1. Honor the Lord
In Isaiah 8, the LORD emphatically warns Isaiah not to walk in the way of the invading Assyrians. God commands Isaiah, “But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Is 8:13). God holds a preeminent position in the lives of his people. They honor him as holy. They fear him. He is their dread.
So, when God’s people are confronted with those who dishonor the Lord, they must honor God. Whether in the wake of an impending Assyrian invasion or as they respond to a Satanic after school club, Christians are confronted with a decision: they can honor God or they can deny him. They can walk in the truth or in the lie, denying God and walking in the way of the antichrist (1 John 2:20-23). Jesus himself contrasted honoring God with being demon possessed (John 8:49). Which path will we choose? We must honor the Lord.
Lest there be any confusion, we honor Christ as an act of honoring the Father (John 5:23). We are not vaguely religious people but are clearly and precisely followers of Jesus Christ.
We honor Christ, among other reasons, because our victory over sin and Satan belong ultimately to Him. Iain M. Duguid explains, “We often imagine we are fighting alone in our struggles against sin. Not at all. Your victory over sin belongs to Jesus, not you.” This is true not only of sin but of Satan. Jesus Christ has accomplished victory over Satan, and we honor him as the Victor.
Christian, remember that you belong to Christ as you navigate a world that denies Christ. We honor the Lord with how we speak and when we speak. We submit all our engagements and interactions to the Lord and his authority in our lives and our world. Article XV in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states, “All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society.” We owe honor ultimately to the Lord.
Christians will likely find this challenge to grow as they navigate an increasingly secularized culture. Such a culture will not find the void of Christianity filled by simply an absence of religion but with other religions including secularism, satanism, and countless others. Christians in such cultures must resolve to honor the Lord.
2. Resist the Devil
The biblical author James, in his straightforward style, calls readers to “resist the devil” (James 4:7). He echoes the warning God gave to Cain in Genesis 4, “Sin is crouching at your door to devour you” (Gen 4:7). Yes, Satan’s deception and destruction launched in the Garden of Eden requires diligent resistance from believers today. This is the nature of spiritual warfare.
Chuck Lawless and William Cook define spiritual warfare as “the ongoing battle between the church and the devil and his forces, with the church standing in the armor of God, defensively resisting the devil, and offensively proclaiming the gospel in a battle already won.” Believer, you are in a battle with an active enemy. He is not theoretical. He is real. And he is dangerous (1 Peter 5:8).
Though all modern cultures submit to Satan, we must resist him. What does it mean to resist the devil when your nextdoor neighbor launches a club in Satan’s name at the local elementary school? Knowing that Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44), we speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Knowing that Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4), we proclaim the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:5). Knowing that our war is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12), we put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11).
Yes, we resist the Devil, and we do not adopt his methods. We do not stoop to evil or lying or fear or craftiness. We do not smear the name of our neighbor, even though they may disagree with us. We resist the devil not by crucifying our neighbor at a public hearing but by killing sin in our own hearts.
Satan has launched his attack. He is after the children in the local elementary school, both public and private, whether there is an official club or not. Satan is waging war, and we must resist him.
3. Welcome the Children
Finally, we welcome the children. Jesus Christ welcomed and blessed children. He warned against hindering children from coming to him. He called those who would follow him to come as children (Matt 19:13-15).
Jesus exemplified welcoming children and exhorted his followers to welcome children. Both the attitude and actions of Christians towards children should be those of Jesus Christ. We imitate him. Thus, we cannot turn a blind eye or develop a calloused heart when children are in danger. Sarah Parshall Perry warns that children are under attack through the lessening of laws protecting them from harm.
It cannot be said of Christians that they welcomed the little children in their city if they allowed them to be manipulated and leveraged for political power. It cannot be said that they welcomed the little children if they cared only for their physical well being and not for their spiritual life as well.
No doubt some Christians will develop differing convictions on how to respond. Some will withdraw their children from the public school system, identifying a time for separative holiness. Some will sign-up for the Parent Teacher Association seeing this as an opportunity for missional influence. Even with our differences, the unified church has a critical part to play in God’s purposes in this world.
May our churches, and the believers who fill them, be such a haven for children that an After School Satan club offers no attraction. Such churches need not seek bells and whistles to gain temporary attention but can trust the ongoing ministry of the Word and prayer. May the grandparents in our churches offer such a tender and appropriate touch that children flee to them, and to safety, when threatened by inappropriate touching. May the parents in our churches seize the call to disciple their children and may the children be given the eyes to see Satan’s lies for what they are and the contrasting, glorious truth of Jesus Christ.
A Future and Final Victory
One day Jesus will finally and fully defeat Satan. Until then, Satan will continue to twist God’s word and whisper damning lies into the hearts and ears of children (John 8:44). He will manipulate them into slavery and convince them that he is leading them to freedom (2 Cor 11:14). From the moment of conception till their graduation day, Satan seeks to destroy children.
John records that in the last days Satan, and those he gathers for battle, will “surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Rev 20:9). We can reasonably deduce that children will not be spared from his plots and plans. But he will ultimately fail. John writes, “But fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev 20:9-10).
Let us weep over Satan’s attacks on children. And let us work both for gospel advancement among children and the restriction of evil’s influence on children. And let us do all knowing that Christ has a future and final victory over Satan.