"Do not be deceived"

“I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims. Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (Acts 19:13-15)

There is always the potential for problems when we work with borrowed tools (q.v., 2 Kings 6:5). And these seven sons of Sceva were doing just that: using borrowed tools. When it's not our own tool, we may not be familiar with how it functions. We make assumptions and operate with limited knowledge--an easy recipe for disaster. For Sceva's sons, the result was disastrous.

To have victory in spiritual warfare we must understand, own, and walk in what we know. When we understand the nuances of spiritual warfare, then as we engage, we are not just mimicking something we've seen or heard about, but are functioning with confidence and walking in victory because we are walking in what we know.

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Prayer: We know that Your power is unfathomable. As we think about You and Your great power which is able to set us free. How it’s greater than anything that tires to overwhelm us. That it shatters all darkness. 

We fail to believe and receive and stand in the prime of your word. May we be hungry and passionate for you God. To desire to KNOW you and Walk in the fullness of who we are. To feast on your word.

May your kingdom be established in a mighty way. That we’d be challenged, liberated, convicted. Your word’s alive, transforming. We pray for transformation today.

 

 

This 4-minute video clip is relevant as we talk about spiritual warfare today. Sometimes we find ourselves walking in the land of Oz, believing deceptions instead of truth. And what God wants is for us to open the curtain and see that the ‘realities’ we believe aren’t true realities. And the enemy doesn’t want us to move the curtain aside. So please stay with me as God reveals his truth to us and how to stand against the strategies of the enemy.

This video is from the Lord of the Rings. The books were written by JRR Tolkien, who inspired CS Lewis in Narnia and Screwtape. Lewis struggled and had decided not to pursue this avenue. But Tolkien helped him understand what Christ did. And this is what enabled Lewis to write Screwtape and Narnia.

As Tolkien talks about Middle Earth, he makes it clear that there’s a heaven and hell and we’re in the middle. It is a *story* so it doesn’t hold up completely to the Word of God, so don’t grumble when it fails.

In this clip, the king is being deceived by his advisor Wormtongue.

 

[plays clip]

 

In 2Co 10:1ff -  10:1 ¶ Now I, Paul, plead with you. I plead with the gentleness and kindness that Christ himself would use, even though some of you say I am bold in my letters but timid in person.

 2 I hope it won’t be necessary, but when I come I may have to be very bold with those who think we act from purely human motives.

 3* We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods.

 4* We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.

 5 With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.

 6 And we will punish those who remained disobedient after the rest of you became loyal and obedient.

 

As we saw in this video, this is what the enemy does. He brings deception into our lives. Speaks lies into our hearts. “If yo get involved in this type of habit/temptation/sin, it will bring comfort and peace to you.” And as we get involved in it, the enemy speaks more and more of this to us. And then we fail to recognize ourselves and others are no longer able to see us for what we are either.

 

This is why so many fall away from the church. They open themselves to the deceptive counsel of the enemy and no longer seek to hear the truth. They despise the truth. And they no longer seek to be who they’re designed to be.

 

Iv’e seen pastors and marriages be destroyed because of this.

 

We have to stay in the word.

 

At the end of the video, after he’d been set free, they give him his sword. And that reminds who he is as king. And our Sword is the WoG, reminding us of who WE are.

 

It’s imperative that we understand the battle we’re in. And the only way to be victorious is through the WOG. As the WOG works in us, we’re able to walk and fight according to the WOG and the HS at work  within us.

 

Last week, I spoke about the church at Ephesus, a city of idol worship, having the largest idol to Diana. People would come to ‘vacation’ there in order to experience the worship that was in Ephesus. 

So the believers who came out of this environment struggled with walking in truth, liberty and freedom.

They were saved but were saturated with the indoctrination of the things around them. So there was a struggle going on within them. The word indoctrinate = propagandize or brainwash.

As the propaganda is brought before us, it is designed to indoctrinate us into believing something that isn’t a truth.

At Ephesus, it’s so easy to be indoctrinated with “false truths”.

People today say, “I don’t believe demonic activity is happening today” but if you turn on the TV and listen to music, we’re being indoctrinated every day. The enemy has become mainstream. And we become more and more like Theoden and are no longer open to truly receiving truth. Our soul has become disfigured because of the lies we’ve believed because of the indoctrination that has taken place.

Have this in mind as we re-read the passage in Ephesians 5.

 

Eph 5: 5:1 ¶ Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

 2 Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.

 3 ¶ Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.

 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

 

Understand this is in their environment.

 

 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.

 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.

 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do.

 

(Don’t become associates with these things.)

 

 8 For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!

 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

 

He is speaking to us as believers, “Listen, you’re going to be inundated with the schemes of the enemy. Be aware, focused, alert. Take no part in darkness. You need discernment. The things that you take pleasure in, use discernment. Understand what is pleasing to the Lord.”

 

My heart and the heart of God is to walk in the liberty He has purposed for us. Not a bunch of dos and dont’s. It’s liberty, peace, freedom.

God’s for us. He wants our marriages to be healthy. He wants our hearts and minds to be liberated. He wants us to walk with peace and purpose.

And the way we do this is to understand that we’re designed to walk with purpose. By God. Your purpose in life is to please our God. 

 

 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.

 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them.

 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

 13 But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are.

 14 And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

 15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.

 

Watch your step. Be careful how you live.

 

 15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.

 16* Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.

 17* Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.

 18* Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

 

Because when you get drunk, you open your mind and soul up to other things that want to control you. Instead, be controlled by the Spirit of God.

 

There’s a strategy he’s using against you. To systematically condition you. So you’ll succumb to darkness and defeat.

 

The world today has plenty of gateways to this.

 

1. Twighlight 

The author said she was visited by an angel of light that inspired her to write this novel.

 

Acts 12:6-7  6 The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, chained between two soldiers, with others standing guard at the prison gate.

 7 Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel tapped him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists.

 

Angels *are* light. But see this:

 

 13* These people are false apostles. They have fooled you by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.

 15 So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

 

Satan’s going to try to be appealing to us. To appeal to our desires, passions, flesh. He’ll try to pervert the truth. Will appear as an angel of light.

We have to walk with care and discernment.

 

2. True Blood - about overt witchcraft, demonic activity, graphic sex mixed…

 

 9 ¶ “When you arrive in the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.

 10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft,

 11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.

 12 Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust to the LORD. It is because the other nations have done these things that the LORD your God will drive them out ahead of you.

 

The LORD lumps all these things into one category: abomination. They’re directly against God’s purpose and plans for us as He brings light and life to us.

 

 

 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

 14 The people you are about to displace consult with sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the LORD your God forbids you to do such things.

 

Because God wants to protect our hearts and minds.

 

Gal 5:15-21

 

Don’t YOU direct your life, the HS is to guide your life.

 

 16 So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

 17 The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.

 

There’s a war taking place. The enemy is constantly trying to get us to follow the sinful nature which is constantly saying, “Woe is me. I have a right to be in despair… angry… bitter… to speak ill things about that person… to cry out, stomp my feet, shout in anger. I have a RIGHT t these things.”

 

 18 But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

 19* When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure,

 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group,

 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

 

The WOG tells us clearly, there are things that are not becoming of believers in X. We’ve been set free from this type of lifestyle.

 

Back to some things Ephesians 4 tells us.

 

 17 ¶ With the Lord’s authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused.

 18 Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him.

 19 They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed.

 20 But that isn’t what you were taught when you learned about Christ.

 21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus,

 22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.

 

Paul’s talking to believers here: “This is no longer who you are!”

 

 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.

 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness--righteous, holy, and true.

 25 So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbor the truth” because we belong to each other.

 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,

 27* for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.

 

As we open ourselves up to the devil’s counsel, we give him opportunity to wreak havoc in our lives. The things we open the door to…

 

 28* If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.

 29* Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

 30* And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

 

Let’s look at some of these things of the flesh we’re not to walk in.

 

bitterness - extreme wickedness, something that’s producing bitter root and bitter fruit.

If you hold on to bitterness, it goes down to your core and makes you into a bitter person.

 

anger - inflamed indignation, continuous re-boiling. It continually wells up. You think you’re over it and then different things trigger you to get inflamed again and again.

 

wrath - temper, violent passion, vengeance.

 

shouting - clamoring like a gong, irritable, not becoming of the Lord

 

slander - Greek :blasphemy. Speaking evil, injurious about someone. When you speak ill of someone, you are speaking blasphemy. This is the core of who the enemy is. Always bringing accusations to followers of Christ.

 

When you do this, you double-dose. The enemy speaks these things to YOU, and then YOU speak these things. And when YOU speak, who else is listening? YOU are! You’re creating this bitter root and continuing to feed your wrath and anger and it destroys YOU.

 

So Paul says, “No slander among you.” That brings division, factions, opposing one another. And the more you speak it, the deeper the root of bitterness grows into your life.

 

Malice - being malicious or morally corrupt.

 

Instead, we’re to be 

 

compassionate - tenderhearted, sympathetic. To see, feel, understand their pain and struggle and hardship.

forgiving - to pardon. IT means that, though they did this in offense against me, instead of bringing condemnation and judgment, I’m going to release them. Pardon them.

 

 

Horror films are a gateway, showing that evil is as powerful as God, if not more powerful. And that the way to handle it is by human solutions instead of relying on God.

 

Harry Potter - talks about witchcraft, but we’re to have no part in that stuff. It’s made delightful, fun, intriguing to adults, children, educators.

 

Burning Man Festival - last year had over 50K people. It costs about $300-500 people. At this event/festival, anything goes. Last year, there was a lady who brought her baby there and threw her baby in the fire. But someone grabbed the child out of it.

 

I’m not trying to be legalistic or bring condemnation. “There’s no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.” But I want us to walk in peace and light.

 

Halloween - We accepted it into the church in 835 AD. Pope George V designated it as All Hallows Eve.

But it began over 200 years ago among the Celts and their priests, the Druids. Witchcraft, Satanism, Paganism is from them.

The Druids celebrated with two different nights: Belthain and Semheim. Death of summer. Semheim was as night of celebrating death and hell. Druid’s most important ritual. It’s the origin of halloween.

During Semhem, the mystic veil separating the living from the dead loosened. And the spirits looked for bodies to possess. So they dressed as evil spirits in hopes of being left alone.

Let there be no doubt that this night was the origin of Halloween.

 

In 835, the church chose to embrace it in order to relate to the secular culture.

Many times were being indoctrinated by things we don’t understand. So he says be careful and wise about how we walk.

 

How can we walk in victory instead of defeat?

 

Acts 19:11-20 -  11 God gave Paul the power to do unusual miracles,

 12 so that even when handkerchiefs or cloths that had touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and any evil spirits within them came out.

 13 ¶ A team of Jews who were traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus. The incantation they used was this: “I command you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”

 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.

 15* But when they tried it on a man possessed by an evil spirit, the spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?”

 16* And he leaped on them and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and badly injured.

 17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.

 18* Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices.

 19* A number of them who had been practicing magic brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars.

 20* So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.

 

They recognized and witnessed who God is. And they acted upon it to get rid of anything that came between them and God.

We walk in defeat because we’ve disconnected ourselves believing we’re more sophisticated than they were.

Instead of walking in obedience, we analyze and rationalize but choose not to do. The result: greater bondage. Because we have knowledge but not obedience. That hardens our hearts.

 

How do we become free and walk in victory? What’s capturing my heart? What/who is more important? God or my desires? WOG or the things that are pleasing to the flesh? 

 

What do yo want to have capture your heart? What do you want your heart to harbor?

 

As you answer these questions, this determines whether you walk in freedom or captivity.

 

If you want to be set free, you have to obey.

 

11:31 “Let’s stand church.”

 

If you’re walking in defeat because though you’ve heard about Jesus but you don’t have a relathip with him, I want you to give your life to the Lord, to know Him and walk with Him.

 

And if you’re a Christian, I challenge you. I constantly have to do this, to choose to walk in ways that please him. So I can walk in freedom and victory. There’s nothing embarrassing or shameful about walking in humility before the Lord. If you want to get on your knees at the stairs, do it. As you’re earnest before the Lord, He’ll do that.

 

If you need someone to stand with you in prayer, that’s what the prayer partners are for.

 

Let’s be serious about our walk with God. If God’s stirring your heart, be obedient.

 

11:34 - “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.’