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The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Ephesians 6:10-11 (Lesson 36)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians 6:10-11                                                          (Lesson 36)                               

Welcome to HBS.

Our Apostle Paul shook up the workplace last week and now we’ve reached the last major section of his letter to the Ephesians.  Here he introduces that great conflict called Spiritual Warfare:  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very thing I do not want (Romans 7:18-19).

The very first thing we all must understand is the importance of this teaching because if you’re a true Believer Satan fully intends to disrupt your daily walk (lives).  The other thing is this, there is much confusion surrounding this passage of scripture, so we’re going to take our time studying it to ensure we’re all on the same page, i.e. we understand how God expects us to react to Satan’s schemes:

My purpose in writing you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.  If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him.  And if I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven it in the presence of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan should not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10 – BSB).

Be sober-minded and alert.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Be sober – minded – the Apostle Peter has already urged his readers to be “clear minded” twice in this letter (1 Peter 1:13, 4:7) and now we see him repeating this warning for the third time.  He’s saying Believers should understand Satan is real and he is their powerful spiritual enemy with one agenda – to harm them.

Clear minded means be alert, pay attention with serious minds to what’s going on in their lives and in the world in which they live.  These folks were so focused on the persecutions they were suffering they did not recognize the real threat - Satan their adversary.

Peter wants his brethren to know Satan intends to devour them, i.e. to cause them lasting harm.  The word devour in Koine Greek is Katapiein meaning to swallow or to drown.  Satan intends to disrupt their lives and weaken their faith so they will no longer serve the Lord.

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Please open your Bible at Ephesians 6:10-12:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Here, neatly tucked away at the end of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church is God’s spiritual strategy for true Believers.  If you desire your daily walk with the Lord to have a chance for success, you must first “turn the power of the Holy Spirit on” in your lives (5:15-18) and then every morning, “put on the full armor of God. 

It goes without saying these commands are not being practiced by the majority of Christendom; the evidence is in our homes, the workplace, and most certainly the world in which we live.  So, right from the get-go I want y’all to know if you’re a true Believer you are presently engaged in an ongoing spiritual battle.  However, if you’re not a saved child of God, the Bible identifies you as His enemy (Romans 5:10) and you should know you’ve chosen the wrong camp.  As far as Satan is concerned you’re right where he wants you, i.e. outside of Jesus Christ, lost and unreconciled, not walking in harmony with God. 

So, this exhortation from our Apostle Paul is directed to true Believers and not society in general.  He wants us to know the spiritual battle we’re engaged in is more substantial than any conflict ever fought on earth by men.  These battles revolved around the control of land, power, and wealth, whereas the spiritual conflict Believers are involved in is for men and women’s eternal souls. 

Satan’s strategy utilizes confusion and deception to achieve success, as our Apostle Paul explains:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing (literally, the walking dead), in whose case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Believe it or not “those who are perishing” include a great many people sitting in their favorite church week after week.  At the Tower of Babel Satan devised the global spread of his rebellion against the LORD God by promoting human-invented religion and materialism.  The loss of unified language led to the loss of the revelation of God, faith had been corrupted and perverted by sin, leading to religious idolatry:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known about God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures (Romans 1:18-23).

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

Religion is not a creation of God it’s a creation of men and Satan uses it to confuse and deceive millions of people. 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

I pray y’all are beginning to understand the seriousness of this matter because history reveals most people do not.  C.S. Lewis warned us decades ago saying, “Believers usually fall into one of two camps when dealing with the demonic:  they deny their existence or they become fascinated with them.”  Either way, millions of people are missing the Bible’s basic teachings about spiritual warfare. 

When our Apostle Paul described “lostness,” he often framed it in terms of spiritual warfare.  Unbelievers follow the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).  They are blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), bound in darkness (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18), and caught in Satan’s snare (2 Timothy 2:25-26).  The devil’s goal is to keep Believers from proclaiming and living out the gospel of grace (Romans 6:17-19). 

Even though Satan and his forces are real, many people continue to teach the devil is only a concept introduced in the first century to explain evil.  So, let’s be clear; Satan is a supernatural being and he opposes God and anyone who trusts in Him. 

Know Your Enemy

The key to overcoming spiritual warfare is knowledge.  Know the enemy and his tactics and utilize the defensive and offensive weapons revealed in Ephesians 6:10-18. 

Every true Believer faces three enemies:  their flesh, Satan, and the world:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest (Ephesians 2:1-3). 

Second, Satan is known by many aliases in the Bible.  A partial list follows:

Adversary (Job 1)
Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24)
Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)
Devil/accuser (Matthew 4:1)
Dragon (Revelation 12:9, 20:2)
god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Lucifer, meaning:  morning star (Isaiah 14:12)
Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
Roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8)
Ruler of the demons (Matthew 12:24)
Serpent (Genesis 3:1)
Tempter (Matthew 4:3)
The anointed cherub that covers (Ezekiel 28:14)
The wicked one (Matthew 13:19)

This book says Satan is “the father of lies (deception)” and the master of confusion, in fact: 
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

In His most heated encounter with the Jewish religious authorities, Jesus declared Satan a murderer and a liar, and “the father of lies:”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.  “Why do you not understand what I am saying?  It is because you cannot hear My word.  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:42-44).

As “the father of lies,” Satan works constantly to deceive mankind about God’s very existence, His goodness and His love, as well as his own existence (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  Religion is a counterfeit creation of Satan that originated at the Tower of Babel.  He uses it to thwart God’s plan of salvation; and it’s working.  Satan’s deception will reach its peak during the period of time known in the Bible as the Tribulation or the Day of the Lord, when God wraps up His Prophetic Program with the nation of Israel and pours out His wrath on an unbelieving world. 

Satan Used the Lie to Deceive the Woman

Satan’s campaign of deceit to the human race is recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis, and it is here for “our learning.”  He is introduced as a serpent but the woman did not speak with a snake.  She spoke to Satan himself.  He seduced her by planting the seed of doubt in her mind.  The devil had her questioning what the LORD God originally said and believing He was selfishly withholding something good from her.  He deceived her into thinking eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would result in her having knowledge of good and evil and she would become like God Himself.  Satan’s temptation was not that the woman would be God.  That would have been a stretch.  Rather, the temptation was that she could become like God, acquainted with good and evil. 

The serpent’s deception is recorded in Genesis 3:1-6: 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.  The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Satan’s deception known as “the lie” caused the woman to question the LORD God’s command.  The serpent succeeded in confusing her and stoked the fires of lust within.  By the way, another name for lust is greed:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6). 

Because I’m interested in what this book is saying I looked up the word crafty in the dictionary and learned there are about a dozen synonyms for it.  Webster’s defines the word crafty as:  wily, shrewd, slick, insidious, cagey, smart, canny, subtle, devious, intelligent, astute, sly, adroit, calculating, cunning, deceitful, designing, and disingenuous.  Make no mistake Satan is a dangerous adversary; he’s not to be taken lightly.

After the wrongful deed was done, the woman quickly realized her terrible mistake.  Here is the conversation that took place between the LORD and the woman:

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14).  The woman attempted to fend off the LORD’s judgment by playing the “Blame Game.”  However, the LORD God held her accountable and rightly so. 

This wasn’t the first time Satan used “the lie” to deceive others.  The lie was first used in eternity-past.  Lucifer, “the morning star” believed he could overpower and dethrone God and then become god (Isaiah 14:14).  But the record shows Lucifer’s rebellion failed, so he now peddles “the lie” to mankind.  He seduces people with a message that:  a) man can become like God; and b) Satan is God (Matthew 4).  

Before God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) Lucifer applied this scheme to the angels of heaven.   At this time Satan had another name.  God had created him and named him, “the Shining One.”  He was God’s most beautiful and powerful creation.  He was “the anointed cherub that covers” (Ezekiel 28:14).  The word covers means:  to cover as a guard or protector.  Coincidentally, we find the word describing the cherubim who covered or guarded “the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant” (Exodus 25:20, 37:9, 1 Kings 8:7; 1 Chronicles 28:18).  The mercy seat of the Ark was the earthly representation of God’s heavenly throne.  From this we learn Lucifer, before his rebellion, was its chief guardian and protector.

Scripture describes Satan this way - “every precious stone was your covering” (Ezekiel 28:13).  As a result of his rebellion, he exchanged his glorious attire of ruby, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise, emerald, and gold for maggots and worms (Isaiah 14:11). 

Here the LORD God remembers him as he was before the rebellion:  You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you.  On the day that you were created they were prepared.  You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:12-15).
 
Satan’s Fall

Isaiah recorded Satan’s thought processes that led to his rebellion:

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’” (Isaiah 14:13-14). 

Notice the number of times he promotes himself by saying, “I will,” and the progressive nature of Satan’s pride:  ascend, raise above, sit on the mount, in the north, ascend above.  His selfish attitude was revealed with this boast, “I will make myself like the Most High.” This is how “the lie” began.

Yet Satan’s future will be eternal humiliation:  Sheol (Hell) from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.  They will all respond and say to you, even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us.  Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering.  How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!  You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! (Isaiah 14:9-12; Revelation 20:10). 

Satan actually became a victim of his own lie.  He formed the idea in his mind that he could be like God; however his rebellion was put down.  Since then his chief labor has been to deceive other created beings, angelic and human, and he’s achieved great success.  He deceived one-third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) and labors tirelessly to ensure mankind’s fall.  He works continuously to promote his lie in order to keep men and women from God’s love and mercy and to weaken the faith of Believers. 

(To be continued)

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