“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it,” John 8:44.
A Satanist is not necessarily a volitional follower of Satan. With the evil so prevalent in the hearts of people today it’s almost easy to forget that there’s a devil behind it all, and that he is the one we should fight against. He is so often behind the scenes. I do not believe that unsaved people (or anyone else for that matter) need the devil around to sin. I say this because sin is a natural desire since mankind fell in Adam. Any man may sin without Satan or a demon within a hundred miles. We in the west have cartoonized sin by imagining that the temptation towards it comes only from a little pitchfork toting demon on the shoulder of an otherwise neutral (mostly good) person, but no, the temptation to sin comes from within our own hearts. Spiritually speaking, there are two fathers over mankind. Of course, the title “father” is not given to compare Satan with God. The title must be applied properly. The imagery or spiritual reality of fatherhood is given to Satan in the Bible several times in regard to the spiritual status of many people. Satan is the father of sin, and has many children. We cannot forget this. If we don’t work to identify and isolate the devil’s works and teachings for what they are he will always keep one foot in the door of the church. We must rightly estimate the enemy’s strengths. If we think that a satanic evil is not behind false teaching then we’ll be unprepared for the fight. See, you prepare your defenses in one way if there’s a Labrador trying to get in your house. You prepare a completely different type of defense if an elephant wants in. We cannot forget who we are fighting and why, and that Satan is not alone.
The Apostle John says this of the unregenerate: “The one who practices sin is of the devil,” 1 John 3:8. People who practice sin are satanic. This is not a play on words; this is a spiritual reality. They are of the devil. If this isn’t easily entreated by you, please take it up with John’s God, not me. Here John intends to convey the dominant reality of sin in the lives of unbelievers. Earlier in the same epistle he clearly affirms that while even saints sin, they are not sinners like this. Christ has destroyed the power of sin in their lives and they’re now marked by a progressive holiness; not by their sin. They are still sinners, but in a wholly different sense. They are now of God. Unbelievers are not of God. We who are of God dare not forget this! Yet perhaps what’s equally if not more important is that we do not forget the devil and his role. I wish to remind those of you who would hear. People in our day reject Christ and often say things like, “but God knows my heart.” They say this to excuse sin. They cast God’s law (The Ten Commandments) behind them in dishonor and disrepute. They think that they’re on good terms with God for the most part because His law has no place in their lives. By this philosophy they falsely bolster themselves in an unsubstantiated forgiveness. Friends, God does know the heart, and that’s the issue. The unregenerate human heart is not led by God. God’s intimate knowledge of the human heart is the assurance of judgment. God does know the heart; that’s why there’s a hell. The heart itself is the very root of the problem, Jeremiah 17:9. It must be re-created! Jesus, who Scripture says knows the hearts of all, said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” Matthew 15:19. Sin proceeds directly from the heart. This is where every evil finds its genesis. Yet ultimately and nonetheless, behind every false religion, behind every lustful thought and cursed work there is either 1) Satan- the angel who fell long ago, or 2) a satanic influence. It can indeed be one or the other.
Satan is alive, but he is not everywhere at once. He is not omnipresent. He is not like God. If he’s in Iraq then he’s not in New Guinea. His influence, however, has spread throughout the globe. It migrated in the hearts of the people to Babel and from Babel to the ends of the earth. Therefore, in one sense, he is everywhere. Every false religion found worship in the heart of some son or daughter of Adam. Satanism is the root cause of every false religion because there is only one God that man has ever been accountable to. God is certainly not going around lying to people. There is only one God both by and of nature. No other gods exist. Never have, never will, Isaiah 43:10. Through a spiritual influence, or directly, the devil speaks, he tempts, he beguiles and he draws people out into more and more evil manipulating them, as it were, through their own fallen desires. It is terrible to think that man’s desires and Satan’s are often in harmony, but they are. I affirm this because of the inspired writings of the Apostle James. He writes: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed,” James 1:14. Here man’s own desires are in view. Satan uses them. Wicked men believe and teach whatever pleases them, and make a god to suit themselves in the image they envisage.
We can learn about Satan from the actions of his children. It is their doctrines I wish to illuminate because it affects us all. The title satanic is not used here to make fun or to make light of them. It is simply an accurate descriptor. I am not saying that every false prophet is a Satan worshipper. There are Satan worshippers in this world who do so directly and knowingly. They are not really who I’m addressing here today. Rather, here I’m addressing those who perhaps feel they’re worshipping God, but who are deceived. They are not actually worshipping God at all. This is still idolatry. Like Paul said to those in Corinth: “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God…” 1 Corinthians 10:19-20a. They thought perhaps that they were offering things to their god, but it was not God. It was the devil. Paul knew it, they didn’t. In this they are satanic, but not outright Satanists.
Children of Satan, according to Scripture, are such as espouse false gospels. They teach that there is more than one way to heaven thus de facto denying the only way. They are those in pulpits today teaching that homosexuality is ok, or that Christ is simply an ethic to assimilate along with the good morals of most any religious figure. They do all this contrary to sound doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:10. Children of Satan always oppose the work of God in such ways. Jesus had no qualms against publicly calling such people what they are, John 8:44. Children act like their dad. They exhibit his character. We must learn to be on guard against evil. Satan wants to rob a person of everything that is truly good.
Teaching about Satan and his works in the world are everywhere in the Bible. In direct regard to the forgiveness that is to be exercised in the church, Paul tells the Corinthians to love one another, “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices,” 2 Corinthians 2:11. Satan takes advantage of Christians who withhold forgiveness when it’s warranted. If we do this we’ve forgotten the serpent at the door. It is him we can fight by forgiving each other. Here we should remember who we, as Christians, are fighting and how we are fighting when we’re forgiving each other from the heart. It is Satan and Satanism behind false teachings that robs men of their souls. It is Satan behind the inspiration and theology of ideals like Mormonism and United Pentecostalism. He is the author of these “truths.” These religions do not honor God like the Bible and are not at all from Him. Satan is the father of lies. Such ideals deny the full Deity of Jesus Christ which is alone enough to anathematize them wholesale. The people preaching such falsity are not Satan, but they are not to be regarded as anything other than false prophets who are operating, albeit unbeknown to them, satanically. Their teaching leads to hell. This should cause our hearts to go out to them. We should feel pity, but then remember that pity in us saves no one. Rather, we are to study, know the word, and preach it wherever we can against them. That saves! God uses that. Let pity motivate you to have courage to fight Satan on their behalf. They can be converted, should they be called among the elect, in a moment. While they are propagating lies, however, they are ambassadors of a different lord as Jesus said: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters,” Matthew 12:30. If we forget this then we may remember that there’s an invisible devil, but never know where to engage him. He’ll simply continue to engage us and pick us off like a sniper. We’ll scan the perimeter but not really know why our brothers and sisters are falling to our right and to our left. If false religion remains neutral, if we don’t call it what it is, then we will not address it in the satanic light that it’s true origin and outworking demand. We should respect false teachers, in that they are people deserving of respect, but we must loathe and detest their doctrines because they are evil.
When I think of false prophets I do see them in league with the devil. I know that there is confusion. I know that the devil deceives. He does. I want them saved. My silence will not help them. Scripture does not paint idolatrous mankind as victims. Idolatry is always shown as a horrendous sin in the Bible, no matter the era. People don’t have to go home, get inside the pentagram and worship the devil to be Satanists. If a teaching does not exalt Christ as God and declare a free salvation in His name, then logic demands that it comes ultimately from Satan because it is a lie. Pleasantry will not help us. The wolf will not spare the flock because the sheep are polite.
We have philosophized Satan and Satanism. Satan has disarmed so many by making sin smart and pithy. Once philosophy usurps theology it becomes debauchery. We have relegated evil to a non-issue and sterilized its teaching. We’ve done this by laundering it through the lips of a thousand rhetoriticians “who mean well.” Jesus loved more than any other, but His love did not blind him to truth and confrontation if necessary. Satan wears many hats. He is tempter, dragon, secular, worldly wise, and deeply philosophical. He works to blur the lines in our times and teaches his sheep how two things can be exactly the same because they share one focused element in common. This is very confusing to many. For example: Monkeys and man are the same because they have similar Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Islam and Christianity are the same because they both teach that Jesus was a prophet. God is God no matter the religion you choose because they all teach that we should love each other. Sex is sex whether you’re publicly committed in marriage or not because the act still brings a bond. Marriage between a man and a man, a woman and a woman or a man and a cat are the same because there’s a “love” there just like between a man and a woman. All these things are lies that ultimately originate with the father of lies. Folks, just because two things have one thing in common it does not mean they’re the same thing. Both dogs and humans have teeth, but we are not at all the same. Ambiguity and ignorance is the only thing that makes such ideology work. People today are so busy working for retirement that they have no time to truly know why the teachings of Jesus and Mohammed were ten million times different. They’re too busy with soccer practice to know the difference between saying that Jesus is an archangel or God incarnate. Because they don’t know, they call Christians hair splitters and people who make mountains out of mole hills. Ignorance is their creed “under love.” This will always happen in this world, but reader, do you know better? Do you know the Bible?
The worst thing is when evil things are tolerated inside the church, and among those who call themselves disciples. There are demons running rampant in the pulpits. You may think that this is a demon writing this letter if you don’t know the Bible. Satan specializes in fountainhead pollution in America. The preachers are dead and have huge outreaches. The purity of the church universal is therefore denigrated by false doctrine. Christian brothers and sisters, there is a real devil. There is real demonic influence all around us. I wish to remind you of this here. Pray against it all. You should hate Satan strongly and all his works both as and for what they are. This is holy and good and acceptable before God. If you do not hate evil then you likely don’t love God, Proverbs 8:13. The devil is the spirit who still works in this world in all these things, Ephesians 2:2. He is still the stealer of understanding, Matthew 13:19. He is still the one we are to pray for protection against, Luke 11:4. He is still the conniver and twister of truth in the churches, Revelation 2:24. Satan, like everything else, was created and is sustained by the Lord for His own sovereign purposes, Proverbs 16:4. He is nothing next to Christ, but we would be foolish to underestimate his works or to not associate him with his workers.
Satan’s fall is the ultimate unknown to me. I cannot pry into the depths of divine wisdom. None can. God has not chosen to reveal the exact mechanics of the devil’s fall. I believe that God purposed him to fall having ordered all things to His glory ultimately, but the difficulty of the doctrine still exists. We do know some things about it. We know that pride was a part of Lucifer’s demise. Paul warns Timothy regarding the selection of men to lead in the church. Timothy is to select men who have proven themselves faithful already. He writes that these leaders must not be amateurs. “Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil,” 1 Timothy 3:6. Here we deduce by direct implication that a part of the devil’s condemnation was pride. In Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-17 there is a warning against both the kings of Babylon and Tyre respectively that seem to speak not just against those human kings, but to the devil who inspired them. In these passages there are implications to the fall of Satan regarding pride, selfishness and vainglory. In Luke 10:18 Jesus refers to what was almost certainly the fall of Satan from heaven. This story, though difficult as it seems to reference a time after Satan’s initial fall, may be what is detailed in Revelation 12:8-10. In Genesis 3:14-15 we have the proto-evangelion or first gospel. Here God speaks of the devil’s bruising or destruction as an ultimate purpose for the future coming of Jesus. Paul much later tells the Romans to “Be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” because “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet,” Romans 16:19b-20. Christians are to rejoice that he (and all his works) will one day be crushed. This was promised at the beginning and we eagerly await that glorious day.
The problem with the war against Satan that remains is the nature of the warfare. It is guerilla warfare on steroids. Our enemies are all around us and we care for them. Satan is an excellent communicator. I can see him on TV, read from him in the bookstore even in the “Christian” section, and listen to him on the radio all the time. Alongside this pseudo-Christian world, Satan has a culture perfectly tailored to strive in sin. Sex really sells among us. Like music, sin is able to communicate without saying a word. Sin’s pleasures speak louder than words in our culture and people refuse to hear truth over instant pleasure. If left only to themselves this would never change. We must speak the truth. Ravi Zacharias quotes William Blake who said, “This life’s dim windows of the soul distorts the heavens from pole to pole and goads you to believe a lie, when you see the world with and not through the eye.” We are a people who have fallen for a magicians trick. In philosophy, in covetousness, in religiosity we see only with our eyes. We have forgotten who’s behind all that which dishonors Christ. By neglect of study, we have forgotten that the hand is faster than the eye. We have bought the store front, marked up, wholesale evil that looks great in every season. Satan twists. Science is not evil; evolutionary theory is. Sex is not evil; pornography, fornication and homosexuality are. Religion is not evil; stone cold, heartless, scriptureless, twisted dogmatism is. Money is not evil; the covetous love of it is. Speaking up against evil is not evil; idolatry is. Scripture says that the carnal or unregenerate mind is at war with God, Romans 8:7; James 4:4; Colossians 1:21. Only evil wars against God. The mind is not uninfluenced by evil. God has enemies. He will come to crush them, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9. That mind that He is coming to destroy, in the purest spiritual definition, can only be called satanic. It is the works of Satan that Jesus came to destroy. With that, men will be destroyed. The blood of Jesus’ enemies will rise up to the height of the saddle on His horse and stretch a long way out, Revelation 14:20. The wills and hearts of men are not by any means neutral. James writes that even an unruly tongue is only “…set on fire by hell,” James 3:6. This is that satanic influence I’ve spoken about here. There are ultimately only two spiritual influences available to the tongue or any other member for that matter.
Christian, you must fight. While you fight you must remember who you are fighting. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places,” Ephesians 6:12. We fight heresy, but in this we are really fighting Satan. It is evil spirits that teach distractions like Buddhism and are at work today in the pulpits of the PCUSA. It is these spirits, and the words of their mouthpieces that we must fight with better words and prayer. Our fight will never exclude man. It can’t. That’s why I’m spending so much time relating the nature of man and Satan. We must know our enemy. He works in man, and therefore men, for the sake of the gospel, must become our enemies. There are many such enemies mentioned in Scripture. See Matthew 22:44; Romans 5:10; Philippians 3:18 for just three examples. Until a man is born again he is an enemy of God and a scatterer. His teaching is from below. You must fight falsity for what it is.
My spiritual fathers warred against Catholicism. I war against it still, but to a much lesser extent thanks to them. Charles Spurgeon was one of my spiritual fathers. He wrote and preached plainly against Romanism in his day (1834-1892). His attitude was most certainly perceived by many to be unloving, but to let people die in any false system isn’t loving at all! He spoke candidly and with great cause. I want you to read a quote of his speaking about Roman Catholicism. Here I believe he was fighting Satan by fighting his teaching. Where is this magnificent attitude among my brethren today regarding the sin of idolatry? Listen to this:
We must have no truce, no treaty with Rome. War! war to the knife with her! Peace there cannot be. She cannot have peace with us—we cannot have peace with her. She hates the true Church, and we can only say that the hatred is reciprocated. We would not lay a hand upon her priests; we would not touch a hair of their heads. Let them be free; but their doctrine we would destroy from the face of the earth as the doctrine of devils. So let it perish, O God, and let that evil thing become as the fat of lambs. Into smoke let it consume: yea into smoke let it consume away.
Their doctrine, says Spurgeon, is the doctrine of devils. Spurgeon knew who was behind the teaching.I would say this exact thing against Mormonism, United Pentecostalism, “progressive” Christianity, (still not naming names), Islam, Baha’ism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, etc. I hate false doctrine like any good doctor hates cancer because it kills. God hates lies and so do I. In this, I am like my Father. I cannot separate the speakers from the message. Jesus once took a whip into a temple He was so furious at the people, John 2:13-16. Religious lies are actually worse than cancer because they are eternally murderous. To speak with godly conviction about these things, church, we must remember who our enemy is. If a man’s daughter is poisoned he does not just hate the poison, he hates and arrests the poisoner. It is Satan at work in our world through lies. You should get angry at that. Do not forget him. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” 1 Peter 5:8. Satan is your adversary if you’re in Christ, and your emissary if you are outside of Him. Satan wants to devour people. This lion’s bite has numbing venom called pleasantry, and the immature or unsaved cannot feel the beast chewing on them. They’re numbed and devoured limb by limb sometimes over long periods of time. Every doctrine of the Christian faith is like its own cable on a suspension bridge. They must all be maintained in proportion to the priority of their support. The handrail need not be maintained as thoroughly as the main load bearing cable, but it still keeps the casual stroller from falling off sometimes. We must give special attention to each cable and bolt lest they fall into disrepair and fail. The bridge that Christ built to humanity cannot ever truly fall (Matthew 16:18), but each church is subject to total ruin if they’re not diligent. Satan does not always need to blow up the bridge. Sometimes, he just gets the maintenance people to ignore one rivet. Soon its rust spreads and the damages may become irreparable.
Fighting Satan inextricably means fighting man. We see this clearly and best in Jesus’ own life. It was the devil’s evil desires carried out in the wills of men that crucified Jesus. It was Beelzebub’s evil desires realized in Eve and Adam in the fall. It was Satan’s possession of Judas that prompted Judas the thief’s inexcusable betrayal. Satan is the one who prayed for Peter’s destruction in Luke 22:31, and against whom Jesus prayed for His disciples’ protection, John 17:15. There is much teaching about him in the Bible, most especially in the New Testament. Please don’t forget it. He’s alive and teaches still. Paul’s admonition as cited above in Ephesians 6:12 is sage counsel on every continent because we must remember that while we will fight flesh and blood…we donot really fight flesh and blood. The church was created to demonstrate God’s conquering of the world to the forces of darkness, Ephesians 3:10. We do this by loving one another “…In spirit…” and here’s our rub today, “…And truth,” John 4:23. Folks, there is no Christian love to be praised among us if it is not based on truth. We won’t agree on everything, but there are essentials. The potluck is not enough! Our unity must be first based on our common baptism into the Spirit, and second, on truth well defined. Propositional, irreplaceable, dogmatic, life shaking, purpose forming, nation seeking, propositional Bible truth is either present or we’re lost. I’ll give you an example: Jesus Christ is God Himself, the Son become flesh. If we don’t love each other becausewe love this then we don’t love each other in spirit and truth. There is no truth among us if Jesus is not our propositionally stated God. Here’s another one, and this one’s a Bible quote: “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9. We are forgiven for sin by grace through faith alone. If you don’t love this, and me in this, then what love is there between you and me? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. Love must be based on truth or else it’s based on lies. I say this in light of the essentials. Satan can only present a false unity. It may have “spirit,” but it is not based on truth. You can go to churches today by the thousands and see people who will say that Jesus was a created being who will smile widely as you come in the door, pour you a glass of lemonade, surround you with hugs and welcome you with a warmth like you’ve perhaps never seen before. They’ll do this as laborers in Belial’s vineyard. Don’t fall for it. While there is no truth without love, there is also no real love without truth. Christians are known by their love. If you’ve not found them yet, keep looking. They’re out there I assure you. They love each other in, around, and because of the truth. It is truth that unites them in love. Why so many of my generation don’t seem to care about this is truly beyond me. We will only fight for truth if we know and love truth. Jesus is Lord!
If we’re not excited about truth then we will not fight. No good soldier fights for a cause he or she does not believe in, and this is certainly true in this case. We must know our enemy. Do you believe in Christ? If you are not willing to fight for Him then you probably don’t. The Apostle Jude once wrote: “I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend (fight, war, battle) earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Jude 3b-4. Words in parenthesis mine. Notice that they were to fight the “Persons that have crept in.” They were the condemned and the church was to contend against them for the truth. Men are almost never removed from the fights we must fight. These persons Jude speaks of are “ungodly.” They work to pervert grace. Do you think they all did this by direct blasphemy in the pulpit? That they jumped up on the altar, pointed to heaven and shouted, “I defy you Jesus.” No, they were the ones who probably quoted Scripture texts then said things like, “…God is loving. See? He will not send your son to hell for being a homosexual. That would be unloving.” This is a much more effective perversion. Like today, these teachers were marked out for their condemnation and likely taught much more subtle truths that were harder to see coming for what they were. The mature will still see it. Satan is still a very subtle beast in the field, but the church is well informed. He teaches a lot of religion and perverts grace. This is seen in many ways as mentioned in this letter. By doing this they deny Christ…even though they would likely profess Him as their Lord. The church has had to fight her opponents since day zero. I thank God for those who were willing to fight. Notice that here too I’m thanking the force behind them yet giving credit where it’s due. I bid you to join their fight if you love the truth. It’s very Biblical I assure you. We must war against evil. We overcome it with good, Romans 12:21. Lift up truth against falsity therefore; this is very good. Jesus did it all the time. In our day we are surrounded by word peddlers and self-gratification architects who have exchanged the love of money for a false god who guarantees it “If you send in fifteen dollars in the next fifteen minutes and for the next fifteen days.” We are simply too polite to false prophets. Let us war there.
Paul tells Timothy about false religion plainly. Today, we have a tendency to look back at the false religions in Bible times and imagine all their followers to be these completely debauched and outright wicked people going around biting the heads off chickens in the streets. Many of them, like today, however, were the humanitarians. They ran the soup kitchens. They were the ones smiling and nice to everyone at work on Monday morning. They were the local barbers, shopkeepers, preachers, politicians, stone cutters and entertainers. At night they’d close their shop, go home, kiss their kids and head to the temple to worship whatever. Into that culture, which is the exact same milieu that we have today, Paul says: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” 1 Timothy 4:1. Folks, we can see this. We must see this everyday if our spiritual eyes are open. This is what’s happening. This is false religion. We must know our Bibles. The devils are whispering lies, and these are not neutral doctrines invented by deceived and spiritually neutral sheep. You may see it that way, but you can never allow them to see themselves that way. They, because of their itching and idolatrous ears, spitefully depart from the truth. They will not endure sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3) because they prefer their idolatry. What they espouse is nothing short of a satanic doctrine at the behest of the seducing spirit that they wickedly assume is god. This is idolatry. It is always Satanic. This is Satanism. You could also call it demonism. We must understand this because it properly illuminates the gravity of the situation. It should take our breath away to know this.
This is difficult for some of us to see because the message of so many false prophets are ones of love, prosperity and peace, but as long as it keeps a man from a true faith in the true God then it is exceedingly evil. It’s hard to fight a demon who feeds the poor. People will not understand you when you engage a demonic teaching that espouses equality and mutual respect for all. False prophets sometimes seem to have the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We must see the enemy behind it all to see it for what it truly is. There is simply no substitute for knowing and loving the Bible. Does their message change the essential nature of God or gospel? Does it call good evil and evil good? If so, then make no mistake, it is of the devil. It is not neutral; it is satanic.
The “prophets” of Jeremiah’s day (see Jeremiah 23) were preaching a message of great peace. Many people loved it I’m certain. I’m sure that many people in Jeremiah’s day would have pointed out a dozen Scriptures to him showing him how the message of the false prophets was in total accord with the previous writings of God. I’m sure they were greatly offended that Jeremiah was “Making such mountains of mole hills” and disrupting their spiritual harmony as believers. They probably even prayed to their god thanking him that they were not as foolish, close minded or arrogant as Jeremiah was. This is the nature of deception and only truth can conquer it. Only Christ can give life to a dead man. As Jeremiah continued to speak against them they probably looked at each other like he was crazy and like Herod and Pilate (Luke 23:12) found unity and communion in their rejection of him and his “divisive message.” Jeremiah was unloving; they were the loving. They had a false unity. This is not a unity in spirit and truth. Jeremiah was not persuaded. Jeremiah called the message of the prophets evil and spoke powerfully against them publicly on many occasions. This was a good thing Jeremiah was sent to do. We are just like that in many places. We are still sometimes sent as the aroma of death just as he was, 2 Corinthians 2:16. In our day there are great messages of peace being preached to the fornicator, the idolater and the homosexual. Many of the teachers that come to mind for me call themselves Christians. False prophets are still speaking for Satan and teaching his truths. They say God is ok with sin. Their messages reek of death. I hate their words. I fight them as I would Satan. They boldly say to all in false unity, “You will have peace”; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you,’” Jeremiah 23:17. But I see the difference because I know their teacher. I see that the fornicator despises the God who hates their sin and says it is worthy of hell. They walk in the stubbornness of their own hearts and so they run to the false prophet with their itching ears. So be it, but I will preach the truth. I will fight for them against their worst enemy, the devil, who has beguiled them by false teaching. I must therefore address that false prophet and his teaching. I cannot publicly rebuke a demon, but I can rebuke the person who speaks by its inspiration. I can rebuke its mouthpiece with the truth. I would pray against the spirit and speak against the false prophet. I must both understand my enemy and the front upon which I can engage him. I must use the words of the Bible. I must know where to fight, with what to fight, and exactly who I’m fighting. I want them forgiven. Truth is their only hope, and I want it out there.
It is Satan we war against when we speak against his falsehood and live humbly before God. Satan wants false unity. He wants you to spend all your time talking about the similarities between opposing views so that you’ll forget that Jesus is Lord. We would see every idolater, homosexual, thief, fornicator, blasphemer, murderer, liar and drunk unmistakably saved and brought into the eternal bliss of a forgiven life, but until they repent we cannot at all separate them from their sin or message. Remember friends, no sin is in hell, only sinners! No idolatry is in hell, but idolaters are. You cannot separate sin and sinner. As one preacher once said, “Sin and hell are married until repentance proclaims the divorce.”
Many fear being separate from the world for Christ’s name, but sometimes this is simply the expression of a holy, humble and very biblical zeal. Many of you reading this would consider me un-Christian-like to tell you that I do not believe it is wise to eat with pagans. Perhaps once or maybe twice to tell them about Jesus, but if you’re a Christian you should not have a best friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness or a United Pentecostal or any other false Christianity. It’s like I can hear the gasps. How can this man say such things, you ask? Well I will tell you why. It’s because Satan is their god, and you don’t know the Bible. Sometimes Christians fight evil just by separating themselves from its proponents as we’re taught in 2 Corinthians 6:17.
The following teaching has no place in the theological substructure of many today, but perhaps you’ll see the wisdom in it taking into consideration all that I’m writing to you here. Satan or Satanism is alive in the hearts of men. Do you want to mess with that like it’s no big deal? Can you appreciate why Paul said this? Listen: “I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES,” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. We must not ignore this. False religion is comprised of its doctrines. It is idolatry and is alive and well in many corrupt theologies today. Idolatry violates the Ten Commandments. It’s sin. Paul echoes this same truth in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Judge them with righteous judgment and remove them from your midst, he says. This is most applicable in the church, but not only in the church. Not all judgment is what Jesus condemns in Matthew 7:1. There is a good and righteous judgment, John 7:24. This passage in Corinthians says that people who call themselves Christians, but who are clearly not Christians, are to be shunned from fellowship of any kind. We’re not even to eat with them. Do Mormons, Catholics, United Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses call themselves Christian? You bet your bile duct they do. But, if anyone is truly schooled as to the theology behind these views and still actually believesthem, then they cannot be called Christian. These are just a few examples. You could make the argument that because these views are clearly not Christian, that they cannot be what Paul had in mind in 1 Corinthians 5 as cited above. In other words, I wouldn’t apply this passage in the same way to a Muslim or a Buddhist. I would not apply it to someone who’s clearly not of the Christian creed, someone who would not likely be taken seriously even if they were to call themselves a Christian. I can see this argument, but I think we must apply the passage to pseudo Christianity because they want us to include them. It is 1) for the honor of Christ, and 2) for the sake of their salvation that we must not associate with idolaters in such a manner. They try to include themselves so we must exclude them to show them that God makes a distinction between us and them. We give credibility to their beliefs if we pray with them, eat with them as fellow believers or only talk about “what unites us.” Nothing unites us! They are of Satan; we are of God, 2 Corinthians 6:14. I have not expounded upon the lies that make many of the religious views I’ve mentioned here today the doctrines of devils, but I have done this elsewhere, and so have many great preachers. I will not take the time to do it here. I will count it as a given that you understand the reasons for my straightforwardness or invite you to further study in this area. Walter Martin’s The Kingdom of the Cults is a fantastic resource to develop your understanding of false religion for many that I’ve mentioned here today. This is just one resource. Knowing the truths behind what I’m saying is half the battle. Would you hang around a rapist? Would you eat with a murderer? No, you’d turn them in to the police. Well, idolatry is not illegal, but it is just as wicked. How could you hang around such people as if all’s well? Wouldn’t that make you guilty in some way? This is exactly why John writes, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds,” 2 John 1:9-11. Don’t participate! Love them better than that.
I want to stress here that I’m not saying that all Christians must believe exactly the same things in every arena of theology. Not at all. In fact, there is great liberty in how we apply most of the things in the Bible. We can indeed have wildly varying views regarding what are called secondary or non-essential doctrines and all still be 100% disciples of Jesus Christ. We all come to the same Bible with our own experiences and preconceptions. There are doctrines, however, that are simply more important than others in regard to the whole. If Jesus is not fully God for example, then He was a lunatic or worse because He said things of Himself that were unlawful. I like to relate theology to the skeletal system of the human body. Not every bone is the skull, the spine or the rib cage. Some are pinky fingers or the ring toe. (What does that thing do?) They are all related; they all connect, but not directly. It is good when all are in their place and thus sharing in the whole, but they are not all vital. Lies that make religions evil are ones that remove the skull, the ribs or other vital truths. We must not be ignorant to these things or we’re inviting in the wolves.
Now despite this clear teaching on being separate, neither Paul nor I am saying that you shouldn’t go out to strangers and evangelize. I’m not saying that you can’t speak kindly to non-Christians. We should not see non-believers on the streets, turn our noses up at them, hiss or snarl. Not at all. That’s what the spirit in them will do when we preach, but we do not need to emulate this. We should have the mindset that if they’re going to hell then they’re going to have to step over us. We should live to be free of the blood of all men and not withhold anything profitable to them, Acts 20:26-27. We live this way because we desire all men to be saved. Missionaries go into totally pagan lands and live among pagans for years in fulfillment of Jesus’ command. God bless them! We must go out among them just like Jesus did, but like Him we cannot endorse their views in doing this. Today I sat and ate with two professing Christians who I knew were not, and over a meal shared the gospel with them and another man who I well trust is a believer. It is necessary for us to be among unbelievers just like Jesus was. However, if I knew these two men to be drunks yet they came to my church calling Jesus Lord, I would rebuke them and not be seen with them. That’s exactly what Paul told me to do. “Oh my goodness he’s not loving,” some say. Look, I love them. I just love truth more than I love them. This is how I love them best. There is no unity or love without truth. I would not leave them without humble instruction. I might eat with them again, but not ten times. I couldn’t golf with them every weekend or something unless they were truly seeking the faith and inquiring about Christ. Likely this would not be the case with such a person. Scripture is clear. It is because we are warring against Satan and not them that I would dare do this and risk being perceived as unloving. If they see a humble dedication to the Bible then perhaps, by the same grace that removed any of us from death, God would show them His word as well. Perhaps He would illuminate their sin by this. Perhaps they’d ask themselves, “Wow, if they’re this serious about my sin…and they care about me…why do they treat me in this way?” Then they might be shown the grace of God in our works. Imagine someone coming to see their sin by such humble actions? What a testimony to the word this would be! We live to fight sin, Satanism and even perhaps Satan himself wherever possible. This fight is on multiple fronts both in our own lives and in the lives of those we wish to reach with Christ.
We must war against Satan first in our own lives. If your war is primarily against your spouse’s devils, or your neighbor’s, then you’re wrong. If it’s primarily against your children’s sin then you’re wrong. War against your own sin and then work with those around you having removed the plank from your own eye, Matthew 7:5. Remember, if Satan can’t get you in your weaknesses he’ll get you in your strengths. Nothing I write is to puff you up. We are to love our enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44. He practices what He preaches and so He loved me. We should never feel the exact same about our enemies as we do our brothers in Christ, but we would see the good of both equally. It’s not about feelings. It’s about loving all, including our enemies, in the same spirit and in the same truth. Sometimes it is the love of truth itself that divides us from others. Have we forgotten the following passage due to the perverse laundering of the preceding one: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:34-37. Somehow, through the sinister doctrines of Satan, we have come to assume that loving our enemies actually means that we should have none. Who is your enemy for Christ’s name? I could name many who hate me simply because I am of Christ, and preach against them. So be it. No, we have enemies in this world. They’re real enemies. All false teachers are my enemy. I have enemies in my own family. If I were to recoil from declaring this I’d differ from Judas only by degree in the same satanically inspired fakery that would betray those and that which I pretend to love with a kiss. It is the false unity of our day that looks like a kiss, but it’s really the manifestation of the devil within. Fight against him with truth. This is not a call to physical violence, but to scriptural fortitude. We are not to be wise in our own opinions. It is not my opinion that God is a triune being, it’s Biblical, 2 Corinthians 13:14 et al. It’s not my opinion that Jesus was born of a virgin, it’s Biblical, Matthew 1:23 et al. It’s not my opinion that He is the absolutely only way to have one’s sin forgiven hence not end up in an eternal hell, it’s Biblical, Acts 4:12 et al. Men must fully submit to Him to be saved. They must bow the knee, not just tip the hat. They must repent. When this is genuine it will always produce a change of heart. These things are Biblical. In my pulpits I, like Spurgeon, will rail against you if you deny these things. I can do no other because it’s your god I fight. I am in a literal spiritual battle every day. God help me. I will do this and turn my face toward heaven when I pray for your salvation. I am no better than you. I’m just called to contend for this faith. I will fight you because you pervert the gospel. You are an enemy of righteousness and I am a slave of it. I will fight the spirit by which you speak by the Spirit because I am aware of Satan’s presence in you. I love you and would separate you from him with a very sharp word, Hebrews 4:12. I will die for you as much as I live for you today. I will one day see your instructor cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are, Revelation 20:10. Would to God that you watch with me!
Christian, we were not born any better. We were simply born again by the grace of God alone. We are now infinitely better off. We have nothing to boast in as if we are better than anyone. If God left us in our sin we would all quickly take our place on that long gray line of mankind’s endless vanities. It is the love of Christ alone that has been shed abroad in our hearts that compels us to our present zealousness, Titus 2:14. We must fight! Christ deserves the reward of His suffering. Truth is like fire in our bones. We cannot hold it in. We must fight Satan and false religion. I pray we grow to do this in meekness and fear. We must speak the truth in every season. We must remember who we are fighting and rebuke his messengers. I commend you, beloved, to obey the Lord in all things. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself, Luke 10:27. Fight for them!
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them,” Ephesians 5:1-11.
Do what you will with this counsel, reader. I have written it for our mutual edification and instruction. Our love will be proven by our works.