“Satan is only God’s master fencer to teach us to use our weapons.”
Many times, the cry of the Christian who is in the midst of trials is, ‘Lord, deliver me.’ This is often a prayer doomed to fail. Why? Because it runs contrary to the instructions we have received from Jesus. He taught the twelve disciples to pray as follows, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt. 6:13, some translations, “from the evil one”) The deliverance that God provides for us is often manifested through the community of believers. The communion of the saints creates a shield that hinders the wily temptations of Satan. We know that where two or three are gathered, Jesus affirms his presence. (Matt. 18:20) It is his presence in the midst of his people that drives the devil and his demons like swine over perilous cliffs.
We take our spiritual lives into our own hands when we decide to go it alone. It is the believer in isolation from other believers that is most vulnerable to the attack of our common enemy. Pastor George Swinnock writes, “Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy.” (Puritan Golden Treasury, 77) He tempted Jesus while the Son of God was alone in the wilderness. (Matt. 4) He offered the forbidden fruit to Eve while she was alone in the garden. (Gen. 3) He tempted David while he was alone on his roof. (2 Sam. 11) The Christian in isolation is the one asking for temptation.
The solution to the vexing trial of temptation is not found in the purposeless assembling together of believers. The gathering together of believers must be “in his name.” The group’s purpose and actions must be Christ-centered and Christ-honoring. The enemy does not automatically run when he sees a group of Christians. Rather he turns from serpent to slanderer and seeks to divide the group. Our enemy slanders men in the presence of God, e.g. Job. He slanders God in the presence of men, e.g. Eve. And he delights in pitting believers against each other. He is a resourceful enemy and will attempt to plant his slanderous seed even in the form of a mild, negative thought. Let us be on our guard against our common enemy. With our need for community in mind, I want to invite the church members and others who might be interested to participate in The Road’s small group ministry. It is almost always painless and sometimes includes food. Small groups are starting soon (Sept. 9th), please see pastor Charles or pastor Dale if you are interested in joining one. Have a blessed week and see you Sunday!
Love in Christ,