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Series: “The Manifold Wisdom of God”
Title: God’s Wise
Overthrow of Satan
Text: Genesis 3:15
Subject: Satan’s Confusion and Conquest
This is the seventh message in this series on “The Manifold Wisdom of God.” Tonight, I want to talk to you about God’s Wise Overthrow of Satan. That is the title of my message — God’s Wise Overthrow of Satan. We will begin in the beginning, in the 3rd chapter of Genesis.
Satan is an exceedingly subtle and crafty enemy. His power is such that you and I cannot begin to even imagine his strength and ability. Though we exercise the greatest caution, reason, and wisdom we can muster, the old serpent is too sligh for us. We cannot match wits with the prince of darkness. And though we stand against him with all the united moral and spiritual strength of our renewed souls, we are no match for that seven-headed dragon with ten horns. Satan is a foe you do not want to face. Every time you do, you will come away from the conflict in shameful disgrace. Let us learn to follow our Savior’s example, of whom Jude tells us, “Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9).
We are living in strange days. Young people everywhere are dabbling in the occult. I know people laugh at witchcraft, sorcery, and demonism. And religious people like to study about such things. But you will be wise to hear what I say. — Satan, demons, and the powers of darkness are real. And you are no match for the wiles of the devil. So leave those things alone!
The Old serpent is too crafty for us. Apollyon is too powerful for us. But he is no match for the Lord our God. Christ Jesus came into the world that he might destroy, overturn, frustrate, and ruin the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). And he has done so!
Have you found Genesis 3. As I said, we will begin here. But I want you to read four texts of Scripture with me.
Genesis 3:15 is the first gospel message. It was preached by God himself.
(Genesis 3:15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
In John 12:31 our blessed Savior speaks about his own death upon the cursed tree.
(John 12:31) Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
In Revelation 20 God the Holy Ghost tells us that the purpose of Christ’s incarnation was for the overthrow of Satan in the accomplishment of redemption for his people.
(Revelation 20:1) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,.
(Revelation 20:10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
And Revelation 12:7-10 declares that our salvation was accomplished by Christ’s overthrowing the dragon of hell, the old serpent, called the Devil.
(Revelation 12:7) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (8) And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (10) 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.
Proposition: These four texts of Holy Scripture show us that in order for Christ to accomplish our eternal salvation, our adversary, the Devil, had to be conquered.
In order to save us Christ had to…
· Redeem us from the curse of the law.
· Renew us by the power of his grace.
· And deliver us from the power of Satan.
I want us to see the wisdom and power of God in the overthrow of Satan by our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our great and gracious, all-wise God, in the work of redemption, has wondrously baffled Satan’s subtlety and power. Though Satan and the demons of hell are united in their purpose to frustrate God’s purpose to glorify himself in the salvation of his elect, God, by infinite wisdom and sovereign power, makes those hellish creatures to serve the interests of his kingdom and glory. And he does this by the use of what would appear to be the most insignificant, weak, and contemptible means imaginable.
1. Our great God chose to encounter Satan in the weak and frail nature of man.
Illustration: David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:38-54).
Our Lord Jesus became a man that as a man he might destroy Satan. It is the woman’s Seed who conquered the fiend of hell. And he did so in the weak condition of manhood without the aid of any supernatural agency. The man Christ Jesus defeated the prince of darkness.
2. Our Lord Jesus triumphed over Satan by his death upon the cross (Colossians 2:14-15).
That which appeared to all the world to be the defeat, shame, and ignominy of Jesus of Nazareth, his execution as a common felon, was the very means he chose to destroy the power of Satan in this world. The blood of Christ, which Satan spilled by Roman whips, nails, and spear, is the chain in our Savior’s hand by which he bound the old serpent.
(Colossians 2:14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
3. And the Son of God continues to overthrow the prince of darkness today by using men who were once his willing servants to proclaim the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24-29).
(1 Corinthians 1:24) Uunto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Do you see how God holds our enemy in utter contempt? Not only does he defeat Satan at every turn; but he defeats the prince of darkness by using those who were once his willing servants! God uses Satan’s own hands and devices to bloody his nose and crush his head. And he does it with the ease of infinite wisdom, omnipotent power, and total sovereignty.
I want you to see this: — Satan is too great for us; but he is no rival for our God. Though he hates God, he is God’s devil and God’s servant; and God defeats him with his own weapons.
· God has so arranged the work of redemption that our great adversary, the devil, is made the means of his own destruction.
· Those very things by which the devil endeavors to rob God of his glory and destroy man are made the instruments by which God glorifies himself and saves his elect.
· The devil’s most subtle and powerful designs are made the means of his overthrow by the wisdom and power of God.
Divisions: Let me show you five things accomplished by Satan, by which he attempts to rob God of his glory and destroy mankind, five things, five works of Satan God uses to glorify himself and save his elect. Here is “the manifold wisdom of God” clearly displayed in five areas.
1. The Fall of Man
2. The Death of Christ
3. The Persecutions of the Church
4. The Heresies that Arise in the Church
5. The Trials of God’s Elect
The Fall of Man
(Genesis 3:1) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) 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. (6) And when the woman saw 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, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Satan instigated the fall. His aim was the destruction of man and the frustration of God’s purpose. And he has succeeded in destroying multitudes of men. But he has not frustrated the purpose of God. He has not destroyed one of God’s elect. And those he has destroyed will, in the end, aggravate his eternal misery.
What Satan did in tempting man to fall was exactly the opposite of what he intended to do. God overthrew his designs! He gave God occasion to glorify himself in the redemption of fallen man. And he gave opportunity for God’s elect to enjoy greater happiness than they could have ever known otherwise.
Satan sought to ruin manhood by the fall, but God turned the fall into an occasion for the exaltation of manhood.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, promising them that if they did, they would become like God. It was a lie in the devil’s mouth. But look what God has done in response to Satan’s work. Because of the fall….
· God became a man to crush the serpent’s head and save fallen men. — Incarnation.
· Man has been united to God in the Person of his Son — Adoption.
· Fallen sinners have been made like Christ. — “As he is so are we in this world!”
· And man, instead of becoming Satan’s slave, is made to be Satan’s judge (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Satan sought to frustrate God’s purpose and rob him of his glory by the fall of man, but he was an instrument used by God to fulfil his purpose and get glory to himself.
· It was the purpose of God from eternity that his Son become a man to suffer and die for sinners.
· It was the purpose of God from eternity that his elect enjoy the nearest possible eternal union with him in heaven.
· It was the purpose of God from eternity to glorify himself in the redemption and salvation of fallen men.
Though Satan refused to minister to those whom God had chosen to be the heirs of eternal salvation, God made him to serve the eternal good of his own elect! (Hebrews 1:14)
The Death of Christ
(Luke 22:3) Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
(Luke 22:53) When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
Satan set himself against the Lord Jesus, the woman’s Child, as soon as he was born. Herod, by Satan’s instigation, tried to kill him. The Jews repeatedly tried to stone him. The Scribes and Pharisees tried to trap him. But none could touch him until his appointed hour had come. What an hour that was.
· It was the hour of man’s free will!
· It was the hour of Satan’s power!
· It was the hour of Christ’s glory!
· It was the hour of our redemption!
When Satan succeeded in nailing the Lord Jesus Christ to the cursed tree, he overthrew his own kingdom (John 12:31-33).
(John 12:31) Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (33) This he said, signifying what death he should die.
“The cross was the devil’s own weapon; and with this weapon he was overthrown: as David cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword” (Jonathan Edwards).
Illustration: Judges 14:9, 14 – Honey out of the lion’s carcass. “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness” (Samson).
The Persecutions of the Church
(Revelation 12:13) And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Religious persecution, though it is executed in the name of God, is instigated by Satan. By means of the sword, the old serpent has endeavored to destroy God’s church in this world. But Satan’s persecution of the church has always been overthrown by God and made a means for the increase of the church.
· Joseph and His Brothers (Genesis 50:19-20).
· Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1:7).
· The Church at Jerusalem (Acts 11:19-21).
We are truly thankful that in these days God’s church, at least in the Western World, no longer lives in fear of physical persecution. But the malice of our persecutors has not changed. They simply do not have the power to execute their malice as they would. Instead of the sword, persecution now comes from slander, ridicule, social isolation, and vindictiveness. But, we have nothing to fear. Neither Satan nor those who are inspired by him have any power to injure God’s church, hinder our work, or hurt God’s saints; try as they may. God’s enemies and ours are taken in the pit they have dug for us (Psalm 57:6).
(Psalm 57:6) They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
Illustration: Appalachian Bible College Ban
Hear me, my friends, if we are God’s people, doing God’s work, for the glory of God’s Son, doing to God’s will, then…
· Satan cannot destroy us.
· Satan cannot hinder us.
· And whatever Satan does to oppose us will be turned by God into that which will benefit us.
Yes, he may even sow tares among the wheat in God’s kingdom, and often does; but he cannot harm the wheat. And God will make use of the tares for the good of his people.
Illustration: I have known men who proved to be infidels who did much good for the church of God.
that Arise in the Church
(1 Corinthians 11:19) For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Throughout the history of God’s church, what Satan could not destroy by sword he has sought to destroy by heresy. He is a crafty, subtle adversary. He seeks to keep men from the knowledge of God by giving them the delusions of false religion. He seeks to keep men from Christ by giving them a false Christ. He seeks to keep men from the gospel by feeding them with a false gospel. And the heresies promoted by Satan always…
· Exalt the power and goodness of man.
· Diminish the glory of God.
· Promote free-willism, works, and legalism.
· Detract from the Person and work of Christ.
Now hear what I say. I want you to get these three statements.
1. Nothing is more dangerous to your soul than false religion (Philippians 3:2).
2. False religion will never destroy God’s elect, but only prove who they are (1 Corinthians 11:19).
3. The only thing that keeps anyone from being engulfed in false religion is God’s almighty grace (2 Thessalonians 2:13-16).
· Electing grace.
· Redeeming grace.
· Calling grace.
· Preserving grace.
(2 Thessalonians 2:13) But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (16) Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
The Trials of God’s Elect
(Job 2:7) So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
The trials of God’s saints are often things inspired and executed by Satan seeking whom he may devour. But every trial and affliction by which Satan seeks to destroy us is turned by God into a blessing upon us for the glory of his name.
(2 Corinthians 4:17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;.
(1 Peter 1:6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
· Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
(2 Corinthians 12:9) 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, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Do you see the wisdom and power of God in Satan’s overthrow?
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind the frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
With blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His works in vain;
God is His own interpreter.
And He will make it plain.
[i] Danville — Sunday Evening — September 21, 2014
Grace Baptist Church — Dingess, WV — (09/20/14)
Readings: Frank Hall and Larry Brown