Perry Duggar |

The adversaries of our spiritual lives and growth are the world, the flesh and the devil.

Spiritual Warfare – Message 1
Perry Duggar
September 18, 2022

I. Introduction (Ephesians 2:1-3): Beginning a new series focusing on Spiritual Warfare.

A. Today’s message is entitled, Adversaries (We’ll identify several.)

  1. Theme verse: 1 Peter 5:8a (NLT)- Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.…
  2. The devil (Greek diabŏlŏs, 33x in NIV), which literally means, “false accuser or slanderer” is a translation of Hebrew sâṭân, (53x in NIV) which means “an opponent or adversary.”
  3. Do you believe the devil is real? 2009 Barna survey of 1,871 self-described Christians reported that 40% strongly agreed and 19% agreed somewhat that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” (59% questioned the real existence of Satan.)
  4. We see evidence of this disbelief by the prevalence of Satan’s appearances in media.
  5. According to the Bible, Satan was created as a spirit being to serve God (Colossians 1:16), but he rebelled against God, so he was banished from heaven. (Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19; 1 Timothy 3:6)
  6. The devil controls the world through demons (fallen angels). (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19, 86x)
  7. He attacks Christians through temptation, persecution and discouragement; when they sin or fail, he accuses them to God. (Job 1:6-12; Revelation 12:10)
  8. Satan lies to create mistrust and division between God and people because he hates “truth… there is no truth in him… he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
  9. Satan opposes us in several specific ways; Ephesians 2:1-3 describes his methods in the lives of unbelievers, using three primary strategies, three sources of temptation.
  10. Ephesians 2:1–3 (CEV) In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn’t obey God. Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds [flesh] . We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else.
  11. Satan uses these same strategies to deter believer’s spiritual growth, weaken our faith, and damage our relationship with God by luring us into sin.

B. Adversaries of our faith: the world, the flesh and the devil. (Matthew 4:1-2; Luke 4:1-2; Mark 1:12-13)

A. Satan used the same schemes against Jesus that he uses against us.

  1. Hebrews 4:15 (NLT) This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin.
  2. Satan tempted Jesus, our fully human Savior, when He was very weak.
  3. Matthew 4:1–2 (NLT)—1 Then [following baptism, Mt.3:13-17] Jesus was led by the Spirit [God’s will] into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. [Satan saw the opportunity.]

Our first adversary is…

1. The world: external temptation to sin. (Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-13; Romans 12:2; James 4:4,8-10; 1 John 2:15-17) [Taken out of biblical order.]

  1. Matthew 4:5–7 (NLT) Then the devil took Him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple [likely eastern side of the Temple, overlooking the Kidron Valley 450 feet below], and said, “If You are the Son of God [!] , jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order His angels to protect You. And they will hold You up with their hands so You won’t even hurt Your foot on a stone.’ ” [Psalm 91:11-12 twisted]
  2. Satan was taunting Jesus, trying to lure Him into proving His identity as God’s Son.
  3. Satan was suggesting, if Jesus jumped, and angels caught Him, it would prove He was the Messiah to the world (people at the Temple); no one would doubt His identity.
  4. Matthew 4:7 (NLT) Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’” [Deuteronomy 6:16, from Exodus 17:2-7 Israel demanded water at Massah]
  5. Jesus knew people’s faith could not be dependent on sensational displays of miraculous power because the effect would wear off and they would continually ask for more impressive feats because they lacked trust in God. (John 12:37).
  6. Demanding sensational proof reveals a lack of faith; it evidences doubt. (Matthew 12:38-42)
  7. Satan wanted Jesus to be more concerned with the acceptance of this world than the approval of God alone.
  8. If Jesus followed Satan’s suggestion, He would have separated Himself from God’s plan, submitted Himself to what worldly people wanted to see and sinned in the process, thereby destroying God’s plan for salvation. (Satan’s goal!)
  9. APP.: Are we more interested in the approval of God or acceptance by this world?
  10. Our need is not for God to prove His faithfulness to us, but rather, for us to demonstrate our trust in Him to determine and follow His plan for our lives, not our own.
  11. Satan uses enticements from the world to lure us away from God. [Eve; Genesis 3:6]
  12. 1 John 2:15–17 (NLT) Do not love this world [life indifferent to God’s plan or desire, under devil’s control] nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure [lust of the flesh, normal desires satisfied in immoral ways] , a craving for everything we see [lust of the eyes, wanting what we see, dissatisfied with what God has given, materialism] , and pride in our achievements and possessions [boastful pride of life, desire to be elevated above others, wealth, fame] . These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
  13. APP.: Are we chasing what the world offers in defiance of God’s direction?

Our next adversary is…

2. The flesh: internal temptation to sin. (Matthew 4:3-4; Luke 4:3-4; Romans 7:18-25; Galatians 5:16–21; Ephesians 4:22–24)

  1. Matthew 4:3 (NLT) During that time the devil came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” [first temptation in Bible]
  2. The devil knew Jesus had not eaten for forty days, so He was hungry and weak.
  3. He suggested Jesus use His power if He was the Son of God [mocking] to produce bread.
  4. Jesus’ hunger was a normal physical appetite of His body (His flesh); it was not sinful to be hungry and not sinful to eat, unless it violated God’s plan, disobeyed His will.
  5. Satan wanted Jesus to act independently of God, actually, in defiance of Him, to satisfy His very real, even extreme, hunger.
  6. Matthew 4:4 (NLT) But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” [Deuteronomy 8:3]
  7. Jesus responded that food is not the most necessary part of life; rather, it is our relationship with God, including His plan for us, that sustains our lives.
  8. God’s plan for His Son was to set aside His power to perform miracles, to rely on God to determine and meet His needs, not to satisfy His own physical needs disobediently.
  9. Jesus was declaring that we must rely on God and wait on His provision, instead of attempting to gain what we want, when we want it, in violation of God’s Word.
  10. Satan knows the weaknesses of our flesh: our physical, mental, and emotional selves.
  11. We have physical bodies, flesh, with natural appetites and needs; God has given us appropriate ways to satisfy those, and other, natural desires.
  12. Hunger, sleep and sex are God-given needs; gluttony, laziness and promiscuity are sins.
  13. Fulfilling a legitimate physical need in an illegitimate, immoral, unbiblical, way is sin.
  14. Satan will whisper, “God doesn’t care; He won’t help, do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself, obtain what you want (convinced yourself you need) for yourself.
  15. EX.: “God hasn’t given me a Christian spouse, so I take this one who is available!”
  16. If we live by faith in God, trusting Him, obeying His Word, following His Spirit, we will never lack anything we really need. (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:8,33)
  17. APP.: Do you trust that God knows, and will provide, what is best for you, in His time?

Our third adversary, and the one who uses our other adversaries to tempt us, is…

3. The devil: supernatural temptation to sin. (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8,13; 2 Corinthians 2:11; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8)

  1. Matthew 4:8–9 (NLT) Next the devil took Him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. [Egypt, Rome, Athens, Corinth] “I will give it all to You,” he said, “if You will kneel down and worship me.”
  2. Satan’s real purpose was to induce Jesus to worship him by offering Him the world.
  3. Can Satan give away power, fame, fortune? Satan is theruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11),the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the world lies in his power (1 John 5:19).
  4. Jesus had a divine right to rule over the kingdoms of the world, but it would happen in the future, at His 2nd Coming; Satan was saying, “Why wait? Have it all now!”
  5. Jesus knew He would have to suffer and wait before He would reign over the world.
  6. Jesus’ response: Matthew 4:10 (NLT) “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only Him.’” [Deuteronomy 6:13-14, reference to Israelite’s wilderness experience of testing]
  7. Jesus rejected Satan’s offers and suggestions; He knew, trusted and loved His Father and could not be convinced, even in a moment of weakness and suffering, to betray the One who would never abandon Him.
  8. 6. Satan’s temptations of Jesus were all attempts to weaken Jesus’ trust of His Father by provoking Him to question whether God really loved or cared for Him.
  9. He tempts us the same way, suggesting God doesn’t care about our difficult situation, our serious problems, our broken relationships, our pain, our loneliness, our suffering.
  10. That’s a lie from the father of lies, the hater of truth (John 8:44), and God and us, Who has promised to meet our needs, never forsake, never abandon, never leave us! (Hebrews 13:5)
  11. APP.: Do you recognize Satan’s offers of shortcuts that require you to reject God?
  12. In this series of messages, we will learn how to stand firm against the devil’s strategies! (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11)
  13. [Memory verse] 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

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