Pastor James J. Barker



  1. The word Satan means "adversary" (II Cor.2:11; cf. I Peter 5:8).
  2. The Bible has a lot to say about "the wiles of the devil" (Eph.6:11). Webster’s Dictionary says the word "wiles" means "tricks or stratagems meant to fool, trap, or entice." Webster’s says another word for wiles is "devices" (cf. II Cor.2:11).
  3. The idea here is one of deceitful cunning, deception, and trickery. The devil has many tricks and his most effective deception is religion. For every irreligious man that is cast into hell, there are a thousand religious ones.
  4. Just think of the nearly one billion Roman Catholics, plus the billions of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, animists, and millions of others that Satan has blinded through false religion (II Cor.11:13-15).
  5. Just recently a lady told me "a man with an argument cannot defeat a man with an experience." But what if their experience does not line up with the Bible? It could very well be a Satanic delusion.
  6. The Bible says the devil is a deceiver. And if he is to successfully "deceive the whole world" (Rev.12:9), then it will have to be through religion (Rev. 13 & 17). I believe the charismatic movement could very well be the catalyst Satan uses to bring all of the world’s religions together under antichrist and the harlot church of Rome.
  7. We need to remember that the devil is very subtle (II Cor.11:3; Gen.3:1). He not only works inside the RCC and the tongues churches and the liberal churches and the cults, etc. He is also very active inside our fundamental churches.
  8. It is practically a full-time job for me to keep the devil out of our church. It takes much prayer and diligence. People sometimes ask me, "Why are you so strict?" or "Why don’t you loosen up a little, bring in some worldly music, lower the standards, etc."
  9. How did our Lord respond to that type of talk? "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Mark 8:33).
  10. The devil had been making inroads at the church at Corinth. It was a carnal church and the devil loves a carnal church. He hates a spiritual church. He hates a soul-winning church. He hates a holy church.
  11. But he loves a worldly, carnal church.
  12. In addition to religion, I want for us to look at two other devices mentioned by the apostle Paul here in II Cor.2.



    1. It is not unusual to have immorality in the church. Thank God it has not been a big problem in our church but unfortunately it does happen on occasion.
    2. The question is: how should the church deal with it? Unfortunately, church discipline is becoming a thing of the past as more and more churches neglect it and turn their back on Biblical standards.
    3. A few years ago we had two members get involved in immorality and so they had to stand before the church and apologize. A couple of days later a man called me up to complain. But what does the Bible say? (Matt.18:15-17; I Cor.5:1-5).
    4. H.A. Ironside said this in 1939, "There is not a great deal of discipline in the church of God today. A minister said to me one day, ‘One of our leading members is well known to be supporting a mistress in a hotel down town, and breaking the heart of his wife and children, yet he is a leader in our church, a very wealthy man. If we were to bring him up for discipline it would split the church, and I do not know what we would do without his money.’ I said, ‘Better split the church and go on with the godly part. God’s Word is clear, ‘Put away from among yourselves that wicked person’ (I Cor.5:13). Let him take his tainted money and go.’ God does not want the money of a fornicator, of an adulterer, of a drunkard, of an extortioner, of a covetous man. He does not need such money. God has plenty of money to support His work. Satan says, ‘Be easy on him; we must not judge one another.’ But God’s Word says that we ought to judge those that are within. When there is outbroken sin we are to deal with it."



    1. On the one hand there is the danger of not dealing with sin in the church, looking the other way, "sweeping it under the carpet," etc.
    2. But on the other hand there is the danger of not exercising forgiveness when genuine repentance has taken place (II Cor.2:1-11).
    3. How are we to know if genuine repentance has taken place? We must go to the Bible (cf. Ps.32; 51).
    4. And if the sinning brother seems genuinely contrite and repentant, we must forgive him (Matt.18:21,22; Gal.6:1).
    5. We must be aware of both of Satan’s devices: being too lax and tolerant of sin or to be too hard and cold and Pharisaical.
    6. Paul felt that this particular transgression would best be handled by writing a letter (II Cor.2:3,4). That would be better than coming to them "in heaviness" (2:1).
    7. We cannot be absolutely sure but apparently Paul is referring to the incident in I Cor.5.
    8. When we correct a brother that is engaging in sinful conduct, he should be grateful and realize that we do this out of love (II Cor. 2:4b). But unfortunately, oftentimes the erring brother is resentful and does not want to listen to those who reprove him.
    9. But when there is true repentance, there should be true forgiveness (2:5-11).


Let’s pray for our church. The devil is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us. We must be aware of "his devices" (2:11).

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