Summary: The devil uses everything he can to blind our minds. This message deals with some of the things that he will work with.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6 KJV Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
I. INTRODUCTION—THE HOLY WAR
John Bunyan wrote another classic besides Pilgrim’s Progress. It was a book called The Holy War. The focus of the story was the capture of a city called Mansoul. In it Diabolus (the devil) has taken it and the battle rages as the Prince Emmanuel works to recapture it. The way it was overcome was because the gates of the city had been compromised. Diabolus and his wicked imps had traversed it by taking advantage of the Eye Gate and Ear Gate which are symbolic of the use of the senses to cause the capture of the city.
A. The Council of War
Early in the book, Bunyan introduces us to what he terms the Council of War. At this council, there is a conglomerate of devils that all are sitting down trying to make a determination of how they are going to get into the city of Mansoul to destroy it. There are four schemes that they consider prior to the attack of the city.
• Whether or not all of the wicked hordes should attack the city or should they send just a single soldier in to gain access to the city?
• Whether or not they should go as they are, which would be easily recognizable to the citizens as intruders, or should they go in disguise?
• Whether or not to show their real intentions at the start of why they have come into the city or to assault the city with words and ways of deceit?
• Whether or not they should determine which of the citizens were the most prominent and influential and then destroy them before attacking?
This council of devils finally made a decision that they will go in by subtlety and deceit. Giant Diabolus will go in as a Dragon (Rev. 20:1-2) but by clever disguise in the role of the serpent. A decision is also made that they will kill Mr. Resistance who is the greatest man of Mansoul because he has such a godly influence over the people who are living there.
-Times haven’t changed too much in our day either. The devil is still a very subtle enemy that seeks to destroy anything that remotely is devoted to God.
-In that old classic work by William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armor, Gurnall tells us about the way the devil works.
• He will choose the most proper and advantageous seasons for temptation. (After conversion, during affliction, working for God, after great victory.)
• He will come in the disguise of friends, on the pretense of Christian liberty, and he will approach us in great modesty (you are such a great man of God, etc.).
• He will use carnal reason, pride, and perhaps chiefly will blind us to the ambitions of our own heart!
-Be careful when you find yourself surrounded by Balaam, Ahithophel, Haman, and Sanballat. Men who are admired for their counsel and great plans are the men that the devil likes to put in our near vicinity.
B. Attacking the Gates of the Eyes and Ears
So once all of these decisions are made, Giant Diabolus in the form of a serpent ascends up close to the Gates—primarily the Eye Gate and the Ear Gate—and sets up the ambush. The Eye Gate is described by Bunyan as the place of Perspection.
We might call it our perspective, perception, mindset, attitude, aspect, or our viewpoint. The Ear Gate was the place where the entire Town gathered to hear any information that would be applicable to them for direction of life. What Bunyan was hitting at was the thought that what we see and hear has a huge amount of influence into how we think.
Giant Diabolus begin presenting his spiel of things and when his great swelling words began to capture the residents of Mansoul, they started moving closer to him so they could see him. This was the great mistake because when Captain Resistance moved out of his place of protection and stood on top of the Gate, one of the cruel archers shot him in the head and killed him. Shortly after the death of Captain Resistance, Lord Innocency dies from an unclear reason. Bunyan says that he died either by a “sinking qualm” that came over him or from the “stinking breath of that treacherous Villain old Ill-pause.”