Dr. Jack L. Arnold
WHY I BELIEVE
Satan Is Real
A. It has become fashionable in recent times to consider belief in the existence and personality of Satan as primitive, na•ve and superstitious. To accept a real Satan is placed by some on the same level as accepting a real Mickey Mouse – both are fairy tales. NOTE: The greatest deceitful tactic of the Devil is to get men to believe he does not exist. If men believe he does not exist, then he has a free hand with them. NOTE: A few of the pseudo-intellectuals who mocked the whole idea of Satan have changed their minds with the rise of the occult (Satan cult).
B. One of the big hang-ups concerning Satan is the medieval concept of him. In the Middle Ages Satan was set forth as a red man with horns, a tail and a pitchfork. Medieval religious artists gave their concept of Satan on canvas based on the figurative language of Rev. 12:3, but the Bible seems to portray Satan as a very beautiful creature externally but inwardly the essence of wickedness (Ezk. 28:14-17). NOTE: This misrepresentation of the Devil is simply another of SatanŐs tricks to get intellectually sophisticated people to deny his existence.
II. THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN
A. The Teaching of the Bible: The existence of Satan is taught in seven Old Testament books and by every New Testament writer.
B. The Teaching of Christ: Christ acknowledged and taught the existence of Satan (Matt. 13:39; Luke 10:18; 11:18). If Christ recognized the reality of Satan, we should do the same.
C. The Lesson of Experience: When we see the sin, corruption, suffering and rebellion in the world, we realize that there must be a master-planner behind it. This could only be the Devil himself.
III. THE PERSON OF SATAN
A. The Personality of Satan: Often liberals use the word ŇSatanÓ in terms of an influence rather than a person. They say that Satan must only be used as a personification of evil in the world but never as a person. NOTE: The way to prove that Satan is a person is to show he has the attributes of personality. Satan has intellect (II Cor. 11:3), emotion (Rev. 12:17) and will (II Tim. 2:26). Satan is a person and is morally responsible to God for his actions (Matt. 25:41).
B. The Names of Satan: Satan means ŇadversaryÓ or Ňopponent,Ó indicating that he is the arch-enemy of God and opposes all His plans and purposes. Devil means Ňslanderer.Ó Lucifer means Ňson of morning.Ó Apollyon denotes Ňdestroyer.Ó Belial and Beelzebub connote a wicked person.
C. The Titles for Satan: Satan is described by other terms such as the enemy (Matt. 13:19), evil one (I John 5:19), tempter (I Thess. 3:5), prince of this world (John 12:31), god of this age (II Cor. 4:4), prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), serpent (Rev. 12:9), dragon (Rev. 12:3), and angel of light (II Cor. 11:14).
D. The Nature of Satan
1. He is a spirit being (Eph. 6:11-12).
2. He is as created being (Co. 1:16 cf. Ezk. 28:14): As a creature Satan has limits and cannot operate independent of God (Job 1:12). A creature is not omnipotent nor omniscient and cannot operate outside of GodŐs sovereign control. All of SatanŐs activities are in the permissive will of God (II Sam. 24:1 cf. I Chron. 21:1). NOTE: Sometimes God uses Satan for the accomplishment of His own purposes (II Cor. 12:7; I Cor. 5:3-5; I Tim. 1:20).
E. The Traits of Satan: Satan is said to be a murderer (John 8:44), a sinner (I John 3:8) and a liar (John 8:44).
IV. THE WORK OF SATAN
A. Towards the Unsaved
1. Satan binds men to himself and to sin (Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38; John 8:43-44): All men outside of Jesus Christ are slaves of the Devil (I John 3:10). They may manifest their antagonism to God, Christ and Christians in different ways but all give allegiance to the Devil and his program (Eph. 2:2). NOTE: Satan is the father and ruler over sinners who are bound under his dominion. The power of God in the gospel of Christ is the only force that can break SatanŐs hold on unsaved men (Acts 26:18).
2. Satan blinds the minds of the unsaved (II Cor. 4:3-4): The non-Christian has been spiritually blinded by Satan so that he cannot comprehend the truth of the gospel. NOTE: Only the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit can remove this blindness from the sinnerŐs eyes so he can understand the spiritual meaning of the gospel of Christ. Our hope as Christian witnesses is in a sovereign God who can break through to the blinded sinner. NOTE: We must be patient with unbelievers when they reject our Christ because we know they are under SatanŐs dominion and cannot believe until the Holy Spirit does a supernatural work on their minds.
3. Satan possesses some unsaved men (Luke 22:3): While all men outside of Christ are under SatanŐs dominion, he uses some in a special way for his diabolical purposes.
4. Conclusion: When the Christian is witnessing to men, he is in a supernatural struggle with the Devil and his cohorts for the souls of these people. He must turn to God in believing prayer, knowing God must work supernaturally if these folks are going to be saved.
B. Towards the Nations
1. Satan deceives the nations of the world (Rev. 20:3): The Devil is the great deceiver and he works constantly to get the nations of the world to take any plan for national prosperity but that of God and Christ.
2. Satan will gather the nations to the battle of Armegeddon (Rev. 16:13-14): There is a time coming in the future when Satan will deceive all the nations of the earth and their reward for following Satan will be defeat at the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ at the second advent.
C. Towards the Saved
1. Satan tempts the Christian to lie (Acts 5:3): Satan is the great tempter and is a master at knowing the most vulnerable points in the ChristianŐs sin nature. He constantly tempts us to all kinds of sins. NOTE: The Devil can only tempt a Christian to sin but it the Christian who yields to the Devil and sins. Christians are always responsible for their acts of sin.
2. Satan accuses and slanders Christians (Rev. 12:10): The Devil is the author of all accusations, slanders, rumors and lies spoken against the people of God. Whenever a Christian gossips about or slanders another Christian, he has yielded to the ways of the Devil and is guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy.
3. Satan hinders Christian service (I Thess. 2:18): Satan will do anything he can to stop Christians from actively doing the LordŐs will and work. NOTE: The ChristianŐs real struggle is not with men but with the forces of hell (Eph. 6:11-12).
4. Satan attacks the marriages of Christians (I Cor. 7:5): The Devil will attempt to get married couples to fail in their responsibilities to each other. NOTE: Satan knows that if he can wreck a Christian home, he can bring a great blot on the name of Jesus Christ.
5. Satan tempts Christians to not forgive (II Cor. 2:10-11): The Devil wants Christians to hold grudges, for this destroys their testimonies before men. NOTE: Christians can thwart Satan by learning to forgive and forget.
6. Satan tempts Christians to lose their tempers (Eph. 4:26-27): Anger in itself is a normal emotion but anger that is unrestrained and possesses a Christian is used by Satan to cause a loss of testimony.
7. Satan destroys spiritual growth (I Thess. 3:5): The Devil attempts to rob the Christian of a personal devotional life, causing him to neglect Bible study and prayer. NOTE: A weak and defeated Christian can be a tool to further SatanŐs program.
8. Satan tempts churches to put unqualified men into offices (I Tim. 3:6): Satan will seek to cause divisions among Christians through unqualified leadership.
9. Satan tempts women to neglect their domestic responsibilities (I Tim. 5:14-15): Rebellious wives and mothers are simply yielding to the temptations of Satan.
10. Satan gets Christians to worry (I Pet. 5:6-8): Satan wants Christians to get proud and self-sufficient so they will stop trusting God for everything. When we are not trusting God we are anxious and fret over circumstances. When we worry, the Devil has the victory.
11. Satan seeks to get Christians from the simple gospel (II Cor. 11:3): The gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ is the core of the Christian message. The Devil will use any and every means to distract the Christian from believing the gospel and propagating it to the ends of the earth.
12. Satan sends false teachers to Christians (II Cor. 11:13-14): Satan subtly sends suave and intelligent false teachers to woo GodŐs people from the truth. NOTE: One of the main manifestations of the Devil is in the pulpits of liberal churches.
13. Satan incites persecution against Christians (Rev. 2:10): Satan is bent on destroying the true church of Jesus Christ; therefore, persecution, whether physical or social, is a way of life for the Christian.
14. Satan sows tares among true believers (Matt. 13:38-39).
V. THE DEFENSE AGAINST SATAN
A. An Attitude of Faith (I John 4:4): One must realize that God is stronger than Satan and through the Word, faith and prayer Satan can be defeated.
B. An Attitude of Reality (Eph. 6:11-12): A Christian must understand that he is in a life and death struggle with the forces of hell, and he must put on all his spiritual armor to be victorious over the Devil.
C. An Attitude of Alertness (I Pet. 5:8): A Christian must be on constant guard to detect the wiles of the Devil which are designed to discourage him in his Christian life.
D. An Attitude of Submission and Inflexibility (James 4:7): The Christian must be constantly submitting his life to God and then when the temptations come from the Devil he should resist the power of Satan with all of his God-given spiritual strength. The Christian must be unbending and inflexible, determining in his heart and mind that he will not yield to the DevilŐs temptations.