Brother Mark Vasquez: The devil approaches people every day, but a lot of us don’t even realize it. Because when the devil comes into people’s lives, he may use temptations or take advantage of their depression, anything to turn them away from God. You probably heard the story about Adam and Eve and how the devil tricked Eve into sinning. The devil convinced her to eat what she was commanded not to eat. What would you do if the devil approached you? Would you let him trick you too? If we were ever faced with those circumstances, it could be a very big problem. Fortunately, the Bible gives us the solution.
Brother Mark: If you want to talk about a fight, boxers can relate. Training and preparing for a fight is a lot of work, but did you know that boxers don’t only prepare themselves physically? Those who fight also prepare themselves mentally and even spend a lot of time observing and learning their opponent so that they could win the fight. A fighter learns his or her opponent’s strategies so that they won’t become a victim of their enemy’s attacks. If we want to win a fight against our enemy, the devil we need to know about him too. It wouldn’t be a good idea to go off training by ourselves though. We need to be trained by God through His words in the Bible. Why is it important that we be trained to fight the devil? What does the devil want to do, which we can’t let happen to us? Let’s read in the book of 1 Peter. We’ll read 5, we’ll read 8. This is what the Bible says:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
[1 Peter 5:8 New International Version]
Brother Mark: How is it that the devil who is liken to a roaring lion will attempt to destroy us? How does the devil attack? Let’s read in 2 Thessalonians. We’ll read 2, 10. This is what the Bible tells us about how the devil attacks:
He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.
[2 Thessalonians 2:10 New Living Translation]
Brother Mark: How will the devil try to destroy us? The Bible told us that he uses every kind of evil deception. The devil will try to fool or trick us. When you think of being fooled, you may be thinking about the many videos going viral today or people getting praying the practical jokes. Others want to play on each other for amusement. The devil’s tricks though, are not a joke. The way the devil deceives others is not funny and not entertaining. The devil’s schemes are deadly. The Bible mentioned that it leads to destruction, so that it’s very important that we’re alert now of how the devil will attempt to deceive us. How does the deception of the devil lead others to their destruction? Let’s read in Isaiah. We’ll read 5 the verse is 20:
You are doomed! You call evil good and call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter.
[Isaiah 5:20 Good News Translation]
Brother Mark: How does the devil deceive his victims into destruction? The Bible said you are doomed. You call evil good and called good evil. The devil will try his hardest to make us think that what’s actually good for us is evil. And the ones deceived by the devil will try to insist on doing what is evil because they think it’s good. How does the devil deceive people to do evil? Let’s read in the book of Luke, we’ll read 8, 12. It says this:
People on the path are those who hear, but then the devil comes. He takes away the message from their hearts. He does it so that they won’t believe then they can’t be saved.
[Luke 8:12 New International Reader’s Version]
Brother Mark: How does the devil deceive others to do evil? He takes away the message of God from their hearts. What is the result then? When God’s words are no longer in people’s hearts, they no longer follow the commandments of the Lord God. What will happen to those who no longer believe in and follow God’s commands? They will not be saved. Imagine that there was a driver who insisted on not obeying the rules of the road and instead broke the law and began driving towards oncoming traffic. That would be dangerous and would certainly result in their harm. It would be just as dangerous and harmful for our souls, if the devil deceived us and made us believe that disobeying or going against God was the right thing to do. We can’t let the devil defeat us. We should be the ones to defeat the devil. It’s possible that some of you watching now may be thinking to yourselves that you would simply walk away if the devil approached you and you wouldn’t let yourself be deceived by the devil if you saw him. We asked a few people that we met what they think about the devil and what he looks like. These are their responses.
[On-screen graphic – What does the devil look like?]
Female Subject 1: I don’t know, actually picture him of what I see on television. Somebody evil, big red, scary or whatever.
Male Subject 1: So I’d say if I had to figure out what the devil looks like, probably like six legged crawling on the walls, black, horns, drooling at the mouth.
Female Subject 2: It’s an old man in all black, very old.
Male Subject 2: He has a goatee with like huge horns. He’s probably red.
Male Subject 3: I didn’t think he actually had an image, more of an idea.
Male Subject 4: That one could be viewed many different ways and I feel like it’s just whatever you’re struggling or whatever hardship or whatever thing that you feel tempted to do can kind of be considered the devil in your eyes.
Female Subject 3: He’s not really one specific form. He’s kind of just disguised in many different ways, I guess. Just whatever you think, what your temptations are. I guess that’s, I don’t know, cause there’s been many things the devil disguised as like a snake or stuff like that.
Female Subject 4: The devil is whatever you conjure up to be like something that you’re most afraid of.
Brother Mark: The way that the media sometimes portrays the devil makes it seem like it would be obvious if the devil approached us. It’s better that we learn about the devil from the Bible. Earlier we mentioned that understanding the devil’s strategies would help us defeat and overcome him. So let’s study it, a detailed account of how others were deceived in the past. We mentioned at the beginning of this episode how Eve was tricked by the devil into eating something that she was told not to. Well, what were the events that led Eve to be deceived by the devil? Let’s read in the book of Genesis. We’ll read 3. 1 until 6:
Now the snake was the most cunning animal that the Lord God had made. The snake asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
“We may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden,” the woman answered, “except the tree in the middle of it. God told us not to eat the fruit of that tree or even touch it; if we do, we will die.”
The snake replied, “That’s not true; you will not die. God said that because he knows that when you eat it, you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.”
The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.
[Genesis 3:1-6 Today’s English Version]
Brother Mark: How did the devil trick Eve into doing evil? He twisted the words of God. The devil convinced Eve to question God’s commandment, and even made it seem like the commandment of God is wrong. Although God’s command was clear to Eve, the devil deceived her by saying, that’s not true, you will not die. God said that because he knows that when you eat it, you will be like God. The devil even tricked Eve into believing that there are benefits from listening to him instead of God. What did Eve end up doing because of the devil’s strategy, she listened to the devil, instead of following God. Did you notice how the devil approached Eve in this situation? He approached her as a serpent, the devil didn’t approach even introduce himself. The devil is very cunning. Let’s be alert. The devil may approach us by also disguising himself so that we would be caught off guard and fall into the trap of disobeying God. How can we win a fight against the devil then? Especially since he’s very cunning, and he has mastered deceiving others into doing what is evil. Let’s read about the most successful man that defeated the devil. Who was victorious in his fight against the devil? Let’s read in the book of Matthew. We’ll read 4, we’ll read 2 until verse 3. It says this:
Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
[Matthew 4:2-3 The Message]
Brother Mark: Who is the greatest example of how we can win our fight against the devil? The Lord Jesus Christ. In the passage we just read it pointed out that the Lord Jesus was in a state of extreme hunger when the devil approached him and the devil tried to use that as an advantage to make the Lord Jesus Christ, follow the devil. The devil may approach us during our times of weakness as well. And he may try to use our weaknesses against us. For example, it may happen in our life that we struggle financially, the devil might try to deceive us through a job offer or a source of income. We aren’t saying that accepting a job is evil. What would be evil though, is if we prioritize a job over following God’s commandments. And the devil may try to make us do just that. Or it may be that there’s a time we experienced loneliness in life. The devil may take advantage of that situation and try to make us fall in love with someone that would bring us further away from God. We need to win against the devil in those moments. How can we fight the devil and win even in those moments of weakness? Let’s do what the Lord Jesus Christ did in this situation. We’ll continue reading in the book of Matthew will read 4, four this is what it says:
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
[Matthew 4:4 New King James Version]
Brother Mark: How did the Lord Jesus Christ win his fight against the devil? The Lord responded by saying it is written, he remembered and valued God’s words more than what the devil offered him. Although the Lord was in a state of extreme hunger, he valued God’s words more than what he wanted for himself. Did the devil give up in his attempt to make the Lord Jesus Christ follow him? What else did the devil do after he made his first attempt to convince the Lord to follow him? Let’s continue reading in the book of Matthew 4, this time we’re going to read in verses 5 until verse 10:
For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
[Matthew 4:5-10 The Message]
Brother Mark: Did the devil give up trying to tempt the Lord? No, the devil is very persistent and will try many ways to make us disobey God. And how else did the devil try to make the Lord Jesus Christ disobey God in the passages we just read? He tried to twist the words of God. The devil quoted scripture in an attempt to deceive the Lord to follow him instead of God. But the Lord did not fall into the devil’s trap. He immediately responded by quoting what is written in the Holy Scriptures. Did the devil quit after his second attempt? No, the devil again attempted to deceive the Lord. And in his final attempt, he made a promise to the Lord Jesus, as if there would be some sort of benefit for disobeying the commandments of the Almighty God. What did the devil offer the Lord Jesus? He told him, all the world’s kingdoms and their riches would belong to the Lord, if he worshiped him. How did the Lord respond? He again remembered and followed God’s words, quoting the scriptures that say, worship the Lord your God and only Him. What was the result of the Lord Jesus Christ, always using the words of God in his fight against the devil? Let’s read in Matthew 4, 11:
The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.
[Matthew 4:11 The Message]
Brother Mark: What was the result of the Lord Jesus Christ fight with the devil? The devil was defeated, gave up and left the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s possible that you consider the situation of the Lord Jesus Christ and think to yourself, but that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. I can’t do what he did. Did you notice why the Lord was able to win his fight against the devil? He always remembered and made sure that he followed God’s commandments. We can use those same words too, in our fight against the devil. And the results will be the same. We will win our fight against the devil. The solution to defeat the devil is to always remember the words of God and follow them at all times of our life. What does God want us to do so that we can fully benefit from his commandments? Let’s read in Proverbs will read 4, 10 until 11 and we’ll keep reading 13:
Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life.
[Proverbs 4:10-11 & 13 New King James Version]
Brother Mark: What does God want us to do so we can fully benefit from his commandments? He said, hear. Receive my sayings. Take firm hold of instruction. Do not let go. Why does God want us to always hold on to His words? Because the words of God are our life. The devil is working overtime, doing everything he can to deceive us so that we won’t believe in God’s words and not be saved. So, let’s be prepared. Let’s take advantage of every opportunity we get to hear God’s words. Always attend and pay attention to the worship services in the Church of Christ. Make time to attend the Bible studies on basic doctrine. Watch and listen to our programs and regularly visit incmedia.org and subscribe to all the feeds for religious content. Filling our hearts and minds with God’s words is what will protect us from the devil’s plans and will make us succeed in our fight against the devil. It is our prayer that all of you joining us on this program will keep God’s words in your hearts and in your minds. Together, we’ll win our fight against the devil. Thank you for joining us for The Solution. We’ll see you next time.
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