Lies and Deception (The Invisible Battle – Week 2)
Jason White


Satan’s primary tactic in spiritual warfare is lies and deception. He is the father of lies and the deceiver according to Scripture. As we learn to recognize his lies and deceptions, we can renew our minds to the truth and experience the victory we already have in Christ.




Sermon Audio Transcript
When I was a kid (and I don’t remember exactly how old I was) somehow I came across the movie, The Exorcist. I don’t remember if I was at a friend’s house or how I was watching this movie that no kid my age should have been watching…but it scared me to death. I mean, watching that young girl get possessed by Satan or a demon and seeing her levitate and speak in that deep demonic, monster like voice and the destruction and havoc she was creating…I mean that gave me nightmares for a long time.And I think that was probably the first time I really had thought about spiritual warfare and Satan and demons and that kind of thing…But then I began to hear people talk about it in church, and it was usually some kind of mix of people talking about creatures that were dark and mysterious and super scary but also talking about how they were being attacked spiritually or how there was spiritual attacks going on throughout the world…And they would say things about how they were sick or dealing with some kind of injury or illness…Or they would talk about how someone died in their life…Or how a hurricane or tsumani happened somewhere and the number of people who had died in it or the destruction it was causing…Or people even mention how their house is haunted or something…that there’s a demonic presence that is making noises and moving stuff around…I mean, it seemed like this is the kind of stuff that people talked about (or maybe it’s just what I heard and remember)…but it was always like this big, huge, and dark and scary stuff…WEAnd I think a lot of us may be kind of like that too, and maybe we say the same kind of things when it comes to spiritual warfare and attacks, or maybe for some of us it’s completely the opposite and we talk about spiritual, demonic attacks when are slightly inconvenienced in some way…When there’s a lot of traffic…when the internet is down…when our car won’t start…when my food is taking too long at a restaurant or when Chick-fil-a is closed on Sunday! And I know this seems like of funny, but I think a lot of us do that, we blame Satan and claim to be under spiritual attack when there are inconveniences in our lives b/c we have this belief that God is all about making my life convenient and comfortable.But my point is that many of us don’t know what to think about spiritual warfare and spiritual attacks… we focus on the crazy big, dark, scary things of this world OR go all the way to the other side and talk about minor inconveniences.So…what is it? We talked last week as we opened this series about how Scripture defines our enemy as The World, the Flesh, and The Devil…and I don’t have time this mng to go back and review so if you missed it, be sure to pull it up and watch it online…But what I want to do today is talk about the Enemy’s tactics…GODHow does Satan work in this world and in our lives to “steal, kill, and destroy?” (as John said he does in John 10:10)How does Satan try to “devour us”? as Peter said in 1 Peter 5:8-9 when he said that the “enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”Well, what I want to suggest to you this morning is that Satan’s primary tactic in this war is lies and deception.In John 8, Jesus is having a confrontation with some of the religious leaders of that day, and He said…44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.See, Jesus addresses Satan as the Father of lies and that there is no truth in him. He says that he was a murderer from the beginning…which most likely is a reference to Genesis 3 where Satan robbed Adam and Eve and all of the human race of spiritual life and brought death to us all.So let’s look at that and see what Satan was up to in the beginning…what his tactics were then. Gen. 3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.Notice the word “crafty” here…it means “cunning or wily” which of course means to “have or show skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit.”Again, he is a liar, a deceiver…this is who he is and these are the tactics he uses to “steal, kill, and destroy.” He lies and he deceives. Look at how he does this with Eve…He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” So Satan here starts with twisting God’s Word. This isn’t what God had told them. Look at Genesis 2:1515 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;See there? God says you are free to eat from “any” tree in the garden and Satan twists it and asks, “Did God say you must NOT eat from any tree in the garden?”Now, God did say “except for one” but that is a big difference between saying “you can’t eat from ANY tree” and “you can eat from any tree except one.” But this is how he works. Let’s keep going…“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”Now this isn’t God holding out on them or being mean…he is just speaking the truth about what will happen. The Tree of Life was the representative of God as their Source, drawing upon Him as the Source of their life spiritually as they were created to do. He was their God, their Maker, their Designer, and He gave them Life through the Holy Spirit…If they choose not to draw upon Him as their Source then they were going to die spiritually and be cut off from His abundant life that He gives. And Satan knows this and again his mission is to “steal, kill, and destroy life”… so he is twisting God’s words and putting ideas in Eve’s mind…look how it played out as we go back to 3:2…2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.He lies…Jesus said in John 8 that he was a murderer and liar from the beginning…and we see it, right here, “You will not certainly die,” he says, knowing the truth…that they will. Verse 55 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In other words, “God is holding out on you, if you eat from this you’ll have more life than you have right now…you’ll be your own god!” See…cunning, wily…skilled in achieving one’s end through deception. V66 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.Satan convinced her that this thought or idea he placed in her head was true…now she BELIEVED she would have more from this thing than she already had in God.When the verse says that “she saw that the fruit was good for food,” that means that she had a desire to taste something new and exotic…this was going to fulfill her in a way that the other food God was providing was not.When it says that she noticed it was pleasing to the eye, she was sensing the pleasure of having something beautiful…and even though there was beauty all around, this was going to please her more than all the other beautiful things God was already providing her…And then she discerned that the tree was “desirable for gaining wisdom”…in other words, this would give her mastery over her own destiny…the ability to boast in one’s achievements or position b/c she would be “like God.”Satan convinced her that she would make a better god over her own life than the actual God who created her and was providing for her and filled her with Life.Satan is the Father of lies…he is a deceiver, and he schemes and lies and deceives to “steal, kill, and destroy,”(John 1:10) to “devour” our lives (1 Peter 5:8).TRANSITION: He was doing it in the garden, and he is still doing it today…He lies to and deceives unbelievers…He lies to and deceives believers…and He builds a whole system of lies and deception in this world.So let’s talk a little bit about each one of these areas…UNBELIEVERS…We mentioned this verse last week, but here’s what 2 Corinthians 4:4 says…4 The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.Satan, as the father of lies and the deceiver, lies to us and deceives us into believing that we can’t trust God or that there is no god or devil in the first place…I know this Scripture, but this makes me think of the line in the movie “The Usual Suspects,” where Kevin Spacey says, “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist!”Satan has blinded so many people from seeing the truth that he is real and that God is real…but as we mentioned last wk, that is not too much for Jesus to overcome, even for those who seem to be the most blind to it & are not even just walking around unaware but are speaking out against the idea of God!Alister McGrath was staunch atheist growing up in the 1960’s and really put his faith in science (which is another way Satan tries to blind unbelievers in the world…into thinking that Christianity is a blind faith). But for McGrath, it was science that God used to turn the lights on for him to eventually come to believe in God and put his faith in Jesus to become a Christian.TRANSITION: But as I mentioned a second ago, Satan is also at work using his primary tactic of lying and deceiving those who do believe in God and have received Jesus as their Lord/Savior through faith.In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul is writing to Christians, and he says…3 I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Paul is saying that it is possible for Christians to be deceived by Satan through our what? Our minds! See, spiritual warfare is primarily a battle of the mind…A WAR BETWEEN TRUTH AND LIES!So what are some of the truths that Satan doesn’t want us to know? Or what are some of the lies that he whispers to us in order to “steal, kill, and destroy” us?Now, again, know that Satan ultimately has no power over you…that he can’t snatch you out of the Father’s hands and our of your eternal destiny with him. Jesus says in John 10:28…28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.But he can try to rob us of experiencing the Life of Christ in us and through us by lying to us and deceiving us, even as Christians…A great example of this is the testimony of my friend Bill Loveless, whom some you know…STORY OF BILL LOVELESS…But Bill talks about how he became a Christian when he was around 18 yrs old, and how not too long after that, he really began to wrestle with and ask the question, “What am I supposed to do to live the Christian life?” And as he talked to people about that and listened to sermons and different teaching, he began to get all kinds of answers…• “You need to take what you learn from the Bible and go out and try to do what it says.”• “You need to try to stop sinning to honor God with your life.”• “You need to keep God’s rules and commands.”• “You need to ask for God’s help to try to change yourself.”• “You need to try to become more righteous and holy.”• “If you do these things and follow Jesus w/real dedication, you will begin to find freedom/victory.”And so he set out to try and do all of these things and wanted desperately to please God and be a good church member…Here’s what he says in his own words…I tried very hard to accomplish all of those things for thirty years as a Christian. The problem is that the more I tried the worse things eventually became. Instead of experiencing the freedom, victory, and transformation that God promises, I was getting more frustrated with my Christian walk because nothing seemed to change. I felt more and more like a failure as a Christian…and in addition that, all throughout that 30 year journey, I also had so many internal struggles with inadequacy, fear, anger, and unworthiness. Here again, I was told that if I tried hard enough with God’s help that I could set myself free, but as hard as I tried, that never happened. In fact, the feelings got worse. After several years of trying to be set free from these struggles, I came to the conclusion that what I was doing was not working (and was not ever going to work). The truth be known, somewhere along that thirty year journey I gave up on the Christian life because it wasn’t transforming me, it wasn’t meeting my expectations, and it was not producing the promises of freedom and victory I was told about. I felt that God had let me down and that I was on my own. I was more miserable than before I was saved. In fact, I was so depressed that I had thoughts of suicide. I thought, “Where was the abundant life that God intended for me to live all those years? What was I doing wrong? Was there some key truth that I was missing in my understanding of the Christian life?”What a disheartening feeling to see how Satan robbed him of experiencing the Life of Christ that he had in Jesus all that time.Satan kept lying to him and deceiving him into thinking it was about following rules, being dedicated, trying hard, and checking boxes…and KEPT HIM FROM KNOWING THAT CHRIST WAS HIS LIFE, AND THAT HE WAS THE ONE WHO WOULD EXPRESS HIS LIFE THROUGH HIM…and it devoured Him until He finally learned that and began to walk by faith in those truths…So he does lie and he can deceive Christians to rob us of the life we have in Christ.He will try to deceive you too…He will do his best to keep you from believing the TRUTH that…“You are a new creation in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17)“You have complete forgiveness” (Col. 2:13)“You’ve got abundant life in Christ” (John 10:10)“You are free from the bondage of sin” (Rom. 6:6)That he (Satan) has no power of you.” (Col. 2:15)He doesn’t want you to know that you are loved, accepted, have a rock solid identity as God’s son or daughter.So, he will whisper lies in your head, “You are guilty,” “You are dirty,” “A real Christian wouldn’t have done that,” “You’ll never be able to stop doing this sin,” or “You better do this/accomplish that in order to be somebody,” “God doesn’t love you,” “That job loss, that cancer diagnosis, that death of a loved one, that’s your fault…God is punishing you for behavior and your sin.”And on and on and on it goes…constantly lying, telling you half-truths, constantly trying to deceive you so that you BELIEVE what he says to you or so that you won’t KNOW what the actual truth is.But Jesus says “that the truth will set you free,” and that “he is truth.” So as you look to Him and His word, He will reveal that truth to you, and he will guard your heart and mind from what Satan is making you feel or tempting you to believe.TRANSITION: But there is one more area that we mentioned where Satan is actively lying and deceiving, and that is in and through the world and his worldly system.Remember in Eph. 2, Paul says that there are “ways of the world” and Jesus refers to Satan as “the ruler of this world.”And that doesn’t mean that everything we see in the world is from Satan or evil, b/c God is at work pushing back the darkness…but it does mean that we need to understand that Satan can take even good things in our world and twist them and tempt us to believe that they are the solutions to our problems and that they are what real life is found in over and above anything Jesus could offer us.And we don’t have time to go through an exhaustive list…but we mentioned one last week. The American Dream…another one is religion.Satan loves religion b/c it keeps people trying to follow a path, do the right things, check off a list to get somewhere we will find fulfillment and peace and life…and Satan keeps us from the One who is life itself, Jesus.And this of course is true of all the other world religions but also of Christianity and you heard that in Bill Loveless’ testimony earlier.Another one of Satan’s deceptions in the world is found in the area of POLITICS. He leads the world to believe that government and rules and principles can solve all of our problems, and we fight and bicker and argue that it’s the other side’s fault!As far back as the 1970s Leslie Newbigin, who was a British theologian predicted that as the West secularized, religion would not go away, it would redirect to politics. He warned of the rise of the political religions. John Mark Comer says this about Newbigin’s prediction:We're living in his vision. Our nation is more divided than it's been since the civil war. Right and left are no longer two opposing sides that keep each other in balance, they are two rival religions locked in holy war with zealots fighting it out online and increasingly on the streets. As David Brooks put it in a New York Times op Ed, “over the last half century we've turned politics from a practical way to solve common problems into a cultural arena to display resentments. People import a religious like devotion and frenzy into politics.” The economist called it “America's new religious war,” and in this sweeping craze so many people have been taken captive to ideology, which is a form of idolatry. A growing number of people are more loyal to their ideology or political party than they are to Jesus and his teachings.And I think he’s right. And so this is not a deception again that Satan uses just on the unbelieving world, but also on those of us who are believers. Satan is leading us away from the root of the problem being sin and the solution to the problems being the gospel…and instead of clinging to Christ and the life we have in Him and pointing people to Him, we are pointing our fingers at those who disagree with us on the politics and claiming them to be our enemy, and Satan is just smiling.See…it’s a war about lies and truth, and us falling for the lies…And it happens all throughout the world with gender/sexuality, and the covenant of marriage, and abortion, racism, and on and on Satan is lying to us and deceiving us to either keep us from coming to Christ or robbing us of the life we already have in Christ if He is our Savior.YOUSo what’s the answer? Well, Jesus again said, “the truth will set you free.” When we know the truth and walk by faith in God’s truth then we will experience Life in Christ…So this is why we cling to Christ by faith, why we get into the Bible, so He can reveal truth to us. We don’t just take someone’s word for it b/c they are preaching on youtube or the radio or b/c the were on fox news one time. We go to God about it ourselves, we link arms as a church community and do life with people who will point us to Christ and speak truth in love to us if we begin to stray.And as we begin to experience the revelation of His truths, then we must be about renewing our minds to that truth as Paul said. We counter the lies we hear and see out in the world with truth…we counter the lies Satan whispers to us in our souls with the truth.