Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Satan is still going "to and fro in the earth, and up and down in it."

(I just finished reading Chuck Swindoll's book, The Church Awakening, so I'm updating this with some more thoughts from him.)

I really had no intention of reading about Satan’s activity, but lately some powerful warnings have come my way.  The first two are from Chuck Swindoll’s book The Church Awakening.  The second batch come from a daily emal that I receive, Thought for Today.  For a week or so E. C. Haskell complied statements that scripture makes about Satan’s activity.
“Clearly we enter a battle zone—true spiritual warfare—when we claim Christ as Lord and determine to follow Him no matter what.  We should not be surprised by conflict.  We should expect it!  Understand then, where the real war is.  The battle should never be fought among Christian brothers and sisters. . . . The church needs to realize that the real battle is spiritual . . . and to complicate matters, our real enemy is invisible.
“. . . We need to know there is a conspiracy occurring . . . an insidious war is being waged. . . . Satan heads the world’s system.  It is a plan that leaves God out, that is hostile to the Holy Scriptures, and that has as its goal to destroy the church that Jesus is building. . . .
“. . . The enemy of our souls wants to tap into our own sinful natures so that he can drive a wedge between God and us.”  (Swindoll, The Church Awakening, pp. 151-152)
“Everything God’s people love, Satan hates.  He hates your Christian marriage. . . . Our adversary hates harmony in the family.  You’ve likely seen ugly fights in your own church. . . . More than likely, the conflicts occurring in your occupation have reached such an intense level you may be thinking, I don’t even know if Christianity works anymore.  It’s all part of the enemies strategy.  (The Church Awakening)

New, 3/27:

Swindoll refers to Paul’s words to the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20:28-31.

“The first three words sum up Paul’s charge to the Ephesian church: Be on guard. This phrase translates a single Greek term that means “to be in a continuous state of readiness to learn of any future danger, need, or error, and to respond appropriately.”

He goes on to say, “Ultimately all attacks from Satan against the church are assaults against God’s people—first personally, then corporately” (220&221)

“Jesus predicted that the ‘Gates of Hades will not prevail against’ the church (Matt 16:18, NRSV). But that’s not to say that the adversary won’t attack it any way he can.” (240)

In his conclusion, Swindoll gives a good overview of the devil’s activities. “. . . even in healthy churches, we learned, the devil is alive and well, doing all he can—through worship wars, moral pollution, and doctrinal erosion—to dismantle what Jesus is building.” (267)

From a Thought for Today:
When the Apostle Paul encountered people trying to hinder his ministry and dissuade hearers, he saw the hand of Satan. See Acts 13:10        
When the Apostle Paul looked over an audience of unsaved individuals he blamed Satan for their lostness. Acts 26:18       
The Apostle Paul lamented to young Timothy that those who reject the gospel are "caught in the snare of the devil." II Tim. 2:26   
When the Apostle Paul encountered trouble makers in the church he discerned the crafty hand of Satan. Romans 16:17-20        
When the Apostle Paul became sick he believed Satan had a hand in it. He referred to his illness as "a messenger of Satan to buffet me." II Cor. 12:7       
When the Apostle Paul was unable to visit the Thessalonian church he wrote, "We wanted to come to you but Satan hindered us." I Thes. 2:18 
When the Apostle Paul exercised discipline on an erring member, he was turning such an one over to Satan. I Cor. 5:5         
When the Apostle Paul came upon the Gentiles worshiping idols, he knew Satan was behind it. I Cor. 10: 20-21
In Ephesians 6:10-18, the Apostle Paul speaks of the spiritual warfare that goes on all around us.  He tells us that we must be prepared to face this enemy.    

Quite an impressive list.  We wrestle not against flesh and blood . . .
Satan is going about like a lion--a smart lion.  He wants to devour those who are doing the most good.  That certainly includes churches who are preaching the Gospel.

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