jump to navigation

The Face of the Enemy (2 Corinthians 11:1-15) February 22, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in False Doctrine, False Teachers, Religion, Satan, Second Corinthians, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership.
add a comment


(2 Corinthians 11:1-15)

The hardest enemy to face is the one that you do not recognize. This is what Paul fears in this passage. He identifies both the characteristics of the enemy as well as those of the true preacher of the gospel, so that the Corinthians might not be deceived by the enemy. He begins by asking them a very interesting question…

I. Why do you put up with the enemy (verses 1-4)?

A. Their teaching is defiling (verses 2 and 4).

Paul emphasizes the importance of a pure message. There were those in Paul’s day who preached an impure message. Paul describes this as “another Jesus”, a “spirit” and a “gospel” of a different kind. This was a huge problem in those days. It is still a problem today. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul describes those who preach a different Jesus as storeowner who waters down the wine that he sells.

This is a serious charge. In 2 Corinthians 10:6, Paul says that he was ready to punish, to take vengeance on those who pollute the gospel of Christ. Paul is not having an intellectual debate in this book. He is battling for the purity of the church.

In 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul mentions that his gospel message was unadulterated. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “What adulterates the gospel? What makes the true gospel another gospel?” Based on 2 Corinthians 11:4, I would say any of the following adulterate the gospel:

1. Any presentation of Jesus other than what is presented in the word of God corrupts the truth. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God who became man, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for my sins as predicted by the Old Testament, was buried and rose again according to the Old Testament, and ascended to heaven to take His rightful place as Lord of the universe. Any direct or even indirect denial of Christ’s character defiles the truth.

2. Any reception of a new Spirit other than that taught in the Scriptures is also suspect. When I hear that I must have some experience with the Holy Spirit that is superior to trusting Christ and receiving the indwelling of the Spirit, I have reason to doubt the truth.

3. Finally, when I see a list of what one must do to be saved, even if the list is of good things, I am aware that another gospel is being preached. In other words, an addition of any means that makes salvation possible other than solely by God’s grace. This applies to those who believe you have to live righteously to stay saved. If I teach that I have to live right to be saved or to stay saved, then I am adding a human means to my salvation. That, in God’s estimation, is rotten fruit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

B. The enemy is deceptive (verses 3-4, 13-15).

In this way, Paul connects these people with Satan. In the same way that Satan deceived Eve, these false teachers try to deceive God’s people. He says that they like Satan transform themselves. They are not what they appear to be nor are they who they say they are. They are liars and are not to be trusted. They are deceptive. This should not surprise us. Satan’s tactic never really changes. He deceived Eve in the garden and since that day he has continued to deceive the world, being so effective at it that Paul says, Satan, the god of this world has blinded their eyes.

C. Their end is destruction (verse 15). They share not just their character with Satan but also their end. Jesus warned in Matthew 25:41 that those judged by God will have their place in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers. Although there are multitudes who are following Satan and his messengers into the lake of fire, it is specifically reserved for Satan and those who preach for him, even if those messengers are naming the name of Christ.

II. The other side of the question is this, why do you reject your spiritual father (verses 1-2 and 5-11)? You should trust me to put a stop to Satan’s doomed deceivers who are trying to destroy your purity.

A. Why? Because I have been a jealous father to you (verse 2).

What was in those days the great desire of every father for his daughter? That she be taken care of, that she given to a man, to a husband, who would care for her, protect her. Great gifts of money as a dowry were provided in order to guarantee that the daughter would have a good husband. Paul is saying, I greatly desired to find a husband for you who would care for you, who would protect you. I have labored and sorrowed, preaching Christ at every opportunity, just so that I might present you pure with a full dowry to Jesus Christ. Paul took his responsibility for the church very seriously.

The pastor or missionary and other ministers of the gospel often have two families, the physical family and then the people for whom he cares spiritually. That is a very difficult task to handle and Paul chose not to get married for that very reason. He had his hands full with his spiritual family.

B. I have also been a generous father to you (compare verse 3 with verses 5-9). My knowledge (verse 6) and my sacrifice (verses 7-9) speaks for itself.

We reveal through our knowledge of God whether we are true ministers or not (verse 5-6). This is a constant. Effective ministry is not based on numbers of attendees or whether people like us or not. It is based on God revealing Himself through us. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:5-11. If people do not see Christ revealed in our lives and our message, our ministry will be in vain. People have to see more than good morals. That’s why Paul condemned these false teachers. They made themselves the standard of good morals. That’s why upholding the Ten Commandments as a standard to live by is, in and of itself, a dead end. The best they can learn through the Ten Commandments is how evil and vile they are. People have to see Jesus in us.

Jim Elliot once prayed, “Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”

How then do we make sure than not only our message but also our lives reveal Jesus Christ? One way is through sacrifice. Paul mentioned several times throughout his epistles, that he did not take advantage of those to whom he ministered because he feared that would hinder the ministry. Paul is not saying that ministry does not deserve or need money. What is saying is this, our ministry must not be motivated by money or the need for money. To the extent that our ministry is money dependent and not God dependent, to that same extent our ministry will be suspect.

C. I have been a loving father to you (verses 10-11).

There was nothing more important to Paul than to please His Lord. He had a passion for preaching the gospel because he had a passion for Christ. He also had a passion for people because he had a passion for Christ. That, of course, is why he was passionate to protect those people from the false teachers. He was looking out for them to protect them because he loved them.



Christmas Sermon from Genesis (preached on First Advent 2008) November 30, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Christmas, Genesis, Religion, Satan, Sermons.
1 comment so far


(Genesis 3:14-15)

When we think of the promise of Christmas, we normally think of peace on earth, good will toward men. That is a wonderful promise but it is not the first promise. That is to be found here in the very first book of the Bible in the garden of Eden.

The first promise of Christmas was made to the serpent (verse 14a).

The reason for the promise, “Because you have done this…” (verse 14a). We are all familiar with the story of how that the serpent tempted Eve but we need to remind ourselves of who he is and what exactly it is that he has done.

Who is the serpent (compare verse 14 with Revelation 12:9)? If you turn from the first book in the Bible to the last book, you find it clearly stated who this serpent is. He is the Devil, Satan, the great dragon. The first promise of Christmas was made to Satan.

What is it that he has done (and continues to do and will continue to do as long as God allows) that results in God making this promise to him? He deceived Eve. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2 that Adam was not deceived, he was not tricked, he knew exactly what he was doing but that Eve listened to the serpent and was deceived. The passage we have just looked at in Revelation tells us that he is the deceiver of the whole inhabited world. The main work of the devil as described by the Bible is not bringing trouble into my life. The work of the devil or even of his demons is not causing flat tires so that I can lose my temper and be in a bad mood. The main work of the devil is deception. That is how he begins his career and that will be his main work in the end.

Satan’s deception has two parts. Genesis 3:4 is part one, “You will not surely die.” “If you are convinced that you can get away with sin, sooner or later you’re going to do it” (Ray Pritchard).

Genesis 3:5 is part two. God is denying you what you really want. He knows that if you eat of the tree, you will be like Him. Then you will be truly great and truly happy. If you can be convinced that God is withholding something good from you, then you are ripe for deception. The minute you think that you can grab that forbidden happiness without being caught, you will grab at it.

The symbol of the promise (verse 14b). Just as God gave the rainbow to remind us of the power of His judgment, God caused the snake to have to crawl on its belly to remind us of the deception of sin. We have an indication of the importance of this symbol in Isaiah 65:25. This chapter describes for us the earthly kingdom that Christ will set up when He comes for the final time. This kingdom is described as a place where the wolf and the lamb, the lion and the ox will live in peace with one another. That same verse points out that the snake will still be crawling on its belly. Even in the kingdom of righteousness with Jesus Christ Himself on the throne ruling this earth, there will still be a reminder of the deception of Satan and of sin. Perhaps you have never thought of the snake as a symbol for Christmas but it is that very deception that made and makes Christmas both necessary and joyful.

The reality of the promise – (verse 15). The symbol is important because it helps us to focus on the reality of the promise of Christmas.

The first promise of Christmas was not made to a snake. The snake was a tool of Satan’s deception and is now a symbol of that deception. The first promise of Christmas was made to Satan and to his seed. Now God is not talking here about the physical seed of Satan. There is no reason to think that Satan has ever fathered children. On the other hand, it is also obvious that this promise goes beyond the hatred and fear of snakes by humankind. For one thing, not all snakes are poisonous, in fact, most are not and not everyone hates snakes. So this promise goes beyond the physical seed of the snake but extends to all those who follow Satan and his ways.

Jesus refers to this in John 8:44. Jesus according to verse 31 is speaking to a group of Jews who profess to believe in Him. As He reveals to them their self-righteousness and that their belief is actually in their ethnic and religious heritage, Jesus makes this statement, “You are of your father, the devil…” What proof does Jesus offer? They believe the lies of the devil. So those who believe Satan are his spiritual children.

What then is this Christmas promise that God makes to Satan and to those who believe his lies. The first promise of Christmas is a promise of defeat (Compare with Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10, 11-15). “Their head will be bruised.” John the Revelator emphasizes this when he describes the end times. That old serpent (verse 2) and all those who follow him (verses 8-9) will be destroyed and will be in the lake of fire forever (verses 10 and 12-15).

The fulfiller of the promise can be none other than Jesus Christ (Compare Genesis 3:15 with 4:1, 25). Think about Eve as she is listening to this. She realizes that through her seed this deception will be corrected. The deceiver will be destroyed. It is no wonder that she was thrilled when Cain was born. She has a man from the LORD. Perhaps he is the one who will destroy the serpent. But she sees Cain is not right before God. Perhaps then she puts her hopes in Abel. Perhaps he is the one who will destroy the serpent. But Cain murders Abel. Then God gives her another son, Seth. She still has hope that through her seed Satan will be destroyed. Eve passes away. Seth passes away. Thousands of years later a man is sitting, wondering what he is going to do. The woman to whom he is engaged is pregnant. He intends to privately divorce her but then an angel appears to him and says, “Do not be afraid to marry this woman. This baby is conceived through the Holy Spirit. Call Him Jesus for He will save His people from their sin.”

You see, Jesus is the Seed of the woman! (Compare verse 15 with Matthew 1:23-25). That same angel told Joseph that this baby is the promised seed of the virgin as told in Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall…bear a son and his name will be called Immanuel, that is, God with us.” God Himself is the seed of the woman. God Himself is the one who will defeat the deceiver and correct the deception. God Himself is the fulfiller of the promise of Christmas. Galatians 4:4-5 tells us that when the time was perfect, God sent His Son to be born of a woman, subject to the law of Moses, and this Son would redeem those under the law, those who could not keep the law but were subject to its punishment. He is the Seed of the woman.

He is the victor over Satan (verse 20). Now we have seen that Jesus is victorious over Satan in the day of judgment but the Bible tells us that Jesus is already victorious over Satan.

This means that sin is vanquished (1 John 3:8). The works of Satan, the deception that he propagates, and the sin that results from that deception will be destroyed. That is why Jesus came, for that very purpose, to fulfill the promise that God made to Satan. Your works will be destroyed, sin will be defeated, you and your seed will be crushed.

This also means that death is vanquished (Hebrews 2:14-15). How? Through death. Through Jesus’ death on the cross He destroyed the one who has the power of death. When Jesus died on the cross, He conquered Satan and removed the one, who through his deception, brought death into the human race. I know that Adam and Eve share responsibility but the writer of Hebrews is reminding us that it is Satan’s deception that brought death into play. I was born condemned to die but through the death of Christ and my faith in Him, I have been released from that sentence, from the power of death, and have been given eternal life.

When John Wesley wrote “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” he included a verse based on Genesis 3:15 that beautifully describes Jesus as the Victor. Our hymnal like many others omits this verse but I want to read it for you this morning.

“Come, Desire of Nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home.

Rise the woman’s conquering Seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Adam’s likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place,

Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love,

Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.”

He paid a price for this victory (Compare verse 15b with 1 Peter 2:21-25). Yes, Jesus fulfilled the promise of victory over Satan, this first promise of Christmas but it cost Him. His heel was bruised. There are a number of passages which we could look at but I want to focus on just one. Jesus suffered, he was reviled, mocked. Verse 24 tells us that it was by His stripes that we are healed. His pain was real, His death was real. It was the price that He paid for us so that He and us with Him could be victorious over Satan, sin, and death. Verse 25 tells us what we must do. Return to Jesus. Return to the one who created us. Return to the one who bought us, redeemed us. Return to the one who bruised Satan’s head, while His heal was being bruised. Return to Him. Turn away from the deception of sin. Your sin will one day be revealed and their will be consequences unless you turn to Jesus and allow Him to take the consequences for your sin. Do not believe the lie that God is withholding something good from you. All that is truly good in this life is to be found only in Jesus Christ. Turn to Him in faith for salvation and victory. The promise of Christmas to Satan is not a pleasant promise for Him but it can be for you, if you switch sides and trust Christ.

Answers to questions from Sunday night (Revelation 16-17) October 9, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Antichrist, Babylon, Day of the Lord, Demons, Eschatology, Imminency, Judgment, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Satan.
add a comment

What is the reaction of the two angels to the first three bowls or vials of God’s wrath (verses 5-7)?

  • They recognized that God’s judgment on the earth is a righteous judgment. 

What is the reaction of those being judged in verses 8-11 and 21?

  • They blasphemed God and did not repent.

What is the purpose of the sixth bowl and what is the connection of the three frogs to this judgment (verses 12-16)? Do they cause these events or are they simply players whom God ultimately controls?

  • The purpose is the gather the kings of the earth (read here nations as represented by their armies) for the battle against Christ known as Armageddon. Although the demonic influence of Satan and the two beasts on the surface influence these events, they are ultimately brought together by God. 

What indicates that there will be believers left at the end of this time (verse 15)?

  • The command to watch and be ready for this event of Armageddon.

How are the cities, islands, and mountains destroyed (verses 17-20)?

  • By the ultimate earthquake.

Chapters 17-18 seem to be simply an expanded description of the judgment of the seventh bowl. What proof in chapter 16 is there for this statement (see verse 19)?

  • The judgment on Babylon is an integral part of the seventh bowl. 

Revelation 17:1-6 is a vision of judgment on Babylon. Verses 7-13 is the explanation of the vision. Although we are not exactly sure of the identity of the city, what is the relationship of this city to the Antichrist?

  • It is his center of power.

What is the involvement of the ten kings during the days described in this chapter (verses 12-18)?

  1. They will receive their authority to rule from the beast.
  2. They will war against God.
  3. They will turn on Babylon and destroy her (possibly turning against the beast also, although that is not explicitly stated).

Links, some very serious, one lighthearted link for Floridians August 8, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Atheism, Book Reviews, Character, Depravity, Judgment Seat of Christ, Links, Religion, Satan, Sin, Spiritual Warfare, Temptation.

Pornography:  a very important and uncomfortable subject.


Also a book review from Tim Challies. If challenging atheism is your cup of tea, then this book might make you real happy. http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/book-review-the-dawkins-delusion.php


For our snowbirds:  http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/08/05/162-the-united-states-of-florida/ 


How to know if God is revealing Himself (From Sermon Series on God’s Word) August 5, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Antichrist, Bible, Depravity, Deuteronomy, Eternal Security, False Doctrine, False Teachers, First John, Gospel, Hell, Holy Spirit, Jehovah's Witnesses, OT Preaching, Perserverance, Prophets, Satan, Sermons, Spiritual Warfare, Truth.


1 John 4:1-6 and Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:21-22 

Lying spirits exist and we are to test the spirits (verse 1). Now God has given us the final word but God has chosen to allow competition, to allow false spirits to speak their false doctrine through false prophets, to allow the lie to coexist on this earth with the truth.

It is not always easy to discern the false from the true. Just as counterfeit money is meant to be spent, false doctrine is intended by Satan to be believed and that means he must make it believable to the human mind and appealing to the human heart.  That is why it is of eternal importance that we look into God’s Word and find out how to determine the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.


There are two passages in the Old Testament law in the book of Deuteronomy that discuss testing the spirits who claim to speak the truth. Now, it is easy to say that the Law was for then and not for today, for example in the law against eating pork which is also in the book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 14:8). We understand though that the law is more than the Ten Commandments and when Jesus said He came to fulfill the law He meant all of it, not just the moral code but also the civil and ceremonial aspects of the law. Not only that but as we saw about a month ago, “All Scripture is…profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). So how do we apply the Old Testament tests? By finding and investigating the timeless principles that apply to the subject of testing the spirits as taught in 1 John. (Ideas in this paragraph with thanks to Paul Lamey of Huntsville, AL.)

Test #1 –

If one part of the prophecy is proven untrue or inaccurate, then it is not of God (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

“Here’s a Help Wanted ad you may find interesting: Spokesman needed for international firm. No experience necessary, no education required. Must be between 20-85 years old. Full- or part-time…Will meet often with the CEO who will instruct brief you on what to say to the public. Important that you be able to move in all circles of society–from the highest to the lowest. Good vocabulary a must, ability to speak in colorful images a big plus…Unlimited opportunity for advancement…Must be willing to endure ridicule, persecution, slander, and occasional beatings. This job carries only one significant negative aspect: Make one mistake and you will be stoned to death….That ad describes the biblical role of the prophet…The test for a biblical prophet was 100% accuracy. Make one mistake and you would be stoned to death…(T)he Jews had a well-defined procedure for stoning. The victim was stripped naked, with hands bound, paraded out of town and placed on a scaffold nine feet high. The first official witness pushed the victim off the scaffold. The second witness dropped a large stone on his head and chest. Bystanders then pelted the dying man with the stones. The corpse was then buried in a special place along with the stone that inflicted the fatal blow. No mourning ceremony was permitted. False prophets had to be stoned. The Law commanded it…(P)rophecy was not a growth industry in the ancient Israel. It was a risky way to make a living. Today prophecy (and messages from God) is big business–and not nearly so risky.” (Thanks to Ray Pritchard)

(In fact, you can make the New York Times Best-Seller List and become a fixture there.)


Not only does a prophet sent from God speak the truth with 100% accuracy but he knows that his message is 100% accurate and does not try to hide that fact. When someone says that they have a vision or dream or message from God and they temper their claim with the possibility of human fallibility then I know that I need not be afraid of that person. God does not speak to every subject but to every subject that He speaks, He speaks authoritatively and without error.

Test #2 –

If the prophecy leads away from the truth, then it is not of God (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

Actually, this whole chapter deals with the seriousness of following anyone who would lead us away from the truth. In verses 6-10, if a family member attempts to lead away from the true and living God, they were to be stoned. In verses 11-18, if Israel heard that one of their cities had turned from following God, they were to go against it and destroy it with all its inhabitants, all its livestock, and to destroy everything in it. They were not to take anything for plunder. Obviously, we are not to apply the extreme measures that are commanded to the Israelites but we are to take this seriously.


How do we recognize the spirits (verses 2-6)? In other words, how does this apply today?

The Spirit of truth identifies…

…Jesus as God and man (verse 2). Any person or any group that denies that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man is not of God. The Bible is very clear. One of the reasons that we have started studying together the book of Colossians in the adult and junior high and junior aged Sunday School classes is the vital importance of this doctrine. If Jesus is not God then Christianity is a lie and if Jesus is not man then Christianity is a lie and the Bible is a lie. I do not have a problem with the Jehovah’s Witnesses refusal to celebrate birthdays. That is not an eternal issue. I do not have a problem with their refusal to salute the American flag. That is not an eternal issue. I do not even have a problem with their refusal to take blood transfusions. I think they are wrong and that it is an unfortunate belief but that belief will not send them to the lake of fire. I do have a problem though with their refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as God, not a god, but Jehovah God Himself. That is why I fight for the Virgin Birth. If Jesus was not Virgin Born, He was not God. That is why I fight for the Bodily Resurrection of Christ. If He did not rise bodily from the dead then there is doubt that He was really man. He was and is both. That is also why it is so important that we hold to the Bible as given by God without error. If the Bible is in error in any area, then how can we trust what it says about Jesus Christ and the message in verse 2 about Jesus Christ is only to be found in the Bible?


The Spirit also identifies the redemptive work of Christ as sufficient for eternal salvation (verses 9-10). I understand that John is not addressing this directly but it is addressed in other places in the Scriptures: the first half of the books of Romans, the epistles to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the books of 1 Timothy and Titus, the book of Hebrews. I am saying that it does matter what we believe about Christ’s saving work.

The word “propitiation” here means to appease God. We are sinners, we deserve the eternal punishment of the lake of fire but Jesus Christ came and died to appease His Father. That is the good news that we are to believe. If you believe that salvation comes any other way than through Jesus Christ alone, you are in the trap of the spirit of error. If you believe by being good you can satisfy God, then you believe the spirit of antichrist. If you believe that trusting Christ and being baptized to wash away your sins, then you are trusting a ritual. Paul said in Galatians of such rituals that they make the crucifixion of Christ of no effect. Either Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection was sufficient or it is not. If you believe the Church provides you appeasement before God, you are trusting the doctrine of the world. If you believe that the Lord’s Table which we partook of earlier in this service will impart God’s saving grace into your life, then you are trusting the doctrine of a false spirit. It is through Jesus Christ alone.

Acts 5:12 says that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. He does not need my help, He does not need your help, and he does not need the help of any ritual, good deeds, or organization. He is capable through His death alone of saving us and according to these verses, He does this because He loves us.

The Spirit of error… (verse 3-5).

…contradicts in some way the Spirit of truth (verse 3a).

Why?  Because the spirit of error is of this world (verses 3b-5). This is not a new phenomenon (verse 3b). Since time began, Satan has been lying to humankind. Although it is true that as we get closer to the end, evil men will get worse and worse, it is a matter of degree and not of quality. The quality of the counterfeit is always bad. Some are more effective in their deception than others but counterfeits are always a lie.


Believers in Christ have protection within them from false prophets (verse 4). In 1 John 2:18-27 we find specifically what he means by this verse. Some have asked me, what happens if I quit believing in Jesus Christ. According to these verses that will not and cannot happen. If you quit believing in Christ it is because you never truly believed in Him. I am not talking about doubts. I am not talking about those who give up in frustration and quit trying to live for Christ. I am talking about those and the text is talking about those who teach the truth and then turn their backs on it and attempt to drag others with them on their path. That is what John is addressing here. We, however, are protected. We are protected because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. We are protected because we have the truth in us.

The world has no protection from the false prophets because they think just like them (verse 5). This is an awful thing to think about but the Bible plainly teaches that the natural mind follows after the lie of Satan. The lie appears in all kinds of forms but every form is deadly. Which will kill you a bullet through the heart or a knife through the heart? So it is with the lie of Satan. There is no hope unless they are awakened by the Holy Spirit and believe the truth of the Word of God concerning Jesus Christ.


When someone clearly sees and rejects the truth we know that they are not of God (verse 6). If you are here this morning, you have heard the truth. Did you understand it? If you understood it, have you accepted it or rejected it? If you have accepted it, how are you going to react when you hear the lie? That is our invitation this morning.

Question from last night’s Bible study. What is your answer? June 14, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Depravity, Satan, Spiritual Warfare, Temptation.
add a comment

Rather than give you the context of the question (the study was on Buddhism), I’ll throw it out and you give me your answers in the comment section.

Can Satan put evil thoughts in our minds or do they come from within our own evil hearts?

A follow-up question might be, if he can, how does he accomplish this?

Have fun giving your opinion!