How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’
All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; but you are cast out, away from your grave, like a loathed branch, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a dead body trampled underfoot.
You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people.” (Isaiah 14-12-20)
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (The Revelation 12:7-9)
We are in a war, but believers in America are only vaguely aware of that fact. They are like the Londoner’s in WWII.
“The first German attack on London actually occurred by accident. On the night of August 24, 1940, Luftwaffe bombers aiming for military targets on the outskirts of London drifted off course and instead dropped their bombs on the center of London destroying several homes and killing civilians.”
“Beginning on September 7, 1940, and for a total of 57 consecutive nights, London was bombed. The decision to wage a massive bombing campaign against London and other English cities would prove to be one of the most fateful of the war.” “During the nightly bombing raids on London, people took shelter in warehouse basements and underground (subway) stations where they slept on makeshift beds amid primitive conditions with no privacy and poor sanitation facilities.”
“Hitler’s intention was to break the morale of the British people so that they would pressure Churchill into negotiating. However, the bombing had the opposite effect, bringing the English people together to face a common enemy. Encouraged by Churchill’s frequent public appearances and radio speeches, the people became determined to hold out indefinitely against the Nazi onslaught. “Business as usual,” could be seen everywhere written in chalk on boarded-up shop windows.” (World War II in Europe: The Blitz, The History Place)
Yes, brothers and sisters we are under attack. It is usually a sneak attack, but never a mistake. It is always intentional. Our enemy’s purpose is to disrupt, to dissuade and to discourage.
Hal Lindsey wrote the book Satan Is Alive and Well, and Dwelling on Planet Earth. He pointed out that in modern, scientific America, the educated and sophisticated laugh at belief in a real devil. They couldn’t be more wrong. It has been a very successful ploy of the enemy of our souls to convince us that he is not real, that “the Devil made me do it,’ is a bogus excuse for heinous behavior.
As Christian believers, we believe what the Bible teaches. That evil one has a negative place throughout the Bible. He appears in Genesis 3 as the tempting, lying serpent and in The Revelation as the great dragon, the old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.
Make no mistake! That evil spirit is ever with us – unbelievers and believers alike.
But GOD! I love that phrase! The evil one, the enemy of our souls is a very powerful being. Far more powerful than any one of us, and even more than all of us. We must take his power seriously,
But GOD! Jeshuah ha Mashiach proved the method to defend against his temptations – “It is written!”
But GOD! Our Savior not only gives us defense, but He, our Lord God, has utterly defeated the enemy of our souls when He died for us, the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and then in his Resurrection utterly destroyed the hold of death upon believers! He gave us authority over the enemy and all his demons.
God made Adam’s and Eve’s life simple.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
The enemy did not make Adam angry with Eve. He did not tempt the two of them to lie or cheat one another. He sowed a little doubt,
“Has God said …?” “You will not die if you eat it, the fruit is not poison!”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat of any tree in the garden?'” (Genesis 3:2)
He was right, and Eve in surrendering to his temptation did not die … physically; but she, and later Adam, died spiritually!
There were three temptations:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
John defined them in his first epistle (1 John 2:16)
Temptations the enemy laid on Jesus (Luke 4:3-13)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
It is true that our enemies are not people; but they are the forces and the demons that are operating in the flesh and blood that we must confront.
In our own lives we wrestle against the World, the Flesh and the Devil!
First, we look at the enemy of our souls – the Devil.
“as the great dragon, the old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world”. (The Revelation 12:9)
Actually, he is the easiest to defeat. He has no power against Jeshua (Jesus), nor against believers, who are living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jeshua said, He is sending the Holy Spirit to us.
And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6-8)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Authoritative command in the name of Jeshua (Jesus) sends the enemy of our souls packing.
Second, we live in the World. The world persistently pressures us to conform to the lowest common denominator. Those worldly ones do not like non-conformists. They like those who are worse than they are, so they can assuage their consciences with, “See, I’m not as bad as she (or he) is!”
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5)
The world, is not us, so we have that advantage. Further, we have been redeemed. That puts a separation between us and the world. We can always come back to Jeshua, “I belong to You, my Lord. I do not belong to the world.
Third, the hardest battle is with our own flesh. It is material, but not spiritual. It has appetites that must be satisfied, but not indulged. It takes both willpower and “WON’T POWER”.
Paul put up a fierce struggle against both what his flesh insisted on doing and what his flesh fiercely resisted doing.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So, I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:15-24)
The flesh belongs to us, so, in this life, there can be no actual separation. The flesh must be disciplined into submission to our born-again spirits. When our flesh is undisciplined it leads to all manner of evil.
The Children of Israel submitted to fleshly fears put upon them time after time by the enemy.
If your spirits are surrendered to Jeshua, they are built up and become strong, both to keep our flesh under control, and to stand fast against the influence of the evil one and his demons.
Saul the Benjaminite was God’s choice to be the king of Israel. The prophet-priest Samuel anointed him and by lot the People chose him. He began to reign under God’s favor. Tragically, he allowed his flesh to dictate. First when Saul was preparing for battle, he called Samuel to make a propitiating sacrifice to seek God’s favor in the battle. When Samuel was delayed, Saul usurped the priest’s role and sacrificed the lamb.
Later when God pronounced a ban on the Amalekites consigning every man, woman and child and all their animals to be killed off, king Saul disobeyed, He saved alive their king and the choicest animals. These sins opened a passage for the enemy of our souls to insert a demon who plagued Saul.
David’s music soothed Saul, because David played his music, not to entertain the king, but to glorify God. David’s godly influence was enough to keep Saul from wholly surrendering to the demon, until Saul, motivated by the demon sought to kill David.
David, a man after God’s heart, also opened a passage for the enemy by his sin with Bathsheba, which began with adultery, and proceeded through deceit, and conspiracy, to murder.
But GOD! David’s heart was so tender toward God that when he was confronted by Nathan, he immediately acknowledged his sin and sought forgiveness.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Psalms 51:3-4)
His turning to God in repentance blessed God and by grace He covered David’s sin and sealed the passage that sin had opened. That excluded any demonic influence.
These two examples, one negative and one positive, speak to us today. Brothers and sisters, Isaiah in the Song of the Suffering Servant declared the tragic truth,
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
Yes, Jeshua has borne our transgressions, but the tragic point is that we, each one of us has violated God’s will in our lives. Each one of us has in one way or others, sinned against the righteousness of our Righteous Father, burdened His Son, and offended the Holy Spirit.
Yes, we have the blood of Christ to cleanse us. Nevertheless, Paul that great Old Testament scholar, has this to say to us today,
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2).
Yes, God forbid that we in our respectability and our Christian maturity countenance sin in our lives, because we know Jesus blood cleanses us. That is a subterfuge of the enemy of our souls. Look in the mirror of Jeshua! See how your life stands up to His reflection. Be not kind to yourselves. Do not be a Saul who decides that some of these are too good to sacrifice.
Let me remind you of another of Paul’s teachings,
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:20-32)
My sisters and my brothers I adjure you (and Myself!) to pray these appeals of David, the man after God’s own heart:
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalms 139:23-24)
In this way you will keep honest before God and you will close up those passageways of sin to prevent the enemy of your souls from making inroads into your soul.
Stand fast in the liberty where with God has made you free.
My Lord and my God I appeal to you on behalf of these, your wonderful children. Have mercy on them for any besetting sins that have become so common they seem to be natural. Holy Spirit convince us all of the sins we have harbored because they are so much a part of our nature. Give us the awareness of anything in our lives that makes You uncomfortable, since You have taken up Your abode in our spirits.
Jeshuah ha Meshach, You have made us victors in this life, because You have won the victory over sin, death and Satan, and have turned that victory over to us. Grant us grace to live in that victory and to reflect Your Shekinah to all we contact, sharing the love and joy You have given us through Your dwelling in us.
The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. (1 Kings 8:57-58)
Repentance, Spiritual Warfare, Temptation