The Devil – His Enterprise: Lies and the Truth

The Devil – His Enterprise: Lies and the Truth [TRANSCRIPT]

In Matthew 4:1 the Bible says,
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
 
1 Peter 5:8 tells us,
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

In 2 John 1:7 it says,
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

In Daniel 11:36 speaking of a future king the Bible says,
Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt himself and boast against every god and will speak dreadful things against the God of gods;

In Revelation 13:5-6 we read about this same king,
A mouth was given to him speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

Last week we looked briefly at the Devil’s Story. We took a glimpse into his character of this deceiver. Today, I want us to look into where his story is heading. You see, knowing his character as a liar and deceiver, we ask “What is he up to?” Where does he plan to take his rebellion? To say it another way, “What is his end game?” If we’re going to protect ourselves from his deception, I think it’s extremely important for us to know and understand this very thing. So, let’s do that.

***

As I mentioned, last week we looked at the Devil’s and his story. Specifically, we looked at his origin and some of the things about his character and nature. He is a Liar and the father of all lies. His chief weapon is deception. The Bible tells us how he began and how he will end.

The history of the world and all of creation is not a random series of events. As I mentioned before, History is His Story, God’s story. Now in that story, God has an adversary, Satan. But understand this, God and Satan are not equals. God is sovereign. He is who He is. God’s intention was for His creation to exist within the truth of who He is, God, the Sovereign Lord.

That reality is in fact the issue with the enemy. He desires and does desire to be equal with God. Satan’s story is a cautionary tale for any and all who come against the True and the Living God. When the rebellion of Satan reached the earth and touched mankind, God made provision for a redemption for mankind, but not for Satan and his rebels. And so, the battle began and continues to this day. The enemy is already defeated but he presses on in his pride believing, somehow that he’s going to succeed.

What I want to do today is come to understand something about how the enemy seeks to carry out his battle against God and mankind. I want us to see the strategy of the enemy so that we can detect it and see it when it appears.

Remember, he is a deceiver. He is cunning and her is devious. Ad it’s not like he’s openly advertising his presence in the work he is carrying out. His operation and enterprises are vast and varied. And in the coming weeks we will examine in more detail some of the areas where the deception of the enemy is at work.

Now, how can we know and detect the enemy’s gameplan? Well, part of the way of course is understanding the character of the enemy. Knowing the enemy provides us information of his methods and therefore helps us to detect when he is at work. God’s Word guides us in this area.

History has also given to us with plenty of examples of how he has played out his strategy of deception. And although the enemy is cunning, he is not that imaginative. Past performance does provide predictive help when it comes to this enemy. And again, God’s Word is very instructive.

But there’s one more way to get a glimpse into the Devil’s plan and help us deal with his deceptive ways. It’s sort of what an investigator uses when he to tries to solve a crime. He begins by asking a question concerning motive. Discover the motive and you find your way into finding your suspect.

Well, in this case, we know who our suspect is. He’s the Devil. So, then the question moves to, “What is his motive? What drives him in his actions? Why is he doing what he’s doing?

I believe that when we get the answer to those questions, we are aided greatly in spotting his deception and his deceptive techniques and enterprises. Now, like I said, he is cunning and he is very active in the world today.

I want to begin by going back and looking at what drove his rebellion in the first place. You remember we saw in Isaiah 12:13,14 where it says,
But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

There it is. Driven by his pride and arrogance, he desired to be like God, the Almighty. The creature wanted to be equal to the Creator. He had lived in the presence of God. He had served the Lord God. But he wanted what God processed: position, power, adoration.

Now, let’s revisit the Garden. What was the incentive he used in order to get Adam and Eve to take the final step in disobeying God? Remember the process? First, he questioned God’s Word “Has God really said?” Then he provided a substitute description of reality. “You certainly will not die?” And then he completes his work by enticing them with the power to decide, to control. “You will be like God…

Did you catch that? He lures them in with the same thing he himself desires, to be like God. He offers them power, power to control, the power to decide against God, the power to even be like God. I know this sounds foolish. And it truly is. But such is Satan’s hatred of God, that he moves to destroy God’s work, especially His crowning work, humanity. Such is the madness of such pride.

But now let’s look a little further into the story. Let’s look at the time when Jesus Himself came to earth and was face to face with the enemy. We find this recorded in Matthew 4. The Bible says in verse 1, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” In Matthew 4:1-11 we have recorded a series of three temptations that Satan tries to undermine and defeat Jesus. I want to look at each of these and see if we can detect a pattern in what Satan is doing.
First off, in Matthew 4:3-4 it says,
And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT COMES OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

To start with, Satan in the first two temptations he begins by challenging Jesus saying, “If you are the Son of God...” The reason this is important is if you go back to Matthew 3:13-17 you have the incident of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. Do you remember what the voice from heaven said concerning Jesus? “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

God has declared openly who Jesus is, His Son. And what does Satan do? He calls into question what God has said. Sound familiar? Now, there is truthfully no doubt in Satan’s mind as to Jesus’ identity. But implied in his statement is also a challenge. It’s the challenge to act independently of God’s desire, God’s will. He dares Jesus to change the stones into bread and feed Himself.

Jesus answers by quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3. “understand that man shall not live on bread alone, but man shall live on everything that comes out of the mouth of the LORD.” Jesus is saying that He was to be sustained by obedience to His Father’s will.

Remember, in John 4 when Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well? After the encounter, His disciples return and they find Him talking to the woman.  Now, afterward they urged Him to eat something. You remember what He told them, and it’s in verse 34? “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” Jesus knew God’s command; His Word. And He would not be moved from that despite Satan’s challenge. Jesus did not take the bait of a dare from the evil one. The dares of the arrogant…remember this, the dares of the arrogant are not worthy of a response.

Now comes the second temptation. This time Satan quotes Scripture to Jesus quoting from Psalm 91:11-12:
For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. On their hands they will lift you up, so that you do not strike your foot against a stone.
We should never think or assume that the Satan does not know the Bible. Here we have him quoting from the Bible to Jesus. There’s a saying I heard recently and I really like it. It says, “I can do all things with Scripture taken out of context.” Well guess what, Satan did exactly that in quoting from Scripture. You see, the context of that Psalm is about trusting God. Satan tries using it as a passage to challenge God to act. The enemy is again twisting God’s Word and challenging Him in the process, another arrogant dare.

Jesus, of course sees through the misuse and again responds from Scripture. “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test,Deuteronomy 6:16.

I hope you see what Jesus is doing here. Knowing God’s Word provides us the best defense against the enemy’s misuse of it. You may have heard the saying before but it bares repeating. Scripture does not mean what it says, it means what it means. We should read and learn and understanding what God has spoken. It protects us from deception’s misuse.

But let’s get to the last of the temptations. Satan took Jesus to the very high mountain and he shows Him all the kingdoms of the world. And he then offers Him all of it if He will fall down and worship him.

Now, before we look at the Jesus’ response, I want to point out how Satan really exposes himself in this temptation. You see, he offers Jesus power. Now, make no mistake, this is power which he possesses. Somehow Satan believed that like in the Garden, the lure of power would work like had worked before. But like I said, no imagination. But by doing this Satan reveals what he really wants, what he really desires He desires Worship. Remember that.

Of course, Jesus answers again from Scripture and makes it clear that worship belongs to God alone. He quotes from Deuteronomy 6:13-14, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
So, Satan again questions God Word. He misuses it with an alternate meaning to what God said and meant. And then finally, he seeks to tempt with power. And in that process, he reveals what he really wants most of all. He desires what God possess. He wants to be worshipped.

We see this clearly when we look in the last book of the Bible. In the Revelation Satan possesses the person known as the Antichrist, the Beast. And within the narrative, Satan openly shows his hand. The Beast exalts himself and then demands worship. Satan’s man buys fully in to the lie of the Devil and like his benefactor craves what belongs to God alone.

I trust I’ve made it clear? I hope you’ve seen the pattern. The deceptive work of our enemy follows the use of several elements.

He calls into question God’s Word. He denounces it. He denies it. He misuses it. Whatever form it takes, the strategy is to neutralize what God has said.

If that doesn’t work, the enemy offers a substitute to God’s Word. He can do it by misquoting, misusing it, or creating an alternative to God’s Word. This can include other revelations or alternate authoritative words of supposed truths.

But the ultimate weapon that the enemy utilizes is the prize of power. It can come in small to extravagant forms. It could be riches. It could be fame. It could even be ultimate power. Of course, the catch with Satan is that ultimate power is what he desires. And you can bet that he will bait and switch on his offers to others every time.

Satan seems to follow this pattern of deception. In the weeks ahead you will see it repeated over and over again. You see, how the enemy spreads his deceptive lies varies in various spheres of our world he does it. The areas may change, but the lie remain amazingly consistent.

In the weeks ahead we will look at the educational world and the enemy’s deception within it. We’ll also see that it’s in the scientific world and the philosophical world. It occurs in the world of politics and economics. And it is alive and well in the social world. And of course, we will look at how Satan has invaded the religious world. Our enemy does not sleep.

Having said that, I want you remember what God’s Word says. In 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Our enemy is active. This is even more so as he knows that his time is running out. But remember, he is a defeated enemy.

Our Lord is greater than him. That Lord lives in His children. We need to know his devices.

Our greatest weapon is God’s Word. Know it. Believe it above all else.
Do not fear the enemy, fear God.
God’s truth will expose the enemy and defeat him.
This is why God’s truth matters.

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