Satan and His Kingdom Study Guide

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Author: 
Dennis McCallum

Want to take your group or partner through a study on the Evil One? This guide should help. Each chapter is laid out as a study, but the discussion leader may decide to combine two chapters into one study. This guide covers the first eighteen chapters only, on the theory that most groups won’t want to go further.

Reading

The first step is to read the chapter you are studying. I suggest you read the endnotes as well.

Some groups assign reading, and assume members will have it done before meeting. If you chose this approach, consider sending the discussion questions home with members the week before, so they can consider possible answers while reading.

Other groups read on the spot, each member taking one page, and going around to any who want to read. Then, the moderator introduces discussion questions as appropriate. One advantage of this approach is that all members definitely read the chapter, and the material is fresh in their minds for discussion.

After Reading

When introducing discussion, the moderator may want to make a few comments about his or her impression of the chapter, it’s importance, or points of disagreement. Then, throw out the first question to the group. Remember, you don’t have to use all the questions. Select the ones you find interesting, and which are suited to your group. By numbering the questions, you can give your favorite first, and use others as time permits. If good discussion results from one of the questions, don’t worry about getting the others questions in. The important thing in discussion is that members engage with the material and enjoy learning.

Chapter 1 Spiritual War

This eight page chapter sets up the concept of spiritual warfare, focusing on how the realization that we are at war should affect our outlook an actions.

  • What word or phrase best describes the difference resulting from a wartime mentality, according to the author?
  • Do you agree with his argument, or do you feel it’s over-done? Why?
  • What are some dangers, or negatives that could result from viewing the Christian life as a spiritual war?

Chapter 2 Who is Satan?

If God has revealed the origin of Satan, that would include valuable information. This nine page chapter analyzes the three passages people suggest disclose things about the origin of the Evil One.

  • The author claims Isaiah 14 does not refer to Satan’s fall. Many commentators disagree. What do you think? (This question could be introduced immediately after reading the section on Is. 14, before reading the rest of the chapter.)
  • How about the author’s case that Ezekiel 28 does refer to Satan? Do you think his evidence is sufficient? What counter-arguments can you imagine?
  • God says in verse 18, “I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you.” What theory can you imagine that this “fire from within” refers to?
  • What could Satan have possibly said that would have persuaded a third of the righteous angels to rebel against God? (Think about what he said to get humans to rebel)
  • Satan is apparently a spectacular cherub. What effect do you think medieval portrayals of him as a monster has had?

Chapter 3 The Rebellion Spreads to Humanity

This short, six page chapter focuses on Satan’s work in bringing about the fall of humanity.

  • What were the key features McCallum called attention to in Satan’s approach, and how have you seen him use the same tactics either in your life, or toward others you know of?
    • Questioning God’s word
    • Denying God’s word
    • Replacing God’s word
    • Accusing God
  • Do you think it was significant that Eve misquoted God? Why?

Chapter 4 God’s Plan

Clearly, Satan’s continued existence must have something to do with God’s plan of redemption. By combining Chapter 4 and 5 into one session, you can consider the author’s claim in a total of nineteen pages.

For more advanced groups, take one session for each chapter, and read the related Appendices along with the chapter. The basic and advanced questions appear separately under each chapter.

Basic Study

  • McCallum discussed the strategic role played by the Old Testament scriptures in God’s plan. How was the Old Testament a necessary precondition for the mission of Jesus?
  • Jesus was validated through his fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in a way no other has ever been. Look up Isaiah 53 and go through it together. What predictions do you see in this passage? Would people during Jesus’ life be able to link this servant of the Lord with King Messiah?

Advanced Study

The group should read and study Chapter 4 and Appendix 2 and 3.

  • McCallum claims five factors made predictions of the first coming incomprehensible until after Jesus’ life. They are:
    1. None of the passages about the suffering servant identify him as the Messiah
    2. The servant’s career contradicts that of the Messiah
    3. The context for many passages creates confusion
    4. No passage in the Old Testament ever predicts that Messiah will come twice.
    5. Some predictions skip in time from the first to the second coming of Christ
  • Having considered the evidence for these claims, discuss whether you think people should have been able to decipher the message in several of the clearest predictions. For each, what factors come into play, and do you think McCallum is exaggerating the difficulty? Should people have understood these prophecies?

    Psalms 22

    Isaiah’s servant songs 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12 (Pick one or two, and notice the intervening context )

    Isaiah 61

    Zechariah 11:12-14.
  • Discuss Jesus’ disclosures during the upper room discourse (John 13-16). Was Jesus deliberately holding back information or speaking in cryptic language calculated to conceal meaning? Could he have clarified the confusion? Or were the disciples just being unnecessarily thick-headed? Consider:

    13:33, 36

    14:4,5

    16:1-4

    16:12

Chapter 5 Satan’s Odd Behavior

In this eleven page chapter, McCallum argues that the confusion in Old Testament prophecy was part of a deliberate plan by God to conceal Jesus’ mission from Satan. When Satan conspired to kill Jesus, the result was the mystery hidden for ages, but now revealed.

Basic Study

  • Read 1 Corinthians 2:7 ,8. Is this saying Satan and the demons didn’t realize Jesus intended to die? Or is it referring to the human rulers who killed Jesus? What evidence do you see for each?
  • McCallum mentions several reasons people have suggested for why Satan helped kill Jesus. Which theory to you think is right, and why?
  • In the section on “The cosmic outcome,” McCallum argues that God’s whole plan results in a new situation where free will creatures never again rebel against God. Do you think this is right, based on the passages cited? What alternative view can you suggest, or have heard?

Advanced Study

  • Summarize and assess McCallum’s reason for thinking Satan was unaware of Jesus’ plan to die. Do you agree?
  • Considering the multiple passages on “they mystery” in Paul’s teaching, what do you think they are referring to?
  • In the section on “The cosmic outcome,” McCallum argues that God’s whole plan results in a new situation where free will creatures never again rebel against God. Do you think this is right, based on the passages cited? What alternative view can you suggest, or have heard?
  • In appendix 4, the author tries to explain why Simeon and John the Baptist made statements implying they understood what Jesus would do. Are you satisfied with his explanation, or do you think it’s too tortured?
  • The author also seems to think in Appendix 4 that this idea of the mystery might have an impact on apologetics. What do you think?

Chapter 6 Spiritual Warfare Today

This twelve page chapter is on Satan’s strategy in our day. It could be combined with a study of the next chapter to provide a comparison of his and our strategy.

  • What do you think about the author’s claim that Satan’s strategy is mainly defensive? What implications does this hold for Christians?
  • The author claims that Satan seeks to destroy or retard Christians’ spiritual growth in order to keep them from causing him trouble later. What kind of things do you believe Satan does to interfere with Christians’ growth?
  • As Christians, what do we have most to fear from Satan?

Chapter 7 Our Strategy

This is a short, eight page chapter describing the broad outline of strategy for the church as described in the New Testament.

  • What have you been taught Jesus means when he refers to “binding the strongman?”
  • Do you find the author’s argument about city gates in Matthew 18 persuasive? If so, why would most translators choose “overpower” instead of “withstand?”
  • Not everyone agrees on what our strategy should be. Have you ever heard other suggestions? Who do you think is right?
  • If Satan’s “fortresses” are belief systems that imprison people, what are some of the most influential fortresses you see among non-Christians you know?

Chapter 8 How the Sides Match Up

This chapter compares Satan’s advantages with ours. Ten pages.

  • The author makes it sound like Satan has many advantages. Is this exaggerated? How well has Satan done against the people of God?
  • Which of the typical weaknesses found among believers do you think causes the most trouble?
  • If we have superior power, shouldn’t we always win any collision with Satan? Why do we see Christians being cut down and churches stalemated so often?
  • Have you ever seen prayer for another result in them being responsive way beyond what you expected? Share some examples.

Chapter 9 Battling Satan inside the Church

This sixteen page chapter analyzes how Satan disrupts the church.

  • Have you ever been embarrassed by a non-Christian calling attention to negative things about the church in history or today? How should Christians answer such objections?
  • What part should regular lay members in the church play in avoiding corporate deception?
  • When do you think it’s right to leave a local church? When would it not be right?
  • McCallum says Satan sows suspicion of fellow Christians, hoping to foment division in the church. What are some things Christians can do to guard peace in the church?
  • What do you think about the author’s suggestion that churches need to not only teach what the Bible teaches, but to emphasize what the Bible emphasizes? Try to assemble a list of doctrines that would be

    - Essential

    - Very important

    - Somewhat important

    - Peripheral and relatively unimportant

Chapter 10 Your Personal Battle with Satan

This fifteen page discussion covers what we should, and should not expect from Satan in our personal lives.

  • McCallum suggests we need to learn about Satan’s limitations to avoid over-estimating his power. What might happen if we over-estimate the power of Satan?
  • Look at the list of lies typical lies Satan tells on p. ____ _ . Which of these have you heard before, or seen friends buy into?
  • What is Satan trying to accomplish when telling these lies? (pick some of your favorites off the list to discuss)
  • The author says, “Many Christians don’t realize how dangerous these mental arguments are.” How is believing Satan dangerous? What’s the worst that can happen?
  • After pointing out biblical evidence that Satan can speak to our minds, McCallum concludes, “thoughts coming into our heads could be from Satan.” If this is true, how do we know which thoughts or ideas come from God, and which from Satan?

Chapter 11 Satan’s Trump Card

This is one of the longer chapters in the book, at eighteen pages. But may bring more practical conviction to your group than most chapters.

  • The author thinks evangelicals today tend to only recognize certain aspects of the kosmos as being from Satan. Other aspects are considered relatively harmless. What do you think of his argument?
  • If “friendship with the world is enmity with God” according to James, are we in trouble in the church today?
  • McCallum cites research in the endnotes showing that the church in the west is not reaching significant numbers of people for Christ. Several recent studies say the evangelical church in America is stagnant or declining. What would you attribute this to?
  • The author says people accommodated with the world-system get angry when someone suggests that laying up treasure on earth might be wrong, even though Jesus said not to do it (Mt. 6:10). Have you ever seen or felt this?
  • According to McCallum, the scariest thing about falling in love with the world-system is that you don’t notice it happening. But your fascination with spiritual things and your eagerness to serve God mysteriously diminish. Is this a bit paranoid?
  • What are the counter-measures McCallum suggests for those struggling with love of the world-system?
  • The author thinks it’s better if you feel a sense of struggle with the world than if you see no problem. Why does he say this?

Chapter 12 Countering Satan’s Moves

This fifteen page chapter covers the “armor of God” in Ephesians 6:12-18. The discussion tries to see how these elements of armor tie into the picture of spiritual warfare already portrayed.

  • The belt is Truth. Since we have truth from God in his word, what minimum standard of Bible knowledge do you think Christians should reach? Describe some things all Christians should do with their Bibles.
  • McCallum refers to the debate as to whether the righteousness we put on is our own righteousness, based on holy living, or the   righteousness of God in our position in Christ. Who do you side with on this, and why?
  • On the shield of faith, the author discusses problems with doubt. What have you found effective in countering doubt?
  • The helmet of salvation refers to the security we have as children of God. Why is security important when battling Satan?
  • After referring to historical cases where Satan got the Bible out of Christians’ hands, or discredited it in their minds, the author says, “Other movements in the church today continue to undermine Christians’ confidence and motivation to learn the Bible.” What comes to your mind when he says this?
  • McCallum says Satan “will do anything to keep us from praying.” What kinds of things have you seen him use to keep you from praying?

Chapter 13 The Arrows of Satan: Temptation

This chapter is 20 pages, so should be handled alone.

  • Christians often ask, “How do I know when temptation comes from the devil, and when it comes from the flesh?” Based on this chapter, how do you think McCallum would answer that? Do you agree?
  • The chapter suggests several reasons Satan might tempt Christians. Which do you think are the most important?
  • The chapter listed a number of favorite arguments Satan uses to get people into sin. These include: Deserving, Threats Secrecy, Superspirituality, Just this once, Fatalism, Overconfidence, Excuses, Rationalization, Self-righteousness. How do these work, and what is Satan trying to accomplish with each?
  • McCallum argues that ignoring Satan’s arguments isn’t good enough. They have to be refuted. Why is this?

Chapter 14 The Arrows of Satan: Accusation

This relatively short, eleven page chapter discusses different ways Satan uses accusation to affect Christians’ outlook.

  • When Satan accuses God to humans, what is he hoping will happen?
  • When he accuses people to themselves, what is he hoping will happen?
  • When he accuses people to each other, what is he hoping will happen?
  • How do you recognize the difference between accusation and the conviction of the Holy Spirit?
  • In your experience, what is the best thing to do when you feel accused?

Chapter 15 Satan and Your Ministry: Diversion

This chapter discusses how Satan uses deception to send well-intentioned Christians on wild goose-chases. 14 pages.

  • Does your church stress that all Christians should develop a personal ministry? Do you believe this is taught in scripture?
  • The extensive and unanimous research showing the evangelical church in America is losing ground is ominous. Do you think Christians in America are aware that the church is in trouble? Or do most see no need for change?
  • What approaches to evangelism does your church stress? Are they working? What can we do to enhance evangelism?
  • How would you respond to Christians arguing that witnessing doesn’t matter, because God already knows who will believe??
  • What is your view of personal disciple-making? Is it biblical? Do you see most Christians practicing it?
  • Discuss what you think the church should do today in terms of ministry to the poor.
  • McCallum says, “Too many Christians have never been convinced that the church is anything other than a place you go to have your own needs met.” What do you think people should be thinking?

Chapter 16 Satan and Your Ministry: Opposition

If the Evil One can’t get Christians to do foolish things in ministry, he will fight in a number of other ways detailed in this fourteen page chapter.

  • Do you ever get a hopeless feeling about progress in ministry? How do you respond?
  • What are some points you could make to a newer Christian who becomes discouraged over failure in ministry?
  • To be able to practice intercessory prayer, people need to know each other well enough to be aware of others’ needs and weaknesses. Do you think people are sufficiently engaged in churches today to do this?

Chapter 17 Satan’s Power Moves

  • Do you think interest in the occult is rising in the west? Where do you see it?
  • What do you hear from foreign mission fields on possession? Do you think it’s more common there than in the west?
  • What do you make of the silence throughout the Old Testament and the epistles on demon possession and deliverance?
  • What’s your opinion on the question of Christians being possessed? What does the author think?
  • Do agree with McCallum that former occult practitioners should perform a prayer of renunciation and destroy their paraphernalia? Have you ever witnessed this?

Chapter 18 Going Forward

This very short chapter of three pages is intended to redirect the reader’s attention to Christ.

  • What steps would you suggest to a younger believer for cultivating a Christ-focus?