The Christian in Complete Armour (24)

This must be true of us: ‘We are not ignorant of his devices,’ II Cor. 2:11.

God knows Satan’s ploys and will reveal them to you . Consider Satan as he is God’s creature; so God cannot but know him. Hell itself is naked before him; and this destroyer hath no covering. Again, consider him as God’s prisoner, who hath him fast in chains, and so the Lord, who is his keeper, must needs know whither his prisoner goes, who cannot stir
without his leave.  Christ described the devil coming
against Peter and the rest of the apostles, and faithfully revealed it to them, before they thought of any such matter, Luke 22.

Know yourself and your sins

Know the Scriptures and what Satan did in the past.

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How Satan works:

Satan is the greatest spy in the world; he makes it his business to inquire into our inclinations, thoughts, affections and purposes,  so  he may open the passage of temptation in line with our sinful inclinations.

He uses other people: Satan makes choice of persons of place and power. People in government or church like Jeroboam  who set up idolatry, and Israel is soon in a snare.  ‘Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel,’ I Chron. 21:1.  Who shall persuade Ahab that he may go to Ramoth-Gilead and fall? Satan can tell: ‘I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets,’ I Kings 22:22. How shall the profane be hardened? Just let the preacher pander to them crying  Peace when there is none Let Hophni and Phinehas be but scandalous in their lives, and many both good and bad will ‘abhor the sacrifice of the Lord.’

He may use clever subtle people. 

To undermine God’s true messengers (II Cor. 10:10), mix errors with truth (a little leaven) Thus Christ tells the disciples, that the Pharisees among many truths mix their errors; and therefore it behoves them to beware, lest with the truth the errors go down also. They encourage the flesh with carnal reason and pride (Pelagiansim, Arminianism) and the desire of fleshly liberty against perceived strictness. He may use holy men (Abraham and his wife) or relatives/friends (Eve, Delilah, Job’s wife, Peter, saints Acts 21:13).

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God overrules Satan’s temptation and our sin to our advantage:

God purgeth out the very sin Satan tempts to, even by his tempting.
Peter never had such a conquest over his self-confidence, never such an establishment of his faith as after his soul-fall in the high-priest’s hall. He that was so well persuaded of himself before, as to say, ‘Though all were offended with Christ, yet would not he,’ how modest and humble was he in a few days become, when he durst not say he loved Christ more than his fellow-brethren, to whom before he had preferred himself! John 21:15.

What an undaunted confessor of Christ and his gospel doth he prove before councils and rulers, who even now was dashed out of countenance by a silly maid, and all this the product of Satan’s temptation sanctified unto him! Indeed a saint hath a discovery by his fall, what is the prevailing corruption in him.

God useth these temptations for the advancing the whole work of
grace in the heart. One spot occasions the whole garment to be washed. David overcome with one sin, renews his repentance for all, Ps. 51. A good husband when he seeth it rain at one place, sends for the workman to look over all the house. This indeed differentiates a sincere heart from an hypocrite, whose repentance is partial, soft in one plot, and hard in another. Judas cries out of his treason, but not a word of his thievery and hypocrisy. The hole was no wider in his conscience than where the bullet went in; whereas true sorrow for one, breaks the heart into shivers for others also.

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Satan by tempting one saint hath a mischievous design against others, either by encouraging them to sin by the example of such a one, or discouraging them in their holy course by the scandal he hath given;

But what does God do?
1. By making the miscarriages of such, a seasonable warning to others to look to their standing. Dost thou see a meek Moses provoked to anger; what watch and ward hast thou need keep over thy unruly heart!

2. God makes his saints’ falls an argument for comfort to distressed because he has mercy on all who truly repent.

3. God hath a design in suffering Satan to trounce some of his saints by
temptation, to train them up in a fitness to succour their fellow-brethren in the like condition. He sends them to where they are under Satan’s tyranny—that his cruel hand over them may make them study the Word and their own hearts, by which they get experience of Satan’s policies till at last they commence masters in this art of comforting tempted souls. It is an art by itself, to speak a word in season to the weary soul.  His sufferings (which were all along mingled with temptations), were the lecture from which Christ came out so learned, to resolve and comfort distressed souls. So that the devil
had better let Christ alone, yea, and his saints also, who do him but the greater disservice in comforting others. None will handle poor souls so gently as those who remember the smart of their own heart sorrows. None [are] so skillful in applying the comforts of the Word to wounded consciences, as those who have lain bleeding themselves.

Acts 13:13-52

Acts 13:13-52

John Mark left the apostles in Perga but we do not know why. The apostles went to the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch because they expected among the Jews prepared hearts for the gospel. The custom was to stand to pray or teach. There was opportunity in this community centre for the men to speak as they were centres of society, government, education and worship. A copy of the law of Moses written on scrolls was kept and read every sabbath. The leaders of the synagogue invited the apostolic visitors to speak. Paul addressed the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, summarizing the history of the Jews as background to the coming of the Messiah. They would have been familiar with all this but likely did NOT know the significance. Paul stopped at David to point to David’s greater son whom he describes as his seed and the promised Saviour. Paul spoke of John the Baptist as it is likely some would have heard him or of him and even been his disciples. Paul emphasizes that John pointed to Christ.
Paul compares his audience with the Jews and their leaders in Jerusalem who crucified the Messiah affirming that the message was for them but exhorting them not to be like them in rejecting him, thus fulfilling Scripture (Acts 4:32) and perishing as a result (Hab. 1:5). The Jerusalem Jews did not recognize their Messiah because they were blind (II Cor.3:14, 4:4) without divine revelation concerning what the prophets said. Paul’s central point was justification by faith in the historical resurrection (Isaiah 53:11). Two or three witnesses established truth and there were plenty witnesses to the risen Christ.

Paul compares and contrasts David and Christ using the psalmist’s writing to show that what he said was fulfilled in Christ. He states that the message of justification by faith must be preached.The Gentiles were keen to hear more the next Sabbath and many Jews and proselytes were saved.The witness of Jew and Gentile must have spread throughout the city to bring so many the next week. The Jews were envious of the apostles’ popularity and influence and detested the fact the message contradicted the Jewish religion. Blasphemy pours scorn on God and his messengers. The apostles said they would go to the Gentiles because of the Jews rejection and the fact the Gentiles listened (cast not your pearls before swine!). The Gentiles were responsive and many believed. The Jews needed the support of influential people in the city to be able to expel the apostles. They went on to Iconium, shaking the dust off their feet as Christ had instructed (Mark 6:11) as a sign they wanted nothing more to do with them.

Next Bible Study (D.V.) Saturday October 12th Acts 14:1-20

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Satan tempts by coming as an angel of light. Bringing errors as though they were truth eg appealing to Christian liberty in the matter of Sabbath keeping, (everybody runs or competes in sports). He plays down Scripture, by magnifying faith (pentecostal errors). He labours to undermine repentance, and blow up good works. By drawing attention to corruption and bad behaviour in church members he draws unstable souls from attending and they can see no church at all in being. Sometimes he pretends pity and natural affection, which in some cases may be good counsel, and all the while he desires to promote cowardice and sinful self-love, whereby the Christian may be brought shrink from the truth, or neglect some necessary duty of his calling.  Example: Peter saying, Master, pity thyself, Christ soon spied, and stopped his mouth with that sharp rebuke, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’O what need have we to study the Scriptures, our hearts, and Satan’s wiles, that we may not bid this enemy welcome, and all the while think it is Christ that is our guest!



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Satan’s first main aim is to draw into sin.

The second main aim is to accuse, vex, and trouble the saint for sin.

When Satan tempts: he picks the best season:

  1. When newly converted
  2. When in affliction (Job, Christ)
  3. When the Christian is about some noble enterprise (Ezra, Christ, Paul and Barnabas).
  4. Occasion presents.
  5. Times of blessing or chastisement (Peter’s confession, Joseph’s coat).
  6. When dying.

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Why we must be armed.

‘That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’  The danger, if unarmed. The enemy is no mean contemptible one, no less than the devil, set out as a cunning engineer by his wiles and stratagems. The certainty of standing against all his wits and wiles, if we be thus armed. As [there is] no standing without armour, so [there is] no fear of falling into the fiend’s hands if armed.

That the devil is a very subtle enemy.  An old serpent above other serpents. Satan was too crafty for man in his perfection, much more now in his (depravity). And as man hath lost, so Satan hath gained more and more experience; he lost his wisdom, indeed, as soon as he became a devil, but, ever since, he hath increased his craft; though he hath not wisdom enough to do himself good, yet [he hath] subtlety enough to do others hurt.  HIS
FIRST MAIN DESIGN is to draw into sin. The SECOND MAIN DESIGN is to accuse, vex, and trouble the saint for sin.

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Gurnall likens our need for continual readiness and armour on to a city about to be attacked and plundered. “You know what a confusion there is in a town at some sudden alarm in the dead of the night, the enemy at the gates, and they asleep within. O what a cry is there heard! One wants his clothes, another his sword, a third knows not what to do for powder. Thus in a fright they run up and down, which would not be if the enemy did find them upon their guard, orderly waiting for his approach. Such a hubbub there is in a soul that keeps not his armour on,  looking for this piece and that when he should be using it.

We must keep grace in exercise in respect of others our fellow-soldiers.
Paul had this in his eye when he was exercising himself to keep a good
conscience, that he might not be a scandal to others. The cowardice of one may make others run. The ignorance of one soldier that hath not skill to handle his arms, may do mischief to his fellow-soldiers about him. Some have shot their friends for their enemies. The unwise walking of one professor makes many others fare the worse. Thou art to help such weak ones, and go before them, as it were, armed for their defence; now if thy grace be not exercised, thou art so far unserviceable to thy weak brother. Perhaps thou art a master, or a parent, who hast a family under thy wing. They fare as thou thrivest; if thy heart be in a holy frame, they fare the better in the duties thou performest; for their sake who are under thy tuition, be more careful to exercise thy own grace, and cherish it. In other words he says that our need to be vigilant, using  the means of grace and the exercising our graces has a great impact on the well-being of our family and other believers-JK