Resisting the Enemy
Paul and the viper
Acts 28:1-6; Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Malta was derived from a Greek word meaning “honey” Malta was known for it’s production of honey.
The snake didn’t phase Paul, he simply shook it off into the fire and moved on! snake didn’t even phase Paul, he simply shook it off into the fire and moved on!
Paul knew his authority over the evil one, he knew God wasn’t finished with him yet and nothing was going to take him out. Smith Wigglesworth (a well known British evangelist) when awakened by Satan himself said “Oh it’s just you”. He then rolled over and went back to sleep! Shaking the snake into the fire was prophetic of the devil being cast into the lake of fire for eternity.
The snake attacked Paul because of the heat.
When things start heating up is when the enemy manifests himself the strongest, it’s also when God’s overcoming power is at it’s greatest!
There is no situation that God can’t deliver you out of if you trust Him!
-A point to be made here is; “Be careful of what you are carrying around, it may contain a snake”! And, it could end up biting you!
-Notice that Paul didn’t bring attention to the situation.
He didn’t bring glory to the enemy by rehearsing the situation!
-Notice how the natives were watching Paul when the snake bit him.
As a result of Paul’s reaction to the snake, they changed their mind about Paul.
They first thought he was a murderer, then thought he was a god.
Others are watching you in your times of trouble and the way you react may have a significant affect on them
-Paul introduced the power of God (as well as Christianity) to the natives of the island after the devil had tried to take him out.
An important official named Publius hosted Paul and others for three days. It was during this time that Paul healed his father of a sickness. As a result, many of the natives brought their sick to Paul and he healed them.
-Even though they had lost all in the shipwreck, when they left the island, they had everything they needed!
Resisting the devil
James 4:7; Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
-Submit means: to yield oneself to the will and authority of another
-Resist means: to set ones self against, to resist or stand, to oppose
Authority over the enemy begins with submission to God
“Resist the devil” means more than just words.
-The seven sons of Sceva;
Acts 19:11-16; Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
-These men were only interested in the manifestation of the power, not the source.
Don’t we do this sometimes when we seek the gift and not the giver.
We are to praise God for who He is, not for what he does.
-The devil is not afraid of your words if they are not backed up by the power and character of God!
If you want to exercise authority over the enemy, you must be connected to the power source!
Remember, never try to resist the devil in your own strength.
How do you really resist the devil
-Making the right choices when faced with temptation, spending time in God’s Word (Information, meditation, revelation, transformation), allowing the fruit of the Spirit to Produce God’s character in your life, walking in love, controlling anger, walking in forgiveness, walking in truth and integrity, attending church regularly, walking in harmony with your spouse, giving to those in need, being humble, resisting pride, staying in communion with God through prayer, worshiping God, and tithing.
All of these things are biblically sound and are contrary to the devil’s ways.
We are instructed not to give the devil a place;
Ephesians 4:26-28; Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
-We give the devil a place by not walking in love, being untruthful, by a lack of knowledge of God’s word, a lack of prayer, lacking compassion for those less fortunate, anger, lust, selfishness, striving with our spouses, not raising our children with godly principles, lack of church attendance, disobedience, unforgiving, judging others, laziness, and so on.
If the word says “give the devil no place” then you have the ability to hinder his work in your life.
-We can’t blame our bad decisions on the devil, he only gives us the opportunity, we make the decision!
Bad decisions have bad consequences!
When you put yourselves in compromising situations, you are opening the door to the enemy.
Don’t let your past direct your future
-Paul knew the secret for fulfilling God’s direction for his life.
Phil 3:13; Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
-”Remember” is one of the enemies favorite words of accusation, he so desires to keep you so tied up with your past that you can’t move ahead.
Do you remember when you did this and did that! How can you call yourself a Christian? You will never amount to anything!
-Well, let’s turn this around devil, how about you doing a little remembering also,
Do you remember Jesus dying on the cross and rising after three days?
Do you remember Him breaking your hold on mankind?
Do you remember Him giving Christians authority over you?
And, if I interpret the Bible right, your future isn’t too bright either!
-Paul could make these two statements only if his past no longer controlled him!
2 Corinthians 7:2; Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.
Philippians 3:17; Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.
-We can’t let our past failures influence our future!
Not believing that your past has been forgiven, means what Jesus did by His death and and resurrection wasn’t enough.
Who’s the problem, God or the devil?
-We must understand where the problems in our lives originate!
The church has made it somewhat confusing as to who causes the problems in our lives but, I believe the Bible makes it pretty clear!
Some have even believed God gave them cancer, was responsible for the death of a loved one, caused them to lose all they had, and so on.
-If the enemy can get you to believe that God is the source of your problem, you won’t be willing to resist him.
John 10:10; The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it mor abundantly.
The abundant life doesn’t mean we won’t face problems but, we know who to turn to in the midst of them.
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope
Luke 17:1; One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!
-Someone might say “well, the Bible says to thank God for all things”, wrongly quoting I Thessalonians 5:18 which actually says “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
It doesn’t say “for all things give thanks” it says ”in everything give thanks”.
There is another scripture we have to deal with
Ephesians 5:20; giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
-The word “for” here is better translated “concerning” all things.
We thank God for being with us in the situation and walking us through it, and that it wasn’t worse than it was.
The preceding two scriptures would appear to contradict themselves which, of course, can’t be.
We are not to thank God for things that would contradict His Word. Abortion, adultery, sickness and disease, temptation, and so forth.
-Don’t interpret the whole Bible by one text but, rather, one text by the whole bible.
Sometimes we want to interpret a scripture to suit our needs rather than
what God meant it to mean, it’s called self-justification.
- Your past is your past, don’t let it dictate your future!
- God is not your problem, He’s your solution!
- Be careful not to give the devil a place!
- You resist the devil by the life you live more than by what you say!
- Don’ try to resist the devil in your own strength!