Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. I Peter 5:8-9
Today we have a hidden enemy in Isis. Previous to Isis it was al-Qaeda. The invisible enemy’s trail leads centuries before to the enemy of all times, a character first named Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan is a master at distractions. Always has been, always will be. Have we forgotten that as believers and the church that we live in a wilderness, not a garden; a battleground, not a playground; a spiritually darkened society, not a God-conscious environment? Someone has wisely said that the church’s first task is to keep being herself in an ever-changing world!
This is a personal warfare for everyone who professes Christ as their Redeemer from sin. We are to be followers of the Way (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22), not the world (John 17:14-19; I John 2:15-17). The world will pass away (I John 2:17). The church today must address holiness in Christ, not happiness in the world. It must be a refuge from the “ways” of the world, not participants in the “ways” of the world. There must be a distinction! We are to be “difference makers” not duplicators! Every single person living today is on a journey to eternity. Even if we never leave our home, we are traveling to one of two destinations and the church and its people are to define the direction not the devil! The believer will be in heaven longer than on earth, agreed? Then why not prepare. It was said of Puritan Richard Sibbes, “Heaven was in him before he was in heaven!”
Every generation has defined worldliness according to culture. The Bible defines it in contrast to God. I enjoy biographies and Scripture gives us the only true account of the devil, described as the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). Has the church forgotten the devil exists? God forbid. If we do believe that he exists then we must start living like it. Following is a reminder course (#101) on the titles, character and history of our invisible enemy lurking about even as I write and you read.
Lucifer – Isaiah 14:12-14; Devil and Satan – Rev. 12:9; Beelzebub – Matthew 10:25; Belial – II Cor. 6:15; Adversary – I Peter 5:8-9; Dragon – Rev. 12:3-12; Serpent – II Cor. 11:3; God of this world – II Cor. 4:4; Prince of this world – John 12:31; Prince of the power of the air – Eph. 2:1-3; Accuser – Rev. 12:10; Enemy – Matt. 13:39; Tempter – Matt. 4:3; the Wicked One – Matt. 13:19,38; Fowler – Psalm 91:3; Wolf – John 10:12; Destroyer – John 10:10; Roaring lion – I Peter 5:8-9; Father of lies – John 8:44; Murderer – John 8:44; Sower of discord – Matt. 13:39.
He was a sinner from the beginning – I John 3:8; he goes from place to place – Job 1:6-12; he is a celestial and territorial ruler – Eph. 2:2, 6:10-18, II Cor. 4:4; he sows tares among the wheat – Matt. 13:25, 38, 39; he attacks with cunning devices and fiery darts – II Cor. 2:11, Eph. 6:16; he encourages evil thoughts – John 13:2, Acts 5:3; he has power over man extending to death, but not beyond it – Heb. 2:14; he was overcome by Christ – I John 3:8; he will share eternal doom with his followers – Rev. 20:1-3, 7-15.
His defection – Ezek. 28:11-19; his disobedience – Isaiah 14:12-17; his determination – Matt. 4:1; his deceitfulness – John 8:44; his disciples – Mark 6:12, James 2:19; his devices – II Cor. 2:11; his defeat and destiny – Genesis 3:15, Rev. 20: 1-10.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal. – Martin Luther