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SATANIC HINDRANCES

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, October 23, 2011

“Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).


One of the problems every preacher faces is the fact that modern people usually have a very limited vocabulary. They just don’t know very many English words. Take the word “hindered” in our text. How many of you could use it in everyday conversation? Probably only a few. No use looking at a modern translation like the NASV. As is so often the case, that translation uses an even more difficult word, “thwarted.” Ridiculous! These translators are in an ivory tower. They have no idea what words the common man uses. The NIV translates the Greek word as “stopped.” But that isn’t quite right either! The Greek word translated “hindered” in our text means to “impede, detain” (Strong).

As usual, we are better off with the King James Bible, because we can look up the word “hindered” in a dictionary and get the meaning of it, for “hindered” is the best English word to translate the Greek word in the Bible.

The Penguin Dictionary of English Synonyms (Omega Books, 1986) sheds light on the meaning of the English word “hinder” as “prevent temporarily.” Or, we could say, “stopped temporarily.” That is the idea of the Greek word in the Bible. Satan stops us only temporarily. “Satan hindered us.” The name “Satan” means “adversary” or “opposer.” Satan was the opposer of Paul, because the Devil has always sought to stop the work of God, though he can only do so temporarily.

Paul, and Silas, and Timothy desired to visit the church at Thessalonica, but Satan stopped them from doing so. Spurgeon said that “Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart...This is not the only occasion in which Satan has hindered good men: indeed this has been his practice in all ages, and we have selected this one particular incident that some who are hindered by Satan may draw comfort from it” (C. H. Spurgeon, “Satanic Hindrances,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1979 reprint, volume 11, pp. 601, 602). The whole text says,

“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).

Paul and his partners wanted to visit the church at Thessalonica, but “Satan hindered us.” Satan stopped them from going there temporarily. We can apply this verse to everyone here this evening, both the saved and the lost.

“Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).

I. First, Satan has always tried to hinder the work of God.

Satan has tried to hinder the work of God throughout history. Look at what Satan did to hinder Job. Satan did terrible things to Job. Satan tried very hard to hinder Job. He tried to get Job to “curse” God (Job 1:11). Satan moved the Sabeans to kill all of Job’s children. Satan killed Job’s sheep, cattle and servants. Then Satan “smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2:7). And Satan moved Job’s wife to say to him, “curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). Spurgeon said, “The trial through which Job passed, brought the lustre of his matchless endurance in submission and resignation to God” (ibid., p. 603).

Satan sought to hinder Moses, and keep him from leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Satan moved Joseph’s brothers to sell him as a slave to the Egyptians to hinder him from doing what God wanted him to do. Undoubtedly Satan hindered many of the Old Testament saints, who “wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews 11:38). Satan moved Judas to betray Christ, “Then entered Satan into Judas” (Luke 22:3). And the Apostle Peter said to us Christians,

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (I Peter 5:8-9).

Is it any different today? Of course not! Satan attempts to hinder Christians today, just as he did in Bible times! We must rise up as soldiers of Christ, and beat back the Devil by prayer and consecration! “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Sing it!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus going on before:
Christ the royal Master leads against the foe;
   Forward into battle, see His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus going on before.
(“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

II. Second, Satan uses many ways to hinder Christians.

Satan wants to hinder you from being all you could be as a Christian. Satan uses many methods to hinder Christians from doing the work of God. In Romans 15:22, the Apostle Paul said to the Christians in Rome, “I have been much hindered from coming to you.” That is the same Greek word used in our text, “Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).

Now if Satan hindered the Apostle Paul from doing God’s work at Thessalonica and Rome, don’t you think he will also try to stop you temporarily from doing the Lord’s work? Of course he will!

Satan will attempt to hinder you from praying earnestly. When you are praying earnestly, Satan often puts a thought in your mind, tempting you to think it is no use to continue praying. Satan often makes us think our prayers are useless. As the hymn writer of the 18th century, William Cowper (1731-1800) said,

What various hindrances we meet
In coming to the mercy seat.

Then also, Satan will attempt to hinder you in winning souls. He will tempt you to think that there is no use, that no one will come in and be saved. He will hinder your soul winning efforts by putting doubts in your mind. He will attempt to hinder your efforts to win souls by reminding you of others you tried to win who fell away from the church. He will say to you, “See how you failed to win that soul? It will always be that way. You will always fail.” Those are Satanic thoughts, put into your mind by the Devil himself! Satan works very hard to hinder your prayers. And he does his best to hinder your soul winning efforts.

Christian, always keep in mind that “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 6:12-13). Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “The devil...tries to depress us” (Spiritual Depression, Eerdmans, 1999 reprint, p. 108).

All of us go through periods of depression. But those who remain stedfast are the ones who don’t quit. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said, “The test of a man’s character is what it takes to stop him.” Let us press on in the work of God no matter how much Satan tries to hinder us! Let us say with the Apostle Paul,

“But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Let us rise up as soldiers of Christ, and beat back the Devil by prayer and consecration! Remember, there is a great promise given to us in the Bible, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Do it! Resist the Devil as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ! “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Sing it!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus going on before:
Christ the royal Master leads against the foe;
   Forward into battle, see His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus going on before.

“Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).

III. Third, Satan uses many ways to hinder the lost.

If you are still lost, don’t you think Satan will do all he can to stop you from being saved? First, “the devil...taketh away the word out of [your] hearts, lest [you] should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). We preach the word of God to you. Then we give you a printed copy of the sermon to take home and read. Do you listen carefully to the preaching when I speak? Do you go over the printed sermon when you go home? I think many of you do not. You toss the printed sermon aside without reading it over and over, and thinking deeply about it. Thus you allow the Devil to “[take] away the word that was sown in [your heart],” Mark 4:15. I am convinced that many of you have been hindered from being saved because you do not listen intently to the preaching, as though your whole life depended on it.

Or, perhaps, the Devil tells you, “You don’t need to listen carefully to the preaching. You can always read the sermon when you get home.” Ah, what a Satanic trick! No wonder you are not yet converted! The Bible says that you are saved by hearing the Gospel! The Bible says,

“How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

“So then faith cometh by hearing” (Romans 10:17).

A few are saved by reading sermons, but they are few indeed. In Christian history the only two I can think of who were saved by reading a sermon were Augustine and James Hudson Taylor. Every other great Christian, from Dr. John Sung, to Miss Gladys Aylward; from the Apostle Paul to Dr. John R. Rice; was saved by hearing a Gospel sermon!

Nearly everyone who is saved in our church was saved directly after hearing a sermon. I said, “directly after” – not days or weeks afterwards. Oh, no! That gives Satan far too much time to take the word out of your heart, and hinder you from being saved. Dr. A. W. Tozer had never heard a Gospel sermon. He was just a teenager when he heard a man preaching on a street corner on judgment, Hell, and salvation through Christ. Tozer ran home, went up to the attic, and fell on his face. Weeping with conviction, he came to Christ. He became one of the great preachers of the twentieth century.

There is a Devil. Satan wants to keep you for himself. You must see your horrible condition. You must feel the weight of your sin. You must flee to Christ, for He is the only one with Blood to cleanse you from sin, and present you clean and righteous to a holy God. Come to Jesus. Come to Him now! Resist the Devil, and come to Christ! Sing hymn number 8 on your song sheet, “I Am Coming, Lord.”

I hear Thy welcome voice That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
   For cleansing in Thy precious blood That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
   Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.
(“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Peter 5:5-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“He Who Would Valiant Be” (by John Bunyan, 1628-1688).


THE OUTLINE OF

SATANIC HINDRANCES

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).

I.   First, Satan has always tried to hinder the work of God,
Job 1:11; 2:7, 9; Hebrews 11:38; Luke 22:3; I Peter 5:8-9.

II.  Second, Satan uses many ways to hinder Christians,
Romans 15:22; Ephesians 6:12-13; Philippians 3:13-14;
James 4:7.

III. Third, Satan uses many ways to hinder the lost, Luke 8:12;
Mark 4:15; Romans 10:14, 17.