Ephesians 6:13-17; The messenger and the message are attacked – stand firm.
length: 33:52 - taught on May, 4 2022
We have noted Satan’s attacks against the messenger of the gospel. He tries to shame the messenger, make him fear the opinions of others, ruin his reputation, and in some cases try to intimidate him with material and physical harm. Jesus promised the disciples that the powerful in the world would lay their hands on theme and persecute them for His name’s sake. He didn’t tell them to hide, but rather said that it would lead to an opportunity for their testimony.
Satan also attacks the message, which is his attack against the listeners. He infiltrates societies with false gospels and false Jesus’. These are theories claiming to be the gospel and depictions of saviors that claim to be Jesus or like Him.
Satan infiltrates the world with a depiction of God that contains many untruths.
Paul relates the infiltration of the world with lies right to the first lie told to us when the devil, in the serpent, deceived Eve in Eden by his craftiness (2CO 11:3). To Eve, Satan depicted God as something that He wasn’t; one who holds back good things from His creation and is in fact afraid of them moving too high up. And to the world, Satan depicts a similarly fabricated gospel and a Jesus that is not the real one. Paul also writes in our epistle that we are to be on our guard for “the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (EPH 4:14).
The members of the body of Christ are the light of the world. Our light is to shine by means of our good works, which some will see and glorify the Father (not us) for the light that is the life of Christ shining in this dark world. And we must remember that the Lord Jesus is with us every step of the way. He is the one carrying the burden and we are obeying Him and striving to live His righteousness, which puts all the weight, and also the glory, upon Him. He is in us, clothes us, is with us, and He is at the right hand of God constantly praying for us. It wouldn’t hurt for each of us to know that our name is being uttered on the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God very often.
Jesus also warned us not to do our works for the purpose of people noticing us. We shine forth His light, but all the while with our desire to please Him far over and above any people.
Today we look at a few more schemes of the devil against the messenger and the gospel that he brings.
Schemes against the messenger: reveal sins. Living ethically, we keep a clean conscience and our witness is strong.
Satan will reveal our personal sins to others in an attempt to discredit. This is why our witness is far better when their accusations are wrong. We are instructed to live morally and ethically, so that in the thing they are slandering us, they are wrong and we maintain a good conscience.
And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Schemes against the listeners: projection of doubt - by some mechanism the gospel is taken away from their heart.
“The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up.”
“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from [apo - away from] their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.”
We long for the Lord to elaborate on this parable and explain to us who or what kind of people are these along with the other three places where the seed fell (rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil). But we must be careful. Parables reveal one main theme and we must be careful not to read into them or the imagery that they use something that is not intended. This parable, the chief one as the Lord tells us, is too often handled recklessly based on preconceived ideas concerning what it takes to be saved and careless conclusions are arrived at.
My own attempt at a mechanism grows from Satan’s main weapons, which are deception and lies, however, I can only guess. The gospel enters the mind and then the projection of doubt against it rises up. Hadn’t they heard before that Jesus was a great man but in no wise God or the only Savior? Hadn’t they known that all religions were basically the same? If salvation does exist, doesn’t it only exist for those who have so many good works that they attain the lofty status of saints, halos and all? On and on are the lies in this world. I can imagine the possibility of the gospel being received with joy, but when doubts arise that it could possibly be true, the person puts no faith in it.
What we read is all that the Lord leaves with us, and so we conclude it is full enough in its revelation. What we can know is that the seed is the word of God (in Matthew: the word of the kingdom, in Mark: the word).
when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in [eis - into] them.
the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in [en - in] his heart.
This snatching by Satan is the actual word of God taken from the heart. It is incredible when we think about it. Satan has no power over the word of God, or does he? We should be careful with our conclusions, but we can at least know that the word is being taken from within them. The prepositions used by all three writers confirms that the word was in them and then is taken away.
We know that God is sovereign, but it is clear that He has allowed certain dark and evil forces to work against the truth. We might come up with any number of ways in which we think Satan can accomplish this word snatching out of someone’s very heart. We don’t have to do that, and we should be very cautious when we try, it is enough for us to know that it happens.