Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 22:1-40, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 11:13-18, Matthew 7:15, Matthew 16:23, Matthew 4:1-11, Revelations 3:15-16, Hebrews 5:11-12, Luke 14:18-35, Matthew 25:14-30, 1 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 1:25, Ecclesiastes 2:1-26, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Matthew 24:24, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, Luke 13:16, Acts 10:38
Guiding Question: What are some of the tricks Satan uses to try and convince us to sin?
Optional Introductory Activity: Before class, do some research on the tricks psychics use when tricking people. They often use tricks magicians use in what is known as a “cold reading”. You can also find them summarized in our children’s Bible lesson activity for the witch of Endor. After you have used a few of the techniques successfully, stop and explain them to your Bible students. Tell them that these techniques are what psychics, mediums and other similar types of people use to convince people they are in communication with the spirit world and have some sort of special knowledge. In reality they are merely using tricks to gain money and fame for themselves. Explain that Satan also uses tricks to increase his influence over us.
Lesson: (Questions to students are in bold italics.) Read 1 Kings 22:1-40. Why do you think Ahab and Jehoshaphat listened to the lying prophets rather than Micaiah? Part of this story may seem a bit confusing. We know from James 1:13 that God does not tempt us to do evil. Yet, God is all knowing. He knew Satan would tempt Ahab and Jehoshaphat with lying prophets, who were saying what they wanted to hear. He still allowed the truthful prophet Micaiah to prophesy the truth to them, giving them the chance to obey God. God knew they would reject the truth and He would use the results of their ignoring His wisdom to punish Ahab for his evil choices in life. What about this story still confuses you? Why does God sometimes allow His knowledge of Satan’s tricks and our hearts to give us earthly consequences?
God didn’t want Ahab and Jehoshaphat to disobey the prophecy from Micaiah. God just knew their hearts and the future well enough (Note: Don’t let the lesson get sidetracked on the discussion of how God operates outside of time.) to know they would. He doesn’t want us to disobey Him and fall for Satan’s tricks either. He wants our hearts to love and obey Him. That’s why God has put information in the Bible about Satan and his tricks. God wants us to be aware of those tricks, so we can recognize and avoid them when Satan tries to use them on us.
Read the scriptures below to discover some of the tricks Satan regularly uses to try and convince us we should disobey God and sin. For each trick, try to think of some real life examples when you or someone else has fallen for the trick in the passage. This may actually may be more difficult than you realize. The reason these tricks work is like the other tricks we have discussed so far, they are not obvious and are easy to miss as tricks of Satan. (Note: You may want to have spent time thinking of examples you have seen for each passage before class. You can share your examples if students get stuck. If you share one of your examples, still encourage them to think of another example.)
- John 8:44. Satan is the father of lies and uses lies
- 2 Corinthians 11:13-18 and Matthew 7:15. Satan disguises himself as someone good and helpful
- Matthew 16:23. Satan can use other people – even godly people to trick us
- Matthew 4:1-11. Satan leverages our weaknesses and desires and uses them against us
- Revelation 3:15-16 and Hebrews 5:11-12. Satan makes us complacent- encourages us to lower our guard
- Luke 14:18-35 and Matthew 25:14-30. Satan encourages us to rationalize sinning
- 1 Corinthians 3:18 and 1 Corinthians 1:25. Satan tries to convince us we are smarter, wiser and more “current” than God
- Ecclesiastes 2:1-26. Satan tries to convince us God wants us to be happy more than He wants us to be obedient
- 2 Corinthians 4:4. Satan “blinds” our minds to the truth
- Matthew 24:24 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9. Satan uses signs and wonders to try to make us believe he is from God.
- Luke 13:16 and Acts 10:38. Satan can cause sicknesses and disease to make us question following God
Skills Activity: Review the main points from the lesson. How you structure the activity depends upon the interests and maturity level of your Bible students. For more academically inclined students, you may want to encourage them to read and discuss The Screwtape Letters by C.S.Lewis. Or you may want to read selected passages aloud and discuss them. Other students may benefit more from being given real life scenarios and trying to find the tricks Satan may be or is using to try and trick the people to sin. You can continue by asking them to take on the role of Satan as C.S.Lewis did. Given various real life scenarios that would be common to them, what are the tricks they would use if they were Satan to convince them it was okay to sin? Do different students have different tricks of Satan that work on them better than others?
Application Challenge: Read the scriptures from the lesson. Thinking about the sins you have committed in the past, do you see a pattern of the tricks Satan used on you? What are some ways you can more easily recognize when Satan is trying to trick you into sinning?