in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. The Kingdom of God is invincible! It cannot be shaken
and is eternal in scope. Those who oppose this divine institution do so
1. Satan's opposition was doomed to failure before he
enlisted the aid of the fallen angels as his comrades.
2. Even though his efforts are doomed to failure, Satan
is ever- ready to encourage God's servants to surrender.
a. The blessed Lord was faced with this temptation (Matthew
b. Our early brethren were tempted to give up and Scripture
urges all to beware! (2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Hebrews 10:32-34; 1 Peter 5:8;
II. The 1st century believers in Asia Minor were targets
of Satan's evil schemes. Satan tried to persuade them to give up their
1. Seven churches were specific targets. Upon these were
focused evil trials. Satan used these trials, hoping to causing capitulation
in his favor.
2. These brethren were struggling with Satan's "inducements
to capitulate." A careful study of these points will give us instruction
to help us live in devoted allegiance to the risen Saviour.
I. Surrender to Satan is actually a two-part process.
As we consider the lesson text we will see how these two parts work together
to bring about the downfall of believers.
A. The process begins when Satan uses certain events to
undermine faith in God.
1. There is one supreme target of the Devil - our minds,
our thought processes. Once he gains control of our minds he has us in
subjection (cf 2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
2. The text reveals how Satan is able to gain control.
Control is not achieved instantly. It is often a long process that begins
only when we allow our trust in God to "crack." Satan then works on that
crack, prying it open and causing us to question God's care for us.
3. From Rv 2-3 we see how Satan caused our early brethren
to begin questioning God's care . . .
a. He brought stress and pressure on them (2:9).
"Tribulation" - early Greeks used this word to describe
the torture of being slowly crushed to death beneath a huge rock. They
faced serious trouble which was crushing them.
b. He caused them to focus on material things (2:9).
"Poverty" - refers to one who has nothing. These brethren
lived in one of the most prosperous cities, but because they believed in
Jesus they were deprived. Imagine how terrible it would be to look around
and see everyone enjoying life. But you have nothing, all because you believe
in Jesus Christ. They had lost their jobs, houses, all things!
c. He caused abuse to be hurled at them (2:9). "Blasphemy"
- others eagerly accused with lies. They were slandered. The children and
adults all shared the embarrassment of this evil mockery, and ridicule.
Can you imagine how much a parent would hurt when this evil speech made
their little child cry and break their heart? The only alternative was
to surrender to Satan!
d. He surrounded the faithful believers with people whowere
under his authority and influence. This was done so that Christians thought
they were all alone (2:13). Everywhere they turned, looked, or went, they
saw Satan's subjects. How distressing it is to be in the persecuted minority
when you could easily join the majority. How quickly the thought arises
-- "Why should I continue when everyone else is doing differently and they
are all right?" How hard for parents to tell children they can't go with
school friends, etc. Can you imagine how hard it was to remain true when
you lived in a place that was so filled with evil it was known to be "Satan's
e. He caused open hostility, persecution, and ill-treatment
(2:13). "Antipas" - nothing more is known about him. Hedid hold firm to
the end even in Satan's home base. Think of receiving a massage as in 2:10a
- you will suffer because you believe. Think of Satan's implied message,
"If you do not want to wind up like Antipas you had better change."
B. Once Satan has caused us to begin questioning the care
of God, a small crack appears in our armor. At that moment, if we are not
careful, the second point becomes evident - we begin to surrender! Notice
how this surrender is portrayed in Rv 2-3.
1. Our love for God begins to erode (2:4; 3:1-2, 17).
a. Slowly and silently faith begins to creep out of our
b. "Left" - "to release, let go, leave behind."
c. Devotion vanishes - it has eroded away and suddenly
we discover, "I just don't feel as close to God as I once was!"
d. When we allow our trust in God to lessen, we will become
as Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea! How frightening it is to realize that
this will occur without our knowing it! (Hebrews 2:1-4).
2. We begin to tolerate open compromise of God's will
and eventually find ourselves encouraging false teachers (2:14-15, 20).
Believers begin to think they can have peace with Satan and with God. They
look for the "easy way" out.
3. We will ultimately settle into a false confidence (3:17).
Here is the picture of one who has completely surrendered to Satan! The
war is over, capitulation is complete!
II. From this passage we are able to focus on vital lessons
for each believer
A. We need to understand that Satan will use at least
5 ways to discourage us spiritually.
1. Stress and pressures which appear to "crush" us (Psalm
55:22; 1 Peter 5:7).
2. Materialism (1 Timothy 6:6-10; Job 1:21).
3. Ridicule, mockings, verbal abuse (1 Peter 2:21-23).
4. The majority surrounding us devoted to evil (Psalm
5. Open persecution and ill-treatment (Matthew 5:10-12).
B. We need to understand that Satan will make surrender
veryappealing - he really dresses compromise so it appears to be the best
way. "Just think, you can avoid ________ if you will follow me." Such did
not work on our Lord and it should not on us.
C. We need to understand how concerned God is about our
surrendering to Satan. He has described the devices of Satan to us; He
has strongly urged faithfulness; He has revealed how deeply grieved He
is when we fail.
D. We need to realize how tragic it is when we give up
to the Devil (Rv 3:17b). Surrender begins slow, and it is so easy -- but
it has the promise of eternal ruin in the end!
I. Towards sunset of the long, bloody day of Waterloo, when the surviving remnants of the Old Imperial Guards were summoned to lay down their arms, the scarred veterans of fifty victories cried out, "The Old Guards dies: it never surrenders!" This should be the motto of every Christian!
II. How is Satan inviting you to capitulate? What weakness
has he discovered in your life and is using it to cause you to stumble?
III. We are involved in a tremendous struggle with Satan.
We should not sleep without a sentinel or march without a scout.
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
at no cost to others.