Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday, March 7 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 13-14; Psalm 48; Luke 4.
Today's scripture focus is 1 John 5:18-21.

18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

We are finishing off 1 John today.  He closes the chapter basically summing up the message of the book - we are born of God when we believe in Him, we are not under the power of the evil one, we are capable of recognizing false teaching and false teachers because we know the truth; cling to the truth, guard yourself with the truth.  The following is from Mark Driscoll's sermon on this passage.

He says, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin.” This is habitual, ongoing practice. His point is simply this: That a Christian and sin may meet, but never marry. “The one who was born of God” – that’s Jesus – “keeps him safe and the evil one” – that’s Satan – “can do him no harm.”

This next verse I will unpack as a word picture for you. I don’t claim to be a Greek scholar but, but all the work I’ve done, this is a very, very, very terrifying word picture I want you to ruminate on with me for a season. “We know that we are the children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” Here’s the word picture. Okay, I want you to pay close attention to this. Here’s how Satan works. One of the great benefits to being a Christian is knowing how your enemy works so you can protect yourself against him and live in holiness instead of sin, and taste life and not death.

Here’s how Satan works, friends. Here’s the word picture in the Greek New Testament. Now I’ll expand and embellish it a little bit, but bear with me. Give me some liberty. The picture is that Satan sits down, like a pedophile. Do you know how a sexual predator works with a small child? This is my greatest fear, by the way. Dying – I’m not really afraid of. What I’m most afraid of is that a predator gains the trust of my children. Parents, is this your greatest fear? That a predator would gain the trust of your child, to seduce them into a trusting relationship so that they could abuse them, harm them, and kill them. Every parent here, is that your greatest fear? That’s my greatest fear. That’s my greatest fear. My greatest fear is that, is that someone would abuse my child. I have two sons, two daughters, I adore my kids. The word picture here is that you and I are like kids and Satan is a predator – he’s a predator. That what Satan does is what every predator does. What every predator does is he puts out all the things that kids like so they will come over to his house. And slowly, he gives them exactly what they want: ice cream, lollipop, action figure, doesn’t matter. He’ll give them whatever they want so that they trust him. As soon as they trust him, then he begins to slowly work them into a relationship for abuse. In time, the predator sits down. And the child sits on the lap of the predator. And the predator strokes the child’s hair, and the child feels safe and calm and secure, and they fall asleep. And then the predator does unspeakable things to the child, ultimately with the intention of harming them and killing them.

That’s how a predator works. Usually these predators are possessed. And the reason they’re possessed is they’re just working with the same means of attack that Satan himself uses. You need to know this. We all think we’re bigger and smarter and better than we are. We’re nothing but silly little kids. If you want sex, if you want money, if you want fame, if you want power, if you want knowledge, if you want control, I tell you what. Satan will be happy to give that to you. If you want to sin, he’ll give it. Smile at you. His whole goal is to draw you near so that you’ll trust him. Some of you actually believe that he is good, and you believe that God is not. You believe that God is trying to keep you from good sex and good fun and good money and getting high and having fame and being powerful and having attention. And you have this view of Satan as good, and God is bad. And that Satan gives you what you want, and that God tells you, “No.” Satan’s whole goal, friends, is this: to get us silly little kids to take his gifts so that he can earn our trust, so that we will climb upon his lap, so that we will fall asleep feeling we are safe and secure and protected, so that he can do with us exactly what he pleases.

That’s the picture where it says that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. The picture is that the whole world is asleep in the lap of Satan. That the whole world is asleep in the lap of the enemy. There is no fighting. There is no kicking. There is no defending. There is no recognition. Just peaceful, calm, sleep. Can you think of anything more terrifying? This is one of the most terrifying word pictures I’ve ever seen. The whole world has taken his presents, come to his house, sat on his lap, and sleeps in his arms.

When God says, “Sin is bad,” like foolish little kids, they argue and go, “You’re just mean. You don’t give us what we want. He gives us what we want. He really loves us.” Friends, he will give you anything so that he can abuse you. That’s what a predator does.

Is that as terrifying to all of you as it is to me?  I have read enough articles and seen enough news and talk shows to know how predators work, but I never likened that to the way we are seduced by Satan.  It seems so much more personal all of a sudden.  So much more individual.  Does anyone else feel that way? 

The hero in all of this is the Lord Jesus, and he shows up in the next verse. “We know also that the Son of God” – that’s the Lord Jesus – “has come.” Here’s why he came. “He has given us understanding.” Okay, the picture is this. We’re asleep in the arms of our enemy, and just as he’s about to abuse and defile and kill us, the Lord Jesus shows up and he wakes us up. And we have understanding. We look up and we see the face of the enemy and we realize that grin is gone. And we see him for who he is, and we see his plan for what it was, and we see that sin does lead to death. He gives us understanding. The world sleeps in the arms of Satan. The Christian wakes up, eyes wide open, able to understand exactly the scenario they have been lured into.

Furthermore, he goes on to say, “He has given us understanding so that we many know him who is true. And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” I want to camp on this real quick. “He is the true God.” Do you see that? Jesus Christ, he is the true God. Some people say, “Well, the concept of Jesus being God was a myth that accrued like a legend, fable, or folklore hundreds of years after the time of the writing of the New Testament. It’s never said in the Bible.” It is. Jesus Christ, he is the true God and eternal life. 

I have thought of this song a few times lately.  Does anyone else remember this one from way back?

Read your Bible; pray every day;
Pray every day; pray every day;
Read your Bible; pray every day;
And you'll grow, grow, grow.

How do we avoid false teaching?  How do we guard ourselves from idols?  Compare everything to what we KNOW to be true.  Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  2 John 1:1-3.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Numbers 15-16; Psalm 49; Luke 5.


Roxie said...

That absolutely IS a terrifying way to think about Satan's control over the world. Thinking of a few of my in-laws, it makes complete sense. A feeling of safety, of calm and peace lulls them (and sometimes me too) into thinking that being a Christian is NOT an ongoing choice to walk beside Jesus, to keep learning and trusting and following. Satan blinds us all. The song choice is perfect. I do need to remember to read my Bible and pray every day, not only for my own growth, but also to weaken Satan's control on those around us...on the world around us. Thanks, Miriam. Happy Thursday to you too!

TammyIsBlessed said...

That word picture description is pretty intense, and a wake up call! We flirt with evil like it's nothing, not even realizing what we're playing with.

We're also equally guilty of treating God too casually or lightly too, forgetting about His awesome holiness.

Miriam said...

Very true, Tammy.