RECOGNIZING THE DEVIL

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The Lord Jesus said there is certainly a devil. He also said the devil is a liar and deceiver. But the world is unaware of this. The devil’s greatest trick is convincing the world he doesn’t exist.

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REVEALING INVISIBLE EVIL

The heart of a person is judged not necessarily by his words but by his outward behavior. Sometimes certain people say one thing and do another, but curiously, are able to hide the incongruity. It is likely because their speech is such that it enthralls and captivates, and people fall for it like a load of bricks. After being captivated, or in other words, brought under a spell, such people no longer notice or even care about the resultant actions of said speaker since they have been emotionally brainwashed by the flowery though false words.

THE MAJORITY IS UNDER A TRANCE

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14][1]

Many years ago I was talking to someone in church. I mentioned what the Lord said about the majority. I said the Lord said only a few would be saved. It was possibly the very next service when the pastor, in the process of his preaching, suddenly railed against this truth. He wore an expression of disdain, eyed me in the big crowd, and said something to the effect, “What’s this about only a few being saved?”

This happened to me a few times, comparatively speaking. I would quote a Scripture, someone would not understand, gossip would eventually get back to the pastor, and I would hear a rebuttal from the pulpit. Of course, the pastor in question was at that time in the process of transforming his successful church into a megachurch. He had already shipped off tapes of his sermons to Christian TV. He was always talking about the necessity of money.

He was not by any means a bad man. He was an excellent preacher, really gifted. But he really believed in going big and didn’t want anything keeping him from his giant goals. Done correctly, this is obviously our mandate, but it must be done according to the Lord’s ministry example. We know what that was by simply reading Scripture. Alternative means can be a trap. Whenever someone falls into such a trap he will keep up the expansion protocol, likely because it looks like success, and refuse to look back. If someone may say the Lord never did it that particular way it doesn’t register.

Now here’s the deal: Great wonderful things often happen within the context of a false understanding. The Lord blesses us with much grace. We carry around incorrect suppositions about Scripture until we gain more knowledge. We must be teachable. We must stand up to correction. But many Christians are willingly clueless by choice. They rarely read the Word and only received snippets here and there. Much of this is never due to a lack of brainpower but to spiritual laziness.

SABBATH REST?

Though I was the dutiful churchgoing Christian soldier for decades it did not mean I was not aware of many gross inconsistencies in official Christianity, one of which involved the Sabbath. According to the Law of Moses the Sabbath is Saturday. It is the seventh and final day of the week. This never changed for the early Christians. But by the second and third centuries or so the Saturday Sabbath was changed to the Sunday Sabbath. There were many obvious reasons for this which I will not get into here. Nor am I stating any religious observance mandate here. I only bring it up to further the previous point.

You see, I grew up going to church on Sundays. Pretty much every Christian did. Thankfully, because of the kind of church I had to go to, one was only required to attend one service. As a young adult after my born again experience in a (ahem) new and different church, we had services on Sunday morning and Sunday night. And I loved every minute of it. Later on, however, once marriage and kids and responsibilities and full adulthood arrived it involved much more work to continue this process. Then I began to think more about what the Sabbath was supposed to be. It was originally created by God as a day of rest. But if you are running around all day long going to church starting from the early morning to late Sunday night, where is the day of rest?

We also always had a midweek service. There were other church-related activities. By the end of the week you were run ragged and never got a day off. This violates the Word of God. And it will cost a person eventually. But if one fully buys into the always-going-to-church idea it should be obvious one has little or no time left for private study. Such people become bound by their church in that everything they know or believe largely comes from there. Christians thus learn to obey the obligations of their church and pastor as the way to get along and cover all the bases. If something arises in contrast to this it is usually rejected, even if it is pure Scripture.

Regarding the pastor I mentioned earlier, he eventually got his megachurch. They had multiple millions of dollars coming in. He established a well-known presence on Christian television. I’m sure many great and wonderful things transpired as a result. A great many unknown people who gave sacrificially made it all happen. He lived, of course, as many successful church leaders do, on donations. I’m sure many of these people were blessed in their giving. I know I was. But the Lord instructed me to leave before all the latter happened. Due to a powerful sense of loyalty I didn’t want to, but I obeyed. I think the pastor had a good heart and good intentions. But he was not beyond insisting on his own way or stepping on those who did not agree.

WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN

One would think one could figure out what often happens next. Those who study OT history do. One of this pastor’s mentors, while he was still up and coming, was a megachurch leader. This guy had built a huge church plant even beyond megachurch standards. He had an extremely high profile and was highly touted in the Christian press. Many years later a massive scandal was revealed there that involved an unbelievable amount of sexual shenanigans of the grossest variety. Of course, all that evil was going on while he and his church were being highly touted by all the official morons who held him up as a Biblical example, though he was actually nothing of the kind. This included my former pastor who was likely shocked when the news came out. At least I hope that’s the way it was with him.

I’m sure there were people who knew the truth as the truth was happening but such people are always in the minority. They are seen as those against all the good stuff. The ones who love all the good stuff and never question anything are the spiritually braindead. These always account for the majority. We have an endless stream of just such a majority who always insist that their pastor, their church, their doctrines, their practices, and their beliefs are absolutely perfect and anyone who differs even slightly can simply get the hell out. They will turn on you in a heartbeat. Then later on when the words of those who tried to tell the truth were proven true, the big boisterous we-know-everything majority becomes the not-a-peep silent majority. They don’t want to mention they were wrong. They run like a bear’s on their tail. It hurts their pride. It is far too humbling. But as long as they maintain their numbers each individual can continue to get lost in the clueless crowd and gain security from the clueless crowd. Though they are forced to face the facts they rarely face the Scriptural facts, which, had they done so before, the scandal would never have happened. And they insist the devil had nothing to do with it.

THIS IS WHY GOD MADE PROPHETS

The Lord Jesus made sure He put truth-tellers in His Community. They are there for a very good reason. Real churches have such truth-tellers. Most churches don’t. That’s why those churches are what they are. It is why they don’t look like the Book of Acts. It is why they are either dead as an iceberg where one can play hockey on the main aisle or are inhabited to some degree by stalking religious spirits. The invisible bad guys have them flummoxed. As a result, some of these places are downright weird, looking like the result of a religious experiment gone bad. Others look wonderful on the surface but are otherwise concealing hidden secrets.

But all could be fixed post haste if the homogenous majority wanted it so. But they don’t. They refuse the cure. They reject the One who could deliver them even while singing His praises.

They simply cannot recognize the devil.

© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

Posted on June 23, 2020, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Truth be told and excellently presented, may the Lord have Mercy on us all and lead us unto His righteous paths.

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  2. This one really struck home, RJ. I was a young adult during the rise of the megachurch age. In fact, I was in Bible college when the man you mention as having ongoing sexual misbehavior was just rising to the national spotlight. Amazing preacher, fireball of energy, he became the pastors’ pastor. Until he fell. What a heartbreak to so many who put all their trust and faith into one man.

    I believe there are thousands of pastors who quietly go about the work of pastoring small churches in small towns, reaping souls whenever they can, building up their people, being there for them in good times and bad. Their churches never grow to mega status, and that’s not what they desired. Numerical growth was good, but it wasn’t a holy grail.

    They will earn a crown of righteousness, faithfulness, selflessness and humility to cast at the feet of Jesus.

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    • Thanks Linda. Sadly, we may or may not be talking about the same individual, but I will leave it right there. There are so many issues related to this scenario. Christians need to get right and stay right with God. They need to pay more attention. Ministers must be subjected to some form of church accountability. Most of them seem to strive to avoid it or subject themselves only to a higher council, often of their own making. Church members are usually instructed to blindly go along with the program. If Christians were the stalwart aware ones the Lord desires them to be, wavering ministers wouldn’t get away with so much. These guys often act like churchgoers must be kept in a corner and used.

      The early Community of the Lord never had this problem because they kept local groups small and manageable. In this way there were always enough mature ones for proper guidance and teaching. The greatest were the greatest servants. Your Dad set the right example, as so many other relatively unknown ministers do. But we must also recognize all those Christians who are not official ministers who work just as hard. This is what the Church is supposed to be. We are all supposed to be mature, hard-working individuals, real disciples, who know the Word and actually follow the Lord. This was the Lord’s clear command. This is what new or young Christians must strive for. Far too many Christians are getting by getting lost in the crowd.

      Thank you for your work and faithfulness, Linda. Preacher’s kids often go the other way. I can only imagine the amount of unseen work you have seen and been a part of. How’s it going with your book?

      Blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are very loyal to your old pastor, but I look at the large number of evangelicals rushing to wrap political narratives and personal agendas in the Christian flag – especially now – and wonder how you can tell who has “a good heart and good intentions”. Much of it barely seems to contain any Christian content. This is particularly true of those currently pushing a divisive, race-baiting agenda. Yet are they deceived or deceiving?

    And I am not sure prophets are the silver bullet – there are plenty of false ones. Here in the UK one denomination leader, in particular, is determinedly selling his political message as “prophesy”. It is astonishing to watch normally sensible and respectable Christians fall for it so unquestioningly.

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    • Thanks for reading and the comment. I appreciate it. Regarding a good heart and intentions, no one knows a person’s heart except the Lord, of course, but considering the overall picture there was much good. There is always room for improvement for everybody. Some strive to be better disciples and some don’t. I am personally thankful for His abundant grace. Regarding prophets, all teachings must be tested against the teachings of the Lord and believers must know the Word instead of merely following someone or his/her pronouncements. I agree that many Christians fall for a lot of stuff and that they should know better, but this has always been true. We must know the Word and we must focus on the Lord Jesus.

      Blessings to you and thanks again.

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