Sermon #1104 Doctrines of Demons

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1 Sermon #1104 Doctrines of Demons Hollywood cashes in on the superstitions of Americans who have a smattering of Bible knowledge. Horror sells in the U.S. Add the supposed fulfillment of vague Bible prophecies and you have a box office hit. Throw in demon possession, the antichrist (at least some perverted version of it), or even the seed of Satan himself and people take it as gospel truth. Roman Catholic priests, crucifixes, and exorcisms seal the deal. Hollywood is not the only place preoccupied with demon possession. A broad swath of Christendom trembles over the prospect of evil spirits, feeling powerless against any satanic assault. Meanwhile, charlatans, under the pretense of proclaiming the gospel, pose as knights in shining armor coming to the physical, spiritual, and emotional rescue of their followers. But should Christians be tormented by the prospect of this kind of devilish attack? Do we really need xorcism on speed dial? How much would Satan gain by victimizing man like this anyway? Is this preoccupation with demon possession really just the devil s shell game, hoping we will fixate on this ruse and ignore Satan s real object? That brings us to our focal Scripture, 1 Timothy 4:1: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons Do you hear anybody talking about this work of demons pointed out by the Holy Spirit? Of course not! And that s the way the devil wants it. We hope to heighten your focus on the most successful work of Satan and the area in which you, today, are most vulnerable. Should you be more concerned about demon possession or doctrines of demons? First of all, genuine Christians have never been vulnerable to demon possession. God s people need not fear demons taking over their bodies against their will and controlling their words and behavior. The Bible says in 1 John 4:4, Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. This teaching is straightforward and easy to understand; the only question is whether or not we will believe it. It is true that a litany of consequences from the fall persistently pummel mankind. It is also true that demon possession took place during the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. It is also true that one can deliver himself to Satan by voluntarily serving or worshipping him. This can be done intentionally and perhaps inadvertently through the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs. These conditions, though, are entirely different from being powerless to stop a demon who decides to take over your spirit and body. There are only two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God s dear son. So, if you are not a Christian, you are in the kingdom of darkness and under Satan s control. The fact that you allow the devil to dictate your lifestyle, knowingly or not, should make your spine tingle. The devil is controlling and wants you to be another puppet on a string doing his bidding while making you think you are doing what YOU want to do. We ve all been there whether or not we ve sunk to the deepest depths of demonically-influenced depravity. We come into the world free from sin, but in the flesh. Aren t you thankful you are not responsible for the sin of either your immediate or remote ancestors? The Spirit says in Ezekiel 18:20, The soul who sins shall die. The son shall NOT bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. 1

2 Doctrines of Demons by Brett Hickey, sermon # of 5 Never speak of children as sinful! Jesus doesn t. Matthew 18:1-3, At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. I will not be held responsible for anyone s actions but my own. Romans 2:6-9, God will render to each one according to HIS deeds : eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; BUT to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek Unfortunately, we live in the flesh and as the apostle says in Romans 3:10, 12, 23, There is none righteous, no, not one.they have all turned aside;.for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The devil scores big in this area. He wants us to sin and alienate us from God. This thrills him and his minions, but mercifully Jesus made us a way out. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:8, 10, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. We must see Satan s intentions clearly. While the Spirit reminds us in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that we are not ignorant of [Satan s] devices, many believers have recurring amnesia here; many others allow deceivers to distract us with mythical Satanic warfare. Satan initiates the amnesia and the deception. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. Jesus says in Matthew 13:19, When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. Please understand the adversary s plan for you. All who reach the age of accountability fall prey to his enticements at least for a time, but let s be sure that when we figure out the devil s game plan that we flee from temptation. Ephesians 2:1-3, And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Satan is the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. He works to get us to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Go for the gusto. If it feels good, do it. Live like that and he has you right where he wants you. The Scriptures teach us to go against the grain, to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him (Matthew 16:24). No doubt Satan gleefully looks on as man suffers from the fallout from the sin in the garden, but how high really does earthly, physical torment figure into Satan s agenda? Again, We are not ignorant of his devices. Satan s highest objective is the very opposite of Jesus. So, if Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, Satan seeks our spiritual destruction. Satan s priority is the spiritual shipwreck and eternal damnation of the human soul. He cons man to do his own will instead of the Lord s will. Sure, he dupes the world, but can he deceive believers? 2

3 Doctrines of Demons by Brett Hickey, sermon # of 5 This is alarming and should make us all very wary. Look at Matthew 7:21, Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. So, people who NOT ONLY believe but those who confess Jesus as Lord will be stunned at judgment over being misled into thinking they could enter heaven without DOING some of the Father s will. They obviously believe less is required of them than God does. Remember this is Jesus coming out message -- the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus lays it on the line. Now, we notice professing followers of Jesus -- and a large number of them will be rejected by Jesus Himself despite the considerable religious activity. Matthew 7:22, Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' This last phrase, translated Ye that work iniquity in the King James Version, is rendered in the New King James Version, You who practice lawlessness. The word lawlessness gives us the heads up to a very significant aspect of Jesus teaching. Joseph Thayer defines the Greek word anomia in his Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament 1) the condition of one without law, -- either because ignorant of it, or because violating it. 2) Contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness In their Greek-English Lexicon, Louw and Nida write, to behave with complete disregard for the laws or regulations of a society.in some languages one may translate anomia as to live as though there were no laws, to refuse completely to obey the laws, or to live as one who despises all laws. This precise condition runs rampant in the religion. Jesus says these are wasting their time performing their own self-proclaimed miracles. They can claim to cast out demons all day in the name of Jesus, no less but Jesus tells them, I never knew you. If that doesn t shake you up and make you evaluate yourself, nothing will. What about demon possession today? When demons possessed an individual in Jesus day, they imposed themselves upon their victims; those possessed were powerless to prevent the demons from doing so. As a result, those possessed could not be held accountable for their behavior; their actions -- like Legion who cut himself with stones in Mark 6 -- were beyond their control. How much could that gratify the devil? Compare that to the much DEEPER satisfaction Satan receives when he deceives men into turning away from God and to take doctrines of demons over the doctrine of Christ. Remember from the parable of the sower how the devil snatches the word out of the heart. This prospect should frighten us FAR more than demon possession -- even if demon possession DID exist today! The devil seeks, you see, to distract us with demon decoys so we will ignore the grave dangers of doctrinal disloyalty, moral infidelity, and bad attitudes. The Holy Spirit calls out the devil s most dangerous and most effective ploy in 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. So Satan seeks to draw away the Lord s disciples. If the Adversary can get me to serve him while I pretend to serve the Lord, he has me and perhaps for good. In this passage, the apostle makes a prediction about the largest single apostasy or falling away from the faith and provides us with two of the most widely known restrictions of a Christian-professing religious group. What group, in direct 3

4 Doctrines of Demons by Brett Hickey, sermon # of 5 contradiction of New Testament teaching, has forbidden a large class of its membership to marry and has barred the eating of certain foods on certain days? What is alarming about this large group of people is that they were once part of the fold; they claim to be disciples. They depart(ed) from the faith. They once were Christians members of the one faith (Ephesians 4:4-6), but departed from the faith; they abandoned the original New Testament teachings. But why would a large group who commit their lives to Christ veer off on some tangent? And how would the departure be orchestrated? What is the impetus? The apostle Paul tells us the fallen listened to the wrong voices and looked to the wrong sources of authority, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. But what does he mean by deceiving spirits? The apostle John hits on the same issue in 1 John 4:1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Obviously, by spirits, the apostle John means the spirits of men and women because he refers to the unreliable spirits as false prophets. But what does the Holy Spirit mean when He inspires the apostle Paul to write about believers giving heed to doctrines of demons? When one hears about doctrines of demons, he may envision flames of fire emanating from the mouth of a hideous creature, but that is decidedly NOT what under consideration. Does the devil preach? He certainly has in the past. He preached to Eve in Genesis 3 and to Jesus in Matthew 4. These examples, however, are highly irregular. We need not fear Satan materializing and preaching directly to us. Are there actual demons preaching? Is that what we need to be on guard against? NO! If not, then what exactly are seducing spirits and doctrines of demons? The Holy Spirit is not speaking here of the didactic activity of spirits and demons, but of the work of false teachers who, unintentionally or not, proclaim religious ideas as being from God when do not originate from God. An abundance of Scripture prepares us to distinguish between sound doctrine and doctrines of demons but we must scrutinize Scripture while examining ourselves and the teachers we follow. The association of the fleshly, human, approach with the demonic can be seen in James 3:14-17, But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and selfseeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. We get an even better idea of what the Bible means by doctrines of demons when we read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. Doctrines of demons flow from the lips of human teachers. These false teachers can only deceive if they can disguise themselves and their teaching. Just like the counterfeit bill must resemble the real deal, so those who promote false doctrine must camouflage it alongside an abundance of truth. 4

5 Doctrines of Demons by Brett Hickey, sermon # of 5 Just previous to the fate of the lawless ones in the judgment scene Jesus presents in the Sermon on the Mount, He tells us in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. We have more to say about doctrines of demons but we are running out of time so we will have to pick back up on the topic next Lord s day morning. Before our song and wrap up, we want to encourage you to begin a life-changing Bible study by mail at no cost to you. I ll be back in a moment for a final word. Please send us any comments or questions you may have about today s message or any related question about the church of the Bible. Tune in every Lord s Day and join us for worship at one of the congregations listed shortly. Call or write for a transcript, CD, or DVD of #1104, Doctrines of Demons. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 16:16, the churches of Christ salute you. Until next week, goodbye and God bless! Are you searching for the truth of God's word and have a sincere desire to learn about the Bible? Do you want to know what the Bible says about salvation and about Christ and His church? If you are looking for Bible Founded discussion on these topics and many others, then please accept this invitation to explore "Let the Bible Speak" and then contact us for additional studies. We are members of the church of Christ as found in the New Testament. We are not members of a denomination or earthly religious organization. We are a brotherhood of believers, joined by a common bond, Jesus Christ. We try to live and worship following the patterns found in the New Testament. (For manuscripts of other sermons visit: COPYRIGHT Let The Bible Speak. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. IMPORTANT COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Express permission is granted to distribute any video, audio, or transcript of any broadcast message as long as the material is: unedited and attribution is given to Let The Bible Speak; a hyperlink to LetTheBibleSpeak.com is included for electronic distribution; a text reference is included to for printed distribution; and the original author receives attribution. An irrevocable, world-wide, royalty free license for distribution is granted as long as such distribution has the intent of: supporting the truth as presented; giving glory and honor to God; and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. 5