He infiltrates through false Christians and false doctrine, and one other thing, and this is really critical, he infiltrates the church through division.
Satan loves to divide the church, just brings him glee.
Let me give you an illustration of this In II Corinthians chapter 2, this is most important…”But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree, in order not to say too much, to all of you.” If somebody has been trouble to you, it’s not to me but to you that he’s been trouble. “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted by the majority.”
Now here we have a man who created trouble.
…now he’s heard back from Titus that the Corinthians had taken the essential step in disciplining the man. There were perhaps only a…a minority who disagreed, the majority agreed and there was a disciplining of the man.
Now Paul is satisfied at this point that the man has been sufficiently disciplined and that the discipline was sufficient to accomplish what it was intended to accomplish.
And he is concerned that they cease to be penal administrators and turn to the opposite gracious privilege of being forgiving and restoring friends.
And so he says – Look, if…if he’s caused sorrow it isn’t to me, I mean, don’t prolong it for my sake.
I mean, I’ve had enough. I’m satisfied, I hope you are. He’s had enough pain, sufficient to the man is the punishment.
Too much doctrine can be a bad thing
Now, verse 7: “On the contrary, you rather should forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over-much sorrow.”
In other words, instead of his punishment being remedial, it will simply drive him into despair if you don’t lay off of him.
Once a man has been disciplined, up to the point where he repents, he then is to be restored. Right?
Galatians 6:1. If you continue to browbeat the man, or continue to punish the man, instead of having a remedial effect, the discipline will have a despairing effect and you’ll drive him into sorrow.
So he says in verse 8: “I would beseech you that you just confirm your love to him.” Just let him know you love him. “This is the reason that I wrote you, that I might know the proof of you, whether you be obedient in all things. To whom you forgive anything, I forgive it also.” If you’ve forgiven the man, I have too…don’t stretch it out for my sake. “If I forgave anything to whom I forgave it, it’s for your sakes. forgave I it.”
I want unity in the church and you’ve got to have forgiveness to have unity.
If you create this problem in the church by not forgiving the man and by browbeating the man and maintaining this authoritarian penal attitude toward the man, you’re going to have division in the church and a lack of forgiveness.
And verse 11 says: “You better forgive the man, you better love him, lest Satan should get an advantage of us for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
And what are his devices? He loves to split the church and there’s no greater way to split the church than to have a discipline situation says Paul, where there’s an unforgiving spirit. His device is division. Once he has been disciplined, love him.
Listen, what is the general principle? Listen to me, an overemphasis on doctrine to the exclusion of love can be deadly to the church.
Do you notice that Satan’s subtlety here is that he moves right in behind the church acting doctrinally correct?
They had done the proper thing and that just made a perfect move for Satan to move in behind sound doctrine and bring about one of his devices. As we’ve said, so many times, the church is built on two things: love and sound doctrine.
Too much sound doctrine, not enough love – division. Too much love, not enough sound doctrine – confusion.
Tempts you to rely on your own resources
Satan would love to make you trust in your own resources.
You know why? Because you can’t handle Satan in your own resources. Did you know that? You can’t handle him. I’ll give you an illustration.
Turn to I Chronicles 21. You know, Israel was having a lot of wars at this time, as a rather typical period in their life, struggles with enemies, and David, of course, wanted to be victorious, so look what happens in verse 1 of I Chronicles 21. “Satan stood up against Israel.”
And be tempted David to do…what?…number Israel, count heads.
“And David said to Joab and the rulers of the people, Go number Israel from Beersheba to Dan.” That’s from top to bottom. “And bring the number of them to me and that I may know it.” I want to know how big a nation we’ve got and how big an army we’ve got. You go out there and you count every head.
“And Joab answered, The Lord make His people in hundred times as many more as they are, but my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then doth my lord require this?”
Look, if we’re all working for God, what’s the difference how many we’ve got? Boy, Joab, you better watch your lip. You’re talking to the king even if you are right.
Verse 7, I like this: “And God was displeased with this thing therefore He smote Israel.” Let’s see you handle that, David. You don’t need Me, I don’t need you. Who enticed David to number the people, verse 1 says? Who did it? Satan would love to make you trust your own resources.
When it comes to chapter 6 of Ephesians and verse 10, Paul says: “Be strong in…What? the Lord and in the power of your own might.”
Is that what it says? “Power of His might.” Satan wants you to trust your own resources.
Satan tempts us to lose faith in God
Satan tempts us to lose faith in God. He really does. Satan tempts us to lose faith in God, to give up on God.
Luke 22:31, here we find the Apostle with the foot-shaped mouth, Peter again and all of his problems: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon,” which the Lord said daily probably, “Simon, Simon.”
I think God was more eager for the glorification of Peter than any other person.
“The Lord said, Simon, Simon. behold Satan has desired to have you that he may sift you like wheat.”
Do you know what sifting was? Get the chaff and the grain separated, take a basket, throw it up in the wind’ the wind blows the chaff away, the seed falls down and you’ve got separation. Satan’s trying to separate you, Peter, he’s trying to throw you in the wind and blow away something and leave something left.
What is he trying to do? “Oh, I’ve prayed for you that your…what?…faith fail not.” And I believe Satan was trying to do is separate Peter from his faith.
He was trying in the wind of adversity to blow away the faith of Peter so Peter didn’t trust anymore.
“I prayed for you that your faith fail not.” I’ll tell you something. If He prayed for him that his faith failed not, then his faith failed not. Satan wanted to separate him, see. The devil wanted to sift him, to separate him from his faith. Satan would love to separate you from your faith…so you cease to believe God.
In I Peter we find the very same thing illustrated to us in chapter 5 verse S, it says this:
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour.”
…That’s why in Ephesians 6:16 it says: “And above all taking the shield of…what?…faith with which you shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked.”
Wants you to lie
Another thing, he wants you to lie. Satan loves you to speak lies. In Acts 5:3 he moved right inside Ananias and Sapphira, Peter looked them eyeball to eyeball and said: “Why has Satan entered you that you should lie to the Holy Spirit?” Satan wants you to lie. Just remember, when you lie, when you shade the truth, who is the source of that.
Satan wants to tempt you to immorality
Satan wants to tempt you to immorality. He is very busy doing this, believe me. He’s got the media now as the agency, among other things. One good verse on this is I Corinthians 7:5. You know, I…I sometimes in counseling sessions, you get this situation where the man comes in and says – Well. I’ve got to get my…my wife and my marriage straightened out.
And you say – Why? And..and he says – Well, because my wife won’t sleep with me until I change. And I..I can’t take this. Is that a good thing to do? So you’re not getting along with your husband, and start depriving him?
Look at I Corinthians 7:5, it will give us some help here. Let me give you what the…what the Greek would say: “Stop depriving one the other.” If you’re doing that – cut it out. Don’t do that, “Unless it be with consent for a time that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” If you’re doing it for that reason, that’s all right. Not too many do, it’s a good way to do it. For any other reason – cut it out and come together.
Why? “That Satan tempt you not for your lack of self-control.”
If you do that to your partner you’re putting them in a position to…to be out of control with that area of desire. Do you see?
And Satan would love to tempt people to be out of control. One of the areas where Satan wants to tempt us, illustrated here, is the area of immorality.
Tempts us to be preoccupied with the world.
…just tell you that I John 2:15 says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world; if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. but all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.”
Satan wants you to get absorbed in the system because that means you’ve turned your back on God.
Second Timothy 4:10, one of the most pensive statements in all the Bible, Paul said: “For Demas has…what?…forsaken me, having…what?…loved this present world.”
Satan wants to tempt you to be proud
Oh, does he want to do that. And he does it a lot of ways but one illustration is I Timothy 3:8, when you’re choosing bishops, or pastors, or…or elders in the church, it says: “Don’t choose a novice,” that means a recent convert, “lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”
The devil loves to push people up and make them proud because when they do that they collapse.
I can tell you. I’ve seen that in the church throughout my life, recent converts, immature people given too much responsibility’ pride goes to their head and the fall is great.
One other one that I can relate to. and you can too, that the Bible tells us specifically, Satan loves to tempt us to discouragement…to discouragement. He loves the Christian to just get tired of it all.
Resist the Devil
But you know something? We have a great promise. In every bit of that temptation, beloved, listen to this. James 4:7 said don’t run. It says: “Resist the devil and he will…what?…flee from you