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									                      Satan‟s
                     Personality
                            A.W. Pink



THIRTY-FIVE times he is denominated “The Devil,” which means

“The Accuser” or “Slanderer”—accusing the saints before God and
traducing the character of God before men. Fifty-two times he is
called “Satan,” which means “Enemy” or “Adversary.” He is God‟s
enemy and man‟s adversary. “Satan” refers to his character: the
malignant Adversary of all good—in God or His creatures. “Devil”
refers to his mode of carrying out his evil designs: by lying slanders,
false accusations, evil traducings. He is termed “The Prince of this
world” (John 14:30), which defines his position in relation to our
earth. He is named “Beelzebub” (Matt 12:27), which regards him as
the head of the demons. He is spoken of as the “Wicked One” (Matt
13:19) which refers to him as the primemover of all wickedness. He is
styled “Apollyon,” that is “Destroyer” (Rev 9:11), which links him
with the Bottomless Pit. He is referred to as “The Prince of the power
of the air” (Eph 2:2), which points to his present home and sphere of
operations—cf. Eph. 6:12. He is termed “Lucifer” which means
“Morning Star” (Isa 14:12), a title which seems to have belonged to
him before his apostasy. He is called “The god of this world” (II Cor
4:4) because he is the inspirer and director of all spurious religion. He
is termed “Liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44) because he is the
inveterate opposer of the truth. These and other titles of Satan are
meaningless unless he is a personal being.



2. Personal Characteristics Are Predicated Of Him.
Intelligence: His temptations are spoken of as “the wiles of the Devil”
(Eph 6:11); while in Rev. 2:24 we read of “The depths of Satan”
(Greek, “deep things”). Further, in Rev. 12:9 he is termed “That old
serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
world.” To deceive implies design, and design is the product of
intelligence, and intelligence is inseparable from personality.

Memory: In his conflict with our Lord he quoted from the Old
Testament Scriptures (Matt 4:6). A mere abstraction could not do this.

Knowledge: In Rev. 12:12 we are told he has “great wrath, because
he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” But that which is
impersonal cannot be said to “know”.

Will: “...that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the
Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Tim 2:26). “How
art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For
thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the
congregation” (Isa 14:12,13). That Satan possesses a will or the power
of choice, is further proof that he is a personal being.

Moral character: Satan is spoken of as a “deceiver,” “liar,”
“murderer,” “tempter,” all of which are terms implying moral
character—i.e., that of which duty or obligation, and right and wrong
may be predicted.

Speech: He is represented as talking with God (Job 1:9,10), arguing
with our Lord, and as “accusing” the brethren. This is a further
indication that Satan possesses the same characteristics as ourselves.

Emotions: He desired Peter that he might sift him as wheat (Luke
22:31). Pride is spoken of as “the condemnation of the Devil” (I Tim
3:6). While in Rev. 12:12 we read, “Woe to the inhabitants of the
earth and of the sea! for the Devil is come down unto you, having
great wrath.” But pride and anger cannot be predicated of the law of
gravitation—they are inseparable from personality.
Executive and organizing ability: “And there was war in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon
fought and his angels” (Rev 12:7). “Satan shall be loosed out of his
prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four
quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to
battle” (Rev 20:7,8). Here we find Satan marshalling his legions to
engage in warfare. Eph. 6:12 more than hints that he is the head of
graduated and organized forces.



3. Personal Acts Are Attributed To Him.

He tempts. The first time this mysterious being is introduced to us in
the Word of God he appears in this capacity, inciting our first parents
to disobey their Maker. In Matt. 4:3 he is expressly termed “The
Tempter.” And again, in I Cor. 7:5 and I Thess. 3:5, the saints are
warned against his machinations. To tempt implies design and argues
intelligence and moral qualities, and these are inseparable from
personality.

He accuses. To “accuse” unquestionably argues a conscious and
rational entity. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is
come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the
power of His Christ: for the Accuser of our brethren is cast down,
which accused them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10). This
verse affords us a glimpse into the Unseen, and presents our Enemy
maliciously impugning the saints before God. Two striking
illustrations of this part of his work are furnished in Scripture. In Job
1:9-11 we find him charging the old patriarch, and in Zech. 3:1-5 he is
seen standing before God to resist Joshua the high priest. Upon these
interesting passages we cannot now comment. Blessed it is to know
that Satan‟s efforts in this direction are all in vain—“Who shall lay
anything to the charge of God‟s elect? It is God that justifieth” (Rom
8:33).

He makes war. We have already quoted Rev. 12:7, and 20:8,9 in
another connection. We do not comment further on them now except
to say that they furnish another proof that Satan is an intelligent, and
albeit, malignant being.
He performs miracles. This opens up a wide subject in itself, into
which we cannot now enter at length. We content ourselves with two
scripture references. When Moses and Aaron wrought their miracles
before Pharaoh as credentials of their Divine commission, we read
that “Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; now the
magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their
enchantments” (Ex. 7:11, etc.). And again we read concerning the
“Man of Sin” (Antichrist) that his coming shall be “After the working
of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thess. 2:9).

He causes bodily sufferings. The first two chapters of the book of
Job clearly intimate that all the trials and afflictions which came upon
Job were directly caused by the malignant assaults of the Devil. When
vindicating Himself for healing a sufferer on the Sabbath day our
Lord said, “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?” (Luke 13:16). Again; after the apostle Paul
had been caught up to the third heaven, an affliction was sent him lest
he should be exalted above measure at the abundance of the
revelations which he had received, and this affliction is described as
“a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan” (II Cor 12:7).

He works in and through the wicked. Just as we read that “It is God
which worketh in you [the believer] both to will and to do of His good
pleasure” (Phil 2:13), so, also, we read that Satan is “The spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). Another
evidence of his activities is furnished in Matt. 13. In imitation of our
Lord who scattered the “good seed” in the field, Satan went and
sowed tares.



4. The Temptation Of Our Lord By Satan Proves Him To Be A
Personal Being.
No unbiased mind can read carefully the fourth chapter of Matthew
without coming to the conclusion that we have recorded there a real
conflict between two persons—our Lord Jesus Christ and Satan. If we
deny that the latter is there definitely brought before us as a person,
we must logically affirm the same of the former. To say, in reply, We
admit that Christ there is a real person but that “the Devil” must be
regarded as a personification of evil, is blasphemy, for it impugns the
character of our blessed Lord.

Unlike every fallen son of Adam who is shapen in iniquity and
conceived in sin, the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless. He is “holy,
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26). “In Him is no
sin” (I John 3:5). He is “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). He
declared, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me”
(John 14:30). As then there was no evil in our blessed Saviour, the
one who tempted Him must have been external and personal.

To deny that Matthew 4 presents Satan as a personal entity is either to
traduce our Lord‟s character, or, it is to reduce the entire narrative to
meaningless jargon. Everything that is said of Satan in this chapter
indicates and intimates that he is as real and actual a person as the
Lord Jesus Himself. The tempter “came to Him.” He spoke, yea,
reasoned and argued. He took Christ up into the holy city. He quoted
to Him from the Psalms. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the
world. He sought worship from the Saviour. At His word “he departed
from Him for a season.” All of which is proof positive—to one that
believes in the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures—that Satan is a
living person.



5. Finally, The Fact That The Word Of God Announces That Satan
Shall Yet Be Cast Into The Bottomless Pit, And Afterwards Into The
Lake Of Fire, Argues That He Is An Accountable Being.

A mere abstraction cannot be punished. That which is nothing more
than a negation could not be tormented. That which was incorporeal
and intangible could not be “cast into the Lake of Fire.” The fact that
the Scriptures declare that Satan shall be punished is conclusive
evidence that he is a person, and a person endowed with moral
responsibility.
Taken From: Satan and His Gospel Available in booklet form.
                 The Devil and
                  The Church
                          E.M. Bounds
THE devil is too wise, too large in mental grasp, too lordly in
ambition, to confine his aims to the individual. He seeks to direct the
policy and sway the scepter of nations. In his largest freedom, and in
his delirium of passion and success, “he goes out to deceive the
nations which are in the four quarters of the earth.” He is an adept in
deception, an expert in all guileful arts. An archangel in execution, he
often succeeds in seducing the nations most loyal to Christ, leading
them into plans and principles which pervert and render baneful all
Christly principles. The Church itself, the bride of Christ, when
seduced from her purity, degenerates into a worldly ecclesiasticism.

The “gates of hell shall not prevail” against the Church. This promise
of our Lord stands against every Satanic device and assault: But this
immutable word as to the glorious outcome does not protect the
Church from the devil‟s stratagems which may, and often do, pervert
the aims of the Church and postpone the day of its final triumph.

The devil is a hydra-headed monster, but he is hydra-headed in plans
and wisdom as well as in monstrosities. His master and supreme effort
is to get control of the Church, not to destroy its organization, but to
abate and pervert its Divine ends. This he does in the most insidious
way, seemingly innocent, no startling change, nothing to shock nor to
alarm. Sometimes the revolutionizing and destructive change is
introduced under the disguise of a greater zeal for Christ‟s glory.
Introduced by some one high in church honour, often it occurs that the
advocate of these measures is totally ignorant of the fact that the
tendency is subversive.
We are being seriously affected by the material progress of the age.
We have heard so much of it, and gazed on it so long, that spiritual
estimates are tame to us. Spiritual views have no form nor comeliness
to us. Everything must take on the rich colourings, luxuriant growth
and magnificent appearance of the material, or else it is beggarly. This
is the most perilous condition the Church has to meet, when the meek
and lowly fruits of piety are to be discounted by the showy and
worldly graces with which material success crowds the Church. We
must not yield to the flood. We must not for a moment, not the
hundredth part of an inch, give place to the world. Piety must be
stressed in every way and at every point. The Church must be made to
see and feel this delusion and snare, this transference of her strength
from God to the world, this rejection of the Holy Spirit by the
endowment of “might and power,” and this yielding to Satan. The
Church more and more is inclined not only to disregard, but to
despise, the elements of spiritual strength and set them aside, for the
more impressive worldly ones.

A church can often make the fairest and best showing of material
strength when death in its deadliest form is feeding on its vitals. There
can scarcely be a more damaging delusion than to judge of the
conditions of the Church by its material exhibits or churchly activity.
Spiritual barrenness and rottenness in the Church are generally hidden
by a fair exterior and an obtrusive parade of leaves and an exotic
growth. A spiritual church converts souls from sin soundly, clearly
and fully, and puts them on the stretch for perfect holiness, and those
who are straining to get it, to keep it, and to add to it.
This spirituality is not a by-play, not to be kept in a corner of the
Church, not its dress for holiday or parade days, but it is its chief and
only business. If God‟s Church is not doing this work of converting
sinners to holiness and perfecting saints in holiness, wherever and
whenever this work is not blazing and conspicuous, wherever and
whenever this work becomes secondary, or other interests are held to
be its equivalent, then the Church has become worldly. Wherever and
whenever the material interests are emphasized till they come into
prominence, then the world comes to the throne and sways the scepter
of Satan. There is no readier and surer way to make the Church
worldly than to put its material prosperity to the front, and no surer,
readier way to put Satan in charge. It is an easy matter for the
assessments to become of first moment by emphasizing them till a
sentiment is created that these are paramount. When collecting
money, building churches, and statistical columns are to stand as
evidences of real church prosperity, then the world has a strong
lodgment, and Satan has gained his end.

The very heart of this disgraceful apostasy, this dethroning Christ and
enthroning the devil, is to remove the Holy Spirit from His leadership
in the Church and put in unspiritual men as leaders to plan for and
direct the Church. The strong hands of men of great ability and men
with the powers of leadership have often displaced God‟s leadership.
The ambition for leadership and the enthronement of man-leadership,
is the doom and seal of apostasy. There is no leadership in God‟s
Church but the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The man who has the
most of God‟s Spirit is God‟s chosen leader, ambitious and zealous
for the Spirit‟s sovereignty, ambitious to be the least the slave of all.

There are two ways of directing the Church, God‟s way and the
devil‟s way. God‟s way and man‟s way of running the Church are
entirely at poles. Man‟s wise plans, happy expedients and easy
solutions, are Satan‟s devices. The cross is retired, the world comes
in‟ self-denial is eliminated, all seems bright, cheerful and prosperous,
but Satan‟s hand is on the ark, men‟s schemes prevail, the Church
fails under these taking, pet devices of men, and the bankruptcy so
complete that the court of heaven will not even appoint a receiver for
the collapsed and beggarly corporation.
All God’s plans have the’ mark of the cross on them, and all His plans
have death to self in them. All God’s plans have crucifixion to the
world in them. But men‟s plans ignore the offense of the cross or
despise it. Men‟s plans have no profound, stern or self-immolating
denial in them. Their gain is of the world. How much of these
destructive elements, esteemed by men, does the devil bring into the
Church, until all the high, unworldly and holy aims, and heavenly
objects of the Church are retired and forgotten?

The Church is distinctly, pre-eminently and absolutely a spiritual
institution, that is, an institution created, vitalized, possessed and
directed by the Spirit of God. Her machinery, rites, forms, services
and officers have no comeliness, no pertinency, no power, save as
they are depositions and channels of the Holy Spirit. It is His
indwelling and inspiration which make its divine being and secure its
divine end. If the devil can by any methods shut the Holy Spirit out
from the Church, he has effectually barred the Church from being
God‟s Church on earth. He accomplishes this by retiring from the
Church the agencies or agents which the Holy Spirit uses, and
displaces them by the natural, which are rarely if ever the media of
His energy. Christ announced the universal and invariable law when
He said, “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; that which is born
of the Spirit, is spirit.” The Church may have a holy preacher, a man
of great prayerfulness, of great grace, filled with the Spirit. But if
Satan can by any method retire him, and put a man of no
prayerfulness, plausible, eloquent and popular, the Church may seem
to have gained, but it has gained by the substitution of natural for
spiritual forces, a gain which has all unconsciously revolutionized the
Church. Officer a church with holy men, not highly cultured, but
well-versed in the deep things of God, and strong in devotion to Christ
and His cause, not wealthy, nor of high social position. Now change
these officers and put in men who are every way decent in morality,
but not given or noted for prayer and piety, men of high social
position and fine financiers, and the Church scarcely marks the
change, save marked improvement in finances. But an invisible and
mighty change has taken place in the Church, which is radical. It has
changed from a spiritual Church to a worldly one. The change from
noonday to midnight is not more extreme than that.
At this point Satan is doing his deadliest and most damning work, the
more deadly and damning because unnoticed, unseen, it produces no
shock and it excites no alarm.

It is not by positive, conspicuous evil that Satan perverts the Church,
but by quiet displacement and by unnoticed substitution. The higher is
being retired, the spiritual gives place to the social, and the divine is
eliminated, because it is made secondary.

The perversion and subversion of the Church is secured by Satan
when the spiritual forces are retired or made subordinate to the
natural, and social entertainment, and not edification becomes the end.
This process involves not only the aims and ends of entertainment, but
it is intended to soften and modify the distinctly spiritual aim, and to
widen from what is deemed the rigid exclusiveness of spiritual
narrowness. But in the end it eliminates all that is distinctly spiritual,
and that which is in any sense deeply religious will not survive the
death of the spiritual. Edification as the end of God‟s Church is
wholly lost sight of, and entertainment, that which is pleasing and
pleasant, comes to the front. The social forces not only retire the
spiritual forces, but effectually destroy them.

A modem church with its kitchen and parlour, with its club and
gymnasium, and with its ministries to the flesh and to the world, is
both suggestive and alarming. How suggestive in the contrast it
presents between the agencies which the primitive Church originated
and fostered, as the conserver of its principles and the expression of
its life, and those which the modern and progressive Church presents
as its allies or substitutes. The original institutions were wholly
spiritual, calculated to strengthen and cultivate all the elements which
combine to make a deep and clear experience of God. They were
training schools for the spiritual life, subservient to its culture as the
chief end. They never lingered in the regions of the moral, the esthetic
and the mental. They fostered no taste nor inclination which was not
spiritual, and did not minister to the soul‟s advance in divine things.
They took it for granted that all who came to them, really desired to
flee from the wrath to come, and were sincerely groaning after full
redemption, and that their obligation to furnish to these the best aids
were of the most sacred and exacting kind. It never occurred to them
that the concert hall or sociable were channels through which God‟s
grace would flow and could be laid under tribute for spiritual uses.
These social and fleshly forces are regarded in many quarters as the
perfection of spiritual things. These agencies are arrayed as the mature
fruit of spiritual piety, flavoured and perfected by its culture and
progress, and ordained henceforth as the handmaids of the prayer and
testimony meeting. We object most seriously to the union. What have
they in common? “How indeed can two walk together unless they be
agreed?”

What elements of piety are conserved by the entertainment center or
the social club? What phases of spiritual life do they promote? By
what feature of the gymnasium is faith invigorated? Where do you
find in it any elements which are distinctly pious, or are aids to piety?
How does the sociable produce a more prayerful, a holier life? What
secret springs has it to bring the soul nearer to God? Wherein does it
form or strengthen the ties of a Christly fellowship? Is it not frivolous
and worldly? Is it not sensuous and fleshly? Does it not cater to and
suit the tastes of the carnal, the light and worldly? what unity of
purpose and spirit is there between using the church as a place of
entertainment or a place of witnessing for Christ? The one is
intensely spiritual. The other has in it no jot or tittle of spiritual uses.

We might as well add to the list of heavenly helpers, the skating rink,
calisthenics and the gymnasium. If the young people desire to join a
gymnasium, enjoy a sociable or establish a bank, let them do so, but
do not deceive them and degrade piety by calling these things holy
institutions and feeders of spiritual life.
Disguise it as we may; reason about it as we will; apologize for it as
we do; vainly philosophize of growth and change and culture, the
truth is, we have lost that intense type of personal experience, that
deep conviction of eternal things which are such evident features of
all great spiritual movements. Many preachers and people have fallen
so low in their experience that they do not relish these distinct and
strongly spiritual agencies; and are devising schemes and institutions
to gratify their non-spiritual tastes with schemes which are midway
between Christ and the world; which, while not essentially wrong, do
not possess one grain of spiritual power, and can never be the
channels of heavenly communications.

It is said we cannot get the people to attend the distinctly spiritual
means of grace. What is the trouble? Are the institutions worn out and
no longer of value to the humble, pious soul? Who will dare affirm
this? The tastes of the people are low and perverted. Shall we then
change the agencies to suit the unsanctified appetites? No; let us tone
up the appetite for spiritual things, and correct and elevate the tastes
of our people. Let the revolution begin with the preacher. Let him
wrestle with God until his ordination vow becomes vitalized, so that
all can feel the pressure of his aim, the ardour of his zeal, his
singleness of purpose, and the holiness and elevation of his life, and
until the people catch the fire and purpose of his heart, and all press
on to the regions of perfect love, panting for all the fulness of God.
Under this united, mighty, divine impulse the social and the
entertainment will be forgotten and become stale, and all saintly
assemblies will be attractive and delightsome.
The Church cannot confederate with non-spiritual agencies. By this
she breaks the tension of her faith and discards the Holy Spirit. She
cannot be the purveyor to unsanctified desires. Neither is it her
province to fall down to the beggarly task of entertaining the people.
This is her saddest mistake, when her solemn assemblies are
surrendered to the concert and lecture, her praise turned into worldly
music, her classrooms into parlours, her sociables more popular than
her prayer-meetings, the house of God made a house of feasting, and
social cheer is sought after rather than a house of prayer. The unity of
the Spirit and the holy brotherhood are displaced and destroyed to
make room for social affinities and worldly attractions. Her high and
royal duty, that by which she maintains her spotless fidelity to her
Lord, is to stress holiness and afford all means for its advancement
and perfection. This done, spiritual character and affinities will order
all the rest.



Exerpted From: Satan His Personality, Power and Overthrow
                The Soul and
              Satan‟s Deception
                        T. Austin-Sparks


ONE matter upon which the Bible is unmistakably clear throughout is
that of man‟s deception. All God‟s methods with man have had this
fact behind them. With and ever since the Fall the race is regarded as
being a deceived race. Not only was the race initially deceived in
Adam, but it is ever led on in its deception to deeper depths. Rather
than escape from this deception by what is called „enlightenment‟, i.e.
civilization, education, culture, etc., these are only making the
deception stronger. This is seen in the fact that the most „enlightened‟
and „advanced‟ nations are, at this late hour of the world‟s history,
locked in the grip of a force which compels them to use all their
enlightenment for producing the means of mutual destruction on such
a scale and by such devilish and barbarous ways as have never been
known before. Let us here introduce one or two passages of Scripture.



“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast

of the field. . . . And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said. . .?

(Gen. 3:1).

“But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times
some shall fall away... giving heed to SEDUCING SPIRITS and
doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).

“This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is
earthly, sensual (soulical), devilish” (James 3:15).

“And the great dragon was cast down, the Old serpent, he that is
called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was
cast down... and his angels... with him” (Rev. 12:9).

“And cast him into the abyss . . . that he should

deceive the nations no more” (Rev. 20:3).

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire…”

 (Rev. 20:10).



In these passages, Satan is seen to be the deceiver, first of the woman
and finally of the whole inhabited earth. Deception was his first
method, and deception was the very heart of the Fall.

Man is by nature now a deceived creature. Deception is deception,
and the deceived never know it until they are enlightened or delivered.
It is like a disease. There are forms of mental sickness which cause
those who are so suffering to believe certain things which to the
healthy mind are ridiculous and impossible. It is useless to argue with
them, and futile to try to convince them of the untruth of their beliefs.
Indeed, it is cruel at times to oppose them. If you are to live with them
in any measure of peace and be at all helpful you have to take the
attitude of agreeing with them and deal with the situation along some
other line. Otherwise it is going to be continual clash. The only way to
change their convictions is to heal their sickness.
So it is with man. He believes many things as to himself, his ability,
potentialities, destiny, about God and about the world, which are not
true. He mistakes certain things for other things, but he cannot see that
he is deceived. It is useless to hold objects before a blind man, and to
tell him to see them; and it is foolish to be surprised or annoyed that
he does not do so. So the Scriptures say, “The natural (soulical) man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him; and he cannot know them...” (1 Cor. 2:14). And again, “The
god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Cor.
4:4).

Now, when we go to the source of this deceived condition, we find
that it originated in the soul. The DECEIVER assailed the
soul—desires, reason, will—and drew this out as a basis of life apart
from and independent of God. The motive was to have things in the
ego, the self, instead of in God by dependence. Having succeeded in
getting man to so exalt the ego to independence and superiority, he
captured man as now a suited instrument for his purposes. Man ceased
to be suited to the purposes of God, for his very nature was changed.
This man, changed by complicity with Satan, is a false man, not a true
man according to God‟s mind; and is now suited to Satan‟s false
kingdom. The history of man in his natural state is the history of a lie,
a false nature, a false expectation, a false hope, a false faith and a false
world. The end of that man and that world is sorry, tragic
disillusionment. By the aid of a spirit which, while still existing, is no
longer in the place of living fellowship with God, this man faintly
glimpses or senses something more of intention and purpose in his
being than he can grasp. It eludes him, he cannot come into real touch
with it; and so life mocks him, and he seeks satisfaction in other and
further deceptions and illusions. Thus he is a part of the creation
which the Word of God says is “subjected to vanity” (Romans 8:20).
Conscience still is more or less active, but always accusing or
excusing, never approving.
As we have said, not only was deception an initial work of the enemy
in the soul of man; he presses this advantage, or works on this vantage
ground; and wherever he has this ground of nature he seeks to
advance his own government and power thereby. As we shall see, the
stronger the soul-life in a person, the greater the peril to that one, and
the greater the advantage to Satan and the evil powers. The pursuit of
this course is by a multitude of ways, always adapted to the people
with whom he has to do. With the ungodly he employs one method;
with the religious, who recognize God, another. With the spiritual he
resorts to yet other ways, and for them his whole system of deception
is by counterfeiting God‟s system of truth.

He counterfeits God Himself. He “fashioneth himself into an angel of
light” (2 Cor. 11:14). He counterfeits the Church of God with his
“synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9). He counterfeits the works of God
with his “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9). There is a
counterfeit life, and there are counterfeit “gifts” (as of the Holy
Spirit). There is counterfeit divine (?) power. There are counterfeit
conversions, spiritual (?) experiences, guidance. He uses Scriptures in
a false way to counter God‟s meaning by them. There is counterfeit
worship of God, counterfeit teaching, “doctrines of demons”. There is
a counterfeit baptism of the Holy Ghost with “tongues,” etc. To those
who know the Word of God, all these things are not strange, but are
exposed therein.
The point is this. Satan, as the DECEIVER, could not bring all that
upon man from the outside. Man must first be constituted so that
Satan can find in him that which responds to his deception. There
must be, for all that, something in man which is the organ to be used.
The play of Satan upon the soul of Adam drew that soul out as the
ground of procedure. It stretched itself beyond its legitimate measure,
and Satan impinged upon it. Thus an alliance came about between
man‟s psuche (soul) and the powers of evil, “deceiving spirits”. The
object was gained—the ability to know good and evil—and God
admitted this. “The man is become as one of us, to know good and
evil” (Gen. 3:22). But at what a cost! Knowledge in itself is not evil,
although it would be well for man if he did not know some things. It is
knowledge apart from God that has rendered man a prisoner, a slave,
and has cost him that knowledge which is eternal life. “This is life
eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom
thou didst send, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). The cost was a “darkened
understanding” (Eph. 4:18). The Apostle Paul, who said that “it
pleased God... to reveal his Son in me” (Gal 1:15, 16), also placed on
record that that revelation was intended by the Lord to constitute him
an instrument “to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to
light and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). As to this,
he further said: “God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness. . .
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

Whenever God in Christ is revealed in the inner man, deception and
Satan‟s power are destroyed, and the man is set free. Against this
inshining, Satan works by every conceivable means, ranging from
open assault to destroy the messengers, to beautiful substitutes for the
truth.

To extend and consolidate his work of deception, and to build his rival
and false kingdom, the DECEIVER must have ego-, soul- or self-life.
Herein lies the greatness of the peril of believers leaning toward their
own self-life, for his occasion against God is greatest in their case.
Herein, also, lies the explanation of many other things, as that called
„spiritualism‟ or „spiritism‟ and dictatorship, etc.
Professed believers who lean to the soul on any or all of its
sides—reason (intellect), emotion (feelings) or will (volition)—will be
a ready prey for deception. First of all, such people are already a
contradiction of their essential nature as now—by new
birth—spiritual. It becomes clear at the outset that they are locked up
and a law unto themselves. Their way is the way, and they see no
other. As to further light, they are largely unteachable; as to further
experience, they are content; as to another course, they cannot
conceive of it.

Professed believers who live in their own mind will often be found
occupied with a question. They cannot live without a question or a
problem. If one is shattered, they will soon have another. Thus they go
ever round in a circle, and come back to their starting point, making
no real spiritual progress. Like a horse in the ring, they are whipped
and driven, and there is no expanse of life or vision. Or they lash
others with their ideas and seek to subject other minds to their own. It
may eventuate in some very weird, unsound and untrue conclusions.
At length somewhere in this occult position—for it is nothing
less—deception will be found, and Satan‟s hand will be seen.

The same thing is true with regard to Professed believers living on the
emotional side of the soul. This side demands experiences, evidences,
manifestations. Indeed the whole realm of sense-life governs here. If
we intensify and project our emotional side sufficiently, we can have
any experience that is possible. The whole body and mind can be
involved. Vocal cords or solar plexus may be affected. There may be
facial distortions, rigidity, „second sight‟, visions, extra capabilities,
prodigious strength, mirth, ecstasy, etc. All these, from simple
beginnings, may come through the psychical or soul-life as extended
and strained along the line of intense desire.

If this is true in these two directions, how true it is on the side of the
will. A forceful, dominating, assertive soul, not under the government
of the Holy Spirit, is a terrible menace to the interests of God.
Decisions will be made, courses adopted, objectives secured, positions
occupied, in the name of devotion to God, which will be Towers of
Babel, Pyramids of Egypt, Ishmaels of Abram (not Abraham). There
will be a good deal of remorse bound up with these achievements
eventually, and a wish that they had never been. The result will be
something false, and many may be involved in the tragedy.
If there is a combination of a strong soul-life with an acute and
needle-like brain the supreme peril is that of grasping the deeper
implications and meanings of Divine truth, so that it seems to be
revelation. Thus, through the soul there is an imitation revelation,
which is really only keen natural insight. Usually, when the soul is
strong along one line, we shall find it strong in other directions, and so
the craving for a sense of power will not be far away. This keen
insight, this quick or acute grasp of things, will demand as its
complement an opportunity to exhibit itself, and this in its outworking
will be to bring others under its influence. The test of genuine
revelation is as to whether the one concerned is manifestly well
crucified to a desire for power, position, influence. Can that one be
resisted, assailed, thwarted, rejected, without in some form seeking to
come out even or on top? An element of personal domination or
self-vindication will destroy the ministry and discredit the „revelation‟
of such an one. Oh, the peril of getting hold of Divine truth in order to
use it!
God has laid down every safeguard against this kind of thing in what
is truly of Himself. Fellowship, relatedness, interdependence, in the
Church which is His Body, are not only privileges or extra factors in a
Christian life; they are basic laws for safeguarding Divine interests
from the dangers of independence and personal dominance. This is
why one who is in a doubtful position is called upon to “hear the
church” (Matt. 18:17). That means ultimately the surrendering of their
own judgment and way to the spiritual judgment of a spiritual church.
This in turn—provided the church is walking in the light—is coming
under the headship of Christ as “head over all things to the church,
which is his body” (Eph. 1:22, 23). “Subjecting yourselves one to
another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:21) is something which cuts the
ground from under Satan‟s feet. In keeping with this principle, the
Holy Spirit never made an individual the sole overseer of a church.
Elders, not an elder, were made in every city and church. God will not
have anyone lording it over His heritage. This opens up the whole
subject of Divine order which would require too extensive a deviation
for our present intention. But let us emphasize that the law of mutual
subjection is but the outworking of that subjection of Christ to His
Father which led to the complete nullification and discomfiture of
Satan in His own case. All of Satan‟s temptations of Christ were
intended to seduce Him by deception, even to quoting Scripture. If
Christ had asserted Himself, instead of referring and deferring to the
Father, Satan would have triumphed. What a great deal there is in
letting go to God!

What we have said has been mainly on the positive side. The soul can
be passive; but this is only another form of soulishness. There is the
weak passivity of soul which makes it easy for Satan to just play with
those concerned; or which means that, being altogether negative, they
count for nothing, and it may be that, sooner or later, he will crush
them out of simple trust by producing an inferiority complex. On the
other hand, there is that more positive passivity—if we may put those
two words together. This is that deliberate rendering of the mind and
will negative, so that a mediumistic state is produced. It is not
necessary to say what the results of this are in the direction of
deception.
When all has been said about the peril of soul-life as such, we have to
recognize that the end is death. Injury is done in the mind, in the
nerves, in the spiritual life, in the work of God. A counterfeit spiritual
experience, when it has passed or been withdrawn by Satan, or
exposed, may result in the black darkness and despair of „the
unpardonable sin‟, the „sin against the Holy Ghost‟, Satan‟s
master-stroke in the whole deception, for here even the all-efficacious
blood of Christ is robbed of its virtue, so far as the faith of those
concerned goes. How necessary, then, it is that the Cross should have
done its work in relation to ourselves as well as our past sins! How
tremendous a principle is embodied in Paul‟s words, “I have been
crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I...” (Gal. 2:20)!

Strong-mindedness may be thought to be a praiseworthy or excellent
thing, but let it be recognized as an infinitely dangerous thing if the
one who has it is not a crucified man or woman so far as self is
concerned. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is
exceedingly corrupt” (Jer. 17:9).

Many movements have swept over this earth with the name of Christ
attached to them. They claim to be for Him, and multitudes are swept
into their nets. There are „conversions‟ and experiences. There are
supernatural features connected with them. But they are psychical in
their foundation. Physical persons with psychical experiences and
powers, abnormal and uncanny personal influence, are behind them;
and a cult is developed by certain methods being standardized. These
methods or soul-tactics are employed to draw out soul expression in
certain forms. It may be a religious form of psycho-therapy or
psycho-analysis, and it has remarkable effects upon those who
respond to it.

The infallible test of all such things is as to what place they give to
that fundamental aspect of the Cross of Christ which sets man by
nature wholly aside and gives him no place at all—that is, the death of
the man, not only the remission of his sins. Try this truth in such
movements and they will collapse, and be popular no longer.

It is a matter of very great importance to be able to discriminate
between what we have just mentioned and spiritual understanding.
Taken From: What is Man? Available in paperback form free of
charge.
              A Conspiracy of
               Interruptions
                        David Wilkerson


THERE has been a lot of talk in recent years about great
conspiracies—schemes purportedly aimed at destroying both
democracy in America and Christianity. These stratagems have
included the Trilateral Commission, communism, the new age
movement, secular humanism, the Illuminati and cults. Yet I believe
none of these conspiracies has ever troubled the heart of God. With
just one tiny whiff of his divine breath, he could blow them all into
oblivion!

There is only one conspiracy that concerns our heavenly Father—a
scheme aimed directly at Christians who have set their hearts on
entering into the fullness of Christ. It is a satanic conspiracy meant to
thwart God‟s plan of raising up an army of sanctified people—men
and women totally devoted to the lordship of Jesus in their lives!



There is Rampant Today a

Conspiracy of Interruptions!

The fact is, the devil is terrified of Christians who hunger and thirst
after righteousness. Indeed, he fears praying saints more than he fears
a thousand years in chains!
All of hell quivers and quakes at the effectual, fervent prayer of a
single believer. And every demonic principality seated in high places
cowers upon hearing the cries of a weeping, broken-hearted child of
God. The powerful praying of just one intercessor sounds like raging
thunder in the caverns of the damned. And there is not one inch of
space in hell that isn‟t affected by a believer who denies himself, takes
up his cross and follows Christ with his whole heart.

Yet, we must be aware: The soul that cries out the agonizing
yearnings for depth in Christ will become the central focus of Satan‟s
conspiracy of interruptions!

A pastor from Arkansas once wrote to me, saying, “I must be like
many other ministers. My greatest battle is not with some secret sin of
the flesh—but with maintaining a consistent life of prayer and study
in God‟s word!

“Satan rarely tempts me with sexual sin. But he has found one thing
that works on me time after time. He gets me so busy with the daily
affairs of life that my prayer and study time are crowded out!

“I don‟t allow this to happen intentionally. In fact, I always renew my
efforts to get into the prayer closet. But I‟m soon caught up again in
all kinds of projects and interruptions. And this cycle is repeated over
and over. Satan is robbing me of my time with God! Perhaps you
could write a message about this problem we all face...”

Like millions of other sincere Christians, this dear pastor is the victim
of a demonic conspiracy of interruptions. And the devil‟s chief target
in these attacks is the secret closet of prayer! He knows it is the door
into the holy of holies—the armory out of which saints emerge in full
battle dress, ready to withstand all of Satan‟s fiery arrows.

So, how does the devil keep believers out of this fearsome, secret
closet of prayer? Does he parade erotic images through their minds?
Does he tempt them with soothing thoughts of escape through alcohol
or drugs? Does he lure them with dreams of fame and prosperity?
No—never! The devil knows that the person in union with Christ will
not be tempted by any such vulgarity. And the truth is, these obvious
temptations are not necessary for him to accomplish his work. Instead,
the old fox seeks to interrupt a believer‟s every attempt to enter the
presence of God. He uses every device in hell to hinder that
Christian‟s efforts to spend time in prayer and in the study of God‟s
word!



Let Me Tell You About

My Experience With This Conspiracy!

I‟ve often promised myself I would spend the entire day in prayer and
Bible study—to little avail. On those occasions I would instruct my
wife or secretary, “Let no one—nothing—disturb me. This day
belongs to the Lord. I don‟t care if the President of the United States
calls. I can‟t be interrupted!

Of course, it‟s never the President who calls. Instead, it‟s a teenager
saying she is about to commit suicide. When this comes up, I gladly
answer the telephone. But within just a few minutes of talking with
the young woman, I discern she is not in despair at all. Rather, she just
wants to boast to her friends that she has talked to me.

As I hang up the phone, a knock comes on my office door—and in
steps a visitor from overseas who insists on meeting with me for just
ten minutes. Half an hour later, my secretary tells me other important
calls are awaiting me. Before I know it, several hours have flown by,
and it is now late afternoon. I‟ve been hit with a plague of
interruptions. I realize the day is gone—and my master has been
robbed of my best time!

Please don‟t misunderstand me. I want to be available to people. But I
cannot deny the tremendous tug I feel on my heart by the Holy Spirit.
It is a spiritual pull—something that makes me long to run to my
secret closet and hide away in Christ‟s precious bosom!
The devil‟s conspiracy of interruptions in my life is most ferocious
whenever I am most determined to get alone with the Lord. Recently,
after making a great resolve to let nothing hinder me from a day of
prayer, I was again swamped suddenly with unexpected interruptions.
It was so overwhelming—and so obvious—I cried aloud, “This is
supernatural interference! The devil himself is behind these
interruptions. He is conspiring to keep me away from my beloved!”

From that day on, I have become more aware of Satan‟s subtle
devices to hinder my prayer and study time. Of course, the
interruptions themselves are not intrinsically evil—but the force
behind their timing often is. Think about it: If Satan can delay an
archangel who‟s on his way to deliver a message to Daniel, he can
also delay our visitors and callers—just long enough to coincide with
our trip to the prayer closet!

One young minister told me of his experience with a conspiracy of
interruptions. It seemed all his interruptions had to do with human
need. There was always someone who needed help—his help—just at
the time he felt he needed to pray and seek the Lord. After a while, he
recognized a conflict in his soul: He was torn between his call to
prayer and his compassion for hurting people.

While in prayer one day, the young man wept out all his pent-up
confusion. He prayed, “Lord, how can I turn down anyone in need?
How can I neglect those who are hurting?”

The answer came to him clearly but firmly: “Son, how can you
neglect me?”

I ask you: Isn‟t this the crux of the issue? Could anyone or anything
ever be more important to us than our Lord? Is there any need or hurt
that could ever be more important to us than Christ himself? Of
course, we have to make time for family and for others, as God‟s
word commands. But Christ must always come first!
Jesus himself withdrew from the massive human need all around him,
so he could quietly communicate with his heavenly Father. And a time
has to come in every Christian‟s life when he looks at all the hurting,
troubled people making demands on him—including his family—and
say, “You‟ll have to wait! I‟ll be back— but first I have to pray. My
soul is hungry, and I have to feed on God‟s word. I need time alone
with the Lord—or else I‟ll have nothing to offer you but my feeble
human compassion!”



Our Flesh is in League With Satan!

I‟ve never believed that Satan could enter the secret closet of
prayer—a place hallowed by the very presence of God, where he
meets the cries of every devoted intercessor. But the devil doesn‟t
have to enter the secret doors to accomplish his purposes. And that‟s
because he already has our flesh in cahoots with him!

You see, our flesh is at constant enmity against the Spirit of
God—and it always will be. Only by trusting in the glorious power of
the Holy Spirit can we take full dominion over our flesh.

Yet, all too often, we allow our flesh to rise up whenever we finally
do get time alone with God. And we‟re all well aware of what
follows: Constant yawning. Wild, fluctuating thoughts. Short attention
spans. Our minds wander off, unchecked, in many different directions.
And after awhile, we‟re too weary to keep trying to pray.

The flesh has won the battle. Whereas the Spirit sought to bring us
into a much-needed place of victory, weariness has stolen our hearts
away. I wonder: In such times, does Jesus stand over us, as he did
with his disciples, asking, “Could you not watch with me one hour?”

Think about it for a moment: Paul would not have commanded us to
bring every thought captive to obey Christ, if it were not within our
power to do so. We are to go into our prayer closet determined to
reckon our flesh totally dead to Christ, stripping it of all authority and
dominion. We have the power to bring every yawn, every roving
thought, every physical and mental interruption into obedience to the
Holy Spirit within us.
Of course, physical exhaustion is another matter. God deserves our
best time, our most productive hours. And yet, that is the one thing he
hardly ever gets from us—quality time!

If we spent the day in energy-draining activities, we‟ll enter his
presence weary and worn. Beloved, whenever that‟s the case, the best
thing to do is simply to go to bed. God is not a hard taskmaster; he
gives his children sleep. Prayer was never meant to be a burden, or the
cause of guilt trips. On the contrary, prayer—the very life of our
communion with the Lord—should be done when we are alert,
mentally and physically.



Even the Early Church Fathers Faced This Conspiracy!

In the first-century church at Jerusalem, the Jewish widows were
being neglected in the daily distribution of food. Naturally, they
sought the help of the leaders in the church.

But the apostles didn‟t feel right about giving up their study of God‟s
word and time in prayer just to oversee this administrative task. So
they called together the church body and said, “...It is not reason
(good) that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables”
(Acts 6:2).

As a result, seven men of “good report” were appointed to handle all
the church‟s business affairs. In the meantime, the apostles pledged,
“We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry
of the word” (verse 4).

This arrangement resulted in “...the word of God increas(ing); and the
number of the disciples multipl(ying)...” (verse 7). The church grew,
because these men refused to neglect their primary task!
Yet very few pastors today will make this kind of sacrifice. One
minister looked me in the eye and said, straight-faced, “I simply don‟t
have time to pray. I‟m too busy. There are too many demands on my
time.” Another pastor confessed to me, “I haven‟t prayed in months. I
meditate and have quick devotions every so often. But I can‟t bring
myself into the discipline of prayer.”

I frequently receive pitiful letters from Christians who complain of the
lack of spiritual life and depth in their churches. Many write, “Our
pastor is dry. His messages are light, without any kind of conviction.
Most of the time he seems preoccupied.”

I don‟t want to condemn any hardworking, devoted minister of God.
But the fact is, every servant rises and falls to his own master. And
many preachers of the gospel today are not aware that they have
become victims of a satanic conspiracy of interruptions!

These men are constantly on the run, bogged down under an
avalanche of duties and details. And if their church is in the midst of a
building project, their dilemma only grows worse. They feel
compelled to flit about the construction site, keeping on top of
everything.

Such running about can become an addictive way of life for many
pastors. (My grandfather called such ministers “preachers with sand in
their shoes.”)

And in the process of running around, trying to stay on top of things,
they neglect the Lord and cheat their congregation.

I believe this is one of the main reasons many Christians are falling
away from the faith—especially young people. Dead, dry preachers
have become so preoccupied with business affairs that they have no
time to pray and get a fresh word from heaven. I cringed when the
pastor of one of America‟s largest evangelical churches told me, “I
just can‟t get away to pray. My congregation can‟t get along without
me. I have too many things going on in the church.”
This man doesn‟t realize that congregations actually prefer their
ministers to shut themselves away with God—and let the elders and
associates deal with everyday business matters. No minister of God is
to act as a corporate president. His time is to be given to prayer and
the study of God‟s word!

Now, I thank God for every minister who is faithful to his family and
to his congregation. Such men are righteous, conscientious, and their
lives are an open book. Yet it is possible for any godly minister to
come under the dominion of Satan‟s conspiracy of interruptions—and
be kept from a deeper walk with the Lord!

Any congregation that loves its pastor should pray for him
continually: “Oh, God—deliver our pastor from a gadabout spirit.
Keep him from the devil‟s conspiracy. Let him know he must avoid
Satan‟s trap—and flee like an escaped bird to your heavenly refuge!”



There is Also a Great Conspiracy in the Home!

Satan‟s conspiracy of interruptions has been most effective in
Christian homes. The myriad of interruptions that keep husbands and
wives from praying together is not accidental. And those who do
finally make it to prayer discover that the harassment of interruptions
has intensified!

The devil knows he doesn‟t have to break up Christian homes to reach
his main objective. All he has to do is divert godly people from prayer
and God‟s word. He knows if he can interrupt their Bible study and
intercessory time, they will falter in their faith.

After all, prayerless parents are weak parents. They have no spiritual
authority to keep the spirit of the world out of their homes. They
represent no threat to the devil‟s kingdom or to any of his strongholds.
And the result is, their children become prey to demonic seductions.

Most prayerless parents eventually end up parked in front of their
TV—wasting hours at a time, growing spiritually dull and hard. And
that is the real evil of having a TV: It becomes the greatest
interruption of time that rightfully belongs to God!
Consider this fact: By the time he‟s eighteen, the average teenager has
watched six years of TV. Yet in that same period, he has spent only
four months in church. The tragedy is that most Christians can hardly
sit through a one-hour worship—yet they can easily sit through a
three-hour TV special, without a trace of impatience!

There was a time not long ago when sold-out believers were sensitive
to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, calling them to the secret closet
to pray. But after spending weeks and months idling away precious
hours in front of the TV, they no longer hear the still, small voice of
God. His voice has become drowned out by all the worldly voices
emanating from the tube!

You may say, “But we all need balance. And every TV does have an
„Off‟ button, you know. All anyone ever needs to do is just turn it
off.” But how many Christians are actually doing that? How many
have the self-restraint to shut off the clamoring voices of the world,
and get alone to hear the voice of God? Where are Christian parents
who have the courage to take authority over the conspiracy in their
living room—and turn off their TV long enough to hear the Lord in
prayer?

Beyond all the nudity, filth and godless immorality, the real issue with
TV is that it absorbs too much time, keeping us away from
much-needed communion with the Lord. We simply have to take
godly authority over its misuse. And the time we save by not watching
it must be given to the Lord, in the secret closet of prayer. Otherwise,
we won‟t be prepared for the great shaking about to fall on all
humanity—because our homes will be without God‟s protective wall
of fire!



What is the Solution?

the Lord has led me to take the following steps to guard my prayer
time and withstand all satanic conspiracies. I believe these steps are
meant for you as well:

1. Make communion with the Lord your primary goal in life.
This must be a life-and-death decision on your part. Communion in
prayer and study in God‟s word cannot be optional. Your thought
shouldn‟t be merely that you ought to pray—but that you cannot
survive without prayer! Job declared, “...I have esteemed the words of
his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:19).

Only when prayer becomes important enough will you take the time
to do it. Yet, most Christians—including pastors—neglect prayer
simply because they don‟t recognize its importance and effectiveness.
I know that as a pastor, I dare not minister to people until I first
minister to the Lord; otherwise, I will be an unprofitable servant.

The truth is, it is impossible to waste time when you are in prayer,
seeking God. And furthermore, outside the secret closet, the praying
man or woman accomplishes more in less time, with less hurry and
sweat.

But the most effective work for God we‟ll ever do is on our knees,
anyway. While the prayerless run helter skelter, to and from,
attempting great things, the praying Christian is hard at work moving
kingdoms, shattering strongholds—and, in the process, becoming a
giant with God!

2. You must consider your appointments with God more sacred
than any appointments with people—no matter who they are!

How embarrassing it must be for heaven to see the way we Christians
give so little regard to the majesty of our God, the king of glory.
We‟re often flippant in the way we keep him waiting. And at the drop
of a hat, we‟ll suddenly cancel plans to meet with him in his
courts—all for the least trifling thing!

Can you imagine someone keeping the creator God of the universe
waiting, while that person lingers to view his favorite TV program?
Yet that is what most of us do! Even worse is that we often don‟t
bother to show up in God‟s presence at all. It‟s not that we forget our
appointment with him—but that we willfully refuse to appear before
him!
Isaiah lamented, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces
from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
When I allow interruptions to come between me and my appointments
with the Lord, I am hiding my face from him—and not appreciating
him!

3. You must reject every interruption that is within your
power—and take spiritual authority over those interruptions you
discern to be supernatural!

Of course, some of my interruptions are my own doing—and they are
mostly nonsense. There is nothing conspiratorial about many of the
interruptions I allow during the day. But, beloved, you must
constantly be aware that Satan can and does conspire to interrupt you
in supernatural ways, when you have committed yourself to prayer
and seeking the Lord!

Yet, I thank God that we are never at the mercy of Satan or any of his
devices. We can expose his tactics, speak the word of faith, and in
Christ‟s name stop every single interruption. And by the power of
God‟s Spirit within us, we can clear our path to the Lord‟s gates—and
come boldly to his throne of grace, to receive help in our time of need.
That is what the Lord desires for all of us.

Will you mortify your flesh today, and return to the secret closet of
communion? Will you give up wasteful, worldly hours in front of
your TV, in order to gain what nothing on this earth can give you?

Cry out to Jesus to deliver you today, by the power of his Spirit. Take
authority over Satan‟s conspiracy of interruptions in your life, which
is meant to shipwreck your faith. And enter into the fullness of your
walk with Christ, as God has planned for you.

Amen!        Reprinted by permission of:

World Challenge Inc.

P.O. Box 260 Lindale TX, 75771
                   Resisting the
                      Devil
                        Arthur W. Pink

“Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you”—James 4:7

THIS brings before us an aspect of the Truth concerning which many
Christians are largely ignorant. Oftentimes they are unaware that it is
“the Devil” who is attacking them and needs to be resisted. Many
suppose that Satan‟s assaults are confined unto tempting us to sin. Not
so; in many cases his object is to oppose and hinder us in the doing of
that which is good. Frequently he makes use of human beings to
annoy and harass us. For example, he will send a caller to the door, or
someone to ring on the telephone, when we are engaged in prayer. He
will move worldly relatives to visit us on the Sabbath-day and thus
prevent our spending the time quietly with the Lord. Or, he will shape
our “circumstances” to hinder our spiritual good, multiplying our
duties and tasks so that we have not leisure or are too weary for study.
Few of God‟s children appear to know that it is their privilege and
right to be victorious over Satan‟s attacks. The Lord has not left His
people here at the mercy of their great Enemy, helpless to overcome
him. No, He has told us in His Word how we may defeat him.
To begin at the beginning: “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from
you.” This is a Divine command, it is a duty which the Lord has laid
upon us. Our first responsibility concerning it is to give it our best
attention, to fix it in our minds, to ponder its terms, to desire and
determine to obey. Probably some will say, I wish that I could, but I
know not how. Then our second responsibility concerning it is to
acknowledge this, asking God to enlighten, begging Him to teach us
how to obey it. Tell Him you want to do as He has bidden, and for
Him to grant instruction and enablement thereunto.

Yet necessary and important as this is, it is not enough. Prayer was
never designed by God to relieve us of our responsibilities and
encourage laziness. It is not sufficient for me to pray that God will
grant us a fruitful garden this summer—though I should pray about
this, as about “everything”: Philippians 4:6. No, I must dig and plant,
water and weed it. So it is here: the answer to my prayer for
enlightenment for heeding the exhortation of James 4:7 must come to
me through the Scriptures. Hence, my third responsibility is to
search the Scriptures, asking the Holy Spirit to graciously guide me
into the Truth. This means that I must come to the Bible with a
definite object, aiming to discover just what it teaches about the
Christian‟s “resisting the Devil” so that he “flees” from him.

Let us begin our “search” of God‟s Word on this important practical
subject by looking closely at the immediate context of the command
found in our text. First, we note that it is found in the second half of
the verse: “Submit yourselves therefore to God; resist the Devil.” Ah,
how can I expect to do the second until I have done the first? To
“submit” myself unto God means that my own wisdom, will and
wishes must be entirely set aside, and His Word and will rule me in
all things. To submit to God means that I recognize His claims upon
me, that I am His creature, His child, to be controlled by Him as One
having absolute right to my complete subjection.
But let us look more closely at and ponder the first half of this verse:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God.” This at once tells me that I
need to look back to the previous verse, for the word “therefore”
always points to a conclusion based upon and drawn from something
going before. Turning back, then, to verse 6, I read, “But He giveth
more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth
grace unto the humble.” Ah, that is encouraging, that stimulates faith
and hope. The One unto whom I am to “submit” myself is no harsh
Tyrant, no merciless Despot, but the “God of all grace.” He has
already given me saving grace, and “He giveth more grace” to the
humble, and “more grace” is exactly what I need, if I am to
successfully “resist the Devil.”

  “Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace
unto the humble.” God resisteth the proud, because the proud resist
Him. The essence of pride is self-sufficiency: it is that spirit which
disdains help from another, confident that I am fully able to manage
for myself. Spiritually, pride is that awful conceit that I can get along
without God. It is a fearful delusion begotten and fostered by the
Devil. Contrariwise, “humility” is a being emptied of self-sufficiency:
it is the heart realization that I am completely dependent upon God for
everything. Humility, grace, and victory over the Devil are
inseparably connected! But nothing is more offensive to Satan than
humility, for he is a proud spirit, and his desire is to puff us up and get
us to walk and act independently of God.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.” The word “submit” signifies to
place myself under another. There must be a subjection of the whole
man to the whole law of God; a giving up of ourselves to be governed
by Him; our thoughts, desires, actions regulated strictly by the rules
laid down in His Word. Submission to God also denotes an unrepining
acquiescence to the dispositions of His providence, an unmurmuring
disposal of ourselves to His sovereign pleasure. Thus, there must be a
complete surrender of myself and my life to God, to be ordered and
disposed of by Him.
Now there is a double relation or connection between the two halves
of James 4:7. First and most obviously, I must “submit” to God if ever
I am to successfully “resist” the Devil. How can it be otherwise? I
cannot prevail over the great Enemy in my own strength, and God will
not give me of His “grace” while I am resisting Him! Thus, I must
cease resisting God before I can hope to resist the Devil—chiefly to
make me proud, self-sufficient, independent. The prayerless soul is a
proud one, for his refusal to receive strength from God is tantamount
to saying that he can get along through the day without Him. It was by
pride Satan fell, and he would feign have more company, and draw us
into his snare. His bait is easily swallowed, for it is natural to us. Our
first parents caught readily at the suggestion “Ye shall be as gods.”

But what is meant by “resist the Devil?” First, that I am not to be
terrified at him. Satan has no enforcing power: he cannot prevail over
me without my consent. Second, that I am not to even listen to his
suggestion: “resist” actively, saying “I will not”: take that attitude, and
firmly stand your ground. Third, quote Scripture to him, a pertinent
and suitable one which meets his particular suggestion. Count upon
the power of God‟s Word, expect it to drive him away. Fourth, plead
God’s promise in the text: “resist the Devil and he will flee from you.”
Yes, he will “flee,” for he is not only a conquered foe, but an arrant
coward as well. “Flee from you,” yet only, “for a season”; he will
return and renew the fight; and so must you.
But let us now resume our searching of God‟s Word to find out what
it has to teach us on this subject of resisting the Devil. We have
already discovered enough to encourage us, so let us continue our
quest for further light and help. This means that I must turn to a
concordance and look up, slowly and carefully, every verse having in
it the word “Devil” or “Satan.” This calls for patience, but if it be
prayerfully exercised, God will reward it. I come now to 1 Peter 5:8
and read, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as
a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom
resist, steadfast in the faith.” Surely this is very graphic and
impressive. If you knew that a lion had escaped from a local circus,
that it was a fierce and hungry one, that it was loose and roaming the
streets, and your daily duties obliged you to go abroad, how
cautiously and carefully would you proceed! Ah, dear friends, my
supposition is neither imaginary nor overdrawn. There is one, more
powerful and cruel than any animal lion, which is abroad, seeking to
devour your soul and mine. How little we really believe this! How
halfhearted is the heed we give to this Divine warning!

Let us glance for a moment at the context of this verse: “Casting all
your care upon Him, for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Here the
tried and troubled children of God are invited to roll upon the Lord the
whole burden of their anxiety, being assured of His compassion for
them. Yes, but that privilege and assurance of His tender care must
not tempt us to be careless and reckless. Here, as every where in
Scripture, the promise and the command are joined together. Note
what immediately follows. First, “Be sober.” In common speech
“soberness” is the opposite of drunkenness. But let us bear in mind
that there are many other things besides wine and whiskey which
intoxicate. “Be sober” means, Be temperate in all things, put a curb on
your every desire and appetite, particularly be “sober” in your use of
and expectations from the world.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”
(Colossians 3:2). If the eye of faith measures earthly things in the light
of God‟s Word it will be seen that they are temporary, unsatisfying,
worthless. The pleasures of sin are only “for a season” (Hebrews
11:25), and a brief one at that! Remember too there must be
“soberness” of mind, before there will be soberness of body. O the
importance of forming right estimates of earthly and heavenly things.
If I truly receive into my heart the declaration of God‟s Word that “all
under the sun” is but “vanity and vexation of spirit,” soberness will
indeed be promoted.

Second, “be vigilant,” not careless, nor rash and presumptuous. I
must be watchful, alert, wideawake. Here again I must start with the
inner man: I shall never be “vigilant” about external temptations till I
have learned to “gird up the loins” of my mind (1 Peter 1:13), and to
“rule my own spirit” (Proverbs 16:32). Let us then seek grace to be
“vigilant” over our minds and bring “into captivity every thought to
the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Let us seek to be
“vigilant” over our moods, watchful lest Satan should gain an
advantage. If depressed, he will seek and tempt me to despondency
and despair. But I must “resist” that inclination. If light and giddy, he
will tempt to fleshly mirth and hilarity, which ill-becomes a follower
of Christ. But remember that I must first be “sober,” if I am to be
“vigilant”!

Third, “whom resist steadfast. ” Resist his efforts to prejudice your
heart against God, and instill into your mind evil thoughts about Him.
He will try to make you doubt His love, murmur against the severity
of His providences and the strictness of His commandments. Resist
his enticements to draw you unto the place of temptation,
remembering that God has said “Have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). Resist his efforts to
lead you into active sinning: saying with Joseph, “How then can I do
this great wickedness, and sin against God!” (Genesis 39:9).
Our resistance must be earnest and zealous. If a madman attacked and
you were fighting for your very life, you would put forth every effort.
So it must be here: it is your own soul he is seeking to destroy. Eve‟s
resistance was faint and half-hearted: she dallied with his evil
solicitations. Be warned from her fall. By “earnest” I mean, Be
indignant at his first suggestions—for example, to laze in bed on the
Sabbath morning. Our resistance must be thorough. The approaches
of Satan to the soul are gradual: he asks us to yield but a little at first.
Many promise themselves they will stop after they have conceded a
trifle, but when a stone at the top of the hill starts rolling down, it is
hard to stop. We see this principle forcibly illustrated in the case of
gamblers and drunkards. Take heed unto thyself. Our resistance must
be constant and continuous: not only against his first attack, but his
whole siege. The Devil is very persevering, and we must be so too.

Let these three considerations bestir unto this imperative duty of
resistance. First, the Devil cannot overcome without your consent: but
where there is not a powerful dissent, there is a virtual consent. Take a
positive attitude against the great Enemy of souls. Second, think much
of the blessedness of victory: this will more than compensate you for
all the diligence and strenuous efforts you make. The pleasures of sin
are only for a season, but the pleasures and gains of self-denial are
eternal: read Mark 10:29, 30. Third, remember that God‟s grace is
promised unto the one who resists. God delivers, but we “keep
ourselves” (1 John 5:18). It is via our watchfulness and prayer that
God makes such resistance effectual. There is no promise that God
will keep a careless and lax soul.

“Whom resist steadfast in the faith.” Probably there is a double
reference here in the expression “the faith.” First, the analogy of faith,
or Word of God—compare Jude 3; second, the exercise of the grace
of faith. Satan is “the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53), and only the
light of God can expose and expel him. Satan uses error to deceive
souls, and the truth of God is needed to deliver us. We are to resist
him in the faith, by believing, receiving, and acting out the Holy
Scriptures. We are also to resist the Devil by the exercise of the grace
of faith. Our hearts must lay hold of the precepts and promises of
God. A blessed example of this has been left us by Christ: “He
resisted the Devil steadfastly in the faith,” using against him naught
but the Sword of the Spirit.
“Whom resist steadfast in the faith.” When we stagger through
unbelief, we are powerless to stand before our great Enemy. It was
through doubting God‟s threat that Eve fell. But we can only
successfully resist the Devil “steadfast in the faith” as there is a
personal appropriation of Christ‟s victory. It is written, “And they
overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). Plead
that blood before God for deliverance from Satan‟s temptations.
Count upon its efficacy to deliver you. Shelter beneath it when you
realize that Satan is shooting his fiery darts at you.

Finally, let it be pointed out that, either we must overcome the Devil,
or be overcome by him. There is no third alternative! If we are
completely overcome by him, the result will be fatal. He is not merely
seeking to wound us, but to “devour” (1 Peter 5:8)! And how is this to
be harmonized with the eternal security of God‟s people? Easily: if we
be real Christians, we shall, by Divine grace, resist and overcome the
Devil. But if we continue heeding his suggestions and yielding to his
temptations and are thoroughly overcome by him, then no matter how
much Scripture we know in our heads, or what our profession, we
belong to the Devil, and are his lawful captives.

This article available in tract form.
         The Blood of the
            Lamb the
        Conquering Weapon
                    Charles H. Spurgeon


“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.”—Revelation 12:11



WHEREVER evil appears it is to be fought with by the children of
God in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Ghost. When
evil appeared in an angel, straightway there was war in heaven. Evil in
mortal men is to be striven against by all regenerate men. If sin comes
to us in the form of an angel of light we must still war with it. If it
comes with all manner of deceivableness of unrighteousness, we must
not parley for a single moment, but begin the battle forthwith, if
indeed we belong to the armies of the Lord. Evil is at its very worst in
Satan himself: with him we fight. He is no mean adversary. The evil
spirits which are under his control are, any one of them, terrible foes;
but when Satan himself personally attacks a Christian, any one of us
will be hard put to it.

When this dragon blocks our road, we shall need heavenly aid to force
our passage. A pitched battle with Apollyon may not often occur, but
when it does, you will know it painfully: you will record it in your
diary as one of the darkest days you have ever lived; and you eternally
praise your God, when you overcome him. But even if Satan were ten
times stronger and more crafty than he is, we are bound to wrestle
with him: we cannot for a moment hesitate, or offer him terms. Evil in
its highest, strongest, and proudest form is to be assailed by the soldier
of the cross, and nothing must end the war but complete victory. Satan
is the enemy, the enemy of enemies. That prayer of our Lord‟s, which
we usually render, “Deliver us from evil,” has the special significance
of “Deliver us from the evil one”; because he is the chief embodiment
of evil, and in him evil is intensified, and has come to its highest
strength. That man had need have Omnipotence with him who hopes
to overcome the enemy of God and man. He would destroy all godly
ones if he could; and though he cannot, such is his inveterate hate, that
he worries those whom he cannot devour with a malicious eagerness.

In this chapter the devil is called the “great red dragon.” He is great in
capacity, intelligence, energy, and experience. Whether or not he was
the chief of all angels before he fell I do not know. Some have thought
that he was such, and that when he heard that a man was to sit upon
the throne of God, out of very jealousy he rebelled against the Most
High. This is also conjecture. But we do know that he was and is an
exceedingly great spirit as compared with us. He is a being great in
evil: the prince of darkness, having the power of death. He shows his
malice against the saints by accusing the brethren day and night
before God. In the prophets we have the record of Satan standing to
accuse Joshua the servant of God. Satan also accused Job of serving
God from mercenary motives: “Hast not thou made an hedge about
him, and all that he hath?”

This ever active enemy desires to tempt as well as accuse: he would
have us, and sift us as wheat. In calling him the dragon, the Holy
Spirit seems to hint at his mysterious power and character. To us a
spirit such as he is, must ever be a mystery in his being and working.
Satan is a mysterious personage though he is not a mythical one. We
can never doubt his existence if we have once come into conflict with
him; yet he is to us all the more real because so mysterious. If he were
flesh and blood it would be far easier to contend with him; but to fight
with this spiritual wickedness in high places is a terrible task. As a
dragon he is full of cunning and ferocity. In him force is allied with
craft; and if he cannot achieve his purpose at once by power, he waits
his time. He deludes, he deceives; in fact, he is said to deceive the
whole world. What a power of deception must reside in him, when
under his influence the third part of the stars of heaven are made to
fall, and myriads of men in all ages have worshipped demons and
idols!

He has steeped the minds of men in delusion, so that they cannot see
that they should worship none but God, their Maker. He is styled “the
old serpent”; and this reminds us how practiced he is in every evil art.
He was a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies. After
thousands of years of constant practice in deception he is much too
cunning for us. If we think that we can match him by craft we are
grievous fools, for he knows vastly more than the wisest of mortals;
and if it once comes to a game of policies, he will certainly clear the
board, and sweep our tricks into the bag. To this cunning he adds
great speed, so that he is quick to assail at any moment, darting down
upon us like a hawk upon a poor chick. He is not everywhere present;
but it is hard to say where he is not. He cannot be omnipresent; but
yet, by that majestic craft of his, he so manages his army of fallen
ones that, like a great general, he superintends the whole field of
battle, and seems present at every point. No door can shut him out, no
height of piety can rise beyond his reach. He meets us in all our
weaknesses, and assails us from every point of the compass. He
comes upon us unaware, and gives us wounds which are not easily
healed.

But yet, dear friends, powerful as this infernal spirit certainly must be,
his power is defeated when we are resolved never to be at peace with
him. We must never dream of terms or truce with evil. To suppose
that we can let him alone, and all will be well, is a deadly error. We
must fight or perish: evil will slay us if we do not slay it. Our only
safety will lie in a determined, vigorous opposition to sin, whatever
shape it assumes, whatever it may threaten, whatever it may promise.
The Holy Ghost alone can maintain in us this enmity to sin.

According to the text it is said of the saints, “They overcame him.”
We are never to rest until it is said of us also, “They overcame him.”
He is a foeman worthy of your steel. Do you refuse the conflict? Do
you think of turning back? You have no armour for your back. To
cease to fight is to be overcome. You have your choice between the
two, either to gird up the loins of your minds for a life-long resistance,
or else to be Satan‟s slaves for ever. I pray God that you may awake,
arise, and give battle to the foe. Resolve once for all that by the grace
of God you will be numbered with those who overcome the
arch-enemy.

Our text brings before us a very important subject for consideration —
What is the conquering weapon? With what sword did they fight who
have overcome the great red dragon? Listen! “They overcame him by
the blood of the Lamb.” Secondly, how do we use that weapon? We
do as they did who overcame “by the word of their testimony; and
they loved not their lives unto the death.”

I. First, WHAT IS THIS CONQUERING WEAPON? They
overcame him by “the blood of the Lamb.”

The blood of the Lamb signifies, first, the death of the Son of God.
The sufferings of Jesus Christ might be set forth by some other figure,
but his death on the cross requires the mention of blood. Our Lord was
not only bruised and smitten, but he was put to death. His heart‟s
blood was made to flow. He of whom we speak was God over all,
blessed for ever; but he condescended to take our manhood into union
with his Godhead in a mysterious manner. He was born at Bethlehem
a babe, he grew as a child, he ripened into manhood, and lived here
among us, eating and drinking, suffering and rejoicing, sleeping and
labouring as men do. He died in very deed and of a truth, and was
buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. That death was the grand
fact which is set forth by the words “the blood of the Lamb.” We are
to view Jesus as the Lamb of God‟s passover: not merely separated
from others, dedicated to be Israel‟s memorial, and consecrated to
divine service, but as the Lamb slain. Remember, that Christ viewed
as living, and not as having died, is not a saving Christ. He himself
saith, “I am he that liveth and was dead.” The moderns cry, “Why not
preach more about his life, and less about his death?” I reply, Preach
his life as much as you will, but never apart from his death; for it is by
his blood that we are redeemed. “We preach Christ.” Complete the
sentence. “We preach Christ crucified,” says the apostle. Ah, yes!
there is the point. It is the death of the Son of God which is the
conquering weapon. Had he not poured forth his soul unto death, even
to the death of the cross—had he not been numbered with the
transgressors, and put to a death of shame—we should have had no
weapon with which to overcome the dragon prince. By “the blood of
the Lamb” we understand the death of the Son of God. Hear it, O
men! Because you have sinned, Jesus dies that you may be cleared
from your sin. “He his own self bare our sins in his own body on the
tree,” and died that he might redeem us from all unrighteousness. The
point is his death, and paradoxically, this death is the vital point of the
gospel. The death of Christ is the death of sin and the defeat of Satan,
and hence it is the life of our hope, and the assurance of his victory.
Because he poured out his soul unto the death, he divides the spoil
with the strong.

Next, by “the blood of the Lamb” we understand our Lord’s death as
a substitutionary sacrifice. Let us be very clear here. It is not said that
they overcame the arch-enemy by the blood of Jesus, or the blood of
Christ, but by the blood of the Lamb; and the words are expressly
chosen because, under the figure of a lamb, we have set before us a
sacrifice. The blood of Jesus Christ, shed because of his courage for
the truth, or out of pure philanthropy, or out of self-denial, conveys no
special gospel to men, and has no peculiar power about it. Truly it is
an example worthy to beget martyrs; but it is not the way of salvation
for guilty men. If you proclaim the death of the Son of God, but do
not show that he died the just for the unjust to bring us to God, you
have not preached the blood of the Lamb. You must make it known
that “the chastisement of our peace was upon him,” and that “the Lord
hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” or you have not declared the
meaning of the blood of the Lamb. There is no overcoming sin
without a substitutionary sacrifice. The lamb under the old law was
brought by the offender to make atonement for his offence, and in his
place it was slain: this was the type of Christ taking the sinner‟s place,
bearing the sinner‟s sin, and suffering in the sinner‟s stead, and thus
vindicating the justice of God, and making it possible for him to be
just and the justifier of him that believeth. I understand this to be the
conquering weapon—the death of the Son of God set forth as the
propitiation for sin. Sin must be punished: it is punished in Christ‟s
death. Here is the hope of men.

Furthermore, I understand by the expression, “The blood of the
Lamb,” that our Lord’s death was effective for the taking away of sin.
When John the Baptist first pointed to Jesus, he said, “Behold the
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Our Lord
Jesus has actually taken away sin by his death. Beloved, we are sure
that he had offered an acceptable and effectual propitiation when he
said, “It is finished.” Either he did put away sin, or he did not. If he
did not, how will it ever be put away? If he did, then are believers
clear. Altogether apart from anything that we do or are, our glorious
Substitute took away our sin, as in the type the scapegoat carried the
sin of Israel into the wilderness. In the case of all those for whom our
Lord offered himself as a substitutionary sacrifice, the justice of God
finds no hindrance to its fullest flow: it is consistent with justice that
God should bless the redeemed. Near nineteen hundred years ago
Jesus paid the dreadful debt of all his elect, and made a full atonement
for the whole mass of the iniquities of them that shall believe in him,
thereby removing the whole tremendous load, and casting it by one
lift of his pierced hand into the depths of the sea. When Jesus died, an
atonement was offered by him and accepted by the Lord God, so that
before the high court of heaven there was a distinct removal of sin
from the whole body of which Christ is the head. In the fulness of
time each redeemed one individually accepts for himself the great
atonement by an act of personal faith, but the atonement itself was
made long before.

I believe this to be one of the edges of the conquering weapon. We are
to preach that the Son of God has come in the flesh and died for
human sin, and that in dying he did not only make it possible for God
to forgive, but he secured forgiveness for all who are in him. He did
not die to make men savable, but to save them. He came not that sin
might be put aside at some future time, but to put it away there and
then by the sacrifice of himself; for by his death he “finished
transgressions, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting
righteousness.” Believers may know that when Jesus died they were
delivered from the claims of law, and when he rose again their
justification was secured. The blood of the Lamb is a real price,
which did effectually ransom. The blood of the Lamb is a real
cleansing, which did really purge away sin. This we believe and
declare; and by this sign we conquer. Christ crucified, Christ the
sacrifice for sin, Christ the effectual Redeemer of men, we will
proclaim everywhere, and thus put to rout the powers of darkness.

II. I have shown you the sword; I now come, in the second place, to
speak to the question: HOW DO WE USE IT? “They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb.”

When a man gets a sword, you cannot be quite certain how he will use
it. A gentleman has purchased a very expensive sword with a golden
hilt and an elaborate scabbard: he hangs it up in his hall, and exhibits
it to his friends. Occasionally he draws it out from the sheath, and he
says, “Feel how keen is the edge!” The precious blood of Jesus is not
meant for us merely to admire and exhibit. We must not be content to
talk about it, and extol it, and do nothing with it; but we are to use it in
the great crusade against unholiness and unrighteousness, till it is said
of us, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” This precious
blood is to be used for overcoming, and consequently for holy
warfare. We dishonour it if we do not use it to that end.

Some, I fear, use the precious blood of Christ only as a quietus to their
consciences. They say to themselves, “He made atonement for sin,
therefore let me take my rest.” This is doing a grievous wrong to the
great sacrifice. I grant you that the blood of Jesus does speak better
things than that of Abel, and that it sweetly cries, “Peace! Peace!”
within the troubled conscience; but that is not all it does. A man who
wants the blood of Jesus for nothing but the mean and selfish reason,
that after having been forgiven through it he may say, “Soul, take
thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry: hear sermons, enjoy the hope of
eternal felicity, and do nothing”—such a man blasphemes the precious
blood, and makes it an unholy thing. We are to use the glorious
mystery of atoning blood as our chief means of overcoming sin and
Satan: its power is for holiness. See how the text puts it: “They
overcame him by the blood of the Lamb”: these saints used the
doctrine of atonement not as a pillow to rest their weariness, but as a
weapon to subdue their sin. O my brothers, to some of us atonement
by blood is our battle-axe and weapon of war, by which we conquer in
our struggle for purity and godliness—a struggle in which we have
continued now these many years. By the atoning blood we withstand
corruption within and temptation without. This is that weapon which
nothing can resist.

Let me show you your battle-field. Our first place of conflict is in the
heavenlies, and the second is down below on earth.

First, then, you, my brothers and sisters who believe in the blood of
Jesus, have to do battle with Satan IN THE HEAVENLIES; and there
you must overcome him “by the blood of the Lamb.” “How?” say
you. I will lead you into this subject. First, you are to regard Satan this
day as being already literally and truly overcome through the death of
the Lord Jesus. Satan is already a vanquished enemy. By faith grasp
your Lord‟s victory as your own, since he triumphed in your nature
and on your behalf. The Lord Jesus Christ went up to Calvary, and
there fought with the prince of darkness, utterly defeated him, and
destroyed his power. He led captivity captive. He bruised the serpent‟s
head. The victory was the victory of all who are in Christ. He is the
representative seed of the woman, and you who are of that seed and
are in Christ actually and experimentally, you then and there
overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb. Can you get a hold of
this truth? Do you not know that you were circumcised in his
circumcision, crucified on his cross, buried with him in baptism, and
therein also risen with him in his resurrection? He is your federal
head, and you being members of his body did in him what he did.

Come, my soul, thou hast conquered Satan by the Lord‟s victory. Wilt
thou not be brave enough to fight a vanquished foe, and trample down
the enemy whom thy Lord has already thrust down? Thou needest not
be afraid, but say, “Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We have overcome sin, death and hell
in the person and work of our great Lord; and we should be greatly
encouraged by that which has been already wrought in our name.
Already we are more than conquerors through him that hath loved us.
If Jesus had not overcome the enemy, certainly we never should have
done so; but his personal triumph has secured ours. By faith we rise
into the conquering place this day. In the heavenlies we triumph, as
also in every place. We rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Michael
of the angels, the Redeemer of men; for by him we see Satan cast out,
and all the powers of evil hurled from their places of power and
eminence.

This day I would have you overcome Satan in the heavenlies in
another sense: you must overcome him as the accuser. At times you
hear in your heart a voice arousing memory and startling conscience;
a voice which seems in heaven to be a remembrance of your guilt.
Hark to that deep, croaking voice, boding evil! Satan is urging before
the throne of justice all your former sins. Can you hear him? He
begins with your childish faults and your youthful follies. Truly a
black memory. He does not let one of your wickednesses drop out.
Things which you had forgotten he cunningly revives. He knows your
secret sins, for he had a hand in most of them. He knows the
resistance which you offered to the gospel, and the way in which you
stifled conscience. He knows the sins of darkness, the sins of the
bedchamber, the crimes of the inner chambers of imagery. Since you
have been a Christian he has marked your wickedness, and asked, in
fierce sarcastic tones, “Is this a child of God? Is this an heir of
heaven?” He hopes to convict us of hypocrisy or of apostasy.

The foul fiend tells out the wanderings of our hearts, the deadness of
our desires in prayer, the filthy thoughts that dropped into our minds
when we have been at worship. Alas! we have to confess that we have
even tolerated doubts as to eternal verities, and suspicions of the love
and faithfulness of God. When the accuser is about his evil business,
he does not have to look far for matter of accusation, nor for facts to
support it. Do these accusations stagger you? Do you cry, “My God,
how can I face thee? for all this is true, and the iniquities now brought
to my remembrance are such as I cannot deny. I have violated thy law
in a thousand ways, and I cannot justify myself.” Now is your
opportunity for overcoming through the blood of the Lamb. When
the accuser has said his say, and aggravated all your transgressions, be
not ashamed to step forward and say, “But I have an Advocate as well
as an accuser. O Jesus, my Saviour, speak for me!” When he speaks,
what does he plead but his own blood? “For all these sins I have made
atonement,” says he, “all these iniquities were laid on me in the day of
the Lord‟s anger, and I have taken them away.” Brethren, the blood of
Jesus Christ, God‟s dear Son, cleanseth us from all sin. Jesus has
borne the penalty due to us: he has discharged for us upon the cross all
our liabilities to the justice of God, and we are free for ever, because
our Surety suffered in our place. Where is the accuser now? That
dragon voice is silenced by the blood of the Lamb. Nothing else can
ever silence the accuser‟s cruel voice but the voice of the blood which
tells of the infinite God accepting, in our behalf, the sacrifice which he
himself supplied.

Justice decrees that the sinful shall be clear, because the accepted
substitute has borne his sin in his own body on the tree. Come, brother
or sister, the next time thou hast to do with Satan as an accuser in
heavenly places, take care that thou defend thyself with no weapon
but the atonement. All comfort drawn from inward feelings or
outward works will fall short; but the bleeding wounds of Jesus will
plead with full and overwhelming argument, and answer all. “Who
shall lay anything to the charge of God‟s elect? It is God that
justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea
rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who
also maketh intercession for us.” Who, then, shall accuse the child of
God? Every accuser shall be overcome by the invincible argument of
the blood of the Lamb.

Still further, the believer will have need to overcome the enemy in the
heavenly places in reference to access to God. It may happen that
when we are most intent upon communing with God, the adversary
hinders us. Our heart and our flesh cry out for God, the living God;
but from one cause or another we are unable to draw nigh unto the
throne. The heart is heavy, sin is rampant, care is harassing, and
Satanic insinuation is busy. You seem shut out from God, and the
enemy triumphs over you. You feel very near the world, very near the
flesh, and very near the devil: but you mourn your miserable distance
from God. You are like a child who cannot reach his father‟s door
because a black dog barks at him from the door. What is the way of
access? If the foul fiend will not move out of the way, can we force
our passage? By what weapon can we drive away the adversary so as
to come to God? Is it not written that we are made nigh by the blood?
Is there not a new and living way consecrated for us? Have we not
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus? We are sure of
God‟s love when we see that Christ died for us; we are sure of God‟s
favour when we see how that atonement has removed our
transgressions far from us. We perceive our liberty to come to the
Father, and therefore we each one say—



“I will approach thee—I will force

 My way through obstacles to thee;

 To thee for strength will have recourse,

 To thee for consolation flee!”



Pleading the propitiation made by the blood of the Lamb, we dare
draw nigh to God. Behold, the evil spirit makes way before us. The
sacred name of Jesus is one before which he flees. This will drive
away his blasphemous suggestions and foul insinuations better than
anything that you can invent. The dog of hell knows the dread name
which makes him lie down: we must confront him with the authority,
and specially with the atonement of the Lamb of God. He will rage
and rave all the more if we send Moses to him; for he derives his
power from our breaches of the law, and we cannot silence him unless
we bring to him the great Lord who has kept the law, and made it
honourable.

We next must overcome the enemy in prayer. Alas! we cannot always
pray as we would. Do you never feel, when you are in prayer, as if
something choked your utterance—and, what is worse, deadened your
heart? Instead of having wings as of an eagle to mount to heaven, a
secret evil clips your wings, and you cannot rise. You say within
yourself, “I have no faith, and I cannot expect to succeed with God
without faith. I seem to have no love; or, if I have any, my heart lies
asleep, and I cannot stir myself to plead with God. Oh, that I could
come out of my closet, saying, „VICI! VICI!‟—„I have overcome, I
have overcome;‟ but, alas! instead thereof I groan in vain, and come
away unrelieved. I have been half dead, cold, and stolid, and I cannot
hope that I have prevailed with God in prayer.” Whenever you are in
this condition fly to the blood of the Lamb as your chief remedy.
When you plead this master argument you will arouse yourself, and
you will prevail with God. You will feel rest in pleading it, and a
sweet assurance of success at the mercy-seat. Try the method at once.
This is the way in which you should use this plea. Say, “My God, I am
utterly unworthy, and I own it; but, I beseech thee, hear me for the
honour of thy dear Son. By his agony and bloody sweat, by his cross
and passion, by his precious death and burial, I beseech thee hear me!
O Lord, let the blood of thine Only-begotten prevail with thee! Canst
thou put aside his groans, his tears, his death, when they speak on my
behalf?” If you can thus come to pleading terms with God upon this
ground, you must and will prevail. Jesus must be heard in heaven. The
voice of his blood is eloquent with God. If you plead the atoning
sacrifice, you must overcome through the blood of the Lamb.

Thus have I spoken of overcoming in the heavenlies; but I shall have
to show you how you must contend against the evil one in a lower
sphere, even ON THIS EARTH. You must first overcome in the
heavenly places before the throne; and when you have been thus
triumphant with God in prayer, you will have grace to go forth to
service and to defeat evil among your fellow-men. How often have I
personally found that the battle must first be fought above! We must
overcome in order to service. Many a score of times of late I should
not have ventured into this pulpit had it not been for power at the
mercyseat. Those who know the burden of the Lord are often bowed
down, and would not be able to bear up at all were it not for having in
secret battled with their enemy and won the day. I have been bowed
down before the Lord, and in his presence I have pleaded the precious
blood as the reason for obtaining help, and the help has been given.
Faith, having once made sure that Jesus is hers, helps herself out of
the treasury of God to all that she needs. Satan would deny her, but in
the power of the blood she takes possession of covenant blessings.

You say to yourself, “I am weak, but in the Lord, my God, there is
power: I take it to myself. I am hard and cold, but here is tenderness
and warmth, and I appropriate it. It pleased the Father that in Jesus
should all fulness dwell, and by virtue of his precious blood, I take out
of that fulness what I need, and then with help thus obtained I meet
the enemy and overcome him.” Satan would hinder our getting
supplies of grace wherewith to overcome him; but with the
blood-mark on our foot we can go anywhere; with the blood-mark on
our hand we dare take anything. Having access with confidence, we
also take with freedom whatsoever we need, and thus we are provided
against all necessities, and armed against all assaults through the
atoning sacrifice. This is the fountain of supply, and the shield of
security: this, indeed, is the channel through which we receive
strength for victory.

We overcome the great enemy by laying hold upon the all-sufficiency
of God, when we really feel the power of the precious blood of Christ.
Thus, being victorious in the heavenlies, we come down to the pulpit
or to the Sunday-school class made strong in the Lord and in the
power of his might. Having overcome Satan at the throne of grace, we
see him like lightning fall from heaven, even before our feeble
instrumentality. We speak, and God speaks with us; we long for souls,
and God‟s great heart is yearning with us. We importune men to
come, and the Lord also pleads with them to come, so that they no
longer resist. Spiritual power of a holy kind rests upon us to overcome
the spiritual power of an evil kind which is exerted by Satan, the
world, and the flesh. The Lord scatters the power of the enemy, and
breaks the spell which holds men captive. Through the blood of the
Lamb we become masters of the situation, and the weakest among us
is able to work great wonders. Coming forth to the service of God in
the power of our victory in heaven gained by pleading the blood of
the Lamb, we march on conquering and to conquer, and no power of
the enemy is able to stand against us.

It is time that I now showed you how this same fight is carried on ON
EARTH. Amongst men in these lower places of conflict saints
overcome through the blood of the Lamb by their testimony to that
blood. Every believer is to bear witness to the atoning sacrifice and its
power to save. He is to tell out the doctrine; he is to emphasize it by
earnest faith in it; and he is to support it and prove it by his experience
of the effect of it. You cannot all speak from the pulpit, but you can
all speak for Jesus as opportunity is given you. Our main business is
to bear witness with the blood in the power of the Spirit. To this point
we can all testify. You cannot go into all manner of deep doctrines or
curious points, but you can tell to all those round about you that
“There is life in a look at the Crucified One.” You can bear witness to
the power of the blood of Jesus in your own soul. If you do this, you
will overcome men in many ways.

First, you will arouse them out of apathy. This age is more indifferent
to true religion than almost any other. It is alive enough to error, but to
the old faith it turns a deaf ear. Yet I have noticed persons captivated
by the truth of substitution who would not listen to anything else. If
any discourse can hold men, as the ancient mariner detained the
wedding guest, it is the story of divine love, incarnate in the person of
Jesus, bleeding and dying for guilty men. Try that story when
attention flags. It has a fascination about it. The marvellous history of
the Son of God, who loved his enemies, and died for them—this will
arrest them. The history of the Holy One who stood in the sinners‟
place, and was in consequence put to shame, and agony, and
death—this will touch them. The sight of the bleeding Saviour
overcomes obduracy and carelessness.

The doctrine of the blood of the Lamb prevents or scatters error. I
do not think that by reasoning we often confute error to any practical
purpose. We may confute it rhetorically and doctrinally, but men still
stick to it. But the doctrine of the precious blood, when it once gets
into the heart, drives error out of it, and sets up the throne of truth.
You cannot be clinging to an atoning sacrifice, and still delight in
modern heresies. Those who deny inspiration are sure to get rid of the
vicarious atonement, because it will not allow their errors. Let us go
on proclaiming the doctrine of the great sacrifice, and this will kill the
vipers of heresy. Let us uplift the cross, and never mind what other
people say. Perhaps we have taken too much notice of them already.
Let the dogs bark, it is their nature to. Go on preaching Christ
crucified. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord
Jesus Christ!

We also overcome men in this way, by softening rebellious hearts.
Men stand out against the law of God, and defy the vengeance of God;
but the love of God in Christ Jesus disarms them. The Holy Spirit
causes men to yield through the softening influence of the cross. A
bleeding Saviour makes men throw down their weapons of rebellion.
“If he loves me so,” they say, “I cannot do other than love him in
return.” We overcome men‟s obduracy by the blood, shed for many
for the remission of sins.

How wonderfully this same blood of the Lamb overcomes despair.
Have you never seen a man shut up in the iron cage? It has been my
painful duty to talk with several of such prisoners. I have seen the
captive shake the iron bars, but he could not break them, or break
from them. He has implored us to set him free by some means; but we
have been powerless. Glory be to God, the blood is a universal
solvent, and it has dissolved the iron-bars of despair, until the poor
captive conscience has been able to escape. How sweet for the
desponding to sing—



“I do believe, I will believe,

 That Jesus died for me”!



Believing that, all doubts, and fears, and despairs, fly away, and the
man is at ease.

There is nothing, indeed, dear friends, which the blood of the Lamb
will not overcome; for see how it overcomes vice, and every form of
sin. The world is foul with evil, like a stable which has long been the
lair of filthy creatures. What can cleanse it? What but this matchless
stream? Satan makes sin seem pleasurable, but the cross reveals its
bitterness. If Jesus died because of sin, men begin to see that sin must
be a murderous thing. Even when sin was but imputed to the Saviour,
it made him pour out his soul unto death; it must, then, be a hideous
evil to those who are actually and personally guilty of it. If God‟s rod
made Christ sweat great drops of blood, what will his axe do when he
executes the capital sentence upon impenitent men! Yes, we overcome
the deadly sweetness and destructive pleasurableness of sin by the
blood of the Lamb.

This blood overcomes the natural lethargy of men towards obedience;
it stimulates them to holiness. If anything can make a man holy, it is a
firm faith in the atoning sacrifice. When a man knows that Jesus died
for him, he feels that he is not his own, but bought with a price, and
therefore he must live unto him that died for him and rose again. In
the atonement I see a motive equal to the greatest heroism; yes, a
motive which will stimulate to perfect holiness. What manner of
persons ought we to be for whom such a sacrifice has been presented!
Now are we quickened into intensity of zeal and devotion. See, dear
brothers, how to use the blood of the Lamb in this lower sphere
while contending with evil among men.

But I must close with this. It is not merely by testimony that we use
this potent truth. We must support that testimony by our zeal and
energy. We need concentrated, consecrated energy; for it is written,
“They loved not their lives unto the death.” We shall not overcome
Satan if we are fine gentlemen, fond of ease and honour. As long as
Christian people must needs enjoy the world, the devil will suffer little
at their hands. They that overcame the world in the old days were
humble men and woman, generally poor, always despised, who were
never ashamed of Christ, who only lived to tell of his love, and died
by tens of thousands rather than cease to bear testimony to the blood
of the Lamb. They overcame by their heroism; their intense devotion
to the cause secured the victory. Their lives to them were as nothing
when compared with the honour of their Lord.

Brethren, if we are to win great victories we must have greater
courage. Some of you hardly dare speak about the blood of Christ in
any but the most godly company; and scarcely there. You are very
retiring. You love yourselves too much to get into trouble through
your religion. Surely you cannot be of that noble band that love not
their own lives unto the death! Many dare not hold the old doctrine
nowadays because they would be thought narrow and bigoted, and
this would be too galling. They call us old fools. It is very likely we
are; but we are not ashamed to be fools for Christ‟s sake, and the
truth‟s sake. We believe in the blood of the Lamb, despite the
discoveries of science. We shall never give up the doctrine of atoning
sacrifice to please modern culture. What little reputation we have is as
dear to us as another man‟s character is to him; but we will cheerfully
let it go in this struggle for the central truth of revelation. It will be
sweet to be forgotten and lost sight of, or to be vilified and abused, if
the old faith in the substitutionary sacrifice can be kept alive. This
much we are resolved on, we will be true to our convictions
concerning the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus; for if we give up this, what
is there left?

God will not do anything by us if we are false to the cross. He uses the
men who spare not their reputations when these are called for in
defence of truth. Oh to be at a white heat! Oh to flame with zeal for
Jesus! O my brethren, hold you to the old faith, and say, “As for the
respect of men, I can readily forfeit it; but as for the truth of God, that
I can never give up.” This is the day for men to be men; for, alas! the
most are soft, molluscous creatures. Now we need backbones as well
as heads. To believe the truth concerning the Lamb of God, and truly
to believe it, this is the essential of an overcoming life. Oh for
courage, constancy, fixedness, self-denial, willingness to be made
nothing of for Christ! God give us to be faithful witnesses to the
blood of the Lamb in the midst of this ungodly world!

As for those of you who are not saved, does not this subject give you a
hint? Your hope lies in the blood of the Lamb.



“Come, guilty souls, and flee away,

 Like doves, to Jesus‟ wounds.”



The atoning sacrifice, which is our glory, is your salvation. Trust in
him whom God has set forth to be the propitation for sin. Begin with
this, and you are saved. Every good and holy thing which goes with
salvation will follow after; but now, this morning, I pray you accept a
present salvation through the blood of the Lamb. “He that believeth
in him hath everlasting life.”



Taken From: Metropolitan Tabernacle Vol. 34 No. 2043
Available in booklet form

								
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