Summary: Some of the Devil’s schemes and provision God has made for our protection.
The Schemes of the Devil
II Cor. 2:11 Eph. 6:11
INTRO.: Christians sometimes forget we are involved in an all out conflict with a powerful spiritual enemy, Satan. His name means Adversary. He opposes all that is good and noble in this world. Jesus called him the "prince of this world." Jn. 12:31. He is also called "the serpent." He is called the "devil" which means "accuser," and, in Eph. 2:2, "the prince of the powers of the air." (This was written long before radio, television, or the internet, which seem to become more his exclusive domain every day.)
No matter what you call him, he is the enemy of God and God’s people and He is real. Let’s consider some of his schemes and how we respond to them:
I. Some of his schemes:
A. Jesus’ encounter with the devil is recorded in Matthew 4:
1. He used Jesus’ natural bodily needs, His trust of the Father, and His sense of mission to tempt Him to sin. The temptation was to elect alternative, seemingly easier ways to accomplish what He came to do.
2. He will also twist your needs, dreams, and even your faith to tempt you to sin. He’ll ask, "If you are a child of God, why are you suffering or hungry?" He’ll say, "If you trust God, put Him to the test. Go ahead and sin. He forgives." He’ll suggest you cheat, lie, or steal to get what God has promised you.
3. These ideas don’t come from God. Temptation comes from Satan working within you. Jas. 1:13-15
B. A couple in the early Church attempted to counterfeit the generosity of the Christians: Acts 5:1-3
1. Satan had filled Anania’s heart and caused him to lie. Lying is one of Satan’s best schemes.
2. He is the father of all lies. John 8:44. Every time we are tempted to deceive others, Satan is at work in our hearts.
3. You may also be assured anything he promises, no matter how good it sounds, is a lie.
C. Very early in the Old Testament record, we observe Satan at work among the member other first family.
1. Not content to cause Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the garden, he sets about destroying the tie between brother and brother.
2. He was responsible for turning Cain against Abel and introducing murder into the human family. I Jn. 3:12
3. Thus, all subsequent murders can be laid at his door. He is directly and indirectly responsible for every one.
D. Zechariah prophesied at the time of Israel’s return from exile. He saw Satan standing against his efforts and those of Joshua the High Priest. Zech. 3:1.
1. He will oppose all the good efforts of men who want to do God’s will.
2. Any time we set out to do anything good and great for God, there are two angels watching. One to help, the other to hinder. The deciding vote is ours.
E. The war with terrorism in which we are now involved did not originate in the mind of Geo. W. Bush, and certainly not in the mind of God. He did not cause the destruction of the World Trade Center and death of 3000 people.
1. Nor did He move Communists to invade N. Vietnam, N. Korea. He did not bring about the attack on Pearl Harbor. God is not the One who starts war.
2. James tells us how wars originate in Jas. 4:1-3. Strife is the result of our greed and a disregard for God. Satan instigates wars as he promotes greed.
3. In James 4: 7, James tells us how to end wars and it is; "Submit to God, resist the Devil."
4. The Devil is the author of war and strife.
F. When Satan tempted Jesus, he quoted Scripture. Matt. 4:6
1. Satan knows the Bible better than most Christians, I suspect. He can distort it to lead people astray.
2. II Pet. 3:16 speaks of how ignorant and unstable people distort the Scriptures to their own destruction. These misguided people are the pawns of Satan.
3. Satan will twist and distort the Word of God to lead you astray. That’s why it’s important we study the Word to know it thoroughly.
G. When Barnabas and Saul were on their first missionary journey in the island of Cyprus, they tried to speak to the proconsul and a Jewish sorcerer named Elymas opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away.
1. Paul called him a "child of the Devil." because he was doing the Devil’s work.
2. One of his schemes is to use men to hinder and oppose our salvation.
3. You may be sure when someone tries to convince another he shouldn’t be a Christian, Satan is behind it.