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God Keeps Satan on a Leash
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:4; Job 1:6-12; Luke 22:3...
Track 7 of 7 in the 7 Truths That Will Make You Sweat series
Running time: 1 hour, 07 minutes

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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Some of you might think this is a strange lesson to end a series on peace and rest. What does Satan have to do with grace, rest and peace in life? I find it interesting how Satan is viewed by many in this world, including some Christians, as some character out their in a fantasy world. For many people, Satan is not real nor is he something or someone to worry about or fear. He isn't real.

Yet in the real world, the evidence of Satan is everywhere. ABC 20/20 is doing a segment this weekend on how Americans today live in more fear than at any time in history. Americans are afraid of many things these days. Alarms are going off all over in the secular media today warning us about the new "thing" out there that threatens to be a danger to you and your family. Our government reacts to the many dangers, real or imagined and then imposes regulations upon our rights just to protect us.

So what are the things we are told that we need to be alarmed over or afraid of?

So how does Satan fit into this subject? Well, he is the father of all lies and he likes nothing more than to cause you pain, worry, fear causing you to trust no one but yourself. Who can you believe today when all these problems have so many different answers and so many different possible outcomes? What happens if we choose wrong, or worse yet, what happens if it doesn't matter which decision we make, we are already too late and doomed? What is to happen to us? Satan just loves to make you anxious and to lose your peace and rest.

God has Satan on a leash. I don't know about you, but when I read that statement, so many images flash through my mind. What comes to your mind when you hear this Statement? How many of you believe it? How many of you wish you could believe it but you have personally seen Satan work and find it hard to believe God has that much power. And if Satan is really leashed up, then how come all this bad stuff is happening all around us?

Satan may appear to be winning to some people. There are a lot of times I have to wonder when I see some of the evil people do to each other. But I want you to consider something, Satan isn't winning and he is only doing what he can because God is allowing it. This usually leads to an obvious question, if God allows evil to exist, then isn't God the source of evil and if he is, then he can't be God. But as we look into scripture, we know this isn't what God is about, nor is it Satan either.

So Who Is In Charge?

2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Paul tells us that Satan is the god of this age. During this time on earth, during this time in history, Satan rules. Here on earth is in Satan's realm. We who are believers live in enemy territory and we do not belong here anymore. There is no doubt that Satan has power, but let's make no mistake about who is in charge. Satan has power only because God is allowing it. He does not have any power beyond that which is permitted by God. We know this from the story about Job. Satan's power is limited.

Job 1:6-12 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

There are a few truths about Satan we can learn from this passage:

Satan is actively roaming the face of the earth. He is going back and forth looking for opportunities to wreak havoc.
Satan's power is limited in reach, scope and time. Notice that Satan didn't even consider doing anything to Job until after God had suggested it to him. Because job was a believer, he didn't belong to Satan and couldn't do anything against him. Satan can not hurt someone who belongs to God without his permission.
Luke 22:31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.

Satan's days are numbered. Notice that God only allowed Satan to do certain things in Job's life. He could only harm the things around him but not actually Job physically. Later God says this to Satan:
Job 2:6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."

Here again we see that Satan is only allowed to do what God allows him to do. Satan can't go any farther. But because he is limited by God, his existence is also limited. Satan knows he is already beaten, defeated by God and he only has a short time left on this earth.

John 12:31 Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

I want you to focus on one word that shows up twice in this passage, "NOW". The fact is now! Today Satan has been judged and his end has already been determined. God has won and Satan lost. God's work is finished and the end has already been determined.

I have heard some Christians say that God and Satan are dueling each other for power. How many of you see this today? It seems God and Satan are just constantly at each other trying to outmaneuver each other to win the big battle. The best illustration to use is the parent dealing with a three year old child who wants his way. Parents may allow the child some privileges and will even let the child throw a temper tantrum every now and then but the parent is in charge. It is one thing for the child to think he is in control; it is another to actually be in control. In the parent-child relationship, the parent is sovereign. Satan may have some powers left to him but there is no question that God is in control.

Satan Didn't Catch God by Surprise

We have to remember that Satan didn't just pop out of nowhere and surprise God. We know that Satan is a created being. He didn't exist until God created him. We learned last year when we studied the spiritual realm that God loved Satan and created him very beautiful. I fact, scriptures tend to lean in the direction that Satan was the best of all the created beings. But we must understand, the created is never equal with the creator. Satan was created and is lower than God.

But God knew what would happen and what Satan would do. In fact, God knew all this before he created everything.

Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

What we know is this; God planned all this before the creation. He planned for Satan; he planned for Jesus and he planned for our fall and he planned for our redemption. There is nothing that takes God by surprise. God had Satan on a leash fro the very beginning.

So here is where Satan comes in when discussing rest and peace.

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

One of the principal things Satan lives for is to get you to doubt God. Doubting is the exact opposite of trusting. The world we live in sometimes works very hard to make us feel God is not enough. In fact, he spreads the biggest lie of all and really tries to get you to believe it; you are in control of your own destiny. If it is to be, then it's up to me. The more we feel in control, the less dependence we'll have on God. I fact, the world today teaches everything about independence, be your own man, live your own life. Take control of the situation around you.

Genesis 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.

But being our own God doesn't bring satisfaction or happiness. In fact, being God brings disaster, frustration and anxiety. Peace only comes, not when we gain control, but when we relinquish our attempts to be in control. Jesus talked about true peace and it doesn't come from the world. In fact, when we feel anxiety, worry, depression, anger and frustration, it is a direct result of viewing our current circumstances from the worldly perspective.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Someone define for me what the ideal and satisfying life is.

Where does it say in scripture that God promises us the ideal life on this earth? Where does it say life will be all fun and roses?

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

The bottom line is this; we can expect trials, tribulations, disappointments and challenges because we are in enemy territory. Our peace on this earth during our life is only attainable by viewing our life as belonging to God. We should always be looking for our strength from above. Too often Christians look in the wrong places to find peace and rest. They look in the same places unbelievers look, in the places found in the world. But Paul says to look somewhere else.

Colossians 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

We needed to change our fixation. When you hear the word fixation, do you have a positive or negative image in your mind? What does it mean to be fixated on something? God wants us to be fixated; he wants us fixated on Him, not the world. We need to change what we are focused on and start to focus on the things above, not on the things of this earth. This means giving up ourselves and not focusing on what we see in the world, but focusing what we know to be true in God. Here are some facts we just have to learn and live by:

There is no ultimate power in Satan
There is no independent power in the world
There is no power in and of ourselves
The only power comes from God!
You Need Help

Do you know what the problem is with God's help and why many don't want his help? God's help doesn't always match our worldly expectations or limited perspective. Do you agree with this or do you disagree? If this is true, explain to me how this works? From our earthly perspective, things often seem to be a mess and out of control, but from God's view, all is exactly in place and going as He decreed - even if we don't get what God is doing.

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The Ways God Helps:

When he changes things: This is normally the help we all want from God. Things are good so we want God to change the circumstances. We ask and he transforms. Sometimes he does but most of the time he chooses not to transform our circumstances, he just chooses another way of helping.

When he empowers us to change things: Sometimes God empowers us to change our own circumstances. He tells us to run and not grow weary, to run and finish the race. God simply gives us the strength to keep on keeping on. But we have to remember where the power came from in the end. It came from God, not from our own efforts.

When things don't change: There are times when God chooses not to transform our circumstances nor does he give us the power to transform our circumstances. He simply sustains us so we can endure the circumstances (This is what he did with Job). This of course is not at all the kind of help we expect from God - it is not fun.

On of the biggest myths of the Bible is that God will not give you a problem greater than you can bear. The passage everyone goes to is 1 Corinthians 10:13. When this is read in context, the passage is dealing with sin. The apostle is not talking about trials and everyday struggles. There are many examples when circumstances were more than some people could bear. There are times when it seems as though God is not present or is unwilling to help. Don't quit, God just might not be matching up to your request. And there are times when God will use Satan to move his plans forward.

Just remember, God is sovereign over all circumstances of our life - good, bad and everything in between - and any power granted to Satan is ultimately designed to accomplish the Lord's work. The Cross is the best example of this.