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Satanic Opposition to the Gospel Ministry

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Satanic Opposition to the Gospel Ministry

Introduction

>      23 hostages in Afghanistan.  A pastor & members of a Korean Presbyterian church there as missionaries.  Pastor killed 7/25, another 7/30.  How can they/we be consoled, comforted or encouraged in matters like this?  Does God have a word for us?

>      1Th. 2:9-14 = If you have godly motives & methods, people will see it & know that its true.  Some people will love Christ & love you because of it while other people will hate Christ & hate you!

I.      God is Displeased with this Opposition (1Th. 2:15c)

A.    Hinders the salvation of sinners (1Th. 2:16a)

To oppose the gospel = oppose the ultimate good for people “oppose all mankind”.  God proved His love for sinners (Jn. 3:16).  Jesus proved His love (Rom. 5:8).  God has sent the gospel to save sinners (Rom. 1:16). Anyone who hinders the gospel opposes the life/death of Christ, the HS, God Himself – omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience = insanity…!

B.     Satan is the source of this opposition (1Th. 2:18b)

1Pe. 5:8 describes him.  Though unseen, he has tremendous influence in the world.  He has supernatural power (not omnipotent) – signs, wonders, false miracles, controls fallen angels (demons) & nature, intelligent & deceptive.  Power over unbelievers – to influence, oppress & possess them, tempt for evil, sp. blindness, slavery, cause illness & death.  Can influence believers with lies, deception & temptation, cause physical pain, illness & death if the Lord wills.  Satan is more powerful than people (unbelievers & believers).  So you should not talk to him (like Eve) nor try to command him.  Pray to God, resist the devil (Jas. 4:7.; 2Co. 12:7-10); armor of God (Eph. 6:16f).  Only thru Christ do we have victory over him (Rom.8:37) – but we do have the victory!

C.     Wicked people are involved in this opposition ( 2:16b-c)

He used the Jews, mob & gov. externally (Ac. 17:5f); false leaders & believers internally.  Everyone is created for a purpose (Pr. 16:4) – Pharaoh, Judas, etc.  God is patient with the wicked as His purposes are being fulfilled.  At the appointed time, He will act in judgment.  These Jews had reached the stage where it was impossible to repent (Heb. 6:4).  They were already condemned to God’s judgment!  Read Heb. 10:26-31.

Satan can & does hinder believers right now, today.  Are you being hindered by Satan?  Are you being used by Satan to hinder the gospel?  Jesus is your only hope in either situation.  God revealed Satan’s activity to Paul & He can reveal it to you!

II.    People Are Seriously Affected by this Opposition

A.    Jesus was killed (1Th. 2:15)

He was actually murdered; premeditated murder because of hatred & envy (Ac. 7:52; Mt. 27:18; Jn. 7:7)

B.     The prophets were killed (1Th. 2:15)

The OT prophets were also murdered (Ac. 7:52; Mt. 23:31).  Mostly undocumented in the OT, but revealed in the NT.

C.     Paul was persecuted (1Th. 2:15)

He was forced to leave Thessalonica (Ac. 17:5,10), Berea (Ac. 17:13-14), etc. – threats, attacks, beatings…

Hatred is of the flesh (Gal. 5:20), leads to deceit (Pr. 26:24), stirs up strife (Pr. 10:12), leads to murder (1Jo. 3:15), forbidden among Christians (Col. 3:8.; 1Jo. 3:15).

ILL:  More than 200M people in over 60 nations are being perse-cuted because they are Christians – deprived of jobs, food, medical care; rape, torture, slavery, murder & even genocide.  The gospel is being opposed in these nations where Christ/Christians are hated.

APPL:  Here at NHBC, we must get prepared for opposition; strong opposition, satanic opposition to the gospel ministry.  Opposition & persecution brings the children of God together.  Satan hates us & people being used by Satan hate us.  They will oppose us & try to hinder us.  But our heavenly Father has plans & purposes for us that cannot be stopped; Jesus is the Master & Ruler over Satan.  And we know Romans 8:28, 35-39.  The HS enables us to stand & persevere thru hatred, slander, abuse, rejection, threats, temptations, financial problems, illness…  My brothers/sisters our heavenly Father is a mighty God & a mighty fortress… (pg. 15).

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