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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - May 15, 2009

  • 2009 May 15
  • COMMENTS
 

The Results of Resisting the Devil

 

I invite you to examine one of the most amazing chapters in the Bible, Acts 19. In this chapter we find the key to enduring, powerful churches that God can use, and where Christ's glory is supreme. Today many churches all over the world are involved in what is actually often just veiled competition; it becomes a struggle for "our church” getting more people to come than “your church”. What methodology did Paul use to grow a church? 

In v. 17 of this chapter we find the two real keys to church growth.  

God's Word explains to us what makes Christ's church grow. It is when Jesus is magnified and when God's Word is unleashed. 

Jesus was magnified and God's Word grew mighty in one group of people in the New Testament …what a combination to have for the Lord in any generation. That powerful ministry was the result of the purged lives of a local church. 

This evening think of every pressure facing us as believers from: our pleasure seeking culture, our mind-assaulting media, and our materialism-dominated way of life. God's Word has an answer for how to walk in the Spirit, abide in Christ, and see Christ's church prevail in an ever darkening world. Resisting the Devil is what we are charged with as an imperative from God's Word. 

Spiritual warfare is a theme that we find in the author's of 22 of the 27 books of our New Testaments. We can easily say that the New Testament is filled with pointed warnings to actively resist and defend against the Evil One. If we look at the main passages we can see… 

The Five Key Truths of Spiritual Warfare 

There are five key passages on spiritual warfare, and each of them has a very specific message for us to apply. As we turn to each one and read the verses, note the lesson and apply it, by the power of God’s Spirit, in your life. 

JESUS said to resist Satan we must—USE GOD’S WORD. In Matthew 4:1-11 we saw that God's Word works, Jesus even used the Old Testament to defeat the Devil! 

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” 

PAUL said to resist Satan we must—USE GOD’S WEAPONS. In Ephesians 6.10-17 we see that our spiritual weapons are not human inventions or works, as Paul wrote:  

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 

JAMES said that to resist Satan we must—LIVE SUBMISSIVELY in God’s sight. In James 4:7-10 we see submission to God precedes any resistance of the Devil.  

James 4:7-10 Therefore submit to God.[is first and then, and only then can we] Resist the devil and he will flee from you.8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 

PETER said to resist Satan we must—LIVE HUMBLY in God’s sight. In I Peter 5.5-9 we see that God calls us to clothe ourselves with humility before we resist the prowling Devil.

 

1 Peter 5:5-9 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  

JOHN said to resist Satan we must—LIVE HOLY in God’s sight. In I John 3.7-9 and Revelation 12:10-11 we see how powerful a pure life can be, and how disabling impurity can be. 

1 John 3:3, 8 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.   

Revelation 12:10-11 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb [faith in Christ's sacrifice alone] and by the word of their testimony [hope in God alone], and they did not love their lives to the death [love God supremely]. 

As we’ve already seen, our spiritual immune system is laid out in Scripture as having three factors: spiritual health (eating and drinking in God’s Word, plus exercising each day by walking in the Spirit); spiritual armor (understanding and uses the armor Paul commands us to use in Ephesians 6:10-18); and spiritual warfare (resisting the devil and his demons). If you neglect any part of your spiritual immune system—Satan and his army have a point to step up their campaign. 

When God's Word Prevailed in Dark Ephesus 

I’d like to go back to Ephesus tonight and look again at one of the greatest revivals in Biblical history. Paul went to the godless heart of the Eastern Roman Empire called Ephesus. There he confronted the evils of daily life that godlessness begets: materialism, pride, occultism, and sensuality. 

The sequence that the Spirit of God led Luke to capture this stop on Paul’s Missionary Journeys is profound. The manner of Paul’s attack is by extensive and in-depth teaching of God’s Word. The results are worthy of our attention.  

First the kingdom of darkness is left shaken to the core, confused and fighting against itself. Second, God called out a group of believers that would form one of the greatest churches of the New Testament era. By their zenith they numbered as many as 50,000 and were the home church of Paul, Mary, John, and Timothy. In fact Jesus wrote the church at Ephesus first in Revelation because of their zeal and fervency for him. Every detail in Acts 19 was written down for us to learn from, to see what God wants us to see as the right way to confront the wrong in our culture; and also for those of us who love Jesus—how to get right with Him, and stay right with Him. 

To apply all this let’s go back to where we started. When Paul taught the Ephesian believers about the strategies of Satan, they collected and burned all of the objects associated with demonic and satanic contact (Acts 19:19-20).  

A Life-style of Shedding the Old Life 

The heart of the message Paul taught them is in Ephesians 4:22-24. That same message of Christ’s Lordship must fill our lives, leading to the removal of any part of our lives that displeases God. There are three clear choices we must make! Look again with me at Ephesians 4:22-24  

that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 

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