- The sermon emphasizes the importance of unity in the Church and the dangers of spiritual division and deception.
- The preacher discusses how Jesus prayed for His Church to remain united and protected from evil, as reflected in John 17.
- The sermon warns of the tactics of Satan to divide and conquer through deception, as seen in the experiences of the early Church and the Corinthians.
- It also highlights the need for discernment in relationships and messages within the church community.
- The preacher calls for a return to a sincere and pure devotion to Christ, urging believers to hold onto Jesus to avoid falling into deception and to be kept until the end.
- The sermon concludes with a call to examine one’s faith and to reject the lies of the enemy, reiterating the importance of abiding in Jesus for spiritual protection and salvation.
I don’t even know what to say. God already spoke so much through so many different people, and I just am amazed. I’m just blown away by what God is doing. I give him all the praise. It’s just there’s no accidents with God, and so somehow he is weaving a story together that we could not have written ourselves.
So, I’m just, just praise God, praise God. I have no idea what he’s going to do the rest of 2024, but I’m excited by what he is already starting to reveal to us.
I feel like we could end the service now, but I will just speak as shortly as I can. Let’s pray. Father, we avail ourselves to you because you are the author of our lives. You knit each one of us in our mother’s womb. You know everything about us down to the hairs on our head. So Lord, with this kind of love and watchful care, Lord, we just want to continue to stay close to you.
We pray that you would speak to us, help us to locate where we are with you, help us to be, leave this place in a better position. Thank you, Lord. We open up our hearts wide. It is our desperate prayer today and every day that you meet us. That is our, the only thing that really matters whenever we gather in your name is Jesus, we want to meet you. Jesus, we want to meet you. Help us, Lord. Help us, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
My family and I, we watched a movie the other day. I’ll just start here. It’s called The Anatomy of a Fall. It’s not a family-friendly movie, and I’m a person of the cloth, so I should not be recommending movies. But it stirred, if you are a high school and above, in our household, it stirred up a lot of conversation. It’s just a fascinating French movie with mostly in English, but some subtitles. But yeah, just a lot of conversation.
And so, I want to entitle this sermon, The Anatomy of a Fall. How do we fall spiritually?
We may have been close to Jesus at one point, but we find ourselves on the ground, lost, confused, damaged. So, how did we get there? I won’t read it, but when you get a chance, please read John 17. Jesus is recording for us, for our benefit, his prayers for his church.
And if I were just to sum it up, he prays that we are one, and he prays that we are kept all the way to final salvation.
Like John 17:11, John 17:12, John 17:15, he uses the word “to keep” all throughout those verses, and it is to watch over, to observe, to keep in the state in which you’re in currently. He wants to keep you there to the end.
And then he also uses, in verse 12, “to guard”. And this is to observe with like a military guard, you’re on patrol and you’re protecting the men who are asleep in their barracks. It’s this type of military vigilance or a shepherd who’s keeping watch of the flock.
And so, Jesus says, “I kept them, Father, now can you keep them?” And there’s two purposes to be kept and to be guarded by God, our Father, and Jesus, our Good Shepherd. The first purpose is for unity of the Church, for us to be one.
Like Jesus, He sees the future. He knows the spiritual attack that is going to be unleashed upon the Church, and so he’s praying in advance for the present Church, his disciples, the apostles. He’s praying for all who will believe their message, all of us Christians of every generation.
He’s praying to keep us so that we can be one. That’s first and foremost, so that we can be a witness to the world that Jesus indeed was sent by the Father. That’s in verse 21 and verse 23.
The second reason, he says, that we need to be kept and guarded is to be kept and guarded from the evil one who will try whatever he can to deceive us so that on our final day, we miss out on heaven and final salvation.
So, what is the state of the Church of God worldwide?
Are we doing good? Are we doing bad? It’s a tough question to answer. There are many ways you can first define what is the Church of God. There’s a local church. There’s a universal church. There’s a visible church. There’s an invisible church. There’s a physical gathering. There’s virtual gatherings now with technology.
And so, it can be said of the true, invisible, universal Church of God, consisting of true believers, the actual remnant of God scattered across the world who are in Christ, who are genuine followers of Jesus, who are under the Lordship of Christ, this church is strong.
But what about the rest? What about the visible church? What about the local church? What about every other definition of church? Can we say that the church worldwide, the Church of God, is equally strong as the invisible remnant church?
If we just look at the few local expressions that are described in the Book of Revelation, Revelation 2 and 3, among seven churches, five are in serious jeopardy. So, if that’s a percentage, then the majority of the churches in this world are struggling, and they might not even realize it.
And so, what happened? I think what happened is Satan happened. He inserted himself. And his strategy is always the same. It was like his strategy in the Bible in the first century. In the Old Testament, it’s the same strategy today. It’s divide and conquer through deception.
And we know from Scripture, Matthew 12:25, a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. A house divided can’t stand.
25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. (Matthew 12:25, ESV)
So, Satan, he will do whatever he can to divide the Church of God.
And when we look around at the church, aren’t we divided? It’s exactly the opposite of what Jesus prays. Jesus prays the church should be one, and yet we are not one. We are the most divided on a Sunday. We see it all over the place.
And so, the very thing that Jesus wanted, that he saw was going to happen, he’s praying against it. And yet, for whatever reason, Satan has deceived us so much that on Sunday, we are so divided. A church that’s divided is weak. That’s first and foremost, is weak.
Like a family, when you have a husband and wife that are not seeing eye to eye, that family is weak. That family may fall. A church that is divided is weak. A church that’s divided also cannot fulfill its mission to show the world that Jesus was sent by God.
Like imagine if every church was united worldwide. What kind of a witness would that be? Like John 13:1, that we have such love for one another. The world could see that. Like a billion Christians, we’re united and we love each other. What kind of a witness would that be? The whole world would be saved. The whole world would be saved if that were to happen. And Satan knows it, and so he’s going to do whatever he can to divide, conquer, and divide the church. And he’s been successful, unfortunately. The history of the church.
The early church was one. Although Satan was attacking the church, even Apostle Paul’s church, we’ll look at one of them closely in a minute. But the early church under the apostles, with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, this church was one because they were persecuted. They banded together, they had to unite just to survive Roman persecution.
And after that, many think that around the fourth century, around 313, the Edict of Milan, the Roman Emperor Constantine, he made Christianity the official religion of Rome. And so that’s a mixing of state, power, and religion.
And was it ever supposed to be that way? Of course, the persecution stopped, that’s good. But everything else, spiritually, I think that was the beginning of the fall. Satan had his way in that edict. And from that point…
There was one church on paper, the Roman Catholic Church, but then by 1054, east and west, there was a great schism because there’s not just one pope. The eastern people, churches say, “Here’s our pope.” The western churches say, “Here’s our pope,” and so you can’t have two popes, and so there’s a first division, major division.
So, this is just, we see satanic activity throughout church history, and then after that, Martin Luther, he wanted to reform the church. They were so far away from the biblical church, and so he wanted to reform.
So, in 1517, he comes up with the 95 theses. He posts it at the Wittenberg Church, and the Catholic Church says, “No, we’re not gonna, we did nothing wrong, you’re our heretic,” so they kick him out. The Protestant kind of denominations float out of that, and from that point since, we’ve been splintering so much. Among the Protestants, we got Methodists and Baptists, and it’s like, “This theology matters, and you don’t agree with me, so you’re not part of my tribe,” and we just keep doing this.
And so, Jesus’ prayer is that we’re one, and so we are family, like Ron described it, Alfonso described it, like we should be pulling all of our gifts and resources to discern wherever God’s moving, we’re all there. You might not be on the ground, but some people are working, you can’t be at the ranch, but maybe you’re pouring in your prayers, you’re pouring in finances, you’re pouring in a weekend, so if we’re really one, that’s how the church should move.
And yet, Satan has done such a good job of dividing us.
The first battle of Satan is to divide us from within, and the second battle is to utterly. God and Jesus want the church united and strong in our faith until the very end to reach final salvation.
In the meantime, to be a witness to the world of the power of Christians uniting under the Lordship of Christ. A billion or plus Christians moving as one member, as members of one body. Just imagine the force. Imagine like there would be no more poverty, there would be no more need for social security.
If Christians had this type of unity and pooling of resources and gifts, and a heart of compassion for the world, everybody in the world would be cared for. And so many people would have a chance to be saved. But Satan, because he knows it, he’s dividing us from day one. Divide and conquer through deception. And so, Satan wants the exact opposite. He wants us divided, he wants us weakened, he wants us to fall into deception.
And what he wants most of all is people who are in the faith, who are kept currently in the end, they lose it and they lose final salvation. That is Satan’s ultimate goal. He wants to pull down all of us to hell. So, how does a church fall? Divide and conquer through deception.
So, I want to talk a little bit about the Corinthian church and then we’ll end. The Corinthian church, if you look at the first letter, you see Satan’s first activity is division. And so, there’s a lot of division in 1 Corinthians.
In Chapter 1, it’s like, “I follow Paul, I follow Apollos, I follow Cephas, I follow Christ.” And Paul says, “What are you talking about? Is Christ divided? Did I, Paul, save you? Did you get baptized in my name?
12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12-13, ESV)
No. Why are you saying you follow these different leaders in your one church? Because you think your church is divided. Is your leader better than that other leader? And this person is more gifted, more spiritually anointed. And you think that person should get more followers.”
And so, this church that should be one, this one local expression, is already dividing. You say Satan is at work. You say Satan is at work.
And we divide about so many silly things. Like, some people love Luther, and they become a Lutheran. Some people love John Calvin, they become a reformist. In LA, what I’ve noticed is there’s a particular type of division that I see in LA among people who are a little bit more educated. And it’s expositional preachers. Like, if you don’t preach verse by verse, they think you’re a heretic.
And so, when I fellowship with them, I know I’m being judged. I was in that camp for a short little season because I was trying to relearn the Bible, and the Bible was taught to me inappropriately, out of context.
So, there was safety for a season to just, let’s just see what the Bible says. Let’s not take verses out of context. But when you look at Peter, he does preaching in the book of Acts 2 at Pentecost. He’s not going verse by verse.
The Spirit is just poured out, and he’s just pulling verses and connecting dots. When Stephen is being martyred, he’s not going verse by verse. the Spirit is just pouring into him, and he’s just connecting dots, pointing everything to Jesus.
So to me, it’s like, why are they judging this different methodology of preaching? Like, we’re all teammates, aren’t we? We’re all on the same side.
And yet in LA, because of some influences from certain prominent pastors, I see that the younger generation of pastors who’ve been trained under them, they think it can only be done one way. So again, there’s another division. It’s not even denomination. It’s like preaching style.
It’s like, “OK, Satan, you’re so clever. You will do whatever it takes to make sure that they don’t want a fellowship with someone like me. I want a fellowship with them. They’re my brothers. I want to pray for them.”
But every seminar, when I join them, is how to be a better expositional preacher. And so I’m supposed to listen to that and say, well, I don’t agree, brother. But everybody else agrees, so why am I there? And I shouldn’t be there, because it’s not helpful.
Satan is so clever. And these leaders, and this is kind of moving into the second stage, not only does Satan divide us, he moves in for the kill, conquering us through deception by sending in people who will go for the jugular.
1 Corinthians 9:13.
13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. 15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. (1 Corinthians 9:13-15, ESV)
16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:16-18, ESV)
I fully see Paul’s heart in this. Like, if I could have it my way, that God would just take care of all my finances through business or whatever, and then I could show up at church, this church or any church, and I don’t need a dime from the church because God has supplied all my needs from other means. So, I understand Paul’s heart, but somehow the people at the church at Corinth, they’re twisting it. They’re saying, “Why didn’t Paul accept money while he was with you? He was never really for you.”
He just cared about the mission more than you, and so he was gone. Look at us. We’re collecting money from you, Corinthians, and so we’re invested in you and we love you more than Paul. Paul doesn’t love you.
They must have said something about this issue of money, and Paul is just clarifying, I didn’t do it for money. There’s a lot of preachers that do it for money, a lot of preachers that do it for money. Paul said he didn’t do it for money.
I said, “I want to do it for free of charge if I can, and I will knit together tents to support my way.” There’s a division between the members of the Corinthian church, and Paul founded this church. He established this church. He loved the members of this church.
He went because God called him to another city, and he planted another church. Now, he’s dealing with this mess because whoever got in, Satan inserted certain people, and now they’re casting a shadow of doubt on Paul and his ministry and all the apostles. They are clearly on the other side.
Satan divides us. He’s isolating the Corinthians from Paul and the apostles. That’s what he does, and so when Satan wants to derail you, he will isolate you, will divide you. He will cut off all the good people in your life.
He’ll send all the wrong people into your life before you know it. you’ve fallen spiritually. The second stage is all written in 2 Corinthians.
Now, He’s divided them and Paul writes about that in 1 Corinthians, the first letter. Now, in the second letter, 2 Corinthians, we see the second stage of satanic activity. He’s conquering them.
He says in 2 Corinthians 10:1.
1 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— (2 Corinthians 10:1, ESV)
2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:2, ESV)
We may picture Paul as this very aggressive, fearless, charismatic person, but when I read sections like this, his in-person persona versus his persona as a writer, it’s different. In person, he’s very meek. He’s not aggressive. And so, people might misinterpret that as weakness.
And so, for me, it’s like when I’m in front of somebody, I might not say a lot of things. I might hold back a lot of things. But after that interaction, when I’m at home, it’s like, “Oh, I should have said this. I should have said this.” It’s like I’m much more aggressive when the person is not in front of me. But when the person is in front of me, it’s like, “Okay, I’m like backed off a little bit.”
I think Paul is somewhat like that. Like in his letters, he’s forceful. But in person, he’s very soft-spoken, I think. And he’s being accused, not only him, but all the apostles, the true apostles are being accused of walking in the flesh. Because remember, these Corinthians, all the first letters, they’re spiritually gifted. They say, “I’m walking in the spirit, Paul is not gifted like us. He is carnal, he is fleshly,” and so they must have had those type of slanderous remarks against Paul and the apostles.
And now I understand why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10 about pulling down of strongholds.
He says, “I need to go back to this church if they don’t repent and pull down these spiritual strongholds caused by these leaders.” And so, he’s talking about in the context of this church that is going astray.
Then he says in 2 Corinthians 10:9.
9 I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters, for they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.’ (2 Corinthians 10:9, ESV)
And so, Paul, we think, okay, he’s so eloquent in his letters, it sounds like his preaching wasn’t the same. He’s like not so confident when he speaks. But he’s a great writer. Like when he has time and he prays and the Spirit inspires him, he can, without somebody in front of him in a crowd, he’s like, he’s in his element and he just, it just pours out like God’s heart and his word just when he’s by himself.
But when he’s preaching, it’s like he’s a little reserved, maybe a little bit not so smooth.
And something about these Corinthian leaders that have replaced Paul, they are smooth, they are eloquent, they’re like gifted and anointed, and they’re like, I don’t know, they have something that clearly Paul doesn’t have and they’re using it against Paul. And so, what’s at stake here is pretty grave, 2 Corinthians 11:1.
1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 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. 4 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 Corinthians 11:1-4, ESV)
5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. (2 Corinthians 11:5-6, ESV)
And so, do you see what’s at stake?
Paul, he might not have been the greatest speaker in person. He might not have been so impressive or charismatic, but he’s giving the people the true gospel, the true Jesus.
These flashy preachers that have replaced him, they’re giving these people a counterfeit Jesus. And just because Jesus is mentioned on the Sunday, you don’t know what spirit is behind that proclamation of Jesus, that gospel that was taught.
It’s not the same at every church. Because if it’s the same at every church, we would be one. The fact that we’re so divided means there’s one true Jesus. Under the true Jesus, we are one and that church is strong. Every other church that has a counterfeit Jesus, or is a Jesus with a different spirit, or they prioritize someone other than Jesus. Maybe the pastor, maybe the ministry, maybe the name of the church. Anything that’s not the true Jesus exalted, that counterfeit Jesus will destroy your faith.
And these Corinthians, the whole time, they’re wavering. They’re like, ‘We liked Paul, but now we’re like, is he our enemy?’ Because they’re being seduced by Satan and his minions through these false apostles. And if, don’t take my word for it, Paul just lays it out in 2 Corinthians 11:13.
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, ESV)
Satan is very clever. His workers are very clever. When you see them on a Sunday, you will not be able to discern just from appearances whether they’re the real deal or not. you’ve got to get to know them. you’ve got to get to know the pastor. So wherever you’re worshiping, you must get to know that person. Are they the real deal? Are they acting a certain way on a Sunday? And if you interview their spouse and their kids, they despise the man. That’s not a man you want to be listening to. you’ve got to know the pastor.
Because the pastor, just because they mention Jesus, it could be with the wrong spirit. It could be a counterfeit Jesus, because clearly, Paul is saying, “I’m drawing the line here. My apostleship and everyone who’s on my side, we are against your leadership.”
And so, Corinthians, now choose. Choose who’s right.
When you’re in an unhealthy church, people outside of it don’t understand how hard it is to leave. They say, “Why can’t you just leave?”
Like the teaching is bad and unbiblical, and it’s because it’s mixed with a lot of care, a lot of concern, a lot of flattery, a lot of just friends and sense of purpose. And so, you can be stuck in a bad place for a long time.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:20.
20 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 Corinthians 11:20, ESV)
He’s saying the leaders of the Corinthian church are treating the people like this.
And we think, why can’t you leave? Why are you wondering about Paul versus your leader? They’re treating you like this. It’s not so easy to leave. If you’re under the seduction of a counterfeit Jesus with a false apostle, it is hard to leave. It is hard to leave. People outside just don’t understand. Unless you’ve been there, it is hard to leave.
2 Corinthians 13:5.
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)
6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. (2 Corinthians 13:6-9, ESV)
10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. (2 Corinthians 13:10, ESV)
Paul gave these stern warnings to the Corinthians. And so now, we want to bring it to a personal level. How did we fall? If you walked in here and you’re close to the Lord, maybe this message doesn’t apply to you.
But if you’re struggling in your faith, like many of us do on any given day, any given week, like we can be good one day and then something happens and then we’re flat on our face. How did we fall? How did we fall? How did Satan deceive us?
John 17 says that we’re not of the world. And yet, some Christians still live as if they are of the world. And so, sometimes we fall because it’s our own fault. We just love sinning. We have idols. We have selfish ambition. We have pride.
And so, there are reasons why we fall, like it’s mentioned when Jesus is praying for His church. He assumes we’re not of the world. He assumes we hate our life in this world because we love eternal life far more.
But there are some of us who still have worldliness in us, and if that’s the case, we will fall. If you still want to be respected in this world, you will fall.
If you still want to be famous, and you still want to be rich, and you still want to be respected, and you want to be praised by men, you will fall. If you renounce all of those, then you’ve begun your discipleship. And now, it can be said of you, you’re in the world but you’re no longer of the world. You need to renounce this world thoroughly. And the chances of Satan deceiving you and making you fall are so much slimmer. How do we fall? Sometimes it’s because of the people closest to us.
So, be careful who you allow into your inner circle. Be very discerning, be very careful who you allow into your inner circle. You need to discern them. And sometimes, it’s your parents, and they are destroying your faith. And we honor them, we respect them, but from a distance. There can be seasons where we remove ourselves from parents for our own spiritual sake to grow and to mature, and then God will give us another time to minister to our parents. So, be careful who you listen to.
Some of the deception happens because we listen to somebody we thought was our friend. But Satan was just using that person to say something to you, and then led you astray, and then now you’re fallen. You got to be careful who we allow into our inner circle, who we listen to, even among friends and family. Because Satan wants to divide and conquer at any cost through deception.
And if the world, if it’s not pride, if it’s not selfish ambition, if it’s not love for the world, and if it’s not our, we’ve discerned our inner circle and we’ve done well there, and there’s no openings for Satan to come in through these means, through worldliness or through voices that we think are trustworthy but are not, the last way that he will come to you is directly. He’s going to attack you. Satan will directly accuse you. And if you’re not careful, you will believe a lie.
And so we need to just be renewed by the Word of God. We need to start believing the Word of God. We need to allow the Word of God to just master us. And Jesus, who is the Word, to really shepherd us and just have a renewed mindset. Because if not, then the lie comes in and there’s nothing to fend it off. And Jesus is not there to fight them off. Because you’re not holding on to Jesus. you’ve let go of Jesus. And so, of course, there’s a theology that says, once saved, always saved.
But when you look at a passage like this, if that’s the case, why does Jesus pray, “Keep them to the end?” If there was no possibility that someone who was once saved may lose it through a deception. To me, that’s a clincher. Like, He wouldn’t have to pray for His church because you’re saved. Now, go reach the world. you’re good. No, He’s praying for His church to be kept, to be guarded.
Because at any point, like we see in the Corinthian church, they were in danger of losing everything that God did through Paul and true apostles. So, when Satan comes in and you’ve let go of Jesus, then we’re vulnerable. If you hold on to Jesus, then Jesus Himself, as our shepherd, will shield and protect you. He will guard you. The Father above, He will watch over you. He’ll be vigilant to make sure and block people out of your life. As long as you hold on to Jesus, you will be kept to the end.
So, that part is true. Once saved, always saved. Yes, provided you hold on to Jesus to the end. If you let go of Jesus, in that moment, you’re vulnerable. If you say, ‘Jesus, I’m good, I’m going to figure this out on my own. I can be the shepherd and the master of my own life. I’m going to just make all these decisions on my own, and when I’m in trouble, I’ll come back to you.’ But I prayed a sinner’s prayer 20 years ago. ‘I’m good, right? So let me just do this.’
That person is utterly vulnerable. Utterly vulnerable. And then, when Satan comes, he will lie to you, and because Jesus is not there for you, and the Father is not looking over you because you said, “I’m good,” suddenly the lie comes in and you believe it. And if you believe a lie from Satan, you will fall.
So, as we close out this service, what lie have you believed? Satan will accuse you day and night.
And if the Savior is not there to protect you, and the Father is not looking over your shoulder because you’ve let go of His Son, and you don’t believe in His Son on a day-to-day basis, and you’re utterly vulnerable, when Satan comes in, what lie did you believe?
When he says you’re unworthy, when God doesn’t love you, He’s abandoned you, He’s forsaken you, what lie did you believe?
You’re loved by God. That is the truth.
No matter what your parents said, no matter what your boss says, no matter what this world says, you’re loved by God. The proof is Jesus came, God sent His Son, that is the proof. We cast out the lie, we hold on to the truth, Jesus is the truth, and we say, Jesus, I want to follow you, keep me, Father, to the end as I hold on to your Son. And all the lies have no sticking, can’t stick on us because Jesus is there, He’s our shield and protector. Okay, let’s pray.
Father, thank you for giving us more understanding of why Jesus prayed the way he did for his disciples who would eventually become apostles in the first century. And he prayed for everybody who would hear their message. He prayed for the Corinthians. He was praying for the Galatians. He was praying for the Colossians, all the churches that sprouted in the first century.
And Lord, you’re even praying for us in the year 2024 for the Church of God to be one. You’re praying that we are kept and guarded so that we can be one, so that we can be a witness to the world because of our love and our unity in Christ and our care for one another. This was supposed to just silence Satan and make all of his attacks null and void.
Lord, forgive us, forgive the church that we fell into Satan’s trap. We kept dividing and dividing, getting weaker and weaker, becoming isolated from one another, judging people who are not part of our tribe and missing out on so much blessing from other brothers and sisters from a different walk of life, just down the street. We never would have fellowship with them. Forgive us, Lord. We fell into satanic division. We got isolated. We got weaker. And then, you conquered so many churches. They were counterfeit Christ. Lord, we don’t lift up anybody in this church. No man, no program, no ministry, no ideology, no emphasis.
We only lift up the person of Jesus Christ because you’re the senior pastor. you’re the lead pastor. you’re the chief shepherd. you’re the only good shepherd. We’re all failures, we’re not to be trusted ultimately.
Father, we look to you. you’re the only one. As long as we’re with you and we hold on to you, we believe in you. You will never leave nor forsake us. You will fight off the wolves, the false teachers, the potential people who will tempt us in this world, all the lies of the enemy. All of it will be blocked by Jesus who will be our shield and protector.
Thank you that you give us the key to being kept to the very end, is that we hold on to Jesus, we follow Jesus, we believe in Jesus, we abide in Jesus, we remain with Jesus, we exalt the name of Jesus. Then on our last day, you will keep us in our faith and we’ll reach heaven and final salvation. Thank you, Lord. I pray that you minister to us as we partake in the Lord’s Supper.
Meet us, encounter us during this time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.