Love Is God’s Gift

Love Is God’s Gift

 

 

 

 

Once again I ask, Why must this be so? And my answer is: Without this we cannot live the daily life of love.

 

How often, when we speak about the consecrated life, we have to speak about temper, and some people have sometimes said:

 

"You make too much of temper."

 

I do not think we can make too much of it. Think for a moment of a clock and of what its hands mean. The hands tell me what is within the clock, and if I see that the hands stand still, or that the hands point wrong, or that the clock is slow or fast, I say that something inside the clock is not working properly. And temper is just like the revelation that the clock gives of what is within. Temper is a proof whether the love of Christ is filling the heart, or not. How many there are who find it easier in church, or in prayer-meeting, or in work for the Lord – diligent, earnest work – to be holy and happy than in the daily life with wife and children and servant; easier to be holy and happy outside the home than in it! Where is the love of God? In Christ. God has prepared for us a wonderful redemption in Christ, and He longs to make something supernatural of us. Have we learned to long for it, and ask for it, and expect it in its fullness?

 

Then there is the tongue! We sometimes speak of the tongue when we talk of the better life, and the restful life, but just think what liberty many Christians give to their tongues. They say:

 

"I have a right to think what I like."

 

When they speak about each other, when they speak about their neighbors, when they speak about other Christians, how often there are sharp remarks! God keep me from saying anything that would be unloving; God shut my mouth if I am not to speak in tender love. But what I am saying is a fact. How often there are found among Christians who are banded together in work, sharp criticism, sharp judgment, hasty opinion, unloving words, secret contempt of each other, secret condemnation of each other! Oh, just as a mother’s love covers her children and delights in them and has the tenderest compassion with their foibles or failures, so there ought to be in the heart of every believer a motherly love toward every brother and sister in Christ. Have you aimed at that? Have you sought it? Have you ever pleaded for it? Jesus Christ said: "As I have loved you … love one another." And He did not put that among the other commandments, but He said in effect:

 

"That is a new commandment, the one commandment: Love one another as I have loved you."

It is in our daily life and conduct that the fruit of the Spirit is love. From that there comes all the graces and virtues in which love is manifested: joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness; no sharpness or hardness in your tone, no unkindness or selfishness; meekness before God and man. You see that all these are the gentler virtues. I have often thought as I read those words in Colossians, "Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering," that if we had written, we should have put in the foreground the manly virtues, such as zeal, courage and diligence; but we need to see how the gentler, the most womanly virtues are specially connected with dependence upon the Holy Spirit. These are indeed heavenly graces. They never were found in the heathen world. Christ was needed to come from Heaven to teach us. Your blessedness is longsuffering, meekness, kindness; your glory is humility before God. The fruit of the Spirit that He brought from Heaven out of the heart of the crucified Christ, and that He gives in our heart, is first and foremost – love.

 

You know what John says: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us." That is, I cannot see God, but as a compensation I can see my brother, and if I love him, God dwells in me. Is that really true? That I cannot see God, but I must love my brother, and God will dwell in me?

 

Loving my brother is the way to real fellowship with God. You know what John further says in that most solemn test, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (1 John 4:20). There is a brother, a most unlovable man. He worries you every time you meet him. He is of the very opposite disposition to yours. You are a careful businessman, and you have to do with him in your business. He is most untidy, unbusiness-like. You say:

 

1 John 4:20

 

20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. AMP

 

 

"I cannot love him."

 

 

 

Oh, friend, you have not learned the lesson that Christ wanted to teach above everything. Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is to be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! if a man loves not his brother whom he hath seen – if you don’t love that unlovable man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart you will love your brother. The fruit of the Spirit is love.

 

And what is the reason that God’s Holy Spirit cannot come in power? Is it not possible?

 

You remember the comparison I used in speaking of the vessel. I can dip a little water into a potsherd, a bit of a vessel; but if a vessel is to be full, it must be unbroken. And the children of God, wherever they come together, to whatever church or mission or society they belong, must love each other intensely, or the Spirit of God cannot do His work. We talk about grieving the Spirit of God by worldliness and ritualism and formality and error and indifference, but, I tell you, the one thing above everything that grieves God’s Spirit is this want of love. Let every heart search itself, and ask that God may search it.

 

Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray

Advertisements

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE

"THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE"

 

 

 

I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy Spirit more from the practical side, and to show how this life will show itself in our daily walk and conduct.

 

Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not then dwell in them. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work, but know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual disposition, and what we need above everything else, is to say:

 

"I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really to live for God’s glory."

 

You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He did so that they might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they received the Holy Ghost in such heavenly power and reality that He took possession of their whole being at once and so fitted them as holy men for doing the work with power as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power to the disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the power.

 

I wish now to dwell upon the passage found in Galatians 5:22:

 

Galatians 5:22-23

 

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

 

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. AMP

 

"The Fruit of the Spirit is Love"

 

We read that "Love is the fulfilling of the law," and my desire is to speak on love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object. One is that this word may be a searchlight in our hearts, and give us a test by which to try all our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and all our experience of the holy life. Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this been our daily habit, to seek the being filled with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of love? "The fruit of the Spirit is love." Has it been our experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit the more loving we become? In claiming the Holy Spirit we should make this the first object of our expectation. The Holy Spirit comes as a Spirit of love.

 

Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ how different her state would be! May God help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the fruit of the Spirit is a love which appears in the life, and that just as the Holy Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart will be filled with real, divine, universal love.

 

One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the want of love. When the body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of their great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain, one of their mottoes was: "Unity gives strength." It is only when God’s people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can see-it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing which they ask of God. Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole is cracked into many pieces, it cannot be filled. You can take a potsherd, one part of a vessel, and dip out a little water into that, but if you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of Christ’s Church, and if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this: Lord, melt us together into one by the power of the Holy Spirit; let the Holy Spirit, who at Pentecost made them all of one heart and one soul, do His blessed work among us. Praise God, we can love each other in a divine love, for "the fruit of the Spirit is love." Give yourselves up to love, and the Holy Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love more.

Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray

The Lord Jesus Loves His People

The Lord Jesus Loves His People

 

 

John 13:5-8

 

5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

 

6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

 

7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

 

8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. KJV

 

 

The Lord Jesus loves His people so much, that every day He is still doing for them much that is analogous to washing their soiled feet. Their poorest actions He accepts; their deepest sorrow He feels; their slenderest wish He hears, and their every transgression He forgives. He is still their servant as well as their Friend and Master. He not only performs majestic deeds for them, as wearing the mitre on His brow, and the precious jewels glittering on His breastplate, and standing up to plead for them, but humbly, patiently, He yet goes about among His people with the basin and the towel. He does this when He puts away from us day by day our constant infirmities and sins. Last night, when you bowed the knee, you mournfully confessed that much of your conduct was not worthy of your profession; and even tonight, you must mourn afresh that you have fallen again into the selfsame folly and sin from which special grace delivered you long ago; and yet Jesus will have great patience with you; He will hear your confession of sin; He will say, "I will, be thou clean"; He will again apply the blood of sprinkling, and speak peace to your conscience, and remove every spot. It is a great act of eternal love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what condescending patience there is when the Saviour with much long-suffering bears the oft recurring follies of His wayward disciple; day by day, and hour by hour, washing away the multiplied transgressions of His erring but yet beloved child! To dry up a flood of rebellion is something marvellous, but to endure the constant dropping of repeated offences–to bear with a perpetual trying of patience, this is divine indeed! While we find comfort and peace in our Lord’s daily cleansing, its legitimate influence upon us will be to increase our watchfulness, and quicken our desire for holiness. Is it so?

 

C. H. Spurgeon

Our Love Shows God’s Power

Our Love Shows God’s Power

 

 

 

Why are we taught that "the fruit of the Spirit is love"? Because the Spirit of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a revelation of what God can do for His children.

 

In the second and the fourth chapters of Acts we read that the disciples were of one heart and of one soul. During the three years they had walked with Christ they never had been in that spirit. All Christ’s teaching could not make them of one heart and one soul. But the Holy Spirit came from Heaven and shed the love of God in their hearts, and they were of one heart and one soul. The same Holy Spirit that brought the love of Heaven into their hearts must fill us too. Nothing less will do. Even as Christ did, one might preach love for three years with the tongue of an angel, but that would not teach any man to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit should come upon him to bring the love of Heaven into his heart.

 

Think of the church at large. What divisions! Think of the different bodies. Take the question of holiness, take the question of the cleansing blood, take the question of the baptism of the Spirit – what differences are caused among dear believers by such questions! That there are differences of opinion does not trouble me. We do not have the same constitution and temperament and mind. But how often hate, bitterness, contempt, separation, unlovingness are caused by the holiest truths of God’s Word! Our doctrines, our creeds, have been more important than love. We often think we are valiant for the truth and we forget God’s command to speak the truth in love. And it was so in the time of the Reformation between the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches. What bitterness there was than in regard to the Holy Supper, which was meant to be the bond of union among all believers! And so, down the ages, the very dearest truths of God have become mountains that have separated us.

 

If we want to pray in power, and if we want to expect the Holy Spirit to come down in power, and if we want indeed that God shall pour out His Spirit, we must enter into a covenant with God that we love one another with a heavenly love.

 

Are you ready for that? Only that is true love that is large enough to take in all God’s children, the most unloving and unlovable, and unworthy, and unbearable, and trying. If my vow – absolute surrender to God – was true, then it must mean absolute surrender to the divine love to fill me; to be a servant of love to love every child of God around me. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."

 

Oh, God did something wonderful when He gave Christ, at His right hand, the Holy Spirit to come down out of the heart of the Father and His everlasting love. And how we have degraded the Holy Spirit into a mere power by which we have to do our work! God forgive us! Oh, that the Holy Spirit might be held in honor as a power to fill us with the very life and nature of God and of Christ!

Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray

GOD HAS A PLAN

 

GOD HAS A PLAN 

 

God has a plan and absolutely nothing that has happened, is happening, or is going to happen is outside of His plan. To say that any act of man or nature that occurs is outside of God’s Plan is to say that God isn’t God. God is Omnipotent (All Powerful), Omnipresent (Present everywhere with His whole being at all times.) and Omniscient (knows everything, things actual and possible, effortlessly and equally well.) In other words, God is in control.

 

So then you may ask: If God is in control of everything then why do we have so much evil in the world? Why are there wars, murders, thefts, infant deaths, poverty, disease and famines? How could these things possibly be in God’s plan for us?

 

First we need to understand how things get into God’s plan. There is two ways things can end up in God’s Plan: (1) He either Ordains that it will be or (2) He allows it to be, as in this graphic. (posted at end)

 

Keep in Mind: Proverbs 16:4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends —  even the wicked for a day of disaster. NIV and Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. NIV

 

Copyright  2005 (c) by Rev. A. M. Buchanan, D.D.,  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

PROVIDENCE

 

The continuous activity of God in His creation by which He preserves and governs. The doctrine of providence affirms God’s absolute lordship over His creation and confirms the dependence of all creation on the Creator. It is the denial of the idea that the universe is governed by chance or fate.

 

Through His providence God controls the universe (Psalms 103:19); the physical world (Matthew 5:45); the affairs of nations (Psalms 66:7); man’s birth and destiny (Galatians 1:15); man’s successes and failures (Luke 1:52); and the protection of His people (Psalms 4:8).

 

Psalms 103:19

 

19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. NIV

 

Matthew 5:45

 

45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. NIV

 

Psalms 66:7

 

7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations —  let not the rebellious rise up against him. Selah  NIV

 

Galatians 1:15

 

15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased NIV

 

Luke 1:52

 

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. NIV

 

Psalms 5:1

 

8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. NIV

 

 

God preserves all things through His providence (1 Samuel 2:9; Acts 17:28). Without His continual care and activity the world would not exist. God also preserves His people through His providence (Genesis 28:15; Luke 21:18; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 3:12).

 

1 Samuel 2:9

 

9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails; NIV

 

Acts 17:28

 

28’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ NIV

 

Genesis 28:15

 

15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." NIV

 

Luke 21:18

 

18 But not a hair of your head will perish. NIV

 

1 Corinthians 10:13

 

13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. NIV

 

1 Peter 3:12

 

12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."  NIV

 

 

Divine government is the continued activity of God by which He directs all things to the ends He has chosen in His eternal plan. God is King of the universe who has given Christ all power and authority to reign (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:36; Ephesians 1:20-23). He governs insignificant things (Matthew 10:29-31), apparent accidents (Proverbs 16:33), as well as man’s good (Philippians 2:13) and evil deeds (Acts 14:16).

 

Matthew 28:18-20

 

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

 

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 

20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." NIV

 

Acts 2:36

 

36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." NIV

 

Ephesians 1:20-23

 

20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

 

21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

 

22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,

 

23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. NIV

 

Matthew 10:29-31

 

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.

 

30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

 

31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. NIV

 

Proverbs 16:33

 

33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. NIV

 

Philippians 2:13

 

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. NIV

 

Acts 14:16

 

16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. NIV

 

 

God acts in accordance with the laws and principles that He has established in the world. The laws of nature are nothing more than man’s description of how we perceive God at work in the world. They neither have inherent power nor do they work by themselves.

 

Man is not free to choose and act independently from God’s will and plan; he chooses and acts in accordance with them. In His sovereignty, God controls man’s choices and actions (Genesis 45:5; Deuteronomy 8:18; Proverbs 21:1). God’s actions, however, do not violate the reality of human choice or negate man’s responsibility as a moral being.

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

 

Genesis 45:5

 

5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. NIV

 

Deuteronomy 8:18

 

18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. NIV

 

Proverbs 21:1

 

21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. NIV

  

God permits sinful acts to occur, but He does not cause man to sin (Genesis 45:5; Romans 9:22). He often overrules evil for good (Genesis 50:20; Acts 3:13).

 

Genesis 45:5

 

5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. NIV

 

Romans 9:22

 

22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? NIV

 

Genesis 50:20

 

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. NIV

 

Acts 3:13

 

13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.

NIV

 

 

 

Sovereignty

 

1. Meaning. The word means principal, chief, supreme. It speaks first of position (God is the chief Being in the universe), then of power (God is supreme in power in the universe). How He exercises that power is revealed in the Scriptures. A sovereign could be a dictator (God is not), or a sovereign could abdicate the use of his powers (God has not). Ultimately God is in complete control of all things, though He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural laws that He has ordained.

 

2. Scripture. God has a plan (Acts 15:18), which is all-inclusive (Ephesians 1:11), which He controls (Psalms 135:6), which includes but does not involve Him in evil (Proverbs 16:4), and which ultimately is for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:14).

 

Acts 15:18

 

18 that have been known for ages. NIV

 

Ephesians 1:11

 

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, NIV

 

Psalms 135:6

 

6 The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.

NIV

 

Proverbs 16:4

 

4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends —  even the wicked for a day of disaster. NIV

 

Ephesians 1:14

 

14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory. NIV

 

 

3. The problem. The sovereignty of God seems to contradict the freedom or actual responsibility of man. But even though it may seem to do so, the perfection of sovereignty is clearly taught in the Scriptures, so it must not be denied because of our inability to reconcile it with freedom or responsibility.

 

Also, if God is sovereign, how can the creation be so filled with evil? Man was created with genuine freedom, but the exercise of that freedom in rebellion against God introduced sin into the human race. Though God was the Designer of the plan, He was in no way involved in the commission of evil either on the part of Satan originally or of Adam subsequently. Even though God hates sin, for reasons not revealed to us, sin is present by His permission. Sin must be within God’s eternal plan (or God would not be sovereign) in some way in which He is not the author of it (or God could not be holy).

 

Sovereignty/freedom forms an antinomy ("a contradiction between two apparently equally valid principles or between inferences correctly drawn from such principles"). Antinomies in the Bible, however, consist only of apparent contradictions, not ultimate ones. One can accept the truths of an antinomy and live with them, accepting by faith what cannot be reconciled; or one can try to harmonize the apparent contradictions in an antinomy, which inevitably leads to overemphasizing one truth to the neglect or even denial of the other. Sovereignty must not obliterate free will, and free will must never dilute sovereignty.

(from Basic Theology, Copyright © 1986, 1999 by Charles C. Ryrie.)

Our good Shepherd

Our good Shepherd

 

 

Isaiah 40:11

 

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. KJV

 

 

Our good Shepherd has in His flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but He is impartial in His care for all His sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to Him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with His arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish–He nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; He finds weak minds ready to faint and die–He consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones He gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye He must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In His lifetime on earth He was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that He dwells in heaven, His loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did He gather me to Himself, to His truth, to His blood, to His love, to His church! With what effectual grace did He compel me to come to Himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has He restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of His everlasting arm! The best of all is, that He does it all Himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending Himself to rescue and preserve His most unworthy servant. How shall I love Him enough or serve Him worthily? I would fain make His name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for Him? Great Shepherd, add to Thy mercies this one other, a heart to love Thee more truly as I ought.

C. H. Spurgeon

THE MIGHT OF SATAN

 

THE MIGHT OF SATAN

  

‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not.’ — Luke 22:31,32

There is nothing that makes an enemy so dangerous as the fact that he remains hidden or forgotten. Of the three great enemies of the Christian, the world, the flesh, and the devil, the last is the most dangerous, not only because it is he that, strictly speaking, lends to the others what power they have, but also because he is not seen, and, therefore, little known or feared. The devil has the power of darkness: he darkens the eyes, so that men do not know him. He surrounds himself with darkness, so that he is not observed. Yea, he has even the power to appear as an angel of light. (Matthew 4:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:14) It is by the faith that recognizes things unseen that the Christian is to endeavour to know Satan, even as the Scripture has revealed him.

 

Matthew 4:6

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. KJV

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. KJV

 

2 Corinthians 11:14

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. KJV

 

When the Lord Jesus was living upon earth, His great work was to overcome Satan. When at His baptism He was filled with the Spirit, this fulness of the Spirit brought him into contact with Satan as head of the world of evil spirits, to combat him and to overcome him. (Matthew 4:1,10) After that time the eyes of the Lord were always open to the power and working of Satan. In all sin and misery He saw the revelation of the mighty kingdom of the very same superior, the evil one. Not only in the demoniacs, but also in the sick, He saw the enemy of God and man. (Matthew 12:28; Mark 4:15; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38) In the advice of Peter to avoid the cross, and in his denial of his Lord, where we should think of the revelation of the natural character of Peter, Jesus saw the work of Satan. (Matthew 26:23; Luke 22:31,32) In His own suffering, where we rather speak of the sin of man and the permission of God, Jesus perceives the power of darkness. His whole work in living and in dying was to destroy the works of Satan, as He shall also at His second coming utterly bruise Satan himself. (Luke 10:18; 22:3,53; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Romans 16:20; Colossians 2:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:8,9; 1 John 3:8)

 

Matthew 4:14:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. KJV

 

Matthew 4:10

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. KJV

 

Matthew 12:28

28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. KJV

 

Mark 4:15

15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. KJV

 

Luke 13:16

16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? KJV

 

Acts 10:38

38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. KJV

 

Matthew 26:23

23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. KJV

 

Luke 22:31-32

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

 

32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. KJV

 

Luke 10:18

18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. KJV

 

Luke 22:3

3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

KJV

 

Luke 22:53

53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. KJV

 

John 12:31

31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

KJV

 

John 14:30

30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. KJV

 

John 16:11

11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. KJV

 

Romans 16:20

20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. KJV

 

Colossians 2:15

15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. KJV

 

2 Thessalonians 2:8

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: KJV

 

2 Thessalonians 2:9

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, KJV

 

1 John 3:8

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. KJV

 

His word to Peter, compared with the personal experience of the Lord, gives us a fearful insight into the work of the enemy. ‘Satan hath eagerly desired you,’ says Jesus. ‘As a roaring lion, he walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,’ says Peter himself later on. (1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Peter 5:8) He has no unlimited power, but he is always eager to make use of every weak or unguarded moment. ‘That he might sift you as wheat:’ what a picture! This world, yea, even the Church of Christ, is the threshing-floor of Satan. The corn belongs to God; the chaff is his own. He sifts and sifts continually, and all that falls through with the chaff he endeavours to take for himself. And many a Christian is there who does fall through in a terrible fashion, and who, were it not for the intercession of his Lord, would perish for ever. (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20)

 

1 Corinthians 7:5

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. KJV

 

2 Corinthians 2:10

10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; KJV

 

1 Peter 5:8

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: KJV

 

1 Corinthians 5:5

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. KJV

 

1 Timothy 1:20

20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. KJV

  

Satan has more than one sieve. The first is generally wordly-mindedness — the love of the world. Many a one is pious in his time of poverty, but when he becomes rich, he again eagerly strives to win the world. Or in the time of conversion and awakening he appears very zealous, but through the care of the world he is led astray. (Matthew 4:9; 8:22; 1 Timothy 6:9,10; 2 Timothy 4:10)

 

Matthew 4:9

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. KJV

 

Matthew 8:22

22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. KJV

 

1 Timothy 6:9-10

9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

 

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. KJV

 

2 Timothy 4:10

10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. KJV

 

A second sieve is self-love and self-seeking. Whenever any one does not give himself undividedly to serve his Lord and his neighbour, and to love his neighbour in the Lord, it soon appears that the principal token of a disciple is lacking in him. It will be manifest that many a one, with a fair profession of being devoted to the service of God, fails utterly on this point, and must be reckoned with the chaff. Lovelessness is the sure token of the power of Satan. (John 8:44; 1 John 3:10,15; 4:20)

 

John 8:44

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your 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 speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. KJV

 

1 John 3:10

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. KJV

 

1 John 3:15

15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. KJV

 

1 John 4:20

20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? KJV

 

Yet another sieve, a very dangerous one, is self-confidence. Under the name of following the Spirit, one may listen to the thoughts of his own heart. He is zealous for the Lord, but with a carnal zeal, in which the gentleness of the Lamb of God is not seen. Without being observed, the movements of the flesh mingle with the workings of the Spirit, and while he boasts that he is overcoming Satan, he is being secretly ensnared by him. (Galatians 3:3; 5:13)

 

Galatians 3:3

3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? KJV

 

Galatians 5:13

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. KJV

 

O it is a serious life here upon the earth, where God gives permission for Satan to set his threshing floor even in the Church. Happy are they who with deep humility, with fear and trembling, distrust themselves. Our only security is in the intercession and guidance of Him who overcame Satan. (Ephesians 6:10,12,16) Far be from us the idea that we know all the depths of Satan, and are a match for all his cunning stratagems. It is in the region of the spirit, in the invisible, that he works and has power, as well as in the visible. Let us fear lest, while we have known and overcome him in the visible, he should prevail over us in the spiritual. May our only security be the conviction of our frailty and weakness, our confidence in Him who certainly keeps the lowly in heart.

 

Ephesians 6:10

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. KJV

 

Ephesians 6:12

12 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. KJV

 

Ephesians 6:16

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. KJV

 

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to know our enemy and his wiles. Cause us to see him and his realm, that we may dread all that is of him. And open our eyes to see how Thou hast overcome him, and how in Thee we are invincible. O teach us what it is to be in Thee, to mortify all that is of the mere Ego and the will of the flesh, and to be strong in weakness and lowliness. And teach us to bring into prayer the conflict of faith against every stronghold of Satan, because we know that Thou wilt bruise him under our feet. Amen.

  

1.       What comfort does the knowledge of the existence of Satan give us? We know then that sin is derived from a foreign power which has thrust itself into our nature, and does not naturally belong to us. We know besides that he has been entirely vanquished by the Lord Jesus, and thus has no power over us so long as we abide trustfully in Christ.

 

2.       The whole of this world, with all that is in it, is under the domination of Satan: therefore there is nothing, even what appears good and fair, that may not be dangerous for us. In all things, even in what is lawful and right, we must be led and sanctified by the Spirit, if we would continue liberated from the power of Satan.

 

3.       Satan is an evil spirit: only by the good Spirit, the Spirit of God, can we offer resistance to him. He works in the invisible: in order to combat him, we have, by prayer, to enter into the invisible. He is a mighty prince: only in the name of One who is mightier and in fellowship with Him can we overcome.

 

4.       What a glorious work is labour for souls, for the lost, for drunkards, for heathen; a conflict to rescue them from the might of Satan. (Acts 26:18)

 

5.       In the Revelation the victory over Satan is ascribed to the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 12:11) Christians have also testified that there is no power in temptation, because Satan readily retreats when one appeals to the blood, by which one knows that sin has been entirely expiated, and we are thus also wholly freed from his power.

New Life, Rev. Andrew Murray

 

Acts 26:18

18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. KJV

 

Revelation 12:11

11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. KJV