Monthly Archives: May 2020

“Lovers of Self- the Grace of God in the De- Exaltation of Man”

I’m so thankful for the gifts God’s has given me through the years to have such encouraging people around me. It is a joy to see the gifts God has given to others and to be able to share that with you all, today. This is a guest post from the student minister at FBC Fulton, Ky–Alex Robinson.

When I read it this morning, I was convicted and left with hopefulness beyond measure in the grace of the Lord. I guess spending so much time recently in the letters to the Corinthians and by the work of the Holy Spirit caused me to think of these verses after reading this post.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

(2 Cor. 5:14-15)

I hope you will benefit as much as I did from this. Enjoy!

Lovers of self. Proud. Arrogant. Ungrateful. Swollen with conceit. These are just a few of the descriptions that Paul gives to Timothy (2 Tim. 3) regarding how people will be in the last days. Ouch! C.H. Spurgeon once described pride as the “first-born son of hell” and said it is indeed like its parent.[1] Have you ever been guilty of this vice? I dare say you’re a liar if you say no and at once you are guilty of the very thing you profess not to have. Our pride is the one thing we are quick to hide yet also the one thing that comes out of us so frequently in our selfish actions. It is the impulse within us to ignore the world around us and the God who created us and go our own way. I speak from experience. Oh, how often I’ve been caught in the pangs of pride and selfishness. This battle carries on each day of my life. So, I do not write as one who has mastered this grievous appetite for self-exaltation but as one who daily wages war against it.

We are self- loving creatures. This ancient foe has been crafted to pull in a great multitude of the faithful people of God and you and I better be on guard that we are not swayed by its falsehood. Many great men of God have been pulled away from the ministry by committing grievous sins, but I contend that many more have been swept away by this one. Even in our attempt at piety, we fall on the rocks of pride. We come from a long line of people who have given themselves over to pride. It starts with an angel who was not content with the glories of heaven- all because those glories were not his own. Our first parents loved themselves and believed the lie that they could “be like God” and so they sought their own glory rather than the glory of their creator. Sound familiar? Of course, it does- first because you have seen it in the word of God over and over. You’ve been warned by example and by exhortation. Yet a very close second, this sounds familiar because you have witnessed it in your own heart. We tend quickly to turn inward. Our world is of no help as it exclaims things like “listen to your heart”, “love yourself” and “take care of #1”. Our hearts are wicked and deceitful, and this is where this love of self originates.

Why do you exist? If you listen to your wicked heart, you might say, “I exist to make much of myself” although your heart is so deceitful, you’d never admit it with your words, but your actions well demonstrate it. You put yourself first many times each day. You think of yourself more than you think of God and others. You even carry out religious acts with prideful, selfish motives undergirding those acts. You love yourself. You’re proud. You’re arrogant. You’re ungrateful. You’re swollen with conceit. What is the consequence for this kind of living? Destruction. Proverbs 16:18 reminds us that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Is that not what happened to Adam and Eve in the garden? Now we refer to their prideful sinning as the Fall of man.

How can we be rescued of this great evil that seeks to destroy us? How can we turn from thinking we exist for ourselves and behold the true reason for our existence? The grace of God is the answer. This is our great need in our lowly condition. This grace and mercy of our God that comes to us in Christ Jesus is what we need. Our God bids us to cry out to Him. He calls us to feel ourselves lost, ruined and undone. To feel and sing “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.” To realize our helpless estate and be deceived by our pride no longer. That we are creatures made from the dirt and we deserve nothing good from God for our glory- robbing. We cannot bring rescue to our wicked souls. We must see ourselves bankrupt.

So, lovers of self, this is the call to be free. To live without the constant pressure to impress. To live not for a glory that is fading but one that will outlast all of man’s glory put together. To cast yourself wholly upon the merits of Jesus Christ and realize you have none of your own. This is the gift of God, but this gift is one he gives to humble men, women, boys and girls. He says over and over again that it is the humble that he gives His grace to, but it is the proud and arrogant whom he resists. May God graciously give us the gift of self- de- exaltation and usher us into the joy that comes from living lives that exalt the only one worthy of all praise, power, honor and glory. May he give us eyes that look to the savior who left the comforts and glories of heaven and condescended to meet us in flesh on this sin- torn earth. He made his estate with lowly sinners and died that they may be set free from lives wasted on their own fleeting glory. Now though, he is exalted in the heavens as the one who will be gloried in for all eternity.  By His grace, may he bring us from where we esteemed him not to where we humbly bow before his glorious throne. Whether we bow now or not, we will bow on that day when every knee should bow and tongue confess that He is Lord- to the Glory of God. With our words (tongue) and with our actions (knee) we will one day finally be humbled. Fellow sinner, I bid you to be humbled today under the mighty hand of God, whatever it takes, so that you will on that day rejoice and worship in your de exaltation and his eternal exaltation!

[1] C. H. Spurgeon, “Pride and Humility,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, vol. 2 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1856), 346.

The Gospel According to Mark Resources

Here are the commentaries and books that I have found helpful. It’s strange. None of them were my go to commentary. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. One week this one or that one was helpful. Anyway, I hope these help you as you dig deeper!

The Pillar commentary by Edwards is very good at emphasizing discipleship, by the way!

Mark 2 Devotion

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From hated tax collector to hated follower of Jesus!

There is an open enrollment into the Kingdom of God through the gospel. I use that analogy of an open enrollment because we understand that to mean that I can get in no matter what preexisting diseases we might have. It also means no matter my age. That analogy applies to the Kingdom like this: I don’t have to get rid of my sin before enrolling in the Kingdom. I come to Jesus with all my preexisting sin and he heals me…forgives me…cleanses me through the glorious gospel.

When Billy Graham passed away, I heard a lot of things like, “If he didn’t get in, nobody will get in.” I can’t help but give thanks for the life of faithfulness we have seen in Billy Graham. But he didn’t get in because of how many sermons he had preached or because of how many people he had led to the Lord. The only reason Billy Graham or anybody gets in is because of Jesus and Jesus alone. His life gave evidence of his trust in Christ. It was only by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Jesus opens the door of the Kingdom to anyone…no matter how bad.

Jesus is not a “talking head” who sits around Capernaum basking in his popularity. His agent is not setting up book signings or interviews with the Jerusalem Journal. There is no news of this new fame leading him into corruption as is so often the case. The crowds do not persuade Jesus. He is not calling for those who have benefited from his ministry to send him money so that he can purchase a private jet…or building buildings for his new headquarters. Jesus is going about preaching the gospel.

“And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them” (Mk. 2:13). This was (and is) the means to advancing the Kingdom. Yet, the gospel demands a response. Not only did Jesus instruct his disciples by teaching, he also taught them by his actions. They needed to see him go after the outcasts and outsiders of the world. The untouchables were the very ones Jesus touched!

As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him (Mk. 2:14).

This brings up an important part of following Jesus and advancing the Kingdom. To do so, we must tell the gospel to people. Though it is best that our lives not distract or discredit the gospel in any way, most often our lives are a clear testimony to the world of our NEED of the gospel. Don’t ever think that your life communicates clearly the gospel. By all means, strive for holiness but by all means speak the gospel. Never default to this common church sign lingo:

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Levi needed Jesus! But Levi would not have followed had not Jesus commanded him to follow! No one has ever believed the gospel apart from either hearing it from a witness or reading it in print.

And, it was the despised of the world Jesus called to follow. Levi (Matthew) was similar to how many feel about TSA agents or meter maids. This causes us to ask, “What is required to follow Jesus?” Does Jesus ask Levi to go get cleaned up first? The absence of requirements lends me to believe that no cleanup is required. Some people have hang-ups that keep them from coming to Jesus. They can’t seem to shake them and they think Jesus will not accept them just as they are. If it is true that you must tidy the house before letting Jesus in…how much cleaning is required? What if he opens the closet? He knows what’s in the closet. It seems clear that what is required is seeing your need for forgiveness. We see Jesus forgiving this sinner of sinners. Jesus meets all the requirements.

Levi’s experience is much like Zacchaeus’. Oddly enough, Jesus didn’t ask him to straighten up but BEFORE following.

And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

Luke 19:2-8

Notice, Jesus is saying the same to this tax collector—follow me. He does not tell him to give to poor and restore what was defrauded. The result of Zacchaeus receiving Jesus happens after the receiving…not before.

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

(Mk. 2:16-17)

This scene at Levi’s house reminds me of another scene that seems to explain what might have been going on here. See what you think.

And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

(Lk. 18:9-14)

James Edwards comments: “The fact that Jesus can be found in the company of people such as Levi reminds us of the difference between his mission and that of the scribes. They come to enlighten; he comes to redeem. Given that mission, it is as senseless for Jesus to shun tax collectors and sinners as for a doctor to shun the sick. The grace of God extends to and overcomes the worst forms of human depravity. Ironically, in one sense great sinners stand closer to God than those who think themselves righteous, for sinners are more aware of their need of the transforming grace of God.”

Come follow Jesus, dear sinner! You will not be disappointed! Jesus is, indeed, enough!

What is your mission in life? Are you calling people to follow Jesus? Are you making disciples? Do not despise the outcasts of the world. Do not think Jesus cannot save the worst of sinners.

Mark 1 Devotion

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The Gospel According to Mark! I’m excited to walk through this great story on a devotional level. I am going to work on being more intentional in suggesting responses that come from the text and encouraging you to respond in the ways the Lord would lead you in the specifics of those responses. My mission is to make disciples that makes disciples. We ought to be multiplying not merely adding disciples. This Gospel has much to teach us about discipleship!

When reading any story, the reader should seek to find out for what purpose did the author write this particular work. In this case, Mark makes it very easy to know his intent: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk. 1:1). The purpose is to show and tell “the beginning” of this great act in history which is still going on and will continue on until Jesus returns of the good news of Jesus Christ (King/Messiah), who is the Son of God! As you will become aware, if you are not already, this statement is very controversial. In particular, the fact that Mark claimed not only that Jesus was and is the Messiah but that he is the Son of God.

As the reader, you are required to read this gospel story to see if Mark proves his claim. The entire story, in fact every word and its arrangement, is intended to prove that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and that he is also the Son of God. So, demand that Mark prove his case to you. You must carry this purpose with you as you walk through this Gospel.

The first place Mark goes to begin this story is the Old Testament (OT). If the OT had made very specific promises about the coming Messiah, then we need to see if Jesus fulfills all of them as they were given. A little side note, the OT must be understood as the long but unified story to explain who this Savior would be. In other words, the OT are “Promises Made” and the NT is “Promises Fulfilled.” The OT puts forth possible fulfillments but none of them ever measured up. Partial fulfillment is no fulfillment.

Mark’s story is meant to prove that Jesus ticks all the boxes perfectly. You must decide if he is right. It takes a lot of hard work to read this book closely. May the Lord give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

T’he background to these OT quotes is amazing. When an author quotes from a particular passage in the OT I think he would have us go and read the context from which he is quoting. I have a guest post forthcoming on seeing these amazing connections to the contexts from which Mark is quoting. Stay tuned for that one. It’s going to be great!

This Gospel According to Mark is a story, not a research paper to argue for his position. That means, by way of narrative, Mark is certain that the lifestory of Jesus proves his identity. Everything he did makes a statement about who he is. Also, the actions and responses of others around him make clear declarations too. Jesus’s life involves many others. From the very beginning of his ministry, he prepares for his departure. The ongoing advancement of the Kingdom rested on the simple but necessary process of discipleship.

I am going to briefly state that Mark’s quote says that the LORD is coming and a messenger will be sent ahead to make his paths straight. Take note that he said the LORD was coming. In other words, YHWH was coming! That is very important to see. God was coming to save his people. Only God can meet His own demands. And this messenger, who had specific details of who he would be, comes first then after him would come this One who is mightier than he.

In verse 9, the One who comes after John in the story is Jesus of Nazareth. Mark intends for you to say, “Hey, this must be the One.” Continue looking to see if he is indeed the Promised One. At Jesus’s baptism, a voice from heaven declares him to be “My Son.” This is understood to be the Father (who is in heaven) speaking to His Son. So, God is saying that he is His Son.

There are so many, that I must skip most of them. I want to wrap this post up with some big picture views. There is a huge emphasis on the wilderness which is supposed to make you think back to the wilderness scenes of the OT. Just a side note, we ought to understand that we are still in the wilderness. We have been promised eternal life with God in His Garden someday but that day has not come. But it will!

We get to see Jesus NOT FALLING in the wilderness which is the opposite of Adam falling in the Garden. That means he was still well pleasing to His Father. Jesus began his ministry in the wilderness. The first thing he does is proclaim the gospel. This is the only hope in this wilderness like broken world. We are broken too. The gospel is our answer. What we need is forgiveness: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mk. 1:14-15).

Yet, while in this broken world Jesus encounters broken people. He has compassion on them. Even though the gospel is their only hope, he begins to heal diseases and cast out unclean spirits. One day he will completely rid the world of all of this but for now these acts point to his love and identity. For only God can do what Jesus does. Each act is to be understood as proof that he is in fact the Son of God.

With that said, Jesus’s main task was advancing the Kingdom. Not all the healings were meant to be seen as soul saving. Some of them were merely coming to Jesus for temporary fixes. The permanent fix for humanity is the gospel. And the primary way Jesus advanced the Kingdom was by teaching and preaching. He knows the answer to humanity’s problem is the gospel which involves the sacrifice of his life. That means there must be others who will continue the advancement of the Kingdom by teaching and preaching–discipleship!

If the gospel is the answer to our brokenness and the way to be saved from this wilderness like world to be with God in His Garden forever restored then we ought to have the same priority in making disciples and proclaiming the gospel. That does not mean we neglect other acts of love. But it does mean that must never neglect the speaking of the gospel.

Here are some suggested responses: See Jesus as who he is which would demand that we worship him as the Son of God! We are not worthy to untie the throng of his sandals. Let us bow before our King and follow him. And in following him, we get to participate in the advancement of our King’s Kingdom and salvation. Let’s makes disciples that make disciples. Let’s tell anyone who will listen the glorious good news.

So, let me share that gospel with you because we never get over our need of it. God created the world and everything in it. He created mankind so that He could put His love on display for us that we might worship and serve Him. However, humanity fell into sin. Adam and Eve were not satisfied with God. They sought to be happy in the things that He said would bring death. From the fall of Adam, every single person is born with a sin nature. You might say that isn’t fair. It is fair because Adam and Eve represent exactly what you and I would have done in the Garden.

But a promise was made the day they fell that involved this child that would come to crush the head of the serpent. The entire OT is telling us who this child is. We understand this Child to be Jesus! You see, God is just and holy. He must punish all sin. And if we are sinners, He must punish us. He cannot do otherwise. His justice demands it. However, God is also merciful. And in His mercy He sent His Son to pay the penalty of our sin in our place. God’s wrath is poured out on His Son so that justice is upheld and by faith we sinful creatures can be forgiven and counted righteous though we are guilty and unrightous.

Jesus’s perfect life, death, burial and resurrection is the answer for our brokenness. If you will receive the gift offered to you you will be saved! Repent and believe in Christ and your sins will be forgiven and you will then have a right legal standing with God by faith. By God’s amazing grace, we are now His adopted children. We are no longer enemies but friends. And now He is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. We were created in God’s image but sin does not image God. The gospel restores that image and is restoring that image. Come to Jesus and he will save you!

What will you do with Jesus?

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

(Rom. 10:9-13)

2 Corinthians 12-13 Devotion

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The attempt to figure out specifically what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was will continue on until Jesus returns. I’m not here to resolve that mystery. I do want to focus on its purpose which is easy to understand. Whatever thorn Paul had or you and I have while following Jesus, has the same purpose and we need to understand that in order to endure this wilderness like time as we await the consummation of the age!

Maybe it will help if I begin with the last sentence of that paragraph: “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). I suppose everyone wants to be strong…seen as strong…considered strong. However, the path to being able to say “I am strong” is altogether different than the world’s path to being strong. That last sentence of this section does not say, “For when I am strong, then I am weak” though that is what worldly strength is. What appears to be strong and mighty is actually weak and powerless.

Paul had much to say about weaknesses. Indeed, those are the very things he boasts about. That’s odd, isn’t it? If we are honest, we have plenty of weaknesses to go around. Those weaknesses cause us to be needy. If hunger causes us to eat to keep us alive then being needy will cause us to remain connected to Jesus. And if we remain connected to Jesus we shall live! I think that is the cycle and purpose of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. It keeps him!

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger (this is the word for angel) of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting myself!

(2 Cor. 12:7) NASB

This makes me think of the plea in the song, Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing

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How is it that we are prone to wander? How is that Paul was tempted to exalt himself after seeing surpassing greatness? If you make it (and we are promised that we will) to the end and you still have your gaze set on Jesus, it will not have been according to your strength that you did. The Lord himself is keeping you in need of him so that you remain in him…connected to him. An anchor can come loose when the rope is slack…a kite will not fly if the string is not tight. But our hope is firmly anchored because Jesus keeps the chain tight and secure.

How do we participate in this process? Do we have a responsibility in this? First, we should know that “thorns in the flesh” have good purpose in our lives. Paul prayed three times for the Lord to take it away. He responded by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). This is grace! The grace of God to keep you from exalting yourself and belittling the Lord is necessary and good. When you know that grace is sufficient then gladly boast in your weaknesses.

But for what purpose? “…so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9). If you exalt yourself, which would appear that you are strong then the power/strength of Christ will not dwell in you. What seems to be strength is actually weakness.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

(Phil. 3:7-11)

Knowing Jesus and the power of his resurrection cannot be separated from the fellowship of his sufferings. There’s no other way! Our thorns are like his nails. In our thorns we are being conformed to his death. That’s why Paul can conclude: “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). And I think that’s what Paul was getting at when he said, “For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you” (2 Cor. 13:4).

In light of these surpassing truths, how might we respond? Paul has a task for us, now. Here it is: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). Let’s look at the evidence of our lives. What does it say? So many claim to be “saved” yet there is no evidence of God’s grace in their lives.

One of the best ways is to ask ourselves what do we love most? Where do you spend your free time? What do you spend your money on beyond the things you need? What does your schedule look like? What evidence would suggest that you love something other than Jesus ultimately?

I was sharing the gospel with someone one day, here in the Bible Belt. He quickly claimed to have been saved. As the conversation continued, I asked him what he loved most. He had no clue this had anything to do with his relationship with Jesus. He said that he loves money. He had described to me why he no longer attended church because he worked every hour he could get, which fit well with his love of money. I suggested that the evidence of his life says he wasn’t in the faith. I quoted this: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matt. 6:24). He did not approve of my suggestion.

What does your examination say?

2 Corinthians 11 Devotion

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The white witch and Edmund from the famous kids’ book (made movie) “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis

I asked this question in the last post, “Why do false teachers (here false apostles) gain so much ground in the church?” In part, I believe chapter eleven answers that when Paul says this, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). The ESV made a good choice in their use of “cunning” instead of “craftiness.” Pinterest and the likes use “craftiness” in a way that the Bible doesn’t mean.

Let’s think more about how that which is false gains so much ground in the church. We hear in verse 3 these words “deceived” and “cunning.” You know the serpent didn’t come to Eve and say, “Hey, I’m about to trick you so get ready.” No, by definition, to be deceived is not to know it. That’s why Paul says this, “…Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). Satan doesn’t come dressed in all red with his horns showing and carrying a pitchfork. Oh, no! He comes in beauty and sweet talk.

I chose this picture above because I think Lewis helps us understand the secret ways of Satan. If you have read the stories, you will know the woman in the photo is the White Witch of Narnia. You must pick up on the obvious. Lewis intends for you to stop and say, “Wait, witches do not dress in white!!!” And you would be correct. But this one does because Lewis would have you think that the White Witch is a type of Satan who disguises himself as an angel of light. White or light is supposed to be reserved for that which is pure and holy! But behind the mask is black and darkness in these characters.

Lewis is very helpful in describing how the White Witch deceives. In the picture above, she is in full form working her scheme and she goes after the kid Edmund. You will have to read the story (particularly ch. 4 “Turkish Delight”) for all the details, which are great by the way, but I will briefly quote enough to help us see her craftiness.

At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box (which had contained several pounds) and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves. But she did not offer him any more. Instead, she said to him, “Son of Adam, I should so much like to see your brother and your two sisters. Will you bring them to see me?” “I’ll try,” said Edmund, still looking at the empty box. “Because, if you did come again–bringing them with you of course–I’d be able to give you some more Turkish Delight. I can’t do it now, the magic will only work once. In my own house it would be another matter.”

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I hope I’ve piqued your interest to read this book! But do you get a feel of how the angel of light works by seeing the White Witch at work to lure in the whole family? The Turkish Delight was the bait and that delight will cause Edmund to lead his brother and sisters into a trap because he wants more candy. Can you believe it? He would do this just to get some more candy? Yep!

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

(2 Cor. 11:13-15)

So how does the angel of light recruit people to work for him? I’m not sure what “Turkish Delight” was used at Corinth but notice how these false apostles–deceitful workmen treat the members of the church. “For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face” (2 Cor. 11:19-20). How did they not notice? Lewis does the same thing in the “Turkish Delight” chapter. She yells at him, calls him an idiot, demands answers, speaks openly in front of Edmund about how easy it will be to deal with him and then does this “My poor child,” she said in quite a different voice, “how cold you look! Come and sit with me here on the sledge and I will put my mantle round you and we will talk.”

Does this not scare you? I hope it will cause us all to be discerning and attentive. How did the church at Corinth get to this point? Notice: “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (2 Cor. 11:4).

1. You need to know Jesus.

2. You need to know the Spirit.

3. You need to know the gospel.

4. You should NEVER tolerate a different Jesus, a different Spirit or a different gospel.

You might say that you already know all these things. You are the one in danger. How might we guard ourselves from these deceptions? Be in the Word regularly–reading and meditating on it. Pray earnestly that you would know the depths of these things and that the Lord would protect you. Gather regularly with a faithful body of believers and participate…talk…discuss…wrestle…seek…study the Bible with each other. Be sure your church is has a confession of faith. Good confessions of faith put up fences to protect the sheep from wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

Some other clues if these aren’t self evident. Be very cautious of believers who boast in their strengths and not their weaknesses (though they could do this too in order to deceive you). Be very cautious of believers who never suffer on account of Jesus and the gospel (though they will often claim they are the victims when really they are the attackers). And good grief, if one of your leaders hits you in the face you should know that’s a problem. Listen to leaders who were beaten with rods because of the gospel.

What hope do we have? I don’t want to lead you to despair. Well, in Edmund’s case Aslan came to his rescue. In fact, though Edmund had violated the law and the law demanded death, justice was upheld because Aslan (the type of Jesus figure in the story) takes his sentence of death in his place. Aslan is slain on the Stone Table! Oh, by the way, Aslan is a lion!

Our hope is the same. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah was slain for us and he was raised! He is alive. He will protect us. He will destroy the angel of light someday soon. Trust in your Savior and King! You will not be disappointed!

Share your thoughts in the comments about how you guard yourself from being deceived.

Who in your life needs to hear this? Go talk with them about how to be on guard.