Editor’s Note: In June 2015, Rick Greenwood, one of the elders in Martinsville, IN, lost his son Ryan to cancer. The disease struck Ryan swiftly, and he died in a matter of weeks following the diagnosis. As a part of his grieving, Rick put finger to keyboard, delivered this lesson at Martinsville, and adapted it for our readers. Your editor hopes you will find the faith and resolve of this good brother in Christ encouraging.
In John 8, Jesus called Satan, “the father of lies.” Satan’s great weapons are lies and deceit. He is constantly attacking men to drown them in despair and hopelessness. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We must be aware of his tactics and not fall prey to his lies. He has lied to you before and lies to you now. He has a myriad of lies to use against us, but I would like to expose what I might consider his Top 4 lies.
Lie #1 – It’s your life; do what you want!
How Satan revels when people become so selfish that they do not care how many lives they damage. Satan says you should not worry about others when you make decisions, just be happy. But God says to think of others first, as the little children’s song goes, “Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.”
Oh, how much better this world would be if we considered the impact of our decisions on others instead of just how it affects us. How many people would have avoided bankruptcy if they would have followed this one simple principle but they listened to the lies of Satan saying be happy. How many people would be happier if they had taken the time to measure all the ramifications of picking a mate and choosing correctly instead of selfishly rushing quickly into marriage? Once in a marriage, Satan still lies to you by saying, “If you don’t like it you can always get a divorce!” God does not say that! In fact, God says in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce. In Genesis 2:24, scripture says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” God’s plan for the family was always oneness.
When people make the selfish decision to get a divorce, they fail to recognize all the people that are affected by their poor choices. Divorce tears up the children of the marriage no matter how old they are. It affects them for the rest of their lives often affecting their marriages and their children. Divorce affects the family of each of the life partners. Brothers, sisters, and parents all try to figure out their relationships to the divorcing members of their family. The church family is also thrown into turmoil trying to figure out how they can help. What a terrible lie and what terrible consequences it brings not only to the family but to everyone that knows the family. You are not your own! 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Lie #2 – You are nobody and are not capable of being saved!
Satan is not only the father of lies, but he is also the father of bullies. Bullies try to make you believe lie # 2. They do not want you to realize the power that lies within you that God gives to each human being. Like a bully, Satan will do his best to kick you while you are down. He works his best when you are going through tough times or suffering loss. He giggles at you when you begin to question your own value. He eagerly watches as he sends his minions to criticize you and condemn you.
The truth is you are very precious to God. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Can you imagine someone loving you so much that they give something as valuable as their own son? He did.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” If Jesus could forgive Peter who denied him, could He not forgive you? If Jesus could have dinner with Judas who would betray him, could He not forgive you? If Jesus could ask His father to forgive those who crucified Him, could he not ask God to forgive you? Absolutely! Nothing that we do could keep us from forgiveness and eternal salvation. Romans 8:38-39 says:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God has called us to be His sons and daughters. First John 3:1 says:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
The truth is God loves you and only wants the best for you. Do not fall prey to lie #2.
Lie #3 – It’s your body. You’re not hurting anyone else!
How wrong it is, but it is probably one of the most widely believed lies. Many people in many situations rationalize their poor choices with this lie. Again, selfishness is behind those that use this lie, but the truth is their body is not their own as it says in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
Those that would try to convince themselves that drinking alcohol or using drugs are okay use this lie. Scientific data has confirmed that drinking and drug abuse destroys brain cells and harms the body. Both alcohol and drugs have caused many, many fatalities on our highways. Is that okay? Being involved in an accident that causes death or even severe injury could damage you for life even if you are not physically hurt.
Even if you stayed home while you participated in these harmful items, you could influence others to participate with you. Paul told us to avoid leading others into sin as it says in Romans 14:13, “Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Even if you were not hurting your body and you could control yourself while partaking in drinking or doing drugs, what about the person who looks up to you and says “surely it must not be wrong if they do it.” The people that follow your example may not be as strong as you are and may not be able to control themselves. How would you feel if they hurt themselves while doing what you taught them? How would you feel if they became addicted and spiraled out of control spending all their money on these “False Gods”? No, the truth is our bodies belong to God and we must treat them accordingly.
Lie #4 – Judging is wrong! Who are you to judge?
There is probably no passage that has been more misused than Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” The world does not like the truth especially when it places them in a bad light, and Satan will do all he can to deflect negative reactions. When we “call it like it is” and use God’s standards for living, then those who are guilty of sin automatically go to Matthew 7:1 and say “Who are you to judge me?”
If you read the passage in context, you will see that it is speaking about judging hypocritically or self-righteously. To obey Christ’s command in this passage we MUST evaluate people’s character, whether they are a dog or a pig, to determine if they are worthy of the pearls of knowledge.
Scripture repeatedly tells us to “judge” carefully. Jesus says in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” He actually is telling us to judge, to make evaluations based on facts. We have to choose between good and bad people and things daily. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” How can we follow Paul’s command without making judgment calls? We cannot. First Corinthians 5:9-13 tells us that we are to put out wicked people from among ourselves. How can we do that unless we make hard decisions based on God’s truth? How are we to stay away from false prophets (see Philippians 3:2) unless we judge? We cannot!
Today’s society has placed a new meaning on the word judge. Yes, it can be a hard word, but we must judge in the sense that we must make evaluations based on truth. God will judge eternally and thank God for that. I would not want the responsibility for eternally judging someone, but God is the righteous judge who renders to every person according to his or her work (Revelation 20:12, 13). Remember, we also will be judged according to our works which includes how we judge, so judge a “righteous judgment.”
These are just four of the lies that Satan employs in the onslught against those that trust in the name of Jesus. So when the lies of Satan whisper in your ear, remember God’s truth.
~ Rick Greenwood