If you are not absolutely sure of the identity of the Holy Spirit please read the "Who is the Holy Spirit" article in this commentary before you continue.
(Rev. 12:9) The great dragon, that old serpent (Lucifer), the Devil and Satan are different names for the same evil being. (1John 4:1-3) There are only two spirits; the Holy Spirit of Christ and (Eph. 2:2) the unholy spirit of antichrist which is Satan, the Devil. There is something beautifully clean cut about that; there is no in-between; it is God or anti-god. Jesus said; "He that is not with me is against me:"
(2Cor. 1:21) The Holy Spirit anointed apostle Paul wrote (Rom. 8:9) "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." You cannot spiritually straddle the fence with one foot on God's side of the fence and one foot on the devil's side of the fence!
HOW CAN YOU FIGHT THE DEVIL IF YOU CAN'T EVEN RECOGNIZE HIM? YOU MUST DO THIS: We are instructed in (1Cor. 12:31) to "But covet earnestly the best gifts:" (1Cor. 12:10) The discerning of spirits is a GIFT from God. When you pray ask God for the gift of spiritual discernment and keep asking.
You will need spiritual discerning in your war with the Devil because (2Cor. 11:14-15) Satan, the Devil, can make himself into an angel of light and his ministers transformed into ministers of righteousness. God will show you if you know God's word and will just listen: They will look good, sound good and smell good but there are ways to tell the difference.
(1John 2:18-29 esp. V.20 & 27) (V.19) “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” These false ministers of righteousness will not have the (V.20) divine unction (anointing) because they do not have the Holy Spirit. A person can say the name Jesus but still deny Jesus by perverting or denying His Holy Word because (1John 1:13 & John 1:11-14) the Bible is Jesus. In other words: if you deny Jesus' word you have denied Jesus! If you don't know Jesus' words (scripture, the Bible) almost anybody can deceive you.
(2Tim. 2:15 keywords: study to show thyself approved unto God) Do you want God's approval? You are studying for your eternal life. (Eph. 6:17) The sword of the Holy Spirit is the word of God. How can you expect to defeat the Devil if you don't know God's word? God's word is what the Holy Spirit works with. (Rev. 2:1 thru 3:22) God examined the works of the 7 churches and 5 of them were failing. Jesus told every church to overcome and endure.
Do you scripturally know what the works are that you are supposed to be doing? Do you scripturally know what you are supposed to overcome and endure? (2Cor. 4:4 keyword: blinded) How can you know what to believe if you don't know God's word? It is the Devil's good pleasure to blind you (Rev. 2:5, 16, 20-23, 3:5 & 15-16) and cause you to go to hell. Think not? (Heb. 6:4-6) <- Read this scripture and think about it! God does not break covenant (Rom. 1:21) but man does. They had to be in covenant before they could become covenantbreakers!
EXAMPLE: (Gal. 3:1-29) It is obvious some preachers or teachers were trying to return the Church at Galatia back to the Jewish Law which, for effect, tried to make God owe the keepers of the law something because they kept the tenants of the dead law. Of course this "religious attitude" denied the existence of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life. AND: Their religious attitude denied the personal living relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
(V.22-23) These false messengers will deny, in works, words, method, or ways that Jesus is the only Saviour and that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is the centerpiece of salvation. (V.27) And they will not recognize nor understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (1John 4:1-16) (V.5) “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” (John 3:3 & 1Pet. 1:23 then Rom. 8:6-17 esp. V:9) Just because a person takes up membership in a church doesn't always mean they are a part of Jesus' church.
Have you ever heard a preacher make up his own parables, base his sermon on worldly or historical stories, teach you that you can do it all yourself by controlling your thoughts and attitudes and etc? That trash leaves God's word, God's power and the workings of the Holy Spirit in the human soul right out of the equation! (V.6) Listen to what preachers and denominations say! If their message is not in God's Holy Word do not believe what they say.
If you do not study God's Word and conduct a very active prayer life you can be deceived. You can only be what you know! The Holy Spirit, based on your knowledge of God's Word, will verify what you see and hear; either good or bad. (V.8-12) The antichrist spirit of Satan ministers can talk about love but they will not have, cannot show and cannot understand Charity, Agape, which is Godly love. Their love will be a plasticized counterfeit love and it will be obvious to a well versed in the scripture, spiritually discerning Christian.
THINK ABOUT THIS! (Luke 19:37-44 esp. V.41) Jesus wept because the Jews in Jerusalem refused to accept Him and were lost AND He prophesied of when the Roman legions would destroy Jerusalem which they did in from 73 CE to 135 CE after Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. It broke Jesus' heart to see those people proudly, blindly, heedlessly going right on to hell!
(John 11:19-35 esp. V.35) Jesus wept because His friends Mary, Martha and some unnamed Jews were in terrible grief and sorrow because Lazarus was dead. Jesus had great empathy and sympathy for them and He felt their pain but they were already His friends. Some ignorant people say sorrow religion is worthless. BUT:
(2Cor. 7:10) "For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." Think about this. Jesus had to be there, wherever there was, to help people. (John 6:44 & 12:32) Jesus said no man could come unto Him unless God draw (pull toward) him. God's drawing is what creates Godly sorrow and that is the time to get saved when Jesus is there in His Holy Spirit form!
Some of these pretenders sent by Satan will teach the basic “goodness” of secular humanism which means that you can “become a better and better person” by yourself without God's influence. You can become a "nicer" person but that doesn't make God owe you eternal life. (Eph. 2:8-9) You are saved by God's grace and not by works (Rom. 3:23) because "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Sometimes these pretenders will tell you to give them money so God will owe you ten times as much as you gave (reverse tithes?) and etc. Can you find that in the Bible? (Phil 3:18-19) Their god is their belly. The practical thing to do is find out for sure where your money goes. Does it go in his pocket for his benefit, OR to help the poor, OR to spread God's gospel and then you base your giving on that!
Jesus said; (Matt. 26:11) "For ye have the poor always with you;" The scripture says this: (Matt. 6:19-34) God knows just exactly what we need. It is very easy to fall into idolatry by making money or goods a false God! (Heb. 13:5) “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Matt. 25:34-46 esp. V.44) Of course Christians should help those in need. This is not about genuine Christian love, compassion and help, it is about pretenders.
(1Tim. 6:6-8 esp. V.7) “For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” No U-Haul trailer hooked to your hearse so you can take it with you! AND: (James 4:3) “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” DUE TO:
(Mark 10:17-25) Riches can destroy us so be careful what you ask for (Luke 4:5-8) because the devil might just give it to you. Such as (Mark 14:t & Rom. 15:26) Health and wealth doctrines that teach all you have to do is believe and God will owe you riches. "Go lay hands on your VW beetle and it'll turn into a Mercedes, boys."
(2John 7-11) A more bold antichrist led (devil possessed) person will not confess Jesus came in the flesh and will not abide in the doctrine (teaching) of Jesus. (V.10) Stay away from them, do not let them in your house and do not bid them God speed. Bidding God speed to them is a salutation given on parting that for effect gives your blessing on their work. (V.11) If you bid such an antichrist God speed that makes you a partaker of his evil deeds.
Please read (Acts 13:6-12) and you will see these antichrists are your enemy and (V.8 & 12) they attempt to prevent people (Sergius Paulus) from being saved. You will note Paul did not feed this (V.10) enemy (Bar-jesus, the sorcerer; called Elymas) nor offer him a cold drink. Paul fought this enemy (V.9) through the power of the Holy Spirit and (V.11) destroyed his antichrist ministry. This enemy’s name, Elymas, is never mentioned again in the Bible.
Think about this: Suppose an unsaved friendly young man of good character and demeanor from a good family, a church family, or any family for that matter; graduates high school, or even before he graduates, he decides he is going to divinity school. He learns all the right words, demeanor, actions, manners, customs and he’s slick and professional. Graduation comes and “wallah” out steps a pastor.
He will curry favor with the rich and famous. He will “love” the contributors of large money. His best friends will be those who give him the most expensive presents at Christmas. His church will have a dress code; it may be unspoken, but poorly dressed people will be made to feel unwelcome.
The “lesser lights” of the congregation will not receive his visits when they are sick or in trouble and he may never even know their names. He won’t like getting down in the muddy trenches of spiritual warfare to fight sin, sickness and lovelessness. He won’t try to develop brotherhood between the rich and poor and he won’t say much about compassion.
In a few years he will go on to a bigger church and another pastor will show up on the church steps with his hat in his hand, a big grin on his face and his Bible in the car. A Pastor must have an intense burden to serve God by being a shepherd to one of God’s flocks and a clear vision of what God wants him to accomplish.
DO YOU REALIZE: (Eph. 4:11-13) When God "gives" a pastor a congregation God is placing a bunch of His "children" in the pastor's hands to love, teach, protect and care for. NOW: Compare that to how particular a natural parent is when someone is babysitting their baby. SO: A pastor had better equally love, teach, protect and care for all of God's children assigned to him!
Have you really checked what is being taught at your pastor’s divinity school, his seminary? Do they teach that the entire Bible is true? Do they teach that all of these following events really happened: the virgin birth of Jesus, the immaculate conception, that Jesus is the sinless Son of God, that you must be spiritually born again to be saved, the parting of the Red Sea and that the Sun and Moon stood still when Joshua and Israel fought the Amorites?
What does their divinity school teach about the Holy Spirit and do the professors believe the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus really happened?
What do they teach about non-Christian religions, does Christianity have a sister religion and who do they think is going to heaven and why? What do they teach about the resurrection, hell, the lake of fire, spiritual growth, eternal security, speaking in tongues, equality of church membership, the qualifications of pastors, qualifications of their professors and what do they think of Israel?
Do they teach and practice philosophy, science, mysticism, evolution or cultish dogma? What do they say about same sex marriage, abortion and fornication? What is their in depth curriculum?
Inventory yourself while you are checking: What do you believe? Professors are required to publish articles; have you read those articles published by your Pastor's former professors? Why? Did you know the very old collages such as Harvard Divinity School were established with Puritan beginnings? Have you taken the time to research which Divinity Schools are Biblically “liberal”?
Have you ever read “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” by Bishop John Shelby? Why not? Remember this; if you financially support that school, they are answerable to you; but more important, you are answerable to God for what you support. Can you even begin to imagine how the Devil runs amok with his power of blinding in the above situations? How many precious souls have been lost because of them?
(James 4:7) “Submit (obey) yourselves therefore to God. Resist (stand against, oppose) the devil and he will flee from you. (1Tim. 3:6) Don’t try to argue with the Devil; you’ll lose. (Jude 9) Do not try to fight the Devil, don’t get mad and don’t curse the Devil; if you do you’ve already lost that particular battle. Here are three things the Devil will try to develop in you by various means. The Devil deals in (John 13:2) treason, (Acts 10:38) oppression, and (1Tim. 3:7) defeat.
EXAMPLES: Treason: The Devil wants you to commit treason against God by tempting you with worldly things. You can commit treason against God by denying the Holy Spirit’s power to give spiritual gifts OR: by performing unscriptural practices in God’s Church.
Oppression: The Devil wants to oppress you by accusing you, in your thoughts, of sins you have committed as a Christian even though you are prayed up and they are long ago forgiven. He wants to shame you and embarrass you by boring into your thoughts about sins you committed before you were saved (1John 1:7 thru 2:1 keywords: we, us, our) and the sins you have committed after you were saved. The Devil wants to make you miserable by telling you, in your thoughts, you have made a fool of yourself and nobody loves you. He exalts in his ability to tell you that you are a sorry excuse for a Christian.
Defeat: The Devil wants to defeat you by taking your joy away from you, by causing you to doubt God’s forgiveness and loyalty, deflecting your efforts to get close to God and bullying, seducing and deceiving you away from God’s Word and God’s Church. He invades your thoughts and attempts to make you think you are not a Christian. The Devil is not afraid of you and he is not afraid of me.
(James 4:7) We are told to submit to God and to resist the devil and he will flee from us. How can you even know and understand the Devil without spiritual discernment? A person automatically wonders; what chance have I got against the Devil; he’s right here in my head; how can I resist him?
(James 4:7) THIS IS HOW TO RESIST THE DEVIL: “Satan, I have been cleansed from my sin by the blood of Jesus. I am a child of God by my adoption through the Holy Spirit because Jesus defeated sin and death when He shed His blood on the cross. Sin and death could not hold Jesus and it cannot hold me. You get out of my mind and get out of my house by the authority of Jesus' blood." You are using the power of Jesus’ name; so don't say amen because you are giving the devil an order. OR: The short version which I often use: "Devil, you get away from me in the name of Jesus and by the power of His blood!"
(Luke 4:13) You can feel his presence leave. You will feel free and you are free because that gloomy presence is gone; so sing and praise God. BUT: Satan will come back and attack you again and again at various times.
Satan, that devil, is a master at (Luke 22:3-48) planting ideas, (Luke 22:31-34 then Luke 22:54-62) prodding you into impulsive acts or words and (Luke 4:5-7) painting pictures in your brain that tempt your soul. As soon as you spiritually sense him (spiritual discernment), and his treason, oppression and defeat, blast him with your Jesus broadside again.
Here are some things that Satan commonly does to all Christians and included is the common sense way to defeat his attacks. When the Devil says, in your thoughts, you cannot be a Christian because of what you’ve done; take him right back to where you got saved. Don’t talk to him; just go back there in your own thoughts and relive it; he cannot stand that either. If you’ve sinned go right back to where you repented and asked forgiveness. That shows him you know your standing with God.
If you have not done that, pray just as fast as you can and get it done. Repenting and asking forgiveness is the most important thing you can do on any given day! Spiritually crawl right up in Jesus’ lap, snuggle right up under His big arm and stay there! When you “feel” the Devil depart concentrate on Jesus just as fast as you can.
SING! Grab your Bible and read. Worship God by praising Him. SING! Think about charity, grace and blind Bartimaeus. Think about what it will be like when you get to heaven and sit beside the still waters with your loved one who has gone on ahead of you.
SING A PRAYER OF PRAISE; MAKE UP WORDS THAT FIT YOUR SITUATION AND LIFE! You don't have to have perfect poetry of words and you don't have to have a wonderful voice. God looks at your heart and your praises will be music to His soul. Be like Bartimaeus and see Jesus; “I can see? I can see! I can see You!”
Look into the lively, happy, magnificent eyes of GRACE. Love Jesus for what He has done. Rejoice that Jesus thinks you are worth what He paid for you. Think of that! Laugh and touch His heart with your tears and love Him, love Him, love Him!
(John 13:25-27) The Devil, Satan, is an evil spirit who speaks to man and enters into man in the same way the Holy Spirit speaks and enters into man. Satan is identified by several names: (Matt. 13:19) a thief, (John 8:44) murderer, liar, (1Pet. 5:8) adversary, roaring lion, (Rev. 12:9) dragon, serpent, Devil, Satan, (Rev. 12:10) accuser, and (Rev. 20:3) deceiver. Satan means adversary in Hebrew and accuser in Greek.
The pictures of that little red imp with the funny little horns, pitchfork and mischievous expression is Satan’s propaganda tool to lull you to sleep. Satan’s names in God’s Holy Bible are who Satan is, what Satan is and what Satan does.
As stated before (1Cor. 12:31) we are told to covet the best gifts; and (1Cor 12:10) discerning of the spirits is a gift. In other words; pray and ask for spiritual discerning. How are you going to (Eph. 6:12) fight the Devil if you can’t even recognize him? This is not some spiritual tic tac toe; it is a war and YOUR ETERNAL LIFE hangs in the balance!
All the thoughts in your brain are not your own. Example: Just suppose you are planning to watch TV all evening: the thought comes; “I really should read the Bible for an hour or so.” That is the Holy Spirit. “But all my favorite TV shows are on until eleven.” That is self. “I’ll put it off and read two hours tomorrow night.” That is the Devil. A choice has been presented and you will make a decision.
If you mind self or the Devil you will deny, quench and grieve the Holy Spirit. If you decide to wait a while then realize it is too late to read the Bible your thought will be; “Man, you’re not much of a Christian. Are you even a Christian? That is Satan accusing you, gloating over you and mocking you in front of Jesus. You probably won’t even pray and ask forgiveness because you’re too busy and Jesus has to put up with Satan’s mouth because of your disobedience!
That is how it works in every aspect of your life, in every situation in your life, every day of your life. (1Pet. 5:8) The Devil’s single purpose is to destroy you as a Christian. You; precious, precious you; mean nothing to the Devil. God is love. Satan, the Devil, is the opposite so he is hate! Here is how the Devil thinks. He hates! If he can spiritually behead you with a single sword stroke of sin, fine! If he can spiritually bleed you to death with a thousand tiny, bloody cuts of sin, great!
After he has spiritually killed you then he can use you to spiritually destroy your family, your other loved ones, someone who looks up to you, or even a complete stranger, that’s wonderful! (Luke 4:4-7) The Devil is glad and thrilled to have you start worshipping him by worshipping his worldly goods, services and systems. Some people sell out for a six pack of beer, others sell out for a million dollars, some sell out for fame and people also sell out for everything in between too.
NAME YOUR PRICE FOR YOUR SOUL, you the inward man, and Satan will pay you the outward man for it; God will be sad and you will be lost! Just remember: (Rev. 20:15) You are free to make choices and you will forever live or die by the choices you make!
THIS IS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT: The Devil: Three places in the Bible reveal Satan’s method of attack.
#1 (Gen. 3:1-6) (V.1) He always asks questions to test your knowledge and to try to cause confusion. He always (V.4) casts doubt as to what God said and (V.5) he casts doubt as to what God meant; then he gives you a reasonable, wonderful sounding alternative that goes against what God wants you to do.
#2 (Job Ch. 1&2) Satan uses his people against God’s people and he can use the weather and disease as a weapon.
#3 (Luke 4:1-13) In this classic battle between good and evil Jesus was armed with the (V.1) Holy Spirit and (V.4, 8, &12) with God’s word. The Devil was armed with his (V.3) deceit (trickery) and ability to cast doubt, (V.5-7) the world systems he controls and (V.10-11) his ability to pervert the meaning of God’s word.
You have heard it taught and preached Satan, the Devil, has no power BUT: (John 14:30) Jesus called the Devil the prince of this world. If Jesus had been referring to Pilate He would have said a prince of this world because each Roman province had a prelate and there were scores of them throughout the Roman Empire. (2Cor. 4:3-4) The Apostle Paul calls the Devil the god of this world.
Tell Job Satan, the Devil, has no power! (Job. 1:10) If God did not have you and me hedged in Satan would eat us alive! What power do you and I have on our own? Zilch, nada, zero, none! That is a real super reason to praise, glorify and thank God!
(2Cor. 12:7 & 1Thess. 2:18) Tell the Apostle Paul that Satan has no power. Sure Satan only has what power God gives him against us but you had better be armored and armed (God's word, faith and spiritual discerning) when your time comes or Satan will leave you wallowing wounded or destroyed in a bloody puddle of your own religiosity!
(Back to Luke 4:1-13) #1 Satan attacked Jesus’ intellect when the first thing Satan did was (V.3) to attempt to get Jesus to doubt who and what He is. Remember that (Heb. 4:15) Jesus was tempted in all points just like we are.
#2 Satan attacked Jesus’ body when the second thing Satan did was (V.5-7) to attempt to buy Jesus with the tempting, fleshly kingdoms of the world if Jesus would compromise. Just imagine for a moment the pomp and ceremony, excitement and lust, gold and jewels, clothes and crowns, the power and position and prestige, alluring people and sexual potential Satan showed Jesus.
#3 Satan attacked Jesus’ soul (emotions) when Satan attempted to (V.9-11) get Jesus to “show off” (pride) His power.
Satan will attack you the same three ways, intellect, body and emotions.
This is critical; Jesus won His battle with Satan through the power of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ command of the Holy Scriptures. In every instance Jesus quoted a scripture and acted upon that scripture to defeat Satan. A Christian can win through the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s word! Parts #1 Who, #2 Why, #3 How, #4 Where, and #5 What are now finished.