Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Operation of God

Temple Baptist Church - 5-15-2013
Colossians 2:9-14
A. I want to go back to the phrase “ye are complete in him” for a few minutes tonight.
1. It would take a lifetime to preach completely on the subject and there are things about these verses that we will never fully understand. The natural (unsaved) man will never “figure” out God as the Bible is a mystery to him but, we that have placed our eternal trust in God do not have to. We still are saved by faith and it is imperative that we walk in the same.
2. I may not fully understand God, sin, sacrifice, salvation, newness of life in Christ, rapture, resurrection, heaven and hell, but—by faith—I believe in my heart and eternally trust in God’s wisdom and not mine. God said it and, if we believe it or not, it is so!
B. I want to pick out several words found in these verses that point to the invisible work of God in the heart and life of every believer. We may not get done tonight, but I feel that it is important that we “sit here” for a little while because of the importance of what God did for each of us the moment that we were saved.
1. We often quote 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a which says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God …” At the instance of salvation, we all experience a spiritual birth that is just as real and life changing as our physical one.
2. As a new born baby who, the moment they leave the womb experiences a world completely unknown to him or her, the believer is born into a spiritual realm never previously experienced. The baby, though he or she does not fully understand life, is innately equipped for life and comes to fullness or maturity through learning and experience.
3. Thus the child of God (as I preached last week) is fully equipped to live a life for Christ. All that we need is inherent because it comes from our heavenly Father through the medium of the Holy Spirit.
C. In verse 12, we find the words “the operation of God.” “Energy, efficiency, and effectual” explain the word operation. Salvation is an act of God, not man, therefore:
1. Salvation is something God does for us. “Energy”
2. Salvation is something God does in us. “Efficiency”
3. Salvation is something God does through us. “Effectual”
D. The Operation of God:
1. We can liken this “operation” unto the medical operations that we so often have to undergo in this life. These surgeries are done by the energy of the surgeon. They are done efficiently and, hopefully, effectually! A medical operation, for the most part, is done for one of several different reasons:
a) To remove something that is either life threatening or causing a problem. Things such as tumors or cancer must be taken out. Often, tonsils, adenoids, and appendix need to be removed in order to enhance quality of life.
b) To repair something that is not working properly. Things such as placing stints in arteries or even bypass surgery become necessary for either quality of life or live itself. There is the medical “miracle” of transplanting new lenses within the eye to enhance our sight.
c) To replace something that needs replacing. New valves are often placed in hearts or heart-lung transplants become necessary for life.
2. Thus it is with the operation of God. The work of God in salvation was done by His energy, not ours. We are not trying to be God’s children, we are God’s children. When we are saved, God has to:
a) Remove some things. We all have an “Adamic” nature as sin is passed on through the seed of Adam. We do not have to be taught to sin because we are born sinners. One of the easiest ways to explain the existence of God is through the natural spiritual nature of man. If men were not born sinners, then children could be born that naturally desired to do right. Alas, no such thing! Doing wrong is natural while doing right is a struggle.
b) Repair some things. When dealing with the life of a believer, we must understand that we are a “work in progress.” As new born babes, we must grow in our spiritual maturity. God works in us to do of His good pleasure. The natural or old nature fights this transition and, thus, we find the cycle of victory and failure in our lives. We do good and then mess up again.
c) Replace some things. As with the human body, when certain things are moved, it becomes necessary to replace them. The Lord requires a LOT from you and me in the area of “abstaining” from all evil because our lives were involved with evil on a grand scales. The Lord does not “choke” the new believer any more than we choke a new born baby but does, over a period of time, take things from us. I thank God that He never leaves us empty! He replaces bad things with good things.
E. Now, let us look at some of these words that are imperative to our understanding what God has done and is doing in our lives.
1. Circumcision (cutting) Genesis 17:10-14 Circumcise - the sense of appearing; a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: - mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token. An appearing: something that was not there previously.
a. The first mention of circumcism is found in Genesis 17:11, which says, “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.”
1) Here we find that it was an outward sign in the flesh. As in all first mentions, God states His mind concerning a subject and will not vary from that mention. These first mentions were often done in shadows and types. God will then expand upon the subject in what is called progressive revelation.
2) Physical circumcision was invisible to the world but was evidenced in the life of Abraham through the outward manifestation of his faith. This circumcision was always evident to Abraham though as it was a constant reminder of God’s covenant with him. This bring us to the mention of circumcism which is found in our text
b. The circumcision in the church age is an inward one which is spiritual.
1) Colossians 2:11 says, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Now the question may be asked, what is the correlation between the first mention which was outward and the spiritual circumcision found here? Old Testament circumcision was physical and outward: a cutting away of a small amount of flesh.
2) Before the resurrection of Christ and the descending of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God—as far as I can discern—did not dwell within the believer. He came upon men, abode in them at times, and empowered them. Circumcision and the heart are only mentioned in three verses of the Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. (Spiritual circumcision of the heart was commanded because of the rebellion within believers. The heart always refers to the affections or soul of the inner man.)
Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (In this verse, God is dealing with the rebellion of the nation of Israel, captivity, and restoration: a returning to the Lord in love.)
Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. (Here, circumcision is not because of the Lord but is “to” the Lord. It is not separation from the world; it is separation into Someone! Most people view biblical separation in a negative light but, separation is a positive thing. It is something that we do for our wonderful Lord.)
3) The circumcision of the New Testament is spiritual and consists in putting off the whole body of our corrupt nature. The Old Testament circumcision was, for the most part, a work of man while the New Testament circumcision is always a work of God. Therefore, it is divine, complete, and possible.
c. The first mention of circumcision was an outward sign of Abraham’s inner faith.
1) Abraham believed God and his faith was manifested in the outward “token” of circumcision. A token is the sign of the sealing of a contract or transaction and was something visible outwardly that showed the acceptance and surety of the covenant that was made.
2) Old Testament circumcision was for the male only. Though women were saved in the Old Testament just like the men (by faith), only men could bear the mark of physical circumcision. In the New Testament, circumcision is wrought in the hearts of both male and female.
d. When we are saved, God does an inward work in the circumcision of the heart which manifests itself in an outward change in our lives. Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: (29) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Romans 4:1-12 **
1) We often quote 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This inward “token” manifests itself in the outward life of every child of God.
2) Old Testament circumcision did not change the heart of man but was simply an outward testimony of faith. New Testament circumcision changes the heart of man which ultimately changes the outward man.
e. This circumcision is an act of the inward operation of God that manifests itself in the outward life of the believer. It is wrought, without hands, by the inward power of the Divine Spirit of Christ. Therefore, we become new creatures in Christ Jesus and that newness of life that Romans 6 speaks of is a reality in every believer because it is not only divine and complete, it is eternal!
1) Spiritual circumcision is not a rite but a reality. So much of religion today is an outward show without an inward reality but true salvation is inward which is shown in the circumcision of the heart, not the flesh. It does not involve a removal of ceremonial impurity but rather a cleansing of the heart of the believer.
2) Spiritual circumcision is realized by the believer a little at a time but, on the divine side, it is instantaneously complete. Jesus Christ gives perfect emancipation! John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” It is a moral transformation that delivers man from the “yoke of bondage.”
3) Spiritual circumcision is so much more than just a theological concept; it is a death, burial, and resurrection of the believer to a new life in Christ that will forever be wrought through the divine nature imparted to him, which leads us to the next part of the operation of God: baptism.
2. Baptism (emersion) This “baptism” is not in reference to water baptism but to the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The phrase “the operation of God” in verse 12, clarifies this baptism as an act of God. Last time, we dealt with circumcision. Circumcision and baptism are simultaneous acts of God in the believer that take place at the moment of salvation. Circumcision of the heart is an act of God; quickening is an act of God; forgiveness of sins is an act of God; so to interpret this “baptism” as an act of man in the middle cannot be rightly dividing the word of truth! The context is explaining “ye are complete in him!” These are things that God does to complete the believer in salvation.
a. This misunderstanding is similar to the one concerning the usage of the word “church” in the New Testament.
1) With the word “church,” such unbiblical terms as “universal” are applied to demonize those who believe in both the local church (which most biblical references allude to) and the body of Christ (also called the family of God). Christ died for the church: the body of Christ, not the local church which is His instrument on earth for the advancement of His work.
2) The word “baptism,” when referring to the baptism of the Holy Ghost, also brings about controversy. I believe that this is a direct result of the misuse and abuse of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. Their false teaching is that the baptism of the Holy Ghost comes after salvation and is a second work of grace in the life of the believer. They teach that it is accompanied or confirmed by speaking in tongues. This has caused many men of God to reject the biblical teaching concerning the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
3) The baptism of the Holy Ghost takes place simultaneously with salvation. At the precise moment of our salvation, we are baptized into the body of Christ. The question arises: does the baptism of the Holy Ghost have outward evidence? I believe that it does and we will look at that.
b. The word “baptism” is a transliterated word coming from the Greek word “baptisma” which comes from a root word: “baptizo.”
1) “Baptizo means to “make whelmed” or to be “fully wet.” In order to be “fully wet,” one MUST be immersed. Baptism, in the bible, never means to either sprinkle or pour! It carries the meaning of being placed completely into.
2) When we baptize with water, we completely immerse the new believer into the water, which is a beautiful picture of salvation. Notice I said “picture.” A picture is an exact replica of an object. The picture is not the object but it shows forth in clarity the object that it is taken of.
3) Thus, water baptism is simply a part of the confession of faith of the believer. He is telling the world that he has been buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and raised in the likeness of His glorious resurrection. It is an act of obedience and testimony. Nothing else!
4) Water baptism does not baptize the believer into the local church! All through the bible we find examples of believer’s baptism (the Ethiopian Eunuch, Cornelius’s family, the disciples of John in Acts 19, the Philippian jailor and his family, etc.) where, upon their profession of faith, they were baptized with no local church to baptize them into. And no, the Eunuch was not baptized into the church at Jerusalem where he never attended nor would he ever attend!
5) Much concerning baptism has come through church tradition. I have no problem with tradition as long as it is not contrary to scripture or taught as a commandment of God. And yes, I am a Baptist but much of what we do concerning joining churches and transferring letters of recommendation are tradition and purposed to keep church hopping trouble makers from leaving one church and destroying another.
6) The bible teaches more than one “baptism.”
a) In Ephesians 4:4-6, God says, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” When speaking of salvation, only one baptism is mentioned because water baptism has nothing to do with salvation. The one baptism is the baptism of the Holy Ghost which does have something to do with salvation.
b) When dealing with doctrine in Hebrews 6:2, God uses the plural word baptisms: “Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Many of the commentators explain “baptisms” as “washings” but, in the New Testament, the Levitical priesthood is done away with and there are no such things as ceremonial washing in the doctrine of the church.
c) “Baptisms” means just that, baptisms! In salvation, there is the baptism of the Holy Ghost and it is replicated by our public profession of faith by water baptism. Thus, in the doctrinal sense, there are two baptisms: one dealing with our salvation and the other our profession.
7) Now let us look at some scripture explaining the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” The baptism of the Holy Ghost is salvation and the baptism of fire is hell.
a) 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” These verses do not refer to the local church! Paul speaks of one body and the placement of the believer into that body by the baptism of the SPIRIT or the Holy Ghost. In water baptism, we are not baptized by the Holy Ghost; we are baptized by a man. The capital “S” is a direct reference to the Holy Ghost and cannot be biblically interpreted any other way. There are many local “bodies” or churches but, here, only one body is referred to which is the body of Christ.
b) Romans 6:3-5 says, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” In verse 3, we were baptized into Jesus Christ! Once again, the reference is to Spirit baptism which places the believer into Jesus Christ, not the local church. In these verses, we find the outward sign of our placement into Jesus Christ and His body: the enabling of the believer to walk in newness of life. We saw in an earlier message that God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. We have the spiritual ability to live a life both consistent and pleasing to the Lord.
3. Quickened – “to vitalize” When a person is being examined in today’s medicine, we check his or her “vitals.” I have sat more often than I would like beside a hospital bed and watched the monitor as it registered pulse, oxygen levels, respiration, and blood pressure. These may not have been doing great on the monitor but they did let me know that the person hooked up to it was alive. When the heart beat “flat lines,” it shows a cessation (if left that way too long) of life.
a. In order to be “quickened” or “made alive,” one must have been in a state of death. In order to set up tonight’s message, it is imperative that we once again go to the first mention of both life and death.
1) The First Mention of Life - Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
2) This life was both physical and spiritual. God did not just start a heart to beating and lungs inhaling and exhaling, He breathed into Adam the “breath of life.” That word “breathed” actually has a two-fold meaning. a) to inflate which deals with physical life and b) to kindle which deals with spiritual life. Adam was not saved! Adam was “safe!” His safety was because of innocence. The same principle applies to children who are still in a state of innocence. If they die, they go to heaven. Not because they are saved but because they are safe.
3) The First Mention of Death - Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
4) To die is a cessation of life and, in this case, is both spiritual and physical. Adam and Eve died spiritually long before they died physically. Spiritual death was a direct result of disobedience to a direct command of God. Children become accountable when they violate willfully the known commands of God, either the written Word or the natural laws written within their hearts.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 2:12-14 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (13) (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (14) For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
b. Therefore, man—in his natural state (beyond his natural state of innocence) is spiritually dead inherently and willfully.
1) Man is born physically alive and will die one day. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
2) Man is born spiritually alive and will one day die. Romans 7:7-11 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. (9) For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (10) And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (11) For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
c. The spiritually dead must be quickened in order to have eternal life. Ephesians 2:1-5 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
1) Spiritual death is a death of personal choice. We can blame Adam for our physical death but we cannot blame Adam for spiritual death as Romans 5:12 says, “For that all have sinned!” Man choses to die spiritually when he becomes personally (not in Adam) accountable to God.
2) Spiritual life is a life of personal choice. John 5:25 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” Saving faith that gives eternal life is a result of both hearing and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ.
d. Now, let us look at the word “quicken.” Spiritual quickening, as spiritual circumcision and spiritual Baptist, is an act of God. It is also simultaneous with them at the moment of salvation. Ezekiel 16:6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
1) This life is given by Christ. John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
2) This life is only found in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
3) This life is visible to the world through Christ. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
e. We are:
1) We are quickened by the Word of God. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
2) We are quickened in the Will of God. John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
3) We are quickened in the Way of God. Psalms 119:37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
4. Forgiven. Forgiveness is simultaneous with circumcision of heart, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and being quickened. Forgiven means to forgive a debt; to cease from resentment against.
a. The need for forgiveness. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (The cause [thou shalt not eat] and effect [thou shalt surely die] of sin.)
Genesis 3:11-12 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (12) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
1) Therefore, the need for forgiveness is based upon a known command and the penalty. We normally place these sins into categories:
a) Sins of commission (presumption) - Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
b) Sins of omission (sometimes sins of ignorance – “ignorance of the law is no excuse”) – James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
2) The need for forgiveness is based upon trespass of that known commandment and the pending penalty.
a) The word “trespass” means to transgress or revolt. People place No Trespassing signs in obvious places to keep unwanted intrusion.
b) God has given us commandments that are very plain to keep us from intruding into areas of life that are both sinful and dangereous.
b. Let us look at the basis of forgiveness.
1) The bible is plain when it says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.” Forgiveness is based upon sacrifice: of animals in the Old Testament economy and the precious sacrifice of Christ Jesus in the New Testament.
2) Sacrifice of atonement (the innocent animal for the guilty sinner) - Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
3) Sacrifice of Jesus Christ - 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
c. The application of forgiveness. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the “world” and yet the entire world is not forgiven. Why? Though the blood of Christ was shed, it must be applied.
1) Old Testament – the sinful confessed by bringing a sin offering or trespass offering to the Lord. David, in Psalm 51, bypassed the Levitical Priestood when he made personal confession of sinfulness to God.
2) New Testament – the priesthood is individual and, therefore, the blood must be personally applied and sin personally confessed.
3) 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (In this verse, we find two simultaneous operations: 1)Propitiation – appeasement – “forgive us” v2) Expiation – to make pious or righteous - “cleanse us from all unrighteousness")
4) The sinner dies without Christ because he or she refuses to accept the payment for sin which God requires.
d. The error concerning forgiveness. Many people cannot differentiate between spiritual fellowship and spiritual relationship. We are offered two types of forgiveness with one dealing with salvation and the other with fellowship.
1) Salvation’s forgiveness is both complete and eternal. Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (“Having forgiven” is a past act which is not only over but also done. In its wording, it is a onetime act with an eternal result.)
2) Fellowship’s forgiveness is both reoccurring and temporal. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (John 1:9 is conditional and, therefore, temporal in nature. “If” we confess, He forgives; if we do not confess, He chastens.)
5. Spoiled (Deliverance) – “to divest wholly” Once again, we find an act of God that is simultaneous with circumcision of heart, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, quickened and forgiven. When Christ died, was buried, and rose again, Satan was OFFICIALLY a defeated foe. I say officially because he never had a chance from the beginning.
a. The Enemy – His person, principalities, and power.
1) The Person of the Devil – 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (Roaring lion gives us a very graphic picture of his person. Satan, Beelzebub, the evil one, the wicked one, the serpent, the dragon, the god of this world, and the prince of this world. He is a God hater! He hates you! He hates the church! He hates the lost! He is a dangerous adversary.)
2) The Principalities of the Devil – Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Principality means commencement, magistrate, or rule. His “kingdom” has a great company of evil angels plus the kingdoms of this world. These “kingdoms” he offered to Christ during the temptation in Matthew 4.)
3) The Power of the Devil - Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (As far as you and me are concerned, the closest thing there is to omnipotence is Satan. He is not God nor is he omnipotent but his power is not to be challenged by humanity.)
Acts 19:13-16 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. (14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. (15) And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? (16) And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
b. The Enemy’s Agenda. He tries to destroy all that God loves: the world and the saints.
1) He blinds the lost. 2 Corinthians 4:4 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. (Satan has done a good job of blinding the unsaved and their damnation nears. Some do not believe in God; most do not fear God; others believe that they can just ignore Him and He will go away; but Satan knows full well their end and blinds them to the prospect of an eternal hell!)
2) He resists the saved. Zechariah 3:1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. (What Satan cannot destroy, he attacks with a fury known only to God. We often forget that his work never diminishes because of the hatred that consumes his person. He deters, defiles, discourages, divides, devours, and destroys the sinful and weak believer. He is the arch-rival of God and certainly is not a friend of the saints.)
2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
c. The Enemy’s Attack.
1. We can understand how Satan works because it works. I am reminded or trying to get little children to eat by saying, “Don’t eat that, it’s mine!” Satan’s tactics have been effective because of man’s ignorance of what God says in the bible. Satan does not change tactics because they work!
2. Satan’s attack is three-fold:
a) He attacks us physically - Luke 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
b) He attacks us mentally – Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
c) He attacks us spiritually - 2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
d. The Believer’s Deliverance. Thank the Lord that Satan has been “spoiled!” Divested wholly!
1) Armor Available - Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (The promise is comprised on both “withstanding” and “standing.” To “withstand” means to “take a punch” and, rest assured, if you do right, you will be attacked by both the devil and his cohorts! God has provided all that the believer needs to withstand and stand. It is not a physical armor but rather a spiritual onel.)
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2) Victory Assured - 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Romans 8:36-37 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Conclusion: What wonderful truths are found in these verses. These things God did for you and me the moment we were saved! Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

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