Lesson Three – Satan in Action

Satan in Action

Lesson Aim:  To show that Satan must deal with mankind the way God created us and how Satan keeps his disciples in the world and devours some “in Christ.”


In the previous lesson we learned about the nature and power of Satan.  In this lesson we will first show his activities in the context of the scriptures and then we will make some practical applications with this information.


The devil sows all of the seeds to produce people who are not sons of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38, 39).  He holds many religious people captive to do his will because of their foolish and ignorant speculations (II Tim. 2:26).  He fills men’s hearts with his unhealthy philosophies and enters into the activities of their lives; therefore, they murder and lie (Luke 22:3; Acts 5:3).

Satan is always scheming to devour God’s children.  He is as tenacious as a roaring lion (I Pet. 5:8).  He will use a preacher or teacher to mislead those “in Christ” and those in the world (II Cor. 11:14).  The devil will always be around when Christians do not act like Christ in order to use his schemes against them (II Cor. 2:11; I Cor. 7:5; Eph. 4:27).  The devil is active to bring the church into condemnation when unqualified elders are ordained (I Tim. 3:6).

Satan oppressed and bound people with physical ailments (Acts 10:38; Luke 13:16).  He caused some Christians to be cast into prison (Rev. 2:10; 12:13-17).  When the gospel is preached to the world and not understood, he is always there to snatch it away (Matt. 13:19).  Satan falsely accused Job (Job 1:6).  He tried to tempt Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:3).  He thwarted Paul and his co-workers (I Thess. 2:18).  He disputed with Michael the archangel about the body of Moses (Jude 9).

The result of association with Satan has terrible consequences.  Just as children behave like their parents, children of the devil act like the devil; therefore, they are obvious (I John 3:10; John 8:44).  Jesus said Judas Iscariot was a devil and he even referred to Peter as “Satan” at one point (John 6:70; Matt. 16:23).  When Satan entered Judas he betrayed the Son of God.

Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit after Satan filled his heart (Acts 5:3).  Hymenaeus and Alexander, as well as a member of the church in Corinth who had his father’s wife, were delivered to Satan because of their blasphemy and immorality (I Cor. 5:5; I Tim. 1:20).  Some Christian widows followed Satan while seeking satisfaction for their sex drives (I Tim. 5:15).  Unbelieving people have their minds blinded by him (II Cor. 4:4).  He even had his own synagogue in Smyrna (Rev. 2:9).

Jesus has rendered Satan powerless in regard to death for faithful Christians (Heb. 2:14).  This does not mean he has left us alone but God will crush him under our feet if we put on the whole armor of God (Rom. 16:20; Eph. 6:12).  We must resist the devil firm in our faith and then he will flee (James 4:7; I Pet. 5:9).  We overcome Satan by the blood of Jesus, the word of our testimony and by not loving our lives in this world more than eternal life (Rev. 12:11).  We are able to stop him when we follow Jesus’ teachings and grow up into His stature (Eph. 4:27; II Cor. 2:10, 11).

Now let us use the foregoing information to understand how Satan must deal with us the way God created us.  A review of the previous lesson should be made at this point.  We can all agree it was Satan’s appearance in the world that was behind mankind’s problem.  Isn’t it wonderful how each child does not inherit the degraded level of his or her parents?  Even then, it is obvious that the environment of the home plays a key role with the child.  Satan does make his mark on the child very early.  He makes it through the parents’ and significant others’ lives through passive learning.

What then is Satan’s role in the degradation of the lives of people?  Satan does much of his work while we are seeking satisfaction for our natural drives.  He must work with us the way we were created by God.  Since we are continually trying to learn how to satisfy our drives, this is where Satan will be found doing his business.  He does not influence the children as much as teenagers and adults.  Children believe they will find satisfaction for their needs.  They have faith in their goals.  Parents cooperate with their children to make their efforts successful for their satisfaction; however, the story may change for the teenager and adult.  The change in the adolescent is for the worse, if they do not know God’s commandments or if they do know them and do not abide by them.

Biblical history reveals how God never let Satan completely remove food from people, even when they worshipped idols (Acts 14:17).  Acquiring it did become more difficult after Adam and Eve broke covenant with God (Gen. 3:17-19).  A lack of food and other basic needs could develop some bad attitudes.  Extremely unhealthy emotions are developed when we do not trust some higher power to provide our needs.  The story of Moses and the Israelites is an example (Ex. 16:22, 23).  The devil tried to tempt Jesus in relation to His hunger drive (Matt. 4:1-4).

God has always had a program to satisfy His peoples’ basic needs for food and shelter.  Jesus instructs us to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).  Our seeking includes working on a job, if possible.  The Holy Spirit gave this rule to the church by Paul, “if a man will not work, he shall not eat.”  II Thess. 3:10.  God’s people have been taught the working principle ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:19; Eph 4:28; II Cor. 9:10).  Satan will try to influence us to doubt God’s power, or desire, to care for us.  Greed becomes our new god in relation to our basic needs when we do not trust God (Col. 3:5).  Jesus has taught His disciples to pray for our daily bread (Matt. 6:11).

Satan did not develop the sex drive within mankind; however, there is so much evil attached to this healthy drive, we could be led to believe the drive itself is evil.  Some of the Corinthian Christians had some doubts about having sexual relations in marriage.  The Apostle Paul gave them the following advice.

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I Cor. 7:5

No, the devil did not invent sex but he will make his presence known when people try to satisfy this drive outside the marriage of one man and one woman (I Cor. 7:1-9).  Satan tempts us to use unlawful ways to satisfy our God given drives.  Our tendency to lust makes us potential prey for Satan.  We can understand he does most of his work in connection with our basic drives because many scriptures deal with greed and sexual immorality.  God’s word is very explicit about the consequence of not missing the mark – the definition of sin (Gal. 5:19-21).  The following scripture lists the characteristics of those who have not followed God’s commandments in relation to their inherited drives.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  I Cor. 6:9, 10

Why do most worldly people put so much emphasis on sex and food?  Could it be Satan has blinded them to God’s plan to satisfy their higher needs; therefore, they give more attention to their basic needs?  Let us investigate this possibility.  First let us consider the implications of the following scripture.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  II Cor. 4:3, 4 

God created us in two distinct parts and with some very strong drives.  The way He created us is compatible with His purpose.  He wants us to be His eternal children; therefore, we want eternal glory.  He gave us drives that desire social acceptance, achievement, and security.  Eternal glory will satisfy these drives; therefore, we want eternal glory.  We cannot deny this fact because it is manifested in our actions, even though we may not be aware of our motivation for our actions.

Satan must deal with us the way God made us.  Satan does not have a creation of his own.  Only God creates.  Satan must keep God’s truth from mankind in order to be successful.  All people were created to become partakers of divine nature.  We are called by Jesus Christ’s own glory and excellence (II Pet. 1:2-4).  We have been created in such a way to develop the same type personality and character Jesus Christ revealed; consequently, we can be God’s children eternally.  This will satisfy our achievement, social acceptance, and security drives (Rom. 2:7-11).  This will give us eternal glory.  We can see how Christians are enlightened by the gospel of the glory of Christ in God’s word.

Sad to say, most people of the earth have not accepted God’s plan to satisfy their needs.  Satan will make sure no one does if he has his way.  The god of this world blinds the minds of the unbelieving.  They are perishing because they do not see God’s plan to give them eternal glory.  They do not see God’s plan but they still have the drives that demand satisfaction.  Because they want glory and security the devil is able to keep them under his command.  They have these three strong drives but no program that will produce satisfaction.  All the devil has to do is keep them blinded to the truth.

The truth would make them free.  Satan will provide many confusing programs to satisfy these drives.  When satisfaction is not attained, unhealthy emotional attitudes are developed in connection with each failure.  Many people give up on eternal security and glory; therefore, they concentrate on sex and hunger.  They over indulge and Satan has them trapped while they are pursuing their natural healthy drives.  He deals with them the way God created them.  All Satan does is blind their eyes to God’s true plan for their higher needs and the rest is easy.   Their sin takes over from there and reigns in death.

The way God created us is the way Jesus leads us.  The truth about God and man is the truth revealed in the Bible.  The citizens of God’s kingdom are “of truth.”  John 18:37.  The truth will make us free (John 8:32).  It will make us free from sin and death.  These are the powers that can master us by the lust of our flesh (I Cor. 6:12).  Christians are free from Satan because of our enlightenment (Eph. 5:6-16).

We can be grateful God started us out right as a child.  Our spirits came from God (Heb. 12:9).  The truth does not make us free at birth, we are born free.  Of course, all people were born in the likeness of Adam which will give each individual a problem as we they mature in mind, heart and conscience.  Jesus said we must be converted and become like a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven.

And He called a child to Himself and stood him in their midst, and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’  Matt. 18:2, 3

How is it with a little child?  Little children are just the way God made them.  They go about seeking to satisfy their inherited drives He created in them.  This motivates their processes of learning.  Some parents may think they start their children’s schooling at age five but the children actually start their own learning process much earlier.  Loving parents merely cooperate with their children.

For instance, children have a hunger drive and the parents cooperate with them in satisfying this need.  Children have a social acceptance drive and the parents cooperate with their children’s process of learning how to attain satisfaction.  The same can be said about achievement and security.  It is the children’s nature that demands satisfaction; consequently, they proceed upon a course they think will give them satisfaction.

Children’s emotions are developed around the experiences they encounter in their process of seeking to satisfy their drives.  Healthy and unhealthy emotions are learned in the process of their quest.  Their personality is the sum of these emotions.  Their strength of character is influenced by the power with which they move toward their goals.  Because most children’s hope of satisfying their needs strengthen them, and because they are not sinners, their personalities are often much more like Jesus than many adults.  Can you image meeting a person with the wisdom of a mature Christian adult, but with the innocence of a four-year old child?  Such as these is the kingdom of God.  What a kingdom!

The citizens of God’s eternal kingdom will be made up of people who are known for their healthy emotions and strong character.  Jesus pointed to the little child’s personality and character as a starting goal for the people outside of Christ who are contemplating Christianity (Luke 18:15-17).  The people outside the body of Christ are the ones who have been influenced by the nature of Satan.  It is obvious that the longer they live in the world realm the unhealthier their emotions develop.  Their character is weakened day by day.

Satan has lost those who accepted God’s call “in Christ.”  Most of the scriptures listed in the first part of this lesson show Satan at work to get Christians back under his power.  How will he do it?  Remember, we will always be trying to satisfy our drives.  If we have faith enough to seek satisfaction by following the commands of Jesus, we will have very little problem with Satan.  He will be excluded from our life because we will be walking in the light and the blood of Jesus will keep us clean while we conform to the image of Jesus (I John 1:7).  If we use lawless ways to satisfy our drives, Satan will command us through our sin.  Some Christians will fall, according to Jesus’ parable.

The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  Luke 8:14

God sows His seed and reaps the children of His kingdom.  Satan sows his seed and reaps the mature people of the world (Matt. 13:24-30).  God and Satan both deal with us the way God created us.  God uses the truth.  Satan uses the lie.  The question each of us should ask ourselves is “which one am I following?”

Questions for Discussion

  1. Please write a paragraph describing your personal vision of Satan from the scriptures listed in this lesson.
  2. Explain why Jesus must lead us in the way God created us.
  3. How must Satan deal with us?
  4. What did Jesus mean when He said, “We must be converted and become like a little child?”
  5. Who starts the child out on his or her learning process?
  6. How are emotions developed?
  7. How does Satan make his mark on a child very early in life?
  8. List one of Jesus’ needs Satan suggested he could satisfy.  Why did Jesus reject his offer?
  9. Why might it be concluded that Satan does most of his work in the area of the hunger and sex drives?
  10. What keeps people of the world in a perishing state according to II Cor. 4:3, 4?
  11. How does Satan let man’s own sin do much of his work?
  12. What is the one word that best describes the type of seed God sows to make sons of God?

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