RSS

Tag Archives: demons

FOCUS! Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted World (Part 7)

THREE DISTRACTIONS: As we think about our FOCUS on the Lord Jesus, we have touched on two distractions that are very real. The distraction from the world is the issue of entertainment. The distraction from ourselves is our desires which often run counter to the will of God.

But what is the third distraction? I would suggest that our third enemy, the devil, deserves some serious attention in that he wishes to destroy us and do everything in his power to get our eyes off Jesus!

But we must become thoroughly biblical in our understanding of our enemy, the devil. Here are some passages that will clarify some details about the arch-enemy of our souls:

1. The devil is a real personal being, a high-ranking fallen angel (Is. 14; Ezek. 28; Lk. 10:18). He is the believer’s enemy (I Pe. 5:8). He has been sinning since the beginning (I Jn. 3:8).

2. He is in the business of tempting human beings to turn away from God (he tempts Jesus in Mt. 4; he tempts God’s people as we see in Gen. 3 and I Cor. 7:5). He is the accuser of God’s children (Zech. 3:1).

3. He majors in corrupting God’s Word, taking it away from those who might believe and be saved (Lk. 8:12).

4. He is described by the Lord Jesus as a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).

5. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (Acts 10:38; I Jn. 3:8). The devil holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) and is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1-2). He has the power to bind people with affliction (Lk. 13:16).

6. He can influence Jesus-followers to deny Jesus (Jn. 13:2) or to lie to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). He takes people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). He looks to devour believers (I Pe. 5:8).

7. He has a whole host of fallen angels to do his bidding called “demons” (Mt. 7:22; 8:31; 10:8; etc.).

8. Whatever Satan does, he does by God’s permission (the book of Job).

9. He is capable of doing great acts of wonder to deceive people (2 Thes. 2:9).

10. His fate is sealed; he will be cast forever into the eternal fire prepared for him and his followers (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

Our response?
1. We are not to give the devil a foothold in our lives (Eph. 4:27).

2. We need God’s full armor to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:11).

3. We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We must not forget that he desires to “sift” us like wheat (Lk. 22:31).

4. We are not to be unaware of Satan’s tricks (2 Cor. 2:11), for he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

5. He can and often is used by God to keep His servants humble (2 Cor. 12:7).

Most of us are probably not important enough to receive Satan’s direct attention, but he has many demonic followers who can do his will. Our primary attention is not to be on Satan and demons, but on the Lord Jesus. However, this does not mean that we shouldn’t understand our spiritual enemy and resist him. But we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. (to be continued)

 

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 9, 2020 in the devil

 

Tags: , , ,

Back to the Basics! Theology Proper #6 More Than Trembling Monotheists!

The Bible teaches that God is one (this is called monotheism), and that fact should move us from fear to focused living for His glory.

“It is the experience of the unbeliever to tremble at the rustling of a leaf.” (Martin Luther)

“If Christianity has never frightened us, we have not yet learned what it is.” (William Temple)

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19)

We read in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy the cry: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). This great theological declaration is called the Shema, from the Hebrew word meaning “Hear!”

The oneness of God is a fundamental teaching of the Bible and, according to Moses, is to be taught to our children “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (6:7).

On one occasion, Jesus had to meet the theological challenges of two specific groups. He successfully answered the Sadducees (who denied the doctrine of the resurrection) by emphasizing the fact that God is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mark 12:26-27). He is then quizzed by the Pharisees (a group dedicated to keeping God’s law), using the question, “What is the most important commandment?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (12:29-31)

Several key ideas stand out in Jesus’ answer. First, He repeats the Shema, emphasizing the fundamental truth of God’s oneness. Second, He spells out the practical application of that command which is to love God with all of one’s being. Third, He brings in the commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself (a commandment which is mentioned neither in Deuteronomy 6 nor in Exodus 20 when the ten commandments were first given).

Jesus’ point seems to be that the Sadducees had missed the living God altogether. But the Pharisees, who acknowledged God’s oneness, were denying the implication of that truth by loving neither God nor neighbor. Their belief in God’s oneness was empty and void.

We live in a design-your-own-god culture, so the question of monotheism is a largely irrelevant one to many today. But if God’s oneness is a fundamental description of the true God, then all other gods are mere idols. And simply acknowledging the oneness of God is not enough. If He is not loved and obeyed, then such belief, even if shouted from the housetops, is mere words. A love for the true God must lead to a love for one’s neighbor.

The New Testament writer James hits hard on the issue of belief divorced from love and good deeds. In his second chapter, he rails against those who think that “mere faith”—a faith that leads to no life change, that does not reach out in compassion to hurting fellow-believers—is sufficient. To all who so contrast faith and deeds that they have an inactive, strictly internal conception of God, an orthodoxy that is only verbal, he says, “Big deal! You pride yourself on your affirmation of monotheism. So what? The demons are also monotheists! And they even do you one better. They tremble before the one and only God!” (James 2:19, author paraphrase). God is not looking for mere monotheists. He is looking for obedient and loving sons and daughters.

A Prayer for Today:  “Father, I understand that great doctrinal truth can bring great spiritual danger. When I think that mere belief is enough, that You are pleased with right thoughts alone, l am missing the mark,. Help me by Your Spirit to practice what I proclaim. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

A true monotheism will show itself in a sold-out, whole-life love of God and a sacrificial love of one’s neighbor. If not, it is merely the doctrine of demons.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 9, 2018 in doctrine of God

 

Tags: , , , ,