Principalities and Powers
(Job 1, Revelation 12, Zechariah 3, Romans 3)
Introduction: What is most important to you right now? What do you need to fix or do this week? Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little world we forget about the fact that we live in a larger context. There is a controversy between good and evil sweeping all around us. We are just a little cog in a great and unfolding plan for the defeat of evil. Let's jump into the Bible and learn more!
- Job and the Council
- Read Job 1:1-3. Would you like to trade places with Job? (You should "update" the nature of his wealth in deciding.)
- What kind of a man is Job?
- How was he when it came to spiritual matters?
- How was he when it came to material matters?
- How did he stack up against his peers?
- Read Job 1:4-5. What kind of a father was Job?
- What about his children was his greatest concern?
- Do you like and admire Job?
- The scene in our story suddenly changes. Read Job 1:6-7. What kind of meeting is this?
- Where do you think this meeting is taking place? (Since Satan says he has come "from roaming through the earth," it seems unlikely this meeting is on earth. Note that the group is coming to "present themselves before the Lord." This makes heaven the likely meeting place.)
- Let's look at a little background to better understand this council meeting. Read Revelation 12:7-9. What kind of history do God and Satan have? (Things became so bad in heaven that war erupted. The armies of God and Satan clashed, and God won. Satan and his army of angels were exiled to the earth.)
- If Satan was exiled to earth, does that give us proof that the meeting described in Job took place on earth? (Read Revelation 12:10. This makes clear that there was a time after sin entered our world when Satan had open access to heaven and he would accuse humans before God.)
- Read Job 1:8-11. What is Satan doing to Job? (Just as described in Revelation 12, Satan is accusing Job before God. God praises Job and Satan attacks him. Based on all we have read, I think this council meeting reported in Job takes place in heaven.)
- You and the Controversy
- If a "perfect man" ( Job 1:1 "blameless and upright") is the subject of Satan's attacks. How about you? What do you think Satan says about you?
- Read Revelation 12:12. What does this suggest is Satan's current work?
- Read Zechariah 3:1-4. Are Satan's accusations true about Joshua? (Yes. He is "dressed in filthy clothes.")
- If they are true about Joshua, would they be true about you? (The identification of Joshua as the "high priest" who is "standing" before God (see Deuteronomy 10:8) reminds us of a picture of the high priest representing the people on the Day of Atonement - the day when sins were removed from the camp of God's people. (See Leviticus 16:2-34.) I think this conversation is symbolically about us - Joshua represents you.)
- What competing work do we see in this example of Joshua? (Satan accuses us and God stands up for us.)
- When a church member accuses another member of being sinful, is this the work of Satan?
- What about 1 Corinthians 5:1-2?
- When Joshua is called a "burning stick snatched from the fire," what elements of our situation does that highlight? (We were lost - headed for a fiery death. Jesus "snatched" us from that fate.)
- What did Joshua do to be saved from the accusations of Satan? (He was in the "right place." But, Zechariah 3:4 clearly states, "I have taken away your sin." Jesus took away the filthy clothes and gave Joshua "rich garments.")
- Read Hebrews 2:14-18. We just read the situation of Joshua the High Priest. Which High Priest are we reading about here? (Jesus. Do you see the transition? Satan accuses Joshua of sin - and God intervenes to save him. This text shows that we have a better High Priest in Jesus. (See Hebrews 8.) Jesus is the High Priest who, instead of being accused, rebukes Satan who (rightfully) accuses us of our sins.)
- Salvation and the Struggle.
- Read Romans 3:21-22. What is the key to being rescued by God from the accusations of Satan? (Faith in Jesus.)
- What does verse 22 mean when it says, "There is no difference?" (Continue reading Romans 3:23-24. All of us are sinners and all of us are justified only by grace.)
- Read Romans 3:25-26. What is God's stake in this battle? Why would Jesus die on our behalf? (God shows us that He is just.)
- I'm reading a book right now which mentions that one of the characters no longer believes in God because he thought God was unjust. Is our faith in Jesus ( Romans 3:22) a belief in His justice?
- How big an issue is "God's justice" in this struggle between good and evil?
- When Satan accuses us, is he arguing about justice?
- We have this conflict going on. We have seen that Satan is our accuser, he is on earth and he is angry and twisted. Is Satan on his "last leg" - just barely limping along?
- Overall, how is Satan doing in his work? (Read 1 John 5:19. Jesus has made a way for us to be snatched from the fire, and to stand justified before God. But, that does not mean the battle has ended. John says "the whole world" is under the control of Satan. The battle between good and evil still rages on.)
- Friend, how about you? Are you paying attention to the struggle between good and evil? Where are you in this battle? Have you chosen to accept the sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf? Have you made Him your High Priest? Do you believe He is just?
- Next week: Judgment Must Begin.