Series: The Way of the Cross; Satan the Accuser
Sunday 6 May 2018 – Kobus Swart
(Luke 9:23); Heb. 12:4-11; (Gal. 6:7); Job 1:6-12; 1 Pet. 5:8; Isa.54:16-17; Prov. 26:2 (Msg); (John 16:11); Luke 18:1-8; 1 John 2; 1 Pet. 2:20; Rev. 12:10-11
We previously spoke about the work of the cross and the way of the cross. The work of the cross refers to the finished works of Jesus, and the way of the cross is the way you and I must walk. We must not confuse the two. When Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23) He was talking about something different. No two people carry the same cross. I pray that there will be clarity as it will help us to fulfil our divine destiny on this earth. Before you were born God had a plan for you, but sadly some never connect with that plan.
Many believers desire to embrace the cross but are confused by the things they meet on the way; things are not right, prayers are not answered. Many ask the question, “Why?” We must identify the sources of difficulty in our lives. Many feel it is the cross they have to bear, but that is not necessarily the case. When we face difficulties we must ask:
- Does it come from God?
- Is it a result of my own choices in life?
- Or does it come from satan?
We should never doubt when certain things happen on our life’s journey; when it comes from God we will know and we will know why. God can sometimes put difficulties on our journey (Heb. 12:4-11). This exhortation is to sons; this should comfort and strengthen us when we go through the disciplining of God, then we know that He is dealing with us as with sons and not illegitimate children. Identify the source of difficulty in your life. Often (as needed), God will discipline us; He is our Father.
The second source of difficulty is normally you. … for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap (Gal. 6:7). If you make wrong choices and wrong decisions, do not blame God if there is a backlash. Reaping is a natural law of cause and effect. One example is if you continue eating wrongly; do not call that your cross when things go wrong in your body. If you eat what you know is wrong, you give the devil the legal right to assault you.
How do I identify something that keeps on harassing me when it comes from the devil? Satan is the hinderer and his methods are legion. Why are some of our prayers not answered? Satan is called ‘the accuser of the brethren’. He accuses us before God day and night (Rev. 12:10). In the Bible, a lot of the language that is used is ‘legal’ language, such as a judge and an advocate. What you and I must not do is give him legal right to accuse us. In Job 1 the sons of God appeared before God in the courts of heaven, and satan was among them (Job 1:6-12). Satan had a hidden agenda. He was waiting for an opportunity to lay a charge against one of God’s children. Satan was given the right, with limitations, to put Job through severe tests. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). That is why you and I must be wide awake.
Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin (Isa. 54:16). What is the purpose of satan? God created the destroyer for a purpose but he cannot go beyond the permission God gives him. Even in that realm of permission, it becomes very difficult for believers to be taunted, charged and especially when we give satan a “legal” right. “And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord (Isa. 54:17). This is what the ‘you’ is referring to – when is it possible for you and me if we are accused, to find out whether we have actually given satan legal ground or whether satan is lying? The accuser always acts from a legal position, and we must not give him a platform or a right. Remove that platform from him; take away that ‘legal right’. You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow(Prov. 26:2 – Msg). Satan’s attack usually involves a curse. It will hurt you when satan has legal ground, but if he does not have legal ground, it will not hurt you. The most obvious legal ground we give satan is that when we have gone through a situation of pain, or we have been hurt, what we must get rid of is anger and unforgiveness and never harbour it in our heart. That gives satan legal ground to accuse us. Repent from your deepest heart to remove the right that the enemy has. Take time before the Lord to find out what legal right you may have given the enemy.
Even after the finished works of Jesus, the disciples were dealing with this; even in the last book of the Bible (Rev. 12:10). Ultimately satan will be destroyed. Paul reminds us that “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet!” (John 16:11; Rom 16:20). He still has this freedom to accuse. The way of the cross has nothing to do with what you sow and what you reap, it has nothing to do with being disciplined by God; it has nothing to do with what satan throws in your way. We need to find out what it means to walk the way of the cross. Here is a key: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” (Luke 9:24)
In 1 John 2 Jesus is referred to as our Advocate. He will stand between us and false accusations. Each believer should find out what his/her cross is. You must identify your cross on this Way of the cross. Jesus said, “Take up your cross” (Luke 9:23). The call to embrace the divine manner of living which is the working of death is a privilege we deliberately choose. It is never imposed on us. The cross Jesus talks about is not the following:
- Incurable disease
- The loss of money
- Not even the loss of a loved one
We become confused and we do not have clarity. We go through a trial and God wants us to become an overcomer, so do not say that it is your “cross”. The cross is to fulfil that specific calling for which God has apprehended you. It comes for you to realize the distinctive ministry for which He has prepared you.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me(Matt. 5:11). If the accusation is true, no blessedness follows! We fool ourselves if we try to turn just punishments against us into a cross and rejoice over that when we should rather repent. The cross is always in the way of righteousness. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favour with God (1 Pet. 2:20). What lesson can we learn from this? The believer is brought again and again to the place of prayer to enquire of the Lord concerning adversity. Make this a priority in your prayer life, to inquire from God concerning the adversity in your life. Do not manufacture false crosses.
Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death (Rev. 12:10-11). This is the lifestyle you and I must live. This is what is going to happen in the final submission, the final demonstration of the kingdom of God.