Sermon:  Overcoming the Enemy's Tactics


Summary:  Satan uses tactics against us to try and destroy our relationship with God and our spiritual growth which includes the desire of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life.  To combat these, we need to grow in our love for God and not the world while recognizing that the world with is pleasures and troubles is passing away but we will remain forever because of our commitment to God.


Text:  1 Jn 2:15-17


Scripture Reading:  1 Pet 5:8-11



1.  How are things?

            a.  Going well? 

- Jamey used to say he was worried

- Going well means Satan going to rear ugly head

            b.  Maybe things not going well?  Difficult time?

2.  Cold say beware at any time

            a.  When going well, could be vulnerable to Satan

            b.  When things are going badly, could be vulnerable

            c.  Can be vulnerable at any time

                        - Lk 4:13 - Satan left Jesus after temptation until opportune time

                        - 2 Cor 11:14 - Satan disguises self as angel of light

                        - 1 Pet 5:8 - Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking

3.  Satan is always on the prowl

            a.  Shows up in most unexpected ways

            b.  Usually in a covert way, low key, we are unaware

            c.  He has many tools he uses against us

4.  Text (1 Jn 2:15-17) - Tactics of Satan


I.  Lust of the flesh

            A.  This is not limited to sexual sin

            B.  Take a closer look at what this means

                        1.  Lust from epiqumia - Desire, lust, passion for

                                    a.  Lk 22:15 - I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover

                                    b.  Rom 7:7 - Law said thou shalt not covet

                                    c.  "Lust" in English is too narrow a word, it is "desire"

                        2.  What kind of desire in this passage?  Desire of the flesh

                                    a.  Flesh means worldly, or worldly minded, unspiritual

                                    b.  1 Cor 3:1-3 - Fleshly means unspiritual, immature

                        3.  (Mk 4:3-8, 13-20) - Parable of the soils

                                    a.  v.19 - Seed gets choked by "desires" for other things

                                    b.  Seed never grows, only thorns, weeds, junk

                                    c.  Can't have seed along with weeds in same place

            C.  ILL:  There are things that just do not go together

                        1.  Think about them

                                    a.  Fish & air; Aluminum foil & microwave oven

                                    b.  Twin children & any sugar based candy

                                    c.  Spouse & another lover

                        2.  Cannot serve God and mammon/money

                                    a.  Will love one and hate the other

                                    b.  Love of God and love of world not go together

                        3.  Seed of God cannot exist along with the weeds

                                    a.  Will love one and hate the other

                                    b.  One has to go in other for the other to flourish

            D.  Get past the metaphor, what are the thorns, the weeds?

                        1.  Seed is the word,  the growth is your relationship to God

                        2.  The thorns are anything that chokes your relationship to God

                                    a.  It when you invest self emotionally elsewhere & not God

                                    b.  Could be a club, activity, home, friends, job, things, etc.

                                    c.  The desire for other things

                        3.  This is the desire of the flesh, and a tactic of Satan

                                    a.  He uses it to focus your affections elsewhere

                                    b.  He uses it to place greater importance elsewhere

                                    c.  He uses it to slowly distance you from God


II.  Lust of the eyes

            A.  Not just lust, but the "desire" of the eyes

            B.  Is this the same as the desire of the flesh?  I overlaps

                        1.  Think about our "eyes" literally and metaphorically

                                    a.  If we have eyes to see, we have understanding

                                    b.  If we are enlightened, our perception of things is good

                                    c.  If we are blinded, in darkness, we do not understand

                        2.  Scripture is full of people who did not understand

                                    a.  Ex 5-6 - Moses told Pharaoh to let my people go

                                                - Pharaoh's response - increased labor, same quota

                                                - Moses complained to God in (5:22f)

                                                - God said all according to plan

                                                - 6:9 People no listen anymore, despondent, hopeless

                                    b.  (1 Kng 19:4, 14, 18) - Elijah on run from Jezebel

                                                - Did God's will, did what was right, life in danger

                                                - Ran to wilderness, said take my life now

                                                - Killed all the prophets, I am the only one left

                                    c.  (Ruth 1:19-21) - Naomi husband and sons die

                                                - Widow with nothing, what is she going to do?

                                                - Goes back home where she was from

                                                - Who village buzzing - Naomi is back!
                                                - She said, "Do not call me Naomi" (delightful) but

  Mara (Bitter) - God dealt bitterly with me, afflicted me

                                    d.  Can you relate to anguish, feel the despair, bitterness?

                                                - Of course, we can read the rest of the story

                                                - We know God doesn't leave them in pit of despair

                                                - They didn't know this, their eyes not see big picture

                        3.  Another way lack of understanding works

                                    a.  When our eyes gaze on grass on other side of fence

                                    b.  Think things always better elsewhere

                                    c.  Think my situation so bad, I can't stand it.  Why me?

                                    d.  What does this do to you?

                                                - Steals your strength, vitality, passion, joy

                                                - You go from doubt, to bitterness, to despair

                                                - Weakens your faith, distance self from God

            C.  ILL:  Knew a lady who had a series of hardships in her life

                        1.  Husband laid off, lost house & live with relatives

                        2.  Couldn't provide what wanted to for children

                        3.  Then one of their children died suddenly of a sickness

                        4.  She was bitter, angry with God, wanted nothing to do with God

                                    a.  But she didn't have much to do with him before

                                    b.  I had to wonder what she was really interested in

                                    c.  Did she want God, or more interested in things God give?

                                    d.  She say, "Why me?"  Other people okay, but not me!

            D.  The desire of the eyes, working this way, is a tool of Satan

                        1.  Wants you to think God not care for you

                        2.  He will use it to make you despair, or bitter

                        3.  He will use it to destroy your faith


III.  Pride of life

            A.  Pride can be one of the hardest to deal with

            B.  What is the pride of life?

                        1.  Synonyms:  big-headedness, conceit, condescension,

     disdainfulness, egotism, haughtiness, hubris, huff, loftiness,

     narcissism, overconfidence, smugness, snobbery, swelled head,

     vainglory, vanity

                        2.  Antonyms:  Humility, modesty, meekness, reserve, modesty

                        3.  Pride is a problem in so many ways

                                    a.  Pride comes between us and God

                                                - Pride keep us from acknowledging sin

                                                - Pride keep us from humbling self before God

                                                - Pride make us want to be our own gods

                                    b.  Pride comes between us and others

                                                - Pride prevent us from depending on others

                                                - Pride keep us from apologizing to others

                                                - Pride makes self number one

                                    c.  Pride comes between us and ourselves

                                                - Pride blinds us to our own faults

                                                - Pride blinds us from pride itself

                                    d.  Prov 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction

                                                - Prov 18:12 - Humility goes before honor

                        4.  We are instructed by God to be humble!

                                    a.  1 Pet 3:8 - Be humble in spirit

                                    b.  Jas 4:6 - God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to

     the humble

c. Prov 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an

    abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be


d. Prov 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of

     the wicked, is sin.

            C.  ILL:  Knew Robert, a man full of pride

                        1.  Never admit he was wrong, or say I'm sorry

                        2.  Wanted to be as good or better than everyone else

                                    a.  Kids misbehave, he got up in front of church and blamed

     everyone else's kids

                                    b.  If his idea not adopted, would walk out of meetings

                                    c.  Very demanding husband and father

                        3.  Today,

a.  He is divorced, children all live with mother

            - Blasted wife for not being good mother

            - Children all will be horrible people, mother's fault

b.  No longer a Christian, left church, they not real Christians

                        4.  He is alone, but he still has his pride

                                    a.  It made a wreck of his family

                                    b.  It made a wreck of his relationship with God

                                    c.  Sad thing, he has too much pride to recognize it

                                    d.  He is extreme example, but illustrate what pride can do

            D.  The pride of life is another tool of Satan to destroy you


IV:  What can you do?  Go on the offensive - Christian Tactic

A.  Don't just passively wait and then react to difficulties and challenges

B.  Allow God to transform the desires of your heart.  How?  (1 Jn 2:15-17)

            1.  v.15 - Don't love things of the world, love God

                        a.  Love for the worldly word and God is not compatible

                        b.  How love God?  Can't love God if not know God

                        c.  What it mean to know and love God?  Huge question

                                    - 1 Jn 2:3 - Know him when keep commandments

                                    - 1 Jn 2:5 - Keep commands, love is perfected in us

                                    - 1 Jn 2:6 - Walk in same manner as he walked

                                                = Not just about commands, but the person

                                                = Jn 14:17 - If know Jesus, we know the Father

                                                = Jn 1:18 Jesus has explained/interpreted God

                        d.  Read the word submissively, especially about Jesus

            2.  v.17 - Recognize the world and its desires are passing away

                        a.  Think about it - Worldly activity, pursuits, accomplishment

      projects, diplomas, awards, house, portfolio, etc

b.  Grand scheme, everything under the sun will be gone

      and forgotten

c.  It also means that difficulties, bitterness, despair, tears of

     life will also pass away

d.  Listen: No matter how hard it gets, it will pass

                        3.  v. 17b - The one who does the will of God will live forever

                                    a.  World with troubles will pass away, but not you     

                                    b.  Question to ask:  - What is God's will for me in this?

- How does God want me to bless others with this?

- What does God want me to give up?

- What does God want me to learn?

- How does God want my heart to feel?

                        4.  In a nutshell, we are talking about spiritual growth

                                    a.  Spiritual growth is not just reactive, but proactive

                                    b.  Greater growth when we are on the offensive

            C.  ILL:  Like the gardening analogy Jesus uses

                        1.  Going on the offensive means tending to the soil of your heart

                        2.  Don't just go around the bad soil

                                    a.  If go around packed ground, rocks, weeds, and thorns,

                                    b.  The weeds will take over

                        3.  Have to root them out, till the soil, remove the rocks, water

            D.  Pull out weeds & thorns, desire for "other things" that choke growth

                        1.  Go on the offensive

                        2.  Will grow to dislike and detest the thorns and weeds

                        3.  We can hate even the garment polluted by the flesh, Jude 23

                        4.  Will love God and the things of God



1.  Go on the offensive will help us to see grass on other side of fence as it is

a.  Not better, in fact, it is a dead end

            b.  We see past the grass, trials, troubles, and fixate on our Lord

2.  Nothing is better than the nearness of God  (inv)

3.  If obeyed Gospel, then go on offensive against Satan's tactics

a.  Whether desire of flesh, of eyes, or pride of life

b.  Weed out the thorns, remove the stones

c.  Love God, not the world, it is passing away

4.  Will restore peace, vitality, passion, and joy in our lives for God