October 2002 New Horizons

Satan's Malevolent Strategy: Divide and Conquer

Download PDFDownload ePubArchive

"For Still Our Ancient Foe Doth Seek to Work Us Woe"

John Calvin urged, "We have been forewarned that an enemy relentlessly threatens us, an enemy who is the very embodiment of rash boldness, of military prowess, of crafty wiles, of untiring zeal and haste, of every conceivable weapon and of skill in the science of warfare. We must, then, bend our every effort to this goal: that we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by carelessness or faintheartedness, but, on the contrary, with courage rekindled stand our ground in combat." The place to begin in preparing to stand against Satan and his hosts is with a knowledge of Satan himself, in both his strengths and weaknesses. And the place to begin knowing about Satan is with the fact that he is both real and personal. The Devil Is Real and Personal He is real in that he is not a figment of the human imagination. He is personal in that he is not merely some vague embodiment of evil. Jesus bore witness to these truths when he referred to the devil by name (Matt. 4:10; 16:23; Luke 22:3) and when he ... Read more

The Diabolical Armor!

Diabolical armor! It sounds horrible, grotesque, demonic. What is it? The term comes from John Bunyan's little book The Holy War , in which he describes how the city of Mansoul falls under the power of the tyrant Diabolus. When news of the fall of Mansoul reaches the court of the great king, El Shaddai, he publishes the following proclamation: Let all men know who are concerned, that the Son of Shaddai, the great King, is engaged by covenant to his Father to bring his Mansoul to him again; yea, and to put Mansoul, too, through the power of his matchless love, into a far better and more happy condition than it was in before it was taken by Diabolus. This proclamation deeply troubles Diabolus, and he takes several steps to retain Mansoul in his possession, one of which is to issue diabolical armor. In this imaginative and insightful way, Bunyan shows how the unregenerate heart arms itself against the gospel. The armor consists in the following pieces, none of which look archaic or obsolete to us ... Read more

Confession from the Pulpit

I couldn't believe my pastor was going to air his dirty laundry from the pulpit. How can he do this? I thought. I've finally gotten Cindy to come to church—this will not impress her! Cindy was a secretary at the law firm where I was working as an intern during law school. I had been inviting her to church for nearly three months, hoping that she would come to know Christ through the teaching and fellowship there. But as soon as we took our seats, my plans began to fall apart. Pastor Woods stepped to the pulpit and said, "Before we begin our worship today, there is some unfinished business we need to deal with. Would Kent please come up here?" Oh, no! I groaned to myself as I remembered last week's adult Sunday school class. Pastor Woods and Kent, one of our elders, had gotten into an intense debate. They had both resorted to sarcasm, which left the class sitting in an awkward silence. Apparently Pastor Woods had stewed over it all week, and now he was going to admonish Kent in front of the whole ... Read more

On Charity

While preaching through 1 Corinthians recently, I was struck by chapters 8 through 10. There, the apostle Paul addresses idolatry. Apparently, some people in the Corinthian church had taken to attending feasts in idol temples, eating food that had been offered to idols; that is, they were participating in the worship of pagan deities. They had somehow convinced themselves that since idols were not really gods, any "worship" of them was meaningless, and thus a Christian could take part in these meals without compromising his confession (1 Cor. 8:4-8). Indeed, such attendance was to them proof of Christian maturity, since it showed that one fully grasped the doctrine of monotheism and accordingly had no fear of false gods. Those who went to these feasts were, in their own estimation, the "strong" Christians, and those who stayed away were the weak ones. Not surprisingly, Paul condemns this thinking most vigorously. After all, the second commandment says, "You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or ... Read more

On Controversy

Editor's note: A minister, about to write an article criticizing a fellow minister for his lack of orthodoxy, wrote to John Newton of his intention. Newton replied as follows: Dear Sir, As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with a natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory. I am not therefore anxious for the event of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of mail; such armor, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul's, that it ... Read more

The Four Promises of Forgiveness: Tearing Down the Walls That Threaten Community for Children

As a former school teacher and counselor, I have witnessed countless disputes in the classroom, on the playground, and in my students' homes. I have also seen the effectiveness of God's peacemaking principles in each setting. One student confessed to stealing from a teacher and offered double restitution. Another student took responsibility for assaulting a principal and willingly accepted the resulting discipline. A third appealed successfully to her divorced parents to change a painful custody arrangement. Like dozens of others, these students had learned to respond to conflict in a biblical manner. Basic Convictions We need to have some basic convictions as teachers in order to guide our students down the path of the peacemaker. First, God's Word is totally reliable and amazingly practical. The Bible not only commands us to live at peace with others, but also provides detailed guidance on how to carry out that sometimes difficult task. Second, conflict is not necessarily wrong or ... Read more


+1 215 830 0900

Contact Form

Find a Church