We recently concluded a study of 1st Peter which is an important book for the church today because in it Peter warns Christians not to be surprised by cultural pushback. Biblically informed Christians shouldn’t be surprised by this, because the Bible reveals that there is an invisible spiritual world that is just as real and influential as the visible world. In that world two kingdoms are at war: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, and the turmoil you see in our world today is the outworking of these two conflicting kingdoms. Over the next couple of weeks, we hope to open your eyes to the reality of this conflict so that you will be better prepared to emerge as victors rather than victims.
Ephesians 6 highlights this spiritual battle, but I suspect that most of us are unaware of its origin even if we see its effects around us. A good way to begin is by examining the word “cosmos.”
I. The meaning of the Greek word “cosmos”:
- implies an ordered system
- is used to describe the universe, the inhabited earth, people, and the organized operations of Satan’s kingdom in the New Testament
- is defined by Dr. Charles Ryrie as: “that world system organized by Satan, headed by Satan, and run by Satan, which leaves our God out and is a rival to Him.”
- is couched in language of marital fidelity in James’ warning regarding the cosmos (James 4:4)
It is clear that this world system in which we live poses a great danger to God’s people. Its values and methods are contrary to God’s values and methods.
II. Satan’s authority over the cosmos:
- The New Testament makes some startling statements about Satan’s authority over the cosmos.
- God granted Satan authority over the kingdoms of this fallen world (Luke 4:5-7).
- Satan’s authority is only temporary and is limited by God’s sovereignty.
- Satan will be defeated when Jesus returns and will receive eternal punishment.
- All of us are impacted by Satan’s schemes. (John 12:31, John 14:30, John 16:11, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 6:12, and 1 John 5:19)
III. Satan’s Ambition, Goal, Message and Passion:
A. Satan’s ambition:
- to become like the Most High God
- to be openly worshipped, which happens over a long period of continuous and subtle human rejection of God
B. Satan’s Goal:
- to create a system that rival’s God’s kingdom
- • to lead people away from genuine faith in Christ
C Satan’s Message:
- a call to human reformation and self-improvement in all of its manifestations; i.e. a religion of works and human effort, which stands in stark contrast to God’s message of reliance on Him and what he has already done for us
D. Satan’s Passion:
- his personal success
- thwarting God’s success
We must recognize the presence and impact of these two distinct kingdoms, which have conflicting ambitions, goals, messages and passions. Paul reminds us in Romans 6 that we have daily choices regarding which kingdom we will serve and advance, and these choices have major ramifications.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- There are only two kingdoms. Whom will you serve—God or Satan?
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)