While God is love, we must remember that He’s also just and holy. He occasionally sends judgments to earth to remind us of this.
August 12, 2021
Most people don’t think about the subject of Satanism unless there is a grisly murder and satanic symbols are found at the crime scene. Many who believe in the devil usually think of him as being the darkest of figures. What they don’t realize is that the Bible tells us that he can also manifest himself as an “angel of light.” In reference to false converts within the Church, the Bible says:
For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ…And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Amplified Bible)
Satan is incredibly subtle. We are warned that he uses professing men of God (ministers of righteousness) to deceive the Church. The Bible calls him “the god of this world” and says that he blinds the minds of unbelievers. Jesus called him “the prince of this world” and “the father of lies.”
The Scriptures continually warn the Church against his wiles (his methods), using words such as “be not deceived” and telling us to “be vigilant.” Well, has Satan had any influence on you and me? Is there any deception within the Church? That’s what we are going to look at closely. We are going to look at perhaps the greatest and most subtle of Satan’s deceptions.
“Many who believe in the devil usually think of him as being the darkest of figures. What they don’t realize is that the Bible tells us that he can also manifest himself as an ‘angel of light.’”
The Story of the Prodigal
You may not be familiar with the story Jesus told of the prodigal son, so let’s take a moment to consider what it says. The prodigal son asked his father for his inheritance, and then he went into a far country and spent all his cash on parties and prostitutes. He enjoyed “the pleasures of sin.” But after a famine hit the land, his money ran out, and the only job he could get was feeding pigs.
He became so hungry that he found himself desiring the food that the pigs were eating. Suddenly, he “came to himself”—he came to his senses. Realizing that even his father’s servants had it better than he did, he decided to return and say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. Take me on as a hired servant.” So he got up out of the pigsty and went back to his father.
His father was looking for his son’s return, and the Bible says that “he saw him while he was yet a great way off.” He ran to his son, fell upon him, kissed him, and rejoiced that he had returned. He freely forgave him and returned him to his former state.
The Reality of the Parable
This is a picture of every person before they come to Christ. We turned from God to serve the devil and the pleasures of sin. The Bible says that there is a “spirit” that works in the children of disobedience. First John 3:8 says, “He who sins is of the devil….” Jesus even told the religious hypocrites of His day that their father was the devil:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)
Unsaved people live in the kingdom of darkness. It’s as simple as this: if we are serving sin, we are serving Satan. Our appetites are unclean. We desire pig food. Consider what we crave. Think of the contents of the average soap opera or prime time television show: adultery, jealously, lust, fornication, rape, gossip, and greed. Or the average movie today with its violence, filthy language, explicit sex, and graphic murder.
Look at the covers of magazines in bookstores and supermarkets. They are “soft-core” pornography, which a few years ago was considered hard-core and hidden from young eyes. Think of video games that kids crave. They are extremely violent and sexually perverted. Think of most rap/hip-hop music, with its explicit sexuality, its blasphemy, and its dark satanic side. Consider the Internet’s multi-billion dollar hard-core porn industry or how the average person uses filthy words and blasphemy in every day speech. Life in the dirty pigsty is normal, natural, and completely acceptable.
“Yes, Satan is the god of this world, and he has deceived millions. But his deception hasn’t stopped there. It has moved into the church.”
Satan’s Disappearing Act
Yes, Satan is the god of this world, and he has deceived millions. But his deception hasn’t stopped there. It has moved into the church. Despite what the Bible says—that Satan is real, a deceiver, and the god of this world who blinds minds—look at what has happened. According to the Barna Research Group:
In 2004, an incredible 50% of those who profess to be “born again” actually deny Satan’s existence.
That’s unbelievable! Despite the revelation of Scripture, 50% of those who profess to be born again actually deny Satan’s existence. And the scary thing about denying that Satan exists is that you let your guard down—you let him bring in deception. The place to corrupt the Church is at the point of entry…to poison the evangelistic message that brings people into the Kingdom of God.
That’s what has happened. We haven’t been vigilant. We have allowed Satan to contaminate the biblical method of evangelism. We have allowed certain “ministers of righteousness” within the Church to move away from Scripture. They refuse to use the Law (the Ten Commandments) to bring the knowledge of sin (as Jesus did) and show sin to “be exceedingly sinful.” This is despite the fact that even the Apostle Paul said that he didn’t know what sin was without the Law. They say that they have found a shortcut to bring people to salvation. They leave out the Law and instead take the prodigal back to the father without showing him that his appetites are unclean.
“The scary thing about denying that Satan exists is that you let your guard down—you let him bring in deception.”
The Necessity of Truth
Remember that in the story Jesus told, the prodigal “came to his senses” when he realized that he desired pig food. That’s what made him want to go back to his father and say, “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, make me your hired servant.” In the name of sensitivity, modern preachers don’t let that happen. They shortcut that process. So instead of the professed convert saying to the Father, “I have sinned against Heaven. Make me your servant,” he goes to God and says, “I have run out of money. Give me some more. You be my servant.”
And that’s what’s wrong with the modern church. It is filled with unconverted people who have never seen that their sinful appetites are unclean. Modern preachers have left out the Law, and so we have multitudes in pulpits and in pews who don’t see sin as exceedingly sinful.
Listen to most modern preaching. It caters to nothing but selfishness. It’s self-seeking, self-serving, and self-centered. The modern church has become the Laodicean church in the last days who says that it’s rich and in need of nothing, but it is in truth poor, blind, wretched, miserable, and naked.
How can this great multitude be awakened to this deception? Simply by helping them look into the mirror—by seeing themselves under the light of God’s Law, the Ten Commandments. Every professing Christian should obey the admonition to “examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.” But many won’t. They think they are saved because they call Jesus Lord and do miracles in His name. They will wait until the Day of Judgment and cry, “Lord, Lord, we did many wonderful works in your name.” And Jesus will say to them, “Depart from Me, you worker of lawlessness. I never knew you.” They are still in their sins.
The Duty of the Christian
Martin Luther said:
The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God’s Law and show the nature of sin….This now is the Christian teaching and preaching, which God be praised, we know and possess, and it is not necessary at present to develop it further, but only to offer the admonition that it be maintained in Christendom with all diligence. For Satan has attacked it hard and strong from the beginning until present, and gladly would he completely extinguish it and tread it under foot.
After the Apostle Paul was converted on the Road to Damascus, Jesus said to him,
But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins…. (Acts 26:16-18)
If you know this same Jesus, you too have the same commission—“to open their eyes, in order to turn [sinners] from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins….” The way to do that is to do it the way Paul did it. The way Jesus did it. Learn to follow the biblical method of using the Law (the Ten Commandments) to show this sinful world why they need the Savior.