Sunday Message 4/30/17
Hearers or Doers… Which One Are We?
We will be continuing the series we started last week called “Hearers or Doers… Which One Are We?” Once again we will be using Matthew 7:24-27 as our text for this series and we will be discussing the “deception” that Christians have allowed too come into in the Church and some of the ways that it came in.
“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it”.
If we are to stand when the rains, floods, and wind storms come then we must always be a doer of God’s Word because hearing it alone will not give us “victory”. We also need to realize that the reason many of our fellow Christians are having so many issues in their lives not because of their lack of hearing the Word, but because of their lack of “doing” the Word. In America everyone has access to a Bible so there are no excuses for not following God’s Word, and even if someone doesn’t go to a building that the world calls “church” it is still their job to open up God’s Word and find out what God is wants them to do. Anyone can hear a message, go home, and shout but only those who hear a message, go home, and put that message into practice will succeed in the Christian life. It is so easy to see that in the last 40+ years many Christians have walked away from sound doctrine and let many “false doctrines” into the Church and this is the main reason why the “Church” is so weak and powerless (even though the false teachers want you to believe that everything is going great). Everything in our lives must be based on the Word of God, and if God’s Word is not the final authority in our lives then we are all in a lot of trouble.
In 1987 Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall delivered a lecture entitled “The Constitution: A Living Document”. He argued that the Constitution must be interpreted in the light of the moral, political, and cultural climate of the age of interpretation. In simplistic terms this means that as the culture changes the law of the land (The Constitution) must also change to keep up with the times. However, the same thing is going on in the Churches around the world and especially in the Churches in America. Many clergy and church members claiming to be Christian are twisting the Word of God to match their lifestyles and sin, but the Word of God never changes and it is steadfast in what it teaches from cover to cover. The following is a good example of what is going on…
According to NE News Now approximately 150 gay clergy and clergy candidates in the United Methodist Church (UMC) are trying to move the homosexual agenda inside its mainline Protestant denomination. (1) Furthermore, the UMC Queer Clergy Caucus issued a letter to the Church that presses the denomination to be more inclusive of LGBT members inside the church including the role of pastor. This is a clear indication that the devil is trying to move the mainstream Church down a more socially acceptable path and away from true Biblical teaching. We have to realize that the devil has been doing this for years and many mainstream Christians have been right going along with it. The only way that the world can make this happen is to make the Bible a “Living Document” instead of the steadfast Word of God. We know that the Bible says that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) so whatever standards Jesus set up for the first century Church is still what Christians should be following today. The only thing that has changed is how false teachers have perverted God’s Word to say what they want it to say and by doing so they have deceived many. So is the Bible a “Living Document”? No it is not a living document in the sense of what the world calls a living document, but in the hands of a true Believer it is definitely a “Living Document”! The Bible gives hope to the hopeless, strength to weak and eternal life to those who deserve eternal damnation. The Word of God can also break the chains of sin that once held us down, however only the “doers” of the Word can activate the power that is in the Word of God.
Last year I worked with an awesome lady who said that she was a Christian, but she had a major issue with the Bible. When I asked her what it was she said that she was not sure if the Bible was really God’s Word because there were so many “versions” of the Bible and so many religions in the world, and I have to admit that I was totally blown away by this comment. I mean how can you be a Christian if you don’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word? If our belief for salvation isn’t based on the Bible then what is our belief for salvation based off on our feelings? What some man on TV said? Our foundation for everything we do as a Christian must be based on the Bible because if it isn’t then we are in big trouble and this is what has allowed deception to enter the Church. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”. When I read this verse two things immediately jumped out at me. First, I saw where God gave us his Word for doctrine and instruction so that we can be what he needs us to be. Second, he set up a balance called reproof and correction so that if we start to move away from sound doctrine and instruction he can bring us back to where we need to be. I tried to explain all this to her, but the last time I spoke with her she still wasn’t if the Bible was the “real” Word of God so please pray for her. The Amplified Bible really brings to light the meaning of this scripture for it reads like this “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, (so he is*) outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work (*added for emphasis*)”. So once again the Bible is definitely a “Living Document” because it can still affect and enlighten men if they become doers of it, and it is just as powerful and pertinent as the day God passed it on to the writers who penned it. If we study to show ourselves approved as we should then no matter what comes our way the Word of God will have the answer that we need, but how can it do that if we never open it? How can it do that if all we have in us is what other people are saying about it? Once again this is how deception has taken over the Churches in America and around the world. If the Word of God is all we need then why do so many Christians need to run to meeting after meeting seeking a word from God? As Christians we must know in our hearts that the Bible is God’s word so that we have a firm foundation set in stone, but if the Word of God is so powerful then how did all the deception get into the Church? Deception can only come into our lives in three ways and they are by allowing the devil to sow it into our heart, by after knowing the truth turn we away from it to follow a lie, and by God himself sending us a delusion. This week we will look at the first way that we can be deceived and that is by allowing the devil to sow it into our lives.
The Devil’s Deception
Part I – Satan’s Nature
To understand how the devil works we need go back in time and see how he accomplished his first deception. We are told in Genesis 3:1-7 that “…the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”.
The first thing we see in this passage is that satan was more “subtil” than any beast of the field. The Hebrew word for “subtil” here is “aruwm” which means crafty, shrewd, sly, and sensible. While I understood the deceptive words used here used to describe the serpent I was intrigued by the word “sensible”. One part of the definition of the word sensible is to be cognizant or to be keenly aware. This tells me that while many people may say that the devil is a loser I know that he is keenly aware about what is going on so as Christians we must be on our game at all times too. 1 Peter 5:8 says to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour”. Does this sound like some weak devil that the Church is preaching? YES the devil is defeated because he was defeated at Calvary for good BUT he is very much DANGEROUS to those who are not living sober and vigilant lives. The word sober here means to be calm and dispassionate (nepho) and the word vigilant means to watch, be cautious, and to be active (gregorio). So why would we want to be dispassionate? The problem that many of us have (and I definitely include myself here) is that we let our “emotions” get the best of us which leads us to make huge mistakes and even sin. Instead of immediately going to prayer or the Word many of us react to things that come our way and this sets us up for failure. If we are to be on the lookout for satan and his attacks at all times then we must always be calm, in control of our emotions, watching, cautious, and being proactive in our Christian walk because anything else will lead us to defeat. This is one way that we can be a doer of the Word because the devil is ready to fight to the death; are we?
Satan’s Only Two Weapons
The next thing we will look at in Genesis is what the devil will try to use to deceive us and take us down. If the devil has no power over a Christian’s life then why are so many Christian’s living weak, defeated, and carnal lives? Why? Because he has two tools at his beck and call and he knows how to use them, and he catches many Christians unprepared. The only two things satan can use against us are his lies and his ability to “twist” the Word of God and you need to know that satan knows God’s Word better than most of us. While you may think this is something that we should be able to overcome easily in reality most “Christians” are failing miserably at this every day because they are not studying the Word as they should or they are not putting into practice the Word that they are studying.
Jesus warned us in John 8:44 that Satan is the father of lies and this tells me that Jesus thought it was pretty important to warn us so that we understand exactly who satan is and what he may use against us. Sadly, many Christians are arrogant enough to think that Satan cannot do anything to them yet he was able to offer the kingdoms of the world to Jesus himself in Matthew 4:8-9 which means he has lots of things that he can offer us and throw at us. So what lie did he tell that caused the fall of man? He simply told Eve that “Ye shall not surely die for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. Do you see it? It was that simple little twist (you will not die) and the offer of power (your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods) that set mankind up for the fall. We must understand that it isn’t always the big things that will cause us to fall but sometimes it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15). The twists and lies of satan are so deceptive that unless we are doing the Word of God as we are told to do then we could find ourselves being led away into spiritual captivity. No you say? What is one of the biggest teachings that have been going around in the Word of Faith circle for years? “We Are Gods”? Now what exactly did satan say to Eve “ye shall be as gods”. This doctrine of “we are gods” is straight from the pits of hell and I do not know how much clearer the Word of God has to be on this topic. We are and never will be “gods” as is being taught by the false teachers in the Church today, but now you can see how easy satan slipped this heresy into the Church and it sad that no one ever took the time to see if it was Biblical. Proverbs 30:6 tells us “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee and thou be found a liar” and this is exactly what satan does. Some of the doctrines being taught by these false teachers is that Jesus was tormented by demons (not in the Bible), Adam flew to the moon (not in the Bible), and Noah had sex with his daughters (not in the Bible) and this is just the short list of false teachings being taught by prominent WOF teachers. If he cannot flat out lie to us then he goes to phase two which is to “put doubt” into us about what God has told us. In verse one satan simply asks “Hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? Remember that satan doesn’t always come right at us but most times he uses subtle lies and deception to trap us. However, if we are doers God’s Word then the devil has NOTHING he can use against us.
Doing > Hearing
We have to understand we are all going to get hit by the rain, floods, and wind but those who are doing the Word have built their foundation on a rock and they will NOT be moved. We are told in Psalms 1:1-3 that “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”. Jeremiah 17:7-8 tells us that “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit”. In both cases we see that a person is not “automatically” planted by the river but only those who are “doing” something, do you see that? In other words it is not enough to just read or even understand the Word of God, but what does count is putting it into practice in our lives every day.
Joe Smith has been a mechanic for 25 years and has been rebuilt hundreds of motors and carburetors. One day while rebuilding a carburetor for a 1966 Chevy Malibu SS a stranger walks up and starts giving him advice. After about two minutes of conversation it is apparent to Joe that this man has no clue what he is talking about, and has never worked on a car in his life. He tells the man that what he is saying will not work and after that the stranger walks away. Down the road is another mechanic shop run by Gill Stewart. Gill always wanted to be a mechanic and he did do a few little things around the shop but he never caught. However, Gill was good at working on the books so the owner put him in the position of office manager. A few days later the same stranger who had visited Joe’s shop comes walking in to Gills and starts telling Gill how he can rebuild his carburetors faster and better. Now Gill has looked at manuals of carburetors and he actually did work on one carburetor back in the day, but he had no clue on how to rebuild one. Later that day a car came in and Gill took the guys advice and did what the stranger said. When he went to start car up after finishing the work the motor blew up and cost the company thousands of dollars in replacement costs. You see Joe was a doer of the mechanic work so when the stranger came up he knew he didn’t have a clue what he was saying and that what he was saying was a lie. However, Gill was only a hearer of mechanical work and after he listened to the stranger he ended up totally wrecking someone’s car. This is why “Doing” > “Hearing”!!
Next week we will look at how we as Christians can allow ourselves to be deceived and in some case how we deceive ourselves…
Peace and Grace From Our Lord…