WRESTLING WITH DECEPTION and ILLUSION




We first find the ‘use’ of deception in Genesis 3:13 where Eve was deluded by the serpent.

Genesis 3:13 (NKJV) AND THE LORD GOD SAID TO THE WOMAN, "WHAT IS THIS YOU HAVE DONE?" THE WOMAN SAID, "THE SERPENT DECEIVED ME, AND I ATE."


Now the term ‘serpent’ was used 17 times in 16 verses in the Bible. And each and every time the serpent is viewed as a “type” of Satan (or the Devil). Revelation 12:9 says: SO THE GREAT DRAGON WAS CAST OUT, THAT SERPENT OF OLD, CALLED THE DEVIL AND SATAN, WHO DECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD; HE WAS CAST TO THE EARTH, AND HIS ANGELS WERE CAST OUT WITH HIM.


And Revelation 20:2 (NIV) says: HE SEIZED THE DRAGON, THAT ANCIENT SERPENT, WHO IS THE DEVIL, OR SATAN, AND BOUND HIM FOR A THOUSAND YEARS.


    SO.....HERE’S THE PROBLEM:

To understand the spiritual warfare we’re involved in as Christians today we need to understand where Satan came from and what motivates him. Listen: Satan - or Lucifer - was a created being and was one of the most powerful of the angels. Yet, he wanted to share in the glory of the great Creator and decided to challenge God over the issue of glory! He wanted to be like God......so ‘what’ motivated him?

JEALOUSY! To be jealous means to be envious of someone else’s achievements or advantages.

Lucifer coveted God’s power, position and attention. I’ve actually seen that played out right here in this House years ago when different folks would come in here (we “thought”) to worship. When, actually, it was to get the same attention they THOUGHT Pastor was getting!! I’ve seen Pastor challenged - and I’ve seen different people “try” to speak before the people. When, in reality, it was a jealous spirit (of sorts) that was operating!

 

Now, the Bible also tells us that our God is a jealous God. How can that ‘be’ - since our understanding is that the very word ‘jealous’ means to be envious? Well - you see -

Deuteronomy 6:14-24 (NLT) "YOU MUST NOT WORSHIP ANY OF THE GODS OF NEIGHBORING NATIONS, 15 FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHO LIVES AMONG YOU, IS A JEALOUS GOD. HIS ANGER WILL FLARE UP AGAINST YOU AND WIPE YOU FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH. 16 DO NOT TEST THE LORD YOUR GOD AS YOU DID WHEN YOU COMPLAINED AT MASSAH. 17 YOU MUST DILIGENTLY OBEY THE COMMANDS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD--ALL THE STIPULATIONS AND LAWS HE HAS GIVEN YOU. 18 DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD IN THE LORD'S SIGHT, SO ALL WILL GO WELL WITH YOU. THEN YOU WILL ENTER AND OCCUPY THE GOOD LAND THAT THE LORD SOLEMNLY PROMISED TO GIVE YOUR ANCESTORS. 19 YOU WILL DRIVE OUT ALL THE ENEMIES LIVING IN YOUR LAND, JUST AS THE LORD SAID YOU WOULD. 20 "IN THE FUTURE YOUR CHILDREN WILL ASK YOU, 'WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THESE STIPULATIONS, LAWS, AND REGULATIONS THAT THE LORD OUR GOD HAS GIVEN US?' 21 THEN YOU MUST TELL THEM, 'WE WERE PHARAOH'S SLAVES IN EGYPT, BUT THE LORD BROUGHT US OUT OF EGYPT WITH AMAZING POWER. 22 BEFORE OUR EYES THE LORD DID MIRACULOUS SIGNS AND WONDERS, DEALING TERRIFYING BLOWS AGAINST EGYPT AND PHARAOH AND ALL HIS PEOPLE. 23 HE BROUGHT US OUT OF EGYPT SO HE COULD GIVE US THIS LAND HE HAD SOLEMNLY PROMISED TO GIVE OUR ANCESTORS. 24 AND THE LORD OUR GOD COMMANDED US TO OBEY ALL THESE LAWS AND TO FEAR HIM FOR OUR OWN PROSPERITY AND WELL-BEING, AS IS NOW THE CASE.


This means our God will not “share” His Glory with ungodly entities who try to usurp - or assume authoritative positions. But He DOES lovingly share His Glory with those who have humbled themselves and sought the Blood-covering of His precious Son, Jesus Christ!

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THE NATURE OF DECEPTION:

Deception is very effective as a ‘strategy’. When we’re deceived, we are convinced that what we ‘believe’ is true! This makes us especially susceptible to a voice that speaks with great confidence and sincerity. Satan has developed many approaches of this nature. That’s why there are so many false religions where the people who believe the lies are willing to DIE for their beliefs! They ‘believe’ it’s the truth!! That’s why we say: “THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE WHO “REFUSE” TO SEE!”



BEYOND DECEPTION:

One of the deceptions we have to deal with - as Christians - is the idea that we are beyond temptation in certain areas. For example: immorality. Many Christians fall into gross immoral behavior because they ASSUME they’re “on the far side” of that type of temptation!

That’s one of the reasons we need others to help us ‘see’ where we have blinders on. You see, Satan loves to tell you that you are sooooo spiritual that you only need to listen to God. What the devil does NOT tell you is that God often chooses to speak to us through members of the Body.

I believe this is one of the reasons the Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:25: LET US NOT GIVE UP MEETING TOGETHER, AS SOME ARE IN THE HABIT OF DOING, BUT LET US ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER--AND ALL THE MORE AS YOU SEE THE DAY APPROACHING.

  

THE DECEIVER: SATAN OR THE FLESH?

Question: How do you know it’s Satan who is deceiving you rather than just your own lower nature?........Aren’t you attributing to Satan that which is really the flesh?


Answer: Actually most of the “either-or” kinds of questions are another strategy of the devil to deceive you and keep you from recognizing his role in such struggles.

It is almost always both Satan AND the flesh, rather than one or the other. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) says: BE SELF-CONTROLLED AND ALERT. YOUR ENEMY THE DEVIL PROWLS AROUND LIKE A ROARING LION LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR.


I believe a very important strategic move of the enemy is to get us to think that “WE” have the ability to run our own lives!

In the secular society we now live in, we’re taught that God is not needed to explain the problems we face NOR is He the Solution to our troubles.

REMEMBER: Satan’s primary attack is always on the Character of Almighty God! We see this in the case of Eve in the Garden. We see it today in people who have been seriously abused by others, for example.

There are two principle lines of ‘thinking’ involved here: (1) “Why didn’t God prevent the abuse from happening?” or (2), “Is God really able to heal the pain I’m in and turn it into strength?”


Another remarkable concept of deception is that it is more effective when framed in a ‘background’ of truth! Your enemy (the devil) KNOWS the Bible and loves to twist the truth as he teaches the “doctrines of demons”: 1 Timothy 4:1 (NIV) says THE SPIRIT CLEARLY SAYS THAT IN LATER TIMES SOME WILL ABANDON THE FAITH AND FOLLOW DECEIVING SPIRITS AND THINGS TAUGHT BY DEMONS. 


You see - MANY religions are couched in thoughts and ideas that have a similitude of truth. But we must remember: Satan can quote Scripture. Therefore, it is YOUR responsibility to know the WHOLE truth so that YOU can discern whether the doctrine you’re involved in is entirely

genuine.

 If demons can set you up for deception by giving you “truth” - then, they will be more than happy to incorporate a little truth to a cesspool of lies!

REMEMBER: BEING ‘RELIGIOUS’ MAY MAKE YOU EXTREMELY SCRUPULOUS AND CONSCIENTIOUS - BUT UNLESS YOUR RELIGION IS BASED ON THE ENTIRE WORD OF GOD, YOU WILL BUST HELL WIDE OPEN!


2 Corinthians 11:10-15 (NIV) says: AS SURELY AS THE TRUTH OF CHRIST IS IN ME, NOBODY IN THE REGIONS OF ACHAIA WILL STOP THIS BOASTING OF MINE. 11 WHY? BECAUSE I DO NOT LOVE YOU? GOD KNOWS I DO! 12 AND I WILL KEEP ON DOING WHAT I AM DOING IN ORDER TO CUT THE GROUND FROM UNDER THOSE WHO WANT AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE CONSIDERED EQUAL WITH US IN THE THINGS THEY BOAST ABOUT. 13 FOR SUCH MEN ARE FALSE APOSTLES, DECEITFUL WORKMEN, MASQUERADING AS APOSTLES OF CHRIST. 14 AND NO WONDER, FOR SATAN HIMSELF MASQUERADES AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. 15 IT IS NOT SURPRISING, THEN, IF HIS SERVANTS MASQUERADE AS SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. THEIR END WILL BE WHAT THEIR ACTIONS DESERVE.


BOTTOM LINE:

Satan’s fundamental attack is on the Character of God. Correct theology is, therefore, an absolute essential when talking about evangelism or any other concern regarding ‘power’.

If we depend on demonstrations of power for our theology, we will be especially prone to deception.

ANSWER: STAY IN THE WORD!!! AND stay connected to the Body of Christ! We’re family!!


There is absolutely a war on the saints of God. That’s why it’s so important for us to ‘know’ and ‘abide’ in the entire Truth! 

Listen: to be partially ‘right’ or ‘saved’ is to be 100% lost!