February 26, 2023 Grace United Church Northampton

How to Withstand Satan's Attacks

How to Withstand Satan's Attacks

Have you noticed entertainers using occult symbols in their “art.” Nothing new. But when Sam Smith tweeted that his Grammy performance would be special, CBS tweeted in response that the network was “ready to worship.” 

This was an interesting choice of words since Sam Smith, Kim Petra and their dancers were decked out as Satan and demons, dressed in latex, a bright red stage, fire, and women in cages, performing the song, “Unholy.” From the little I saw it was blatantly demonic and a bit been-there-done-that boring. But no doubt, that was straight up devil worship on national TV. Again.

Madonna did a recent photo shoot for Vanity Fair that was likewise dark, demonic. What’s interesting is when criticized, Madonna said, “My work as an artist united people, gave them freedom of expression, unity. It was the mirror of Jesus’ teachings.”

That is what is so deceptively dangerous: believing we are serving Jesus while supporting Satan. 

Satan's influence is not just in Hollywood. It’s everywhere—online, on-air. Over Big Tech, Big Pharma. Wall Street. Main St. FOX. CNN. ESPN. The progressive movement. The Republican Party. The Democrat party. The Communist party. The NBA. The KKK. BLM. CRT. Capitalism. Marxism. Socialism. Universities. Elementary classes. Abortion clinics. Hospitals…

The battle is real. Throughout Ephesians, Paul has referred over and over to a spiritual battle. Spiritual powers and authorities. Spiritual sides are drawn. 

He’s referred to, “The spiritual rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” 

He warned of the devil as, “The prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is even now working in the sons of disobedience.” 

Jesus Himself warned that Satan seeks only to kill, steal, and destroy. Yet He has come that we may have life, and have it abundantly. The enemy is real.

  • How do we stand against Satan’s efforts to rob us of our spiritual blessings? 

  • How do we withstand his bids to keep us from loving and obeying Jesus? 

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

This isn’t a command to charge after Satan but to draw near to God, be strong in the Lord—for you cannot stand against him on your own. 

First, realize the battle. The stakes. 

Then, take your stance in Christ! Be strong, lit., “Be strengthened in the Lord.” Find your strength in your relationship with Jesus, in Christ, in who He is.

Paul prayed earlier,

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Find your strength also in your identity in Christ.

Rely—not just on His might—but "on the strength of His might." Trust how powerful He is.

Our priority is to know and love Jesus with all your mind and heart and body. This is what is attacked. This is what we don’t want to lose. Therefore,

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Notice, your goal is simply to STAND FIRM against Satan’s schemes. Satan's lies. Stand firm in Christ. Hold your ground. Don’t cede a thing to the enemy.

Satan’s tactics include deceiving, tempting, and accusing.

His method is to twist truth, exchange it for lies, and deceive us—not just into sin—but into thinking we don’t need God, or what we want to do is wiser, more loving, or smarter. So that we trust and follow our will, still thinking that we are honoring God.

Afterward, he sweeps in and accuses, shames, and condemns us. And that leads to deeper darkness.

This is the battle. Satan’s plan is to dislodge you from trusting and loving, obeying Jesus. So your top priority is to trust and love Jesus with all your heart and all your mind and your strength (body).

But Satan is diametrically opposed to God, His Word, and those who love Him. I'm convinced he's opposed to any human flourishing.

He brings darkness but he calls it light. He uses people—culture, experts, influencers—to lie to you. Manipulate you into adopting ungodly beliefs, values. That Christians question even disagree with God, i.e., distrust Him…

For whenever you disagree with God, you distrust God, and you won’t follow, won’t worship, and won’t obey. And Satan robs you of spiritual blessings like peace, joy, humility.

Ephesians 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

Practiced in the art of deception, the devil takes good things yet satan calls them evil. Satan takes evil things, what God calls unholy, unnatural, and calls them good, loving. And any deviation is to be punished.

  • What is Satan attacking today? What lies are being championed?

  • What does God call evil that society now tries to convince everyone is good?

  • What does God say is good but the world tries to convince us is evil?

In a twisted, not so subtle way, we are told, in the name of love, or for the sake of the gospel—we're to affirm whatever society endorses, for people’s mental health, or physical safety, we should endorse what God warns against, and essentially give God's blessing and encourage people to continue in these. Again, serve Satan in the name of Jesus.


Much of Satan’s strategy is to conform you to think and live as unbelievers. 

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light. 

Again the main thing for you is to love and trust Jesus, and resist Satan’s lies.

1 Peter 5:8 … Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith… 

James 4:7 Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 

For some, this calls for feisty resistance. It calls for a subversive resistance. 

Back to Sam Smith dressed in red latex pants and devil horns on stage. It was meant to be subversive, to shock us! It promoted Satan, and Sam Smith, I never heard of him, but came across as predictable and sad and boring.

It is hardly shocking at all to call oneself a witch or a satanist or to flash some illuminati symbol. It is no longer subversive to call oneself a socialist, to drive a Prius, or for a man to dress like or even to call himself a woman. Why not? Because these are no longer fringe. Or as fringe as they may be they are touted as "normal." These no longer represent the resistance, but the Empire.

These are no longer subversive or shocking because they no longer represent the resistance, but the Empire.

Do you want to be subversive today, to go against the Empire, the system, group-think? Then openly love and worship Jesus.

Feeling rebellious, subversive, then share the good news of God’s love and salvation in Christ with those who feel God hates them. If the empire hates God and silences those who disagree with them, be subversive by declaring holy, life-giving truths, and for loving, respecting, forgiving those who hate us. It’s more shocking, and more powerful to love our enemies. 

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

We see people. We know their names. We know the causes. But the problems in our world are not solely the result of bad players, bad policies, foolish politicians, poor education, racist founders. The problem is there are spiritual powers, and people are led, and rejecting Jesus, captive to do their will.

Our struggle is not against any person, but against the spiritual rulers, the demonic powers of darkness, the demons who tempt and destroy, lie and spread lies, who seek to kill, steal, and destroy.

The final solution is the return of Jesus. His is the victory. But until then, God equips us with His Word, Faith, the Church, and His Holy Spirit in us. 

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 

THERE IS HOPE. Even now. And it’s in Jesus Christ. 

When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus didn’t attack Satan. He put on the armor of God. He stood against the devil’s lies, Satan intentionally misinterpreted Scripture and tempted Jesus to act independent of God. Jesus resisted by standing on God’s Word. Then telling Satan to depart!

We cannot bury our head in the sand. Too many Christians are like in the Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: Theoden says, “I will not risk open war.” To which Aragorn said, “Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.” 

So, how do we stand against Satan’s bids to rob us of our spiritual blessings? 

Be alert to the spiritual battle before you.

Realize too, your chief aim is to trust and love and honor Jesus. That's life.

And that's where the battle lies.

Since Satan’s whole plan is to dislodge you from trusting and loving and obeying Jesus, take your stance in Christ! Find strength in your relationship with Jesus, find strength in your identity in Christ—and feistily, even subversively resist Satan’s lies.

His lies are attacks on your faith, and really, on God’s goodness, and love.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look closer at each piece of armor that we may stand. These include our free gift of salvation, the truth, righteousness, the Good News, God’s Holy Word, faith, and prayer.