Satan’s Biggest, Fattest Lie Ever!

Tarpon Springs 001

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In the late 1860s in the United States, shortly after the Civil War, which abolished slavery, a former slave owner is loading sacks of vegetables onto his wagon near the town square. Across the street he sees his former slave and yells out to him, “Get over here and load these bags onto my wagon now, boy!”

The former slave, with flashbacks of being beaten and abused for disobeying orders in the past, runs over to the wagon and starts loading the bags.

The former slave master has no power over the slave now. Yet the freed slave has become a slave again, only because he believes a lie. There is no power or authority behind the former master’s threats or commands. Truth is, the slave is free now, if only he will stop believing in lies.

The former slave should not feel stupid. For 1260 years a religious organization manipulated and controlled most all of Europe, only because the ruling monarchs fell for the lies of this organization.

“If you do not give us your offerings you will burn in hell for all eternity.”

Lie!

“If you do not do what we tell you, you will not go to heaven.”

Lie!

Yes, this organization used force and it tortured and burned people at the stake, but it was only possible because the rulers fell for these lies! Fact is, they had no authority, and thanks to the Reformers, the truth set them free even amidst the torture racks and the stakes.

Satan had to lie to Eve because lies are all he has. He can’t force us to do anything. First he suggests that God has said they could not eat from any tree. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1 Even today, Satan always suggests that God is very strict and won’t let us do anything.

“You can’t have any fun” is what Satan likes to suggest. This is a lie.

Jesus says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Satan goes on to suggest that they will not really die for  eating the fruit. This is a twofold lie. Not only does his suggestion lead to spiritualism, it also suggests there are no real consequences for disobedience. Yet Satan’s biggest lie was when he told Eve, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods…” Genesis 3:5 Here Satan suggests that God is withholding something from them which would enhance their happiness. The lie implies that God does not really care for their welfare, and maybe Satan cares more about them than God does. That is why he is so “kindly” offering them this forbidden fruit.

If you think about it, most all of our sin and disobedience is motivated by this one lie, that God does not really care for us.

When you really believe God loves you, Satan’s lies have no power!

Let’s take a brief look at the Ten Commandments in the light of God’s love.

“I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Exodus 20:2

Fact is we are free. Just like the former slave who fell for the lies of his former master, we are free unless we believe Satan’s lies.

  1. When we believe God really loves us, we will have no need for any other god. We believe God loved us so much He gave us His only begotten son. No rock star, sports team, girlfriend or boyfriend has ever loved us as much as God does.
  2. When we really believe in God’s love we will worship Him. We don’t need to worship anyone or anything else. We don’t need to worship money or a PHD degree. My sense of significance does not come from worldly accomplishments or honors. I am significant because God loves me!
  3. When we really believe God loves us, we will not be Christians in name only, thus taking His name in vain. We will be true Christians.
  4. When we really believe God loves us, we will rest our faith in God’s love and not try to save ourselves by our own works. I don’t need to work on the Sabbath to put bread on my family’s table. God loves me and my family, and He will not let us go hungry.
  5. When we really believe God loves us we will love those who represent God to us. Once when I was ten I was at my grandmother’s house. While there I back talked to my mother. My grandmother told me never to talk that way to my mother, not because she was bigger than me, or the boss of me, but because she would die for me. My grandmother said, “you don’t talk that way to someone who would die for you.” I honor my parents because they love me. They may not always be right, but they always love me, so they always have my respect.
  6. When we really believe in God’s love we won’t be threatened by other people or feel the desire to eliminate them. Daniel did not need God to kill the lions or even remove them. He just needed God to close their mouths. God loves and protects us just like He did Daniel. There was no reason for Daniel to hate the lions or the men who threw him in the den, when he knew God loved him and protected him.
  7. When we believe in God’s love we will be happy with the family God gave us. Just because God gave my friend a beautiful wife does not mean He loves me any less. If God thought a beautiful wife would truly make me happy He will give me one. “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalms 84:11
  8. When we believe in God’s love, we won’t need what is not ours. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Psalms 23:1
  9. When we believe in God’s love we won’t be afraid of the truth. We won’t feel the need to live a lie, when we find that the truth is, God loves us unconditionally, and everyone who is of God loves us unconditionally. We won’t feel the need to be something we are not.
  10. When we believe in God’s love we won’t want what other people have. We will want other people to have what we have which is Jesus! When Paul stood in his chains and prisoner clothes, before King Agrippa, in all his worldly splendor, Paul told him I wish you could be like me, except for these chains. (see Acts 26:29) Paul did not need what the king had. The king needed what Paul had which was Jesus!

During the Dark Ages, a religious leader who claimed to represent God on earth made a German ruler stand out in the cold three days, begging his forgiveness before the religious leader finally forgave him. (See Great Controversy, pp. 57-58) This was a gross misrepresentation of God. In Luke 15:20 we see what God is really like, as represented by the father who runs out to greet the prodigal son, while the son is still far away. This religious leader’s claim to represent God, while making it hard for the German ruler to find forgiveness is the greatest of Satan’s lies during the Dark Ages.

Satan’s biggest lie is not about the immortality of the soul. It is not about the change of the Sabbath to Sunday. Satan’s biggest and deadliest lie is that God does not love you and will not forgive you. This is why the first angel takes the everlasting gospel into all the world, and breaks the spell of this terrible lie. Every lie of Satan is founded upon the foundation of the lie that God does not love you. Once this lie is exposed every other lie of Satan falls, which is seen in the second angel’s message “Babylon is fallen!” All of Satan’s other lies collapse when we realize we are loved.

After the three angels comes a fourth angel in Revelation 18:1. When this angel comes the whole earth is lightened with his glory. It is the light of God’s love. Satan’s lies which have caused the world to experience the Dark Ages, have been removed and the world is lightened with the truth that God is love.

 

You can study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Worship and the Exodus

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me’ ” (Exodus 20:2, 3, NKJV)

The above text is the key text for this week’s SS lesson. It contains a wonderful promise. God is not demanding His people to have no other God before Him as much as He is promising they will need no other God before them.  Earlier, right before giving the commandments, God says in Exodus 19:3-4, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.   Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” What we have here, right in the middle of the law in the Old Testament is the New Testament gospel! The Old Testament law does not oppose the New Testament gospel. It compliments it.   God is telling His people that they did not free themselves from slavery. He freed them.  The Word, “obey” in Hebrew is the word, “Shawmah” Which means, be attentive and listen. The word “keep” in Hebrew is “Shawmar” which means to treasure and to cherish. It is the same word used when God told Adam to keep the garden. He was not telling Adam to obey the garden but to cherish it and treasure it.  Today a covenant is a two way agreement, but when God uses this word He is often referring to His promises. So, in Exodus 19:3-4 God is telling His people to listen and be attentive to His promises, and cherish His promise to deliver us from sin just as He delivered His people from Egyptian slavery!

So when you read all of Exodus 19-20 in context, what you find is God promising we will need no other gods before us. By His promises we will not be taking on His name in vain, but will truly be His people. He is promising we will have no need to be unfaithful to our family or mistreat our neighbor for He will take care of us, just like He took care of His people in Egypt and delivered them! What we have in the ten commandments is the gospel itself! God promising to deliver and be the Savior of all who believe His promise to save!

 

Philemon; The Gospel

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Philemon is only one chapter but says a lot!

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy [our] brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, Philemon 1:1

Paul calls himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Man had no power over him. He knew if he was in a prison it was to serve the purpose of Jesus Christ, otherwise Jesus would not allow him to be there.

And to [our] beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:  Philemon 1:2

Paul and the Scriptures commend house churches!

I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:  Philemon 1:10

Among those who gave their hearts to God through the labors of Paul in Rome was Onesimus, a pagan slave who had wronged his master, Philemon, a Christian believer in Colosse, and had escaped to Rome. In the kindness of his heart, Paul sought to relieve the poverty and distress of the wretched fugitive and then endeavored to shed the light of truth into his darkened mind. Onesimus listened to the words of life, confessed his sins, and was converted to the faith of Christ. 

Onesimus endeared himself to Paul by his piety and sincerity, no less than by his tender care for the apostle’s comfort, and his zeal in promoting the work of the gospel. Paul saw in him traits of character that would render him a useful helper in missionary labor, and he counseled him to return without delay to Philemon, beg his forgiveness, and plan for the future. The apostle promised to hold himself responsible for the sum of which Philemon had been robbed. Being about to dispatch Tychicus with letters to various churches in Asia Minor, he sent Onesimus with him. It was a severe test for this servant thus to deliver himself up to the master he had wronged; but he had been truly converted, and he did not turn aside from his duty.  {Acts of the Apostles 456} 

 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:  But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.  For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth [thee] ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written [it] with mine own hand, I will repay [it]: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.  Philemon 1:11-19

The apostle well knew the severity which masters exercised toward their slaves, and he knew also that Philemon was greatly incensed because of the conduct of his servant. He tried to write to him in a way that would arouse his deepest and tenderest feelings as a Christian. The conversion of Onesimus had made him a brother in the faith, and any punishment inflicted on this new convert would be regarded by Paul as inflicted on himself. Paul voluntarily proposed to assume the debt of Onesimus in order that the guilty one might be spared the disgrace of punishment, and might again enjoy the privileges he had forfeited. “If thou count me therefore a partner,” he wrote to Philemon, “receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it.” 

     How fitting an illustration of the love of Christ for the repentant sinner! The servant who had defrauded his master had nothing with which to make restitution. The sinner who has robbed God of years of service has no means of canceling the debt. Jesus interposes between the sinner and God, saying, I will pay the debt. Let the sinner be spared; I will suffer in his stead. 

     After offering to assume the debt of Onesimus, Paul reminded Philemon how greatly he himself was indebted to the apostle. He owed him his own self, since God had made Paul the instrument of his conversion. Then, in a tender, earnest appeal, he besought Philemon that as he had by his liberalities refreshed the saints, so he would refresh the spirit of the apostle by granting him this cause of rejoicing. {Acts of the Apsotles, 457-458}

Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen.  Philemon 1:20-25

The Human Race Has A Sin Problem

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile Romans 2:9

Romans 2 and this week’s SS lesson makes it clear that we are all have a sin problem. Even those who preach the truth struggle with sin. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Romans 2:1 NIV  For example, the same men who wrote those noble words on the Declaration of Independence  “All men are created equal” also owned slaves! And while we are at it, let’s make it clear that not all slave owners were white and not all slaves were black. This is not about race. It is not about time. Romans 2 makes it clear that the entire human race has a sin problem. Jew, Gentile, Yellow, red, brown, and black and white, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, we are all a part of the only race the Bible recognizes, and that is the human race. The human race has a sin problem.

The Jews were appalled at the crimes their fathers committed against God’s prophets and then turned right around and Crucified His Son! When you study history you find you are not studying about long ago and faraway places as much as you are studying about human nature in anytime and anyplace. We are all the same. We can stereotype and label other people as having a sin problem, or we can confront the fact the we ourselves have a sin problem. Here is good news for those who accept they have a sin problem:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9 NIV

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13 NIV

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD “—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalms 32:5

Before we can be a part of the solution we have to see ourselves as part of the problem. Romans has the solution for the sin problem!

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.