Today we want to consider something about deception. In our last study we thought about lying and this is closely related to that. We can be saved from a lot of problems in our life if we can identify Satan’s deception.
Let’s turn today to 2 Thessalonians 2, here we read about a world ruler who’s going to come up to dominate the world in the last days and he is going to be an instrument in Satan’s hands. And he’s going to have supported with supernatural powers from Satan. And we read here that many people are going to be deceived. Turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:9-onwards, the one who is coming is an accord with the activity of Satan. It’s all par and signs and false wonders, with all the deception of wickedness for those who perished because they did not receiver the love of the truth, so as to be saved. For this reason God will send on them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false. In order that they maybe judged who did not believe the truth, but to pleasure in wickedness. So there we see how Satan is going to deceive people in the last days and in another verse in 1 Timothy 4, it says that the Spirit speaks explicitly that in the latter times, some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. Why does God allow spirits that deceive to come into the midst of his people, to the point where it says here, some will fall away from the faith? They need to understand the reason for that. Heaven is a place of truthfulness. Jesus is the truth. His spirit is the spirit of truth. God is the God of truth. And God has to separate among those who claim to be His children between those who speak the truth and those who tell lies. And he uses many circumstances, many situations and deceiving spirits as well to separate these two groups. There are so-called believers who would tell lies when they can make some profit out of it. Get some benefit from it for themselves. And there are other believers who will not tell a lie under any circumstances. Whatever the price they have to pay. These two categories of people cannot be put together. They seat together in a church building today but they will not seat together in heaven. God is going to separate between those who loved the truth, and those who do not loved the truth.
Now, one would think that everyone who claims to be a Christian loves the truth but it is not so. And only a person, who is truthful, loves the truth and seeks to be upright in this area of truthfulness and every area of his life would be protected from the deception of Satan the liar. One of the first areas in which Satan seeks to deceive people is by preventing them from having any assurance of their salvation. I know in my own life how it took me a number of years to be sure that I was safe. I’d accepted the Lord, Jesus is my savior. Asked him to come in my heart, perhaps a hundred times between the ages of 13 and 19. I don’t know when he actually came. I don’t even know the date. I was always unsure. Am I saved or am I not save? And then one day, I read a verse in John 6:37, where Jesus says, “Him that comes to me, I will never cast out.” And I could say, “Well Lord I’ve certainly come to you at least a hundred times if not more. Today I’m going to believe you that you did not cast me out.” Now that was probably true long before that day but I believe it only that day, and then I got assurance of salvation. And once I got that assurance of salvation, it never left me. It hasn’t left me for 39 years now. God’s word is the truth and if I believe God’s word, it will deliver me from all the lies of Satan. Satan’s right to tell me for so long that I was not a child of God, but God’s word with the witness of the Spirit within my heart assured me that I was.
Another thing Satan tries to do is tell you a lie that God hasn’t forgiven all your past sins. He has forgiven most of them perhaps but some of those really serious sins you committed, they are not forgiven. And there are believers who lived under condemnation because they believe the deception, the lie of the devil. Don’t believe him. He’s a liar. The bible says in 1 John 1:7, if we walked in the light and that means we are honest before God, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins. Every sin is cleansed away by the blood, when we come into the light and acknowledged our failure and our sin. So another thing you find that Satan seeks to do is to tell people while even if God forgave you, every time he looks at you, he still remembers all those terrible things you did against Him. That’s another lie. You shouldn’t believe Satan. He’s a liar. Hebrews 8:12, the Lord says, “I will be merciful to their inequities. I will not remember their sins anymore.” I have this problem for at least a couple of years after I have assurance of my salvation. I thought, “Yeah, well I know God’s forgiven me but I’m not too sure whether he still remembers all those things I did and holds that against me.” Till one day I believe this verse in Hebrews 8:12. I will not remember their sins anymore. And I said, “Lord I believe that. That not a single sin I ever done in my life you will remember.” He doesn’t hold a single thing that you’ve done against you. When he looks at you, it says though you’ve never sinned. If you are being honest, we read that when Satan tempted Jesus, quite amazing to see this in John 3:17, Matthew 3:17 sorry Matthew 3:17, the voice from heaven came at Jesus’ baptism saying, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” and immediately Jesus went, after that, into the wilderness then the devil tempted him and the first thing the devil said is, “If you are the son of God,” questioning that voice that came from heaven. The voice said very clearly, “This is my beloved son.” And the devil says, “Are you really? If you’re the son of God?” This type of temptation comes to us also as the children of God. The Holy Spirit comes and given us assurance we are God’s children and we call God our Father and the devil comes to us and said, “Are you really?” Whom are you going to believe now, those feelings that the devil gives you or God’s unchangeable word? Feelings will come and feeling will go. And every feeling is deceiving. But God’s word is unchanging. That’s where we put our faith. The devil seeks to make us feel condemned by so many lies like this. He tells us that we are accepted by God by the basis of our works. This is another lie. We’re not accepted by God on the basis of our works. We’re accepted by God on the basis of our repentance and faith in Christ. We are accepted by God in Christ. What do I mean by this? Supposing one morning you didn’t get time to read the bible and you rush off to work, are you going to have an accident that day? The devil will tell you that you might. That is superstition. It’s a lie. I’m not accepted by God because I read the bible in the morning. The only thing that can break my fellowship with God is conscious sin. Where I have deliberately disobeyed God in some area where he made His will clear to me. If I deliberately sin and my fellowship with God is broken, but not otherwise maybe I didn’t get time to read the bible or maybe I didn’t pray and I went off to work. If my conscience is clear that is as far as I know I’m not consciously sinning my fellowship with God is clear. I can read the scriptures later on the day. I’m not going to have an accident. We must not believe all these lies that the devil says. Think of the lies that the devil tells us in relation to the future.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is the result of all the lies the devil tells us are going to happen to us in the future. I think it’s true to say that 99% of the things that we worry about never take place. Think of the things you worried about in past years. They haven’t taken place in your life. But you worried about them, and got anxious and wasted a lot of time; perhaps a lot of sleep but none of those of evil things, which you thought might happen, have happened, maybe 1%. Have you realized how much time and energy, emotional energy you wasted in past years, worrying about things that were never going to take place? Who did that? Who cause all that anxiety and worry in your mind? That was Satan. He was the one who kept on telling you about this thing and that thing, and the other thing that might happen to you or to your children, or your wife. Let’s make a decision today, that we are not going to let the devil fool us anymore. We’re going to love the truth and we’re going to expose the deception and lies of Satan.
This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen. You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.