Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
2Co 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; (11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Suppose that the believer does not take advantage of his victorious position in* *Christ.
Suppose he refuses to use the spiritual defenses provided.
/Suppose the believer sins.
You would think that Satan, having led the person into sin, would then leave him to suffer the consequences; but this is not what happens.
Satan has one more stratagem that can make the disobedient Christian /doubly defeated.
/We read about it in *Zechariah 3:1-7*.
SATAN’S TARGET— YOUR HEART AND CONSCIENCE
This *scene*, unlike the other three we have examined, is in *heaven*.
The *setting* is that of a *courtroom*: *God* is the *Judge*, *Joshua* the high priest is the *defendant*, and *Satan* is the *prosecutor* trying to prove Joshua guilty.
Satan appears to have a case, because Joshua is wearing filthy garments and the high priest was always to wear clean clothes.
The prophet Zechariah had this vision at a time when the nation of Israel had sinned against the Lord.
The people had returned to Palestine after their Babylonian captivity, and there was hope that the nation would obey God and serve him.
But sad to say, they had not learned their lesson.
When you read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the prophecies of Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi, you discover that the Jewish men were divorcing their wives and marrying heathen women; that Jewish merchants were charging their brethren exorbitant interest rates; and that even the priests were robbing God and keeping the best of the sacrifices for themselves.
*This explains why Joshua’s priestly garments were dirty.
He represented the people before God, and the people were sinful.*
Satan knew that they were sinful, and he protested to God that Israel should be judged.
You can imagine Satan’s arguments:
“Have you considered your servants in Israel, that they are a rebellious and disobedient people?
You chastened them in Babylon, hoping to teach them obedience.
Now they have returned to their land by your goodness—and they are disobeying you again!
You are a holy God, and Israel is supposed to be a holy people.
If you are as holy and just as you claim, then you must judge Israel.
If you do not judge them, then you are not true to your own nature or your own law.
Israel is guilty!”
*How do you think Joshua felt during all of this trial?*
Certainly his heart was broken, his conscience was smitten.
*What defense did he have?*
When you and I have disobeyed God, *Satan moves in for that finishing stroke*.
He attacks us in our heart and conscience.
“So you are a Christian?” he sneers.
“You are not a very good Christian!
You go to church, you read your Bible, and you even seek to serve the Lord.
And look what you have done!
If your friends at church knew what kind of a person you really were, they would throw you out!”
See how subtle and merciless Satan really is.
/Before /we sin—while he is tempting us—he whispers, “You can get away with this!” Then after we sin, he shouts at us, “You will /never /get away with this!”
Have you ever heard his hateful voice in your heart and conscience?
*It is enough to make a Christian give up in despair!*
2. SATAN’S WEAPON—ACCUSATION
*When Satan talks to you about **God, **he lies.*
*But when he talks to God about you, he sometimes tells the truth!*
He is “*the accuser of our brethren*.”
He has *access to heaven*, to the very throne of God; and there he *reminds* God of *the condition of his saints*.
You and /I /know about this accusation because we feel it in our own heart and conscience.
“See what Abraham just did!
He lied about his wife!”
“Did you see what David’ did!
He committed adultery with his neighbor’s wife, /and then killed her husband!
“Were you listening, God? Did you just hear Peter curse and swear and deny your Son three times?
Are you going to let him get away with that?”
It is *important* that we learn to distinguish *between Satan’s accusations and the Spirit’s conviction*.
A feeling of guilt and shame is a good thing /if it comes from the Spirit of God.
If /we listen to the devil, it will only lead to regret and remorse and defeat.
*When the Spirit of God convicts you, he uses the Word of God in love and ‘seeks to bring you back into fellowship with your Father*.
/When Satan accuses you, he uses your own sins in a hateful way, and he seeks to make you feel helpless and hopeless/.
Judas listened to the devil and went out and hanged himself.
Peter looked at the face of Jesus and wept bitterly, but later came back into fellowship with Christ.
When you listen to the devil’s accusations (all of which may be true), you open yourself up to despair and spiritual paralysis.
“My situation is hopeless!”
I have heard more than one Christian exclaim, “I’m too far gone—the Lord could never take me back.”
When you have that helpless, hopeless feeling, you can be sure Satan is accusing you.
3. SATAN’S PURPOSE— TO BRING AN INDICTMENT BY GOD’S WILL
Satan wants you to feel guilty.
He wants you to experience regret and remorse, /but not repentance.
/He wants to keep accusing you so that you focus your attention on /yourself and your sins.
/If once you look away by faith to Jesus Christ, you will repent, confess your sins, and find cleansing and restoration of fellowship.
As long as you are feeling guilty, you are under indictment and you are moving farther and farther from the Lord.
*True conviction from the Spirit will move you closer to the Lord.*
This case is typical of many Christians.
/How many Christians use these feelings of guilt and shame over past sin to keep them from claiming positions of service for which they are gifted and able?/
*Satan wants you to feel guilty*.
Your heavenly Father wants you to know that you are forgiven.
Satan knows that if you live under a dark cloud of guilt, you will not be able to witness effectively or serve the Lord with power and blessing.
/Sad to say, there are some churches that major in guilt./
They seem to feel that unless a Christian goes home from a service feeling like a failure, the services have not been a blessing.
“Every time we go to church,” a lady wrote me, “the pastor spanks us.
What should we do?”
To be sure, there is a place for proper spiritual conviction; but we must not major on guilt.
To do so is to play right into the devil’s hands.
*Paul had a situation like that in the church at Corinth.*
One of the members had fallen into sin and had refused to repent and make things right with God and the church.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul told the church to discipline that man; and apparently they did, for Paul wrote,
2Co 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
At first, when this sin was detected, the Corinthian believers were very complacent and refused to act.
Paul’s letter shocked them into their senses; but then they went to the other extreme and made it so hard on the offender that they would not forgive him!
So Paul had to counsel them,
2Co 2:7-11 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
(8) Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
(9) For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.