Would You Believe that the Devil is in the Business of Religion?

Introduction:  

     Would you believe that the devil is actually in the business of religion?  That’s right!  He is deeply involved in religious activities.  The Apostle Paul warned of this fact with these words:  “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).  

     With this in mind we should avoid his religious overtures and pursue the religion of our Savior Jesus Christ.  The Son of God declared:  “...wist [know] ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).  Also, Solomon stated:  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God, and keep his commandments:  for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14). 

Discussion

I.                   SATAN HAS HIS OWN RELIGION.

A.     The devil quoted, but misapplied scripture. 

(Refer to Matt. 4:1-11, especially verses 5 through 7). 

The passage that the devil quoted and misapplied is: 

Psalm 91:11-12, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” 

1.      When someone quotes scripture there are those who are inclined to say, “Boy, he really knows the Bible!”  But he might, like the devil, misuse it.  He might even twist the scripture as the late Carl Ketcherside did. 

2 Pet. 3:15-16, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 

B.     He has his own synagogue. 

Rev. 2:8-11, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:  behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days:  be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” 

Rev. 3:7-13, (Refer to this passage, it reveals that Satan had a synagogue in Philadelphia).

1.      In the New Testament the term “Jew” had a spiritual application, not physical. 

Rom. 2:28-29, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” 

C.     Satan even tempted Jesus. 

Matt. 4:8-10, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan:  for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.” 

II.                WE ARE EITHER WITH THE LORD OR SATAN – THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND (Matt. 12:22-32). 

Matt. 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” 

Matt. 6:24, “No man can serve two masters:  for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” 

A.     All false religion is of the devil.

1.      Many will be shocked on the Day of Judgment because their religious activities will be rejected. 

Matt. 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 

2.      Jesus referred to the devil as being the father of some of the Jews. 

John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.   

3.      Witchcraft is included as a work of the flesh.   

Gal. 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:  of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” 

4.      Not only is it a religion of the devil but ALL false religion is of the devil. 

Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” 

B.     He personally taught false doctrine.1.      To Eve, in the Garden of Eden, Satan told her that she would not die if she ate of the tree in the midst of the garden that possessed the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:1-6, either read or elaborate on this passage).  

Gen. 2:16-17, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:  for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” 

2.      We become spiritually dead and separated from God when we sin. 

Isa. 59:1-2, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” 

Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Eph. 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” 

3.      The scriptures plainly teach that a person can fall from grace. 

Gal. 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” 

Heb. 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” 

1 Cor. 10:12-13, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 

III.             WE CAN ACTUALLY RESIST THE DEVIL. 

James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” 

A.     The church at Pergamos in Asia Minor was able to remain faithful although it existed where the seat of Satan was

Rev. 2:12-17, (Elaborate on this passage). 

B.     Noah, a preacher of righteousness, was able to remain faithful and save his family, although the rest of the human race became ungodly. 

Gen. 6:1-8, (Either read or elaborate on this passage). 

1 Pet. 3:20-21, “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” 

2 Pet. 2:5, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” 

IV.              HOW DOES THE DEVIL TEMPT US?  (To entice us into accepting his perverted philosophy).

A.     There are three avenues in which we are tempted. 

1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:  but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

                                 1.  Eve was tempted in all three avenues of temptation. 

Gen. 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” 

1 Cor. 7:5, “…that Satan tempt you not…”

                                  2.  We also are responsible to avoid temptations. 

James 1:13-16, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God:  for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:  and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.” 

B.     Since the devil is in the religious business, we should refrain from becoming a part of false religion and teaching religious error. 

Gal. 1:6-9, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” 

C.     The religion of Satan will destroy our soul. 

1 Pet. 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 

Conclusion

     Again, we must resist the devil in order to be pleasing unto God (James 4:7-8).  Satan’s religion is to destroy the souls of the human race.  God’s religion is to save the souls of the human race.

--Dub Mowery

 

 

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