Have you see the new $100 bills? These new bills are so designed that it makes it more difficult to make a counterfeit bill. The more excellent something is the more likely it will be imitated. There are many false diamonds and rubies, but who goes about making counterfeit pebbles? However, the more excellent things are the more difficult it is to imitate them in their essential character and intrinsic virtues. I was attending a community meeting one time and a man introduced himself to me following the meeting and said, “You’re a Christian.” Not having identified myself during the meeting, I asked, “How did you know?” Because, unlike the others in the meeting you never used a foul word. So it is with Christian virtues and graces.
The devil and men’s own deceitful hearts tend to imitate those things that have the highest value. So no graces are more counterfeited than Christian graces. For these are the virtues where the beauty of a true Christian is seen most clearly.
Paul writes, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Why does Paul write that to the Galatian Church? It is obvious that the Church is having difficulty in knowing what is genuine and what is counterfeit. The Devil’s most beautiful ruse is to convince us that he does not exist. But that which is counterfeit is Satan. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
We forget, it is a spiritual warfare! Paul writes, 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. Satan cannot, head-on, destroy the Church or the Christian. Remember Jesus’ words to Peter: I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. So what does Satan have to do? We have to freely choose to come to him. He does that with deception, counterfeit faith.
At one time it seemed that worship of Satan was rare and found only among uneducated people. It was something that we connected with voodoo, and certainly held very privately. Satanic worship is a growing reality in our society. It is no longer confined to California or some way off place. It is very real here in Kansas, because of the isolated places that individuals can go to do their worship.
If Satanic worship was only confined to Devil worship (practicing sacrifices and drinking blood) perhaps it would be so alarming, but it is not. Because why we certainly don’t agree with this type of belief or behavior, it is clear and visible to us. But the new contemporary Satanic worship comes camouflaged. In some cases it almost looks like Christianity. At the start of World War I, the British War Ministry dispatched a coded message to officials in a British Colony in a remote area of Africa. The message said, “War declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district.” They got a prompt reply: “Have arrested ten Germans, six Dutch, four French, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately who we’re at war with.”
More than seventy percent of Americans confess to being Christians. But Satan is now much wiser than we think, and tempts us by making us rich, not by making us poor. We used to think that Satan’s battle plan was to make us worship him. But all Satan needs to do to win, is stop us from worshiping the one true God.
Gallup Poll found that one out of four Americans believes in ghosts. And that one out of every six believes that he has communicated with the dead. Many American adults believe in psychic phenomena, and now it is a growing industry to consult an astrologer, medium, tarot card reader, or psychic. The TV is filled with psychic readings. It is estimated that 10 percent of the population depends on their reading. One radio station has “love at night” with your favorite psychic reading.
There has been a great increase in those things that have been associated with the occult. Psychic readings, fortune telling, horoscopes, etc. Magic arts, black magic, witchcraft, etc. Spiritism, demonic, superstition, etc. They are taking two avenues into our lives, as religion and as entertainment. Neither are acceptable. Just to do something for the sport of it, or participate in it for the fun of it, is not wise. In religion they appear as new religious groups, new churches, cults. I was talking with a young man from one of our local colleges. A native American and proud of his heritage. He said, “I have special abilities and can sense and know things around me. I know that you won’t believe this being the “educated” person you are, but I practice Witchcraft and am one with nature.”
The Devil sells us a bill of goods and can cost us our souls. Simon had practiced sorcery and amazed the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and the people gave him their attention, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But then they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!
1) Who or what is at the center of worship? It should be Jesus.
2) Does it stand up in the Word of God? Test it against the Bible.
3) Salvation and Christ are never for sale.