Sharing the happiness of God, part 12, the schemes of the devil; John 15:11

Class Outline:

Title: Sharing the happiness of God, part 12, the schemes of the devil; John 15:11.


/Satan’s schemes: #1 - Master counterfeiter. The parable of the wheat and the tares reveals that evil infiltrated the church, but it will become evident as believers grow to maturity.\


/Luke 8:17

"For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.\


Satan is most likely much more satisfied with the unbeliever in the church on a Sunday morning than with those who are playing golf or sleeping off a hangover, for the pew-sitters are more apt to think that they are all right.


/Satan’s schemes: #2 - Open opposition to the work of God in order the thwart its progress.\


/1 Thess 2:18  

For we wanted to come to you —  I, Paul, more than once —  and yet Satan thwarted us.\


Acts 17:1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.


Acts 17:2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,


Acts 17:3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."


Acts 17:4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a great multitude of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.


Acts 17:5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and coming upon the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.


Acts 17:6 And when they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also;


Acts 17:7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."


Acts 17:8 And they stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things.


Acts 17:9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason [to not allow Paul to come again] and the others, they released them.

Please notice that satan was successful and that God didn’t undo this opposition. It depended upon the free will of the people and of Jason and buckled under the pressure. However, God did provide another location for Paul and his fellow workers to go to.


This is direct and open opposition that on the surface is successful.


To the church at Smyrna:


REV 2:10 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.


REV 2:12 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:


REV 2:13 'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.


/Satan did not simply reside in Pergamum, but his "throne" or seat of power of king or judge was there in three ways.


The symbol of Asklepios [god of medicine] was the serpent.

The throne altar to Zeus, symbol of "rampant paganism."

Center of new Caesar-worship.\

/Satan’s throne: the seat of false religion. Satan directly opposes the true gospel and the grace plan of God in the form of false religion.\


Pergamum was the capital of the Roman province of Asia. There were beautiful temples to the four great gods Zeus, Dionysus, Athena and Asklepios. To the temple of Asklepios, whose image was a serpent, invalids from all parts of Asia flocked, and there, while they were sleeping in the court, the god revealed to the priests and physicians by means of dreams the remedies which were necessary to heal their maladies. Thus opportunities of deception were numerous. There was a school of medicine in connection with the temple. Pergamos was chiefly a religious center of the province. A title which it bore was "Thrice Neokoros," meaning that in the city 3 temples had been built to the Roman emperors, in which the emperors were worshipped as gods.


/Satan’s schemes #3: Employing false doctrine that appeals to the intellectual pride of man.\


REV 2:18  "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:


REV 2:19 'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.


REV 2:20 'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.


REV 2:21 'And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.


REV 2:22 'Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.


REV 2:23 'And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.


REV 2:24 'But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them —  I place no other burden on you.


/In these doctrines of demons, idolatry and immorality are incorporated into doctrinal systems, having the same vocabulary and structure of true doctrine.\


And again, Satan doesn’t care what direction you go in, as long as you’re not walking in the light. You find yourself indulging immorality and so you switch to asceticism and go over to self-righteousness and works that you think pleases God. You struggle with your natural trend towards self-righteousness and so you indulge lasciviousness and call it grace.


Either way, he has you. However, not being ignorant of his schemes means that I know the truth behind a matter. I don’t indulge immorality so that grace may increase. I don’t go the path of self-righteous legalism and denial and think, falsely, that God is pleased. I pursue experiential sanctification through the power of the Spirit and the word of God and all under the umbrella of grace.


You will find satan more at work in a seminary than in a bar. Undoubtedly, he will work wherever he sees opportunities, but perhaps he needs to be less concerned about the bar, where man’s own lusts will automatically take over, than about the seminary, where he fights for the minds of men and, if successful, can poison the stream at its source.


/Satan’s schemes #4: Apply pressure on the believer in various ways. \


/There is the pressure that comes from the believer’s inability to maintain a good course of action that he is unready for. You put on more self-denial than you are able to bear, 1TI 5:14-15.\


In my years involved in a great local assembly, this is the one that I’ve seen have the most affect on positive believers. They take upon themselves a pressure that God did not lay upon them.


1 Tim 5:9 Let a widow be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,


1 Tim 5:10 having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.


1 Tim 5:11 But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard [lack of self-control due to young age, uncontrolled energy that pursues a luxurious life] of Christ, they want to get married,


There is nothing wrong with their remarriage, however, they do not have the maturity to direct their energies to the work of the church and so should not be put on the list of those whom the church supports. They lack a mind that is subdued by age and trials.


1 Tim 5:12 thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge.


/Certain young widows pledged to perform the things in verse 10 on behalf of the church thus putting on more self-denial than their young minds could bear. \


Paul will tell them in verse 14 that they should rather remarry.


There is an added pressure of self-condemnation for pledging to do something that you cannot do. There is no condemnation in Christ, and so if this does happen to you, you simply need to name and cite any guilt, reevaluate the situation, make the proper changes, and then press on, forgetting what lies behind.


/It is important for a believer to learn his own limitations. All of us have them and when we lie to ourselves about that truth then we leave a room open for satan to pour in pressure.\


As for the young widows in the early church, because they could not fulfill the duties of a poor widow that is supported by the church, they have idle time on their hands and they fall into more serious problems.


/Idleness is the devil’s playground.\


1 Tim 5:13 And at the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle [which is bad enough], but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.


1 Tim 5:14 Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach;


1 Tim 5:15 for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.


In context, this is an instruction for them to busy themselves with what they can and should do, until they mature. This is in no way a commandment for a young girl to get married and have children and keep house so that she may close opportunities for satan.


/Master the details of life and then you will be fit to serve God, 2TI 2:4-5.\


/2 Tim 2:4-5

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.\


The rules are momentum from PVTD before service, abiding in love so there are no personality conflicts, sacrificial love, forgiving love, powerful love, master of the details of life and not going out of bounds into C1 and C2 with great frequency.


/1 Cor 13:2

And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.\


This all started with a pledge to do divine good on behalf of the church without the capacity to do so and without the humility to say that one took on more than they could do.


1 Tim 5:16 If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.


/Pressure within the church creates division. The remedy for this is openness and communication from the pastor, 1 Ti 5:20.\