Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Can Satan Hinder Us? If So How?
1 Thess 2:16-20 NAS

16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost. 17 But we, brethren, having been bereft of you for a short while-- in person, not in spirit-- were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 18 For we wanted to come to you-- I, Paul, more than once-- and yet Satan thwarted us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Introduction
The word translated "hinder" is the GREEK word NT:1465 egkopto (eng-kop'-to); from NT:1722 and NT:2875; to cut into, i.e. (figuratively) impede, detain: KJV-hinder, be tedious unto.

ATR 1 Thess 2:18 engkoptoo (NT:1465), a late word to cut in, to hinder. Milligan quotes papyrus example of third century, B.C. Verb used to cut in a road, to make a road impassable. So Paul charges Satan with cutting in on his path. A T Robertson's Word Studies.
 

IF I WERE THE DEVIL By Paul Harvey 1999 Paul Harvey News

I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would remove the teachings of God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;

I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda;

I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;

I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of religious folks, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;

I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.

Satan can hinder the work of the LORD.
 
 
 

1.    Satan Can Hinder Our . . Testimony. v 16


16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

A.    The Hindering of . . Speech. v 16 a
        "hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles . . . "

            1.    What do you do when someone says you can't speak in the name of Jesus?
                a.    Paul went were he could speak for Jesus.
                b.    Although he never shrank from share his faith.

B.    The Hindering of . . Salvation. v 16 b
            ". . . to the Gentiles that they might be saved; . . . "

            1. The Hindering of . . Sins Forgiveness. v 16 c
". . . with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

            2.    Take a look at Jewish History.
                    a.    What has rejection of the Messiah Done.
                    b.    Destruction of Jerusalem
                    c.    The Holocaust
                    d.    Israel not a Nation again until 1948
            3.    Filling up their sins.  ". . . they always fill up the measure of their sins. "  NAS

                        a.    Seven Sins of the Jews Mentioned in ! Thes 2:16-16
                            1)    They killed Jesus.  v 15 a
                            2)    They killed their own Prophets.  v 15 b
                            3)    They persecuted Paul and the Church.  v 15 c
                            4)    They lived contrary to God.  v 15 d
                            5)    They lived hostile to all men.  v 15 d
                            6)    They opposed the salvation of others.  v 16 a
                            7)    Multiplied sins continually.   v 16 b

Mac Arthur's Study Bible
        "filling up the cup of wrath,. . ." NKJ   can be understood:

1) historically of the Babylonian exile (Ezek. 8­11);
2) prophetically of Jerusalem's destruction in a.d. 70;
3) eschatologically of Christ's second coming in judgment (Rev. 19); or
4) soteriologically in the sense that God's promised eternal wrath for unbelievers is so certain that it is spoken of as having come already as does the Apostle John (cf. John 3:18,36). This context relates to the fourth option.

Illustration
Martin Luther once illustrated Satan's desire for each Christian in this way:

The devil held a great anniversary at which his emissaries were convened to report the results of the several missions.

"I let loose the wild beast of the desert," said one, "on a caravan of Christians, and their bones are now bleaching on the sands."

"What of that?" said the devil. "Their souls are saved."

"I drove the east wind," said another, "against a ship freighted with Christians, and they were all drowned."

"What of that?" said the devil. "Their souls are saved."

"For ten years I tried to get a single Christian asleep," said a third, "and I succeeded and left him so."

Then the devil shouted, and the night stars of hell sang for joy.
 

Application

        Satan Can Hinder Our . . Testimony.
 
 

2.    Satan Can Hinder Our . . Travels. v 17- 18


17 But we, brethren, having been bereft of you for a short while-- in person, not in spirit-- were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 18 For we wanted to come to you-- I, Paul, more than once-- and yet Satan thwarted us. NAS  17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while -- in person, not in spirit -- were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 18 For we wanted to come to you -- I, Paul, more than once -- and yet Satan hindered us. NASU 

A.    Hindered through . . Deporting Travels. v 17 a
        " But we, brethren, having been bereft of you for a short while-- in person, not in spirit. . . " NAS
        "But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while. . . " NASU

ATR: 1 Thess 2:17
Being bereaved of you aporfanisthentes (NT:642) af' (NT:575) humoon (NT:5216). First aorist passive participle of the rare compound verb aporfanizoo (NT:642), in Aeschylus, but nowhere else in New Testament)]. Literally, being orphaned from you af' (NT:575) humoon (NT:5216), ablative case)]. Paul changes the figure again trofos (NT:5162) or mother nurse in 1 Thess 2:7, neepios (NT:3516) or babe in 1 Thess 2:7, pateer (NT:3962) or father in 1 Thess 2:11) to orphan orfanos (NT:3737). (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament,)

NOTE: Acts 17:5-7 & 10 5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and coming upon the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also; Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. NAS
 

B.    Hindered through . . Desired Travels. v 17 b- 18
            ". . . were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.   18 For we wanted to come to you-- I, Paul, more than once-- and yet Satan thwarted us.

            1.    Paul desired to return but he never did.
                    a.    Some of the enemy accused Paul of leaving these folks Leaving them to save his own
                           neck.
            2.    Paul had a strong desire to go back to Thessalonica.    Ps 37:4
                        Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. NAS

            3.    Paul's desire was evidently not the will of the Lord.

Illustration Jerry Vines writes: Exploring the Gospels: Mark.
I was out early yesterday morning running. I thought I would try to beat the humidity, but there is no way to do that. So I was out there running, minding my own business, and all of a sudden

I heard this dog bark. I am afraid of dogs; I had a big old dog get hold of me when I was a little kid. I looked out of the corner of my eye and there he came. I said, "This is it. This is the end." That dog was running faster than I could possibly run. No way in the world could I get away from him.

He got close to me and all of a sudden the chain that bound him ran out of slack. It reminded me that if you are a believer, the Lord Jesus Christ has power to bind the devil in your life. The devil can't touch you as a believer unless you put yourself in a position near him. That's why the Bible says that believers are to give no place to the devil. Some Christians walk onto the lot where the devil is.

Application
 

        Satan Can Hinder Our . . Testimony.

                Satan Can Hinder Our . . Travels.
 
 

3.    Satan Can't Hinder Our. .Trophies. v 19-20


19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. NAS

Introduction: There are five crowns for believers mentioned in the New Testament. This one is called the Soul Winners Crown

A.    The . . Asking about Trophies. v 19 a
           " For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation?

            1.    The crown was the people he lead to the Lord.

B.    The . . Answer about Trophies. v 19 b
            ". . . Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?
 

C.    The . . Affirmation about Trophies. v 20
            " For you are our glory and joy. "

Illustration EDITORS' NOTE: The names of the people, church and location have been changed.)

LESLIE, Ala. (BP)--Susan Tanner thought she knew the importance of witnessing -- until she had the opportunity to save someone's life, both spiritually and physically. As part of a visitation team at the 2,500-member Leslie (Ala.) Baptist Church, she had regularly shared the gospel in many homes in the attempt to save lost souls from spiritual death.

Yet when handed the visitors' card with Maria Woods' name on it, Tanner could not have realized the part she was about to play in saving a life on the brink of physical destruction. Woods had come to the altar for prayer the Sunday before, and when the associate pastor tried to talk to her, Woods told him that her sins were too great for God to forgive. Because she seemed too upset to listen to his counsel, the associate pastor asked Tanner to visit her. Tanner arrived at Woods' home later that week with another woman instead of her usual visitation partner -- her husband, Richard, a deacon in the church. After some time, Woods answered the door obviously upset, her otherwise attractive face swollen from crying.

"I was afraid at first that she wasn't going to let us in," Tanner said. "But when I told her that we had come from the church, she swung the door open wide and invited us to sit down." Tanner began by asking Woods, "If you were to die tonight and God asked you why he should let you into heaven, what would you tell him?" Woods began to cry, and answered, "He wouldn't let me in." After Tanner asked why, Woods explained she felt like a building that -- although nice and pretty on the outside -- was dirty, filthy and falling apart on the inside.

"That's what my life is like," Woods told Tanner. "On the outside I'm OK, but on the inside I'm a total mess." Tanner felt this was her opportunity to share Romans 3:23, which reads that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." She also read John 3:16, substituting Woods' name for "the world." And through Scriptures in Romans, Tanner used the "Roman Road" to share the plan of salvation with Woods.

"She was crying and asking questions the whole time," Tanner said.    At this point, Woods told the two church members how her sin had destroyed her marriage and that she knew God could not forgive her. When asked why God would not forgive her, Woods said that someone had told her that adultery was the unpardonable sin.

"Oh Maria," Tanner told her, "God sent us to tell you that he loves you and is ready and willing to forgive you and welcome you into his kingdom. The only unpardonable sin is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ. Don't let us leave here without asking him into your heart." That news penetrated Woods' heart and helped her realize her inadequacy in dealing with the situation. "I need help," she replied. Tanner and her partner then led Woods in a simple prayer of confession and faith. "I have never seen anyone more sincere or more broken," Tanner said. "As we stood up, she grabbed me and hugged me and said, 'You saved my life.'"

Tanner was so taken aback that she quickly said, "No, honey, Jesus did that." That's when Woods told Tanner, "Hold on, I want to show you something." She then went to her bedroom and returned with a loaded pistol in her hand. "When you drove up," Woods explained as she emptied out all the bullets, "I was sitting on the side of the bed with this gun to my head. So see, you did save my life."

"I think we were all stunned," Tanner said. "No one can imagine the awe we felt about God's providential timing for our visit." Tanner noted that her experience has given her a greater sense of urgency about the importance of her church's visitation program and her daily witness.

"When you realize that your visit kept a person from immediately ending their life with an eternity in hell, it really puts witnessing in a whole new light," Tanner reflected. And the happy ending is Woods' new walk in the Lord. The following Sunday she returned to the church and made a public profession of faith. She has since been baptized and has begun a life of service to Jesus Christ.
 

Application

        Satan can Hinder us but he can not conquer us.

Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. KJV

Conclusion

Satan Can Hinder Our . . Testimony.
 

Satan Can Hinder Our . . Travels.
 

Satan Can't Hinder Our . . Trophies.
 

Song: Must I empty handed Go?


 
 


 

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