Doubting Disciples Duped by Demonic Distractions

April 25, 2017 at 11:53 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Mark | 4 Comments
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And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Mark 8:27

Most of us are self-conscious enough to think that it would probably sound prideful and arrogant to others if we went around asking, “What are people saying about me?” So we don’t overtly ask it, but the truth is that there are many people who are dying to know what others are saying about them. As parents we tell kids, “It doesn’t matter what people say about you,” and there is some truth to this, but it does matter what we THINK and what we SAY about Jesus.

And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 8:29-31

Jesus had summoned the Disciples to tell them secrets.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 15:14-15

Servants of the King do as they’re told; friends of the King get to know the King’s secrets because they have a PATTERN of doing what they’re told.

And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

Mark 8:30

The Jewish leaders would not have allowed this confession (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”) to go unpunished, and it was not yet the appointed time for the Crucifixion. The common people were showing unbelief and false faith, and most of them just wanted to see more miracles. Now the Disciples were confused. Peter believed Jesus was the Son of God, so how could He allow sinful men to crucify Him?

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

Mark 8:31-32

Jesus responded:

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Mark 8:33

Peter knew the Truth, but he thought he could question the Truth just a little and still be dealing in “Truth.” That’s not how it works. The minute we question the Truth, we start speaking for Satan. Peter was not possessed by the devil, but his words were the influence of Satanic-type thinking. They were the seeds of lies dressed as doubt. Satan will often disguise a lie as a question (or an excuse, which is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie).

Jesus did not say, “I bind you, Satan. I cast you out of this city. I issue you a warrant of spiritual eviction…” He did not say, “I hate you, Devil. The blood of Jesus is against you, Devil. You can’t have Peter, you old Devil.” No, Jesus dealt in Truth, not diatribes against Satan. He simply told Satan to get behind Him because Satan was causing Peter to talk about the philosophy of man, not the Truth of God.

The Gospel of Mark stresses Jesus in His role as Servant – staying busy – moving forward – no time for a “side battle” with the devil. Many Christians enjoy fighting devils so much that they don’t know how – or don’t want – to go forward in their Christian lives. They turn around and try to fight some demons. They don’t say “get behind me, Satan” because they don’t have enough faith to turn their back on him. Some don’t say “get behind me, Satan” because if they had a victory over Satan, they would have to look inside their own hearts to deal with the sin there.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Mark 8:34-36

Satan promises you glory, but in the end you receive suffering. God promises you suffering, but in the end suffering is transformed into glory.

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 1)

December 15, 2010 at 9:53 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Violence | 15 Comments
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Lord, grab us, arrest our hearts, and get our attention. Make us tremble before Your Word.

I Samuel 14 contains the account of Jonathan and his armor-bearer taking on the Philistines. Saul was the king of Israel. This was the first time God’s people had a king over them. The people wanted a king. They wanted what everybody else had. God wanted them to be different. Why would they want a king when they already had the King? God faces the same competition today in our own hearts. The Jewish people wanted what the Amalekites had and what the Egyptians had. We want all the things the world offers, but we think, “It’s okay – I’ll still ‘call’ God my King.” If God is your King, you don’t need what everybody else has.

In Chapter 13 of I Samuel, the Bible tells us that the Israelites depended upon the Philistines to sharpen iron.

Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.

I Samuel 13:19-20

They did not have their own smith, and in fact there were only two swords among all the Israelites. You can probably guess who had these two swords. Saul, the king, had one, but he was not using it, because he was resting under a pomegranate tree when he should have been in the battle. Jonathan, Saul’s son, had the other sword.

It is a great testimony to the grace of God that Saul could have a son like Jonathan. Jonathan was the kind of son any father would want to have.

Jonathan had a sword and a spear, and it’s a good thing he did, because he also had…

I. A Foe to Fight

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.

I Samuel 14:1

The Philistines were reprobate enemies of God and His people, and God wanted them wiped out. Christians today have a foe, an enemy, an adversary: Satan. God has plans for your life and Satan has plans for your life. These plans are far different. Satan has been watching you. He knows your weaknesses. He knows what you like to watch. He knows what you like to hear. He knows where you like to go. He has traps set, and he a three-fold mission. He’s on a mission to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to steal your blessings. He wants to take your life. He wants to destroy your testimony. He has designs on your children and your grandchildren. Every day he is tirelessly at work doing everything he can to wreck our lives. He hates God. He knows all about what happened on the Cross. He understands the authority and the power of Christ better than you do. And he will do anything possible to rob God of His glory.

Like Jonathan, you have a foe to fight. Are you in the battle? Do you believe that the battle is worth fighting? Getting your blessing stolen is bad. Getting killed is worse. Having your testimony destroyed is the worst, because it robs God of His glory.

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6

Jonathan not only had a foe to fight. He also had…

II. Some Facts to Face

These Philistines were in a garrison: a heavily fortified military camp. They had soldiers and spoilers. They despised the Hebrews. They were mocking God and God’s people. They were encamped between two sharp rocks. The Hebrew army was on the run – afraid, disorganized, under poor leadership from Saul, hiding in caves. But Jonathan was a soldier. A soldier’s job is to fight.

Here are some things I want you to see about soldiers:

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

II Timothy 2:3

“Hardness” is being able to get through life – and through life’s battles – without a lot of the comforts that civilians enjoy. The Christian life is a battle, and soldiers do not go carelessly or casually into a battle. Soldiers on a battlefield are not concerned about frivolous entertainment or the latest fads.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4

Today, as Christians, I am afraid that:
-We know more about the stores at the shopping mall, than we know about Nehemiah and the temple wall.
-We know more about our MP3 player, than we know about the High Priestly Prayer.
-We know more about LSU, than we know about Elihu.

We know more about what’s happening on the red carpet than we know about what happened on the Cross of Christ! May God help us. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Don’t get so tangled up in worldly amusements and affairs that when the Commander tells you to get in the battle, you can’t get yourself untangled.

Next time: Two more facts about soldiers

All in the Past

October 20, 2009 at 7:50 am | Posted in Eternity | 16 Comments
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Satan, the adversary of every Christian, will one day be bound and utterly defeated. At that point he will no longer have the ability to harass and torment the children of God. Today, however, he is tirelessly at work doing all he can to rob God of glory, and to destroy the creatures that God loves. Dr. Frank M. Kepner, the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Long Beach, California, from 1956-1979, once wrote: “Yes, when we have been brought close to Christ by some high spiritual experience or by some noble decision, we may always expect great temptation to follow. For Satan never surrenders a life to God without a desperate struggle.”

Of course, the faithful Christian who studies his Bible is not ignorant of Satan’s devices, weapons, schemes, or persistence. When he is tripped by Satan, and stumbles into sin, he need not fret or wallow in defeat. In fact, Christians have access to a great promise concerning God’s compassion on His children even when they have shamefully stumbled.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32

When you have been “born again” – that is, born into the family of God – your past sins are forgiven, your current sins are forgiven, and even your future sins are forgiven. The “tense” of your sins is not the important thing. The tense of God’s forgiveness is. The sins of believers were dealt with on the Cross of Christ and they “hath” been (past tense) forgiven.

A believer who is dealt a blow by Satan, and who gives in to sin, grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

This would have been the perfect place for God to tell us that our sins can cause the Spirit to be grieved to the point that He leaves us, and that we lose our eternal salvation. But He does not. Instead, He reminds us that, though we may grieve the Holy Spirit, He still seals Christians unto the day of redemption. Satan is strong. Some men are strong. But no one can break the seal of God.

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