Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Satan’s Deceptions

“Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly–and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

(2 Corinthians 11:1-3)

The apostle Paul greatly desired the faithfulness of the brethren in Corinth. It was his intent that through his efforts they might fully please God. Therefore, he exhorted them, realizing that there were great impediments strewn by the Adversary.

You will note that the “simplicity that is in Christ” is here contrasted with that which corrupts. It is the devil’s intent to deceive man, and he sets to his task with great relish. His devices are many, and he is often successful in his strategy to destroy the unwary Christian. To thwart him, we ask you to consider the following ways in which Satan may deceive us:

  1. Through the power and influence of sin. The apostle Peter warned of the leaven of false teachers, “These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:17-19). Sin, in this case false doctrine, deceives. Whatever it is you think you are getting is different that what you actually receive. Sin has the power to enslave a man. It does so while he is reveling in the idea that he is free to do whatever it is he wants to do.
  2. Through self-deception. Again, the apostle Paul weighs in, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile’” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20). Man has the unhappy facility to convince himself of things that are not so. It is amazing that men have allayed themselves so often against the Almighty. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). Just because something seems smart to me, doesn’t make it so. I must depend upon God’s wisdom rather than my own. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
  3. Through evil people who cause division. In this, Paul understood the danger, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18). What Paul understood, many Christians don’t. Fomenters of strife are typically among the most duplicitous of people. They are two-faced, currying the favor of a man, then speaking evil of him behind his back. Such a person is to be marked and avoided.
  4. Through Deceitful Teachers. Paul, in describing those who sought to destroy his influence, wrote, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). No false teacher draws attention to himself, proclaiming, “I am a teacher of error.” They deceive with flattering words. They are, as Peter wrote, “wells without water” (2 Peter 2:17).

While Satan uses his wiles to deceive man, we can trust in the Almighty. What He promises He delivers. He can always be trusted. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).