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SATAN AND EVANGELISM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A lesson taught on Friday Evening, August 31, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“That they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:26).


My assignment at this Bible conference in our church is to speak on the doctrine of Satan and the demonic, with special attention to the way these teachings apply to evangelism and real conversion. To do this, I think we had best deal with the subject in outline form, giving the origin of Satan and demons; the work of Satan and demons; and, finally, the work of evangelism in connection with Satan and demons.

I. First, the origin of Satan and demons.

“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4).

“The stars of heaven” are identified as Satan’s angels, “his angels,” in Revelation 12:9.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9).

Satan rebelled against God and was able to persuade one third of the angels in Heaven to follow him in his rebellion. As a result, they were all “cast out into the earth” [“thrown down to the earth” NASV].

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12).

“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee” (Ezekiel 28:17).

Some of the angels who followed Satan were cast into the lowest part of Hell.

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (II Peter 2:4).

Other fallen angels remained on earth, freely roaming the world, and serving Satan, “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). In Ephesians 6:12 we are given a short glimpse of the forces of these demons who follow Satan in his long war against God and Christians.

“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” (Ephesians 6:12).

Ephesians 6:12 shows that the demonic forces are organized into a great hierarchy, a systematic organization, consisting of principalities and powers. These demonic forces are under the leadership of Satan. Through these demonic forces Satan rules this present world. Satan said to Jesus that the kingdoms of the world were “delivered unto [him]” (Luke 4:5-6). This means that God, in His sovereignty, has allowed Satan to have dominion over “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4).

“If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:18).

So we see in the Bible that one third of the angels rebelled with Satan and were cast out of Heaven. Some were confined to Hell right then, and others were cast onto the earth, where they were organized by Satan into various ranks to make war against God and His people. The demons on earth are under Satan’s control. Christ called them “his [Satan’s] kingdom” – those that he reigns over, and who do what he says.

II. Second, the work of Satan and demons.

The word “demon” never occurs in the King James Bible. It is always translated “devils.” This may be a little confusing to modern minds for two reasons: (1) there is only one Devil, and (2) the Greek word should literally be translated “demons” not “devils.” We must understand that when we read our King James Bibles. Here are some of the things Satan and demons do.

1.  They spread and promote false teachings.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [demons]”
      (I Timothy 4:1).

All of the false religions have, thus, been deceived by demonic power. The false religions are wrong precisely because they have been deceived by “spirits and doctrines of demons,” that is, directly deceived by them, or indirectly through their false teachings. This would include all the false religions we are studying this weekend. They are “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of [demons]” (I Timothy 4:1).

2.  They do all they can to keep every single unconverted person under Satan’s power. This is one of the reasons that it is so humanly impossible to see real conversion apart from the intervention of God in a person’s life (cf. Mark 10:26-27). Satan blinds “them which believe not,” II Corinthians 4:4. Spurgeon said,


We have many round about us, who can talk of heaven and hell, and sin and salvation, and Christ and the Holy Spirit, who nevertheless have never had one true perception of the meaning of these words. They see, but perceive not; they hear, but do not understand; they are unbelievers, and the god of this world hath blinded their minds (C. H. Spurgeon, “Blinded By Satan,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Number 2,304, volume 39, page 182).

3.  Satan “worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Dr. Gill said of this verse, “Over these [‘the children of disobedience’] Satan has great influence, especially the reprobate part of them; whose minds he blinds, and whose hearts he fills…and these may be said in their unregeneracy to walk after him” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, vol. III, p. 70; note on Ephesians 2:2).

III. Third, the work of evangelism in connection with Satan and demons.

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:24-26).

C. H. Spurgeon said,

When talking with anxious enquirers, I am often amazed at the ingenuity with which they resist the entrance of faith…they argue, first one way, and then the other, all against their own best interests. Often I go through the whole process again and again; and even when that has been done, there comes another objection. I have tracked these people to their holes as diligently as if I had been a fox-hunter, and have tried to unearth them from their hiding places (C. H. Spurgeon, Autobiography, The Banner of Truth trust, 1976 reprint, pages 243-244).

Dr. Asahel Nettleton was the last nationally-known American evangelist to stick by the older method employed by Spurgeon and those of the “old school” evangelicals. Speaking of the new way of evangelism, brought in by C. G. Finney, Dr. Nettleton said,

I have often been struck with this circumstance in the mode of preaching, that nothing was heard of the danger of spurious [false] conversion. For months together, the thought never seemed to be glanced at, that there was any such thing as a Satanic influence in the form of religion (Asahel Nettleton, D.D., cited in Bennet Tyler and Andrew Bonar, The Life and Labours of Asahel Nettleton, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975 reprint, p. 367).

Again, Dr. Nettleton said,

It is an important part of the preacher’s duty…to discriminate between true and false conversion. Without this, every discerning Christian knows that the work will rapidly degenerate (ibid., p. 368).

Also, Nettleton said,

The devil will do all in his power to keep possession. By his subtlety he keeps sinners in peace. So long as the adversary of souls can make the sinner believe that he is not lost…he knows that he will not feel his need of salvation (Asahel Nettleton, D.D., Sermons from the Second Great Awakening, International Outreach, 1995 reprint, p. 160).

And, finally, this important pre-Finney evangelist said,

The devil never awakened a sinner to a sense of his sins, guilt, and danger, but always tries to soothe and quiet him in his sins. If he can keep him quiet, he knows that he is safe in his possession (ibid.).

I hope that you are not one of those, so trapped in Satan’s deception, that you refuse to seek real conversion in Christ Jesus.

(END OF BIBLE STUDY)
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THE OUTLINE OF

SATAN AND EVANGELISM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“That they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:26).

I.   First, the origin of Satan and demons, Revelation 12:4, 9;
Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:17; II Peter 2:4; Ephesians 2:2;
Ephesians 6:12; Luke 4:5-6; Galatians 1:4; Luke 11:18.

II.  Second, the work of Satan and demons, I Timothy 4:1;
cf. Mark 10:26-27; II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2.

III. Third, the work of evangelism in connection with Satan and demons,
II Timothy 2:24-26.