Knowing good from evil
Ministry of Hope
Inspired through the book;
“When the enemy strikes”
by Dr. Charles Stanley
Using Gill’s and MHCC commentaries
In the 24 years of Christianity in my life I have observed a variety of methods dealing with spiritual discomfort in the life of people. Not all of these methods are based on biblical principles and some of them are right out wrong, causing people to be bound instead of being freed from their burdens. In modern popular Christianity we serve a God that has become one of us, a God who is good and does no wrong; all that is taken out of the context of the bible and has been looked at from a human point of view. In reality we have created a God that handles according to human principles. Such a God is not the god of the Bible, but a humanist, which does not lead to freedom, but to bondage and deceit. In this study I want to distinguish the attacks of the enemy from the testing’s God will allow to happen in our life, for good and not for evil.
If we fail to recognize the difference we will take the wrong action and that may lead us to desperation and frustration.
Sorting out good and evil 2
In the previous study we have seen that Satan is real and that He is a real Enemy, when we become Christians we receive by faith as a gift from God the forgiveness of sins. It is then that the Enemy wants to test your faith at once after you received the Word. He will come and test the validity of your conversion, Jesus spoke in;
Matth. 13:19-23, 18 Hear you therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 21 Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundred times, some sixty, some thirty.
Before explaning the parable Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us.
Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sewer is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sewer is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers.
Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground.
Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it.
Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Savior, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system.
Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Hebr 6:8. Worldly cares are great hindrances to our profiting by the word of God.
The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.
Right from the beginning we are engaged in warfare and when you stripp all the surroundings from the battle, we can clearly see that the real battle is to destroy our faith, our whitness, and our reputation and testimony. Paul wrote to Timothy in
Fight the good fight of faith,.... The apostle suggests to Timothy, that he had other business to do than to mind the things of this world; his life was a state of warfare; he was a soldier, and was not to entangle himself with the things of this life; he had many enemies to engage with, as Satan, and his principalities and powers; sin, and the lusts of the flesh; the world, and the men of it, and a great fight of afflictions to endure with them; as also false teachers, with, whom particularly he was to fight the good fight of faith, that so the truth of the Gospel, which they resisted, might continue with the saints.
Every believer will in some way be tempted to choose a differnt pathway to solve his or her problems, it is then that we are tested.
Battle One; Being Temped
We have seen, that right from the beginning the enemy is there to steel the seeds (the gospel) if he has a chance, and we will be tempted to disregard the good news in unbelief. Whatever temptation may come to a child of God, it is never authorized by our heavenly Father.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brothers.
Jesus, after He was filled with the Holy Ghost was driven into the desert to be tempted, many read this as being God doing the tempting, but it was Satan doing the temptation not God.
In the remainder of our life as a Christian this will be the case, in either case we do not receive that which God wanted to bless us with. Even though God has the power to keep us from being tempted, often He allows temptation, but with the temptation, that can be over powering in real times of trouble, He will provide a way of escape from the temptation, so we will not sink under the pressure and sin against God. For we have Jesus who overcame temptation in every way in, so He is able to help those in time of need.
1Kor 10:13 There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Hebr 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebr 2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succor those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succor his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not one soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom.
Everyone that wants to live righteously before God, will be persecuted, sometimes they are the ones in our own family and household, often those closest to us, are used by the enemy to thwart us into compromise in our walk with God.
Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed.
One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins.
There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Savior, Matt 24:9; Matt 24:10. And if these things happen in this life, with Christians, how awful will the day of judgment be!
It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavor to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fighting without and fears within.
Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains!
The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.
1Peter 4:12 -19, 12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:
1Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1Peter 4:14 If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
1Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
1Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
1Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
1Peter 4:19 Why let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.
But here again we can experience the faithfulness of God who allows these sufferings to come to his children, but the apostle Paul which also suffered severe persecution wrote;
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Persecution is allowed by God, but it is done by the world and the enemies of the truth and the gospel, through people and powers and principalities. But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ.
Battle Three; Being Chastised.
This is something difficult to understand and most people avoid the subject, but it very important, it was also in the Old Testament that had a hard time maturing his children, who rejected being reproved and corrected and in doing so got away from God, through resentment and rejection.
Openb 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
As many as I love I rebuke and chasten,.... The persons, the objects of Christ's love here intended are not angels, but the sons of men; and these not all of them, yet many of them, even all who are his own by his Father's gift and his own purchase; and who are called his church, and sometimes represented as such who love him and obey his commands.
As for the nature of his love, it is free and sovereign, everlasting and immutable, and it is matchless and inconceivable, it is strong and affectionate, as his Father loved him.
In the same we are rebuked by Christ, not in a way of wrath, but in a tender manner, in order to bring us under a conviction of our sins and duty, and of our folly in trusting in, or loving any creature more than Christ himself, and of all our wrong ways.
We are chastened by Him, not in a vindictive, but in a fatherly way, which is instructive and teaching to us, and for our own good.
This seems to refer to some afflictions which Christ was about to bring upon this church, by some means or another, to awaken her out of her sloth and security, and which would be in love to her, and the end be to rouse her zeal and bring her to repentance.
Be zealous, therefore, and repent; zeal was what was wanting in this church; which is nothing else than hot, fervent, and ardent love, love in a flame; whereas she was neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, Christ would have her be "zealous" for God; for his cause and interest, for his Gospel, ordinances, and the discipline of his house, and against everything that is evil; against all false worship, all errors in doctrine, all sin and iniquity; and to be zealous of good works, and in the worship of God, both private and public: and "repent"; in an evangelical way, of her lukewarmness , remissness, and supineness; of her pride, arrogance, and vain boastings of herself; and of her self-sufficiency, self-dependence, and self-confidence.
Often we think that the enemy is working against us when in reality it is the Lord doing a work in us, to keep us from error and falling asleep or slipping away into backsliding.
Hebr. 12:1-2 Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebr. 12:2 Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebr. 12: 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
Hebr. 12:4 You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin.
Hebr. 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him:
Hebr. 12:6 For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives.
Hebr. 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?
Hebr. 12:8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards and not sons.
Hebr. 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?
Hebr. 12:10 For they truly
for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit,
that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Hebr. 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.
At this point we have to discern and examine ourselves, before we blame the Devil for the trouble we experience otherwise we might be resisting God, instead of being open for correction and being reproved, for in the end it will produce the fruit of a righteous life.
Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous,.... These words anticipate an objection, taken from the grief and sorrow that comes by afflictions; and therefore how should they be for profit and advantage? The apostle answers, by granting that no affliction "seems" to be joyous, in outward appearance to flesh and blood, and according to the judgment of carnal sense and reason; in this view of afflictions, it must be owned, they do not appear to be matter, cause, or occasion of joy; though they really are, when viewed by faith, and judged of by sanctified reason; for they are tokens of the love of God and Christ; are evidences of son-ship; and work together either for the temporal, or spiritual, or eternal good of the saints
Battle Four, The Trying Of Our Faith
As I have stated in the beginning of this study, that the testing of our faith is inevitable and will come to every child of God in different ways, it is therefore I have shown you from scripture in what ways our faith and trust in God is tested, not because God enjoys it, but it will have eternal value, receiving the crown of life.
Jak 1:2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
Jak 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.
Jak 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Jak 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.
Jak 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Jak 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Jak 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Jak 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
Jak 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
Jak 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it wither the grass, and the flower thereof falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Jak 1:12 Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
It is worth it all to endure all the things God allows to come our way, for righteousness sake and holy living, those are the things we received from God when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, so that by the power of His Holy Spirit in us we are able to overcome the flesh, the world, and the temptation of the enemy.
1Petr 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Petr 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Petr 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Petr 1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Petr 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Petr 1:8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Petr 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Discernment is essential in the life of the believer; we do not always discern or understand what is happening in our lives, some things are strange and come out of nothing, sometimes it is God allowing the enemy to do a work in our lives and sometimes it is God’s Spirit working in and through us. The way we overcome is always the same, submitting to God in the first place, (when we submit, we are saying to God, you are in control, even though I do not fully understand it now, you will help me protect me and guide me. )
Second in every trial, temptation of any kind resist the enemy, for he will always try to thwart the purpose of God in allowing things in our lives and tempt us to sin. Or divert us to a quick fix. Satan is always present to distort every plan and purpose of God for our lives, therefore in conclusion the practical guidelines for keeping the enemy out of every situation, so he will not steel our faith and confidence in God, which has great recompense of reward, (eternal life) and producing the patience we need that we will be steadfast, unmovable in our faith and trust in God, developed over time and through hardship.
Hebr 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions;
Hebr 10:33 Partly, whilst you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst you became companions of them that were so used.
Hebr 10:34 For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Hebr 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.
The just shall live by faith
Hebr 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
Hebr 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Hebr 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back to perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Practical guidelines, by which we can defeat Satan.
On the basis of the salvation God has provided for us, the Scriptures lay out practical guidelines by which we can defeat Satan.
Have Confidence in God. The first decision we must make to be freed from Satan's power is to choose to trust God. We must acknowledge our helplessness, sinfulness, and lost condition. Then we must accept the free gift of salvation He has offered us in Christ and stand before God clothed in His Son's righteousness (Phil. 3:1-9; Titus 3:5).
Submit to God and Resist Satan. Although Christ has given us authority over Satan (1 John 4:4), we can exercise it only as we submit ourselves to God and resist the enemy (Eph. 6:11; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8,9).
Be Aware of Satan's Strategies. Satan can take advantage of us if we are "ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor. 2:11). For example, by harboring anger, we "give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27); by depriving our marriage partner of sexual intimacy, we give Satan an opportunity to tempt us (1 Cor. 7:5); by placing an unqualified man in a position of leadership in the church, we take the chance of making him vulnerable to pride and to "fall into the same condemnation as the devil" and "the snare of the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6,7).
Put on the Armor of God. Using the metaphor of a well-equipped Roman soldier, Paul told how we can be prepared for spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:11-18).
Ø The belt of truth. Since Satan depends on deceit to maintain his power, our first line of defense is always to be truthful. We must never distort or misrepresent the truth, regardless of any advantage we might gain by doing so.
Ø The breastplate of righteousness. Any sin in our life leaves us open to Satan's attack. Even though we are given the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), we must still continually put on the protection of holy living.
Ø The shoes of the gospel of peace. With our feet firmly planted on the truth that we are at peace with God and that He is on our side, we can stand firmly against Satan's attacks.
Ø The shield of faith. In order to quench the "fiery darts" of Satan's temptations, we must trust and believe what God has said about every area of our life.
Ø The helmet of salvation. This is the confidence that there is coming in the future a great victory celebration. It's also referred to as the "hope of salvation" (1 Thess. 5:8). This helmet protects us against Satan's two-edged sword of discouragement and doubt.
Ø The sword of the Spirit. Since the Word of God is the basis of our faith, we need to learn how to wield it with authority. Scripture is our best offensive weapon against the devil (Matt. 4:1-11).
After he described the various elements of the armor, Paul said that we are to be in constant prayer. Prayer expresses our dependence on God. We can fight against Satan only "in the [strength of the] Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10). In the power of Christ with the armor of the Spirit we will be victors.
information on the person of Satan and the way he works
I have a booklet posted on my website; please go to
What is Satan doing