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Sermon Quotes: "Our Prowling Adversary"

“For a full understanding of the early church we need to read The Acts of the Apostles and The Book of Revelation side by side. Both tell much the same tale of the church and its experience of conflict, but from a different perspective. Luke in the Acts chronicles what unfolded on the stage of history before the eyes of observers; John in the Revelation enables us to see the hidden forces at work. In the Acts human beings oppose and undermine the church; in the Revelation the curtain is lifted and we see the hostility of the devil himself…As soon as the Spirit came upon the church, Satan launched a ferocious counter-attack. Pentecost was followed by persecution…Now I claim no very close or intimate familiarity with the devil. But I am persuaded that he exists, and that he is utterly unscrupulous. Something else I have learned about him is that he is peculiarly lacking in imagination. Over the years he has changed neither his strategy, nor his tactics, nor his weapons; he is still in the same old rut. So a study of his campaign against the early church should alert us to his probable strategy today. If we are taken by surprise, we shall have no excuse.” John Stott

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.” C.S. Lewis

“So many Christians in the West live as though the story of creation involved in the main just two characters, God and ourselves.” Graham Cole

“We catch but occasional glimpses of this shadowy opponent. This should not surprise us. As divine revelation, the Bible exists to give us a deeper understanding of God. It is not designed to promote knowledge of the enemy, beyond what is necessary for comprehending the world in which we live and our own experience of it.” T. Desmond Alexander

“When you wake up in the morning, what do we expect our day to be like? We may, of course, have expectations for a particular day, the prospect of a good party or apprehension about a visit to the dentist. But in general what do we expect from a normal day? For a Christian, what ought to be our idea of the normal Christian life? This is important because our idea of normality will govern whether we end up delighted or disappointed at the end of the day…Every morning we ought to wake up and say to ourselves, ‘There is a vicious, dark spiritual battle being waged over me today. Satan is very busy, wherever on earth there is a believer walking with God in loving fear. So here is one inescapable element of the normal Christian life: warfare.” Christopher Ash

“Our suffering time is his busiest working-time, many a dismal suggestion he then plants, and grafts upon your afflictions which are more dangerous to us then the affliction itself.” John Flavel

“Satan cannot ultimately destroy a Christian believer. But he is well able to destroy our assurance and our joy-our pleasure in the gospel. So we need to find in the grace of God a defense against those fiery darts of the Evil One…The most sinister thoughts Satan insinuates into our minds are not enticements to sin but suspicions about God himself…He seeks to distort our view of God and our understanding of His gracious character…Satan’s plan is to blind us to God’s grace and to diminish our trust in Him, crushing our love for Him and destroying all the pleasures of grace.” Sinclair Ferguson

“The danger to the Christian is not that he is helpless but that he will fail to resist.” Ed Clowney
“To cower before the devil is to invite sure defeat; resistance in faith procures his flight. Scripture urges believers to flee from various evils, but nowhere are they advised to flee from the devil. In their inner attitude, Christians should stand firm and unyielding like granite in resisting Satan.” Edmond Hiebert

“My dear friend, it is high time that you cease relying on and pursuing your own thoughts…Your thoughts should yield to this divine will, be obedient to it, and not doubt that your thoughts, being in conflict with God’s will, were forcibly inserted into your mind by the devil. Consequently you must resist them sternly and either suffer them or eradicate them with like force…And if it is hard for you to do this, imagine that you are held fast and bound by chains and that you must work and sweat yourself out of their strangle hold by powerful exertions. For the darts of the devil cannot be removed pleasantly and without effort when they are so deeply embedded in your flesh. They must be torn out by force. Accordingly you must be resolute, bid yourself defiance and say to yourself wrathfully: ‘Begone, you thoughts of the devil.’” Martin Luther“By all means flee solitude, for the devil watches and lies in wait for you most of all when you are alone.” Martin Luther

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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