Saturday, August 20, 2011

Maximize the Word!


Set the stage for the writing of Paul’s 1st and 2nd letter to the Corinthians.

· Paul made his first visit to Corinth in AD52 alone …

Acts 18: 1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

· He established a Church in this “market” city of Venus along with Aquila and Priscilla, who were believers newly come from Rome.

· He wrote 1 Corinthians in AD 58 from Ephesus as a letter to correct disorder and bring discipline to the believers at the Church in Corinth.

· About a year later, AD59, while on his way to Corinth, Paul met Titus in Macedonia and hearing things concerning the Corinthian Church wrote 2 Corinthians and sent it ahead of him with Titus to reinforce his position, encourage the Church and prepare for his coming.

· He references the issue of 1 Corinthians 5 and further instructs the church to forgive and restore the repentant fornicator …

2 Corinthians 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

devices = Noema - Thoughts; strategies; purposes; desires; plans – (that which is going on in his head)

The devil has a plan – but he can’t work it by himself … he needs people!

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have Life, and may have it in abundance.

1. Diminish

2. Divide

3. Destroy

This morning we are going to take another look at this adversary, the devil, and attempt to discover the tools of his trade. In order to better understand how he hopes to accomplish his goals, let’s look back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, to the very first time we meet the devil in scriptures. So, without further ado, may I present to you:

The Devil and His Devices

Genesis 3

1 ¶ Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ’You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’ ?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;

3 "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ’You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Notice here that the devil enters into the garden moment, that place God created and gave to His children so that they could experience the abundant life. This garden was the sanctuary God made for His children.

The devil desired to diminish, divide and destroy the plan of God … the resource God gave for abundant life – the sanctuary of God for His children … but how could he ever do it? He needed help …

The Garden of Eden, by the way, means the Garden of Pleasure. Pleasure in its true sense is what is pleasing to both God and man. When either one is not pleased, it is because the plan of the devil is at work … he is trying to diminish, divide and destroy. Satan hates the thought of either God or people being happy. He can’t stand the thought of them both being happy.

The devil has the same goals today in every relationship – he wants to cause displeasure. The devil enters into the place where God is pleased with His children and into the place where His children are pleased with Him … Into the garden of God’s pleasure to steal, kill and destroy. Or, as we said: to diminish, divide and destroy. He hates peace

When a husband is no longer content with his wife, or an employer is no longer pleased with his employees, or when an individual is no longer happy with their life – the devil is at work somewhere. His ultimate goal is to make God unhappy, and an unhappy you might just make that happen.

The devil knows that if he can make people unhappy with God or with something God gave them, God will then be unhappy Himself – and ultimately He will be displeased with man. It is a win, win for the devil. The devil is trying to get to God through you! He hates the thought of God being happy, he hates the thought of God being pleased.

If the devil cannot defeat you he will attempt to defeat someone whose defeat will defeat you.

This is what the devil did to God through Adam and Eve. The devil cannot defeat God but we can … only we can defeat God’s purpose and God’s plans. Yes us! At least for our lives. When we diminish the Word of God we are working with the devil to divide and destroy the plans of God.

When you see an individual no longer pleased in the place where God has put them, with the things God has given them, doing what God wants, God’s way … you can be assured that the devil is at work somewhere.

Displeasure and discontentment are the fruit of the devil’s work.

I am not saying that the person who is displeased is automatically at fault. There are many things which can make a person displeased. God was displeased with the behavior of Adam and Eve for example. However, when someone is displeased, somewhere the root can be found in something out of order – it may be our own desires or it could be the actions of others who affect us – but somewhere evil is involved.

The devil wants us out of the garden – outside of the pleasure of God – either we displeased with Him or He displeased with us and both if at all possible.

Why – remember the devil’s desires are to diminish, divide and destroy the Sanctuary God has given His people. Yet, you are not the devil’s main target, but you are a means through which he might reach his goal … he hates Jesus and he hates anyone and anything that pleases God … especially a garden, a sanctuary, a church where people are exalting the Word of God in unity, building the Kingdom on a solid foundation.

In these verses from Genesis 3 we see the devil for the first time in scriptures. The immediate picture we get from this initial glimpse is that the devil is subtle – crafty – cunning – shrewd – tricky.

In his attempt to diminish the Word of God, divide mankind from God and destroy the garden experience, the devil uses his best device to manipulate Eve. What is the devil’s device? - Deception

Only a person who is deceived will diminish the Word of God.

Only a person who is deceived will hide from God.

Only a person who is deceived will live outside of the pleasure of God.

The worst thing about being deceived is that you don’t know it.

How did the devil deceive Eve? By creating subtle displeasures in her life.

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Do not be deceived – Neither dissatisfaction, nor disagreement equals direction.

Don’t fall for the subtle deceptions of the devil: Exalt the Word!

· There is Only One Way to Heaven

· Sex outside of marriage is sin

· Same sex unions are prohibited in scripture

· We are admonished to love, give, and forgive even our enemies

· God will judge the living and the dead

Only the Ignorant or the Arrogant would ever:

Diminish the Word of God

Divide God and His Children from one another

Destroy the Sanctuary

Don’t Be Deceived! Don’t minimize – rather – Maximize the Word!