Denying the Lord

DENYING THE LORD

 

DEFINITION:  To deny someone or something is to be ashamed of them, fail to acknowledge them, or claim they do not exist.  Biblically, denying the Lord is a failure to acknowledge Him and the truth of His Word.  People who deny the existence of God are called atheists.

FACTS ABOUT DENYING THE LORD:

If you deny the existence of God, you are a fool.  “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'”  (Psalm 14:1).

Denying the Lord includes denying there is a God;  denying the deity of Jesus Christ; denying the inspiration of God’s Word; denying the work of God;  denying the saving work of Christ;  denying your faith; and denial by your sinful actions.

What you say and do are both important.  If you confess Christ and then live like a sinner, you are denying God’s work in your life.

Denying the Lord is not the unpardonable sin.    It can be forgiven through confession and repentance.   If you do not repent, however, God also will deny you (Matthew 10:32-33).

DEALING WITH  DENYING THE LORD:

Confess your sin to God and ask forgiveness.  Denying the Lord is sin, and as in the case of all sin, you must confess and repent of it.

Make a positive confession based on the Word.  Confess the existence of God, your belief in Him and His Word, and in the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

Confess the Lord before others.  If you have previously denied God, His Word, or His work in your life before certain people or groups, make it a point to go back and confess the Lord in front of these people.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DENYING THE LORD:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly. (Psalm 40:10)

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)
He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. (Luke 11:23)

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.  (John 12:48)

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23)

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. (1 John 4:15)

Demons and Deliverance

DEMONS AND DELIVERANCE

 

DEFINITION:   Demons are fallen angels who joined Satan’s rebellion against God and were cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-9).  They were originally angels of God but are now evil spirits operating under Satan’s control.   They are also referred to as “devils”, as distinct from the Devil who is Satan.  People affected by demons are in need of deliverance from captivity and/or the influence of demonic powers.

FACTS ABOUT DEMONS AND DELIVERANCE:

Spiritual warfare is a battle with the forces of evil, Satan and his hosts of demons (Ephesians 6:12). Our armor is truth,  righteousness, the Gospel, faith, and salvation. The Word of God and prayer are powerful spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:14-18). Our authority and power is from Jesus (Mark 16:17).

How demons operate.  Demons oppose God, His plan and purposes, and His people.  They also war against unbelievers to keep them from the truth of the Gospel.  Demons control specific territories (principalities) such as the prince of Persia mentioned in Daniel 10:12-13.  Demons also work through personalities–through men and women–to accomplish Satanic objectives in the world.   Opposition to God’s will and His Word is Satan’s main objective.  The word “Satan” means “adversary.” Satan and his demonic host are primarily God’s adversary (Job 1:6; Matthew 13:39).  He is secondarily, man’s adversary (Zechariah 3:1; 1 Peter 5:8).

Demons have different natures.  One demon identified himself as a “lying spirit”  (1 Kings 22:23).   A “deaf and dumb” spirit is identified in Mark 9:25.  Demons of various natures operate as spirits of infirmity, seducing spirits, and unclean spirits.

-Spirits of infirmity afflict the bodies of believers as well as unbelievers. See the story of the daughter of Abraham (a Jewish believer) in Luke 13:10-17.  For other examples of demonic powers afflicting the body see Matthew 12:22; 17:15-18; Acts 10:38; 1 Corinthians 12:7.

-Seducing spirits afflict the spirit of man, seducing him to believe doctrinal lies and be condemned to eternal punishment.  They are deceptive spirits of false doctrine, cults, false Christs, and false teachers (1 Timothy 4:1).  They do miraculous works which lead some to believe they are of God (Revelation 16:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).  Seducing spirits include the “spirit of divination” mentioned in Acts 16:16 and “familiar spirits” that operate in fortune tellers, witches, and palm, crystal ball, and tea leaf readers.  Through unscriptural methods of divination, these spirits foretell the future and reveal things not naturally known.   Warnings against familiar spirits are given in Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:9; 18:10; Leviticus 20:27; and 1 Samuel 28:3.   Seducing spirits sear the conscience, seduce, entice, tempt, allure, interest, fascinate, excite, arouse, attract, and deceive.  They are operative in every cult and wherever doctrinal error exists.  Seducing spirits entice men and women to worship idols and even Satan himself.

-Unclean spirits afflict the soul.  They are responsible for immoral acts and unclean thoughts.  When Satan controls individuals with unclean spirits, he uses them to cause problems in homes, churches, and nations.  This is how Satan works in the various levels of structure in society (Matthew 10:1; 12:43;  Mark 1:23-26).

Demonic oppression.  To oppress means to bear down, come against, or bind from the outside.  This oppression is accomplished by evil spirits in various ways.  They cause depression, create negative circumstances, and cause wrong thoughts such as of suicide, immorality, unbelief, fear, etc.

-A physical binding: The “daughter of Abraham” who Jesus relieved of a spirit of infirmity was bound physically (Luke 13:10-17).  Chronic sickness may be demonic oppression, although all illness is not caused by demonic powers.

-A mental oppression: Disturbances in the mind such as mental torment, confusion, doubt, loss of memory, etc.  Restlessness, an inability to reason or listen to others, abnormal talkativeness or reserve  may be exhibited.  All mental problems are not caused by Satan, but some definitely are caused by demonic influence.

-Emotional problems: Disturbances in the emotions which persist or recur, including resentment, hatred, anger, fear, rejection, self-pity, jealousy, depression, worry, insecurity, inferiority, etc.

-Spiritual problems: Extreme difficulties in overcoming sin and sinful habits.  Spiritual solutions are rejected and doctrinal error is frequent.

-Circumstances: Demons can create difficult circumstances which are oppressive.  These circumstances usually involve confusion and can immediately be identified as demonic because God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33; James 3:16).

Demonic possession.  Demon possession is a condition in which one or more evil spirits (demons) inhabit the body of a human being and take complete control of their victim at will.  Some people prefer using the word “demonized” rather than possession, but regardless of the term, the possessed person is host to resident demons.  “Possession” does not mean a person is not responsible for his own sin.  His responsibility rests in the actions that led to his condition, i.e., involvement with demonic influences.  Demonic possession can be recognized by the following signs:

-Indwelling of an unclean spirit: This is demonstrated by a basic moral uncleanness and filthiness.  For examples see Mark 5:2 and Luke 8:27.

-Unusual physical strength: A person shows strength beyond normal capabilities.  For examples see Mark 5:3 and Luke 8:29.

-Fits of rage:  See Mark 9:14-29 and Luke 8:26-39.

-Resistance to spiritual things: In the accounts in Mark 6:7 and 1:21-28, the demons knew Jesus  and asked Him to leave them alone.  Fear of the name of Jesus, prayer, and the Word and blasphemy of that which is spiritual are all symptoms of demon possession.

-Changes in personality and/or voice:  A person who is normally shy may become aggressive or violent.  Actions as well as appearance may be affected.  Moral character and intelligence may change.  The voice may be altered (Mark 5:9).

-Accompanying physical afflictions: These appear most commonly as afflictions of the mental and nervous systems  (Matthew 9:33; 12:22; Mark 5:4-5).  They can also include a general wasting away physically. (Mark 9:14-29).

-Self-inflicted physical injury:  In Matthew 17:1421 there is the story of a man’s son who would cast himself in the fire.  In Luke 8:26-39 this demon possessed man cut himself with stones to inflict physical injury.

-Terrible anguish: Luke 8:28 relates that this man went about crying because of the inner torment caused by his possession.

-Incapacity for normal living:  This man could not reside in society, but lived in the tombs of the cemetery (Luke 8:27).

-Divination:  This is the ability, through unscriptural methods, to foretell the future or reveal that which is unknown.  The woman in Acts 16:16 is said to be possessed by a spirit of divination.

-Obsessive immorality such as involvement with pornography, adultery, fornication,  homosexuality, and other sexual sins.  Strong compulsions toward eating disorders, suicide, self-mutilation, maiming, and murder.

-Addiction to drugs or alcohol.

-Trances, visions, and meditation which are not focused on or from the one true God.

-Bondage to emotions:  Rage,  hatred,  jealousy, etc.

Demon obsession.  This is a condition where one is obsessed by an interest in or preoccupation with demons.  It is an unusual interest in the occult, demons, and Satan.  Demonic obsession is recognized by an uncontrollable and unusual preoccupation with demons, Satan, and the occult.  A person may dabble in occult practices, constantly credit everything to Satan or demons, or be preoccupied with the study of demons and Satan.

A true Christian cannot be demon possessed.  He may be obsessed with demons or oppressed by them, but a true believer cannot be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit cannot inhabit the same temple as an evil spirit  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  When you belong to God and are filled with the Holy Spirit, you cannot belong to Satan and be filled with his spirits at the same time.  The Holy Ghost will not abide in the same “temple” with Satan.

Demons gain control in varied ways.

-Through generations:  Demonic powers operating in parents and the sins of the parents can affect the next generation.  This may account for demon possession or oppression of children such as recorded in Mark 7:24-30 and 9:17-21.  (See also “Generational Curses” in this database.)

-Through the mind:  If Satan controls your thoughts, he will eventually control your actions.  Lack of mental control eventually results in lack of use of the will.  This leads to sinful actions.  Continuing in sinful thoughts and actions can lead from oppression to possession and eventually to a reprobate mind such as is described in Romans l–a mind totally controlled by evil thoughts.  Demons also gain access through mind-altering drugs which reduce the ability to resist demons and grant increasing access to the mind.  “Brain washing” and “mind control” also provide entrance points for the enemy into your mind.  (See also “Mind And Thoughts” in this database.)

-Through sinful actions: Sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions.  For example, the thought of adultery is fulfilled in the actual act of adultery.  Sin is rebellion, and rebellious thoughts and actions provides an entry point for demonic activity. When a believer continues in sinful thoughts or actions they “give place” to the Devil (Ephesians 4:27).   Sins of involvement with the occult, including objects, literature, séances, etc., are actions which are especially dangerous and attract demonic powers.

-Through desire:  Some people ask Satan for demonic power to enable them to perform supernatural acts.  Others worship Satan or join Satanic cults.

-Through an empty house:  Demons consider the body of the person they inhabit as their own house (Matthew 12:44).  When a person who is delivered from demonic powers does not fill his spiritual house by the new birth experience and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, reentry may occur.

-Through permission:  Sometimes God grants permission for demonic powers to operate through a trial–as in the case of Job–or judgment for sin–as in the example of King Saul.

Jesus dealt with demons.  The teaching and ministry of Jesus demonstrated that demonic spirits are real forces of evil. Jesus accepted the fact that Satan is the ruler of a host of demons.  He taught of the reality and power of demons.  He said that casting out demons was one of the signs that the Kingdom of God had come.  Read Matthew 12:22-30, Mark 3:22-27, and Luke 11:14-23 for a summary of what Jesus taught concerning demons.  Jesus ministered deliverance to all who came with demonic problems (Acts 10:38).

You do not need to be afraid of demons.  Jesus gives true believers power over all of the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

Jesus commissioned His followers to  cast out demons.  You are not to focus your ministry on casting out demons, but as you go into the world preaching the Gospel you will encounter demons that would hinder your ministry.  You have the power and authority delegated by Jesus you to cast them out of yourself and others (Matthew 10:1,8; Mark 6:7; Mark 16:17; John 14:2).

DEALING WITH  DEMONS AND DELIVERANCE:

Pray for discernment.  Ask God to reveal the cause of the demonic influence.  Ask for discernment in knowing how to minister and/or receive deliverance.

Faith, fasting, and prayer are essential when dealing with demons.  Read the account in Matthew 17:14-21.   Tools for deliverance include the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17; Hebrews 4:12); the blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11);  and the infilling power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:38).

Determine the specific problem.  The problem may be in the:

-Spiritual realm:  Problems related to sin.  These require a ministry of spiritual healing (repentance and forgiveness of sin).

-Physical realm:  Bodily sickness caused by demonic spirits of infirmity.

-Emotional realm: Problems of anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, guilt, doubt, failure, jealousy, selfishness, confusion, frustration, perfectionism in the energy of the flesh, unforgiveness, past situations.

-Mental realm:  Problems stemming from negative thinking and attacks of Satan on the mind.

Remember: Because man is a triune being, problems in one realm affect the whole person so deal with the whole person, not just one area.  Man is body, soul, spirit.  Wholeness implies dealing with all of these.

Pray a prayer of deliverance.  Focus on the specific problem–possession, obsession, oppression, etc.   You do not have to persuade God to deliver by your prayer. Just as salvation is readily available, the same is true of deliverance.  Just as salvation is based on the condition of faith, so is deliverance.  God wants to deliver, just as He wants to save.    Here is a prayer of deliverance to pray over yourself or to someone to whom you may be ministering:

“In the name of Jesus Christ and on the basis of the authority of His power, His Word, His blood, and the Holy Spirit…”

…This establishes the power base for deliverance…

“…I bind you….”

…Jesus taught to bind the strong man first before attempting to cast him out…

“…and I command you…”

…Ministering deliverance is a prayer of authority, not of entreaty.  You can speak quietly, but you must take authority over the forces of evil in the name of Jesus.  Look directly into the eyes of the person as you speak.

“…the spirit of_________” or “…you foul spirit of Satan…”

…if the spirit has been identified either through spiritual or natural discernment, then name it specifically; otherwise, generally.

“…to depart….”

…this is the casting out process…

“…without harming________(your name or the name of the person being delivered), or anyone in this house, and without creating noise or disturbance”

…Sometimes the demon will try to harm the person or create a disturbance.

“I forbid you to reenter…”

…Remember that Jesus used this command…

“…and I loose the Holy Spirit to cleanse and fill this vessel through the power delegated by Jesus Christ…

…We are told to loose as well as bind.  If you have identified a specific spirit, name it.

“,,,in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Recognize the signs of deliverance.  In cases of demonic possession, sometimes demons come out with a struggle, such as crying out or throwing the person on the floor. When demons have departed and their hold has been broken,  there will be a sense of release and joy, like the lifting of a weight.

Take follow-up steps.   Jesus emphasized the importance of follow-up so that demons will not return (Matthew 12:43-45).

-Pray a prayer of renouncing.  After deliverance, pray a prayer of confession, repentance, and renouncing of any sins or involvements connected with the demonic.

-Destroy occult items.   These would include idols, voodoo items, witchcraft equipment, books, charms, etc.

-Fill the spiritual voidWhen a demon is cast out, he will seek another body through which to operate.  A demon is restless and discontent outside of a human body.  It is only by indwelling and controlling a human life that a demon is able to fulfill Satan’s evil purposes.  Because of the danger of a demon returning to his former victim accompanied by worse spirits, the spiritual void must be filled.  A person must receive Jesus Christ as Savior and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  He should continually immerse himself in prayer and the Word of God and become part of a community of believers.

-Testify of the deliverance.  Jesus told the demoniac of Gadarene to tell others about his deliverance (Mark 5:19-20).  Revelation 12:11 confirms that we overcome the powers of Satan by the word of our testimony.

Protect yourself from demonic powers.  Here are specific ways to protect yourself from demonic powers:

-Accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

-Avoid sin.  After you are saved, keep yourself from sin, for through sin you “give place to the devil” or provide opportunity for him to oppress you.

-Be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Demonic spirits and the Spirit of God cannot inhabit the same spiritual vessel.

-Avoid an obsessive interest in demons.  It is not wrong to study what God’s Word says about them or expositions based on God’s Word, but do not read secular books, attend séances, etc., to learn more about demons.

-Avoid any contact with the occult.  Do not consult witches, shaman, astrologers, horoscopes, or card, palm, or tea leaf readers.  Do not serve false gods or allow idols to come into your home (Deuteronomy 7:25-26).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DEMONS AND DELIVERANCE:

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.  (Leviticus 19:31)

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,  or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord,  (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.  (Psalm 9:3)

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  (Psalm 27:5-6)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy  and I will give thanks to him in song.  (Psalm 28:7)

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.  (Psalm 34:6-7)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.  (Psalm 34:19)

Read Psalm 91.

News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.  (Matthew 4:24)

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick… (Matthew 8:16)

He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.  (Matthew 10:1)

If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?  And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.  But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.  (Matthew 12:26-29)

Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” (Mark 3:11)

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”   (Mark 16:17-18)

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice,  “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”  “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” (Luke 4:33-36)

When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.  Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.    (Luke 4:40-41)

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.   I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  (Luke 10:18-19)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  (John 10:10)

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.  (Acts 5:16)

With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.(Acts 8:7)

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached–how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:37-38)

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.  (Romans 8:9-11)

No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20-21)

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  (Ephesians 6:11-18)

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  (2 Timothy 4:18)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;  if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;  if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;  and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)–if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. (2 Peter 2:4-9)

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.(1 John 3:8)

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.  You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.  (1 John 4:1-6)

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home– these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.(Jude 1:6)

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.  The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.  (Revelation 12:7-9)

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  (Revelation 20:10)

(See also “Occult” and “Spiritual Warfare” in this database.  For additional instruction in spiritual warfare and the spiritual forces of good and evil, see the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Spiritual Strategies:  A Manual Of Spiritual Warfare” available at http://www.harvestime.org)

Deception and Dishonesty

DECEPTION AND DISHONESTY

 

DEFINITIONDeception and dishonesty refer to misleading someone and deliberately making them believe things that are not true.  Bearing false witness against someone, cheating, and lying are synonyms.

FACTS ABOUT DECEPTION AND DISHONESTY:

Examples of deception and dishonesty include lying in business dealings, in relationships,  cheating on tests or in  financial matters, and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.

Deception and dishonesty are common in politics and governments.  Unscrupulous leaders say what you want to hear rather than tell the truth.

Deception is common in religion.  There are many false teachers and cults that deceive multitudes of people around the world. The Apostle Paul warns:  “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18).

Deception and dishonesty are sin.  One of the ten commandments addresses “bearing false witness”, which means lying (Exodus 20:16).   Leviticus 19:11 states clearly:  Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”  Jesus repeated this command in Matthew 15:19; 19:18, Mark 10:19; and Luke 18:20.  The Apostle Paul emphasized it in Romans 13:9.

God hates lying.  Bearing false witness and a lying tongue are listed in Proverbs 6:19 among the top things God hates.

Satan is the father of lies.  Jesus told the sinful Pharisees: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. 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”  (John 8:44).

Deception will increase in the end-times.  The Apostle Peter warned about those who would scoff the Word of God and even say that the Lord was not going to return (2 Peter 3:1-7).  Timothy warns of “perilous times” in the last days, saying that men will be trucebreakers (dishonest) and that they will be “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”  (2 Timothy 3:17).   He also warned that these untruthful men would follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2).   Jesus repeatedly warned believers to be on guard, lest we be deceived in the end-times (Matthew  24:4).  One of the  main characteristics of the Antichrist in the end-times will be deception.  He will work “lying wonders” through the power of Satan and will deceive many people (2 Thessalonians 2:7-11).

DEALING WITH  DECEPTION AND DISHONESTY:

Deception and dishonesty are sin.  If you have been lying and cheating, you must recognize it is sin.  As with any sin, you must confess this to God and seek forgiveness.

Accept and act upon the truth of God’s Word. Ask God to put His Spirit of truth into your heart and mind (John 16:13).  Put off the “old man” of sin which is corrupt and deceitful  and put on the new self which is like God in true righteousness (Ephesians 4:22-23).  Ask God to put a new heart within you, because bearing false witness comes from your heart (Matthew 15:18-19).

Ask forgiveness of those you have deceived.  Be truthful and ask them to forgive you.

If you have a tendency to lie or deceive, make these verses your motto:  “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3) and “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:2, NKJV).

If you have been lied to or deceived, forgive those responsible. Forgive them, but in the future deal with them as they are, not as you wish they were.  Forgive, but unless they prove themselves to be trustworthy once again, do not place blind trust in them.

Ask God for the gift of discernment.  This is a supernatural ability given by God to perceive the truth in any situation  (1 Corinthians 12:10).

Immerse yourself in the Word of God.  Feasting spiritually on the strong meat of the Word will enable you to discern between good and evil and truth and deception  (Hebrews 5:12-14).  The way to deal with deception is to learn the truth, then you will not be deceived.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DECEPTION AND DISHONESTY:

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.  (Exodus 20:16)

Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. (Leviticus 19:11)

You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors. (Psalm 5:6)

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol  or swear by what is false.   (Psalm 24:3-4)

Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. (Psalm 34:12-13)

You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. (Psalm 52:3)

But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.  (Psalm 55:23)

For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride.(Psalm 59:12)

…the mouths of liars will be silenced. (Psalm 63:11)

No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. (Psalm 101:7)

Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. (Psalm 119:29)

I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law. (Psalm 119:163)

Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue. (Psalm 120:2, NKJV)

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,  a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. (Proverbs 11:3)

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. (Proverbs 12:19)

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. (Proverbs 12:22)

The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace. (Proverbs 13:5)

A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.  (Proverbs 14:5)

He whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble. (Proverbs 17:20)

Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool. (Proverbs 19:1)

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free. (Proverbs 19:5)

Better to be poor than a liar. (Proverbs 19:22)

Getting treasures by a lying tongue  Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.(Proverbs 21:6)

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. (Proverbs 24:26)

Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, For would you deceive with your lips? (Proverbs 24:28)

Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor. (Proverbs 25:18)

Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” (Proverbs 26:18-19)

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)

Keep falsehood and lies far from me. (Proverbs 30:7-8)

O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? (Jeremiah 5:3)

Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. (Jeremiah 9:5)

For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:37)

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  (Matthew 15:18-19)

…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matthew 24:11)

… Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:31-32)

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. 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.  (John 8:44)

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth,  (Galatians 3:1, KJV)

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7)

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  (Ephesians 4:14-15)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  (Ephesians 4:22-25)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be partners with them.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)  (Ephesians 5:6-8)

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.  (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,  and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie  and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.  (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:7-9)

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.  (1 John 4:1-3)

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  (Revelation 21:8)

(See also “Lying” in this database.)

Death

DEATH

 

DEFINITIONDeath is the end of life on earth.  For the believer, death is the beginning of life in eternity with God.  For the unbeliever, death is the end of life in this world and the start of an eternity without God–spoken of in the Bible as the “second death”.

FACTS ABOUT DEATH:

God never intended death.  Death resulted because of sin (Genesis 3).

Death comes to everyone.  The Bible says a time to die is appointed to everyone  (Hebrews 9:27).  Even the great prophet Elisha–who did many miracles of healing–eventually became sick and died (2 Kings 13:14).  Death, bereavement, and loss are part of life.

Death is an enemy, and it is the last enemy that will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Through His resurrection, Jesus was the “first fruits” or the living evidence to prove that death is conquered although not yet destroyed.  It is the terror and permanency of death that is disarmed for the believer (1 Corinthians 15:55).

After death, the spirit of believers go directly into the presence of the Lord.  At the return of the Lord, the believer’s body is reunited with the spirit to dwell forever in the presence of the Lord.  Those who die as unbelievers are eternally lost and their destination is Hell.

Psychologists have identified stages of grief over loss by death to include the initial shock of a grief-causing event; emotional release through weeping; feelings of regret that one should have done more or done something differently; anger because of the loss; and a period of inertia when  one doesn’t care to go on or think they can go on.  Psychologists say that the grieving period varies.  It is longer for some, shorter for others.

But the Bible says that Jesus bore your grief and sorrow.  The Bible says Jesus was not only familiar–acquainted with grief–but that He bore your grief and sorrow (Isaiah 53:3-5).  Jesus bore your sin so that you no longer have to bear it.  He also bore your grief and sorrow, so why are you bearing it?

For the believer, death should be a joyous time because you are going to be with the Lord.  You are already living eternal life if you are a born-again Christian.  You are just entering into a new phase of eternity through death.  You are not to seek death, but you also are not to place such an undue emphasis on the present life that you prefer it to the one to come.

There is a sickness unto death.  In John 11:4 Jesus said the sickness of Lazarus was not unto death so this means that there is a  sickness unto death.

Divine healing is possible, even in the case of terminal illness.  Many people have been supernaturally healed of fatal illnesses.  But the goal of healing is not immortality.  Even the people Jesus healed and raised from the dead during His earthly ministry eventually died. The Bible does not promise immortality in this world as part of the healing covenant.  Do not be disturbed when Christians who believe and have ministered healing die from sickness.  This happened to Elisha, yet years later his bones had enough supernatural power to raise a dead man.  This confirms he could not have died because of lack of faith!

For the believer, death is the ultimate healing.  We are saved from the penalty of sin when we accept Jesus as Savior and Healer.  We can be continually delivered from its power, but only in the future when we go to be with the Lord are we saved from its presence.  The same is true for healing.  You can be healed from many ailments through prayer and/or medical help, but you will only be delivered from the presence of sickness through death or at the return of Jesus Christ.  In death, God performs the ultimate healing.  Death is swallowed up in victory because those who die in Christ are assured eternal life in the Kingdom of God and enter eternity whole in body, mind, and spirit.

The death of a child. Children are precious to God (Matthew 19:14) and we know that they go immediately into the presence of the Lord when they die.  As believers, we are assured that we will be with them again someday.  When King David’s child died, he declared “…I shall go to him..” (2 Samuel 12:23).

If you have lost someone in death who was not saved, the question of their eternal destiny must be left with the Lord.  God is merciful, and it is possible that in the final moments of life they made a commitment to Him.  You cannot  know for sure, so you must leave unanswered questions with the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29).

DEALING WITH  DEATH:

If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, then confess your sins to God and ask Him to forgive you.  Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Read John 3 in the Bible and see the topic of “Salvation” in this data base which details how to do this.

If you are a believer and have unconfessed sin in your life, confess your sin to God in the name of Jesus and He will forgive you.  The Bible says that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).  Confession is part of the model prayer that is to be prayed daily by believers (Matthew 6:9-13).

If you are a believer facing death, pray for God to give you the courage to be victorious despite pain and to go joyously into the presence of your Lord.  You need not fear death, because it is not the end, it is the beginning of a grand and glorious life with God.  You have the assurance of eternal life.  Still, it is common to feel a bit nervous about the transition, as we all are apprehensive about new experiences, leaving loved ones,  etc.   Focus your attention on the resurrection and eternity.  Study the following references: Job 19:25- 27; John 11:5-6;  Romans 8:10-11, 17-18, 22-23; 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44,54-58; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:1; I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Make proper preparations.   Death is part of life, and preparing for it is not morbid–it is wise.

Make sure your legal and financial affairs are in order.  In most cases, this is done by a will or a trust for which you may need legal assistance.  These documents indicate who is to receive your material goods after you pass away.  Express in writing your desires regarding whether or not you want your life extended by being hooked up to machines.  If you do not want this, say so.  Make a list of those who should be contacted at the time of your death.  List any credit cards, accounts, etc., that should be closed after your death.  Give instructions for your funeral and burial.   If you have children who are under age,  make arrangements for them, as well as household pets.  Settle any issues you have with people–i.e., extending and receiving forgiveness, debts, etc.

If you are dealing with someone facing death, listen with compassion to their concerns. Ask pertinent questions that are raised by what they have to say.  Do not discourage references made about death by someone who is terminally ill.  Their questions and comments can open the way for you to help the person prepare mentally, spiritually, and practically for death.  Pray that God will give them the courage to face death and go joyously into the presence of the Lord.  Encourage the sick one to commit themselves to total trust in God, so that whether in living or dying, they know they are secure in His hands (Job 13:15; 19:16; John 10:29.)

Never give up hope.  Even while making wise preparations for death, never give up hope for yourself or a loved one.  Unless you know that it is their appointed time to die, continue to pray for God’s healing to be manifested, whether it be in this life or the one to come. Pray in the Spirit, since the Holy Spirit knows the will of God and will make intercession through you to God  (Romans 8:26).

Call upon the Comforter.  One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to comfort in times of grief and sorrow, so when you are overwhelmed with grief, ask the Holy Spirit to come and fulfill His purpose of supernatural comfort (John 14:6).  As a believer, you have the Comforter resident within you.  He is always available in your times of need.  You are not alone.  The Lord is near those whose hearts are broken (Psalm 34:18).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DEATH:

Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:5)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.  (Psalm 31:9)

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18-19)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Show me, O Lord, my life’s end  and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.  (Psalm 39:4)

Why are you downcast, 0 my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. (Psalm 49:15)

Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. (Psalm 68:20)

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8-9)

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  (Psalm 116:15)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die … (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.  (Ecclesiastes 5:15)

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth; Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4, NKJV)

No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. (Ecclesiastes 8:8)

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. (Isaiah 25:8)

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  Surely He has borne our griefs  And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)

Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (Isaiah 57:2)

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?  (Hosea 13:14)

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living for to him all are alive. (Luke 20:38)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.  (John 5:24-25)

I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. (John 8:51.)

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  (John 14:1-3)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. (John 14:16)

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:26-27)

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. (John 16:20)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.   For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:8-9)

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:22-26)

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?   The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. (2 Corinthians 5:1-9)

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1:6)

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  (Philippians 1:21-23)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  (Philippians 3:20-21)

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.  (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.  (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10)

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  (1 Timothy 6:7)

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.  (Revelation 21:8)

(See also “Grief” in this database.)

Chastening and Discipline

CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE

 

DEFINITIONChastening  means to discipline in order to correct errors or faults.

FACTS ABOUT CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:

Reasons for chastening and discipline.  It is the nature of sin to rebel against authority.  This is what caused the original sin of Lucifer (Satan) and of man (Adam and Eve).  Because of this basic sin nature, we all rebel and need correction at times.

Pastors or spiritual leaders have the authority for discipline within a church or ministry because they have the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of followers (Hebrews 13:7).  You are to respond positively to your spiritual leaders so it will be a joy for them to lead you.

God expects parents to discipline their children.   The Bible says that a person without discipline will  die without instruction–spiritual death for sure, and maybe even physical death  (Proverbs 5:23).  Proverbs 23:13 says “do not withhold discipline from a child.”  Moses commanded Israel to teach their children to observe all of God’s words (Deuteronomy 32:46).  The Bible says: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”  (Ephesians 6:4, NASU).

God disciplines believers through His Word, trials of faith, and adverse circumstances.

The purposes of chastening and discipline.  It leads you to repentance  and corrects sin (1 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 7:9).  It keeps you humble (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It teaches you spiritual discernment (1 Corinthians 11:31-32) and to obey God’s Word (Psalm 119:67).  It encourages you to be faithful (1 Corinthians 5:6-7); protects the testimony of the church (1 Timothy 3:7);  and is restorative (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 6:14-15).

Chastening and discipline confirm God’s love for you.  It confirms that you are a child of God and that He cares about you (Hebrews 12:8, Psalms 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12).

DEALING WITH  CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:

Consider chastening a reason to examine your life.  As the Apostle Paul admonished, “…let a man examine himself…” (1 Corinthians 11:28).  Examine your life for sins of commission (things you should not do) and sins of omission (things you should have done but didn’t).

Confess any known sin.  Chastening sometimes occurs because of sin, so confess any known sin.  When you do, God will  cleanse you from all unrighteousness, meaning even sins of which you are not aware (1 John 1:8-9).  Pray the prayer of David:  “Cleanse me from secret faults” (Psalm 19:12).

Do not be discouraged by discipline.  Know that through chastening, God confirms His love for you (Hebrews 12:7-11). You are actually blessed when you are disciplined by God  (Psalm 94:12)

Remember what has been called the “golden rule” if you deal with situations that require discipline: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them”  (Matthew 7:12, RSV).  Always ask yourself:

-What does God’s Word say about this?

-How would Jesus handle this?

-How would I want to be treated in this situation if our positions were reversed and I was him and he was me?”

Use these biblical guidelines for discipline:

-Go first to the erring brother and solve the matter individually and personally if  possible.   If the erring believer will not listen to you and repent, go again with witnesses.  If he still refuses to hear you, take the matter before the entire Church  (Matthew 18:15-17).

-Discipline should be with a proper spirit.   Spiritually mature believers are to first judge themselves and then deal with offenders in a spirit of meekness, love, and helpfulness (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 15:1-2;  2 Corinthians 2:6-8, and Galatians 6:1-4).

-Correction should be done with the purpose of restoring the offender who has been taken captive by Satan (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

-Opportunity should be given for the erring brother to respond. If he repents, the leader can restore him to fellowship and ministry.  If the offense is serious, the offender may need to be removed from active ministry until he sets his own life and home in order.  If he is rebellious and does not repent, he must be removed from leadership and possibly, the church fellowship.

-Private problems and public sins should be handled differently (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 2:1-14; 1 Timothy 5:20).  In the passage from Matthew it seems the problem was between two individuals.  It was to be dealt with by enlisting the aid of other believers and, if the offender would not listen, by excluding him from fellowship.  In the other passages, the problems were matters of public record so they were dealt with publicly.

-Exercise discipline only on the basis of factual knowledge.  “Hearsay” evidence is not sufficient, and there must also be two or three witnesses to an offense (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1 and 1 Timothy 5:1,9).

-If correction is totally refused, discipline may include exclusion from the fellowship.  One of the greatest gifts God has given believers is fellowship with others believers. One of the most severe punishments is withholding such fellowship  (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 John 7-11; and 3 John 9-11).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT CHASTENING AND DISCIPLINE:

Blessed is the man you discipline, Oh Lord, the man you teach from your law.  (Psalms 94:12)

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.  (Psalm 119:67)

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke,  because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.  (Proverbs 3:11-12)

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.  When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.(1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?  If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)

Addictions

ADDICTIONS

 

(Drug, Alcohol, Gambling, Sexual)

DEFINITIONPeople with addictions have lost control over what they think, what they do, or what they ingest into their bodies.  The term “addiction” can be applied to harmful substances such as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.  It can also be applied to harmful behaviors such as compulsive gambling, sex, or mutilating your own body.  People can also develop addictions to things that in themselves are not harmful–such as food, hobbies, sports, etc.–but that are addictions when used in uncontrolled excesses.

FACTS ABOUT ADDICTION:

So you think you aren’t addicted?  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you need help:

-Are you using drugs other than those required and prescribed for medical reasons?
-Can you get through the week without using alcohol or drugs?
-Has your drug/alcohol abuse interfered with relationships with your parents,  children, spouse,relatives, or friends?
-Has your drug/alcohol use caused you to miss days at work or school?
-Have you been dismissed from school, a job, school, or other positions due to drug/alcohol use?
-Have you had  a fight when under the influence of alcohol or a drug?
-Have you done anything illegal in order to obtain alcohol or drugs?
-Have you been arrested for possession of illegal drugs?
-Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
-Have you had medical problems (like memory loss, hepatitis, convulsions, blackouts, flashbacksetc.) as a result of using drugs or alcohol?
-Do you feel sick when you try to stop using drugs or alcohol?

You are a slave to whatever controls you.  “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Peter 2:19).

You cannot please God if you are controlled by addictions.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:8-9).

Anything that harms your body spiritually, mentally, or physically is sin. The Bible declares:  “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) . Your body is a temple and you should treat it as a sanctuary.

Addictions cause you to lose control.  When you are under the influence of an addiction, you lose control of your will, your body, and your mental processes.  If you are not in control and God is not in control, guess who is?  Your enemy, Satan.

Drugs are related to sorcery.  Revelation 18:23 speaks of the “sorceries” of evil men.  The Greek word for sorceries is “pharmakeia”, meaning “enchantment with drugs”.  Revelation 9:21 indicates that those that do not repent of their “sorceries” (enchantment with drugs) cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

Legitimate drugs, when not abused, are not sinful.  Every good gift comes from God, and legitimate medications are gifts that  help restore health and alleviate pain.

There are many kinds of addictions.  A person can be addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, or pornography.  One may also be addicted to an activity that in itself is not wrong, but because of overindulgence in it becomes wrong.

God wants you free from all addictions.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

DEALING WITH ADDICTION:

Admit that your addiction is sin.  As long as you refuse to admit your addiction, you will be unable to deal with it. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy”  (Proverbs 28:13).

Cut the root, kill the fruit.  Addiction is a surface manifestation of a deeper need or problem in your life.  Think about why you take drugs, drink, smoke, gamble, etc.?  Do you feel better about yourself when you do it?  Do you do it to try to  escape heartache and difficulties in your life?   Whether it be heartache, difficulties, or negative emotions, etc., cut the root that is supporting your habit and you will kill the fruit–the addiction itself.

Ask God for deliverance.  Pray not only about your addiction, but the root causes behind it–your hurt, pain, rejection issues, etc.  Rebuke any generational spirits that would foster addictions. Bind the spirit of addiction from operating in your life:  “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). Renew your mind by the Word, prayer, and meditation.

Seek biblical rehabilitation.  If you need assistance in dealing with your addiction, find a biblical rehabilitation center or program.  The Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, Dream Centers, and Celebrate Recovery are excellent biblically-based programs.

Resist the devil.  “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…” (James 4:7-8a).  You resist the devil and his temptations by prayer and the Word of God which enables you to draw near to God.  You are not resisting the devil when you have cigarettes or drugs in your pocket just “in case it doesn’t work” and you need them.  Use your access to God to secure help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Change your lifestyle.  Do not hang out with people who use drugs or alcohol.  Do not frequent parties or places where drugs or alcohol are used or gambling is done.  Do not watch television programs that promote drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. through either the screenplay or advertising.  Do not return again to the bondage of addiction (Galatians 5:1).

Form a support network.  Form a personal support network of people who have successfully recovered from addictions and can help you do the same.  Celebrate Recovery and Teen Challenge provide excellent Christian support networks for addictions.

Know that you will be tempted.  Temptation is common when overcoming an addiction, but you can overcome it in the power of the Lord.  When you are tempted by the enemy to engage in your habit again remember that… “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”  (1 Corinthians 10:13).  There is always a way out.  Take it!

Remember that you never fail until you quit trying.  If you return to your addiction, do not give up in defeat.  Ask God to forgive you and strengthen you to take control over the addiction, then  begin again.  Rather than condemning yourself, think about ways you can respond better next time you are tempted.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ADDICTION:

I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. (John 8:34-35)

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18)

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep doing…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:19 and 24-25)

Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. (Romans 8:8-9)

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13-14)

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

For we are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage … For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  (Galatians 5:1,13)

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of a sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16-17)

And be not drunk with wine (or high on other drugs), wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.  (Ephesians 5:18)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.(Colossians 3:1-5)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:15-16)

A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Peter 2:19)

(See also “Alcoholism” and “Habits” in this database.)