The first thing recorded about the devil in the Word of God is that he came to man with the question "Has God said?" (Gen. 3:1). As soon as man begins to doubt Gods Word he becomes vulnerable to the next thing the enemy wants him to do. The devil wants to diminish Gods character in our belief and thereby cause us to lose sight of the glorious God that He really is. The devil says in effect, "God is holding out on you and does not have your best interests at heart. He is not good." Then, as we lose sight of Gods character, the devil deceives us one step further. We become prone to dismiss Gods holiness and His judgment, and therefore we become extremely susceptible to temptation and the solicitations of the devil to go our own way. We do not fear the consequences of sin. "You shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). There is no fear of God.
A person who habitually questions the Word of God will never be able to really trust God in a way that is pleasing to Him. That person must settle the issue of the authority of His Word! That dear soul will not enter or experience the life of true victory as God intended until there is a genuine repentance towards God and a deep submission to His Word! A double-minded person will be unstable in all his ways (Jas. 1:8). We wrestle with the Scriptures only to our own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). Unbelief is contagious and will soon negatively affect the other people around it.
The Word Under Attack
The Bible warns us clearly that many deceivers have gone out into the world. Many of these clothe themselves in "sheeps clothing" while they preach a man-centered mixture of truth and error that is spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit. God warns us! Have you seen it? Gods Word is under attack today by many who claim to embrace it. Remember that Jesus was betrayed with a kiss and not a slap! The Bible says that "if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).
We must not ignore Gods Word, neglect it, or try to change it into what we can understand. We do not have to try to make it relevant. The most severe warnings in the Word of God are to those who would "take away" from the Word of God and change the Gospel message into something of man (see Gal. 1:7-9 and Rev. 22:18-19).
Preachers, especially, must beware of this in a day when so many are watering down the truth. Preaching that is not truly Word-based has telling characteristics and effects. Some of them are:
Instead of calling out "Thus saith the Lord" you will hear more of "the best scholars say" and the giving of earthly "lessons" from sentimental stories and moving videos.
"Thou art the man" (confrontation) becomes "Some of you may have a problem" (suggestion).
Instead of calling the people to "the holiness of God," the prevailing concern becomes securing "the happiness of man."
Instead of fervent God-consciousness and being God-centered, the services become "seeker-oriented" and man-centered.
The desire to be salt and light gives way to a desire to be sugar and "loving."
Instead of spiritual armor that enables believers to stand against the enemy there is a tendency to gravitate to the "camouflage" mentality; to blend in so we will not "offend anyone" and gain a hearing.
The obedience that overflows from genuine faith and is pleasing to God is overshadowed by "church activities," and fleshly busyness and entertainment designed to bless man.
Instead of preaching Christ and Him crucified (foolishness to those who are perishing) there is the tendency to try to bring the Gospel down to a natural thing that is logical, humanistic, and marketable.
A Raging Battle
We are in a life or death conflict! Thankfully, God has given His people the awesome and wonderful gifts of prayer and the Word. He has mightily empowered these two weapons, and through them He has enabled His church, throughout history, to triumph and walk in His sweet victory. Prayer, which is communion with God, enables us to lay hold of the Word of God in a living way and claim His precious promises in believing faith! The Word of God, which is "the sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:17), is the Holy Spirits weapon of choice in the cosmic battle for the human soul. In our day the devil is endeavoring to take Gods sword out of the hands of a prayerless church and deceive us with the same lies that he has used effectively on man since the beginning. We are then left fighting the spiritual battle in our own wisdom and strength, content with a form of godliness that lacks real power.
Are you able to discern the aggressive movement away from the Word of God that is fast gaining momentum in many churches in our day? Do you sense the battle that is raging in the invisible for the souls of men and women? We live in a day of growing darkness, man-made light, and a militant ungodliness that loves to appear religious. Do you sense the danger of the hour?
The only answer for the devils lie is Gods truth. But are we really giving ourselves to the Scriptures? Are we listening to what He is saying to the churches in this hour? Do you see the people of God hungering and thirsting to know Him more, and to discover intimacy with Him within the sacred pages? We are fast entering the day in which those who will not "receive a love of the truth" (2 Thes. 2:10) will fall easy prey to believe the devils lie. The stakes are infinitely high.
As Gods children, we are exhorted to search the Scriptures. We are told to meditate in them day and night, and to allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly. We are to rightly divide the Word of Truth, and to give ourselves wholly to the Word of God. Like newborn babes, begotten to a living hope through the Word, we are to desire the sincere milk of the Word. By the exceeding precious promises of Gods Word we are to become partakers of the very divine nature. Our steps...and stops... are to be ordered in the Word. We are to live by every word that has proceeded from the mouth of God...to esteem the words of His mouth more than our necessary food, give them more worth than fine gold. The entrance of His Word will give light, and when received as Gods Word it will work effectually in those who believe. His words are spirit and they are life. We honor Him as we take heed to His Word. His Word memorized and known in the heart increases the vocabulary of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and it purifies us as we obey its truth. The Bible is the fuel for authentic prayer...and it is irresistible to God when He hears believing, fervent hearts united and lifting His own Word and promises back to Him. We are to be diligent seekers of Him and not just casual inquirers after Him.
I want to make an appeal that Gods people return to the Word of God! This starts with me...not somebody else! And you! Let us make sure to keep our lamps full with His oil. Let us sow His precious seed in our spirit. Let our food be that which the world cannot give. May His glorious Word burn like a fire in our bones!
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon