How Satan Attacks The Church

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

How does Satan attack the church Jesus built? Satan is a deceiver and has many ways. He even has his own churches and ministers.


I put gossip and division as one in the same because they both accomplish the same thing; they can destroy a church. One big church in Texas once divided over what the color of the carpet should be in the sanctuary. How sad that a church divided over the color of a carpet! How Jesus must be grieved at this since we’re supposed to be known for our love for one another. Love is what is supposed to identify us as the disciples of Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). Gossip is also called slander in the Bible. Solomon wrote, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler” (Prov 20:19), and “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Prov 11:13). Twenty-six times in the Bible the word slander or slanderer is associated with gossip. Gossip will not only bring to ruin relationships and marriages, but even churches. Even if something is true, revealing secrets is sin. The Devil is a slanderer or accuser of the brothers and sisters (Rev 12:1). The Devil’s name even means “false accuser” or “slanderer,” so we do the Devil’s work when we gossip. Even if something is true, is it helpful to repeat it? Do you know it to be true for sure? Then why repeat it?

“a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28)

Sinister Ministers

Satan has always gone after solid churches, but he’s got other methods too. He may even have his own churches since “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). Because he looks and sounds so good on the Internet or TV, we believe his sinister ministers, but it should not be “surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Cor 11:15). Today, there is no shortage of self-proclaimed or self-anointed prophets and apostles, even though the Bible teaches that they were the foundation of the church, with Jesus being the Chief Cornerstone, but know this: these so-called prophets and apostles are really “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13).

False Prophets and Apostles

Remember the only time you can believe Satan is when he says he is a liar, because he’s been a liar from the beginning (John 8:44), and nothing’s changed. He’s still lying to the world and to believers about such things like “has God surely said” (Gen 3:1), attempting to make them doubt the Word of God. These satanic teachers teach the doctrines of demons and not a gospel of repentance and faith which Jesus taught (Mark 1:15). We can’t plead ignorance because we’ve been warned. The Apostle Paul wrote that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim 4:1). The Apostle Peter wrote that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet 2:1). We simply cannot “believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). We must test the spirits through the standard of Scripture because we are warned from Scripture that “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).

The solution to a church split is all right there in the Bible!

No Persecution

If a church or its members are never persecuted, something is very wrong. Persecution has long been used to try and stamp out the church, but ironically, persecution has actually helped spread the church. For example, right after “Saul approved of [Stephen’s] execution…there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 9:1). In the previous chapter, Saul condoned the stoning of Stephen, so even though Saul was on a mission to destroy the church, he actually spread it! As we read, the Christians “were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 9:1), and they brought the gospel of Jesus Christ with them! Because of the fleeing, persecuted Christians, the entire region of Judea and Samaria heard about Christ. Later, the Antioch Christians “were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews” (Acts 11:19), so now the gospel went even further, like “to Phoenicia and Cyrprus and Antioch.” Now the Greeks and much of the Roman Empire had opportunity to hear about Christ.


Children and CommunionLegalism or a lack of godly values can sack a church. A lack of discipline or church members allowed to live in sin (living unmarried, adultery, etc.) can bring down a church. So too will a lack of biblical preaching where instead, the word of man is taught. Also, if the sacraments are not regularly administered (Lord’s Supper and baptism, for example), the church becomes nothing more than a glorified country club for sinners. If a church is doing what God commands (i.e. Matt 25:35-36, 28:18-20), then He will bless that church and God will give the increase (Acts 2:47), but this will bring persecution, but persecution means the church must be doing what Christ commanded, and persecution can bring growth. Remember Jesus promised that we would be persecuted, but the church He is building will not be stopped…even by death (Matt 16:18). That’s because what God builds, remains. He is still building His church today (1 Cor 3:9), with the foundation of the apostles and prophets having already been laid, but they were squared with the Chief Cornerstone, the standard of truth, for He is the Rock. He is the life, the truth, and the only way (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). A church cannot ever forget that, or you can forget about that church.

Here is some related reading for you: How is Satan Disguised as an Angel of Light?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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