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Dr. Russell D. Moore on What Satan Fears Most

What was at Stake in the Third Temptation by Satan?

by Dr. Russel D. Moore

What was at stake in the third temptation was the gospel. Think about the implications of this offer. If Jesus had accepted it, Satan would have surrendered his reign of terror. Jesus could have directed the kingdoms of the world however he wanted. No more babies would be miscarried. No more women would die in childbirth. Ended immediately would be all human slavery, all genocide, all disease, all poverty, all torture, and all ecological catastrophes. The rows and rows of crosses across the highway of the Roman Empire would suddenly be gone. There would never be a Nero or a Napoleon or a Hitler or a Stalin, or at least you would never hear the infamy of those names. There would be no world of divorce courts and abortion clinics and electric chairs and pornographic images.

Whatever is troubling you right now would be gone, centuries before you were ever conceived. This sounds like paradise. Satan was willing to give all of this up because he doesn’t fear Christianity. He certainly doesn’t fear “Christian values.” Satan fears Christ. Remember that Satan holds power only through accusation and condemnation. As long as there is no atoning sacrifice for sin, Satan is quite willing to allow conformity to the external law, even to the law of Christ ruling visibly over the nations from Jerusalem. The accuser simply wants his opportunity to indict his human would-be supplanting powers before the judgment seat, with no shed blood to redeem them back. This is what Jesus’ followers couldn’t understand as he moved down the Roman roads toward the place of the skull. It was there, and only there, as Jesus carried on himself the sins of the world, that he could say, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). It is only in his triumphant resurrection from the demonic grip of death that Jesus could have “angels, authorities, and powers” subjected to his rule (1 Pet. 3:21–22). A crossless Christianity isn’t just a deficient Christianity; it’s the same old satanism of human striving.

In every generation the church faces cross-evading liberation theologies of both the Left and the Right. The liberation theology of the Left wants a Barabbas to fight off the oppressors, as though the ultimate problem is the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf to represent religion and “traditional values” in the public square and to remind us of all the economic security we could have in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah. We will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems—captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death. Where there is no gospel, something else will fill the void—therapy, consumerism, racial resentment, utopian politics, crazy conspiracy theories of the Left, crazy conspiracy theories of the Right; anything will do. Where there is something other than Christ preached, there is no freedom.

There may be shouts of affirmation or silently nodding heads. There may be left-wing politics or right-wing politics. There may be culturally liberal psychotherapy or culturally conservative psychotherapy. There may be almost anything people think they want, but there’s nothing but judgment in the air. The Devil doesn’t mind “family values” as long as what you ultimately value is the family. Satan doesn’t mind “social justice” as long as you see justice as most importantly social. Satan does not tremble at a “Christian worldview” as long as your ultimate goal is to view the world. Satan doesn’t even mind born-again Christianity as long as the new birth is preached apart from the blood of the cross and the life of the resurrection. Pastor, Satan doesn’t mind if you preach on the decrees of God with fervor and passion, reconciling all the tensions between sovereignty and freedom, as long as you don’t preach the gospel. Homeschooling mom, Satan doesn’t mind if your children can recite the catechism and translate the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” from English to Latin, as long as they don’t hear the gospel. Churches, Satan doesn’t care if your people vote for pro-life candidates, stay married, have sex with whom they’re supposed to, and tear up at all the praise choruses, as long as they don’t see the only power that cancels condemnation—the gospel of Christ crucified. Satan so fears that gospel, he was willing to surrender his entire empire just to stave it off. He still is.

The first step of any kind of Christian engagement with the outside world then is to focus on the primary arena of Christ’s reign—his church. We threaten the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places by our life together, by being the kind of alternative community that demonstrates that the blood of Christ has triumphed, making those who were at odds into one new reality in Christ …

Excerpt above: From the excellent book Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell D. Moore. Wheaton: Crossway Books. 2011.

About the Author: Russell D. Moore is the dean of the School of Theology and senior vice-president for academic administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The grandson of a Mississippi Baptist preacher, Dr. Moore also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location.

Dr. Moore writes and speaks frequently on topics ranging from the kingdom of God to the mission of adoption to a theology of country music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and also blogs regularly at Moore to the Point (www.russellmoore.com). He is the author of several books, including “The Kingdom of Christ,” “Adopted for Life,” and most recently of “Tempted and Tried.”

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Book Review: The Strategy of Satan by Warren Wiersbe

Understanding and Overcoming Satan’s Tactics Primer

Review by David P. Craig

 Warren Wiersbe can always be trusted to be biblical, concise, clear, and give ample practical illustrations and applications to modern life. In this short primer on Satan’s tactics and our responses to his tactics the book may be broken down in the following three ways:

First, the writer shows how Satan is the ultimate deceiver, destroyer, ruler, and accuser. In each of the first four chapters Wiersbe gives an Old Testament example in each of these four areas in order to demonstrate Satan’s target, weapon, purpose, and then tactical defenses we can use against his deceptions, evil plans, feeding our pride, and his accusations towards us.

Secondly, the middle of the book is about increasing our faith in God, and how not to give Satan a foothold in our life so as not to paralyze and immobilize us in God’s work on earth. He focuses on the positive ways we can overcome the Evil One’s tactics by trusting and obeying Christ.

Thirdly, Wiersbe gives a masterful exposition of all the armor we have been given in the battle against Satan and demons from Ephesians 6, and how Satan attacks the family, and churches as a key strategy in his arsenal of tactics.

Overall, this book is thorough, biblically sound, and very useful in its many practical applications. I highly recommend this book – especially if you have never read anything on the wiles of the Enemy and how to overcome our greatest Adversary.

*Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Warren Wiersbe is the author of more than 100 books. Billy Graham calls him “one of the greatest Bible expositors of our generation.” Interestingly, Warren’s earliest works had nothing to do with scriptural interpretation. His interest was in magic, and his first published title was Action with Cards (1944).

“It was sort of imbecilic for a fifteen-year-old amateur magician to have the audacity to write a book and send it to one of the nation’s leading magic houses,” Warren says. But having a total of three books published by the L.L. Ireland Magic Company—before the age of 20—gave him a surge of confidence. In later years, he applied his confidence and writing talent to the Youth for Christ (YFC) ministry.

Warren wrote many articles and guidebooks for YFC over a three-year period, but not all his manuscripts were seen by the public eye. One effort in particular, The Life I Now Live, based on Galations 2:20, was never published. The reason, Warren explains with his characteristic humor, is simple: it was “a terrible book…Whenever I want to aggravate my wife, all I have to say is, ‘I think I’ll get out that Galations 2:20 manuscript and work on it.’” Fortunately, Warren’s good manuscripts far outnumbered the “terrible” ones, and he was eventually hired by Moody Press to write three books.

The much-sought-after author then moved on to writing books for Calvary Baptist Church. It was during his ten years at Calvary that Expository Outlines on the New Testament and Expository Outlines on the Old Testament took shape. These two works later became the foundation of Warren’s widely popular Bible studies known as the Be series, featuring such titles as Be Loyal (a study on Matthew) and Be Delivered (a study on Exodus). Several of these books have been translated into Spanish.

His next avenue of ministry was Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church, where he served for seven years. He wrote nearly 20 books at Moody before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he and his wife, Betty, now live. Prior to relocating, he had been the senior pastor of Moody Church, a teacher at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a producer of the Back to the Bible radio program.

During all these years of ministry, Warren held many more posts and took part in other projects too numerous to mention. His accomplishments are extensive, and his catalog of biblical works is indeed impressive and far-reaching (many of his books have been translated into other languages). But Warren has no intention of slowing down any time soon, as he readily explains: “I don’t like it when people ask me how I’m enjoying my ‘retirement,’ because I’m still a very busy person who is not yet living on Social Security or a pension. Since my leaving Back to the Bible, at least a dozen books have been published, and the Lord willing, more are on the way.”

Wiersbe’s recent books include Your Next MiracleThe 20 Essential Qualities of a Child of GodThe Bumps are What You Climb OnClassic Sermons on the Fruit of the SpiritClassic Sermons on Jesus the ShepherdKey Words of the Christian LifeLonely PeopleA Gallery of GraceReal Peace: Freedom and Conscience in the Christian Life, and On Being a Leader for God.

 

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Book Review: Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons by R.C. Sproul

Good Introduction to Heaven, Hell, Angels, and Satan

 Eminent Pastor, Writer, and Theologian R.C. Sproul has written a very helpful book addressing the “uncompromising supernaturalism at the heart of the Christian worldview.” The stated purpose of Sproul in this book is to provide a “brief tour through the Bible’s teachings in regard to heaven and hell, angels and demons [in order to] bolster your faith in Scripture’s teachings regarding the supernatural.”

Sproul Writes on the Supernatural in Four Parts:

Part One: Heaven – Using Key Passages of Scripture, personal anecdotes, and keen observations from theologians and philosophers – Sproul makes a biblical case for the realities of an objective material place called Heaven reserved for those who have been justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In these four chapters Sproul appeals to those things that we all long for – a permanent and secure home, no more pain, and perfect relationships with others and with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Part Two: Hell – In four compelling chapters Dr. Sproul gives an excellent Biblical case for the existence of a literal place where God’s judgment is executed with perfect justice by a God who of necessity because of His Holiness must punish the sin, and refusal to repent of the unrighteous who have refused to submit to the Lordship and salvific offer of the gospel through Jesus Christ.

Part Three: Angels – In five interesting chapters R.C. addresses the nature, character, and purpose of angels and how they interact with God and humanity.

Part Four: Satan – In the final two chapters of the book Dr. Sproul addresses how Satan is our adversary and how he deceives believers and non-believers.

R.C. has written a very helpful book and answers a lot of questions that Christians are asking about the supernatural. In a skeptical culture – it is important for us to be reminded of what God has said, and that He doesn’t lie. His truth stands forever, and it is of the uttermost importance that we understand the significance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and that our trust in his atoning death on our behalf is our only hope to experience the wonderful realities that await those who have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Also, the warnings of this book and the importance of what awaits those who reject Christ – must be headed so that through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ hope may be yours.

I recommend this book as a good introduction to these topics, and an excellent summary of the clear teachings of the Bible with reference to the unseen realities that exist now and are a part of everyone’s future. I believe that what Sproul has written is cogent, Biblical, practical, helpful, and matters for eternity.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Christian Focus Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

 

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