Satan’s work, and the Christian

Something that’s quite disturbing to me is a trend I’ve been seeing for many years now within the evangelical Christian community; the focus and emphasis on Satan and his work in this world, instead of the supreme work of God and the powerfully glorious manifestation of Christ’s life in His chosen and beloved disciples (Gal 2:20, Col 1:27).

There’s no biblical foundation for this strange, yet prevalent fascination with satanical work and the powers of evil which has caused many Christians to pray…yes, pray to Satan (rather than God) for the purpose of “binding” him and his demonic work/influence in this world.
In the passage below, we see that Satan is flustered because he is bound by God Almighty alone and must have God’s permission to work any evil against God’s people, and even so, is limited by God to the degree of affliction that he can impose upon one of God’s chosen.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have You not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Again, God reveals to us how even the archangel Michael, who sees the face of God (which we do not) and has greater power than us, dealt with the devil.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ….Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

Finally, the apostle Luke records what can happen to foolish and presumptuous people who have no true faith in God, nor do they humbly submit to His authority, but arrogantly desire to appropriate Jesus’ all-powerful and holy name to do their bidding.

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Rather than cast out the evil spirit, these foolish and arrogant sons of Sceva experienced a terrible and frightening reverse exorcism.
Listen to this short 2-minute clip by Pastor John MacArthur regarding such practices by false teachers and preachers and sadly, even true children of God who have been seduced to believe they can pronounce any judgment or command over any spirit—without any authority; therefore without any power to make anything they say come to pass.

I share all this not as one over any of you, or better than any of you, for there was a time I too, was seduced by my pride and false teaching to pray the same way. But now I shudder to think that I used “pray” to Satan rather than to the LORD Almighty alone, who graciously and mercifully hears and listens to my pleas.
Satan doesn’t listen to me or you. None of us have any authority or power over him or his demons. Only Christ the risen Lord has all authority and power to command evil spirits, and the Lord only appointed twelve apostles (Paul in the stead of Judas who was not a true believer, therefore not a true apostle) who will, on that glorious Day, sit with Him to judge the tribes of Israel (Matt 10:1, 19:28).
I assure  you, neither Satan nor his demons are afraid of me. And they’re not afraid of you either. But they do shudder at the presence of the Almighty and obeyed the few whom Christ gave authority (twelve apostles). And because of God’s great mercy and protection on His often foolish children, the demons cannot do to us what they did to the sons of Sceva who were not believers. However, be careful not to give way to your pride and continue this blasphemous practice because God keeps you even while you play the fool, because if you claim to love the Lord Jesus, and truly abide in Him, it ought to pierce your heart and wrench your soul to know that believers who entertain this vile practice, give cause for God’s holy name and word to be reviled.
Rather than instinctively reject adversity and ask for it to be taken away, I’ve learned ask the Lord two questions instead (Ps 40:1-4):
  1. What are you trying to teach me through this Lord?
  2. How can I give You Your due praise and glory because of it?
So next time you think Satan is “attacking” you, resist him (James 4:7) and turn to your Heavenly Father and ask Him for His protection, guidance and binding of Satan, that is, should the Lord deem it necessary.
Remember, as a child of the Almighty, anything that happens to you, whether “good” or “evil”, know it is all in the setting of God’s good and loving work in your life; to conform you all the more into the likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (Job 2:10, 2 Sam 16:10-12, 2 Cor 4:16-18, Rom 8:28-29).
By Sunny Shell. Copyright © 2013 Abandoned to Christ. sunnyshell.org

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