Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity ‹to work›.
One of the keys to succeeding as a believer is you must know who your enemy is, how he works, and what you must do to give him no opportunity in your life. The devil would like nothing more than for believers to remain ignorant of how he works, and what he is up to because for those who are ignorant of his ways, he can then work in one’s life to deceive and seduce bringing about his ultimate desire, which is to take control of your life.
First and foremost we must understand what satan’s primary target is in the lives of people. When you understand what that target is and then learn how he works you can fulfill what the apostle Paul stated here in Ephesians 4:27 and give him no such opportunity to work in your life. His target is the soul of man. The soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. If he can get your soul reprogrammed to think, act, and feel the way he wants you to then he has control of what goes on in areas of your life.
Scripture reveals to us very clearly in James chapter three that the tongue of man is what determines the course one’s life will take. This is why Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day that it was not what one put in their mouth as food that defiled or in other words brought destruction to man, it was what comes out of his mouth. This is determined by what you think, and what you think on will determine your set of values or beliefs in this life. Those beliefs will come out through your words, which in turn will come to pass in your life.
The devil knows this and so he has been at work since the beginning of the fall to infiltrate the mind of man so that he can get control of their life. Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy, but the primary thing he wants to steal from the believer, put to death in their life and completely destroy, is their faith in God. If satan can get you to think and feed on things that are contrary to the Word of God he can begin to get into your belief system. This is being seen very evident in the church today as the church as a whole in many ways looks nothing like the church of Jesus’ day. The world and its ways have now crept into the church when in fact God’s intention was for this to be the other way around. The church was supposed to infiltrate society.
When you begin to talk today about things that scripture clearly states about what God expects of His church you immediately get people saying things like, “That is old school, not relevant for today,” or “I am saved by grace you can’t put that bondage on me.” I am fully aware that man-made religion has also imposed on man things that God never did impose on us, yet today we see more of the world in the church then we do of God. Church in many cases has become all about attracting people to become a part of a social club in which we won’t deal with areas that God wants to change in their life because we don’t want to offend anyone.
People will often refer to Matthew 18:7 where Jesus warned us saying, “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” What most don’t realize is that the word “offense” means leading one into sin. For people to get offended because you preach the Word of God to them does not mean that you are violating what this verse says, for even Jesus had people get offended in His own home town and many other places for just telling them what the Father said was true.
I bring all this up because it will help us to see the first of three ways satan works to get into our lives and control our thinking. Far too many pastors and churches have begun to drift away from all the teachings of Jesus Christ and the disciples. Paul said the man who preached any other gospel than what he preached should be accursed. He also told the leaders at Ephesus before he went to Rome that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. Paul also told Timothy, who was the pastor at Ephesus, that what he had heard from Paul’s preaching he was to share and to pass on to other faithful men who would preach the same thing. Yet today we now have ministers that are saying not everything Paul said applies to us.
On top of that we have a very watered down gospel that is not producing great disciples of Christ, but instead just buildings with big social gatherings. Disciples of Jesus go out and do what He did. They proclaim the gospel with those around them. They cast out demons if so presented the opportunity to do so. They lay hands on the sick and those sick people recover. If the Lord so calls upon them they will raise the dead, and they will even speak with new tongues. These are the very things that Jesus said would be signs that will follow the believer.
Unfortunately if you asked the average believer in church today if they have done any of these things they would have to say no. That is a sad thing to hear when Jesus declared that he who believes in Him would do the same things He did. Time for the church to wake up from the lying half true deceptions they are being fed and become a powerful force filled with faith and the Holy Spirit that is impacting and changing lives with more than just a message of love. People need to know God loves them but the disciple’s primary way of revealing that was no different than what Jesus did. They did the same works He did.
2 Cor. 11:13 For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah).
2 Cor. 11:14 And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light;
2 Cor. 11:15 So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds.
So here we have the first of three ways that satan tries to take advantage of people and deceive or seduce them into teachings that are actually contrary to scripture, or lacking of the whole truth, which is just as bad as having no truth at all. He comes as an angel of light. Paul speaks here of those who are actually false apostles, who were claiming to be workers of God, but in fact they were not. Today we have many who are claiming to be ministers of God who are teaching things that go completely contrary to scripture. One such minister has even written a book declaring that no one will go to hell, all will go to heaven.
So as 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that even satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, and that these false teachers are his servants propagating false doctrines that are in fact misleading people further away from the Word of God, not further into the Word. This is what Paul also described to Timothy as well in his second letter to this young pastor.
2 Tim. 4:3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
2 Tim. 4:4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
Here we have a description of these last days “angels of light” who are really being used by satan to mislead and deceive people through a reduction of the scriptures to satisfy people’s lifestyles that in fact are not in line with what scripture teaches us. Remember the reason for this is so that satan can indoctrinate people with a watered down or perverted view of scripture so he can simply take advantage of their life.
What gives place to this type of deception? Paul tells us in verse three. It is due to people who will not tolerate sound and wholesome teaching from God’s Word because they don’t want to change. They instead want ministers to only tell them things that are pleasing and gratifying to their flesh so that they can satisfy their own way of living. As a believer you have to ask yourself is that how God wants us to live our lives? Did He die to become our sugar daddy and just give us whatever we want? Jesus died to deliver us from the old nature. That involves a complete change from how and who we used to live for.
Before being born again we were actually under the influence of satan through a fallen nature, but once born again we can now be freed from the old nature and it’s ways walking in what the Bible calls “newness of life”, or a new way of living. It is a life that is brought under complete control of God in which we learn how to fully trust Him with our lives as we become His servants doing His will here on earth.
For us to give satan no place in this area of our life we must make the choice to fully serve God with all our hearts, building our relationship with Him. That is what the heart of Christianity is all about. Getting to know God and then making Him known. Doing what Jesus Himself did. Don’t allow satan to take advantage of your life. Believe the whole Bible. Believe who it says you are and what you can do and don’t fall prey to the false ministers of the day.
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May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker