Summary: Today, we will be looking at 5 types of self-deception, that we need to be on guard against. And if we heed the warning, we will avoid experiencing, "THE AGONY OF DECEIT".
"THE AGONY OF DECEIT"
TEXT: I Corinth. 3:18-23, 6:9-11; Gal. 6:7; James 1:22,26
She woke up early and decided to take a walk. The air was clear and brisk, the birds were singing to one another in the trees. She stopped for a moment to say hello, and pat a mother deer and her two baby deer. And the MORNING sun was beginning to sneak over the distant horizon, turning the morning sky into a symphony of brilliant colors. Oh, how she loved her life with Adam in the garden.
As she was walking, she realized that she had walked into the middle of the garden. And there standing with splendor and power, was the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil". It was a truly magnificent tree, it’s limbs were broad and strong and stretched out into the garden, bearing it’s divine fruit.
Suddenly, she perceived that she was not alone, and she looked and saw The Serpent. The serpent agreed with Eve, that this was a truly magnificent tree and he began to entice her with his shrewd words of deception. "Did God really say that you can’t eat from this tree? Surely you won’t die, if you eat from it, God just doesn’t want you to eat from it, because God wants to hold you back, He doesn’t want you to be as wise as Him, so Go on, take a bite, you’ll see, it won’t hurt you, doesn’t it look just delicious, come on take a bite, you know that you really want to, besides, Eve you deserve it, you owe it to your self". As she pondered what the serpent said, it began to seem more and more reasonable to her. And as she reached out her hand towards the fruit, a strange and eerie silence fell over the entire Garden, it was as if the garden itself had taken a deep breathe, in fear and unbelief at what was now taking place. The dark tides of deception had begun, and it’s waves are powerful and forceful, as they strive to pull men in, and move them along with ever increasing force, until they bring there pry crashing against the rocks of self-destruction. As Eve bit into the fruit she experienced the full blunt of the blow, she suffered and stands as a testimony to the "THE AGONY OF DECEIT".
Tragically, we know (many times by personal experience), that deception did not end in the garden. People still deceive, and are deceived by both strangers and loved ones. The winds of deception are still blowing and the waves of self-destruction are still crashing.
As I was studying I Corinthians, I noticed a phrase that appeared 3 times in the letter, "DO NOT BE DECEIVED". This phrase really caught my attention as I reflected on the power of self-deception. I began to think about how many times Christians, as they serve the Lord and serve the church, allow the waves of deception to carry them, and how many times they also crash into the rocks of self-destruction.
Today we will not only look at the 2 verses that are in the chapters of I Corinthians that we are studying this month, BUT we also look at several other passages in the New Testament that give the same warning, some written by Paul and some by others.