Summary: To understand where the real attacks are coming from and how to combat them.
I am not sure how many of you noticed all the damage to our church this morning as you were walking in. We have been attacked. Any one hear of this? I am truly surprised that none of you knew about this. It was in all the papers and on the news. For those of you that hadn’t read the paper, watched the news or noticed the damage this morning, I was fortunate enough to have seen the attack myself and I have it taped. Here it is:
VIDEO: “The Church under Attack.”
Would we all agree this was a major attack? Sure, whenever missiles are fired and at you, you have no choice but to notice it. When we think of being attacked we think of attacks as being out in the open such as when we were attacked on 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. We knew we were being attacked as it was happening. Being attacked isn’t good but what is worse than being attacked is when you have been attacked and don’t even realize it.
The truth is, each one of us are attacked everyday by things that we never even notice. We’re attacked by things that creep into our lives and affect not only us but those around us, our loved ones, and even our church. The enemy is very cunning and successful when attacking us and the church. I believe we are attacked by a multitude of things really. If it were a few main things, we would be able to combat those attacks more successfully but when we are attacked it is by a huge broad spectrum that is ever changing.
Many of us would say that we don’t have any enemies. We may have some people that we don’t see eye to eye with or who may be bent out of shape about something that has happened and as a result they don’t like us, but we would not qualify these persons as enemies, because an enemy is someone who is out to hurt us and to destroy us.
If you think you don’t have an enemy, you need to think again. Everybody has an enemy that is out to get you. Whether you agree or disagree will not change the facts.
He has many names: Beelzebub, The Serpent, the Ruler of the world, Satan, the devil and many more, but I can assure you he is not so much concerned about what you call him as he is about how he can get a hold of your life and mine and keep it.
That is what you and I need to know. How can we identify the enemy and expose him for who he really is? If he is like a terrorist among us how can we know him?
I. Someone may ask, “Well what does he look like?"
A. First of all it is not his appearance that tips you off but his approach!
1. In verse 8 of our text, the devil is described as a Lion who prowls about. The ability to “prowl” implies that he has freedom of movement and does not appear to be the enemy among us at all.
2. Unfortunately the red suit, horns and pitch fork are not his usual attire! If we knew his face and what he was wearing, we could easily identify him and avoid his attacks but he is among us and we don’t even know it.
II Corinthians 11:14 “Satan masquerades himself as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness…”
3. So it’s not his appearance that we need to be so focused on, rather it is his behavior. Looks can be deceiving but behavior never lies.
4. Let us never forget one very important truth! Satan can only do his work through people. He does not do his own dirty work as he has limited power; he seeks to influence others to do it for him.
5. That is why Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” One way Satan attacks is through people, sometimes even you and even me.
Illustration: I have said it before and I will say it again: We shoot too many arrows at people, our friends, family members, and yes, even our church family and we hit nothing. We only exaggerate the problems and the real enemy, the one who is attacking us, only thrives and grows stronger.
6. People are not the enemy- Satan is the enemy!
11. Like it or not, Satan tries to use you and me as his envoys to accomplish his will.
II. But what is Satan’s purpose anyway?
A. His first purpose is to challenge God!
1. In Isaiah 14 we learn that Satan’s desire was to be God. He wanted to rule God’s creation alone; he and one third of all of the angels rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven.