Summary: FAITH TO STAND (part 4) We can have faith to stand in the midst of Satan’s greatest attack. A closer look a Christ’s third temptation and Satan’s FLAMING ARROWS of peer pressure, pride and presumption.
· It began 68 years ago today, December 1st, 1934. Sergey Kirov, a leader of the Russian Revolution and a high-ranking member of the Politburo, was shot to death at his Leningrad office by Leonid Nikolayev. Many believe that the gunman Nikolayev, a member of the Communist Party, carried out the assassination by the urging of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Whatever Stalin’s true role in the murder of his political rival Kirov, the assassination was used by Stalin as a masquerade for eliminating many of his rivals within the Communist Party, the government, the armed forces, and the intelligence community.
Seven different trials were held related to Kirov’s assassination. Although the evidence presented in each trial often contradicted the other trials, a guilty verdict was always the outcome. Different individuals were found guilty of Kirov’s death all with a variety of motives and means for carrying out the murder. The Kirov assassination trials marked the beginning of Stalin’s massive four-year purge of Soviet society, in which millions of people were imprisoned, exiled, or killed.
In a similar way Satan seeks to destroy you and me. Jesus said the devil’s primary objective is to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Our enemy is real; a deadly battle rages on. None of us can escape this war for our souls. Satan’s attack against you and me is relentless, but we can have faith to stand!
+ 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)
Each and every day we face the onslaught of the enemy. Satan wants to imprison us behind bars of condemnation and guilt; he wants us to be exiled in a barren wasteland of despair and grief; the devil seeks to assassinate us with deadly deception and temptation to sin. But God is faithful!
GOD IS FAITHFUL! Jesus holds the keys to the prison of guilt; Jesus leads us out of the wilderness of depression; Jesus empowers us by His Spirit and His Word to live an abundant life free from sin. God will make a way of escape so that whenever the enemy attacks you can have faith to stand!
Jesus faced the Satan’s attack in the Judean wilderness. Over the last three weeks we have looked at who our enemy is and uncovered his lies and deception concealed within Christ’s temptation. Today we come to the third temptation; look with me at the devil’s scheme in Luke 4:9-12.
+ Luke 4:9-12 9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written: "’He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’" 12Jesus answered, "It says: ’Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’" (NIV)
The devil attacked, and Jesus was ready with the counter attack. Jesus faced the same temptation that you and I encounter, but He overcame.
+ Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. (NIV)
We can have faith to stand; we can overcome everyone of the devil’s attacks. In Ephesians 6 the Apostle Paul encourages us to be prepared for Satan’s attack; we are to be ready, not to run in retreat, but to stand up in the midst of the attack.
+ Ephesians 6:13-16 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which YOU CAN EXTINGUISH ALL THE FLAMING ARROWS OF THE EVIL ONE. (NIV)
Even through the most hellish of attacks, Paul tells us that we can have faith to stand. When we face arrows set on fire by hell’s flames we can overcome the devil’s evil assault.
Satan’s arsenal of flaming arrows is vast; these hellish arrows come in all forms:
· the temptation to all kinds of impurity and sexual sin,
· the seduction of selfish ambition and pride,
· the fiery emotions of hatred and dissension,