Calvary Road Baptist Church

“HOW GOD PROTECTS HIS PEOPLE” Part 1 

Last July, I brought two messages dealing with the Devil. On July 19, the message was from Revelation 12.10, titled “The Accuser Of Our Brethren.” A week later, I brought a message from John 14.28–31, titled “Satan’s Known Encounters With Christ.”

If you were not here for those Sunday evening messages from God’s Word, links to those messages will be in the footnotes of this sermon when uploaded to the Church website, www.CalvaryRoadBaptist.Church, so you can read the sermons or view the sermons on YouTube, or do what Jhanisus likes to do, watching the video at double speed while reading the manuscript.[1]

The next message I brought addressing this issue of spiritual opposition in the angelic realm was delivered the last Sunday evening in November of last year, a sermon I titled “The Outbreak Of Spiritual War In The Human Realm, (with commentary from ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu).”[2] I had not formulated a plan to preach a series of sermons dealing with these issues. At least, not at that time.

Since the beginning of the New Year, however, I have delivered a sermon from God’s Word to you each Sunday night that dealt with the spiritual conflict we are immersed in. The sermon titles have been “War,” the evening of January 3, “The Blinded Mind,” the evening of January 10, “Gentle Warrior,” the evening of January 17, and “Personal Strategy,” parts one, two, and three, on January 24, 31, and February 7.

My overall purpose in bringing those messages was to set before you persuasive evidence showing that you live in a spiritual battle zone (whether you realize it or not), that unsaved people are spiritually blind and incapable of fully comprehending the reality of this conflict, that the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul were exemplary spiritual warriors while being humble and gentle, and seeking to set before you a personal strategy to employ for success in the conflict when you find yourself in a spiritual skirmish.

The last two Sunday evenings, I have brought sermons titled, “Ongoing Encounters With The Devil,” a timely message on the Sunday evening of Valentine’s Day (no connection to your spouse intended), with last Sunday evening’s message titled “Christ’s Warning,” the text being Luke 22.31: 

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” 

The more of these messages I bring, dealing with the Devil, and demons, and the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in, with the significance of the feedback I am receiving from a number of you, the more convinced I am that this is a matter we would be foolish not to spend more time addressing. Suppose you believe the Bible and have heard these sermons. In that case, you know you are in a fight, you know that God wants you to resist the Devil when you are attacked, you know that He wants you to go on the offensive employing prayer and witnessing, and you know that God will sometimes allow the Devil to attack you with ferocity.

The question that ought to loom large in your thinking at this point is how God protects His people, how God will protect you. Before I address that very appropriate question, let me point out three certainties that are well-founded in Scripture.

First, know that if you are not a child of God you have no guarantees of God’s protection or anything else from God. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian congregation about their situation as Gentiles before their conversion to Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2.12: 

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” 

Second, know that even if you are a child of God, your heavenly Father will allow Satan to viciously and ferociously attack you, as He did Eve, as He did Job, as He did David, as He did the Savior, and as He did the Apostle Paul. You are going to be hit and hit hard, though never beyond the limitations God imposes upon the Devil. Satan will outsmart you and outsmart you incredibly. He is vastly more intelligent than you or I happen to be, coupled with his great experience for thousands of years. Do not think that your personal cleverness or strength of character will stand you in good stead when Satan brings it on you. When the sifting comes, you had better be prayed up, preached up, studied up, discipled up, and fit for duty.

Finally, know this: 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” 

Romans 8.28, and also Romans 8.31-39: 

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

With it well-established that God guarantees no protection for those who are not believers in Jesus Christ, that there is a certainty that spiritual assaults against you will be permitted by God, but that, ultimately, nothing can separate the Christian from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, allow me to address the question of how God will protect you who are believers in Jesus Christ under two main headings: 

First, SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS RELATED TO GOD’S DISPENSATIONAL DEALINGS WITH THE HUMAN RACE 

Allow me to lay some groundwork for dealing with this matter of dispensations by reading some late J. Sidlow Baxter remarks, from his 1968 book titled The Strategic Grasp of the Bible, published by Zondervan: 

Over the past few decades there has developed a stiff reaction against the early Plymouth Brethren and “Scofield Bible” type of dispensationalism. It has found focus in what is now known as Amillennialism, which denies that there is to be an actual “Millennium” or thousand-years visible reign of Christ on this earth, as it also denies other components in the “Brethren” and “Scofield” scheme of Bible interpretation.

Perhaps some such anti-dispensational revolt was inevitable; but my own view is that Amillennialism commits the fairly common fault of countering one extreme by needlessly swinging to another which is equally unwarrantable.

No one will deny that our Bible is in two main parts – the Old Testament and the New. Nor can anyone seriously deny that those two Testaments, in certain fundamental respects, stand in marked contrast to each other. The Old distinctively features a nation. The New distinctively features the Church. The one concerns an earthly seed, elect in Abraham. The other concerns a spiritual seed, elect in Christ. The one centres in Moses. The other centers in Jesus. But, most contrastively of all, the Old unfolds a covenant of LAW, whereas the New unfolds a covenant of GRACE. Scripture in itself underlines this fundamental contrast: 

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17. 

Now these two covenants expressed two basically contrastive ways in which the all-sovereign God has dealt with responsible man. In other words, they are two contrastive dispensations; for the word, “dispensation”, means a dispensing or way of administering.[3] 

I read those short paragraphs written by Baxter to point out that no thoughtful and experienced student of God’s Word can deny that throughout human history, God has chosen to deal with humanity and to interact with His people differently at different times. I am not advocating a C. I. Scofield approach to dispensationalism in this message, but making some general comments about God’s protection of His people at different times in history.

Can we agree that there are several recognizable phases of God’s dealings with mankind in human history?

First, there was an antediluvian era. From Adam and Eve’s creation to the judgment that resulted in the great Flood during Noah’s time, God dealt with humanity a certain way. We know little about the way God dealt with humanity during that period. We know God permitted Satan to employ a serpent to seduce Eve in the Garden of Eden.

We know angelic beings made headway in their efforts to oppose God’s plan and purpose by contaminating the human race with racial hybrids, Genesis 6.2. Since Genesis 6.3 opens with the words, “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man,” we can be reasonably sure that the Holy Spirit did work with individuals during that era to oppose demonic activity. Still, that type of work would be terminated.

Ultimately, of course, God protected the human race by resisting evil for a time and then wiping out the lost world, preserving Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives with the Ark that Noah built.

Next, there was the postdiluvian world. Genesis chapters 8-11 records the history of the human race from God’s deliverance of the eight with the Ark until He appeared to Abram.[4] During that time, terrible things occurred. Though the wicked were wiped from the face of the earth, the sinful nature of the human race was carried to the antediluvian era through Noah and his family, as evidenced by God’s pronouncement in Genesis 8.21, and Noah’s drunkenness and Ham’s sin against him, in Genesis 9.21-24.

Genesis chapter ten records the rise of Nimrod and people’s gathering into cities, despite God’s directive that people spread out and replenish the earth. Secular history is decisive in its conclusion that Nimrod pioneered the development of religious idolatry, combined with political despotism, to form nations and engage in conflict among nations.

Genesis chapter eleven records the building of the tower of Babel and God’s judgment by the confusion of languages. Thus, God’s direct intervention into the affairs of the human race, by the confusion of languages that induced worldwide scattering, provided a measure of protection from idolatry. However, idolatry spread throughout the earth, and with idols, of course, demons.

The third phase of God’s dealings with the human race could be termed the patriarchal phase. Think of a telescope and a microscope. The Bible begins with God’s vast expanse of the universe and rapidly zooms into a view of one man and one woman, Adam and Eve. Then it opens up to the entire human race before once more narrowing down to a single man, Noah. It opens up yet again with a comment along the way about a man named Nimrod before narrowing again, this time to Abram.

A book of the Old Testament is devoted to the story of a Gentile patriarch named Job. Still, the patriarchal phase’s main thrust is the attention paid to Abram and God’s covenant promise made to him, restated to his son, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob, and the nation that would come from Jacob, now named Israel. How did God protect His people during this phase of history? We know that God suggested to Satan that he attack Job while protecting Job’s life by the restrictions the LORD imposed upon Satan. With Job, as with every other of God’s people, Satan’s divine limitations curtailed his actions and thereby protected God’s people from ultimate harm.

On two occasions, the LORD spoke to Gentile rulers to protect Abraham’s wife, Genesis 12.10-20 and 20.1-7. And on one occasion to protect Isaac’s wife, Genesis 26.1-11. In Genesis 19, we learn the LORD dispatched two angels to the city of Sodom to protect Lot and his family. Then there was the angel of God in Genesis 21.17, who preserved the lives of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, and the angel of the LORD, recognized by most conservative Bible scholars to be the pre-incarnate Christ, who wrestled with Jacob in what I am convinced was his conversion experience, Genesis 32.24-30.

We do not see any direct demonic attacks leveled against Abraham and his heirs, so perhaps God providentially protected them in a way He did not protect Job from direct assault.

The fourth phase of God’s dealings with the human race is unique in that God’s dealings are almost exclusively with the covenant nation of Israel, from the time of Moses and under the authority of the Law of Moses given at Mount Sinai following the Exodus. From Joseph’s days, the son of Jacob, going to Egypt as a slave, to the Exodus of the Israelites, was just more than four hundred years. Jacob’s descendants grew from a family to a nation of twelve tribes. But their growth during that time was in Egypt, rife with idolatry. And we know that where there are idols, there are demons, First Corinthians 10.20.

The protection of God’s people, the Israelites, was accomplished utilizing the Mosaic Law and its proscriptions against idolatry, Exodus 20.2-6: 

2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 

The Law of Moses was given to the nation of Israel and no one else.[5] Israel was a theocracy, ruled directly by God through the anointed offices, a king, a priesthood, and prophets. Thus, for the first time, an institution was added to the family unit to protect God’s people, primarily by using prohibitions and punishments to distance them from the enticement and seduction of demons through idolatry. Despite these measures, however, the Jewish people routinely and repeatedly turned from the true God to worship idols, seduced by demons to bow before them and glorify them in a blasphemous way toward God. The problem, of course, was that the Mosaic Law dealt only with externals, with no corresponding change of any sinner’s heart.

The fifth phase of God’s dealings with the human race shifted from the Jewish people as a covenant nation to the Church of Jesus Christ, brought into existence by the Savior during His earthly ministry and empowered on the Day of Pentecost by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which was repeated in Acts 8, 10, and 19. No longer restricted to a single nation descended from Abraham, the Church of Jesus Christ is comprised at this time of congregations of born again, Scripturally baptized, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ from every kindred, tongue, and tribe duly constituted to administer the two ordinances of baptism and the communion of the Lord’s Supper, and endeavoring to fulfill the Great Commission.

How is protection provided in this context, with this second institution added to the family unit to provide spiritual protection? In two ways: First, there is the protection provided by undershepherds, as suggested by Acts 20.17-32 and shown in many other passages: 

17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:

20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,

21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. 

How do spiritual leaders protect people? By warning everyone night and day.

Overlooked by many these days is the protection provided by the members of a Church congregation, protecting individual members without always realizing the benefit conferred on other members. Two verses are all we have time for: 

First Corinthians 5.5:

“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 

Expelling a member for misconduct who displayed no willingness to repent exposes an individual to a Satanic attack of a variety Church members are not exposed to, suggesting Church membership provides spiritual protection. 

Hebrews 10.25:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” 

Recognizing that most spiritual conflicts occur in the realm of a person’s thought life, it is within the congregation’s gathered worship that beneficial exhortation can be found on so many levels.

My understanding of eschatology is that the next significant event on the prophetic calendar is the Rapture of Christians, the Bride of Christ’s uptaking. When that occurs, the only institution left on earth that can provide spiritual protection for people will be the family unit. But without any believers alive on earth at that time, the families of the human population will not function well in the spiritual realm.

Additionally, as I understand that seventieth week of Daniel that follows the Rapture when God once again focuses His redemptive attention on the Jewish people, the Spirit of God will withdraw portions of His activity in the human realm, Second Thessalonians 2.7-12: 

7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

With Christians and Churches removed, with an aspect of the Holy Spirit’s restraining ministry also removed (repeating what He had promised to do in Genesis 6.3), there will be an onslaught of spiritual aggression and the advancing of evil. Will the Gospel be preached during the time known as the Tribulation? Yes, with 144,000 evangelists bearing abundant fruit despite the intense opposition, Revelation chapters 7 and 14. How will God protect His own during that time? Though it is difficult to be certain, it does not appear that God will preserve His own from martyrdom. Many will die for the cause of Christ. But their martyrdom will be their escape from this world to the next, and the glories of heaven, Revelation 6.9-10: 

9  ... I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 

Then comes the Second Coming of Christ in power and great glory to take possession of this world and establish His millennial kingdom. What happens when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth? Primarily, what happens to people? I accept Revelation 19.11-21 as a foretelling of Christ’s Second Coming in literal terms. This is how it will happen: 

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. 

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to take possession of the earth, seizing it from the grasp of the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world, He will kill every unsaved human being, verse 15, and He will cast alive both the antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire, verse 20. Again, in verse 21, He will slay the remnant. Everyone left alive who is not a believer in Him will suffer execution by the Savior, Himself.

Most who will have trusted Christ for the forgiveness of sins during the 70th week of Daniel will end up being martyred in one way or the other. Those few left alive when Christ returns will enter into the Lord’s millennial reign and populate Christ’s millennial kingdom. They will marry and bear children, repopulating the world, but with no Satan or demonic presence for a thousand years. Revelation 20.1-10 tells a good part, but not a complete account, of what will transpire: 

1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

7  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 

Mention is made of the Devil being bound for a thousand years before being loosed a final time for a short-lived revolt that will end in him being cast into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented day and night forever and ever. Thus, God’s people will be protected during the millennium as a result of the Devil (and presumably the demons) being removed from the scene, with the final battle being between the Devil and the unsaved born during the thousand years joining to fight against and being defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This concludes the first portion of this two-part message addressing how God protects His people. Some things He protects His people from, and some things He has chosen not to protect His people from. Of course, those who are not His people have no promise of protection from spiritual assault.

That said, part one has been an overview, a 30,000 foot look down throughout human history. Part two comes next time, Lord willing, focusing with much greater specificity and detail on God’s protection of His people during the era in which we live, the so-called Age of the Churches.

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[1] http://www.calvaryroadbaptist.church/sermon.php?sermonDate=20200719b

https://youtu.be/Fqe6RgIdzMs

http://www.calvaryroadbaptist.church/sermon.php?sermonDate=20200726a

https://youtu.be/bx3DT_Nqs-8

[2] http://www.calvaryroadbaptist.church/sermon.php?sermonDate=20201129b

https://youtu.be/lGATsF2Xo1o

[3] J. Sidlow Baxter, The Strategic Grasp of the Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1968), pages 191-192.

[4] Genesis 12.1-3; Acts 7.2-3

[5] Deuteronomy 5.1-3

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