Chapter Eight - The Prince Of The World
The proofs of a living Satan lie deep in the fellowship experience; and are not difficult to express in action, word, or feeling. During certain sea Sons of the year, department stores display signs stating, "SALE." Some are attractive signs; certainly they are gimmicks. They are things that "lure" people into the store, "bait," as it were. We are selling our souls; we are selling our souls "cheap". We need to be aware that "Satan is alive."
Jesus said, "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?" Again, it was He Who said, "What will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
The Scripture speaks clearly of losing a soul and of saving or gaining a soul. God is after the addition of a soul; Satan is after the subtraction of a soul. Satan is alive and after your soul. He is after mine. He is after the saved soul; he is after the lost soul. He is after the saved soul in that he wants an individual not to produce at top efficiency in the Christian experience and the Christian way of living. He is after the soul and therefore will cause stumbling-blocks to occur and doubts to come. He is after the lost one in that he wants to urge him to remain in that state. This he does through a number attractive ways, at which we will look later.
There is, you see, a difference between the Prince of the World, namely, Satan; and the Prince of Peace, namely, Jesus. We study a great deal in our churches about the Prince of Peace, and I feel it is what we should be doing; yet we should not forget a detailed study of the "Prince of the World." Hence, this chapter, "The Prince of the World."
The Prince of the world is alive. This chapter could also be entitled, SATAN IS ALIVE. This idea is not new, but it calls to our remembrance that our adversary, the devil, is alive.
There are several questions I would like to pose to you-—in the context of the fact that Satan is out to get us. But first, this secondary preface relative to the origin of Satan or the devil. In the Scriptures there are 33 titles given to this one. Some of the more famous ones are "Beelzebub," "The Red Dragon," "The Piercing Serpent," the "Dragon," etc.
It is generally conceived that God created all things good, but some of His creations have become bad--man, for instance. In Ezekiel 28:11-19, we read about this devil. In Isaiah 14:12-17, we have recorded this word, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!...For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High." Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
We must be aware of several theological schools of thought. My own particular position as a theologian is that all of then could be somewhat fused together. There are implications of all of them. Before the rebellion, Lucifer, who was one of them, a bright and shining angel, had been created for the praise of God-- created for His glory.
The order and the rank of the early angels are listed as the cherubs, seraphim, and living creatures; and there were divisions within these also. Michael was an archangel. Lucifer was of the order of the cherubim. But God did not give all His attention, as it appears, to Lucifer. He created man. This displeased Lucifer, and he began working on man. In fact, in the Scriptures there are recorded the sayings of Satan.
Three times in God's Word we find Satan coming and uttering words. The first is to Adam and Eve; the second is to Job; and the third is to Jesus, the Son of God. To Adam and Eve the words are: "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, 'Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and. ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil..."
To Job the words were: "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou consider ed my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.
To Jesus it was the devil who came and tempted Him, saying, "If You are the Son of God, then make these little stones You see lying around You to become bread." And later Satan said to Jesus, "If You're the Son of God, cast Yourself down from a pinnacle. Your angels will have charge over You." It was also in the same context where Satan came to Jesus and said, "Fall down and worship me, and I'll give You the world." So the devil has been active, and we do have some of his conversations recorded in the Bible.
The first question,
Is There a Person Called Satan?
Well, is there a Person called, "God"? The Scripture says that God is. Many people look upon Satan as a figment of the imagination. Is God a figment of the imagination? Is there a Person called, "God"? Technically, yes; and. technically, no - in this respect. We have anthropomophized God; that is to say, we have given God hands, feet, eyes, and ears. But God is a Spirit. A Spirit doesn't have these faculties with which we are familiar. Yet we say that God has these features. God. actually does not have these attributes, but we call Him a Person. If we refer to a person in the sense of a Mind--Creativity__then God is a Person.
If, however, we say there is no Satan, then we make Jesus a liar. Jesus said there is a Satan. There is a "Prince of the World." Peter said there was a Satan. John said there was a Satan, and Paul said there was a Satan. Someone else has said that, "a system of doctrine without a personal devil is a system which is radically un-Christian and un-Scriptural."
So the attributes of this one are: he is proud and powerful. He is wicked and one who lies. He is subtle, deceitful, and he is a coward. These sentences in God's Word talk about his being cast out of heaven. Luke 10:18 records, "And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." II Peter 2:4 says, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment..." Jude 6 tells us, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He bath reserved in ever lasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Experience demands there be a person called, "Satan." The world in which we live is one where many have relegated the devil to the land. of ghosts. Many have discarded a belief in the reality of his existence. In fact, the people that find the most difficulty in the summer sale of their souls are those who deny his existence and who laugh at him. As one put it, These who are so afraid of him are fascinated by him and see his handiwork in all things.
The devil does exist. We Christians need to be reminded of this and take this fact seriously. Satan hates God. Satan hates all who believe in God. For people who think God is dead, Satan rejoices for their share in his pride of making it their own. Yes, there is a person called Satan.
We have all seen pictures of Satan. We know he has a red suit, long tail, forked ears, etc. Wouldn't i-b be wonderful if it were true'? Then we could see him, and we could avoid him. If I were walking down the street and saw Satan coming (with his red suit and pitch—fork, long tail, and pointed ears)1 then I would cross over to the other side and avoid him. BUT, he is more subtle than this. Ephesians 6:11 and 12 records: "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Though we never understand, may we never underestimate that there is a person called, "Satan."
II. What Do Satan and His Associates Do?
He is the one who inspires and directs all the evil forces in this world—-forces within and forces without. It is not God, because "God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth He any man." These are the words from the brother of Jesus, James. Satan delights to test God's people. As someone has said, he puts them in a sieve and he shakes them up when he can. We need to be reminded that Satan is almost as powerful as God. I repeat, Satan is almost as powerful as God. God can do anything, for He is all—powerful. Next to God in power and. in mind, is Satan. This is true for activity, too. Would not a consciousness of this at all times make for better living? BUT his power is limited. He can test only as permitted for a purpose.
None of the angels of the devil are unemployed. We hear much about, we read much about, and we see much about the unemployment in the United States, And sometimes even Christians are unemployed in the Church. BUT there are no angels of the devil unemployed. "Wicked are the children of the devil." Acts 13:10, "Thou child of the devil." "The children of God are manifested, and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God." I John 3:10, "Wicked are possessed by the devil." Luke 22:3, "Then entered Satan into Judas." Acts 5:3, "Why bath Satan filled thine heart?" Ephesians 2:2, "The spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience."
When men, women, and. young people sin, they belong to the devil. To a Christian, the spirit comes, reviving their old nature. This is why we have to cast off the works of darkness. One has said, "For centuries the adversary has used the same well—worn, but very effective, devices..hooks of Satan," Satan tempts; he lies; he perverts the Scripture; he opposes God's work. The devil hinders the Gospel; he drives people to their destruction. These are the many, many things that the real, real Satan does - to you.
III. What Are Some Methods Used in the Society of Satan?
I have had considerable experience with Satan's wiles. He has distracted me when I needed to be paying attention, especially when praying. He has confused me and confused issues and confused situations; such disturbances have had bad effects.
One thing he does is to make sin attractive. In fact, he deceives people as to himself. He destroys the power of the Church and makes Church members stumble. He helps people in excuse—making.
"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." Luke 8:11,12. He is busy sowing doubt and denials regarding the Word. of God. and God in people*s minds. Jesus said, because of this, "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts ofyour father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speak eth a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it..." (John 8:144).
He does lie, and he twists the truth. He says you have a lot of time so don't accept the Lord as your Saviour today. With his lying to us, he tempts us to no end. He also blinds human minds.
He is the imitator. Years ago I clipped this article, with no author given: "Satan the Imitator" 1. King Alcohol is my Shepherd; I shall always wants 2. He maketh me to lie down in the gutter: He leadeth me beside the troubled waters. 3. He destroys my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of wickedness for Satan's sake. Yes, though I walk through the valley of poverty, and have delirium tremens, I will cling to evil, for thou art with me, thy bite and thy sting they torment me. 5. Thou preparest an empty table before me in the presence of my family; thou anoinest my head with foolishness; my cup is empty. 6. Surely destruction and misery shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Satan forever!"
Paul Harvey, in the ABC news, once commented: "If I were the Devil, if I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would begin with a campaign of whispering. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper, 'The Bible is a myth.' I would convince them that 'Man created God,' instead of the other way around. I'd whisper that 'What is bad is good and what is good is square.'
"In the ears of the young married, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be 'extreme' in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And to the old I would teach them to pray, 'Our father which art in Washington.'
"If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions; let those run wild. I'd designate an atheist to front for me before the Highest Courts, and I'd. get preachers to say, "She's right." Thus I would. evict God from the courthouse, from the school house, and from the House of Congress.
"If I were Satan, I'd make the symbol of Easter an egg....and the symbol of Christmas a bottle...If I were Satan, I'd just keep on doing what I am doing, and the whole world would go to Hell, as sure as the Devil."
Satan is not mentally retarded. His IQ is exceedingly high. He presents evil to us under the disguise of good. "Satan is most effective when he works through our human pride. In his age-old warfare against God, he attacks and distorts the good things of God's creation. He constantly tempts us to use for hj5 evil ends the strength God has given us. He seeks to turn leader ship into tyranny, piety into smugness, righteousness into pharisaism, even love into possessiveness."
IV. Is There A Triumph Over the Living Active Satan?
Yes. Or you would not be in God's house on the Lord's Day, and perhaps you would not be reading these lines. One should resist. Listen: James 4:7, "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.'4 This is such a gem of a sentence I want to write it again. "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you." Amen!
We have to be armed against him. We must be watchful against him, "lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices." John 12:31, 32: "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And, I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." This is the defeat of Satan.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that the Cross has destroyed Satan's power over man. "That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death; that is, the devil." That is to destroy him - to render him power less, put him out of action, if you will- the power of and in the Cross. To withhold this proclamation of the devil's defeat is to rob men of the opportunity to throw off an allegiance to Satan which they may be longing to be rid of. Satan is afraid of the Cross. He fears the Cross!
Take bold. steps against the forces of Satan. Do not continue to sell your soul during the bargain days of living. There is a price to pay. Over this one who is an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14), and the "god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4), there is victory. OVer this one who goes by some of the following titles, one can have a triumph: The Tempter (Matthew 4:3); the Evil One, or the Wicked One (Matthew 6:13); Slanderer (Matthew 25:41); Liar (John 8;Wi); Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2); Prince of the Devils (Matthew 9:34); a roaring Lion (I Peter 5:8); and other titles describing his character, position, occupation, and sphere of action.
There is the constant conflict. I recall hearing years ago the story of a butterfly and a sparrow. It went something like this. One day a small butterfly was fluttering against a clear pane of glass. All of his energy was spent in trying to get out of his captivity. It appeared that somehow or another, he had gotten into an old building. All of a sudden, a sparrow appeared on the outside of the glass. Seeing the small butterfly, the sparrow thought to himself, "Well, here is my supper for tonight." So he tried to get the butter fly. Both were anxious--the butterfly, thinking that at any moment, he would be devoured; the sparrow thinking that at any moment he would have his supper. YET both were wrong. Each was separated from the other by the thin clear glass.
There was protection, unnoticed, for the butterfly. This, I think, is the mean ing of, "Now I belong to Jesus," as we sing. While each is expecting something to happen, all along, things were different. So Satan cannot touch the soul. The darts may strike, injure, and hurt, but never kill. That is the soul that has the Lord Jesus between.
So, cast your cares on Him; Jesus cares for you. Because Satan was and is alive, Jesus died. Our Lord came into the world to destroy the power of Satan over us. But this did not kill Satan Yet, the power to say, "No," to the Devil is a possibility and a gift which the Christ gives to those who are so baptized by His spirit.
Jesus said: "Come unto me! For I am the way, the truth, and the life."
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