Sunday, January 26, 2014

Believe a lie, live a lie

Jeff was privileged to preach at Central Fellowship Baptist Church here in Macon this past Sunday. Over the past few months, we've enjoyed getting to know this church family a bit. Pastor Rodney Queen allowed Jeff to come and share about 20schemes back in June and, since then, we've visited the church from time to time. I thought I'd share a bit from Jeff's evening message (you can listen to the entire message here).

When you read Genesis 3:1-13, do you wonder how Adam and Eve moved so quickly from living in sinless relationship with God in the perfection of the Garden to being deceived into sin and separation by the serpent? How did that happen?

As it turns out, Adam and Eve were deceived in precisely the same way we are deceived today: Satan replaced God's truth with something that they wanted to hear... and he persuaded them that God wasn't being forthright with them. For that brief moment, Satan created doubt in their minds, and that doubt led to sinful action. It turns out that the military tactic to divide and conquer has been around since the beginning of time. After all, isn't that exactly what Lucifer/Satan attempted with the angels just before he and his followers -- one third of the angels -- were thrown out of heaven? He tried it with Jesus, too, but that attempt failed miserably. (See Matthew 4:1-11. Instead of taking the bait, Jesus rebuked Satan with the truth of Scripture -- the antidote to the falsehood of deception.)

Eve seems to have believed that Satan wanted the best for her (which makes you wonder what she thought -- at that moment -- that God wanted for her). That is so often the way that the crafty master of deception presents his offer -- he just wants the best for us, for us to be happy and to get what we really deserve. Of course, he's obscuring his real goal, because we probably wouldn't go for that: Satan desires to thwart your worship of God. My momentary happiness -- or ultimate failure in sin -- is not his primary goal. He desires to steal from God by drawing me away from devotion to Christ.

And that's the great battle. Deception vs devotion. Division vs. denial of self. Discouragement vs discernment. It's the battle that we fight each day, each hour, each moment, by saying no to some things and yes to other things as we choose right over wrong and best over good in a desire to worship and glorify God in all we do. 

Whether we live in the schemes of Scotland or the Highlands, or the good old US of A, this is the message we need to hear. Those without hope need the gospel, and believers need instruction and encouragement. Will you join us in this work?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17 ESV)

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