Summary: This sermon deals with temptation and what happens when we choose to run with the wrong crowd.
Look Behind The Scenes
We live in a world where things are not what they seem to be. The movie Jurrassic Park has us believing we have seen gigantic dinosaurs roaming on an island in the Atlantic ocean, when in reality we have seen nothing more than some expensive models combined with some computer generated images. Yet the dinosaurs seem so real. I loved the science fiction series the Battlestar Galactica, which was one of the largest space battleships ever built. Yet when I looked behind the scenes, I discovered this powerful ship was really only about 18 inches long. The illusory power of the cameras did all the rest. Something else was determining what I was really seeing.
Even in the life of believers, things are not always what they seem. Suppose two of you went to Montana to preach the gospel and did not know a soul there. How would you feel, if time you entered the city, somebody came running out to the crowd saying, “You better listen to these people, they are servants of Jesus Christ telling you the way to be saved.” Everywhere you went, this person would yell out again and again the same thing. Now if you had not known a thing about this person, and the person had never met you, you might assume, God has sent somebody to be your partner in ministry. But if you look behind the scenes of the word of God, you’d recognize Satan is trying to trap you.
In the Bible, Paul and Silas had a girl following them day after day who was telling people to listen to them, because they were servants of the Most High God. This little girl was the true Cleo of her day. She had made her owners a lot of money by her fortune telling. But the more she pointed out Paul and Silas were from God, the more Paul sensed something was not right. He finally became so troubled inside that when he looked at the girl, he could look behind the scenes and saw a demonic spirit at work in her life. He said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her.”
At that moment, the spirit left her When the demon left her, so did her ability to tell the future. Before you get excited about some psychic or astrologer, look behind the scene and you will see that all of them who are true, received their power from demonic forces. The Bible teaches about the powers or darkness, and says for us to have nothing to do with them.
When we look back over this summer for the greater Cleveland area, we have to ask did the world go mad. What was behind the drive by shootings. What was behind the story of children dying in fires allegedly set by their mother? What was behind a young man dying for his shoes and a car. How many young people died deaths in which they were just doing the right thing of being young people. What was behind a car going 80 miles an hour in a residential neighborhood, entering the yard where kids where playing, killing some of them almost instantly. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg of the trail of pain and suffering and grief which followed all these incidents. Much of that grief is as painful in the hearts of family members and friends today as it was the day these things happened. Lives mangled and changed forever.
Has the world gone mad? No it has not. Jesus lets us know that if we look behind the scenes, we will see the enemy at work. He spoke of Satan, saying, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. Jesus tells those who were opposed to him in John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
I want you to notice that the devil is the master deceiver. Jesus calls him the father of lies. He can make a lie seem so good. How many of us are guilty of having believed one of them once or twice? But his ultimate aim is not simply our deception, but to actually destroy and kill us whenever possible. Satan hates whatever God Loves and God loves you. Have you ever had an argument over nothing? You and your spouse or your friend was talking and one said one thing, and the other said something else and you’re in an argument, that’s not worth two cents. The enemy has deceived us in his attempt to get to destroy us.