Summary: It’s important to recognize how our enemy works so we can be prepared to fight and win the spiritual battles we face. Let’s see what we can learn about Satan’s mode of operation.
SATAN’S MODUS OPERANDI
INTRODUCTION: Satan is real. Some people think Satan is not a literal being. They take the ‘D’ out of ‘devil’ so that you don’t have the person of the devil; you instead have the influence of evil. But that’s not reality. Satan’s greatest deception is to convince people that he doesn’t exist. If he can do that he can attack and succeed at will. Preacher Billy Sunday said, "I know the devil is real for two reasons: #1, because the Bible says so, and #2, because I’ve done business with him.” Jesus told Peter and Andrew in Matt. 4:19 that he was going to make them fishers of men. Unfortunately, Satan is also a fisher of men. He, like a good fisherman, looks for the best fishing spots, uses the best bait in order to get us hooked, and is very patient. There’s a quote that goes, “There are times when it would seem as if God fished with a line, and the devil with a net.” It’s important to recognize how our enemy works so we can be prepared to fight and win the spiritual battles we face. Let’s see what we can learn about Satan’s mode of operation.
1) Satan is the accuser. The Hebrew name for Satan means ‘accuser’. Satan went to God and accused Job of basically being nothing more than a fair-weather follower. Satan is not only an accuser of us to God. He is also an accuser of God to us. Gen. 2:15-17, 3:1-5. “You won’t die. He just doesn’t want you to be like him.” Satan accused God of lying. Then he accused God of holding out, trying to deprive Eve of something good. Fight: Zechariah. 3:1-4 (Zec. next to last book of OT). As the accuser, Satan wants me to think he still has the ability to succeed in bringing accusations before God. But God rebukes Satan and comes to our rescue. Rev. 12:10. The accusations have been silenced through Jesus.
2) Satan is the father of lies. John 8:44. Jesus said Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan lied to Eve-Gen. 3:4, “You will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman.” Satan is the liar, but he wants to make God out to be the liar. What are some of the lies he tells us today? Oh, this won’t hurt you; it’s no big deal. Or, God doesn’t love you. You don’t need God. Or, there’s no such thing as God, there’s no such thing as the devil, there’s no such thing as heaven, there’s no such thing as hell. Fight: Jack Nicholson in ‘A Few Good Men’. “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.” Satan can’t handle the truth. Because he can’t handle the truth, the truth is the best weapon of defense against him (Eph. 6:17-the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, our offensive weapon). We know Satan can’t handle the truth; the question is, can we? John 8:42-43. Can we handle what the truth says about us? And if we are in agreement with the truth, we then need to know how to correctly handle the truth. As a warrior must develop skills in handling a sword, we need to know how to use God’s word effectively against Satan’s clever tactics. Jesus said in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. We have the power of the Holy Spirit guiding us. He will prompt us when Satan’s lies are coming at us. We just need to be open to His guidance.
3) Satan is the deceiver. Satan deceives us by getting us to think that sin has no consequences. He deceives us into thinking that money will buy happiness. He deceives us into believing that all we need to do is be a good person and we will go to heaven. One way Satan deceives people is by twisting the truth. 2nd Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15. He deceived Eve as we discovered earlier and he tried to deceive Jesus in the desert. With Eve, Satan tried to discredit God’s word. God gave a command to Adam and Eve and Satan went to Eve and said, “Did God really say…” And with Jesus Satan misused Psalm 91:11-12. When a lie is mixed into the truth, it’s like yeast. It works through the whole batch of dough. A little taints the whole thing. 2nd Thess. 2:9-10. When I refuse to love the truth I can be deceived by the twisting of it. Satan twists the truth and makes it say things that it doesn’t say. Satan takes the truth out of context as he did with Jesus. He adds to it or he takes away from it. He’ll water it down or fire it up. Whatever he can do so that the truth of God is thought of as a lie, something unreliable. Fight: 2nd John vs. 4-11. Walk in the truth (vs. 4). If we’re walking in the truth, it will be that much harder for Satan to deceive us. Love one another (vs. 5). If we love one another, we will speak into each other’s lives when we sense someone is being deceived. Or we will ask others for counsel when there’s a possibility that we are being deceived. Obey his commands (vs. 6). When we’re obedient to Jesus’ commands we are showing our love for Jesus and we’re showing how serious we are about protecting ourselves against Satan’s deception. Awareness (vs. 7). John tells us that there are people in the world who are going to try to deceive me (his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness). Being aware of that and not naïve or in denial about this will mean that I will be guarded against being deceived. Being careful (vs. 8). When I realize that there is a chance to lose what I’ve worked for like developing my witness or spiritual growth, I will be more guarded and protecting of what I have taken hold of so that I won’t be deceived into letting it slip away. Continue in the teachings of Christ (vs. 9). If I ‘run ahead’ to follow other teachings, I’m deceived into thinking there’s more to know. If I am not grounded in and continuing in the teachings of Jesus, I open myself up to accepting deceptive philosophies and teachings. Not entertaining deceptive people (vs. 10-11). If I entertain someone’s deceptive philosophies and teachings because they are my friend, I will become vulnerable to deception. I need to understand that if I entertain hollow and deceptive teachings I am sharing in their wicked work. If I share in wicked work I’m not sharing in God’s work.