Faithlife Sermons

"The Enemies of God"

Notes
Transcript
(Picture of the River Patrol Boat in Vietnam)
From the very beginning of time we have seen how Satan has tried to pick off and defeat God’s people. For us as God’s children we are in a war against the enemies of God.
-Satan deceived Eve and picked her off.
-Satan was constantly waring with God’s people the Israelites.
-Satan tried to pick off men like Joseph, David, and Daniel.
- The government of Rome opposed Christ and what he stood for and even the Jewish people were against Christ. Behind the scenes we know that this was really a battle between Satan and his demonic forces. There is this constant spiritual war going on. In fact, here is how Paul described it in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Finally, we come to the end and we see a final battle that will take place between good and evil. This battle the battle of Armageddon will take place between Christ and Satan and his followers. My point is this. There has always been a war going on. There is a real spiritual war that is happening everyday for our souls, and Satan wants nothing more than to defeat, deceive and kill the lives of every human. Jesus came to defeat the enemy, he came so that we might have salvation and someday live with Him.

3 Questions we must answer!

1. We must know the enemy!

There are 2 specific enemies.

Demonic Enemies.

One of the key themes that we see in Revelation is evil opposing God. And the major contributor to all the evil in the world is the Devil or Satan. Here is how he is known in Revelation.
Revelation 12:3 ESV
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.
Revelation 12:9–10 ESV
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
Great Red Dragon = The dragon represents a mythological creature who is and enemy of God and comes against the people of God. The devil is also called a serpent. Have you ever wondered why or seen this in Scripture? Well of course, we see this back in the Garden of Eden when Satan Tempted Eve and that is why he is called the Ancient Serpent. (Gen. 3:1-7) These are all names that point us to the fact that Satan is an enemy of God and will do everything he can to deceive us as God’s people from seeing the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Watch out!!!
However I also want us to see here that Satan does not work alone. There are several other demonic influences or enemies.
Revelation 13 ESV
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
The Beast = So, here in chapter 13 we actually see 2 Beasts. This first beast from the sea dies and comes back to life. Because of this the people are amazed and follow the beast. The beast has been called the Antichrist even though this term is never found in the book of Revelation. What we need to know here is that this beast represents all human government. During this time it would have been the Roman Empire and the emperor.
The False Prophet = This is the second beast. The false prophet encouraged the worship of the emperor and his false gods. He is a parody of the Holy Spirit. This beast stands or represents “false religion.” The beast and the false prophet make war against God.
These 3 titles represent the unholy trinity.

Human Enemies.

-False Teachers.
Revelation 2:2 ESV
“ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
These were people who claimed to be believers or Jews but who were in fact not. In verse 9 they are referred to as ‘the synagogue of Satan.’ False teachers can look like the real thing but they are not. Church we are seeing more false teachers than ever before. People who speak from God’s word but make it to fit how they want it. Not all churches are the same as ours. Not all churches preach in the infallible word of God. Many churches today ok or justify certain sin. Be on the guard and watch out for false teachers and false teaching!!!
-Nicolaitans.
Revelation 2:6 ESV
Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Some things that the Nicolaitans probably were involved in were tolerating sexual immorality and eating food that was for idols. But, these things were wrong for the Ephesian believers to get involved in. God was against these things.
-Those that hold to the teachings of Balaam.
Revelation 2:14 ESV
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
In the Old Testament Balaam was not allowed to curse the Israelites but instead he was to bless them. However he had a sneaky plan to have the Moabites come together with the Israelites and because of that they copied their culture. The Israelites began to worship their gods and be sexually immoral. Even though this was in Israels past history they were beginning to go back to this same thing now in Pergamum. (2:12-17) Some people in the church were reverting to old ways and old practices.
-Jezebel and her followers.
Revelation 2:20–23 ESV
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
So often, Satan will deceive God’s people into sinful things. Here in verses 20-23 we see Jezebel this false prophetess was Satan’s instrument for the church in Thyatira. She also deceived others to engage in sexual immorality and eat food that was for idols. She refused to repent and turn from her ways because her heart was hardened to sin.
Jews. Christians also faced opposition from Jews. Even though Judaism was tolerated during the time of Roman rule, when Christianity came about it was looked at as a new religion and not tolerated. What happened was that Jews would slander and throw Christians under the bus so that they were persecuted and even killed.
-Unbelievers. Human opposition also comes from unbelievers. Revelation calls unbelievers “earth dwellers.” (3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 13:12, 13:14, 17:2, 17:8) The term earth dwellers always refers to unbelievers or people who rebel against God. In fact, unbelievers are known to mock and persecute God’s people.
-Government and Ungodly Empires. When we look down through church history we can see how Satan works through ungodly empires and governments to try and defeat the people of God. Babylon the great, the Roman empire and many others were enemies against God and His people. In modern times we see Nazi Germany and Hitler killed innocent Jews. Empires and governments can support selfishness, idolatry, sexual immorality, and the abuse and murder of those who follow Christ.

2. We must know the strategies of the enemy!

One of the biggest rules of warfare is: know your enemy. The more you know about your enemy-how he thinks, what motivates him-the better you are able to devise a way of counteracting his moves and defeating him. To overcome our enemy, the devil and his followers, is to not only know their character but also their strategies.
The devil is often depicted humorously with a pitchfork sitting on a person's shoulder and whispering naughty things into a person's ear. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The devil is always seeking our destruction. He is always on the prowl, never satisfied. It is his nature is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10).
The devil is a fierce opponent, a deadly enemy. There is nothing funny or humorous about his tactics or his intent, especially if we are his intended victim. Here are just a few strategies of the devil and his followers.
-To persecute. In Revelation 12:13-17 Satan comes agains the woman and her offspring (a representation of the people of God) on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Satan is constantly persecuting God’s people. We also see in Revelation chapter 2:10 how unbelievers or governments oppose and persecute Christians who stand up for the name of Jesus. The enemies strategy is to persecute believers so that they give up and fall away from God.
-To falsely accuse.
Revelation 2:9 ESV
“ ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
The Hebrew word שָׂטָן (satan) means to oppose, obstruct, or accuse. The Greek term (σατάν, satan) literally means “adversary.” This is exactly what the word devil means. Satan and his demons so often come against, slander, and accuse believers. Has someone ever falsely accused you of something that is untrue? How did you feel? Satan and his accusers will tell lies and do everything they can to sidetrack God’s people.
-To deceive.
Revelation 12:9 ESV
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Satan tempted Eve from the very beginning and he continues to tempt and deceive people thousands of years later. Often times the strategy of the enemy is to make one think that the sin is ok or that is won’t hurt us. Eventually our sin leads to death. Scott Duval says, “one of the chief ways that Satan tries to deceive us is by distracting us. We so often get sidetracked and distracted by stupid stuff, things that don’t matter.” When we get our eyes off of stuff and ourselves and look to Christ we will be deceived no longer!
Revelation 18:4 ESV
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;

3. We must know our battle plan against the enemy!

Let’s take a look at the battle that is actually going to happen in Revelation. This battle is known as the battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 19:11–21 ESV
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
-God has already won the victory. One of the things that we need to remember as believers is that Christ at the cross and through His resurrection accomplished the real victory. It was victory over sin, death and the Devil. God has already won the battle. Even though we see a battle that will take place at the end of time we know God wins. Victory belongs to the Lord. (Prov. 21:31)
-Stay awake, alert, and remain watchful.
Revelation 16:15 ESV
(“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)
1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
There, come times in every believers life where we can drift off and fall asleep. We are not in the word, we have not spent time with God and we become unaware of what Satan is trying to do behind the scenes. We need to armor up and get ready for sometimes the daily battles that we will face. We need godly people in our lives, prayer warriors and the church family to hold us up and keep us accountable. My point is that we need to wake up to what is happening around us. God’s Word is truth and we can run to that.
-Be obedient to God and His Word.
Revelation 1:3 ESV
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
How can we defeat the enemy? Get into God’s Word. Read it, study it, memorize it, and obey it. God’s word will help us overcome the enemy and turn our hearts and minds away from the sinful things of this world. We know that God’s Word is truth and so it dispels the lies and darkness of the enemy. God’s Word gives us hope and strength so that when we go through discouraging times and times of suffering we can continue to be faithful and victorious followers of Christ.
In all of this discussion on the enemies of God, the one thing we as believers need to keep in mind in that Christ has won the victory and will return to win another victory against the Devil and all of God’s enemies.
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