Know Your Enemy

From Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon, Jesus Casts Out Demons. The transcript follows:

[W]hat Paul says to the Corinthians is if we know how our enemy works, then we can defend ourselves. But if we don’t know how he works, he’s going to defeat us. And there are many names given for Satan in the Bible, but I’ll share nine of them with you because they all refer to a particular aspect of Satan’s work.

1. Accuser (Revelation 12:10)

He is called, in Revelation 12:10, “the accuser of the children of God.” He accuses them day and night. Some of you will hear: “you are a failure, you are without hope, you are beyond the love of God, you are beyond the grace of God, what you have done can never be forgiven, God does not love you, you should die, you should kill yourself.” You will hear that negative self-talk, often “you, you, you.” And if there were someone next to you saying those things, you would rightly identify it as accusation from opposition. But because it’s from a spirit being who is unseen, you think you have low self-esteem, negative self-image, negative self-talk, but it’s accusation. It’s accusation.

2. Adversary (1 Peter 5:8)

He also works as our adversary. 1 Peter 5:8 says that he is our adversary and he is always seeking ways to destroy us. You need to know this about Satan. He’s your adversary. He’s opposed to you. He will, in every way, try to convince you otherwise, but if you’re involved in habitual, unrepentant sin, false religion, vague spirituality, it’s all darkness and demonism. It’s all alliance with your adversary. Satan isn’t a little good and a little bad. He’s not a little yin and a little yang. He’s not, as Easternism would tell us, or Pantheism or Panantheism would tell us, he’s not both good and evil. God is good and Satan is evil. And he’s our adversary.

3. Apollyon (Revelation 9:11)

Additionally, he is called Apollyon, or “the destroyer,” in Revelation 9:11. He comes to destroy. Jesus says elsewhere he comes to kill, rob, destroy. That’s what he does. He doesn’t—he doesn’t bring order. He brings disorder. He doesn’t bring harmony. He brings conflict. He destroys marriages. He destroys relationships. He destroys legacies of generations. He destroys churches. That’s what he does. See, God is the creator, and Satan is the destroyer.

4. Deceiver (Revelation 12:9)

He is also, number four, the deceiver. That he will seek to convince you. Some of you have insight, spiritually. You see auras, you have supernatural insight, you get all kinds of interesting dreams, and you think you’re very powerful or connected to God, but it might be demonic deception. Satan trying to get you to be in tune with unclean, unholy spirits and darkness. That’s why, friends, at Mars Hill we’re not positive towards spirituality, because spirituality can include demonism. Not all spirits work for God. Not all spirits honor God. Not all spirits love and obey God. It’s why 1 John says to test the spirits, to see whether they’re holy or unholy, whether they are serving God or Satan. And in deceptions, some people will tell you that spirituality is sufficient, or that a religion, apart from the Jesus of the Bible, is saving. And it’s not. It’s deceiving. And some of you, even when you suffer or hard times come, Satan would come and deceive you, and he would tell you, “You know what? God did that. God is evil. Don’t trust him.” And so not only would he abuse you, then he would deceive you into thinking it was God who was evil.

5. Father of Lies (John 8:44)

That’s because, number five, he’s the father of lies. Jesus says in John 8:44, he says, “Your father is the devil. Lying is his native language. He’s the father of lies. He’s only a liar. He’s been lying since the beginning.” Satan lies. That’s why the Bible says, “Thou shalt not lie.” Lying is speaking a demonic language. It’s not just promulgating error. It is, but it’s more than that. It’s speaking a demonic language. If you lie, you’re doing something that is evil. If you believe lies, they will destroy you. Something need not be true to be deadly. It simply need be believed. And if you don’t believe that this is God’s Word, if you don’t believe that Jesus is God’s son, if you don’t believe that repentance of sin is required, and faith in Jesus is necessary, then you will believe lies. And some of you, your lives are filled with lies regarding your identity, your purpose, where you come from, why you’re here, where you’re going, and if you build your life on the lie or the lies, you will be destroyed. You will be destroyed. The Holy Spirit brings to mind one counseling appointment I had recently. This woman was absolutely convinced that her husband didn’t love her. And he does! He adores her. He’s faithful to her. She had rejected him, and jettisoned him, and was bitter against him, and she had no cause. And finally, we got to the root of it. She believed a lie. She believed a lie. Now, it wasn’t true, but her faith in it empowered it to destroy her.

6. Tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5)

Number six: Satan is also called the tempter. To be sure, there is flesh within us, a seed of rebellion from our first father, Adam, that wants to disregard, dishonor, disobey God, but then Satan comes along and he will provide for us tempting opportunity. He wants to tempt us. You need to know, when you’re tempted to sin, there’s a demonic battle that’s raging in your life. And Satan is saying, “Sin against God. Join the darkness. Align yourself with my team.” And he will give you some pleasure or reward for succumbing to his seducing, but it’s all tempting. What are you tempted by? What are you tempted to? What battles have you lost? What battles are raging in the arena of temptation, at present, on this day?

7. Murderer (John 8:44)

He is also called a murderer. This is his final goal. He hates life. God is the living God. God is the author of life. And Satan is the one who loves death. He wants marriages to die, families to die, friendships to die, cultures to die. He wants churches to die. He wants the unborn to die. He wants you to die through reckless behavior, severe depression, suicidal thoughts. His work is always, ultimately, toward death. Toward death.

8. Evil One (Matt. 13:19, 38)

Additionally, he is called the evil one, number eight, by Jesus in Matthew 13:19 and 38. He is evil. When you look at the world and its history, and all of the devastation and destruction, all of the sin and the suffering; when you look at all the wars that have been waged, and all the dollars that have been spent, and all the elections that have been held, and all the organizations that have been launched, evil has not come to an end. Suffering, injustice, tyranny has not come to an end. Might I say that the days of believing that we’re all good people and things will get better in time is just naive mythology. It’s a lie and a deception. That’s because behind the world system is the evil one, the personification of evil. He is evil. With him are demons who are evil. And serving under them are sinners who are complicit as captives in war, participating as his soldiers.

9. Enemy (Matt. 13:28, 39)

And lastly, Jesus says rightly as well in Matthew 13 that he is our enemy. Friends, that if you belong to Jesus, you are in a war. And you and I, we have an enemy. He has nothing good intended for us. He has nothing truthful to tell us. He has nothing liberating to offer us.