Satan’s Empire

We don’t want to go astray by worthless ideas that might destroy our eternal inheritance in Jesus.

In general followers of Jesus love the Lord and are in a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Yet sometimes we forget that we live in a war zone.

#  Satan established his empire on earth after he deceived Eve.

At the beginning God gave Adam dominion to rule on earth.  Then they decided to listen to the devil rather than to God.  So the devil gained the right to rule.  The devil’s rule is not disputed by Jesus or any of the Holy Spirit inspired writers of the books of the Bible.

#  The devil constantly wars against God and His people.

Because of this war, we need to be diligent and spend time with God in His Word, ‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ 1

#  The reason the devil wages war against God.

He was driven away from God’s glorious rule when he rebelled.  Millions of angels remained loyal to God, but he defected and with many other rebellious angels established his kingdom of darkness.

#  The one area where the battle wages intensely is logically the Church.

If he can strike at the heart of God’s congregation, he wins wholesale.  We tend to think that Biblical professors, lecturers, scholars and historians are necessarily followers of Jesus.  Scripture has a shock for us, ‘I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.  But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’ 2

#  The devil deceives many, and he clothes them in ‘Christian’ garbs.

We think people who profess to be Bible teachers are always followers of Jesus.  Yet not all of them are as honest as Bart Ehrman (a professor at a theological college) who clearly identifies himself as an agnostic.

#  Many ‘scholars’ put on a mask to hide their real intent.

Paul teaches, ‘For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness….’ 3

Conclusion

We must remember to be very wary to just believe anybody who professes to teach about Scripture.

  • We have a body of 66 Bible books to discern the central truths.
  • We have the anointing of the Holy Spirit to help us. 4
  • It is a waste of time to major in minors like, who were the human writers of the Bible books?  The issue is always, what does the Holy Spirit teach in the book, letter, passage or verse; or how must we apply it to our lives?  It is not about religion, but about reality.  We don’t want to go  astray by worthless ideas that might destroy our eternal inheritance in Jesus.

References

  1. Ephesians 6:10-12
  2. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3
  3. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
  4. 1 John 2:20

How to know once for all that you can eat bacon!

Why did God command the Israelites not to eat pork or water creatures without fins and scales?  Yet Jesus never confirmed those laws for His followers?

One of God’s reasons was to prevent disease and infections.  Hygiene was not that well developed among the former slaves of Egypt.  When God lead the Israelites out of slavery through Moses, He promised them, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.’ 1

#  We see God’s preventative measures in many of the hygiene laws.

  • Purification after child birth. 2
  • The laws about infectious skin diseases. 3
  • The exclusion of scavengers like fish without scales, or birds of prey, from their diet.  Those creatures might have carried dangerous bacteria because of their scavenging habits.  There were no antibiotics and other benefits of modern medicine available.  As a preventative program to reduce the risk of disease, God told them to stay away from the various ‘unclean’ animals. 4

#  How are Christians to apply it today?  

  • Scripture teaches:
    • ‘One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.’ 5 
    • ‘The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything, must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.’ 6

We are not to judge others based on our own ideas.  For some people, certain classes of food are still ‘unclean,’ for other people they are not.  We are free to choose what we eat.  Yet Jesus also had a specific ‘diet’ for His followers.

# Jesus’ recommended ‘diet.’

  • Recommendation 1, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him “unclean,” but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him “unclean.”‘ 7  Jesus was more concerned about the results of a ‘spiritual’ diet.  We should think and speak what pleases God.
  • Recommendation 2, ‘…Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ 8  At first the disciples did not understand what Jesus meant.  Then they got it, ‘…He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ 9

The lesson

False teachings are a bigger threat to disciples of Jesus than eating rabbits, pork or shell fish.  We should guard against the pollution of bad ‘bacteria’ spread by people who don’t care for the truth.

References

  1. Exodus 15:26
  2. Leviticus 12, Deuteronomy 14:1-21
  3. Leviticus 13-16
  4. Leviticus 11
  5. Romans14:2
  6. Romans 14:3
  7. Matthew 15:10-11
  8. Matthew 16:11
  9. Matthew 16:12

The narrow road leads to the broad expanses of God’s Kingdom

If there is one thing that a follower of Jesus should remember, it is that He never promised us an easy Narrow roadlife. He said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ 1  That means that I need to choose whether I am willing to follow in His footsteps.’ 2

 

Followers of Jesus are often worn down by the constant bombardment of anti-God propaganda from evolution, atheism, wrong theology and self indulgence. The Christian life has become a veritable minefield. In church, where the followers of Christ are supposed to find rest for their weary souls, the devil lurks behind the pew. He is ready to pounce on the unsuspecting laity. The number of preachers and theologians who still ardently believe the Gospel and the plan of God, is shrinking daily. What is God’s plan?

 

# 1. This earth is only temporary. It is where God sifts the citizens for ‘the new heavens and the new earth.’ 3 Earth will be God’s headquarters in the age to come.

 

# 2. The message of the Bible is to get us from here (on the present earth) to there (the new heavens and earth). The Old Testament proved that people cannot obey God. From Adam and Eve to the Israelite nation, it was one failure after the other. God knew it in advance, and that is where Jesus fits in. Jesus wipes our ‘criminal’ record clean. That prepares the way for the Holy Spirit to live inside us. He teaches and helps us to listen to God (through Scripture) and obey Him.

 

# 3. In this life we decide our eternal destination. If we live as if there is no God, we continue under this system where ‘the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’ 4 That will cause us to land in ‘the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ 5 We need to choose God, submit ourselves to Him and accept His plan to save us from that terrible future.

 

# 4. The concrete principle. What we are here, we will be there. One cannot merely accept Jesus and your ticket to heaven is punched. Jesus taught “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say [through the Holy Spirit]?” 6 Obedience is equal to love for God. 7

 

Why is the road for a follower of Jesus ‘narrow?’ Because what is waiting is far more than we can ever imagine or dream of. God wants to make sure that we will be loyal for all eternity; that nobody will attempt to usurp His throne there. He wants us to persevere, so ‘do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.’ Glorious times are coming!

 

References

  1. Luke 9:23
  2. Luke 22:42b
  3. Revelation 21:1, Isaiah 66:22
  4. 1 John 5:19b
  5. Matthew 25:41
  6. Luke 6:46
  7. Hebrew 10:35
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