“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) “The Ruler of This World” (Kyle Pope)
2) Some Things to Remember . . . (Bill Crews)
3) News & Notes
“The Ruler of This World”
When Satan tempted Jesus by offering Him rule over the earth if He would worship him, Luke 4:6 records Satan’s bold claim “all this authority . . . has been delivered to me” (NKJV). This is echoed in John 16:11 where Jesus confirms his claim identifying Satan as “the ruler of this world.” While these statements declare Satan’s rule over this world, little is revealed about the nature of this rule or the circumstances under which it came to him.
Some connect Satan’s rule with his fall. We actually know very little about the fall of Satan. The infamous Lucifer passage of Isaiah 14:12 has been improperly used to describe Satan’s fall, but the context makes it clear it is talking about the king of Babylon, not Satan (see 14:3). Jesus declared, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven,” but He does so in the context of His disciples casting out demons (Luke 10:18). Was Jesus talking about a past fall or what happened in the work of His disciples (i.e. Satan’s power being taken away)? In Revelation 12:7-12 it describes Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven, but it does so in the context of Christ’s victory over sin by His blood. Whatever power Satan had at the temptation of Christ in Luke 4:6 would predate this. If the book of Revelation is understood in terms of cycles that describe the same tribulation-deliverance pattern in different ways, the binding of Satan in Revelation 20:1-3 describes the same fall as 12:7-12. In either case, neither of these gives us an account of Satan being granted authority over the earth.
What we know about Satan’s fall comes more from inference than from direct statement. For example, in the qualifications for elders given in 1 Timothy 3:6, Paul warns that if a novice was appointed, he could be “puffed up with pride” leading him to “fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” At the very least this implies that in some way Satan’s pride led to his downfall and condemnation. What is clear is that Satan has “sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8) which likely refers to the beginning of this creation. He deceived the woman in the garden and even still he “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). In the parable of the wheat and the tares it is Satan who sows tares in the world (Matt. 13:39). So, Satan in one sense is responsible for sin, even though each of us individually is responsible when we give in to sin (Jas, 1:14).
The real questions that we wrestle with regarding Satan’s rule is what authority does Satan actually possesses and in what sense was that authority “delivered over” to him by God? If we go so far as to say that any sinful influence (or authority) was established by God, it would make God the cause of sin (or temptation). That is clearly not what the Bible teaches (Jas. 1:13). On the other hand, delivering something over to Satan does not have to express assent, agreement, or approval. For example, in 1 Timothy 1:20, Paul “delivered” Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan (i.e. he gave them over to their desire to follow Satan in their blasphemous behavior). The same is said of the man who had his father’s wife, from whom the church in Corinth had to withdraw. Paul described this as the man being delivered “to Satan” (1 Cor. 5:5). For God to allow Satan to tempt, deceive, and control the world through sin, does not make God complicit in this temptation, it is simply allowing Satan to exercise this type of influence. This may be the sense in which Satan’s power was “delivered” to Him.
Yet, what power (or authority) does Satan actually possess? In the temptation, Satan offered Jesus rule over all kingdoms. Did he really have that power and if so to what extent? It is true that often hardships of the flesh are attributed to Satan. The woman with the flow of blood was said to be “bound by Satan” (Luke 13:16). Paul’s thorn in the flesh is called a “messenger of Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7). Yet, it is unclear how directly these things should be understood. It may be that Satan is allowed to exercise some negative influence over nature. On the other hand, it may be that the fact that Satan’s influence over man in the garden, which led to a world of sickness, death, hardship, and decay, means that all natural hardship could be said to trace back to Satan as its cause. Most of the “power” that Satan seems to possess concerns man’s spiritual state. We know that when one follows the desires of Satan, he becomes a child of Satan rather than a child of God (John 8:44). In 1 Timothy 5:15 Paul speaks of those turning to sin as having “turned aside after Satan.” This is a personal choice and not compulsion, but having followed Satan rather than God puts one in obedience to Satan rather than under the rule of God. It yields to Satan’s rule. Hebrews 2:14 says that Satan had the “power of death,” and Jesus conquered this in His death. Obedience to the gospel allows one deliverance from the “power (or authority—exousia) of Satan” (Acts 26:18). If this is understood, we can see that Satan’s authority is much like the sense in which we in Christ are part of His kingdom—it is dependent upon the assent of the governed. When I submit myself to the reign of Christ, I am under His rule. When I submit myself to the reign of Satan, I am under his rule.
One final point should be observed from Satan’s very name. Satan means “adversary.” In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren” who accuses them before God “day and night.” This comes in the context of the description of his fall. This may give us more information about what God has allowed Satan to do. To some extent Satan was granted the right to “accuse” human beings before God. In Job 1:6-7 Satan appears in this role of the “accuser” with some right to roam “to and fro” over the earth. In addition to Satan’s rule over man through sin and death, it may be that this role of “accuser” is a power which God has granted Satan. Yet, Christ’s death robs him of that power because it offers the atonement for sin whereby the repentant Christian can no longer properly be accused of sin.
— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 26 (June 28, 2020)
Some Things to Remember . . .
- How brief and uncertain life is.
- How sure and final death is.
- How long eternity is.
- And sin:
- how strong its appeal;
- how persistent its temptation;
- how deceptive its appearance;
- how misleading its promise;
- how fleeting its pleasure;
- how tragic its consequences;
- how horrible its punishment.
- How great God’s love is.
- How wonderful Christ’s sacrifice is.
- How powerful the gospel is.
- How important the church is.
- How precious one soul is.
- How pressing salvation is.
- How beautiful heaven is.
- How terrible hell is.
– Via Bill Crews in The Beacon, July 19, 2020
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Pamela Arnold (of Waycross, Georgia, and sister of Jim Arnold) who passed away last Wednesday, August 12. Let us be keeping all her loved ones in prayer.
Our sympathies also go out to all the loved ones of Patricia Gill Lariscy who passed away Friday, August 14. Let us also be remembering all her family and friends in prayer.
Michael Rittenhouse has recently tested positive for covid-19, along with Sarah Rittenhouse Wright, Susanne Rittenhouse, and Shirley Crews. Susanne had to be hospitalized Saturday morning and also has COPD. She is now on oxygen.
Doyle Rittenhouse had two nerves deadened Friday as a test to see if the ablations of nerve endings will solve his problem. The test was successful. So Doyle will be having 3 nerve ablations on one side of his spine this Tuesday, and 3 more the following week on the other side.
Six surgeons have determined that the additional heart surgery for Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother will not be until another three months. His blood pressure has improved somewhat, being now at 85/59; but he is unsteady on his feet.
Elaine Abbott will be transferred in the next couple days to Memorial Satilla Rehab. Her bloodwork “has been favorable.”
Martha Lively has been having a lot of sciatic nerve pain for the last 3 weeks, which is worse in the early morning. It is a constant pain and flares up at times. She will be seeing a chiropractor this Tuesday.
Judy Daugherty has also been in much pain, following the breaking of her shoulder. It has resulted in the need for her to sleep in a recliner, though not very well. She will be seeing her doctor this Wednesday.
One-year-old Mark Owen Mixon continues to improve from his recent salmonella and dehydration.
Rex Hadley also continues to do better in healing from covid-19.
James Medlock is now over his congestive heart failure, but is still in the nursing home undergoing therapy.
Penny Medlock has been discharged from Saint Simons By-The-Sea and will be transferred Monday to a group home in Augusta, Georgia.
Deborah Medlock will be having a follow-up this Tuesday. She continues to have pain from her recent surgery, but only moments when it is worse. She has not been taking any pain medicine, nor much Tylenol.
Rick Cuthbertson began 3 pills a day Friday of his new cancer treatment. He will have a follow-up this Thursday or Friday, which will also determine whether he is ready to increase the dose to 4 pills a day. About a week after he has done so, he will then be scanned to see how this new treatment is progressing.
On Thursday, I (Tom Edwards) heard the results from my cardiologist of the nuclear stress test taken on Tuesday. He now has a concern about one of my heart bypasses that might not be up to par. (In 20 days, it will be 13 years that I have had that bypass, along with two others.) He has advised a heart catheterization to better determine the condition; and if a stent is needed, it can be inserted then.
Others to also be praying for: Larry & Janice Hood, Jamie Cates (healing from a double lung transplant), A.J. & Pat Joyner, Pat Brigman, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Judy Daugherty, and Ginger Ann Montero.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.