Battle Between Good and Evil

Lesson 4

by Jackie Alston

In my last lesson, I mentioned that ever since Satan's fall from grace, he has been in a constant battle against the Lord for possession of peoples' minds, bodies, and souls to do his evil work. Now I'm going to talk a little bit about that battle between the Lord and Satan, between good and evil, and how it got started.

The story goes, "In the beginning God created." And for six days God created different things. Exactly when the angels were created, the scholars disagree. Some say it was the second day, some say the fifth day, while others say the angels were created before the creation of the world. But all the scholars agreed that the angels were created by God to administer to His will and to glorify Him. The angels were endowed with many fine qualities. They possessed beauty, intelligence, multi-talents, and great power. God also endowed them with the gift of free will; the right to choose between good and evil.

One of God's highest angels called Lucifer used this gift against God. Because of his beauty and wisdom, he got the big head. He became envious and jealous of God, and convinced a third of the angels to side with him to try to overthrow God's throne. Talk about ungrateful! Lucifer didn't realize whatever God makes, He can break. So Lucifer and his band of angels were thrown from Heaven. It's ironic that they tried to take over a "throne" and ended up getting "thrown". But God allowed them to keep all of their powers, all of their talents; but they had absolutely no chance for Redemption.

Lucifer, whose name meant "Light-bearer" became known as "Satan, Prince of Darkness", adversary to God and Man. Everything God loved and stood for, Satan hated and was out to destroy. So you could imagine how Satan would feel about the Son of God who was coming to be man's Redeemer. He would despise Him!

Not long after God rested from His six-day creation, He had to begin work again on man's redemption. For in the Garden of Eden, Satan, in the form of a serpent, convinced Eve that God had lied to them, and caused her to start the "trail of sin." This was a great victory for Satan and I can imagine him gloating, "That was a piece of cake. They haven't seen nothing yet!" So the Battle Between Good and Evil had begun.

Satan wreaked evil everywhere. So much evil that God had to destroy the earth and just about every living creature on it, only to be faced with more evil. Evil was present on every hand. The city of Sodom was destroyed because God couldn't find ten righteous people in the whole city. Evil was deep in the hearts of men. Satan was having a great time! And he was on a long winning streak until........

In a stable, in the little town of Bethlehem, a little baby's wail to clear his lungs caused a scream from Satan that could be heard around the world. He knew man's Redeemer had been born. He knew it was the beginning of his doom.

I'm sure Satan kept an eye on Jesus. He had to watch his enemy. Let's say Satan checked on Jesus when He was twelve years old, a year before Jesus would legally become a man. I'm hoping Satan expected to find Jesus hitting a ball with a stick, climbing a tree, or running behind little girls like the other twelve-year old boys. But instead, he found Jesus sitting in the temple among the scribes; listening, talking, and amazing them at His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the word of God. And I imagine another scream coming from Satan because he knew Jesus was already about His Father's work.

What happens with Jesus between the temple and thirty years of age, we know nothing about. Eighteen years of Jesus' life we know nothing. This has always baffled me. I've often wondered where was He and what was He doing for those eighteen years. There is nothing recorded in the Bible of those years of Jesus' life, so evidently, we don't suppose to know it. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us." But I know Satan knew where Jesus was. He had to watch the enemy. That is why right after Jesus' baptism and forty day fast, Satan was right there with three temptations. He was trying to destroy Jesus' relationship with God and distract Him from His ministry. In my last lesson, I went over that first temptation of turning stones into bread. I won't go over that one again. But Jesus didn't fall for that so that was strike one against Satan.

(I'm using Matthew's order of the second and third temptations). Strike two came when Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and demanded, "If you're the Son of God, jump down there among the crowd. Your God promises that you won't get hurt!" And Jesus said, "I will not tempt God." In other words, Jesus and His Father's relationship was great. Jesus knew if He jumped down there He wouldn't be hurt. He didn't have to prove it. Besides, those people down there were always looking for signs. If Jesus jumped, they would witness a miracle and be compelled to obey Him. Jesus wasn't there to force obedience. He was there to save souls. Jesus wanted to teach them so He could change their hearts. Strike two against Satan.

Next, Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him the Kingdoms of the World, and in so many words offered Him a shortcut. "All this I'll give you, you don't have to go through any suffering; all you have to do is bow down and worship me." I can imagine Jesus answering Satan something like this...."Look, Satan, I'm about to start my ministry so I really don't have time for this, but I got to get you straight here. You may be in control of the Kingdoms of the World, but it's only temporary, you're overstepping your authority. My Father made everything in the Heavens and Earth. The Kingdoms of the World don't belong to you. Besides, they've already been promised to me. My Father promised me dominion from sea to sea. So I'll be a king, but I'm going to be a king later. First, I've got to be a SAVIOR. That's my Father's will and He's the only God I serve."...... Strike three on Satan.

The Bible says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." But I can imagine before he fled from Jesus he had some choice words. "You may have won this round Jesus, but it's not over yet! There's going to be a great tug-of-war between me and you.

Jesus went on to start His ministry--teaching and preaching the Word of God. He taught the disciples how to pray and preached the Sermon on the Mount. He healed the sick and afflicted. He healed a man born blind, cast demons out of Mary Magdalene, and healed ten lepers. He performed miracles, walked on water, changed water to wine, and fed over five thousand with five loaves and two fish. He raised Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, and the widow's son from the dead. He did all kinds of miraculous things.

But while Jesus was healing the afflicted, Satan was afflicting. While Jesus was teaching and preaching the Word of God, Satan was stealing the Word of God from the hearts of men. While Jesus was restoring sight to the blind, Satan was blinding men to the truth. It was an ongoing battle that would culminate in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Satan entered Judas and caused him to lead a multitude of soldiers ready for battle to arrest Jesus.

I can imagine Jesus thinking, "Satan must be slipping. He was an angel in Heaven before. Surely he knows I could have more than twelve legions of angels at my disposal with a simple call to My Father." Jesus could have had over seventy-two thousand angels come down and whip butt. But He chose not to. He had to fight this battle alone. That way His victory would be more overwhelming. You already know the rest of the story.....CALVARY

Jesus' death on Calvary was Satan's ultimate defeat. Usually when a person dies in battle, that person lost. But Jesus was sent to die that we all may be winners over Satan. But Satan never ever gives up. He's very very powerful. So powerful that he was able to snatch Judas from right under Jesus' wing. But evidently, Judas hadn't followed Jesus' instructions. "Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me." Judas was trying to follow Jesus when he hadn't denied himself. Just like so many of us are doing today. We can't follow Jesus if we haven't denied ourselves. If we try to do so, we're only leaving the door wide open for Satan to come inside, take control, and make us disobey God's rules.

I remember when I was nine years old playing Hide and Seek. We all got together and went over the rules. The most important rule was, no hiding in the houses. Everybody knew this rule. Well, this particular game, I decided to disobey this rule. We were living in this little shotgun house. I had made up my mind to run off like everyone else, but I was going to run through my back door, go straight through the house, wait at the front door, and run out when it was safe. I had planned to do this over and over and never get caught. I thought it was brilliant!

But, the first time I tried it, my sister was standing at the back door with a hot iron in her hand. As I tried to run pass her, that iron touched my shoulder. I disobeyed the rules and I got burnt. Years ago, God sent down a set of rules for us to follow, the Ten Commandments. If we don't follow those rules, we're going to get burnt. Back when I got burnt, the quick reflexes of me jerking my arm away and my sister pulling the iron away caused me to have only a minor scar. But when we get burnt for disobeying God's rules, quick reflexes won't matter because flames will be all around us. That's the consequences of choosing Satan. Along with Satan, we're going to be tossed into the Lake of Fire. God is telling us, "If you claim to be a Child of God, then that means I'm your Father. And as your Father, I'm telling you, you can't come live in my house if you disobey my rules!"

Just like the angels, God gave us free will. The right to choose good or evil; Jesus or Satan. I don't know about you, but I choose Jesus. Satan can do nothing for me! Jesus and Satan are not in a tug-of-war for me. Jesus doesn't have to tug for me. He tugged for me a long time ago by not tugging. Not tugging at the ropes that bound His wrists; not tugging at the whips that lashed His back, the nails that were driven in His hands and feet. He doesn't have to tug for me. Jesus chose me. I chose Him back. Jesus made me an offer that I just couldn't refuse...Eternal life in a home called Heaven. And I've got to go to Heaven. That's the only way I'll get a chance to see my mother again, meet a big brother I never knew, and see my grandparents, and there's a greater reason I got to go to Heaven.

One songwriter says, "When I See Jesus, Amen. All My Trials Will Be Over." Well, that was great for that songwriter, but I got news for him. When I was twenty-one years old, I accepted the Lord as my Personal Savior. When my Pastor baptized me, all of my past, present, and future trials were handed over to Jesus. I didn't have to see Him for my trials to be over. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who believe who have not seen." I've come this far by faith, not by sight. I could go to Heaven blind, just as long as I get there. I've got to be among the angels and Bible heroes that glorify God!

I want to stand next to Joshua when he gives God the glory for letting him win the battle at Jericho; and then I want to step beside Samson when he thanks God for letting him slay a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Then I want to hear David shout out, "To God be the glory for letting me slay a ten feet giant with only a sling and a stone, enabling me to walk up to him and cut his head off with his own sword".....Then, I want to step forward and give God my glory. "Glory to God for a love so strong that you sent your only Son that I may have a right to this eternal home. Thank you God for sending my hero, Jesus, to give me everything I need to stand like a great warrior in battle against Satan. Jesus wrapped me up in the "Whole Armor of God". He gave me....

Glory to God! God is good and I love Him. But I got to admit, I fear Him. God has a wrath like no other. The same David that God allowed to slay Goliath, sinned and broke God's commandments....David and Bathsheba. You know the story. David saw beautiful Bathsheba bathing. He inquired about her and found out she was the wife of one of his best soldiers...

I don't know why David thought he could get away with this. But Bathsheba became pregnant and she and David were married and excitedly expecting their little bundle of joy...And then came the wrath.....God sent His prophet Nathan to tell David, that what he thought was done in secret, was seen by Him. And David was punished. His son was born very sickly and died on the seventh day.

But David eventually got straight with God. He had time. How many of us can say that we have time to get straight with God? "But no man knoweth the hour that the Son of God will appear." The first time, God sent His son to us and for us. He didn't force us to take Him. When His Son comes again, He's coming to judge us and the big question will be..........Will He take us? The answer is up to us in the form of free will.

The Battle in your life must come to an end. Will you choose good or evil? Jesus and Salvation or Satan and Damnation? Will you choose Heaven or Hell?

Providence Family Ministries

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