…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:11
We have been on the road these last two weeks, and one of the great joys of our lives is meeting Christian brothers and sisters in different places. It is like a wonderful family reunion wherever we go - the Body of Christ is indeed beautiful and doing good works in communities all over the world.
At the same time, driving such a long way across the country reveals that there is much work left to do. There is a great deal of suffering and spiritual poverty everywhere we have gone, and much opportunity to share the love and hope of Christ.
Why are we slow to share the Good News - why haven’t more people been impacted by true Christianty?
Paul wrote a wonderful second letter to the Corinthian church that still speaks to us today. In it, he spends quite a bit of time painting a picture of what real, vibrant relationship with Jesus will look like lived out as a community of believers. In it are two sentences that we dare not skip over as we read, “...in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” The context in which he writes this is about forgiveness, and we will look at that in more depth next week. For now, let’s look at this concept of Satan scheming against us in order to outwit us - is this actually true?
In a word, yes. There really is an evil enemy of God who hates Him so passionately, and who has committed to try to hurt as many of God’s beloved children as he can in order to inflict pain on God. Thank the Lord that the great work of Jesus on the cross has broken the grip of sin and death, and has defeated Satan and his wicked plan. But in this time of God’s patience, waiting for His church to gather as many of His lost sheep as they can and will, Satan does not rest from his scheming since he knows his days are numbered.
We cannot be unaware of the enemy’s schemes, otherwise we will fall for them every time. These are his tricks and traps, and they are even worse than standard operating procedure of wickedness and evil. Standard to Satan is a hatred for God and for people because they are made in His image. So, as this era races to a close, we should not be surprised that the persecution of Christian people around the world is definitively worse than it has ever been historically. (Please research this sometime and join in prayer for the persecuted Church.) But all these 2000 years, persecution from the outside of the Church has not been able to stop the Body of Christ - it has only made us stronger overall.
But the enemy’s schemes are worse than just pure evil - they are how he worms his way into the lives and dealings of Christians to ruin real Christianity from the inside. When it comes down to it, Satan has just a few plays in his book, but they are so effective that he uses them again and again. This week and next, we will examine two schemes that threaten to devestate the Church.
First - Tampering with Truth
Our society is post-everything: post-Christian, post-modern, post-common sense. Still, the entirety of western civilization is actually based on Judeo-Christian principles and therefore remains standing, for now. It is interesting to watch the evolution of our society in the last few hundred years as the very foundational pillars of this civilization have been removed - a belief in God, a trust in God’s Word, a proper understanding and acceptance of man’s place in the world. Today, we have a culture with an odd blend of believing that nothing is true therefore everything is true, and that all rules and constraints should be cast off since all of that religion stuff is made up anyways. There is also a strange and pathetic hope that people are just going to get better somehow, when all of the evidence overwhelmingly shows this is not true. Our default setting without God is pure selfishness and all of the evil fruit that brings.
The cultural air we breath is such a complex mash of ideas and beliefs that it is quite difficult to write about succinctly - suffice it to say that our culture is trying to hold on to the safety and freedom that a Christian society yields without acknowledging God and what He asks of us. By definition, teachings and ideas that are contrary to the Word of God are called heresies, and our society is rife with them. It is one thing for our culture to embrace these heresies, but it is another thing entirely for the Church to embrace them.
Many Christians are being taken in by this old scheme of Satan. He takes wicked delight in twisting the Word of God into his own uses. He derives much satisfaction from using the words of our faith inappropriately to render us confused. So today, we in the Church are actually afraid to tell people the truth in love for fear that we are being judgmental or overbearing. We are silenced by this heresy that every path leads to the same place in the end, and that we are being ridiculous to insist that there is only one way to Heaven.
Do not be outwitted by the enemy’s schemes. Truth is not subjective or relative - Truth can be known and His name is Jesus. We Christians have gone well past the time for minding our own business. Our nation is hurting - our young people are neglected and confused, families have been utterly destroyed, hopelessness and addiction are rampant. The Church must shake off the drowsy stupor of believing the lies our culture is telling itself and shine the light and hope of Christ brightly in our communities.
“How different it is with Christianity, which knows no distinction of race or creed, but claims the world for Christ and whose messengers circle the globe. Where it comes and is faithfully practiced, sin and slavery and selfishness are banished and holiness is enthroned.”
- J. Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ
Parents, Jesus is the Lord of your home and can help you thrive in your marriage and raise your children in the grace and knowledge of God. Students, you have the best thing going on your campus - never be afraid or embarrassed to invite people into Truth and Light. Businessmen, workers, educators, and politicians - you represent all that is Good to the marketplace; please do not be ashamed to stand proud as a representative of God in your community. Pastors and Church Leaders, teach the Truth. Live lives of holiness and sanctification, loving your people and helping them love their neighbors.
Let's not fall for those wicked schemes - let's change the world with the love of God.
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Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)