Playing With a Stacked Deck

The message was brought by Rev. Stuart Orr.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

I like to watch old westerns. There is always a card game going on and a fight erupts because someone tried to play a card up their sleeve. He tried to play with a stacked deck.  The devil will play us with a stacked deck to get us off course. His job is to steal, kill, and destroy. If we think he’s not after us, then we are deceived. We are the enemy to him. We should be out winning souls. Remember the story of the rich man who made a banquet and sent out invitations. No one would come. They made excuses. He told his servants to go to the highways and hedges and compel people to come. That’s what we are to do.

Satan deceives. This is a life of plenty. I have plenty. But none of that is a god to me. My family won’t get me into heaven. When the devil tells a man and woman it’s okay to have sex outside of marriage, it’s not right. They are deceived. Love fixes things, not makes them worse. Deception will tell a spouse it’s okay to just start loving someone other than their spouse.  The devil wants us off track. Moses made plenty of excuses but God took them away. We have to lay down our excuses and just serve God. Sinners aren’t looking for someone in a three-piece suit. Sometimes a preacher talking to them makes them back away. An everyday Christian in plain clothes can get closer to some sinners than the preacher can. This is not about our speech or looks. Be ready to tell people why you love Jesus. We have the Word but we have our personal testimony. The Bible says to taste and see that the Lord is good.  He’s been good and merciful to you and me.  We can all tell people that. He loves me. He’s with me. He leads me.  Let’s not let the deceiver get us off track.

Cain thought he could offer God something else other than what God commanded. He brought what he had made and God rejected it telling him to be careful because sin was at his door.  The devil hears our thoughts. So does God. His Spirit will tell us what’s wrong. Paul told Agrippa about his Damascus Road experience when he got saved. Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a Christian. We have to follow and love the Lord. Satan is waiting around the next turn to get us off track with some kind of deception. God told Joshua to go straight, not vary to the left or right. That’s what we have to do. Stay on the straight road. Get in the Word. A double minded man is tossed to and fro, up and down. We don’t know where he’ll be today or tomorrow. Get in and stay straight.

First Corinthians 6:9-10 and other scriptures support these thoughts.  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Who was Paul talking to?  It was the Christians at the church in Corinth. He warned them not to partake in these sins because they will not inherit the kingdom of God. Satan has deceived many people and their churches. Churches split over the least thing. God didn’t design bickering and splitting churches on opinions or politics. We are to get along.  Another verse is I Corinthians 15:33. It says Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. What I’m preaching is not new. Paul preached it 2,000 years ago. Are we saying things we ought not?  If we wouldn’t want the church to know, we shouldn’t say it. There is not a separate set of rules for preachers and you. Sure we’re held up to a higher standard in judgement, but God expects the same from you as he does me. Don’t be deceived.

Everybody has a “button.” Satan knows how to push it. God knows what it is. We have to maintain it. It’s not that we have a button; it’s how we let that button control our actions. It reflects us as a Christian. We need to be serving God.  If my button is pushed I will reap the seeds I sow in my actions. Galatians 6:6-7 says Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. I am grumpy first thing in the morning but I can still sow seeds of grace and mercy. I can still be the one who brings comfort and encouragement.

Ephesians 5:6-7 says Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. Do you know what vain words are?  They are empty. Satan would love to get someone in this pulpit who will shower you with vain words. The devil would sift you like he did Peter. It’s a serious task ahead of this church. Get a man of God who isn’t full of empty words, one who won’t deceive you. Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it’s right. Get the straight answer from God.

We can sin. God knows a simple sin, a mistake. We didn’t do what we should have done. He will look at that differently than a sin of planning out how to hurt someone. We are not to sin, but if we do we are to ask God’s forgiveness. Don’t be doing the works of the flesh that Paul tells us about in Galatians 5. Don’t be deceived. Don’t slumber. Let the fruit of the Spirit he mentions in that same chapter rule your life. We have a responsibility to do our part and don’t be deceived.

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