Chr 21:1). Satan tempted Jesus not to die (Matt 16:23). Satan filled Ananias’ heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). Paul was concerned that Satan had tempted the Thessalonians (1 Thess 3:5). Satan prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8).
When Satan does tempt us, our duty is to resist the temptation. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Js 4:7). When we are tempted, God will provide a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). Being steadfast in our faith, we are to resist the devil (1 Pet 5:9).
Satan attempts to thwart the spread of the Gospel.
Scripture teaches that Satan thwarts the Gospel’s spread. The wicked one will snatch the seed of the Gospel that has been planted in men’s hearts (Matt 13:19). Satan blinds the hearts of men lest they believe and accept the gospel (2 Cor 4:3-4). Satan prevented Paul from going to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 2:18).
One reason this church isn’t growing any faster is because of Satan. Satan has individuals convinced that one church is as good as another. Satan has some convinced that commitment really doesn’t matter—just worship every now and then and everything will be fine.
Is Satan thwarting the Gospel’s spread in your life?
Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
He makes sin look enjoyable and free of guilt. However, sin brings nothing but heartache and despair.
The Good News about Satan
God has power over Satan.
Scripture teaches that God has authority over Satan. God told Satan what he could and could not do to Job. Satan asked permission to sift Peter as wheat (Luke 22:31)—Notice Satan had to ask permission before he could sift Peter.
Satan cannot do whatever he wants. God has limited Satan’s ability. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13).
Satan will be defeated at the end.
The Bible teaches that Satan will be defeated. Hell has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). Paul promised the Romans that God would crush Satan under their feet (Rom 16:20). Jesus told his disciples that the ruler of this world would be cut out (Jn 12:31). The devil will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10).
Satan’s kingdom will fall, and God and those with him will be victorious.
In this life, we either serve Satan or we serve God. Whom are you serving?