In this study we want to consider something about deception. In our last study, we thought about lying and deception is closely related to that. We can be saved from a lot of problems in our life if we can identify Satan's deception.
Let us turn to 2 Thessalonians 2. Here we read about a world ruler who is going to come up to dominate the world in the last days, and he is going to be an instrument in Satan's hands. And he is going to be supported with supernatural powers from Satan. We read here that many people are going to be deceived. "The one who is coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved. For this reason God will send on them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (2 Thes. 2:9-12). So there we see how Satan is going to deceive people in the last days. Again we read in another verse that "The Spirit speaks explicitly that in the latter times, some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1).
Why does God allow spirits that deceive, to come into the midst of His people, to the point where it says here, some will fall away from the faith? We need to understand the reason for that. Heaven is a place of truthfulness. Jesus is the truth. His Spirit is the Spirit of truth. God is the God of truth. God has to separate among those who claim to be His children; those who speak the truth and those who tell lies. He uses many circumstances, many situations, and deceiving spirits as well, to separate these two groups. There are so-called believers who would tell lies when they can make some profit out of it and get some benefit from it for themselves. There are other believers who will not tell a lie under any circumstances, whatever the price they have to pay. These two categories of people cannot be put together. They sit together in a church building today but they will not sit together in heaven. God is going to separate between those who love the truth and those who do not love the truth.
Now one would think that everyone, who claims to be a Christian, loves the truth but it is not so. And only a person who is truthful; one who loves the truth and seeks to be upright in this area of truthfulness, will, in every area of his life, be protected from the deception of Satan, the liar. One of the first areas in which Satan seeks to deceive people is by preventing them from having any assurance of their salvation. I know in my own life, how it took me a number of years, to be sure that I was saved. I had accepted the Lord Jesus as my saviour and had asked Him to come into my heart, perhaps a hundred times, between the ages of 13 and 19. I don't know when He actually came; I don't even know the date. I was always unsure: am I saved or am I not saved? And then one day, I read a verse in John 6:37, where Jesus says, "Him that comes to me, I will never cast out." And I could say, 'Well, Lord, I have certainly come to you, at least a hundred times, if not more. Today I am going to believe you that you did not cast me out.' Now that was probably true long before that day, but I believed it only that day and then I got assurance of salvation. And once I got that assurance of salvation, it has never left me. It hasn't left me for 39 years now. God's word is the truth and, if I believe God's word, it will deliver me from all the lies of Satan. Satan tried to tell me for so long that I was not a child of God, but God's word, with the witness of the Spirit within my heart, assured me that I was.
The second thing Satan tries to do is, tell you a lie that God hasn't forgiven all your past sins. He has forgiven most of them perhaps, but some of those really serious sins you committed, they are not forgiven. There are so many believers who live under condemnation because they believe this deception, the lie of the devil. Don't believe him. He is a liar! The Bible says in 1 John 1:7, "If we walk in the light (and that means we are honest before God), the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins." Every sin is cleansed away by the blood, when we come into the light and acknowledge our failure and our sin.
So, the third way you find that Satan seeking to deceive is, to tell people that even if God forgave you, every time He looks at you, He still remembers all those terrible things you did against Him. That is another lie. You shouldn't believe Satan. He is a liar. In Hebrews 8:12, the Lord says , "I will be merciful to their inequities. I will not remember their sins anymore." I had this problem for at least a couple of years after I had assurance of my salvation. I thought, 'Yeah, well, I know God has forgiven me but I am not too sure whether He still remembers all those things I did and holds that against me,' until one day, I believed this verse in Hebrews 8:12 - I will not remember their sins anymore. And I said, 'Lord I believe that. That not a single sin I have ever done in my life, you will remember.' He doesn't hold a single thing that you have done against Him. When He looks at you, it is as though you have never sinned. That is, if you had been honest with God in the first place.
We read about Satan tempting Jesus. It is quite amazing to see when this happened. We read in Matthew 3:17, the voice from heaven came at Jesus' baptism saying, "This is My beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Immediately after that, Jesus went into the wilderness and the devil tempted Him. The first thing the devil said was, "If you are the son of God," questioning the voice of God that came from heaven! The voice had said very clearly, "This is my beloved son," and the devil says, "Are you really? - if you are the son of God...". This type of temptation also comes to us as the children of God. The Holy Spirit has come giving us an assurance that we are God's children and we call God our Father. But the devil comes to us and says, 'Are you really?' What are you going to believe now; those feelings that the devil gives you or God's unchangeable word? Feelings will come and feelings will go and every feeling is deceiving. But God's word is unchanging. That is where we put our faith.
The devil seeks to make us feel condemned by so many lies like this. He tells us that we are accepted by God on the basis of our works. This is another lie. We are not accepted by God on the basis of our works. We are accepted by God on the basis of our repentance and faith in Christ. We are accepted by God in Christ. What do I mean by this? Supposing one morning, you didn't get time to read the Bible and you rush off to work. Are you going to have an accident that day? The devil will tell you that you might. That is superstition; it is a lie. I am not accepted by God because I read the Bible in the morning. The only thing that can break my fellowship with God is conscious sin, where I have deliberately disobeyed God in some area where He made His will clear to me. If I have deliberately sinned, then my fellowship with God is broken, but not otherwise. May be I didn't get time to read the Bible or maybe I didn't pray and I went off to work. If my conscience is clear, that is, as far as I know I am not consciously sinning, my fellowship with God is clear. I can read the scriptures later on in the day. I am not going to have an accident. We must not believe all these lies that the devil says.
Think of the lies that the devil tells us in relation to the future. What is anxiety? Anxiety is the result of all the lies the devil tells us, which are going to happen to us in the future. I think it is true to say that 99% of the things that we worry about never take place. Think of the things you worried about in past years. They haven't taken place in your life. But you worried about them, got anxious and wasted a lot of time, perhaps a lot of sleep as well, but none of those evil things which you thought might happen, have happened, except maybe 1%. Have you realized how much time and energy - emotional energy you wasted in past years, worrying about things that were never going to take place? Who did that? Who caused all that anxiety and worry in your mind? That was Satan. He was the one who kept on telling you about this thing and that thing and the other thing that might happen to you, or to your children, or your wife.
Let us make a decision today that we are not going to let the devil fool us anymore. We are going to love the truth and we are going to expose the deception and lies of Satan.