Fighting Satan and Sin (Part 5)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, February 26, 2012.
Fighting Satan and Sin I. We must not be ignorant of Satan's devices lest he take advantage of us. 2CO 2:11. A. Satan brings us into bondage by exploiting the strengths of his ally which is our flesh and blinding us to the ugliness and sinfulness of sin. EPH 2:3; TIT 3:3; ROM 6:19-21. B. Satan holds us in bondage by blinding us to the truth about deliverance and liberty. C. Satan's entire operation is based upon one concept: the lie. He is the father of lies. JOH 8:44. 1. His power is in the lie: the telling of it and our love of it. 2. Our battles with Satan should not be power encounters (as the vagabond exorcists of ACT 19:13-16) but truth encounters. It is the truth that liberates. JOH 8:32. 3. Satan sells his lies by deception: the better the deception, the bigger the lie that can be sold. a. Deception might be described as being led to accept a lie as truth or as an acceptable substitute for truth. b. Deception blocks deliverance from bondage to a lie. ISA 44:20. c. Remember that Eve was beguiled/deceived (2CO 11:3; 1TI 2:14); she yielded to the perceived advantage of a lie. GEN 3:1-6. (1) She rationalized away the truth on the basis of sensual satisfaction. (2) Yielding to the lie was a means of meeting a legitimate need. (3) Whenever we are tempted to meet a legitimate human need by a means contrary to God's will, this is temptation by the lust of the flesh. 1JO 2:16. (4) Food, sex, happiness, peace, rest, success, acceptance, dignity, significance, power, love, respect, etc. are all legitimate human needs. But we sin when we try to meet these needs by acting independently of God. 4. We must reject and renounce Satan's deceptions and lies about: a. God, His nature, accomplishments and promises. b. Jesus Christ, His person, position and power. c. our natural wisdom and inherent value. d. the identity or acceptability of sin. e. who we are as believers. f. resistance---it is not futile. g. the means of personal fullness and victory. D. The battle lines are drawn at distinguishing between God's truth and Satan's lies in all things: our thoughts, our words, our actions. We must strive to: 1. think Biblically. 2CO 10:5; ROM 12:2. 2. speak Biblically. 1PE 4:11; TIT 2:8; EPH 4:29. 3. act Biblically. COL 1:10; 1TH 4:1. 4. carefully measure everything against God's word and reject that which contradicts it as a lying deception. PSA 119:128; ROM 3:4. E. Through the renewing of our minds to the truth of Jesus Christ, we are transformed from bondage to Satan's lies and will to the liberty of proving God's will. ROM 12:2; 6:17-18. 1. This means coming to grips with the holiness of God and the utter sinfulness of yourself. ISA 6:1-5; ROM 7:18. 2. This implies that you must stop living in denial: denial of your natural worthlessness, denial of those areas of your life which God says are sinful but your Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 1heart says are OK, denial of the dangers of pathways to evil, denial of the need to effect personal reform, denial of the promises and power of Christ to change you. F. We will never be satisfactorily victorious over sin until we renounce deception in whatever form it is presenting itself to us. 1. renounce: To give up; to resign (to another), to surrender, esp. to give up in a complete and formal manner. 2. To abandon, give up, discontinue (a practice, action, habit, thought, intention, etc.) 2. In coming to Christ, Paul renounced the Pharisaic deception that subtle perversion of God's word was an appropriate way of ministerial leadership. 2CO 4:2. 3. Have you been deceived into thinking that you are really something when you are really nothing? Renounce that. GAL 6:3; ROM 12:3. 4. Have you been deceived into thinking that worldly wisdom trumps the wisdom of God? Renounce that. 1CO 3:18-19. 5. Have you been deceived into thinking that overindulgence of fleshly appetites is unimportant? Renounce that. LUK 21:34. 6. Have you been deceived into thinking that you are privy to spiritual wisdom which God has not revealed in His word? Renounce that. COL 2:18; GAL 1:8; ISA 8:20. 7. Have you been deceived into thinking that you will not reap what you sow? Renounce that. GAL 6:7. 8. Have you been deceived into thinking that you will not be corrupted by evil communications? Renounce that. 1CO 15:33. 9. Have you been deceived into thinking that your liberty in Christ validates your unfettered thoughts, speech or actions? Renounce that. GAL 5:13; 1CO 6:12. 10. Have you been deceived into thinking that Christ's victory over the powers of darkness means that you can have one foot in each camp or continue the practices of darkness unto Christ? Renounce that. 2KI 17:33; 1CO 10:19-22; 2CO 6:14-18. 11. Have you been deceived into thinking that your situation justifies your corrupt speech? Renounce that. PSA 106:32-33; JAM 1:26. 12. Have you been deceived into thinking that you need only be a hearer of the word but not a doer of the word? Renounce that. JAM 1:22. 13. Have you been deceived into thinking that you can make provision for the lusts of the flesh with impunity? Renounce that. ROM 13:14; PRO 6:27; 5:7-13; 1CO 6:18. 14. Have you been deceived into thinking that simply stopping bad behavior is sufficient? Renounce that. EPH 4:24-32; ROM 12:21. 15. Have you been deceived into thinking that pride is acceptable if it is called something other than pride? Renounce that. MAL 3:14-15; 1PE 5:5-6. 16. Have you been deceived into thinking that your personal prayer life can fall into disrepair and not affect your walk? Renounce that. EPH 6:18. 17. Have you been deceived into thinking that you can cover your sin with anything other than broken-hearted confession and forsaking? Renounce that. PRO 28:13. 18. Have you been deceived into thinking that you need to only forsake bad behavior but not ungodly thoughts or thoughts that lead to bad behavior? Renounce that. MAT 5:27-28; JAM 1:14-15; ISA 55:7. 19. Have you been deceived into thinking that you can trust your heart in the forming of values or doctrine? Renounce that. JER 17:9; PRO 28:26. 20. Have you been deceived into thinking that there is a particular sin that you would Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 2never commit? Renounce that. ROM 7:8; 1CO 10:12. 21. Have you been deceived into thinking that Satan has more power in your soul than does Jesus Christ so you might as well give in to temptation? Renounce that. 1JO 4:4; 1CO 10:13. G. We must renounce the deceptions by which we rationalize sin. A few of these are: 1. “I am good enough; I don't need to clean up that area of my life.” a. This is outright sinfulness itself. JAM 4:17. b. This deception is an expression of the pride of life (1JO 2:16), which God resists (JAM 4:6), which brings on heavy chastening (LUK 12:47), and leads to destruction. PRO 16:18. c. We are never “good enough” while there is tolerated sin in our lives. The church at Ephesus had many commendable points but they were still held accountable for the things which were wrong. REV 2:2-4. 2. “I am old enough; I don't need someone correcting me.” a. The godly will desire instruction for their latter end. PRO 19:20. b. The godly will desire to prove God's will in their latter end. PSA 71:17-18. c. Youth is not to be despised when it is validly correcting someone older. JOB 32:6-10; 1TI 4:12. 3. “I have prominence (or prestige, position, power, experience, seniority, etc.) which excuses my sin.” a. That didn't save Moses, Saul, David, Solomon, Peter, etc. from censure. b. Scripture holds the prominent to higher standards than others. LUK 12:48; JAM 3:1. 4. “I am not as bad as others.” a. Consider LUK 18:10-14. b. Such comparisons are not wise. 2CO 10:12. 5. “I deny that what I am doing is sinful.” a. Jonah declared that he did well to be angry but that didn't make it right. JON 4:9. b. God decides what is sinful. 1JO 3:4. 6. “So-and-so is doing what I am doing and not being judged for it, so it must be acceptable.” a. This is another unwise comparison. 2CO 10:12. b. You are assuming that the other person is not being judged for what they are doing. They may be under judgment that you do not see, and furthermore, payday doesn't always come on Friday. ECC 8:11. c. The other person may be in the midst of a space of repentance (REV 2:21), the end of which is only known to God. Do not presume upon God's forbearance. LUK 12:20; HEB 3:15. 7. “I am a victim of (fill in the blank here) which justifies my conduct.” a. This is a form of blame-shifting that didn't work for Adam or Saul. 1SAM 13:11-12; 15:24. b. Again, remember Moses. PSA 106:32-33. c. The most victimized man left us an example that nullifies this thinking. 1PE 2:21-23. 8. “My medication is responsible for my sin, not me.” a. This is another form of blame-shifting. Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 3b. Medication, like alcohol (PRO 23:33), does not cause one to sin; it only reduces the inhibitions that hold in what is going on in the heart. 9. “What I am doing can't be all that bad because God is blessing me so much.” a. This is equating gain with godliness. 1TI 6:5. b. God may be “blessing” as a judgment. PSA 106:14-15. 10. “I don't think of what I am doing as sin but rather a beneficial liberty.” a. This is the kind of thinking that calls a pornographic stage production “art.” b. We are expressly told not to euphemize evil. ISA 5:20. 11. “I have failed too often in this area so I might as well accept defeat.” a. God's grace abounds over all sin (ROM 5:20; 1CO 10:13) and we can, through Christ, do all that God expects of us. PHIL 4:13. b. A just man falls and rises again. PRO 24:16. II. Sin itself must be renounced. A. When we fail in our walk with God and transgress His law (which is sin, 1JO 3:4), we are to confess and forsake that sin. 1JO 1:9; PRO 28:13. 1. confess: To declare or disclose (something which one has kept or allowed to remain secret as being prejudicial or inconvenient to oneself); to acknowledge, own, or admit (a crime, charge, fault, weakness, or the like). 2. forsake: To deny, renounce, or repudiate allegiance to; To give up, renounce. To break off from, renounce (an employment, design, esp. and evil practice or sin; also, a belief, doctrine). B. Thus, the only acceptable response to the knowledge of sin in our lives is a verbal disclosure of that specific sin and a forsaking of it by renunciation (the surrender of that area of our life in which we failed and the steps which led to that failure). III. There can be no successful resistance of the devil where there has not first been a submission to God. JAM 4:7. A. submit: To place oneself under the control of a person in authority or power; to become subject, surrender oneself, or yield to a person or his rule, etc. B. This is the fundamental renouncing that must occur: renouncing of self. MAT 16:24. 1. There is an initial renouncing of self in conversion wherein the sinner surrenders his foolish self-government under the lordship of Satan to dependent government under the lordship and authority of Jesus Christ. 2. This principle of renouncing and submitting must continually be applied in whatever area of our thoughts, words or actions is restricting us from being conformed to “...the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (EPH 4:13). a. This is provoked by self-examination measured against the Scripture and by the scrutiny of others who bring Scripture to bear upon the relics of the old man which we have not yet renounced (2CO 13:5; HEB 3:13) and should be considered an answer to prayer if our prayers are Biblical. PSA 139:23-24. b. As areas of unsubmission are brought to our attention, we must acknowledge their reality and mortify them. COL 3:5-10. c. Mind that the outward areas of unsubmission are the easier ones to renounce; it is the inward ones which are known only to God, Satan and ourselves that are most difficult. d. ANY area of our life where we are not submitting to God is a weakness in Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 4our defenses where we give Satan a toehold with which he will build a stronghold. 3. The genuineness of one's love for God is measured by submission or the lack thereof. JOH 14:21 c/w PSA 81:15. C. This submission to God can only happen if we truly believe that there is a God Who can be pleased by our submission. HEB 11:6. D. Therefore it is not just a matter of believing God's existence, but believing His concern and approachability. E. If we are to submit to God, we must acknowledge God for Who He is, renouncing all distorted perceptions of God that Satan uses to hold us in bondage. 1. Scripture declares that God is eternal, holy, just, righteous, perfect, jealous, sovereign, intolerant of sin, separate from sinners, etc. 2. Scripture also declares that God (because of Christ) is loving, caring, good, merciful, present, available, approachable, gracious, a Giver of good gifts, nurturing, affirming, accepting, comforting, forgiving, and considerate of our plight. 3. To only see His holiness and enmity against sin to the exclusion of His lovingkindness and mercy paints a distorted picture of God. 4. Further, the truth about God is sometimes filtered through a negative grid of ignorance, false teachers, blasphemous thoughts, unhealthy interpersonal relationships during early developmental years, poor role models of authority figures (especially poor parents), etc. 5. As a result, a person's concept of God may be that He is hateful and unconcerned, mean and unforgiving, absent when needed, a “killjoy” who only takes away pleasure, critical and unpleasable, unapproachable, unjust, unfair, arbitrary, unpredictable and untrustworthy. 6. Perhaps the most dangerous distorted perception of God is the delusion that He is like us (PSA 50:21), which conveniently justifies our unwillingness to change. F. Submission to God obviously depends upon submission to the truth; therefore we had better be completely convinced that we have a totally reliable source of truth. 1TH 2:13. G. In submitting to God, we must renounce any blaming of God for our own mistakes. PRO 19:3; JAM 1:13-14. 1. Adam tried to cover his error of commission wrongly by shifting blame to Eve and ultimately to God. GEN 3:12. 2. The wicked, slothful, one-talent servant tried to cover his error of omission by the same means. MAT 25:24. 3. When we blame any other creature than ourselves for our sins, we are ultimately blaming God Who made that creature. This includes Satan who can only entice but not force you to sin! 4. We must stop justifying ourselves and rather justify God, Whose truth has through one means or another exposed our sin. JOB 32:2; LUK 7:35. H. The concept of submission to God begs a critical question: how much do you sincerely desire and intend to submit? Will you stop at being a rich young ruler (MAR 10:21-22) or lay it all on the line like Paul? PHIL 3:7-8. I. Remember that submission precedes resistance. If you are failing to resist temptation in something, could it be because that is an area of your life which you are reluctant to submit to God? IV. Following submission to God, resistance of Satan is an attainable reality. JAM 4:7. Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 5A. In ourselves we have not the power to resist and overcome Satan; we can of our own selves do nothing. JOH 15:5. 1. We deceive ourselves if we think we can outwit or outfight Satan at his own game. 2. Satan brought down sinless Adam and Eve; how much more power does he have over sinful human flesh? B. But Christ has such power and appeals to Him for deliverance are honored. 1JO 4:4 c/w ROM 10:13. 1. We appeal to Christ through prayer. MAT 6:13. a. These prayers should include other saints' deliverances. EPH 6:18. b. We should also pray for our oppressors in order to find deliverance from Satan's captivities. MAT 5:44; JOB 42:10. 2. We appeal to Christ through appealing to His word. MAT 4:1-11. 3. Appeals to Christ for deliverance from sin must be sincere. a. Be not as the remnant of Judah who dissembled in their hearts about seeking the right way. JER 42:1-3, 20. b. Do you genuinely seek deliverance from sin on God's terms, or is it more of a matter of seeking deliverance on your terms? God is only nigh unto the former. PSA 145:18. C. Resistance of Satan is to be “...stedfast in the faith...” (1PE 5:9). c/w 1JO 5:4. 1. This brings us again to the word of God. ROM 10:17. 2. Our personal faith is a major piece of armour in this warfare. EPH 6:16. 3. But faith must be grounded in truth! Faith in a deception, delusion or a lie is only so much making a shield out of wax paper. 4. Every aspect of resisting Satan, including knowing his power, God's power, and our power through Christ must be based upon the plain (and sometimes uncomfortable) truth of Scripture. a. Truth is a frontline piece of armour that of necessity precedes faith. EPH 6:14. b. Truth must be consciously chosen over a lie. PSA 119:30. c. Truth is a vital element in our personal sanctification. PRO 16:6; JOH 17:17. d. The more we are familiar with Scripture, the greater our ability to resist and overcome him. 1JO 2:14; PSA 119:11. (1) We are thus able to spot Satan's tactics and approach and so avoid unnecessary entanglements. c/w 2KI 6:8-10. (2) We see the cover ripped off our own self-deceptions and hypocrisies and renounce them, which deprives Satan of some of his greatest allies. (3) We see our hope of deliverance entirely grounded in Christ to Whom we flee for refuge, Who pleads for us when we fail, thus stripping from Satan the power he wields against us by accusing our consciences. HEB 6:18; 1JO 2:1-2. (4) We need grace to bear up under tribulation and trials which tend to wear us down, and grace is multiplied through the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus. 2PE 1:2. (5) We gain understanding which facilitates true joy that strengthens us. NEH 8:10-12. 5. Victorious faith is an applied faith that walks in keeping with the knowledge of the Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 6truth it embraces. JAM 1:22-25; 2:19-20. D. Satan is frustrated by the saint who “...keepeth himself...” (1JO 5:18). 1. We are to keep ourselves from idols. 1JO 5:21. 2. We are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. JAM 1:27. 3. We are to keep under our body. 1CO 9:27. 4. We are to keep our soul and heart diligently. DEU 4:9; PRO 4:23. 5. We are to keep ourselves from the path and proximity of temptation. PSA 17:4; PRO 5:8 c/w 7:8; MAT 6:13. 6. We are to keep ourselves from the company of corrupt men. PRO 4:14; 13:20; 22:24-25. 7. We are to keep ourselves in the love of God (JUDE 1:21) which is obedience to His commandments. JOH 15:10. 8. By such means we keep ourselves from iniquity. PSA 18:22-23. E. As noted above, Satan loves to accuse our consciences whenever we fail, implying that we are not even God's child, or that we are nothing but hypocrites, or that resistance is obviously futile, and so we should just give up and give in to sin. 1. When our heart is convinced that we are only worthless losers, we will act like worthless losers since “...a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (MAT 7:17). 2. But there is a big difference between having sin and being sin. 3. In Christ we are no longer totally depraved sinners; we have been redeemed by the blood of our Savior and are saints who sometimes sin. ROM 7:21. 4. Satan may disrupt our daily victory but not our position and identity in Christ. ROM 7:22-8:1. a. But if he can dupe us into believing that we are not in Christ, we will live as though not in Him. b. This underscores again how important truth is to our walk. The truth of what God's word says about believers must be claimed against the deceptions of Satan. c. This is why we must gird up the loins of our mind (1PE 1:13) and renounce any voices of emotion, imagination or circumstances, etc., that tell us something different than God wrote in His word. d. When we sin it is because we have in some way rejected the truth about the deceitfulness of sin, the sinfulness of sin, the consequences of sin and the power that we have in Christ to overcome Satan and sin. e. Nothing less than repentance to the acknowledging of the truth will set us free from our captivity. 2TI 2:25-26. (1) acknowledge: To own the knowledge of; to confess; to recognize or admit as true. (2) When we sin, the first acknowledgment of truth in our recovery program is an acknowledgment of the fact of our sin. PSA 51:3-4. V. The acknowledging of the truth must not only be an acknowledgment of the fact of our failure if we are to expect victory. A. We must acknowledge the truth about the things that led up to the commission of sin. B. The post-captivity books of Ezra and Nehemiah set forth a people who not only acknowledged the justice of God in allowing them to be put into captivity, but also acknowledged the steps that led up to the captivity. See NEH 9 for example. C. This would include an acknowledgment of the deceptions and rationalizations that we used Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 7to lay the groundwork for what resulted in our sin. VI. Remember that we must not only acknowledge (confess) our sin, we must forsake (renounce) it; we must give it up. PRO 28:13. A. This renunciation is done with words. JOB 34:31-32; HOS 14:1-3. B. This renunciation is also done with deeds. DAN 4:27; ACT 19:18-19; 26:20. 1. Evil behavior must be replaced with good behavior. EPH 4:24-32; ROM 12:21. 2. Destroy the things that were links to your sins like books, e-mails, letters, pictures, relationships, etc. C. We must forsake anything that would facilitate a repeat of the sin. 1. We are commanded to “...make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (ROM 13:14). 2. This is not letting or allowing sin to reign in our mortal bodies. ROM 6:12. 3. Since excuses and rationalizations make provision for the flesh, they must be renounced also. 4. If we don't do this, we are not breaking off with our sin and leaving it entirely, which is what forsaking is all about. 5. If we remember and speak of our past sins with pleasure rather than pain, have we really forsaken them? a. It is the hypocrite that relishes his sin rather than being disgusted by it and forsaking it. JOB 20:5, 12-14. b. That attitude will nullify prayer, which will in turn weaken your resistance to sin. PSA 66:18. c. Past sin should produce shame in our hearts. ROM 6:21. D. We ought to feel shame and self-loathing for sin. EZE 36:31-32; JAM 4:8-10. 1. This is a very painful experience. PSA 38:1-10. 2. Don't try to drown out the pain with distractions, drink, drugs, pleasures, etc. since that will surely make things worse. ISA 22:12-14. 3. This is feeling sorry for sin. PSA 38:18. a. sorry: Pained at heart; distressed, sad; full of grief or sorrow. b. This is a good sorrow that works repentance unto salvation. 2CO 7:8-10. 4. This is being broken and contrite for your sin. a. contrite: Crushed or broken in spirit by a sense of sin, and so brought to complete penitence. b. This contrition is necessary for COMPLETE penitence. c. When God commands you to repent, He is calling you to be contrite for your sin. d. repent: To affect (oneself) with contrition or regret for something done; to change one's mind with regard to past action or conduct through dissatisfaction with it or its results. e. This brokenness and contrition pleases God and is a vital part of the pathway to recovery. PSA 51:17; ISA 57:15. 5. The gospel is addressed to those who are broken and bruised because of their sin. LUK 4:18. a. Healing, deliverance, recovery and freedom are promised to such. b. Although you have sinned, there is hope and help for you. c. But if you shut the door to feeling shame for sin, you shut the door to the relief promised in the gospel. Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 86. Be thankful you can feel shame for your sin since “...the unjust knoweth no shame” (ZEP 3:5). a. Those who feel no shame for their sin will repeat it. JER 3:3, 5; EPH 4:19. b. The painful remorse you feel is a safeguard against returning to your sin. 2CO 7:10-11. 7. Having felt shame for your sin, having confessed and forsaken it, accept that God has forgiven you and put your cleansed heart back into service. PSA 51:10-14. a. We are basically called to shake ourselves from the dust and arise. ISA 52:2. b. Remember PRO 24:16. c. Renounce the devilish deception that says that your shame, sorrow, confession and repentance is a weary charade of which God is tired. (1) God delights in mercy. MIC 7:18. (2) It pleases God when you turn from your evil ways. EZE 33:11. VII. Learn from your mistake. Retrace the steps that led up to the commission of the sin and resolve to steer clear of them in the future. A purposed heart is vital to victory. PSA 17:3; DAN 1:8. A. Sin (particularly presumptuous sin) does not just mysteriously happen like Aaron said of the golden calf (EXO 32:24). There were things going on that preceded the sin. B. JAM 1:14-15 shows us that before sin there is lust, temptation and conceiving. 1. Our fleshly nature is corrupt according to deceitful lusts. EPH 4:22. 2. We are to guard against entering into temptation. MAT 26:41; 6:13. 3. conceive: To take into, or form in, the mind. To take or admit into the mind; to become affected or possessed with. 4. Sin happens after deceitful lusts lead us into temptation to where we conceive in our heart/mind the justification for, and dedication to the sin. ACT 5:4. 5. The battle, therefore, must begin with our thoughts. C. Sinners are called to not only forsake their ways but also their thoughts. ISA 55:7. 1. Since thoughts, which proceed from our hearts, lead to actions (ISA 65:2), we must manage our hearts wisely. JOB 15:12-13; PRO 4:23. 2. Examine what you were thinking before you sinned and forsake any thoughts that justified or encouraged your sin. 3. Remember that thoughts can be as sinful as conduct. MAT 5:28; PRO 24:9. 4. The great work of the gospel is to bring imaginations and thoughts under the government of Jesus Christ. 2CO 10:3-5. D. Our battle with Satan is for the control of our thinking. 1. If Satan can control our thoughts, we are certain to fall. 2. Therefore we must stand against his wiles. EPH 6:11. a. wile: A crafty, cunning or deceitful trick; a sly, insidious, or underhand artifice; a stratagem, ruse. Formerly sometimes in somewhat wider sense: A piece of deception; a deceit, a delusion. b. Satan's objective is to deceive you, to play tricks on your mind. c. deceive: To ensnare; to take unawares by craft or guile; to overcome, overreach, or get the better of by trickery; to beguile or betray into mischief or sin; to mislead. d. It is deception, wrong thinking, that will mislead you into sin. 3. In order to deceive, Satan works in conjunction with the lusts of our flesh, which are also deceitful. EPH 2:1-3; 4:22. Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 9a. lust: Pleasure, delight; desire, appetite, relish or inclination for something. b. In our flesh we have sinful lusts, desires for things forbidden by the law of God. ROM 6:12. c. These lusts ensnare us and betray us into sin. JAM 1:14-15. d. There also lusts which are not sinful but Satan will tempt us to fulfil those lusts in manners contrary to God's law. (1) Consider the time when Satan tempted Christ to turn stones to bread when he was hungry. Christ had a legitimate desire to eat. (2) The desires for food, sex or sleep are legitimate desires but all too often the satisfying of these desires is done in sinful ways. e. Satan's part in sin is to present enticements that stir our lusts by which he tempts us. f. It is the nature of deceit to conceal true intentions. (1) Lust deceives by concealing the true nature, cause, circumstances and consequences of sin. (2) Your lusts can not analyze a situation correctly so as to direct your judgment properly. (3) As such, if you only take direction from your delights and desires in making a decision of whether or not to do something, you set yourself up to be deceived and led into sin. g. Satan and your lusts will press distractions upon you as if they are more important than spiritual duties. (1) This is part of the deception that gives Satan and lust an advantage over you since this keeps you away from those things which work against them. (2) Keep this in mind when you feel a strong desire to do something other than what is good for your soul! h. Lust or desire can exert tremendous pressure on our thought processes, which is why Satan plays to them in order to gain control of our minds. 4. To avoid deception by Satan and our lusts, sin must be dealt with in its infancy, that is, at the lust stage. a. This means making no allowances for sinful lusts. ROM 13:14. (1) This may demand the elimination of certain entertainment, media, relationships, friendships, etc. (2) This may demand limiting or avoiding things you take into your body which adversely affect your emotions or which weaken your godly inhibitions. b. We must give our lusts NO controlling influence. ROM 6:12-13. (1) The verbs let and yield suggest a mental process in which the mind makes a decision to allow something to take control. (2) We make the final decision as to whether sin or righteousness will control our actions. c. We are to flee youthful lusts. 2TI 2:22. (1) flee: To run away from or as from danger; to take flight; to try to escape or seek safety by flight. (2) Flee the lust while it is young. Do not allow it time to mature. (3) Do not dialogue with lusts, as Eve did with Satan. Run from them. (4) Immediately resist the first suggestion of sin to your mind; do not Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 10allow that suggestion time to stir the lusts. (5) Christ wasted no time resisting Satan's temptations in the wilderness. E. Amongst the thoughts that lead to the conception and birth of sin is covetousness, the last interdiction of the Ten Commandments. EXO 20:17. 1. covetousness: Inordinate and culpable desire of possessing that which belongs to another or to which one has no right. 2. The Ten Commandments are book-ended by heart sins; the rest concentrate on the outward motions of sins. a. Covetousness is obviously a heart-sin since the heart is the fount of desire. PSA 10:3. b. Idolatry (EXO 20:3) needs not a statue, only a vain imagination (ROM 1:20-23). Before image-making, the heart and mind have already desired something other than the true God as preeminent. c. The Spirit thus provided in the Decalogue a graphic depiction of the outward acts of sins: they are enclosed by heart-sins. (1) Try thus visualizing the Ten Commandments linearly. (2) There is a heart-sin that comes before an outward act of sin; there is a heart-sin that comes before going back to do it again. 3. It has been observed that covetousness is essentially the sin that precedes all of the other nine, but especially the five which are listed before it. 4. It was the realization of his guilt in this inward sin that arrested Paul from his deceived walk of Pharisaic outward righteousness. ROM 7:7. a. Obviously, covetousness is lust or desire. b. Thus, to address covetousness is to address sin at the level of desire. 5. The foil of covetousness is contentment. HEB 13:5-6. a. content: Having one's desires bounded by what one has (though that may be less than one could have wished); not disturbed by the desire of anything more, or of anything different. b. Contentment is something that must be learned (PHIL 4:11-12); it does not come naturally. c. Godliness without contentment is a great strain, “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1TI 6:6). 6. Covetousness opens doors to many other temptations and lusts. 1TI 6:9-11. a. It is at the root of fornication, adultery, theft, etc., which can in turn lead to lying or even murder to cover the sin. EXO 20:17 c/w 2SAM 12:9. b. Without covetousness, there would be no envy or emulation. (1) envy: sb. Malignant or hostile feeling; ill-will, malice, enmity. The feeling of mortification and ill-will occasioned by the contemplation of superior advantages possessed by another. (2) envy: v. To feel displeasure and ill-will at the superiority of (another person) in happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of anything desirable; to regard with discontent another's possession of (some superior advantage which one would like to have for oneself). (3) If you are content with what you are and have, you will have no illwill toward those who possess superior advantages. (4) If you are not content with what you are and have in comparison to others, instead of harboring ill-will against them, your only godly option is to strive lawfully to improve your condition. If you are Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 11unable to do that, then LEARN CONTENTMENT. (5) Envy is associated with strife, wrath and hatred. ROM 13:13; JAM 3:16; JOB 5:2; 2CO 12:20; EZE 35:11. (6) emulation: The endeavour to equal or surpass others in any achievement or quality; also, the desire or ambition to equal or excel. (7) Emulation is an expression of envy in that one endeavours to equal or surpass the one whom he envies. c. Covetousness is idolatry (COL 3:5), which appropriately ties together the first and tenth commandments. Breaking the tenth is breaking the first. (1) It sets up another god before the true and living God. EXO 20:3. (2) The covetous man makes something other than God his first love, confidence and hope, which is idolatry. MAR 12:29-30 c/w REV 2:4; JOB 31:24-28; LUK 12:15-21. (3) The covetous man serves his desire rather than God. d. Thus, thoughts of discontent must be forsaken promptly. When Paul warned against covetousness, he said, “...flee these things” (1TI 6:11). e. In retracing the steps which led up to a sin, check if you were discontented about something in life that you thought you were entitled to be or to have. F. A close companion of covetousness is pride. This too is an area of corrupt thinking that must be forsaken or it will lead to condemnation. 1TI 3:6. 1. pride: A high or overweening opinion of one's own qualities, attainments, or estate, which gives rise to a feeling and attitude of superiority over and contempt for others. a. A believer is not to “...THINK of himself more highly than he ought to THINK...” (ROM 12:3). b. Pride may underlie covetousness, envy or theft: you can't bear to think of yourself as being less attractive, strong, happy, rich, smart, etc. than others. c. Pride may underlie blame-shifting, cheating and lying: you don't want to appear weak, inferior or imperfect to others so you cheat to get ahead, blame someone else for your faults, or lie about something you did wrong. d. Pride may underlie your propensity for strife. PRO 13:10. e. Pride may underlie your despite of others: you fancy yourself more righteous than them. LUK 18:9. f. Pride may underlie your emulation issues which you euphemistically call “a competitive spirit.” You can't stand being bested. g. Pride may underlie your failure to resist temptation. JAM 4:6-7. h. Pride leads to a fall. PRO 16:18; 29:23. i. Pride may even underlie your refusal to accept God's forgiveness; you secretly wish that you weren't so beholden to God's mercy. 2. Consider the steps that led up to Peter's sin of denying Christ. a. Peter did not heed Christ's word but vehemently opposed it. MAR 14:27-31. (1) He disbelieved it, dismissed it and did not remember it until it was too late. MAR 14:72. (2) Peter was basically implying that Christ was a false prophet and he rejected His judgment to justify himself. c/w JOB 40:8. (3) Peter held too high an opinion of his ability to withstand temptation. He was thinking like leviathan. JOB 41:15. Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 12(4) “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1CO 10:12). b. Peter failed to watch and pray even though Christ had specifically warned him to do so. MAT 26:38-43. c. His zeal outran his knowledge and he attempted to defend Christ carnally, acting without counsel. JOH 18:10-11. d. He followed Jesus afar off. LUK 22:54. e. He hung with the wrong crowd. LUK 22:55. f. At the root of Peter's sin was unbelief of the word of Christ, the very thing that will lead us all astray. HEB 3:12-13. g. The good news is that there was yet help for Peter in his advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ. LUK 22:31-32. 3. All is not lost when you sin. Our God is ready to take up for you and deliver you from your own mess. 1JO 2:1-2. a. advocate: One whose profession it is to plead the cause of any one in a court of justice; a counsellor or counsel. fig. and gen. One who pleads, intercedes, or speaks for, or in behalf of, another; a pleader, intercessor, defender. b. Our advocate is Jesus Christ THE RIGHTEOUS. (1) In another court, an unjust advocate may plead for innocent clients but in this court a Just Advocate pleads for the guilty. (2) It is our Advocate's righteousness that is plead in this court. (3) The Father loves the righteous and hears the prayers of the righteous. PSA 146:8; PRO 15:29; JOH 11:41-42. (4) Since our Advocate is “THE RIGHTEOUS,” His pleas for us are certainly heard and answered. 1JO 5:15. c. Our advocate is also the propitiation for our sins. (1) propitiation: The action or an act of rendering favourably inclined; appeasement, conciliation; atonement, expiation. (2) Christ by His blood has appeased our offended God. ROM 3:25; COL 1:20. (3) Our Advocate pleads with a Judge Who has become inclined to rule in our favor. (4) This is all the more reason to apply PRO 28:13. VIII. The sum of all this is that right thinking is key to fighting Satan and sin. A. Corrupt actions must not only be renounced, but also all corrupt thinking. ISA 55:7. B. As we are to abhor evil (ROM 12:9), let us abhor it in our thoughts. PSA 119:59. C. Spend more time in positive thoughts. PHIL 4:8. D. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (PRO 16:3). Fighting Satan and Sin 1-8-12 Page 13