2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Timothy 4:1-2
There are many misconceptions about the devil and cartoon characterizations, in particular, are far from the truth. To accomplish his mission, the devil can look like anything or anyone he wants to.
He can look like that handsome man or beautiful woman you met on the street. He can appear as an exciting business opportunity, a bottle of alcohol, a gambling tip, an exciting experience, etc. Anything that will lure people into his trap, he’ll disguise himself as that.
The devil is cunning, crafty and subtle. He won’t come as an obvious enemy. But he may come as a religious person or ideology.
The Bible is very clear that satanic religions will rise and increase. Satan will introduce seemingly innocent activities to the churches seeking entertainment and easy Christianity.
He will appear as a charismatic person with great many followers. Many appear to be preaching the gospel yet are only promoting themselves for monitory, political or other gains. They seem to
be preaching the gospel and yet it is a Christ-less gospel. Remember that Satan knows Scripture. He can quote it and he can also twist it to fit his needs.
We read in 1 Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” People will become involved with seducing and evil spirits. People will compromise and water down the message of Jesus Christ, even accepting doctrines of demons (cults, other gods, etc.)
The devil is more dangerous when in disguise! He actually is very effective and dangerous when he is clothed with religious respectability.
Satan complicates the gospel. He does this by using false leaders, teachers and doctrines. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
The simple gospel message is often complicated by Satan, so that people do not understand it. What is this simple Gospel message? “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Christ died for our sins, according to the Bible. He was buried and rose again, according to the Bible. And we are saved by faith alone according to Jesus (John 3:16). However, false teachers and churches teach that we are saved by works or law-keeping, not by grace. Apostle Paul puts it this way: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:20-21)
The devil’s arguments may sound convincing but they are not true! His lies sound like higher standards of holiness to those deceived by his lies. He adds to the gospel rules, doctrines and man-made religious activities. Other times, he removes basic truths and replaces them with humanistic messages. We must hold to the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Satan contradicts the message of the cross. The devil hates the message of the cross. There are only two messages in this world:
• Satan says: “Do nothing for there is no God.”
• Christ says: “It is done; believe and live.”
Rejecting the cross and the blood shed on it is more appealing and politically correct for many today. The cross seems too violent, too bloody, too gross for them. Some hymnbooks no longer have hymns that mention Jesus’ blood. Many ministers don’t preach and teach about the blood and its saving power.
The devil has been at work brainwashing people with his social “gospel.” This all-inclusive, politically correct social gospel is useless. It is not the saving Gospel. The Bible makes it very clear that the only way to heaven is through Jesus and His saving blood.
Satan creates controversy and confusion among Christians. Satan’s workers appear to be righteous and religious, like “angels of light” when they are, in fact, the ones who cause trouble in churches. They sound so right, so convincing. The devil uses them to divide and conquer. These false Christians often appear to be super-spiritual, but all they do is sow strife and bitterness among believers.
Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honour but pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure but pays with pain; he promises profit but pays with loss; he promises life but pays with death.
Resist him when he appears in his best dress suit. Remember that if you are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and you are serving Him, your name is written in the Book of Life. You are going to heaven and the devil and his servants are going to hell. Do you have the assurance of your salvation? If not, invite Christ into your heart and life right now!
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian