From the book: Spritual Wrestling

Gospel Chapel Sermons

Spiritual Wrestling  #3

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IF YE THINK YE STAND--TAKE HEED LEST YE FALL

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall, 1CO 10:12.

The text begins with "Wherefore". That means that we must notice the preceding verses. The apostle is pointing out that in the wilderness, many had their hearts turned away from the Lord. They perished in the wilderness.

The apostle says in 1CO 10:1-3,"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat." The apostle was pointing out that they were walking in the way of salvation. V:4-5, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness."

Our text says, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." The important thing is that we think we stand. When one of God's people thinks he stands, that is the most dangerous place to be.

Look at what the apostle says in verse 6-12. "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; [What did they do?] as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [They had complacency. They were content within themselves. That was their destruction.] Neither let us commit fornication...Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [Then our text says,] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

Every descendant of Adam's fallen race is exposed to the wiles, i.e., the sly tricks--beguiling trickery--to lure away by confusion of the devil. Every member of Adam's fallen race is exposed here. Satan trapped them in murmuring, complacency, tempting Christ and in many other ways. We are all exposed to those wiles of the Devil.

GEN 3:1 teaches that Satan appeared in the form of a serpent because, "The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field." The Devil is so subtle in his temptations and tricks. Every individual must be ware of these sly tricks recorded in Holy Writ which Satan most commonly uses to escape being lured away by his flood of mass confusion.

Satan's first trick in Eden, which is still most common today, was to cast doubt upon the Word and goodness of God. That is Satan's trick today. GEN 3:4-5 says, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Satan cast a doubt upon the Word of God.

Satan's principle taught in Eden, which is most common today, is that God's restrictions are unkind. The Word of God lays down restrictions. What restriction did He give Adam and Eve? He put Adam over all of the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and all animals as the king of the universe. The Lord made him the supreme ruler of the world.

God gave Adam and Eve only one restriction so they would respect and demonstrate that God was still in first place. It was to show that they were yet subordinate to God. That was their only restriction.

Yet Satan convinced them that this restriction was unkind. They should be as God. They should decide what was right and wrong. They should have no guidelines because the law of God was written in their hearts. Satan came to show that these restrictions of God were unkind and unjust. We see this today in gainsaying the Word of God.

Satan encouraged rebellion against God with a lie, saying, "Ye shall not surely die, [assuring that man would] ...be as gods, knowing good and evil," GEN 3:1-7. He was assuring that man would be able to decide what is right and wrong. This lie is the way of life in the natural mind today. Man will decide what is right and wrong. The Word of God is not their highest authority.

This principle of freedom from all God's restrictions would enable them to decide for themselves what was right or wrong. As Satan's lawful captives, men who hold and teach these broad principles are the authors of the flood of mass confusion in the world today. Isn't this the humanistic flood of thought today? That thought is that humans should decide what is right and wrong.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression have been completely warped in our nation. The highest court in the land has ruled that we have a right to burn the flag as freedom of expression. We humans want no restrictions. As Satan's lawful captives, men who hold and teach these broad principles are the authors of the flood of mass confusion in the world today.

To escape these wiles of the devil, we must learn to recognize the easy or ready objects he uses for his attacks. We have to learn to know the wiles of the devil. We have to be able to recognize them. To escape them, we must learn how he approaches and how he attacks, so we may be on guard against his attacks.

In Eden the tree was this object. We must understand there is always an object that Satan uses to make his attack. In the Garden of Eden, it was a tree. Today, it might be our pride. It could be some object that he has fastened upon our minds, so we will justify doing evil. Satan's principle is that the end justifies the means. This is a common trick of Satan today.

Let's study this and elaborate how Satan used the tree. Satan used a very general approach to start the dialogue. Satan didn't make the attack against the tree right away. He didn't say, "You have a problem with that tree." Satan's ambush was laid by the general manner in which he posed his question.

Satan's question, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" made reference to every tree in the garden. He did this because he didn't want to isolate the single tree. Then Eve would be on guard. Satan does this in a very general way to get our attention and our reasoning. He will get us into a dialogue with him. Satan uses a very general approach. He refers to every tree of the garden.

God's restriction was not to all the trees, but a particular tree. Watch what happens in GEN 1:29. "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Satan grabbed that phrase out of context and used the reference to every tree. Satan's broad general approach was to avoid suspicion of his motive.

Satan's second manner of approach is a negative one. He uses reverse psychology. He is tremendously cunning. Watch what Satan did. He said, "Yea, hath God said." Satan called God's Word into question. He quoted the Word of God. This is what we have to beware of. He engaged his victim in a dialogue wherein a suspicion could be cast against God's Word, goodness, character and integrity.

Satan wants to get us to murmur and pity ourselves. He wants to get us off guard. How does he do this? He gets us into a dialogue. He gets our heart to use human reasoning. Immediately upon gaining control of the human reasoning through dialogue with his victim, Satan zeros in on his target.

When Eve answered that they could eat of all the trees of the garden except one, then the devil suddenly zeroed in on just that one tree. Why? She was the one who raised the issue about the single tree. Satan started in a very general way. This is what we have to see.

Then what did Satan do? Satan "Changed the truth of God into a lie," Satan said in GEN 3:4-5, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." We read in ROM 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

Satan was there with his beguiling spirit. Now he is bringing the wrath of God upon the whole human race. They have the truth. They have the Word of God. They are holding it in an ungodly spirit of unrighteousness. They are doing an act of unrighteousness with knowledge.

God leaves men over unto themselves for changing His truth into a lie when we enter into a dialogue with Satan, becoming his victim. He leaves us over unto uncleanness. ROM 1:25 says, "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."

That was the sin that Satan prompted in the garden of Eden. That has become the common sin of the day. ROM 1:24 says, "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves."

The forbidden tree was in plain sight, "in the midst of the garden." Satan zeroes in on something that is occupying our minds to captivate that human reasoning. GEN 2:9 says, "And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." That tree was in the midst of the garden, right in plain sight.

Through Eve's dialogue with the Devil, we see that through her human reasoning, she believed his lie and the fruit on the tree became an object of lust. Before, it had absolutely no attraction to her at all. Because of her dialogue with the devil and because of her human reasoning, the tree, in the midst of the garden, became the object of lust.

GEN 3:6 says, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, [Eve started lusting after the tree.] and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Her lust for this wisdom and this forbidden fruit was motivated. Through dialogue, Satan encouraged it.

You and I have to be so ware of the tactics of Satan and how he lures us into lusts. He sets our heart, our motives and our mind in to a dialogue to start human reasoning, contrary to the will of God. Oh, beloved, you can never have a dialogue with the devil and win. Anytime that our hearts and our minds are caught in a dialogue with the devil, we will lose.

There is only one way to win. Draw near unto the Lord and resist the devil, and he'll flee from us. Even Michael the archangel didn't dare enter into a dialogue with the devil! In JUD 9 we read, "When contending with the devil...durst not [In other words, Michael the Archangel didn't dare to entertain a dialogue with the devil.] bring against him a railing accusation, but [He sheltered under the umbrella of the Lord and] said, The Lord rebuke thee." How did Michael put the devil to flight. He said, "The Lord rebuke thee." Michael couldn't go against the devil with his own strength. He didn't dare enter into a dialogue with the devil.

Satan has a hidden power of fascination that we are unable to withstand. The only way to withstand is to flee unto the Lord. Now do you understand what our text says? "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." We are a sitting duck for Satan if we think that we stand. When we become strong in ourselves like Peter did, we will fall like he did.

Satan is the strong man spoken of in LUK 11:21. "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace." You and I have no might against him. Thanks be unto God there is a stronger than he, the Lord Jesus Christ our heavenly High Priest.

HEB 4:15 says, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." When Satan attacks us and tries to entertain a dialogue with us, we must flee to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ was tempted, and He knows the power of the tempter. He is the only one that has ever been able to overcome it. He is familiar with those temptations. He knows the feeling of our infirmities. He knows our weaknesses.

Our Saviour was tempted in all points even as we are, yet, without sin. Having been tempted of the devil in all things even as we, He knows all his devices and is able to deliver us from Satan and all his wiles. This is why we must watch if we think we stand. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." We are stepping on a banana skin the second we think we stand. We are ready for Satan to pull it right out from under us.

We must stand in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be hedged about with Him. Isaiah spoke of this salvation in Christ in a prophetic way when he said in ISA 49:24-25, "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? [Satan is that strong man, and we are his lawful captives by nature as a result of the fall of Adam.] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children." That is a powerful blessing. The Lord says, "And I will save thy children."

When we have our faith's eye on our Blessed Substitute, rebellion is broken in our hearts and Satan must go. When our rebellion is broken and our eyes are fixed on the bleeding, dying Lamb of God, then the power of Satan is broken. He must flee apace.

JAM 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." That is the important thing. Anytime we find ourselves entertaining a dialogue with Satan, we must submit ourselves to God. We need our hearts to be lifted up to the Lord.

FOR OUR FIRST POINT, let's consider Satan's devices.

FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let's consider Satan's occasions. He uses an occasion, whereby he catches us off guard.

FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let's consider the distinction between standing and thinking we stand.

FOR OUR FIRST POINT, let's consider Satan's devices. We are called upon to search the Scriptures. 2CO 2:11 reads, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." How do we know his devices? They are recorded in the Word of God. We must search the Scriptures, meditate, and lay it before the Lord. We must learn to see and recognize Satan and his devices.

The apostle Paul teaches a very important principle where he taught the importance of not being "ignorant of [Satan's] devices." That tremendous principle is to understand Satan's devices, detect them, and avoid them.

Satan's first victory over man was by perverting God's Holy Word. He deceives his millions for hell by deceit today. He perverts God's Word. We must meditate. We must be as the men of Berea. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few," ACT 17:11-12.

We must search the Scriptures and see if these things are so. Sometimes Satan will lay a thought upon our heart. We might think that it is from the Lord. We must search the Scriptures as the men of Berea to see if these things are so. Our foundation must not be upon anything but the Word of God.

COL 2:8 warns us, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men...." Once I heard a man talk about a tremendous Christian. He talked about what a sinner the Christian was in his younger days. He made it sound like a virtue.

The Bible says that if we don't repent, there is no salvation. Repenting means to have a remorse over sin. David said, "Remember not the sins of my youth...," PSA 25:7. The sins of our youth should cause us grief. Are we going to speak of them as though they are virtues? Where there is no remorse, there is no repentance. Where there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

Human philosophy is to please men. It is to make them feel good. The Lord cautions that that is one of Satan's devices to catch us off guard to make us stray from the Lord. One of the first devices that we must watch for is how he perverts the Word of God.

Where do we learn to know Satan's devices? God's Word teaches Satan's crafty beguiling trickery. We are responsible to search the Scripture, so "...we are not ignorant of his devices."

God's Word teaches the basic principles of detecting the devils methods of deceit and attack, and how we may combat him. God's Word teaches us these things. We are responsible to search the Word, meditate upon it, and lay it before the Lord that He will teach us to understand it.

We must never forget that the devil in GENESIS 3, is still the same devil today. He is that same subtle creature. He has come in the form of a serpent because of its trickery and its subtle nature. That is the same devil of today. He never changes, though he is now armed with centuries of practice. That is the only difference. Now he has centuries of practice, which he didn't have in the garden of Eden.

If Satan was able to lay his ambush before man and beguile him in the state of perfection, how much easier it is now with man's maimed condition! We have fallen and lost the image of God. Think of how we must be on guard for the crafty devices of Satan.

Our text says, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." This is more important than we ever realized. It is most important that we don't think that we stand. Those who think they stand become strong in themselves.

If Adam and Eve could not withstand Satan in their perfection, think how we need to heed the Apostle's admonition in EPH 6:10. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord [Jesus Christ], and in the power of his might." Our only hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of His might. Through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan can be overthrown. We are never able to stand against him in our own might. We must constantly be fleeing unto the Lord to be delivered from the powers of Satan.

EPH 6:11 says, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Outside of the armour of God, we will never stand. What is that armour? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only armour that we can put on. It is the faith of Christ and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, which is Christ.

V:12-13, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day." We need the whole armour of God. Christ must become our all in all. We must flee to Him with every thought. Every thought must be brought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our armour to withstand Satan. ROM 13:14 reads, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, [When the apostle Paul said to put on the armour of God, He was saying to put on Jesus Christ.] and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

Putting on Christ is putting off the lusts of the flesh. That is what we just read in ROM 13:14. "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

GAL 3:27 says, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." By being baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death, burial and resurrection. That means that we have been made dead unto sin, dead unto the world, dead unto self. Being baptized into Christ is to be "buried with him" into death, and raised with Him to "walk in newness of life," ROM 6:4.

Our study of Satan's devices must be two-fold: first how he draws us into sin and secondly how he troubles us for the sin he has drawn us into. Stop and analyze this for a moment.

The Lord will never allow any one of His people to be destroyed eternally, but think of the trouble Satan brings us into. We must analyze how he brings us into sin and the trouble he brings us through that sin.

How does he draw us into sin? How did he draw Eve there? He picked a suitable object with which to pose his temptation--the tree. That object can be so many things within our hearts. The object of temptation can be anything that is outside of Christ. Satan will pick an object of lust. He will pick an object of temptation.

Eve's eyes were fixed upon the tree with evil desires. She could always see the tree in the midst of the garden, but after Satan picked that as the object of temptation, it became the object of evil desires. That is what we must learn to recognize.

Anytime the Lord allows Satan to fix our eyes on an object with evil desires, it becomes the object of temptation. As soon as Satan was able to engage Eve into a dialogue about his object of temptation, her eyes were fixed upon that tree with evil desires. Then she saw with an evil eye, "That the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise," GEN 3:6.

Before a man is drawn into sin, he must behold the object. Then when his heart embraces it, he becomes Satan's victim of that sin. A man's eye and heart must be fixed upon the object of temptation before he can ever be drawn into sin. After our eyes behold the object, our heart starts to embrace it. Then we become Satan's victim of that sin.

Scripture so clearly tells us these things. When we see this developing in our life, then we have to flee unto the Lord. Jesus said in MAT 5:28, "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Satan's first device is to place mental objects before the minds eye and then focus his conversation, i.e., the thoughts and lusts of our hearts around that object. When we have evil thoughts and lusts in our heart, we are in a dialogue with Satan. Satan has our human reasoning going. He is fixing our lusts on an object that he is going to use to snare us.

Oh, beloved, how often our hearts can be engaged in the holiest devotions while our souls are soaring aloft in the presence of our lovely Lord, enjoying a little heaven on earth when Satan raises his ugly head. Satan flashes some object before our eyes. That heavenly communion ends right then. Satan uses a mental object, thereby destroying such blessed, heavenly devotion. He raises his ugly head by bringing some object to distract us.

In just such a time Satan will place some mental object before our minds eyes to derail our heavenly communion. Oh, how we wonder why such an object should interrupt such a blessed communion with our Lord; the devil has designed a scheme!

It could be anything — some strange noise or some object that caught our attention. But is one of Satan’s devices. The object can be such a trifling thing. It could be the wind outside or a door latch falling loose. It can be anything that distracts our minds and the Spirit of God withdraws.

How must we come against such crafty devices? The great question is, if you want to entertain him. Entertaining those thoughts is entering into a dialogue with the devil. We have to understand that.

When we entertain thoughts that are unchaste, ungodly or unrighteous, we are entertaining the devil. JAM 4:7-8 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." When Satan comes with these little distractions, when Satan comes with objects to entertain our minds, we must not entertain it.

A minister told me how this happened to him. One time he was having such a blessed communion with a fellow Christian. Then the wind blew and something rattled outside. If they had just gone on with their conversation, Satan wouldn't have gained his snare. The distraction turned the conversation. They began wondering what it was. They entertained the devil. The end result was that the communion was over. The Lord withdrew.

We must understand that we don't entertain these things. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." When these little distractions and mental objects come into play, we don't entertain them.

When Scripture speaks about our conversation, it means that which traffics our minds as well as that which proceeds from our mouth. We allow Satan to pick up our conversation. We allow him to pick up that which traffics our minds and distract us with some mental object. This completely destroys our communion with God.

JAM 3:13 says, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom." This good conversation is not only that which comes out of your mouth, it is also that which traffics your mind. So often when I was riding on the tractor, my heart would go out to the Lord. I would spend the whole day meditating. It was like a heaven on earth. I have also had times that my heart would entertain the devil the whole day.

What does the Lord say? He says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."

JAM 3:13-15 says, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, [This is talking about the conversation in our heart, i.e., by letting it traffic your mind], glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish."

How often does Satan entertain us for a whole day with bitter envyings, bitter minds and bitter hearts? If someone has upset us, how often does the conversation of our heart entertain Satan all day long?

Recently my wife read PSA 50:20-23 to me. It really struck me how this passage of Scripture dealt with our conversation. It says in verse 20, "Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. [Then in verse 22 God's displeasure is revealed for such conversation.] Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. [Then in verse 23 we see how our conversation must be praising, not slandering our brother.] Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God."

I saw that in that chapter it was speaking about our brother. We must give praise of our brother because he was created in the image of God.

Whenever Satan strikes up such a conversation in our hearts through, "...bitter envying and strife;" the only escape is to stop entertaining this dialogue with the devil and turn our eyes unto our blessed Redeemer. If our eyes are lifted to our blessed Redeemer and we see the corruption of our own heart, there isn't anything left to be bitter about. Then we will learn to understand that all things come to us by the hand of the Lord.

2CO 2:10-11 says, "Forgive...it in the person of Christ;[Isn't that beautiful? When we have bitter envyings and strife in our heart, we must forgive it in the person of Christ.] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."

Isn't that powerful? Those bitter envyings of our heart must be forgiven in the person of Christ. We must take our eyes off the object of Satan's devices and turn them unto the faith of Jesus Christ. As He hung upon the cross He said in LUK 23:34, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." The Lord Jesus Christ did not entertain frustration or bitterness. He says, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let's consider Satan's occasions. Satan seeks proper occasions. We must be aware of the occasion of temptation. We must understand what Scripture teaches us about the occasion of temptation.

Beloved, Scripture teaches repeatedly that when we become strong in our own faith we give occasion to the devil. This is very important to understand. Our text says "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." When we are in our right place we can say with the Hymn writer:

I need Thee every hour, Stay Thou near by;
Temptations lose their pow'r when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, O I need Thee, Ev-'ry hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Saviour- I come to Thee.

When we are in our right place, that is the frame of our heart. That is our conversation. That is the meditation of our heart.

We must beware of Satan's occasions which he uses to snare us. As with Eve, he sought an occasion when he found her alone, away from under the umbrella of her husband's protection. She was caught by herself without her husband's protection. That was Satan's occasion.

Whenever the bride of Christ is near Him feeling her need of her Heavenly Bridegroom, Satan can only flee apace. We have to watch the occasion when our hearts are straying away from the Lord. When we are straying away from the blessed protection of our Saviour, Satan will use the occasion.

One of Satan's most common ambushes is a feeling of independence. When we start to feel secure within ourselves, Satan will come. As our text says, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." There is nothing more dangerous than when we think we stand. There is no better occasion for Satan.

Peter thought he could stand when he said in MAT 26:33, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." When Peter came to where he thought he could stand is when he became ripe for Satan's attack. That was when Jesus withdrew His restraining grace and told Peter in LUK 22:31, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." When he became strong in himself, the Lord withdrew His hedge. He allowed Satan to teach him the lesson.

Another one of Satan's prime occasions for temptation is idle time. When we find ourselves unoccupied is most often when we begin to entertain a dialogue with the devil. Our hearts begin to entertain evil thoughts. Watch what happened to David. David was idle. David should have been out with his army, but he tarried at home and became unoccupied. That was Satan's occasion for temptation.

I want you to see what happened here. 2SA 11:2 says, "And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon."

Take notice of the occasion. This shows that David had been idle the whole day! He arose from his bed in the evening. He had been laying around all day long. In the eveningtide he arose from his bed. In his idleness he had a roaming eye and lust became his snare.

If David would have been occupied, this wouldn't have happened. He should have been out with his army fulfilling his kingly office. We must be very careful that we don't allow ourselves into the snare of Satan by giving him occasion.

The woman was the object Satan used to draw David into a dialogue. David's heart began to entertain Satan. If David had not entertained Satan at this point with those evil, lustful thoughts, Satan's snare would have been broken.

FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let's consider the distinction between standing and thinking we stand. The apostle Paul had been exulted unto the third heaven, but he tells us in 2CO 12:7, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

The Lord did not allow Paul to be snared by Satan by becoming sufficient within himself.

The apostle Paul needed to realize the distinction between standing and thinking that he was standing. Where did he stand? He stood where, "...My grace is sufficient for thee...," 2CO 12:9. He had a thorn in the flesh. He had the messenger of Satan to buffet him. What was it for? It was to make him flee to Christ. It was to make him stay within the fold. It was to make him stay near to the heavenly bridegroom so he would not wander away in pride and in self-sufficiency.

Paul says in 2CO 12:8-9, "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,[He wasn't glorying in his strength. He was glorying in his infirmities.] that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

That is where we have to stand. We have to see that we are weak within ourselves. When we are strong in ourselves like Peter, we think we stand. Our hearts must tremble before the Lord when we can see the wiles and craftiness of Satan. Then we stay close to the heavenly bridegroom. Then we see that His grace is sufficient for us.

He saw that he needed the power of Christ to rest upon him because he saw the weakness within himself.

Paul gives the conclusion of the matter in 2CO 12:10. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities...." We have to learn as we sang, "Can you dare to be a Daniel, can you dare to stand alone." We have to understand that we dare to come out from among them and be separate. We have to see what it is to rest in Christ instead of going with the multitude. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, [That is where the apostle Paul learned to see his security.] in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

That is where we are standing. We stand in Christ and not in our own strength. When we begin to stand strong in our selves, when we think we stand, we must take heed lest we fall.

Standing is by grace through faith. ROM 5:2-5 says, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, [We stand by grace through faith.] and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: [Why?] knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." That grace of God is the only place where we can stand through faith.

We have to understand that if Satan gets us into a dialogue, he can allure us away from Christ. We are on slippery ground. We are ready for a fall as Peter experienced.

We must learn to understand what the apostle Paul said. He gloried in necessity. He gloried in reproaches. He gloried in infirmities. "For when I am weak, then am I strong."

When I am weak within myself, I stand. Why? We stand in Christ. Then we understand what it is to have that hope which maketh not ashamed. Then we have patience. Then we learn by experience. We experience that "...hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Amen.


These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a book ministry and a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog.

We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.

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