Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Encouragement to the Tempted #2 ]

                                 ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE TEMPTED #2

 In the former discourse on the websitel we considered the trials of God and the temptations of the world and the flesh.based on James 1:12, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life. In this lesson we shall consider the temptations of the devil, how to endure temptation, and she reward that belongs to those who are approved by God.. First, that there is such an invisible wicked spirit, called the devil, who has access to the minds of men, and who is continually seeking their ruin, appears clearly, both from Scripture and experience. I have long been of the opinionthat the existence of Satan a powerful fallen angel, other lesser fallen angels he deceived, called devils, their rebellion in heaven, the casting of them out of heaven never to return to heaven, imprisoned in the invisible world till the day of judgment, at which time they will be cast into hell–the close ties of this great event with the universe, mankind and human suffering may have had something to do with God creating the universe and mankind. Their close ties with all that happens in our world has causes me to wonder if God created the universe and mankind to undo all the damage Satan caused in heaven. The good angels in heaven find the Christian religion fascinating, and God is using the church to teach the good angels things about God they did not know. And in the process God is preparing tried and tested Christian to take the place of the fallen angel in heaven. That is just my personal opinion by way of implication and cann0ot be proved by the scriptures.

Moreover, Jesus said that hell is a place prepared for the Devil and his angels If you want to know how the place called hell originated that and fills the mind of mankind with such fear, the Devil and his demons caused that place to come into existence. This gives us some idea of how sigtnificant this great event was. If the intelligentsia of eearth think the existence of Satan and numerous fallen angels is a myth they had better think again. In the first century evil angels (demons) were allowed to enter the bodies of human beings, and tthey created all kinds of afflictions and terrible diseases. They had the power to create disease. The human race should pray that God will never let this happen again. This mighty angel is called the Devil, Satan, and the and is s represented as using devices to Prince of devils,gain advantage of us. In the days of Job, he confessed, when interrogated by the Almighty that he went to and fro in the earth, and walked up and down in it(Job2 :1,2). he apostle Peter out his business in world by saying, "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour"( 1 Pet. 5:8).

It is no serious objection, that we cannot explain fully how he works upon the human mind. Probably some have ascribed too much to his agency, and the blame of all their abominations have been laid upon him when it is evident and all when it has been evident, that the guilt of the whole rested upon themselves. It is a common saying in the world, "The devil made me do it." He can tempt men without their consent , but without their consent, he cannot overcome. Guilt, therefore, is properly charged against violations of  God's laws though he might entice them to sin. It was no excuse to Eve that the serpent b beguiled her to eat.Let us next notice a few things that is said about this enemy of God, Christ, and the human race in the scriptures. Jesus spoke of him as the devil and his angels and referred to him as the Prince of devils. Peter called him the adversary of Christians and admonished to watchful and serious-minded. An adversary is an apponent in a lawsuit; here it is used to identify Satan as the one on the opposite side for life or death. The human race is on trial for life or death. He is the devil because he knowingly and deliberately makes false charges against the saints of God. He is called a roaring lion because of the fierceness with which he stalks, and if possible runs down the saints. He is called a serpent because of his subtlty. He is called a a lion because of his strength and ferocity. Peter used figurative language here, for Satan is invisible and does not have a physical body. He is invisible and we cannot see him. Peter exhorts us to withstand him steadfast in our faith. James said, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you."Paul said an interesting thing about Satan's demons in I Corinthians 10:19, "But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I would not that you should have communion with demons." Paul by divine revelation,. revealed a truth to mankind that the greatest thinkers in all nations on earth, including America, do not understand. As you well know from the flood of Noah till the time of Christ and the Christian religion, the religion of Polytheism ruled and was practiced by all nation of the world. Polytheism is the belief that there are many gods in heaven and are all represented on earth by images. The Jewish religion with its Ten Commandments was never able to overcome this great system of religious falsehood. For 1500 years Israel worshiped by Polytheism and only a remnant of faithful Israelites worshiped by the Jewish religion God gave them on Mount Sinai. .That is why God punished that nation so severely by driving them out of their nation and made them slaves in Assyria and Babylonia. Only a small remnant of them kept the Jewish religion. 

In I Corinthians 10:20 Paul declared, "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons." Now you know. Satan and his fallen angels introduced thereligion of Polytheism to the world and conquered the world with it. Jesus called Satan the ruler of this world,(John12:21). The demons mentioned by Paul that idolaters worship are beings in the heavenly world who are inferior to God but superior to man. A demon is an evil spirit, a sinful angel. Demon is a Greek word and was used by Greeks in reference to spirits of some dead men and to secondary gods, some who were thought to be good and some considered to be evil. In the Bible demons is name given to the fallen angels who are now under God's punishment, but they are highly intelligent beings and very powerful and the reside in the heavenly world. In Polytheism the people did not intend to pay homage to Satan and fallen angels, but actually .did, though unintentially. There was no in being in existence known as Zeus, the greatest of all imaginary gods of Polytheism. Zeus, Pluto and hundreds of other imaginary gods were nothing and did not exist, regardless of the idols and images erected in their honor. There were hundreds of these imaginary gods because there were great numbers of fallen angels. Paul distinctly says all sacrifices made to these imaginary gods were really offered to fallen angels. People of the world today do not intend to serve Satan and his angels, when they break the laws of God in the pursuit of their objects of desire. Still in doing so they are really obeying the will of man's great adversary, yielding to his impulses and fulfilling his designs. He is therefore said to be the god of this world, the name given to Satan but spelled little god. All people today who refuse to accept Christ and worship the one true God through the Christian religion are worshiping Satan and his angels. What a dangerous world this is that that we live in. Pernicious errors are spread by demons, even among Christians, seducing them from the truth They do this by introducing false teaching and error into the world through public education. that contradicts God's word, and by constantly tempting people to doubt God, doubt Christ, doubt the Bible and doubt Christians. They have influenced men with great minds to invent theories on the origin life that contradicts the teachings of the Bible. Our only recourse is to remain steadfast in the faith.

This shameful polytheistic system of idolatry has spread over the nations. We have many traces of it in our own land. The names of our days and some of our months were given the names of their gods by the idolaters. Sunday was dedicated to the sun. Monday to the moon; Tuesday to Tuesca; Wednesday to Woden; Thursday to Thor; Friday to Freya; and Saturday to Saturn. The worship of angels, saints, images and relics is as abominable, in every respect, as pagan idolatry. It would be impossible to ennumerate all the temptations which God's children have to endure from this relentless adversary. Let us now turn to the second part of James beatitude in James 1:12: "Blessed is the man who endures temptation." It is one thing to be tempted, but it is another thing to endure it. Notice, it does not say, "Blessed is the man who tempted." No, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation." That is to say, the man who bears up under it; the man who survived it; and is not led into sin by it. But he endures it as gold endures the fire. A faith that will not bear the strain and test is no faith at all. We need to have a faith that is tested every day of the week. We cannot say we are blessed until our faith has been tried, tested, and proved. Untried faith is questionable faith. Was there ever in this world a Christian altogether without trouble, who had never undergone a trial? In these times, we need not wish for more temptations, for they are all around us. People who live in Southern California need not to go across the street to meet the devil. The very atmosphere of the Los Angeles area abounds withe sin and transgression. This day, time, and place tests the backbone of every Christian. A Christian has need to be a true Christian, a Christian ndeed in such a time as this. Christians have had to endure the loss of wife, husband or children. Blessed are those who have endured the patience of an open grave. Let us all ask God to help us endure temptation, ask God to help us put on the whole armor of God that we might withstand the assaults of the devil. This statement of James that it is the man and woman who endures temptation is the greatest proof of all that Christians are on trial in this life to prove their right to wear the crown of life.

Finally, James in our text, tells us what the blessed man and woman is to be by and by. "When he is approved, he shall wear the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love Him." What is this crown of life? This is not literal language; it is a metaphor, figurative language taken from the Grecian sporting events. The winner of the race received crown of laurel, or ivy or parsley put upon his head. The crown of life is a figure and stands for something that Christians have done. They have run the race of life successfully. The crown which is promised Christians is not for talk, nor thought or promises, but it records something done, a battle fought and won. The crown is living eternally. everlasting existence. There will be no weakness in our bodies, but they will be raised with power. There will be no dullness. No one will ever say,"I am sick." Christians will not receive this crown at death, but when Christ returns and calls us out of the grave. God has promised a crown of life, and that promise cannot fail. Heaven and earth must pass away, but His word cannot pass away. He has promised and He will bring it to pass. "Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forevermore. Amen"(Jude 24,25).

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