Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Deception – The Power of Satan

When our Lord Jesus Christ was being tempted by Satan, He could discern the Devil’s duplicity and He resisted Satan’s advances (Matthew 4:3-10). The Lord overcame Satan by providing him with the TRUTH. As much as our Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of God and had Holy Spirit without measure (Matthew 3:16-17), He knew the TRUTH (John 8:32) and He was set free from the power of deception.

This week, the Lord has instructed me to write about deception. This topic is seldom preached and if Christians were fully armed with truth, they would be better prepared to disarm Satan and walk victoriously and to the Glory of God. Incidentally, the world as we know it is filled with deceptions of all kinds and man is free to choose what is pleasing to him/her. Kindly allow me to mention this, freedom of choice is as old as man himself (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 11:6-9). As it is, freedom is not a recently recognised right, but is as ancient as man. God, however, has limited human freedom through rules/commandments to be observed and for the well-being of man (Genesis 11:9).

According to the Bible, when humanity was for the first time confronted by choices provided by God and the devil (Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:4-5), the Lord God provided limitations; while Satan said “No! You will not die”, simply saying there are NO Limitations! This started the conflict which man has within him, good and evil (Genesis 3:5 Holman CSB). This deception, initiated by Satan, became the dominant force to rule humans and human society (1 John 5:19).

Furthermore, the Bible explains that through the deception that Adam and Eve yielded to, sin possessed and permeated mankind (Romans 5:12). Through this experience, we became slaves to our bodies working to appease its appetites (James 4:14-15). In addition, the inward working of iniquity discharges its fruit through the body (Matthew 15:18-20). This gives us a threefold operation of corruption or sin, it has a spirit source Satan (John 8:44), Satan works through our desires (to show us to the benefit) to facilitate a favourable decision (Genesis 3:6) and a body to reap what was sown within (Matthew 15:18-20).

Consequently, we became enemies of God (Romans 5:10) through our disobedience, fuelled by ‘the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient’ (Ephesians 2:2 NRSV). Naturally, mankind is rebellious and we are prone to follow our desires as pointed out in the above scriptures. Because desires work so deeply within people it knows no limit and yet it is never satisfied (Genesis 11:6; Ecclesiastes 1:8; 2:10), God ordered restraint through adoption in Christ by commanding holy living through obedience (Ephesians 4: 4-14). Our acceptance of God’s salvation through Christ broke Satan’s power of deception that led to rebelliousness in us (Ephesians 2:2-5). This, however, does not mean that we are free from committing sin or mistakes. The working of evil is ever present to deceive us into wrong doing to gratify what is pleasing to our nature (Galatians 5:19-21). Later on we will look at ways of deception the enemy uses as bait to trap us. We will also look at possible spiritual weapons we can employ to overcome our ever combatant and persistent enemy. Satan will not give up on our souls for he desires our destruction (John 10:10). Neither should we give up fighting for the crown of life through acts of disobedience (Matthew 24:13)!

How Are We Being Deceived?

We should remember that deception is like lying. Our enemy Satan is skilful in displaying deception. This is evident given to the current condition of the world. The Holy Scripture clearly identifies Satan as the deceiver of mankind (Revelations 20:7). Unfortunately, many people are duped into believing that Satan does not exist. Being a smooth operator and master of deceit, we are giving him more power to control and force us into wrong doing. The Lord told us that the devil is working rebelliousness in us against Him, but we must discern his operations through truthful conduct.

When we grew up as children, we put our trust in our parents and some people we know. This reminds me of an experience I had in my childhood. Three of my friends and I were playing when we were approached by a man, a total stranger to us. He was decently dressed in a suit. He asked if we are interested to work in a prominent city here in South Africa and we unanimously answered “Yes!” He promised to pay us well and he asked how much money we had so that he could use it as transport. Some of my friends had cash on them and gave this man. He then escorted us to a remote house a few miles away from our area of residence and told us to wait there as he would go get transport. We waited that entire afternoon and our hopes started fading when it became dark. The people he left us with were friendly and they provided us with food and accommodation for that evening. The following morning we got up took our bags and headed the long road home. The man disappeared with all the dreams we had. We were deceived because we were led by worldly desires.

Likewise, Satan is familiar with our shortcomings and things we desire and he used that to get entry. During the early 1990s, a friend a friend introduced me to a brother who was a pastor and a theology student at the time. I was a novice in the faith and I mainly read the Bible. This brother impressed us with his reasoning which was superior and at the same time intimidating. Once he saw we valued his opinion he started using manipulative tactics of guilt making us feel inferior and even making us doubt our own intellect. Honestly, we felt more secure being with him and as youngsters in our early twenties and we tried our best to gain his approval. While this was going on, I had a vision from the Lord one night as He appeared to me He said: Be careful not to believe anything anybody else tells you, just believe the Bible. This message from the Lord came to me when the seeds of deception were already planted. Sometime later we decided to go and eat at a fast food restaurant and each one of us ordered food while he ordered some wine for himself as well. We questioned him on this and he used Scripture to justify his decision. This came as a big surprise and it somewhat eased our conscience so we joined him in drinking. This became a habit and soon we graduated to social drinking. Gone was our innocence; this brother, myself and another friend became habitual drinkers and smokers.

Firstly, we were duped because of our lack of Biblical knowledge and faith. If we knew the Scriptures we would have resisted these temptations. Also, our downfall was largely due to our ignorance of the Bible (Hosea 4:6). Today, many believers are deceived because they do not read the Word of God for themselves and they live their Christian lives of every preaching of their pastors. I am not asserting that it is wrong to listen to preachers; I strongly encourage you to read and study the scriptures for yourself while testing what they preach (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We have many sects within Christianity today and this in itself is confusing to many people, especially the uninformed; they simply don’t know which group or sect to follow. Like my brother above, his superior scriptural knowledge influenced us so we believed him and followed him. This too is the case with most people; they are drawn with a few Scriptures, like Satan tried on the Lord (Matthew 4:3-11). The Lord knew the Scriptures and He knew truth, so the devil retreated. This is our challenge to you: study the scriptures for yourself faithfully from Genesis to Revelation, praying and asking the Lord through the Holy Spirit to give you the interpretation of the scriptures. In doing this, forget what you have been taught previously and just allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you as you read. The result should lead you to see the many errors and deceptions plaguing the body of Christ today. When we speak out against the errors we observe in the body of Christ, we do so to correct and to save souls. If you seek the truth faithfully, the Lord of TRUTH Himself is faithful; He will reveal the truth to you.

Persecution of the Truth is From Satan

We have learned above how Satan works in man to subvert truth and lead people into believing half-truths just like he tried on the Lord. The Enemy’s ultimate aim is not to encourage or correct, but to mislead us and lead us into rebelliousness. This past Friday, the 22nd of March, Jaydeen one of my daughters, was shown a vision. In this vision the Lord showed her a woman we know accepting the Lord with her two sons. Her husband is a Muslim. She was shown how this woman listened and sang to worship gospel music when her husband suddenly entered the house. His face turned very ugly and he tore up the papers containing three of her prayers, saying ‘what is this nonsense?’. While he was ranting and raving, she saw the Lord coming down from above in dazzling white clothes and His face covered in a cloud and the Lord told her. The devil is inside this man and the devil is standing next to this man. Those who persecute the truth and the gospel have the devil inside them and he is commanding them to do his will (John 13:27). He worked anger and hatred against Stephen and the apostle Paul because they proclaimed Christ, they preached holiness and righteousness (Acts 7; 21).

Let me be bold here: if you find yourself listening to a preacher or teaching that promotes bodily desires, including occasional wine drinking, smoking or worldly music, get out of there where worldliness is encouraged; you are being deceived (1 John 2:15). If you hear a church congregation or denomination promoting themselves instead of the Lord Jesus Christ (for example, boasting that it is best church or the only church that does this or that), get out of there as well. You are an individual member of the universal and invisible body of Christ and you should identify yourself with the truth (Matthew 7:16). This is a true encouragement; only the truth through the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifests true Godliness. If it is sectarian, it seeks its own survival more than others and we know the Lord is Lord of all and He admonishes us to care about others (1 Corinthians 10:24).

The Lord’s Coming

The Lord’s second coming is another hotbed of deception. If you are a seasonal Christian, you are in danger of missing the rapture! I say this because the Lord has revealed to us that many Christians are deceived in thinking that they will make their lives right with the Lord when certain ‘signs’ take place. They are information seekers who ‘repent’ and if the ‘sign’ was a false alarm they return to their former ways. That is why the Lord has warned us in January this year not to predict falsely and point to signs that only He knows when to bring about. Also, the coming of the Lord is near and we have been told by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that He is coming soon. We are in the end-times, but beware, the Lord says no one knows the day, nor has He given anyone the wisdom to unravel the times and accurately point to a specific sign like He did through the wise man and the teachers of the law (Matthew 2:1-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10). Don’t be deceived by those who offer certain signs; just stay focused and ready at all times. In conclusion, I encourage you with words that the Lord Jesus gave us: Don’t worry; just believe and be faithful. I am coming soon.

What we have shared above is not a presentation on the coming of the Lord, but a warning to those who follow signs and hope to repent when they see these signs. The Lord told me that they will be caught off guard!

So, are you busy promoting a church or certain “men/women of God” instead of exalting the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you trying to have the “best of both worlds,” enjoying the passing pleasures of the world while claiming to have a personal relationship with Jesus? Are you a seasonal Christian who is waiting to repent and feverishly serve the Lord when you start hearing/reading of visions or signs of what you perceive as His imminent coming? Here is a Prayer of Sincere of Repentance, and for any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Holy Peace to You in Christ,

Your Brother, Glenn.