TV Transcripts

“Satan’s Schemes” Part One
Broadcast #1631
January 7, 2024

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1631 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: You know, I’ve had some thoughts come to me, and I’m just gonna trust the Lord with them this morning. My mind went to a, basically, a phrase that came out of something that Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians, and I’m just gonna use it as a kind of a kickoff point.

It’s evident from the context that the church there had had to deal with something in a particular person that was very serious, morally, whatever it was. They had to really, you know, deal with it very plainly. And I don’t know what form of discipline they, whether they dis-fellowshipped the guy or whatever it was, but whatever had happened in between 1 and 2 Corinthians, the person had repented.

And so Paul was concerned that, you know, we need to know how to move forward here. We can’t just sit there and let this situation hang. You can’t just sit there and look at this brother like a second-class brother, and, you know. There was a certain amount of fallout and the sense of, where do we go from here? And so, this is in, he encourages them to encourage the brother, to receive him, to love him, to forgive him. And Paul says, I’m right there with you, I forgive him. Let’s put this in the past and move forward.

Isn’t that a good thing? The devil really loves to cause us to cling to the past and just stay there. And, you know, you feel discouraged because of what you were, or what something had happened or something that somebody did to you. And you know, God help us, we need to leave the past in the past, learn how to lay it at the cross and start every morning fresh and new with the Lord. Wouldn’t that be a good idea? Yeah, God wants to set us free.

Of course, we know the devil has other plans. And so, in the context of this, Paul says, I have, in verse, where is this someplace in verse 11-ish, somewhere near there, I have forgiven in the name of Christ, and the sight of Christ, for your sake, in order, now for what purpose? Why is this important? “In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

And you know, I’ve thought about this because, you know, we’ve had a lot of emphasis at times recently about being awake and alert and all of that, and because the devil is a roaring lion, we know the scripture pictures him in one place as a dragon who deceives the whole world, and sometimes it’s easy to think of him in this sense of an open onslaught of some kind. There’s an attack that’s coming from out here, and it’s just, you know, it’s a forward attack. But I think God wants us to realize in a deeper way and learn a little bit more about the enemy.

You know, when you’re going to war, now we got a lot of military folks. I’m not one of ‘em, but, you know, if you are at war, and you’re going to war with an enemy, don’t you think it’s a good idea that you learn something about the enemy? Yeah, you don’t just charge off and grab your weapons and go to war, you wanna study as much as you can, learn as much as you can about them. What’s their motivation? How do they operate? What are their weaknesses? What are their strengths? How can we use this information to our advantage so we can accomplish what we want to in the war?

And you know, I was thinking about this in the context of dealing with the devil and all of his influences in our lives. It’s wonderful to have this idea, I need to be alert for the devil, But if we don’t know how he operates, if we don’t understand his tactics, and what makes him tick, you know, there’s gonna be times that he sneaks up. and he’ll pull something, and we’re not even aware what’s going on behind the scenes.

We need to realize, again, like we’ve said so many times, that we’re not living in just the world that we detect with our senses. There is a spiritual kingdom around us that is devoted to undermining everything that God says and everything that He does. And we are in a war against him every single day on a personal level, on a level of an assembly.

And there are things that he wants to do. And Paul was concerned here that the devil could continue to stir the feelings up that came from this circumstance, and keep on trying to divide the people, and just basically interfere with the presence of Christ.

You know, Burton read the other night from Psalm 133 about the blessedness of people who dwell together in unity. Well, do you see how in this instance, the devil would’ve used things that had happened to create, to continue to create a sense of division in the people?

And so that was the issue here, but the thing that drew me to it was the fact that Satan is not just, doesn’t mount just frontal assaults. But he has a lot of tricky behind-the-scenes ways of working on us, and I believe God wants to shine the light in our lives in deeper ways, don’t you believe that? Don’t you believe that God wants us to understand?

I mean, suppose you are defending your house. And you got the whole family geared up to watch that front door. Nobody’s getting in here. But what happens if the back door’s unlocked? And I think in more ways than we realize, we’ve got back doors in our lives that God wants us to be more aware of, and just, you know, be more alert and more knowledgeable as Christians.

You know, as I thought about this, I don’t know, Lord, have to help me with this ‘cause I thought about looking at all a lot of this from the devil’s point of view. Some of you may have read, a few of you may have read, what was it, the book by C.S. Lewis, “Screwtape Letters.” Few, I’ve heard one yell, and see a couple of heads nodding. And you remember what it was? It was kind of a fictional story, but it was meant to shine light on human nature and our vulnerabilities, the openness that exists in human lives because of sin, because of our separation from God.

And the premise of the book, I won’t spend a lot of time, but the premise of the book was a demon, or a devil who was experienced was writing an exchange of letters with a junior devil, who was trying to learn his trade as how to attempt and undermine human beings. And so they’re going back and forth, and it’s the discussion of human nature. And says, Here’s something you need to know about human nature, here’s how you get to ‘em.

Don’t you realize? Don’t we realize that there we have an enemy who has studied us? Their assignment, their nature drives them to do everything they can to learn everything they can about us and our vulnerabilities. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if we kind of knew more about them so that we could be more ready? Certainly not a point of fearfulness, but rather of our ability to be alert and of sober mind.

Because sober mind doesn’t just blow off everything and think, I can just skate along, I’m smart enough, I’m good enough. My God, do we need Him? As soon as you start down that road, you’ve already walked onto the devil’s territory, without realizing it. And I think God wants to teach us, and grow us up in this area so that we can overcome. ‘Cause here, Paul was saying, We’re not ignorant. We’re not unaware of Satan’s schemes.

You have that same expression over in Ephesians 6, where the schemes of Satan are referred to, Paul talks about the warfare, and so forth, is where that scripture so many times. But it says, “Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power put on the full armor of God.” Why? “So that you can take your stand.” It doesn’t say against the devil’s frontal assault, it would include that, but rather his “schemes.”

God wants us to be so alert and walking with Him in such a way that when the Satan tries to slip up on us, we can know it, detect it, and learn how to take our stand and overcome. Anybody here need this? Yeah, I sure do.

Now, just think about this from the devil’s point of view. You know, let’s take a spirit who’s been around all this time through human history. And there was a time when he could look around and say, Well, you know, we’ve got a whole world. I know my existence is, you know, there’s a judgment coming, but that’s way down the line. My existence now is trying to, trying to gratify my nature and my desires through human, flesh and blood human beings.

And I see the world as just a great big smorgasbord, a great big cafeteria. You got people out here that don’t have a clue. All they’re doing, their whole world is what they can see and taste and touch, they got earthly desires. Man, I’ve got 1,000,001 ways that I can get hold of them and use them and make my home in them in many cases. And so let’s just go to town. Let’s just analyze each person and find out what makes them tick, what’s important to them, and all we have to do is tempt them. They’re blind, they’re separated from God, let’s go to it.

And that’s pretty much the way the world was, wasn’t it? And it looked like from their point of view, man, we got this world, you know, conquered. We serve somebody who has deceived the whole world, and this whole world is his kingdom. He rules over it. Of course, I know that pesky old God, He interferes every now and then. And we don’t like that much. And we know there’s something coming, we just don’t know what it is, but right now, we’re enjoying ourselves.

And boy, you know, when I get through with this one person that I’m living in and I get all my desires satisfied, and I use them up, guess what? They die and they go on, but I get to move to the next generation. And I probably got somebody in their family that’s learned their ways, is like them, you know, has learned how to see the world through their eyes. I’ve already conditioned them, and I can just simply step out of them and move into their life and take them over, and it just goes from generation to generation. Man, life is good. Obviously, you know, I’m talking from the devil’s point of view here.


And then. Oh, I remember that day, though, when I was, some of my friends and I were hanging out in a region called Galilee, and we were having a blast just living our lives, and living through people, and making them do all kinds of stupid stuff, foolish stuff, sorry about that. And there they were, and so, and here we were just minding our own business, all of a sudden somebody comes and we recognize him.

Oh my God, I know who that is, that’s Jesus, the son of God! Have you come to torment us? Leave us alone. Go away, Jesus, we know who you are. And of course, Jesus would come along and drive them right out, and all of a sudden they’d have to go find someplace else, somebody else to mess with. But you know, basically still, the great amount of the population was still in a position where the devil just had open season. All he had to do was appeal to human nature, in some fashion, find the weakness, and just move in and gratify his evil nature through human flesh.

That’s what this world is about. Folks, that’s what this present age is about. My God, we need to be alert and awake and aware, as we never have. Well then, of course, Jesus, they began to mount all kinds of opposition against Jesus. We gotta stir up these religious leaders. We already got them in our pocket. They don’t know it. They think they’re serving God, but we know better. We’ve actually taken all of the things that God showed them, and we’ve brought it down to a nice comfortable religion where people feel good about themselves, they feel righteous in God’s eyes because of what they do, and they look down on other people, man, we got them in our back pocket. So, we need to get rid of this Jesus. We need to do whatever he’s got planned. We gotta get rid of him.

And so of course they did, without realizing that that was God’s plan. (laughs) And so they had the big party. Man, we gotta party, because we just put him in a grave. We insulted him, we abused him, we ridiculed him, and there we have the victory, man, it was our day, and we were rejoicing, until three days later. All of a sudden he bursts forth from that grave, and there’s not a devil in hell that could keep him in there. Oh, my God. What’s happened?

And all of a sudden they realized. His plan is the one. This is the plan he’s carried out. This is why He came. Now He’s in a position to do something, to reach out to men who are helpless and lost, have no hope in this world. People that were just totally vulnerable to our rule and reign. And here we are, and here’s this Jesus. And not only has he come forth from the grave, he’s ascended to a throne. And then we’ve got all these people that are left behind, and all they’re doing is waiting, and we gotta come up with a plan, we gotta do something.

And then, the power of God’s Spirit comes down upon the people on the day of Pentecost. And they’re standing there in the temple, I’ll debate that with you if you want sometime. But they’re standing there in the temple. And all of a sudden the power of God shakes the place. And His power, His Spirit rests upon these ordinary people, fishermen, some of ‘em. Tax collector. And there they are.

And suddenly the one who was the biggest failure steps up. Something’s changed. What’s going on? We had this guy licked, we had him beat. We would put him on the sidelines. He thought he was done. And now here he is, the very one who’s standing up with power and declaring that Jesus says, Lord, the salvation has come.

You’ve stood, you’ve taken your place. People are listening. You’ve taken your place against God. You killed his anointed. There, and His plan is, is something that’s, and you’re on the opposite side. His plan is in motion. You’re His enemies. Oh my God, what do we do?

And so you know the story of how God, God spoke through Peter. “Repent, be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And on that day, 3000 people escaped Satan’s clutches and his kingdom. Praise God!

And the devils are sitting there, Oh my God, we gotta do something! And then day by day goes on, and people are coming to the Lord, and they have that occasion when Peter heals the cripple at the temple and has a tremendous opportunity to preach the word. We’re gonna do something, let’s arrest him. Threaten him. And they do.

And the people call on God and they say, look, finally, we know that what’s unfolding is your plan. Give us courage to stand against this. The enemy is mounting. You see, the devil’s just reacting. We’ve got to oppose this by every means possible. And so God pours out his Spirit and there’s, for a while there’s nothing much they can do.

But you know, you see the demon’s just doing everything in their power, and God begins to allow them to persecute, to oppose openly. And so people have to stand up. And there were some that, like Stephen and James the Apostle who were killed. And others were scattered. And all the things that happened. We all know the story.

But do you see the hand of Satan? Of course, obviously at this point, he is doing everything in his power to oppose, this is a frontal assault, we’ve got to attack these people, get them to give all this up. We gotta defeat them. And it didn’t work, did it? Because God gave His people the courage to die if necessary.

That’s how real, that’s how real this has to be. That’s how real the kingdom of God has to be, that our lives in this world cease to be worth hanging onto if it means giving Him up. And so God had a people.

And you can see how the devils would get together and say, Man, we gotta do something. We’ll keep up the pressure. Because that affects some people. They’ll give up. I mean, we see that there are people who kind of come on, and they like some of the ideas, they like the idea of forgiveness of sins and going to heaven one day, but they haven’t really, really given their hearts to it. And they’re just trying to take on this stuff that makes them feel better. But they’ve never really, really received His Spirit, never had that changed heart on the inside. We can get rid of some of them if we’ll just put the pressure on.

I mean, you remember Jesus words about those that were with the seed that landed on the shallow soil. When persecution arose, they were outta there. But time went along. And still, there was a reality in hearts of people. Can you see what the devil would be trying to do? We’ve got to somehow undermine the message itself. We’ve gotta introduce false doctrine.

You remember our master was tempting Jesus, and Jesus came back at him with the word, didn’t he? Satan tempted him with, you know, you’re hungry, make bread if you’re the son of God. And he said, it’s written, man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

And the devil says, aha, this is somebody who knows the word and goes by the word. I better use the word if I’m gonna get to him. And so he used the word. But he twisted it, didn’t he?

And so the devil, one of the devil’s main tactics early on in the church in the New Testament was to begin to introduce false doctrine. He would take something that was true, but he’d take it out of its context and away from its original purpose, and suddenly it would be something that would divide people. that would bring people into a place of ignorance and a place of vulnerability to their power.

My God! God wants us to have such a grasp of His word in balance, so that we can stand, and we can recognize every trick of the enemy. I’ll guarantee there’s people right here, right now, that Satan has more influence and more hold in our lives than he should. And God wants to set his people free, starting with me. I need to be set free from his lies, from his tricks, things that he plants in my mind and my heart, because he’s studied me all my life. He knows my weaknesses. He knows how to get to me. And I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God Who is faithful to His people.

And let’s just, I thought about using Ephesians 6. We’ve obviously gone through this from many points of view, but this is from the devil’s point of view now, remember? So we’re talking about the devil’s schemes. So our struggle, of course, he says, as we’ve often pointed out, is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Okay?

So your problem is not people. If you got a problem with somebody, you better recognize there’s something behind that. That’s the real issue. The devil will come at you and at me in every possible angle, using every possible tactic, based upon our weaknesses. I don’t know. You could obviously spend a lot of time and many messages exploring this kind of subject about how the devil works, basically what it’s about. But I feel like I want to get to one particular area that’s very important. Alright?

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the evil day,” not if, but “when the evil day or day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”

Has there ever been a time in the history of humanity when truth has been under attack? Here we are. There’s no such thing as truth to a lot of our culture. More and more of our culture does not see absolute truth as anything to be concerned about. There’s no such thing. I got my truth. You got your truth. We got what appeals to us and what seems right to us, and it’s all good. And don’t you dare suggest otherwise, otherwise, you are the bad guy. And I am tolerant of everybody who agrees with me. That’s the spirit behind so much of what you see out there. I’m very tolerant. And if you don’t agree with me, you’re intolerant.

Well, (laughs) we need to realize, and God’s people and young people growing up today, because you’re exposed to all this culture. You’re exposed to things that are far worse than we grew up with. And you got people that, you know, and Satan will plant people in your path and in your life who will try to plant in you a relativism where there is no absolute truth. You need to follow your heart.

Well, scripture says, one follows his heart is a fool. Because the heart, man’s heart is evil. The one we’re born with is evil. That’s why we need a new one. And God’s plan is to deal with all of these issues, and to give us a full and complete salvation. Thank God!

It’s salvation too, it’s not a self-help program. It’s something where I have to give myself completely to Him and trust in His power to save me because I have none.

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