1Jn 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
“... for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” From the beginning of... what? Not creation, time or space, because after God “created”... He saw that it was “good”. It was without the influence of sin.
The beginning spoken of here is the beginning of the Devil's sinful life, and is just another way of saying that he has “always sinned”.
It's the one thing he does... and always has been doing.
And this sinful life that the Devil lives is open rebellion against God, and everything that God has created. His sin is pride and wanting to be as God... He desires to be served and worshiped, not like a god... but like God Himself.
Isa 14:12-14 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'
Eze 28:12-15 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (13) You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. (14) "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. (15) You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
Though both passages specifically speak to earthly kings... the kings of Babylon and Tyre... the language is framed in such a way that it reaches around these individuals, or, through them to describe that force which energized them... the devil.
And... we are on safe ground in assuming this because Jesus Himself made reference to the passage we read from Isaiah in Luke 10:18 to describe Satan's fall... (And another similar passage is found in Revelation 12:8-10)
But you know what... my purpose here today isn't to give a detailed history of the life and times of Satan... I really don't need to know where he came from... or what caused his fall...
What's most important for us to know... is to understand what he does and continues to do in people's lives... and what we have to do to reduce his evil influence in our lives.
Our passage tells us that Satan sins. He has always sinned. He will always sin. And he influences us... mankind to sin. This is his “work”
Jesus, however, came to destroy the “works” of the devil. He came to destroy sin... destroy the hold that sin has over mankind... destroy the influence Satan has in our lives to follow him in sin.
This is a war that we're in. It's a spiritual war that mankind has fought since the Garden of Eden... We fight it today...
We will continue fighting it until the day that Jesus returns and we finally realize the promised victory that we sing of so often... “Oh vict'ry in Jesus... my Savior forever...”
And we're not fighting against flesh and blood.
Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
But our adversary has a lot of practice. He's been waging this war of influence, as our verse says, “from the beginning”.
We however, have only been fighting this war for a very short time in comparison... from the moment we repented and came to Christ.
For some that could be hours or days... For others, years... But still, with nowhere near the practice and training the Devil and his fallen angels have had.
So, it's very important that we learn to recognize some of his methods... and learn what we can do to fight against him.
His chief means of destroying people is through lies and deception...
Joh 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Device #1 – Satan leads men from lesser sins to greater sins.
We tend to think in terms of “big” sins and “little” sins. “Bad” sins and “not so bad” sins.
We need to remember that first and foremost... sin is sin. None of it is good. It's all bad.
But when we think in terms of “degrees” of sin, we fail to understand that these “lesser” sins are like primer... When you're painting something like a wooden bench, for instance, the primer goes on before the actual paint.
It prepares the object to better receive whatever color you're going to finally paint it.
In a similar way, these so called “small” sins cover up our fear of God and our hatred of sin. They prepare us to accept something else.
How many here have ever used what could be considered “hard” drugs? (LSD, heroin, cocaine, etc.)
How many of you who raised your hands started out by first using what could be considered a “lesser” drug? (Like alcohol, beer, or smoking pot?)
The Bible tells us, (Eph 4:27 NKJV) “nor give place to the devil.” Or as another translation says, (Eph 4:27 HCSB) “and don't give the Devil an opportunity.”
Folks... if you let the serpent's head into your house, his whole body will quickly follow.
Son 2:15 Catch the foxes for us-- the little foxes that ruin the vineyards-- for our vineyards are in bloom.
Don't give the Devil and opportunity... don't let the little foxes ruin your vineyard.
Device #2 – Satan will persistently urge people toward a particular sin.
Folks, we can't be tempted by those things we aren't tempted by.
Each of us has that one particular sin to which we are inclined...
Satan will persistently press us to give in to that sin that tempts us. Just as Delilah did with Samson (Judges 16:16)
Heb 12:1 ...let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us.
We have to lay aside... or, reject the promises of sin, knowing that those promises are empty lies... no matter how good they may sound!
To all those who would prefer to live in peace with sin rather than be at war against the devil, I say... “The devil's war is better than the devil's peace!”
Device #3 – Satan clothes evil with false appearances.
Isa 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
He will dye sin with the colors of virtue so that greed becomes “frugal”... lukewarmness becomes “moderate”... friendship with the world becomes “compromise”, and sin becomes “faults”, or “errors in judgment”.
We must remember that though the world may redefine something and declare that which used to be evil is now good... the world can never truly make “good” that which God has declared “sin”.
Truth is truth...that which is true can not at the same time be “un-truth”. We must love the truth of the Bible.
It's food for our soul and provides us that which we need to live righteously toward God.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
Device #4 – Satan attacks the conscience and assurance of believers with false reasoning.
He may use the reasoning that, “This sin can't remain in a true child of God... But it remains in me... Therefore, I am not a true child of God.”
The puritan, Spurstowe, said, “True conversion is not determined by whether sin remains in us, but whether sin reigns in us.”
When we come to Christ in repentance and are saved... we become children of the Most High God.
At that point, the moment of salvation, we are sanctified. Positionally, we are sanctified. We are “in” Christ. Our position in Him is secure.
But in our Christian lives there is also what's called “progressive” sanctification. That as we continue to walk in Christ, we become more and more like Him. We are in the process of being “changed into His image”
Rom 8:29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
This progressive sanctification will continue until the coming of the Lord. So, we must remember that our position in Christ is secure, but on a daily basis, we also, (Php 2:12) “...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Device #5 – Satan will make a strategic retreat for a time to draw us out of our position of strength.
He will allow us a momentary victory in order to swell our hearts with pride.
He can't touch me... I've won!
I've been a smoker for many years of my life. I've only quit this last time since my heart attack 3+ years ago.
But prior to that... I had quit several times. Each time would last from a month or two to a year or more.
But the moment I began to feel like I could never be tempted with tobacco again...BAM! I was tempted and started using tobacco again.
2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
We can not afford to ever become complacent... but must always be on our guard against attack.
We can't afford to live like rich men in fine houses... but must be like soldiers in the war camps... preparing for the next battle.
Device #6 – Satan likes to tempt mankind with “new revelations” and “miracles” while putting down the Scriptures and ordinary ministers of the church.
New revelations appeal to people's pride... making them feel that they're closer to God than others.
I've seen this throughout my own time behind the bars of TDC... to this current time... And it takes the form of an old problem within the church... Judaizers
These have taken on new, and more “Christian” or “Messianic” titles... but they're Judaizers just the same
And they'll appeal to the young Christian, or ignorant Christians with the idea that if they worship on Saturday (Sabbath)... or observe the Jewish festivals and feasts... or if they throw in a Hebrew word or phrase here and there, they'll become better Christians than everyone else... Super Christians, if you would.
The Bible tells us in Gal 2:5 to “...not yield submission even for an hour...”
Don't give in to them, not even for a minute... and their call to separate yourself from the other Believers
Any group that claims the title Christian, will never tell you to separate yourself from other Christians.
The group that does this... there's something wrong with!
Device #7 – The devil seeks to make our calling as Christians clash with our calling in a particular field of work.
He will urge us to do devotions when we should be doing our jobs. Or, he'll urge us to go to work when we should be worshiping God.
When the tax collectors came to John and asked, “What shall we do?” He told them... (Luk 3:13) ..."Don't collect any more than what you have been authorized."
When the soldiers came to John and asked the same thing... he told them... (Luk 3:14) … "Don't take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages."
He didn't tell any group that they had to quit their jobs to serve God. No, he told them that they should do their jobs in a just and righteous way.
Col 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Though our calling of God is a high calling... we are none the less called to work and to provide for ourselves and our families. This also is a high calling. (2Th 3:7-14)
This clash though, isn't limited between the things of God and work... but it can also be between the our service to God and something as morally neutral as reading a book.
My wife and I had this conversion just the other day. As much as she loves to read... and there's absolutely nothing morally or spiritually wrong with reading...
But when it interferes with other things, such as reading your Bible... prayer... going to church... serving Christ in your calling... it CAN become a sinful act because you are placing it above Christ... giving it more value than He who saved you.
So... morally neutral is no longer neutral if it's given precedence over everything else.
Now I realize that this list of methods the devil uses to snare us is a “short list”. It's no where near comprehensive.
But I give them to you in an effort to cause you to look at things a little differently... question motives... study the “end results”
2Co 2:11 I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.
If we stay on our guard, we won't run the risk of “thinking we stand” when actually, we're “falling”
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.