Seeking which one he may devour

“Seeking Which One He May Devour”

1 Peter 5:8-11 Be [a]sober, be [b]vigilant; [c]because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But [d]may the God of all grace, who called [e]us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, [f]perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Be sober, be vigilant.—Single words in the Greek, and in the tense which speaks immediate attention. These are the sudden cries of warning of a shepherd who spies the lion prowling round the flock in the darkness, while the guardians of the flock lie drowsy and secure.

As a roaring lion.—The epithet is not only added to lend terror to the description, but the roaring implies hunger and determination.

Walketh about–  Peter, however, is not calling attention to the fact that Satan is always prowling about, but he warns that he is especially doing so now. This season of persecution was just his time for picking off one here and another there.

Seeking whom he may devour.—Perhaps still more expressive to say, “seeking which one he may devour.” Satan is eyeing all the Christians in turn to see which he has the best chance of, not merely stalking forth vaguely to look for prey.

It is not by accident, but by intelligent design that you are hearing this message tonight after Sunday’s message. God is warning us and preparing us for the greatest time of deception in the history of the world. THIS is the season that you need to be aware. Deception is at an all-time high and the devil is picking people off one by one. I know people that 10 years ago would never do, say or go the places they are going/doing. You have a real adversary and he is not the red, horned character that the world portrays him as. If you were to meet the devil, you would find him attractive, engaging and persuasive. Though he is really the prince of darkness, Satan successfully presents himself as “an angel of light.” 

2 Corinthians 11:14  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

Satan is a master of misrepresentation. EX: Dasha and Eve, salt

He is clever, crafty, deceptive and dangerous. He knows our weaknesses and exploits them to great advantage against us. The Bible does not speak so much about the power of Satan as of his extreme subtlety, trickery and deceptiveness. The earliest recorded history of the workings of God and man’s enemy, the devil, is that of a deceiver. “Did God really say?” Satan’s deception is not only worldwide, but it’s deeply infiltrated Christianity. 

Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:10  The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[a] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Satan is a spiritual force of evil bent on destroying the church and he seeks after which individual believers he can pick off. He uses every weapon in his arsenal to deceive us, to cause us to doubt the truth of God’s Word by twisting and manipulating, to render us ineffective and unfruitful, and ultimately to lead us off the narrow path of eternal salvation. He is seeking the weakest and lame sheep.

When Jesus spoke of the Last Days He emphasized the problem of widespread deception 

Matthew 24:4-5  Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

As Christians, we need to be on guard against the entry of deception that comes indirectly through false teaching and doctrines. False teachers are not outwardly, obviously evil. They do not announce they are there to overturn the gospel, rather they have the ability to teach and defend their false doctrines with persuasive speech and personal charisma. THEY ARE SINCERE IN THEIR BELIEFS. They draw you in by feeding your ego with flattery while feeding you a little truth mixed with lies that undermines the word of God and leaves you open to Satan’s destructive plans. 

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 

Deception is that which gives a false impression whether by appearance, statement, or influence. It causes a person to accept what is false as true or rejecting what is true as false (believing a lie instead of God’s truth). It is being wrong thinking and that you are right. Deceived people think Taco Bell is a real Mexican rest.

Proverbs 14:12  There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Satan’s deception will enter in among the ranks of the professing Church through a simple doorway.  We don’t have to guess about it because he tells us:

2 Tim. 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts (desires) shall they heap to themselves (accumulate further/seek additionally) teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (speech, conversation, myth, legend, untrue stories and tales).” 

Peter tells us we must “Resist him (the devil), steadfast in the faith’. “The faith” refers to Scriptural truth. When “the” is added to a noun in the Greek language, it changes its meaning. Peter is not referring to a personal faith, but Scriptural, doctrinal truth. Doctrine is teaching, instruction, and correction according to God’s holy Word. Satan’s deception, that penetrates the mind and emotions, enters through the door of false doctrine or teaching. 

2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge you [a]therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead [b]at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

John said to try the spirits or the inspiration behind every so called inspired utterance. 

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

“To try” means: to test, examine, discern, scrutinize, or prove. Don’t believe every inspired speaker or person professing to be inspired by the Spirit as being from God. EX: women’s retreat

All thoughts, beliefs, opinions, philosophies, and doctrines originate from only one of two sources: the spirit of truth or the spirit of error. 

The spirit of error will do the following:

1. Weaken the absolute authority of Scripture.

2. Distort (twist) the teachings of Scripture.

3. Add to the teachings of Scripture the thoughts, ideas, wisdom, philosophies, and traditions of men.

4. Put aside the teachings of Scripture entirely.

The Spirit of truth leads us into truth:

1. Includes all of Scripture- OT and NT, “reformed theology” teaches the gifts are not for today. Therefore, I reject this doctrine.

2. The Spirit of truth testifies to sin, repentance, reconciliation, deliverance, coming judgment and future things, it includes the goodness and the severity of God

3. Truth is in season or out of season with the culture, or it may be convenient or inconvenient to hear.

4. Truth includes reproof, rebuke, and exhortation and leads us away from sin and into righteousness 

5. Truth includes things you may not like to hear, but must submit to 

 If you are going to a church and you never hear teachings that include these things you may not be getting sound doctrine. It is time to search the Scriptures daily to see if what we are being taught is in the Bible. 

We should not judge the validity of teachings solely on the basis of:

1.The GOODNESS of the person teaching it. Good people can operate under a spirit of deception. They can be sincere, and still sincerely wrong. The enemy will use good people to float his lies. “People go wrong in their fellowship before they go wrong in their doctrine” John Rice “Bad company corrupts good morals”.

Romans 16:17-18  Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord [a]Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

The word translated ‘simple’ is akkaos in Greek, and means naïve, innocent, simple, and unsuspecting.’ To be called simple-minded in the sense of being easy prey for false teachers is by no means a compliment.

2. WE cannot judge the validity of teachings on SIGNS AND WONDERS or supernatural things happening. Jesus said there would be signs and wonders by false Christ’s and false prophets.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

Miracles, signs and wonders are a work of the Spirit of God, so you have to discern properly. Satan mimics the works of the Lord. 

3. WE cannot judge the validity of teachings based on POPULARITY or how many people are following it. False teaching and false teachers can be very popular. We live in a celebrity culture and the church is imitating the world in their adulation of larger-than-life personalities, musicians, actors, speakers, authors, and bloggers. We are star-struck by big name pastors and teachers who are treated like rock stars and given total allegiance. We hang on to every word that comes out of their mouths, buy their books, and pay to hear them speak.  The majority of the Church is without wisdom or Biblical discernment, to say nothing of a total lack of common sense.

4. We cannot judge the validity of teaching based on the RESULTS or if it is working it must be God. No, that is what is called pragmatism or the ends justify the means. Noah would have failed using this measure because he preached for a hundred years and only eight souls made it into the Ark yet he was obedient to God and did what God said. Success is not measured in terms the world sets. Big numbers and butts in the seats mean nothing. Tumors grow but will kill the body.

We cannot make the mistake of judging the truth of teachings solely by anything in the natural. We must judge everything by the only objective standard we have been given which is the written Word of God.

Peter says we must resist our adversary. This means you are an active participant in this spiritual battle

James 4:7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

1. ADMIT THE POSSIBILITY OF DECEPTION- humble yourself, pride leaves you open to the enemy. you will never resist if you are not submitted to obeying the Lord. Protection is only in submission. 

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Sin will deceive. 

Hebrews 3:12-13  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but [a]exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Cover your crack. Paul disciplined his flesh.

Through disobedience, we will deceive ourselves. 

2. KNOW THE WORD. 

The number one remedy to all deception is the Word of God.  The Word of God is the only all the time accurate discerner of deception 

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Bible illiteracy is at an all-time high. 70-75% of Americans clam to be Christians, but only 6% have a biblical worldview. Our churches are filled with Christians who are content to read daily devotionals with Scriptures that are linked together with a scattering of inspirational stories and jokes, instead of studying the Bible. Our Christian bookstores are filled with inspirational fiction-romance and how-to-books and novels, amidst a plethora of non-Christian literature, with few related to systematic doctrinal teachings. This is why the depth of so many believers’ theology goes no further than a collection of Biblical sounding, catchy one-liners, and clichés. Do you know the #1 devotional? “Jesus Calling” . DO you also know that the method the author uses is a called “automatic writing” and is connected with occult practices? The new Passion Translation has new “revelation” and churches are craving after it in scores.

3. TRUTH ABOVE ALL

2 Corinthians 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Loyalty is unswerving allegiance and the feeling of personal devotion to someone or something. Set it on your heart that you will be faithful to the truth, make a commitment to support, protect, and defend the truth no matter what. DO not take any part in any lie, any deception, any wickedness or evil. 

Ephesians 5:11  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather [a]expose them.

Proverbs 14:16  A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.

4. BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR TIME IN PRAYER and give thanks in all things

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Notice it is prayer coupled with having a heart full of gratitude. A bitter and resentful heart will open you up for destruction.

Jude 20-21 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

YOU have to be diligent to not fall into deception! Interesting that the Word says to “keep yourself” in His love. God’s love is found in the cross of Christ. Jesus said “IF you abide in Me and My words abide in you”….. you have a part to play. You cannot sit by and neglect your spiritual walk and think you will be OK

5. BE A SUBMITTED AND FUNCTIONING MEMBER OF A LOCAL CHURCH 

 Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Every person I have seen walk away, left a Bible believing church first. Satan goes after the sheep that remove themselves from the flock.

6. GROW UP!!

Hebrews 5:12-13 ESV: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.” 

Just as natural children are more easily tricked than adults, spiritual children are more easily deceived than mature Christians. We are admonished not to stay little children, but to grow up spiritually and become mature in Christ. Otherwise, if we remain a spiritual babe, we will easily be deceived by false doctrines. 

Ephesians 4:14  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

Our mind is a doorway to deception. One of the major marks of spiritual maturity is to be able to discern between good and evil 

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are [a]of full age, that is, those who by reason of [b]use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

This discernment applies to things presented to our minds directly by satanic forces as well as indirectly through others, or through our own past experiences/old ways of thinking

The mind is a battlefield. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. You have to learn to discern if a thought is the truth or a lie. Cast it out and replace.

Spiritual growth is not optional, we are commanded to grow up. Not to do so is disobedience.

Satan is seeking which ones he may devour. Will it be you? Contemporary American culture is doing everything it can to dissuade us from using wisdom and discernment, and to keep us ignorant and that trend has carried over into the church. Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Many pastors and teachers, who maintain the truth of foundational doctrines, only go so far and no further, paying little attention to doctrine beyond a bare minimum. They pick out choice morsels of Scripture outside of their proper context, never maturing in their faith, never digging any deeper than they absolutely have to. 

Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content has contributed to Christians having little more than an immature, superficial faith. Because they know less and less about the Bible, millions are riding the roller coaster of emotional experience and increasingly rejecting sound biblical doctrine for feel good messages and counterfeit gospels. Without studying God’s Word, we will never be able to distinguish between truth and lies or between good and evil. The more Biblically illiterate any Christian is, the easier it is for you, to be deceived, by the many anti-Biblical beliefs being taught in the church today.

We are not to be gullible and naïve about our Christian walk. We are to examine, scrutinize and investigate spiritual things, so that we value what God values, we love what He loves and hate what He hates. Peter says, “But [d]may the God of all grace, who called [e]us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, [f]perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.’

“AFTER we have suffered”. We can overcome our adversary by taking heed to Scripture and doing the things we are commanded to do.

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

“Testimony” does not mean “my story”, it means “evidence/record given of a martyr”, by the blood of the Lamb and the way we give up our life to live for Him, we overcome the enemy.

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