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We can never understand what life on earth is all about until we understand that there is a great warfare going on in the spirit-world between Satan and God.
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Lesson 8: Satan's Number One Target
Satan zeroes in on young people. YOU are at the top of Satan’s hit list. Satan is out to get YOU—dead or alive!
We sing, “Everybody ought to know who Jesus is,” and they should; but everybody should also know who Satan is.
Many people laugh at the idea of an actual spirit-person named Satan. No one enjoys this more than Satan himself. His main work is deceiving people, and it is a lot easier to deceive people when they do not even think he exists. We might ask this question: If there is no real person named Satan, who is doing his work?
The Bible speaks of him thirty-nine times as “Satan,” and forty-eight times as “the devil.” In every case, it is referring to a real person, the supreme evil spirit-being.
The Warfare of the Ages
We can never understand what life on earth is all about until we understand that there is a great warfare going on in the spirit-world between Satan and God. Originally, Satan was created as an angel named “Lucifer.” He was the wisest, most beautiful, and most powerful angel ever created by God. Apparently he was over all the other angels.
For a time, Lucifer was perfect in his ways; but pride entered his heart. He decided that he should be God. He said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…” (Isaiah 14:13). Satan rebelled against his Creator.
One-third of the angels in Heaven followed Satan in his rebellion against God. From that time until now, Satan and his followers have been the relentless enemies of God and mankind. Satan and his fallen angels know that they will end up in “the lake of fire” where they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever, but they want to take as many people as they can with them.
Since the beginning of time, Satan has been deceiving people and murdering them. Jesus said,
“he was a murderer from the beginning… he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Satan wants to deceive you and murder you. The Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The warfare of the ages is a never ending battle for the minds and hearts of people—all people.
This world is not a playground; it is a battleground! The battle is between Satan’s lies and God’s truth.
The Bible calls Satan “the god of this world” because he is the unseen ruler of the world-system which is based on pride, greed, and lust. Satan uses his world-system to propagate his lies and deceive people. Satan blinds the minds of people with his lies so they will end up in the lake of fire with him.
Satan deceives people by saying that the universe came into being by chance, and that there is no God. The truth is: God created the universe. In one majestic sentence, the Bible tells us how the universe came into being: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Scientists who do not want to believe God’s Word teach the “Big Bang” theory. According to this theory, the universe, with its almost infinite complexity, came into being by chance, as a result of a gigantic explosion of “cosmic material” in space. This theory leaves two questions which no scientist can answer: Where did the “cosmic material” come from? What caused the gigantic explosion?
The Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God…” (Psalm 14:1). A “fool” in the Bible is never a mentally-deficient person, but rather one who is arrogant, proud, and self-sufficient—one who lives his life as if there were no God.
Another of Satan’s lies is that man evolved upwards from a single living cell. The truth is: Man was created by God, “in the image of God.” The Bible says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him…” (Genesis 1:27).
The human body is the most marvelous organism on earth. To create the universe, God had only to speak and it was done. The human body was not only created by God, but it was formed directly by the hand of God.
The Bible says, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). King David said, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14).
The theory of evolution is one of the biggest lies ever devised by Satan to deceive the human race. This unproven theory leaves God out completely, and it is almost universally taught as fact in our schools and universities. Again, a question that no scientist can answer is: Where did that first living cell come from?
The majority of young people in today’s culture believe there is no absolute moral truth. They have been conditioned to believe that each person has the right to believe and do whatever he or she thinks is right. To disagree with this is to be considered intolerant, an unforgiveable sin in today’s culture.
But God is a moral Being. In the Ten Commandments and other commands in the Bible, God has told us what is right and what is wrong. God tells us that it is wrong to worship other gods, to make idols, to dishonor your parents, to kill, to steal, to commit immorality, to lie, and to covet something belonging to another person.
These are universal truths which apply to all people, in all places, for all time. We may choose to disregard what God says, but when we stand before God, we will be judged by His Word.
Amazingly, many young people believe a most unusual lie. They believe that the act of believing something makes it true for them. They believe that moral truth does not become true for them until they choose to believe it.
However, believing a lie does not make it true for anybody. And not believing the truth does not affect the truth. I may say, “I don’t believe in the law of gravity,” but if I jump off a ten-story building, the law of gravity will work whether I believe it or not.
Satan claims that all religions worship the same God, and all religions are equally valid. If this were true, God made a terrible mistake when He let His Son die such a horrible and shameful death on a bloody cross that it made Him cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
There is only one true and living God—the God of the Bible. He said,
“…there is no other God besides Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:21-22).
Religions around the world worship gods of judgment and harsh demands. In these religions, there is no thought whatsoever of having a personal relationship with their god.
The God of the Bible is a God of love. He loves every single person in the world whether we respond to His love or not. Our Creator wants us to come into a personal relationship with Him.
The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the eternal expression and proof of God’s amazing love for us. Jesus paid our sin-debt in full and rose from the dead to be our living Savior. He said,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).
Satan wants people to believe that Jesus Christ was a good man, but that He was not the Son of God. The fact is: Jesus is the Christ, the promised Savior, the Son of the living God.
Jesus Christ has no rival. His coming into the world was miraculous. He was sinless. No one, not even his bitterest enemies, could point to one sin in His life. Jesus was especially anointed by God as “the Christ,” the promised Savior. He claimed to be God. He did things which only God could do. He commanded the winds and the waves and they obeyed Him. He raised three people from the dead. Twice, God spoke from Heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Another lie Satan uses to deceive people is to say that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. But Jesus Christ did rise from the dead in a new resurrection body. The tombs of all who have founded major religions are sacred places. But Christ’s tomb is an empty tomb. Christ is alive!
Christ appeared on the earth for forty days after His resurrection. He appeared to His disciples many times. On one occasion over 500 people saw Him, most of whom were still alive when the gospels were written.
For thousands of years, since the creation of man, death had reigned. That was a victory for the devil. When the Son of God died on the cross, He, too, descended into death’s domain. It appeared that death had swallowed Him also. But out of that black abyss of death, the Man Jesus Christ rose in triumph!
Jesus Christ rose from the dead in a new resurrection body—the Victor over sin, Satan, and death. The resurrection of Christ proves that He is who He said He was, and everything He said is true. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). Jesus said to His believers, “…because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19).
Satan tells people, “If you are a good person and you do enough good works, God will accept you.” The truth is that no one can ever be saved by their good works. The Bible says,
“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
All other religions stress man’s works, but we are not saved by what we do for God, but by what God has done for us in the Person of His Son. The Bible says that Jesus Christ “loves us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5). How this touches our heart!
Satan deceives people into thinking that hell is not a real place. Hell is a real place, just as Heaven is a real place. The word “hell” occurs twelve times in the New Testament. In eleven of those times, the word “hell” came from the lips of our loving Lord Jesus who gave His life that we might not have to go there.
Hell was not created for us, but for “the devil and his angels.” The Bible says that God “is not willing that any should perish,” but those who reject His love and grace and follow Satan will suffer the consequences.
Hell is described as “the lake of fire,” in which those who die without Christ will live forever. The unspeakable misery of the lost will be when they wake up to the fact that God was offering them eternal life in Heaven as a gift in Jesus Christ, and they would not accept Christ.
In their intense desire for the supernatural, young people are experimenting with witchcraft, seances, astrologers, fortune-tellers and other things which have to do with the unseen spiritual world. Is there anything wrong with these things? YES!!!
All forms of spiritism bring you into contact with evil spirits. God says that all who do these things are an abomination to Him.
God Himself does not come into our life unless we invite Him, and He will not let evil spirits come into our life unless we open the door to them.
But if we choose to contact the spirit world, we are opening our life to them, and they will come in.
Satan deceives people into thinking all miracles are from God. But Satan has tremendous power, and he can perform great miracles. In the last days, just before Christ comes again to the earth, Satan will bring out his masterpiece—the Antichrist.
This evil man will be wholly empowered and controlled by Satan. The Bible says that his coming will be “after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). He will deceive the world into following him.
If you want a shortcut to hell, drugs are it. When you get hooked on drugs, Satan can turn his attention to somebody else, because he has you in his power.
Drugs destroy your mind and your body. Cocaine, or “coke,” in any form is deadly. Len Bias, a college basketball star, had a promising future with the pros, but one overdose of cocaine ended his career and his life. It was his first experiment with drugs…and his last.
Most young people know that drugs are extremely dangerous to their minds and bodies. One junkie said, “Addiction to heroin is the closest thing to hell itself.” Why then do young people fool with drugs? Mostly because of peer pressure. It is not worth risking your future and your life to gain the acceptance of others whom you do not really care that much about. Think about it.
More and more young people are using some form of alcohol and are dependent on it. They do not think of it as a drug and do not believe it is dangerous.
Experts say that alcohol in any form is the most devastating drug of all. Every time you are drunk, you have overdosed on a drug. A teen girl said,
“I have never liked alcohol. Two of my very close friends were injured very badly in drinking accidents. Tom was the first one. He hit head-on with a van. He is now blind and has been in the hospital for eight months. Ann, a senior, a cheerleader and the most popular girl in the school, hit a tree head-on and has been in a coma for five months. The worst part is that nobody has quit drinking.”
The evidence is that even the moderate drinker may suffer the loss of some irreplaceable brain cells every time he drinks. A good way to say NO to those who want you to drink with them is, “No, thanks. I just don’t think it is wise for me to do that. Besides, I need all the brain cells I have!”
Satan has fooled people into thinking that smoking is cool, but nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. It will hook you faster than alcohol or drugs. For most people, it is harder to quit smoking than it is to quit drugs or drinking. You should know that there are three simple stages to become a nicotine addict.
The first stage is trying out cigarettes. They taste terrible, but maybe you gain acceptance with the smoking crowd.
The second stage is smoking occasionally‚ like at parties or on dates. When others light up, you light up too.
The third stage is when you cross the line and become a hard-core smoker. You are hooked. Most teens who experiment with cigarettes are hooked by the time they are twelve to fourteen.
Tar, the dark, sticky mixture that forms when tobacco burns, contains hundreds of poisons known to cause cancer. When it gets into the lungs, it sticks to them. The lungs of a non-smoker are pink in color; the lungs of those who smoke are black. You cannot be much of an athlete if your lungs are coated with that black tar.
A cigarette company sent a complimentary pack of cigarettes to a high school guy with this note: “We hope you will find these useful.” In a few weeks he wrote back, “Thank you for sending the cigarettes. I sure did find them useful. I soaked them in water and sprayed this liquid on our vegetables and it killed all the bugs in the garden.”
If you are a Christian, remember that your body is “the temple of God.” The moment you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, God came to live in you. Your body does not belong to you. “You are not your own for you are bought with a price.” Take care of God’s temple. Be good to yourself!
Satan tries to make people believe that sex is everything and that everyone is doing it. Sex is not everything, and everyone is not doing it. Think about this for a long time before you cross that line. If you choose to save sex for marriage, you can enjoy a lot of things with the opposite sex. But once you cross that line, things are never the same. Guys do not respect girls who are easy. If you use sex to attract him and try to hold on to him, that will be the only part of you he is interested in.
Listen up, Girls!
The voice of experience
“Take my word for it, girls, sex does not live up to the glowing reports and hype you see in the movies. It’s no big deal. In fact, it’s very disappointing. I would have waited had I known what it was going to be like.
“I truly regret that my first time was with a guy I didn’t care that much about. I am still going out with him which is getting to be a problem. I’d like to end this relationship and date others, but after being so intimate, it’s awfully tough.
“Since that first night, he expects sex on every date, as if we are married. Our whole relationship seems to revolve around going to bed. When I don’t feel like it, we end up in an argument.
“It’s like I owe it to him. I don’t think this guy is in love with me, at least he has never said so. I know down deep that I am not in love with him either. This makes me feel cheap.
“I realize now that the first time is a very big step in a girl’s life. After you’ve done it, things are never the same. It changes everything… Be smart and save yourself for somebody you want to spend the rest of your life with.”
—Sorry I didn’t wait and wish I could take it back
Make wise decisions
Whether you realize it or not, you are growing up in a dangerous world. Satan is called “the god of this world,” because behind the scenes, he is the evil one who is controlling things. His world-system is designed to destroy your mind, your body, your relationships, your future plans, and your eternal destiny.
Most teenagers do not go around looking for trouble, but it is easy to make wrong decisions. The consequences of sin always surprise young people.
No matter how many good decisions you make, you are always only one decision away from doing something that you will regret for the rest of your life.
The consequences of wrong decisions
- Drift away from the Lord
- Become addicted to drugs, alcohol or tobacco
- Get arrested
- Ruin your reputation
- Get pregnant
- Mess up your schooling
- Get AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases
- Face eternal consequences
If you choose to live your life on the principle of pleasing yourself, some day you may be sorry. But if you ask God for wisdom, He will guide you.
Regarding any important decision, the first question to ask is: “What does God say about this in the Bible?” God will never contradict what He says in His Word.
The next question to ask is, “Would the Lord like to see me do this?” If you do not think He would like to see you do it, do not do it!
Making these decisions means saying NO to wrong peer pressure. The best way to handle wrong peer pressure is to smile and say, “I just don’t think it is wise for me to do that.” What can anybody say against that?
The blessings of wise decisions
- Prosper in whatever you do
- Be kept from addiction to harmful substances
- No sexually–transmitted diseases or AIDS
- Build a good reputation
- Be attractive to others
- Have God’s blessing on your life