Human beings are religious by nature. God created us with the desire to reach out to something beyond ourselves, namely Himself. He made us with a longing and restlessness to find our Creator. Paul said in Romans 1:19-20, “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
In our study of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is applying all that He has been teaching and issues a series of stark warnings. He wants us to know that not all is as it seems. The enemy of God, Satan, is at war with God and he understands mankind’s desire to fill our “God-shaped void.” He works hard to push humans to false religion. He wants to help accommodate our longing with something, anything, but the one true God.
In a rather shocking statement, the Apostle Paul tells us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and “his servants disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11). In Matthew 7 Jesus describes them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” These are not your standard heretics railing against Christianity. There are not telling you to go out and worship Satan, they have the appearance of religion. They use the right language, have good credentials, and may be likable. They may say a lot of things that are not wrong. The problem is what they don’t say!
I had a classmate in seminary that when giving his testimony said he had grown up in a liberal church. He was never taught about sin, God’s judgment, or His rescue plan. By God’s grace, he was exposed to truth elsewhere and turned to the cross of Christ in salvation and found a good Bible-teaching church. As he looked back on his previous church experience, he remarked, “they would have loved me right into hell.” How much of that goes on today?
The basis for knowing the truth (which is the historic Christian faith that was “once for all handed down to the saints) centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the litmus test! Any teaching that denies that Jesus is true God and true man, that as the second person of the trinity Jesus took on human flesh in the incarnation is a doctrine of demons.
The warnings are clear. We must be on the alert and discerning in every area of our lives. Be a Berean - “search the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
Pastor Brian Richard