“There is nothing that can justify serving God with the powers of darkness, evil and of the devil,” says the Lord. That was the word of God while I worked on this message.
Engaging the powers of evil in Christian worship is currently widely reported all over the world and I have observed awfully increases of sinister practices in the way many people are handling Christian services. These practices are not new, they have always been there and God has always declared his abhorrence to them. These confusions were common in Sodom and Gomorrah, in Egypt, among the heathen nations driven out from Palestine, during the reign of several kings in Israel and in many other instances. Solomon lost a substance part of the David’s dynasty because he got involved; Saul lost his life because he slipped back to witchcraft practice, Elijah destroyed about 400 prophets of Baal because of adulteration of worship in Israel. How come some people think it is acceptable now?
The scriptures says in 2 Tim. 4: 3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The following scriptures tell of an incidence where God frowned at consulting powers of darkness.
“Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.”
But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?
Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” So Elijah went.
The messengers returned to the king, and he said to them, “Why have you returned?”
And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the LORD, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’”
He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?”
They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’”
But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king’s order, ‘Come down quickly!’”
But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him,
“O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight.
Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.”
Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king
and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’”
So he died according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, because Ahaziah had no son. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?” 2Kings 1:2-17 (ESV)
Jehoram, as a king in Israel, was setting a bad course for people because of something he wanted so dearly, his health. He was misguided and went after the powers of evil to seek help. The king did not like how Elijah intercepted his messengers (just like some people may not like this message), so he sent soldiers to arrest him; and because of the rudeness and arrogance of two of the three captains sent, they suffered severely for it.
King Jehoram eventually died in his error, according to God’s judgment. Please understand that he was not seeking for medicine, he was seeking help from priests of Ekron. He was subscribing to their gods. He snubbed the right ways and felt he could do just anything irrespective of the consequences.
In Acts 8:9-13, 18-24, we read the story of Simon the magician, who deceived people Samaria for years with evil powers. He used sorcery to make himself someone. He liked being called “this man is the power of God that is called great.” Let us read more of his story,
“But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”
And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
Saying “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
When the gospel got to Samaria, Simon’s folly got out of the bag and people discovered the truth. He was not done yet and wanted to buy the power of God so that he could lay hands on people and perform signs. Peter could not be bought over, and sternly rebuked Simon. Simon got the shock of his life. (Peter, of course, won’t be considered wise, in many places today, for turning down an opportunity to make a lot of money). Some people might suggest that he should do it and repent afterwards; that is the underlying reason why many people consciously dabble with evil.
I have heard that it is believed in some places that, “whatever you do to get money is not sin”. Shame!
Someone once said of a pastor, who had some problem with sin; “people say what he did was bad, yet his church is increasing with people” Shame! To this person church growth and fame supersedes living according to the word of God. The problem here was that even non-Christian found what happened very horrendous. The state held it against him.
You cannot use the powers of evil to please God. Satan tempted Jesus saying, “…, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Luke 4:6-7
Jesus rejected that suggestion and by it, showed us an example which is too hard for many people today to follow.
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:8
There are many people today who have set out to deceive other people, including believers, who are careless and greedy. Their ways were already revealed in the scriptures.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 1 Tim. 4:1-2 (KJV)
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, ………. high minded lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.” 2 Tim. 3:1-9
You can’t serve God acceptably with the power of the devil.
Why people are deceived
Many people get deceived because they are greedy and so ready to compromise. The perpetrators believe they can deceive people and also deceive God. They believe they can always repent and outwit God. Some of these people are never believers; they saw the Christian faith as a business opportunity and they grabbed it and started manipulating people. They are very clever and many Christians are naïve.
Many people are lazy; they can’t read the word for themselves and want prayers from every person who says he prays. They feel God answers other people’s prayers except theirs. Like Simon, they are ready to pay for prayers.
Many people are gullible and play into the hands of “religious laud talkers”. These talkers boast of high things and tell people things that suggest that they are “deputy gods”. They see themselves as “assistant gods” who actually control what God does. Lies!
They manipulate people, telling them they will be cursed if they ever question their authorities; like Simon, they hold people in great fears and terrors.
Despite the wonderful opportunities we have to study the word of God, many people are deceived because they refused to read. In some places the prerogative to read the Bible is for their leaders. Only their leaders interpret the “word of God” correctly. Lazy! I once saw a church online where their “pastor” asked people to go and eat grass; and they did. Deceived!
Go and study the word of God and learn the truth for yourself. The word of God is written for every one of us and the Holy Spirit is able to help us understand it, if we ask him. Stop running to and fro to “collect fire”; it might be “strange fire”. It will be like going from fry pan to fire.
Today, I bring the word of God to you, “…… “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” Gen. 19:17.
Remember Lot’s wife. Luke 17:32.
If you believe in God you must either stop using the powers of the devil to serve God or you must stop patronising those who do.
If you don’t believe God will punish people who meddle with evil powers in the name of serving him; your Christianity is suspect and you are wide open for trouble. Don’t think you can fool God and fool the devil. The devil will surely demand his ransom very soon.
God will not spare this evil, so, repent today. There is plenty to enjoy in God. He loves you and is willing to bless you.
Bible quotes: http://www.biblegateway.com
NB: This message is also published in http://www.holyspiritcomfort.com
Some years ago I had a friend who planned to marry. A lot of preparations were put into it and a good sum of money was spent. When the time came he informed me he was travelling to get married; I wished him well (I couldn’t go with him). For several weeks he did not come back; I was very worried but I could not contact him. One evening, I finally got to him, but he was very unhappy; he told me his story, the bride did not show up for the wedding; she backed-off at the last moment. (The family stopped her from going through with it.) They were almost there!
There was another man who nearly got there. He almost made it to heaven. The following scripture tells his story.
“Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:24-29 (NKJV)
During his trial, when the Jewish leaders accused Paul of insurrection, he was brought before Festus the governor and Agrippa the king and the above quote was an excerpt of that encounter.
Agrippa said to Paul “You almost persuaded me to become a Christian.” He never became one. It was like he got to the gate of heaven, to the throne of mercy and then turned back. He was almost there! It is unfortunate. What will Agrippa say when he finally gets to the judgement seat of Christ? What stopped him from going through with it?
If he wasn’t fit to make a sound judgement about eternal life, how was he able to govern people; making very serious decision like the one involving Paul, issues that could cost someone his life? Job 32:9 says, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” (KJV)
He could also have considered what his friends would make of such a decision. Mark 8:38 says, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (KJV)
He was ultimately responsible for his actions. It doesn’t matter what other people think or say, we are responsible for our decisions. It is important to understand this so that we can stand up for what is right.
Was it that his position made aligning with the Christian life difficult for him? If that is the case where is he now? We must not cling to things that don’t last to the detriment of things that have lasting and daring consequences. King Saul of Israel lost his dynasty because he preferred being a “man of the people” to obeying God. He lost the kingdom and lost the people.
You might have had or heard of experiences of “being almost there”. They can lead to unimaginable frustration, stress and even depression. Sometimes they could be things outside our control that caused them and in that case we couldn’t do anything about it. At other times we were solely responsible for what happened. People usually have difficulties recovering from the outcome of such incidents.
To avoid being caught up in very ugly situations like that, we must be very prayerful and watchful.
We must develop our characters, so that we can live for the highest ideals.
We must appreciate what friends and relations are, and what they are not and cannot be.
We must give time to study, so that we can have valuable information to help us at critical times of decision making.
It is important to know that when it comes to choosing between God and any other thing, God must have the pre-eminence. You might be at a crossroad about making a decision of eternal value, I urge you to choose God. Today is a good day to choose Christ. Do it.
Bible quote: http://www.biblegateway.com
This articles is also published in http://www.holyspiritcomfort.com
Praise the Lord!
“Praise the LORD! Praise The LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD, as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the Lord God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made the heaven and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.”
Psalm 146:1-7 (ESV)
You can praise God in your heart
You can praise God at work (in your mind)
You can praise God at home
You can praise God while driving
You can praise God in your fellowship group (church).
And if you are in UK,
You can join us on Sundays (10am -12noon)
At: Clifton Village Hall, Nottingham NG11 8EB
To praise the Lord;
You can adapt this post for your use in your group;
(Permission to use granted)
You can praise the Lord anywhere.
If anyone asks you why, you can always say, “Because I can”
N/B: This post is also published in http://www.holyspiritcomfort.com