Notes on Christian Warfare (8)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Wiles of the Devil   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

We are still in verse eleven where we are told to stand not just against the devil, but his wiles also. He has much experience, an expert, deception is his primary tool. He leads an army which is at his disposal and is no mean general when it comes to the art of warfare. However, cares for nothing of the Geneva convention in his tactics, no holds barred. He has many devices (2Corinthians 2:11). And most of these are performed in a sheep’s skin. There are some who have been ensnared by him and need to be recovered (2Timothy 2:26). We, Christians, are warned by the apostle that we don’t be taken captive by him (Colossians (2:8). In his wiles he is capable of taking the wise and the simple, the hypocrite and the upright, the timid and the bold, the rich and the poor, the aged and the young. We learn to be discerning. We must be equipped to know the difference between the hissings of Satan and the inspirations of God, to see the hook behind the bait. The word “wiles” (v11), indicates scheming cleverness, craftiness. He appeared to our first parent Eve as a shining one, he beguiled her with spiritual talk very appealing to her. He implanted the seed of pride into her (Genesis 3:1-6). He can appear as an angel of light (2Corinthians 11:14). You will find him the realms of the aesthetic, the artistic, the intellectual, rather than the gross, the ugly and the perverse. He has his failures, they are to be found in the gutter and of little further use to him. For he is ambitious he does not seek a kingdom that consists of human wrecks. His ambitions are higher than that, better, more powerful. He has a lust for power over others that exceed any. His targets include Ministers of the gospel. This is one of the reasons Jesus seeks to quench the notion of popularity amongst his men. He himself walked away from any suggestion of this himself, “when Jesus, therefore, perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (John 6:15). Crave it not my friends, crave it not. The cunning of the Devil takes some matching for efficiency. He studies situations and personalities, he lays snares where you are at your most vulnerable. He often knows the Christian better than the Christian knows themselves. He watches for where and when we are on our guard, watchful and waits for a more opportune time when we are careless and tired.

His strategies and activities can be learned from some of the Old Testament saints. Take for instance Elijah’s suicidal depression. After a mighty victory over the false prophets of Baal he is found under a tree convinced of the failure of his ministry. He is convinced that his ministry is finished. But the truth is he had already been used tremendously and God yet had more work for him to do. The devil will make black look white to us and white black. He suffered from tiredness and confusion inspired by the Devil. But God cared for his servant, he held him, ministered to him, restored him. The Devil was defeated. He will put poison in a golden cup. He will present you with much profit if only you will yield to sin. He hides from view God’s wrath that you would incur and the misery that is a reality as a result of the sin. Again with Eve, he offers her the bait but he hides the shame, the holy displeasure, and wrath of God, he hides the loss that follows her taking the bait. He puts enormous fallacies before men, he leads and leaves them with a fools paradise. He will promise them prosperity, perhaps even give them such. He will promise them pleasures unlimited, success if only they will sell their souls to him. Then he will sink them into the deepest hell. Therefore, “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1Peter 5:8).

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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