Have you ever seen those, What did you see first, hidden picture games? Where they show you several pictures that have other pictures embedded or hidden within them? For instance, you will see a picture of a face, but within that face, they have embedded other pictures of different things, and you are supposed to select what you saw first. How do you do on them? Me? Not so good. I usually only see the main image at first and have to study to see what else is there. Or sometimes you may see one that says hit “share” when you see it, and I have to look long and hard to see what I am supposed to be seeing!
In this podcast we will discuss why we often miss the big picture:
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. - 2 Corinthians 4:1-5
We often don’t see what the Lord is trying to show us, because of the attacks of Satan. We will look at the three primary ways that Satan uses to attack us:
The first attack that we need to be aware of, is Persecution
We have an adversary, Satan who continually sends persecution in our direction:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: - 1 Peter 5:8And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. - Job 1:8-12
Four ways that Satan uses to persecute us:
The first method that we will explore is that he accuses and lies about the believer:
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. - Revelation 12:10
Make no mistake, it is Satan that is doing the accusing. He will accuse us of things that we have already confessed (1 John 1:9) and he will use false accusations as well:
False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. - Psalms 35:11They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. -Psalms 38:12
Take the Apostle Paul, for instance, There was plenty of things in his past that the Jews could have accused him of, things that he had actually done albeit he did it while in their employ. But Paul had confessed those things and had repented of them, and starting work for the Lord, instead of against him. When the Jews wanted to hinder the work that Paul was doing they reverted to using false accusations as we see in Acts 21:26-29:
Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
They falsely accused him of bringing Gentiles into the temple, which he did not do. Most people have suffered being falsely accused of something or another in their lifetime. These attacks come from Satan.
The next method is by making threats:
The Apostles were preaching Jesus, and the Ressurection while being a blessing to the people and getting some good work accomplished in the name of the Lord. The religious leaders of the time could not stand to see them doing a work for the Lord and in an attempt to shut down their meeting they resorted to threats:
And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. - Acts 4:7-21
As you can plainly see in the passage above, the attempts to hinder the work of the Apostles did not work any better that Sanballat’s attempts to threaten Nehemiah did:
Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. - Nehemiah 6:5-8
You will notice in verse 15 that the work was not hindered, the work did not stop and the wall was finished:And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear. So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. - Nehemiah 6:11-15
The third method of persecution is to ridicule or cause embarrassment
Satan will attempt to ridicule or embarrass you into silence. If he can be successful in embarrassing you, he figures that you will stop doing what you are doing and just give in to the “crowd”.
Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. - 1 Corinthians 4:13
His crowd will ridicule you for being a Bible believer. They will accuse a Bible believer of being simple minded and unable to understand science (falsely so called 1 Timothy 6:20). They figure that if they can make themselves look smarter than you, they will be able to embarrass you enough to keep you from continuing to work for the Lord or to stand in opposition to the sinful life that they are attempting to justify.
The fourth way that Satan will persecute believers, is through violence
When all else fails, they always turn to violence to stop the truth. Pick up a copy of Foxes book of Martyrs or Martyrs Mirror and read through it sometime. Violence is their last resort to stop the work of the Lord:
And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. - Acts 5:40-42
When they were unsuccessful in shutting the Apostles down through threats, they reverted to violence, but as you see in the passage above, this also failed! The Apostle Paul suffered through multiple bouts of violence:
Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. - 2 Corinthians 11:22-33
but he never quit. He fought the good fight of faith and he finished his course (2 Timothy 4:7).
How should we handle this persecution?
We need to suffer through and keep doing right:
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. - 1 Corinthians 4:10-13So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: - 1 Thessalonians 1:4
Stop looking for an exit sign, stop looking for a way out! Sometimes it is the will of the Lord for us to go through these storms of life. The storms make us stronger and more steadfast.
We need to press on
The Bible plainly teaches that suffering is just part of this life. We are going to suffer, the question is not will I suffer, but will I suffer for doing wrong? or will I suffer for doing right?
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. - 1 Peter 2:12For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. - 1 Peter 2:19-25
If you are doing right and suffer for it, God pays attention to that and according to vs 20, it is acceptable to him.
We are to learn from persecution
We need to learn from the persecutions that we suffer. If we will learn from them, we will grow in our Spiritual walk with the Lord:
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad - Romans 5:1-5
According to that passage, there are three distinct things that we can learn from persecution:
- Patience (Psalms 30:5)
- Experience (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
- Hope (James 5:8)
The second wave of attack that Satan will use is deception
Satan will use deception to keep the individual from being able to see the big picture when it comes to what the Lord is attempting to do in your life. He works overtime to convince people that they are not so bad:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. - 1 John 1:8-10
He has worked for centuries to convince people that if they will live a good life and follow the “golden rule” then at the end of their life, the good will out weigh the bad on the scales of judgment and they will be fine. They convince themselves that since they haven’t done this or that, or that they aren’t as bad as some horrible historical figure, that they will be able to rely on their “good works” to save them. The problem with this thought is that it is not based on anything that the Bible teaches. Click here for more on this. According to James 2:10, if we violate the law in one place, we have violated the whole thing. That is why we need a redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan also deceives by convincing people to reject the truth
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: - 2 Thessalonians 2: 8-10
In an article for the Telegraph, a United Kingdom Publication, they make the false claim that a “study disproves the Bibles suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out”. This is a false claim because the Bible never claims this to be the case. This is “Fake News” being passed off as history. In an excerpt from the article, it states
The ancient Canaanites were not wiped out, as the Bible suggests, but went on to become modern-day Lebanese, a study has found…
The Bible never makes this suggestion, which means that this “study” confirms that the Canaanites existed as the Bible states and therefore, confirms that the Bible (as it always is) is correct. You will find a command in Deuteronomy 20:17 for the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites, but you will also see in Joshua 16:10, that they did not do it.
The world is always attacking your faith in the Bible and they (not us) end up with egg on their face. The Bible is right all the time, all the time the Bible is right.
O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD. - Psalms 117:1-2The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. - Psalms 12:6-7
Another way that Satan attempts to deceive is by rejecting the Divinity of Christ
The Bible tells us that God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Bible says in Acts 20:28 that God purchased the Church with his own blood, and we know that it was Jesus who shed his blood on Mount Calvary; therefore Jesus was and is God the Son.
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. - 2 John 1:7And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. - 1 Timothy 3:16In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. - John 1:1-4And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. - John 1:14
Finally, Satan deceives you and keeps you from seeing the big picture by convincing you to not offer forgiveness to others
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. - 2 Corinthians 2:6-11
In Ephesians 6:11, we are told to be mindful of the wiles of the Devil. He has tricks and deceits and has been perfecting them for generations. One of them is to keep us from forgiving one another which we are commanded to do. By not being forgiving we cause ourselves to suffer blindness, and we fall right into Satan’s trap!
The fourth attack that Satan uses to keep you from the big picture is spiritual seduction
Satan is a liar and he is the father of lies (John 8:44), He seduced Adam and Eve in the Garden:
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? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 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. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 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. 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. - Genesis 3:1-6
He deceived them by attacking the truth of God’s words and also by promising them advantages by following his alternate plan. He is still doing the same thing today. He uses a few different methods to deceive and seduce mankind, we will briefly look at two of them.
Satan uses false teachers and false doctrines to seduce people away from the Lord
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. - 1 John 2:18-19This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 2 Timothy 3:1-7
This is why it is so critical that you know the truth and that you know what it is that you believe. This also why the Bible spends so much time talking about being rooted, grounded and established in the truth.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. - Acts 20:28-32Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. - 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Satan will also use your own thoughts to seduce you
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. - James 1:14Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. - 1 John 2:15-17
Your thoughts are important, that is where the battle takes place. We can’t afford to take a passive approach when it comes to our thoughts. We are told that we need for our minds to be renewed (Romans 12:2) that is a daily event, not just a one-time deal:
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: - Colossians 1:21-22For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. - Proverbs 23:7
For more information about how important your thoughts are to your Christian walk, Click Here.
All of these attacks can be overcome by knowing and trusting the Truth
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. - John 17:17
The word of God is seen by believers as a blessing:
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. - Psalms 19:8Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalms 119:105The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. - Psalms 119:130
The Word of God is seen by unbelievers as a thing to be avoided:
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. - John 3:20
Which camp are you in today?
Satan wants to blind you from the blessings of God. He wants you to be busy worrying about Persecutions, Deceptions, and Seductions of this world;
So that you won’t be thinking or working for the next one:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. - Ephesians 6:10-13