The devil’s biggest trick is to get you not to believe in him.
JUNE 15, 2023
The devil’s biggest trick is to get you not to believe in him. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown and this is Key Life. We are dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at Acts, the 19th chapter, and I’m not going to take the time to read that text to you, but it is in some ways a very troubling text. In other ways, it’s a very funny text. In other ways, it’s a very informative text. And it is the 19th chapter of Acts as we continue our study into how it all began in the book of Acts, verses 11 through verse 20. And it’s about demons and evil spirits and magic and the occult. And it even has, it’s even funny, and Luke knew it when he was writing it. We, Luke was not like us, I mean, we want to be serious about the things of God. And Luke wasn’t that way, in fact, throughout Acts there are a number of funny things, and I wish I’d taken the time to point them out to you, of things that God did with God’s people. One of the fun, no, I’m not going to go there, I don’t have time to, but yesterday if you were listening, I said, this text, that minimum says this, that Satan is real and he doesn’t like you and he’s dangerous. And I told you not to go weird on that. If you’re a Christian.
Greater is he,
in you than he who was in the world.
A number of years ago, I read a book by somebody who did mass exorcisms. And I might say, as an aside, made a lot of money on it. There isn’t any lie that a bunch of people won’t believe and there’s nobody so weird that a bunch of people won’t follow. So, this guy is doing mass exorcisms, which in itself is crazy. And he had been teaching that anything that is wrong with your life is a demon. If you can’t stop smoking, it’s cause of a demon. No, it’s not, it’s cause you won’t. He said, if you have bad family problems, it’s because of a demon. What you need is my exorcism. No, what you need is marriage counseling and some application of God’s truth to your marriage. No matter what it was, it was a demon. And in his meetings, he cast out them, don’t go there, don’t make your religion one of superstition, but don’t walk unaware of the reality of Satan himself. When Thomas Cartwright, he was, I used to think he was a circuit writer in the States, but he wasn’t. He entered a certain city in Europe in the 16th century and he said to his partner, I smell hell. That wasn’t an illusion. He really knew something evil was going on. And Donald Gray Barnhouse, whom I’ve already quoted, said.
The devil’s cleverest ruse is to make people believe that he does not exist.
You know one of the problems in our culture, and this is an aside, it’s Biblical, but I’m leaving the text just to say this because it ought to be said. We live in a culture where increasingly, our leaders, the cool kids, the rich and the famous, don’t believe in evil anymore. I mean, if somebody commits a major crime, don’t throw them in jail, they’re just confused, they have bad background, they’re poor, something’s going on in their head that shouldn’t be going on in their head in a compassionate society. And so, instead of locking them up, which is what should be done, if you really believe in evil, there is real evil around, we let them go free. And they’re, they can’t believe how lucky they are cause they can go out and commit more crimes. Now, unless you are living on a different planet, that’s plain common sense. And one of the problems in our culture is we no longer recognize evil. There is evil, there is good, and there is a major difference. And then moving back into the text, a lot of evil. Now the Scripture teaches that there are three major sources the world and the flesh and the devil. In terms of the world, the world is bad. There are a lot of bad things going on in the world. In terms of the flesh, that is your desire to do the opposite from what God would have you do. And then there is of course a third, and that is the devil, the world, the flesh, and the devil. And you can’t ignore that particular source of evil. It’s real. It’s in the world. And it is going to be defeated. You’ve heard me use the phrase before and I use it a lot. Scripture teaches, and we’re going to look at some of that later on, that Satan has been defeated. And the statement is the dragon has been slain, but his tail still switches. And it does. So, you don’t ignore that sort of thing. You are aware of it. And why are you aware of it? Because the Scripture is very clear about its reality. Now, let me show you something else. In this text, the magicians, the exorcists who were there and they didn’t believe in Jesus, but they believed in tricks. And they could use those tricks like the name of Jesus to exorcise demons and make a buck. And so, they went to a man who had a demon and they said, in the name of the Jesus that Paul talks about, you come out. And the demons said, we know about Jesus, we don’t know a thing about you. And then they attack the exorcist, took their clothes off and they ran from the house, screaming and naked. Now, that’s kind of funny, but it’s kind of scary too. Don’t fiddle with the things that are occult. II Timothy 3:1 through 5.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come the time of stress. For men will be lovers of self, holding a form of religion, but denying the power of it.
In Revelation 3:1.
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: “I know your works. You have the name of being alive, and you are dead.”
The Scriptures point out the unbelievable danger. And if I have time, maybe next week, we’ll look at some of those, at the unbelievable danger of fiddling with occult, of going to mediums, of playing with a Ouija board, of reading books on occult. Now, I don’t want you to go weird on that. I think you’re going to have questions and you can do research, but be very careful when you move into that particular world. Carl Jung, who certainly was not a Christian, understood that. And one of the things that he taught was when you move into a supernatural world, there is real evil in that place. I was telling Jeremy, who is our producer, and he sits in a control room, and I look at him through a glass window, about a friend of mine who was brilliant, he was a professor, had a PhD, taught at Gordon Conwell, and one time he told me when he was a pastor that two girls in his church had fun one evening when they had a party playing with a Ouija board. And he said, Steve, I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but this really happened. And while they were playing with the Ouija board, a demon came and picked up one of the girls and threw her across the room and she hit a wall. They called me in an absolute panic and he said, I went there and I prayed in the name of Jesus Christ that the demons would leave, that God in his grace and mercy would calm these girls and that they would learn a particular lesson. And then again, he laughed. He says, is that weird or what? Yeah, it is weird. And yes, it is rare. But yes, it is true. The man who, I wasn’t there, but the man who told me about it was a man I trust absolutely and completely. He’s brilliant and he simply doesn’t lie about these kinds of things. And so, from this text, the lesson for today students, is don’t mess with this stuff. I mean, you don’t, you just don’t know what you’re messing with, it’s dangerous and it’s scary. Now, it’s dead, that dragon, but as I said before, his tail still swishes. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And that wraps up another great week of Bible teaching. We will, of course, resume our ongoing guided tour through the Book of Acts soon. But first, tomorrow it’s time again for Friday Q&A with Steve and our good friend Pete Alwinson. Tomorrow Steve and Pete will tackle this question. Do I need to be rebaptized? Be sure to tune in tomorrow for that answer. Well, I don’t know if you’ve heard this line before, but it was new to me. The church isn’t full of hypocrites, there’s always room for more. Ouch. Well, being a hypocrite, a Pharisee, if you will, has always been a problem. In fact, one of our favorite guests on Steve Brown Etc. Michael Reeves, wrote a book about it, and guess what? We put that conversation on a CD. Can we send that to you for free? If so, call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. Or to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Michael Reeves. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? It’s easy to do. You can just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.