1st John 3:8, 10, &12 THE WILES OF THE DEVIL

1. Introduction

As we read this epistle we cannot help but be aware of the fact of a personal devil

1. In this letter he is called the "devil" four times (3:8, 10)

a. the wicked one four times (2:13; 3:12; 5:18 and 19)

b. "He that is in the world" once (4:4)

2. From Genesis to Revelation he appears in various forms and is identified by different names

a. he is called adversary once

b. Beelzebub seven times - Belial 17 times

c. Devil forty times - Dragon twelve times

d. Satan fifty one times - Serpent 12 times

3. These plus other references to him such as:

a god of this world

b. prince of power of the air

c. all add up to not less than 179 references in the Bible to a personal devil

II. The Devils Program (I John 2:13; 3:8, 10, 12; 4:4 and 5:18)

A. In 3:8 we are told that his program., purposes and designs are totally evil

1. In this verse we are told he was the original sinner

a. sin was exclusive of God's original creation and therefore external to the first human

b. sin began with the rebellion of Lucifer, one of God's created cherubim, as a result of this angelic rebellion (1/3 of angels fell)

he became the Devil

c. this can be found in Isaiah 14:12-15

2. His original and majestic before his fall can be found in Ezekiel 28:12-19

a. the phrase "from the beginning" refers back to the invasion of sin into the moral universe.

B. It says, "He sinneth from the beginning"

1. The tense of the verb denotes that which began in the past and continues into the present

2. He not only sinned in the beginning, he just keeps on sinning

C Satan's diabolical program is presented in a panoramic view in Isaiah 14.

1. he is seen "to weaken the nations" that "made the earth to tremble", "who shook kingdoms"

2. He made the earth a wilderness and destroyed the cities thereof

a. strife and wars with their devastating aftermath are often attributed to Satan

b. this is pinpointed in our text (3:12)

D. In this verse we have the beginning of the history murder and war

1. The murderer is said to be of the wicked one

a. the words "wicked one" are a translation of poneros meaning active evil which is in apposition to the good

b. we derive our word pernicious from it which means harmful, injurious, destructive

c. this means that wicked people have allowed Satan to control them and foster his evil purposes

2. The point I want us to establish in our minds is that Satan's program is one of hatred and murder

a. his overriding desire is to destroy humanity and his reason for doing that is because God loves us

b. what God loves - the wicked one hates

c. Jesus said (John 8:44) he was a murderer from the beginning.

3. Satan is assisted in his program by a host of demons

III. The Devils People (I John 3:8 - 3:10)

A. The devil has his own family and following (John 8:44)

1. In 3:8 and 3:10 we discover the action of Satan's children

2. It is said that they commit sin or more literally they continually practice sin

a. he also said they "do not righteousness" they do not do what is right and pleasing to God

b. they do what pleases themselves and grieves God

c. in Acts 13:10 - a wicked person perverts the right ways of God

3. In the parable of the Sower, Jesus said, the tares are the children of the wicked one, the enemy that sowed them is the devil (Matt. 13:38 - 39)

a. in Eph. 2:2 - the spirit of Satan worketh in the children of disobedience

b. taking these passages who can deny that Satan has his people and a control over them

B. Apart from a personal devil how do you account for the efforts of evil people to corrupt others

1. humanity is divided into two classes, the children of God and the children of the devil

2. the world is divided into two classes, wheat and tares, born ones of God, or children of the devil

IV. The Devil's Prospects

A. Our Epistle does not deal with Satan's doom, that's left for the Book of the Revelation

1. we are going to close our thoughts for this morning with a brief study of Satan's prospect with a Christian

2. his prospects of overcoming a child of God are quite slim (John 2:13)

a. these young men had not reached the peak of Christian experience, nor were they just beginning

b. they were in the middle age of spiritual experience

c. this is the most vulnerable time in our lives

d. some of us know the perils of middle age

3. Those to whom John wrote had faced the tempter and temptations and they had overcome them

a. these Christian warriors had mastered the adversary

b. their secret lay in their relation to the Word (2:14)

c. they had put on the whole amour of God

d. their strength lay in their study of and obedience to the Word of God

4. The strength of soul that comes through the Word of God results in victory over the enemy

B. Another reason why His prospects are poor (3:8)

1. the effect of Christ's work on the Cross was to nullify the works of the devil (Heb. 2:14)

2. The ministry of Christ began with a mighty triumph over the devil - it continued with repeated victories as Christ cast out demons and healed people

a. in all those encounters Christ proved He was greater than the devil

b. by the blood of His Cross, He made possible a way of escape for sinners (4:4)

c. Satan's prospects against us are poor because of the greatness and power of the One who indwells us.

3. Because the Victor abides in us, we can be victors over the evil forces around us

a. there is no doubt that Jesus is strong - we all believe that

b. but remember the scripture says, we are "strengthened with might by His Holy Spirit in the inner man" (Eph 3:16)

C. My friends, we need not be defeated or discouraged nor need we fall into sin

1. We are more than conquerors thru Him that loved us

2. we are not struggling, we are conquering if we rightly understand our position in Christ.