1 and 2 Thessalonians speak to us of the Lord’s return and reminds us of the importance of always being ready. Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians soon after he wrote 1 Thessalonians; he reminds them of what he had said about 3-4 months earlier. Some had misunderstood what Paul had said and had quit their jobs because they thought the Lord’s coming was imminent.
The ideas and deceptions that have been put forth concerning the Lord’s second coming shows just one way of many that Satan has taken the Bible and deceived others concerning this event. Such should not surprise us in the least – Satan has always twisted the Word of God. From the Garden of Eden until now falsehoods have abounded because of the deceptions of Satan – and it is the duty of Christians to always be aware of the way Satan has misused Scripture.
Notice a few passages that emphasizes that we can be deceived:
Jesus warned his disciples in Luke 21:7-19, when his disciples asked the Lord when the destruction of the temple would take place, to “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in my name, saying, I am He, and ‘the time has drawn near’. Therefore do not go after them.”
In Romans 7:7-12 Paul discussed what the Old Testament law did. It told the Jews what was right and what was wrong, and what they would have to do to come before a holy God. We would not have known what sin was unless the law set out the parameters of right and wrong. Paul then states that “sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produce in me all desire.” When we are told not to do something, often the desire to do it is much stronger. So, Paul went on to say that “sin deceived me” (v 11). Sin deceives us into thinking we know more than God, and that it doesn’t matter if we break his laws and commands. The law was also given to show us what sin was – and to show that we could not, by ourselves, save ourselves. SIN IS DECEPTIVE!
Paul reminded Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:14 that “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” Think about that statement for a moment – the woman was deceived, but Adam did what he did KNOWING it was wrong. When we are deceived, we may be encouraging others to do things they know are wrong!
In Titus 3:1-6 Paul told Titus to teach those in Crete that they be subject to rulers, to obey and be ready for every good work, they are to speak evil of no one, they were to be peaceable, gentle, and show all humility to all men. Now note verse 3 “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, DECEIVED, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another…” Have we considered the fact that we can deceive ourselves into thinking that a little sin won’t hurt – being dishonest; little white lies do not matter; you name the sin we engage in and we can always find a way to justify it. Sin deceives. And because it deceives it causes us to think we can satisfy our lusts and desires, and that it is acceptable to do whatever we choose to do.
Paul in Galatians 6:7-8 emphasizes that we “. . . should not be deceived, because God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that shall he also reap. He then goes on to stress that if we sow to the flesh (doing fleshly things) we shall reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit, we shall reap everlasting life.
Then, James emphasizes to us that “But be DOERS of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22). Some think if they just hear the word that is enough – but we must do the word if we will be accepted by God. Then James emphasizes that part of this would include “bridling our tongue” if we fail to do that, we “deceive ourselves.” (James 1:26)
Consider for a few moments how Satan deceive us!
- 1.Satan lies to us! He lets us think that we can sin without consequences.
- 2.Satan directs our attention to a need or a desire. He did this with Eve in the Garden and created a desire in her to try the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Lust, greed and envy are all a part of the way he comes at us! God created the Garden of Eden to have everything in it that could satisfy Adam and Eve. But God withheld one thing, and that one thing was what they were lacking, or so Satan said. How often do we want what we cannot have? Is the urge stronger for something because we cannot have it?
- 3.Satan creates doubts in our minds, and his biggest target is the word of God. He created doubt in Eve’s mind – “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Did God really mean what he said? What are you missing out on by not taking of the forbidden fruit? When Satan gets people to doubt God’s word, then what can we go by? Our feelings, emotions? Thoughts? whims. . . .?
- 4.Satan wants to get us in a debate! When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he got into a debate with Jesus, and Jesus always answered with Scripture – Matthew 4:1-11. God’s word is not to keep us from having fun, but to protect us from sin!
- 5.Satan obscures truth. He makes evil look good. He wants and desires to create division. He convinces young people that their professors and teachers are wiser and smarter than God, and their parents. He tells older people that the things we watch on television are reality, and has slowly introduced to our minds those things that God says are sinful are at first funny, then all right to engage in. As I have watched many television shows, I have seen the content come from Satan himself over the years. As I now watch older television shows, I see the seeds for what is going on in our culture today were being sown in the 60s and 70s. These have slowly led to the acceptance of sin! Compare what you watch on television with the word of God – what will you find?
- 6.FINALLY, Satan’s goal is to destroy us. If he can convince people to doubt one portion of Scripture, he can then persuade us to reject even more of it. In fact, the verses that address the area of their temptation are the first ones they begin to doubt. Beloved do not be deceived. Satan is still fighting with everything he has – and our only weapon is the word of God! Believe it, obey it and live by it daily.