Many years ago I heard a chapel sermon that has affected me ever since. I remember writing down the four major points on a scrap of paper. Years later I found the paper and thought again about what I had heard.
The sermon was entitled, “The Four Ways Satan Tempts Us.” This sermon was in a seminary chapel service so it was primarily preached for people like me, people who serve in Christian ministry.
I don’t recall all the four points. I think I recall the first three correctly, but I am certain about the fourth point.
This is the way the sermon went. The one major idea was “How Satan Tempts Us.” The first three points were the following and they were very insightful.
First, Satan tempts us by our taking spiritual things lightly. When we don’t spend time with God in prayer and Scripture and when we don’t take the things of God seriously, we are in grave danger. There is no doubt why the preacher made this the first point of the four. Time spent with God helps keep us from sin. Recently I wrote about “The Urgency of Being Filled with the Spirit.” It is imperative that we seek God to lead us.
If we neglect God, we open ourselves to all kinds of sin. You and I were not designed to live on our own or by our will. God gave us the Spirit as counselor and guide. Making spiritual things common place and mundane leads to all kinds of sin.
Second, poor use of time. For a pastor, this is especially dangerous. It leads to cutting corners and living apart from God.
Third, the lust of the flesh. While many people might make this first or last, the preacher put it here for a purpose.
He then described the last thing Satan says to us.
Fourth, Satan reminds us of “What a mess you have made of your life.” In some sense, this is Satan’s last words to us. He has done his work and left us to our own devices.
Jesus reminded us that Satan is a deceiver, liar, murderer, and accuser. He wants us to think that we are beyond help and without options. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Some of his greatest destruction comes when we are convinced that our lives are even beyond the help of God.
Satan comes to destroy, but God sent His Son to heal and to save. He desires that no one should perish, and He seeks to make us new by His power. He gives grace and love and redeems even the worst.
While Satan has last words, our Lord has the last word.