PHBC December 19, 26, 1999

Series: First Peter, Sermon #86

REJOICE, SATAN DOES HAVE LIMITATIONS


TEXT: 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

INTRO: On the past two Sunday mornings I have sought to warn you about the wiles of the devil. I have told you that Satan wants to devour you. And we do need to beware and be warned about Satanís devices.

However, this morning I want to offer you some encouragement about Satan. I want to point out his limitations. There is a limit to what he can do and that limit will be revealed as we study his limitations.

I. THE FIRST LIMITATION IS THAT SATAN IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF GOD AND MUST GIVE REPORTS TO GOD OF HIS ACTIVITIES

A. When he came into the presence of God and made his accusations against Job, he was there because he was required to be. Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

B. Satan hates God and is the ruler of darkness and coming into the presence of God and reporting on his activities is the last thing he would want to do.

C. He must come regularly before God to report to him. Job 2:1-6 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. 4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

II. THE SECOND LIMITATION IS THAT SATAN CANNOT TOUCH ONE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD WITHOUT DIVINE PERMISSION

A. He complained that God had a hedge about Job and he could not touch him without that hedge being removed. Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

B. He could not sift Peter as wheat without the permission of Jesus Christ. Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.

C. As a lion he may seek to attack us but he cannot touch us until he has come to Christ with his desire to do so.

III. THE THIRD LIMITATION OF SATAN IS THAT WHEN HE HAS PERMISSION TO ATTACK ONE OF GODíS CHILDREN, WHAT HE CAN DO IS LIMITED TO THAT WHICH WILL BE FOR OUR GOOD

A. He could get permission to sift Peter as wheat but he could not obtain permission to burn Peter as chaff. Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.

B. That whatever Satan does to us is for our good is evident from Romans 8:28 and let us not forget that. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

C. Every trial through which he gains permission to put us results in a further purifying of our lives. 1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

D. These trials through which Satan is allowed to put us will result in greater rejoicing in the presence of Christ. 1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christís sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

E. Job was convinced that when his trial was over he would come forth as gold. Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

F. David was convinced that the trials he endured would be for his good and the good of all saints who were put through trials. Psalm 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. 11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. 12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

G. The tribulations through which Satan may put us should work greater Christian graces in our lives. Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

H. Fear not those trials to which Satan will subject you, he can do nothing that God will not be able to work our for our good. Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

IV. THE FOURTH LIMITATION OF SATAN IS THAT HE CANNOT TAKE US BEYOND OUR HIGH PRIESTíS INTERCESSION

A. Satan desire to have Peter to sift him and Christ did not deny him that desire but he did pray for Peter that his faith would not fail. Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

B. Peter was too self-dependent and God must teach him his total reliance on him. Luke 22:31-34 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

C. Satan cannot take us beyond the limits of our great intercessor for he ever lives to make intercession for his people. Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

1. His life is a powerful, endless life and Satan cannot reach that far. Hebrews 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

2. His priesthood is unchangeable and Satan cannot change that. Hebrews 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

D. Satan cannot take us beyond the reach of Christís intercession because Christ is ever present with God as our intercessor and Satan can only come there when ordered to do so by God. Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.

E. Satan cannot reach beyond the will of our intercessor for his will is sovereign and he has willed that we be in glory with him to behold his glory. John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

F. Satan would condemn us if he could but only our great intercessor can condemn us. Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

G. There come times in our lives that God must bring us down and shut us up to total dependence on him and he often uses Satan to do just that but Satanís power to destroy and devour never goes beyond the power of Christís intercession.

1. Satan stood up against Israel and caused David to sin in numbering them. 1 Chronicles 21:1-2 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 2And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.

2. But, he did not go beyond Godís own purpose and will in this. 2 Samuel 24:1-2 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. .

V. THE FIFTH LIMITATION OF SATAN IS THAT HE CANNOT TOUCH OUR LIVES

A. He cannot cause us to habitually practice sin if we are truly a child of God. 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

B. When it comes to destroying our lives and killing us, Satan cannot do that. 1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

C. He cannot even cause us physical harm without divine permission. Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

D. The issues of death belong to God and he will never allow Satan the power of death over his children. Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

VI. THE SIXTH LIMITATION OF SATAN THAT SHOULD NOW BE OBVIOUS IS THAT HE IS NOT EQUAL WITH GOD

A. He is by no means omnipotent. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

B. He is not omnipresent and cannot be everywhere at the some time. Matthew 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

C. He is not omniscient; he does not know everything. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

D. Not being equal with God, he cannot outwit God nor overpower him.

1. He was cast out of heaven. Isaiah 14:12-14 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! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

2. He cannot devise a temptation that is so great that God cannot deliver us from it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath 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 ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

CONC: There is great comfort in understanding the limitations of Satan. But, do not become complacent; he can hurt you even though it will be for your good. The admonition of Paul is certainly a good one. Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil. And, the admonition of Peter in our text. 1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

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