Fred R. Coulter - January 5, 2002
I want to pass on something very important to you. And I think it will help us understand more about the age that we’re living in, because more and more we are getting into the problems of the occult and spiritism that is getting pervasive everywhere. Now just do this one time: sit back and be objective with your channel-surfing on TV. Because as you flick around from channel to channel, you will see many of the same kind of things going on, repeated over and over again. Supernaturalism, demonism, futurism of future people from space. And of course, all of that started with Star Wars. And I was not very popular with my kids when we got home from seeing Star Wars. I said, “Well, all of that is, is just occult and witchcraft.” “Aw Dad!” You know. Well when you go back and look at it, that really had a great impact upon people.
Now also we’ve had the impact of Harry Potters’ movie, succeeded by The Lord of the Rings movie. And even from the advertisements of those you can tell that they are all occult and demonism. So we are going to have more and more problems in the future with people who are bothered by demons. And by “demonization”, I don’t mean that they’re possessed. But you see, Satan controls everything. And I was thinking the other day as I was in the store… if you go into the store, you know, and you listen to the music that is there. And why is it that every store has music, and why is it always piped in from a central location? Go to McDonald’s, or you can go to Wendy’s, or you can go to Penny’s, or you can go (you can tell where I shop), and they all have this music going. Now why have the music going? Why is it that people become so dependent upon music, and what effect does it have?
Let’s think about what effect it has in relationship to your mind and your free moral agency. Now if you have to constantly have music going, that you cannot get along without music, then your mind and your thoughts are dependent upon the music and not your own thoughts. Now some people may say, “Oh that’s radical! Fred you’re radical!” Okay then, stop and think for a minute. Why you need it? Why do you sit there and music comes and you start tapping and pounding? Now there’s good music, there’s bad music, there’s indifferent music; good music is uplifting and inspiring. But listen to some of the words. Lots of times you can hear the words clearly because they’re kind of muffled. But all of them are attuned toward sex and Satan. Very few are wholesome. Once in awhile you come across something wholesome.
Now back to TV just to prove a point. Why is it that you have all the old time movies, before all the demonism and sort, you know. They did have some violence, but it was more realistic violence that you see experienced in history. Why is it that those are run, and rerun, and rerun, and rerun on television over, and over, and over again? And they still have high support. Well I think it is because a lot of people are turned off with all the new and modern stuff that blows your mind. Because it does. Now combined with music, of course there is always music with a movie. And the music is made to set the mood. To set the tone. Now I’ve seen times when there’s a real emotional movie and it becomes very, very emotional. And I’m sitting there crying. Now it’s not necessarily wrong to do that. But I ask myself, “Why are you crying?” So I hit the mute button, and just watch the scene, and I quit crying. Now why? Because the music, especially the high E, is intended to arouse emotion. So what happens, you get drawn into it. That’s the whole intent of the movie. Now that may be good or bad.
Now let’s look at how this society is controlled, and we’ll come back to the music in the stores. Let’s come to Ephesians 2. Now I’m thinking of this, because of what recently happened back near Dayton with Anse Cates’ congregation. And also, how do we reach new people in the world that have never been in a Church of God? Well first of all, we need to understand the society that they are living in. Now there are many, many people that have to listen to music all day long. As soon as they get up in the morning, the radio’s on. Or the television is on. Now if there’s interesting news that you need to hear, that’s fine. Then they get in their cars, and what do they do? They turn on the music, and some of the young people turn on this blasting music. They even do it at home. They have the music so loud, and the bass so projected, that it literally goes through your body. And not only do the speakers vibrate, the body vibrates. And even if you’re in a car next to them, with their windows rolled down and your windows rolled down, you vibrate. So think of the effect on the mind and the body.
Whatis that doing when they are so addicted to that? It is controlling them. They are hypnotized by it. So that’s why Paul said - even without that, the scripture comes to mind - that “I will not be brought under the power of any…” That means anything in this world which separates you from Christ. Now, Ephesians 2. And of course now, Ephesians, what was the city of Ephesus? The city of Ephesus was the capital city for the goddess Diana. Hold your place here. We’ll come back to Ephesians 2. Let’s go Acts 19 for just a minute.
(Audience comment). Even background music will have an effect. It may have a benign effect. Sometimes there’s a benign effect, but it still has an effect. So you can say there is good, there’s benign, there’s bad, and there’s evil. Let’s do it this way. There’s inspirational, there’s good, there’s benign, there’s bad, there’s evil, there is satanic. And even some rock groups - even one group is called, “In the Service of Satan.” KISS. K-I-S-S: “Knights In the Service of Satan.” Well that shows you how far back I’ve left that. Today there’s even a rock leader called Marilyn Manson, who is a man, not a woman. Which also tells you why there’s such a confusing of the sexes and promotion of homosexuality and all of those things. It’s all wrapped up together in one big package. And it’s all rooted in the Occult..
Now let’s pick it up here in verse 8. “And he [Paul] went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers [or that is, different ones] were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus” (Acts 19:8-9). Now this shows you what? You’re not to sit around and stay around with doubting, disbelieving people once they have had a convincing witness of what the truth is. Which is the whole point of the book of Hebrews when we get to it. If you read the word of God, you’ve heard the voice of God, and you are responsible.
So he separated. This does not show any ecumenism at all does it? Ok? Now, “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” Now this was widespread. “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits when out of them” (vs. 10-12). Now keep that in mind. I’ll elaborate on this a little bit later on.
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus Whom Paul preacheth” (vs. 13). Now you see, every true minister of God has complete and absolute authority through Jesus Christ over all demons. To cast them out, to make intercessory prayer for those who have been demonized. And demonization means “thought influence without possession.” And more people have been demonized than you can imagine. Because there are a lot of people out there in the world who, through what Satan is doing, is controlling their thought process by what he is putting out through education, through television, through radio, through music, through the printed word, through audio and visual means of communication; through friends. So it’s all there. But you see, an impostor who comes along and improperly uses the name of Jesus Christ, as these Jews did, the demons don’t obey them.
Notice what happened, verse 15. “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them,…” This sounds like one of these karate movies, doesn’t it? I mean, there were seven of them. “So that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds” (Ephesians 19:15-18). Now what were their deeds? And why did they do this?
“Many of them also which used curious arts…” (vs. 19). That is, trinkets, amulets, lucky charms, images, all of that. Those of the curious things of arts. That would also include crystals. We have crystals today in the New Age movement. Now then, we need to understand something very profound. All of these curious works of art are a sign for demons to come and make contact with that person. Now that may seem strange to many people at first. But you will see that is in fact true.
Now back to the situation that happened back in Dayton. There is a young man who’s been attending church most of his life. When he was in his early teens, say, 12 or 13 or something, and this is where a lot of it happens with children. And they’re all primed for this because of all the cartoons and everything, right? Yes they are. He went and stayed overnight at a friend’s house. And that night they played the Ouiji board. Now the Ouiji board is designed to call in demons. That’s why such things as levitation, moving objects, controlling people, and even sensational demons sex all come in part and parcel with it.
Well this young man, after he left there, from that time forward was demon possessed and didn’t know it. And the demon controlled him such that he could not walk through a door without going through certain rituals. Which those rituals were really worshipping of the demon, so that the demon would give him permission to pass through the door. Now he and his father were watching a news program, I think it was a “60 Minutes” or “20/20” or something like that, where there was a case reporting of a young person who became demon possessed and had the demon cast out. And it all started with the Ouiji board, staying overnight at a friend’s. And so the boy told his father. And now he’s about 20, 21, or 22, so this is a period of about eight years. He finally told his father that that’s what happened to him when he went and stayed overnight at his friend’s.
So they came to Anse Cates and said, “We want the demon cast out.” Well, Anse called me and asked me what to do, and I told him that Mark 9 gives us the formula - that demons do not come out except through by prayer and fasting. “So what you do, you and Dale Denkins get together with Marlon Fannin after you’ve fasted, and you cast out the demon. And let me know, and I’ll pray with you.” And so they did. This was about a month ago. And it was quite a thing. Because, you see, in casting out of a demon, you have to stay with it until it is gone. And it took them the greater part of 45 minutes, all three of them alternately praying. And the demon came out, much like Mark 9, with snorting, and yellings, and cryings, and screamings. And it was so exhausting that after it was done, the three elders were just, you know, sapped of energy because of it. And the young man that they casting it out of fell asleep instantly for about five minutes. When he woke up he was normal, walked in and out through the door with no problem, and to this day he is still in safe condition.
And so he’s on a program to study God’s Word, to develop his mind, to not be - not let any of the outside influences of the world affect him. But now, I want you to understand, with this background when we come to Ephesians 2, what happened. Because this is very similar to what this society is today. And this gives us an understanding as to what we need to do to reach new people. Because we have to come into a realistic level of understanding of the world that they are living in. Now let’s continue on here.
“Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Now, question: Is there big money in demon stuff today? Yes. Movies. Media. Television. Books. Trinkets. And what happened, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:19-20). So what happened here, I’ll just summarize the rest of it, all of the trinket-makers got together and said, “Look - we’re in a depression. We’re going broke. We gotta get rid of this Paul.” So they actually - you read the rest of the chapter - they actually had a riot and Paul barely escaped with his life.
Now then, let’s come back to Ephesians 2, and we’ll see why Paul wrote what he wrote. Which then, gives us a little understanding as to what is happening in the world today. And we will look at a couple of other scriptures that reinforce this. Now Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,…” Part and parcel with the world.
Now let’s talk about the world for just a minute. There are many different conditions in the world. But the one right now that is the most popular is to be happy. Happy-happy this. Happy-happy that. Happy-happy-happy. Now, would Satan want you deceived and to feel happy about it? He can bring on the evil a little later on. That’s no problem. But of course. Because as Paul wrote in Hebrews, there is pleasure in sin for a season. There’s even profit in sin for a season.
I talked to a man who said he was glad to get the tapes I gave on Jesus and the lost city of Sepphoris, in relationship to tithing and so forth. And he said, “In my family we had 73 people in the church. And when they were in the church and they believed, and they tithed, they were all blessed and prosperous.” And he had one uncle who had a farm, $250,000 cash in the bank, and debt free. But because of sins of men, without the internal conviction of God’s Spirit within him, he left the church, quit tithing, and in two years he lost all of his money, was greatly in debt, and had huge medical expenses, and of course he had no medical insurance. And he said to me, “That’s the greatest witness that tithing pays.” Because every one of the seventy-three that left the church and quit tithing have ended up in financial heaps and ruins. Not only just tithing, but when they quit, they quit everything - Sabbath, Holy Days, all the things. And when they first left, they felt very happy. See, because Satan wants you to be happy in your rebellion. The pain is going to come later. He wants you to feel success in it, like Eve did when she first ate of the fruit. “My! This is pretty good. Look at that. Look, I’m still alive!”
So if you’re in the world, love the world - now we’ve read 1 John 2:15-16 (paraphrased), “Love not the world neither things in the world. For this the things that are in the world, the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes [and all of that], they perish with the using and are of the world. They are not of the Father.” And so Satan comes along, and has everybody conforming in the world. Now, do you think that Christmas was a conforming event? Yes. And they also conform in the way that they dress. And conform even in the toys with the children.
Now when I was growing up, we had scooters. And our scooters had big tires. Now today, we’ve gone full circle. They got rid of all the old scooters. Didn’t make any of them. They came out with skateboards, and then roller skates. And so this year they came out with these itty-bitty little stupid scooters that have these tiny little wheels. And, oh, they’re great because they have a brake on the back. Well, my old scooter had a brake on the back too. And everyone runs out and gets them. All the kids are not accepted unless they have a new scooter, or this video game, or that computer game, or this shirt; or these trousers; or these shoes, endorsed by so-and-so-and-so, and such-and-such. All a part of the world.
And all part of the world includes this society that there is. Now in this society, it’s a mixture of good and bad. Sincere and insincere, honest and dishonest, according to the knowledge that they have. But nevertheless, nevertheless Satan, in your reporting to him, if you belong to the world, wants you to be honest, or he’ll punish you. We, in subject to the government according to the command of God, are honest because of God. Now let’s go on.
Who is the power behind it? “…According to the prince of the power of the air,…” (Ephesians 2:2). That’s why thoughts come into people’s minds. Many people don’t know it. A lot of the thoughts they have never came from within them. They were put there. Put there how? Well, Satan has many tools to do it: radio, television, movies, music, friends. And his own spiritual power of his own force with all of the demons. Now that’s how he deceives the whole world. Revelation 12:9 - Satan is deceiving the whole world. Now there’s one thing about Satan the devil, which is this: in order for him to work in your life, you must give him permission. And how do you give him permission? First of all, by agreeing to something that is contrary to the Word of God, as Eve did.
Now for example, I’ve been reading this book, Re-dating the New Testament by A.T. Robinson. And it’s amazing. Almost all of the – I’ll put it this way. There are some few honest scholars who really want the truth. There are. But the greatest majority of them want to perpetrate the lie that the New Testament was not canonized until at least the end of the…let’s put it this way: “The New Testament writings were not written until way after the destruction of Jerusalem, and perhaps even into the second century. And that it was not canonized until the Catholic Church did it in the fourth century.” Well, in order to support that lie, which A.T. Robinson does not do - he gives early dating, they have to accuse God and the apostles and the disciples of lying and creating pseudonyms and fictitious things, written in such a vein to supposedly reflect what would have happened if they had have been there at the time.
And that’s why people discount the Bible and New Testament, and don’t believe the truth, because of the lies of Satan the devil. They believe it. And they think, well, they can get along their lives without God’s word. And yes, there are many, many, many people who believe that, and there are many people in the world who have morals even based upon what’s in the Bible. They count themselves moral people, but they won’t follow the Bible, and yet in their morality they really do. If they don’t lie, if they don’t steal, if they don’t cheat, if they don’t commit adultery, if they honor their parents, they are obeying God. In those things. While in the next breath, they reject God saying, “I’m good enough and don’t need God.” And these are the do-gooders that Satan likes to use. So see, it’s quite a combination, isn’t it? It’s really something.
The prince of the power of the air. Now what happens? “…The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” (Ephesians 2:2). That’s quite interesting, because the Greek means, “the inner working within” the children of disobedience. Because all disobedience starts in the mind, correct? Yes. Now notice verse 3. “Among whom also we all had our conversation [conduct] in times past…” It says conversation, but the Greek there is conduct.
Now was Paul included in that? What about Saul, before he became the apostle Paul? What was he? He was rising in Judaism in a power play that was magnificent. He had the adulation of all of the priests and the high priest, and was their number one Gestapo henchman. Saul was the Heinrich Himmel of the New Testament, beginning with the Christian Jews in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. And what did he do? Was he under control of Satan? Here - hold your place, and let’s go to John 8. Let’s understand something profound. Satan loves religion. And he loves religious people, and inspires them, even those that really sound good.
I remember years ago when I…how many here have watched Billy Graham’s campaigns on TV? I’ve watched them. And he quotes scripture. Sounds very good. Condemns sin. Wonderful. Gets people emotionally involved that they want to overcome their sins. Tremendous. “Come forward and give your heart to the Lord.” Sounds wonderful. He doesn’t command them to be baptized. He doesn’t command them to keep the commandments of God. And when asked about those things one time, he said, “Well, in the world that we live in, I can reach more people if I do it the way that I’m doing it.” Of course then, he didn’t tell them to keep the Sabbath or the Holy Days or any of those sort of things. And then, “Go to the church of your choice.” And now we know that he’s been an ecumenist under cover agent for the Vatican all of these years.
Now all of that goodness - now you may have done some good for people, inasmuch as if you really convince them to get in the Bible and really convince them to pursue Christ. And because of that they yield individually to Christ because they have a desire, then as Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 23, “If these false prophets who I didn’t send and didn’t command them to run and didn’t cause them to speak, but if they had caused My people to hear My word, then that would of been good” (Jeremiah 23:21-22, paraphrased). I’m just sort of paraphrasing it. I think He said, “I would’ve stood by that.” So in that sense, when you have an individual that comes beyond Billy Graham, beyond evangelistic meetings, beyond the emotion of giving your heart to the Lord, and truly seeks God, OK, that’s a start. But here is why Satan loves religion. Because religion is filled with lies while it appears good.
Now here in John 8, let’s ask a question. Was Saul alive at this time? Was he a Pharisee climbing up the power ranks of Judaism, the religion of the Jews? Had to be. Had he heard about Jesus Christ? Without a doubt. We don’t know that he saw Jesus in person. So we can’t say that’s a possibility or not a possibility. We don’t know, and it’s not spoken of in the New Testament. But as Paul, the apostle, he said to Festus when he was brought before the trial in Caesarea, he said, “You know that this was all over Judea and the whole countryside, and it wasn’t done in a corner.” So Paul knew that, didn’t he? Now the reason that I bring this up is because I want you to see why Satan loves religion. And this is why it’s so important to have correct teaching and doctrine, and not just to have an emotional experience.
Now let’s pick it up here in verse 33, when Jesus told them if you obey the truth you shall be free. And they gave the standard answer. “They answered Him, We be Abraham’s seed, and where never in bondage to any man: how sayest Thou, Ye shall be made free?” Now let’s put this in some modern terminology today. If you told that to a Baptist he would say, “Well, why do you say that? I’ve been a Baptist all my life.” Or you say it to a Catholic: “Oh well. You know there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. You know that don’t you? And we’ve been part of it, and our family’s been part of it for hundreds of years.” See, now here, the seed of Abraham were promised what? The blessings of God, the truth of God, and so forth, right? On the condition of what? What was the condition? That they obey. That they hear. That they listen. Just like we have here in the book of Hebrews. “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart” (Hebrews 3:15, paraphrased).
“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily [or that is, truly, truly] I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). Put in your margin there 1 John 3:4. The servant of sin. Whosoever commits sin. What does 1 John 3:4 say? “Whosoever transgresses the law sins, for sin is the transgression of the law.” Or a literal translation is, “Whosoever commits lawlessness commits sin, because lawlessness is sin.” Now lawlessness comes in two forms. First form is to remove any behavioral qualifications in your life that conform to the commandments of God, and you become anti-law and totally satanistic, which is the occult mind, which is the mind of Satan the devil. The other of committing sin or lawlessness is that you accept some of the laws of God, but then you change the others to fit your own convenience. And that is the most deceptive kind of lawlessness that there is. Because you’re convinced that you’re right. And the truth is, you’re partially right. But always remember this: if you leap across the chasm, and only make it halfway, being partially correct, you will die when you hit the bottom. You have to make it clear to the other side.
So that’s profound, it isn’t it? Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. Or, the servant, or the slave. Now are there some people so bound up into their habits and things that they’re slaves? Yes. Slaves to what? Many different things. The most obvious one is drugs, right? Are addicts slaves to drugs? Will they do anything for drugs? Will they go to any extreme to get them? Do they lie to themselves, do they cheat others? Do they take? Do they steal? Do they destroy? And all with no concern except for the sin of their addiction? Now that is a total, total addict to sin, correct? Now there are self-righteous addictions to sin, such as Sunday-keeping, Easter, Christmas, New Year’s. But they’re still slaves to sin.
Just to give you an example, I always do the banking with the same teller, Jean. And she is totally wrapped up in Christmas. So she asked me how Christmas went, and I said, “As good as could be expected.” And yesterday she asked me, she said, “Did you have a happy New Year?” I said, “Well, I can’t tell. It’s only the third day of the year” (Laughs). But she enjoyed going into debt, buying all those gifts. And so on the third of January she’s lamenting the payments she has to make. Is she a slave to that? Absolutely. Under the guise of goodness. Does Satan have the whole world deceived that way? Whether it’s Christmas or any other practice? Yes indeed.
“And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (vs. 35-36). Or that is, truly free. So if you truly repent of your sins, you truly come to Christ, then you are free from being addicted and a slave to sin. Now you still have to overcome. You still have the warfare in your mind. But before God you stand free and pure of sin, provided that you’re growing, you’re overcoming, your repenting, you’re drawing close to God.
“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed;…” (vs. 37). Now He’s telling them that it really doesn’t matter who you are, because a sinner is a sinner, whether you’re a seed of Abraham or whether you’re a Gentile. Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan?
And that was a question of who was his neighbor. The priest who was supposed to lead people in compassion and concern and helping people who are in desperate straits, as we find there in Hebrews 5, that he has to have compassion on those who sin through ignorance, when he saw the man beaten up by the robbers and bleeding, lying alongside the road, he went clear to the other side, lest he would be unclean, as he was on his way to the temple to do his righteous work. And then along came a Levite. And he walked over a little closer and curled up his nose, and he didn’t want to make himself unclean, because after all, he had important work to do at the temple. So on he went. Here comes a hated and despised Samaritan. Despised and hated of the Jews, just like the Palestinians are today. “We don’t like you, we won’t eat with you, we won’t smell in the same room with you. And if we have a chance, we will kill you.” And that’s the same answer that the Palestinians have for the Jews.
So the Samaritan came along, took care the man, put oil and wine in his wounds, took him to the inn, and told the innkeeper, “Now here, I’m giving you some money. You take care of him, and if there’s any more that’s due on my way back I’ll pay it. But make sure he gets well.” Now in a rare case you could see a Palestinian doing that for a Jew, or a Jew doing that for a Palestinian. But how rare it is. So Jesus showed by that example who you are by birth. Though God did use the children of Israel, does not give you and “in” with God if you are a sinner.
So He said, John 8:37, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in you.” Isn’t that interesting? If God’s word has no place in an individual, what is there in the place? Hold here in John 8, and let’s come back to Ephesians 4. What is there in the place? Now let’s pick it up here in verse 22, so we see the process. Because this is a process, brethren. The whole thing of conversion is important.
Now I’ve got a letter that I’m writing right now about why we go through the trials that we go through, because many people count it that if they go through a trial that’s a sign that God doesn’t love them, because they still remember too many things of the false religions of the world that, “you are to be happy, happy, happy, and no problems and no difficulties, and just do what you want to do, and God will be with you, and love Him with a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart, and everything’s fine. If you have problems, God is against you.” No. That’s not true. If you have problems and trials, God is trying you and the testing you. God is with you. God loves you. He is not against you. We’ve all gone through them. And I’ve gone through them myself, as all of you personally know. Come down to the very bottom of the valley of death, so to speak. And it’s very discouraging, very debilitating, and really takes its toll. And you do feel in some ways, “God, where are You? Have You forsaken me?” And then you come to your senses and say, “No, God hasn’t forsaken me.” And you begin to pray and ask, “God, help me to understand what I’m going through.” And that’s when I began to have some right thoughts about the situation.
But salvation is a process of putting out and putting in. Ephesians 4:22, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation [conduct] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Just like that stupid tune, or message of an advertisement that you didn’t want in your brain, and yet it kind of clicks in there once in a while. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” So it’s an ongoing process. “And that ye put on the new man,…” So you have to grow in grace. You have to grow in knowledge. And these things come by trials and difficulties, see. “…Which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24). So in all of this and what you’re going through, what I’ve gone through, what people are going through today, and in confronting things in the world, what you’re really experiencing is this: you’re experiencingthat there is a tug-of-war between the old man and the new man. The old man doesn’t want to give up, and the new man is not quite strong enough to resist it. So that’s why you have to come to Christ. And always remember this: if you’re in trouble or you have a problem, don’t run from God, run to Him.
Remember what happened to Elijah after the great miracle, after the 450 priests of Baal were killed? And they all ate at Jezebel’s table? Now the wrath of Jezebel, the daughter of the Canaanite priest, who married Ahab, and so then the great miracle occurred that the drought ended and everything was flooding. And after that miracle, rather than thanking God and having strength, what did Elijah do? He ran away like a whipped dog, whimpering clear down into the cave in Mount Horeb (that’s where the 10 Commandments were given). And went in there and said, “Oh, Jezebel’s gonna get me!” And so God finally spoke to him, not in the rain, not in the thunder, not in the earthquake, but in a small still voice and said, “Elijah, there, there.” I’ll just sort of paraphrase it. “Cheer up, old chap. There’s seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
Which is interesting, isn’t it? What does that show? I just thought of that yesterday. What does that show? They had freedom of religion. And isn’t it interesting that how few there are that really have not bowed the knee to Baal in a land full of religious freedom like the United States today? Amazing. So you see, when this battle between the old man and the new man and discouragement comes, don’t give up, because God is creating in you the new man in the righteousness and holiness of Christ. So yield to God. Take your problems to Him. Lay them out. He’ll answer. Did God say He would answer? Yes. He promised He would. Can God lie? Of course not, otherwise He’s not God. Will he answer? Absolutely. In the way that we may think? Probably not. But nevertheless, He will answer. And I’ve experienced that many, many times.
Now notice our part: “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members of one another. Be ye angry, and sin not:…” (Ephesians 4:25-26). One of the easiest things to happen is get angry - get angry at something, or get angry at God, or get angry at a situation, and then you keep it and you retain it. Now we’ve all gone through that. Everyone of us. Question: what did it profit? Nothing. Did it sour your mind? Did it destroy other people’s relations with you? Of course. Who can abide in an angry man or angry woman’s house? There are many proverbs. You could go read about that.
“Be ye angry, and sin not.” In other words, be angry at the deed that is wrong, but don’t be angry at the person, and don’t sin by retaining it. Rather, you do as Christ and Steven did, “Father forgive them what they do,” and, “Lord, don’t lay this to their charge.” “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath…” Absolute rule number one. Never take your anger beyond sundown. Now then, if you’re so cunning as to wait until after sundown to be angry, then you’re obligated by the next sundown to get rid of it. Now here’s the reason why: “Neither give place to the devil” (vs. 26-27).
Now notice what Jesus said back here in John 8:37. “I know they ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in you.” So we can give a place to Satan the devil, right? Yes. Now back here to Ephesians 4 again. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,…” (vs. 28-29). Now he’s talking to Christians. They’re in the process of overcoming. So he’s saying, “Look - you’ve got to get rid of that.”
“…But that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (vs. 29-32). So that finishes the process of overcoming, in giving no place for the devil.
Now in this case, back to John 8. Let’s come back here now. If the word of God has no place in a person, then who takes that place? Satan. How does he do it? As the prince of the power of the air. Now let’s see it here. John 8:37, “…Because My word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” Now they get into a heated argument. “They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a Man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.” Now we’re going to see they had no place for God, but they had plenty of place for Satan the devil. “Then said they to Him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:37-41).
Now there’s something else that’s also interesting to understand, which is this. Outside of miracles, many things happen which a casual observer would think would be just that of human endeavor. So that’s what they were saying of Jesus. God worked it out so that those who didn’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ would have an excuse to reject Him. And Satan took full advantage of this, and in the religion of Judaism today and Islam religion today, the hatefulness toward Jesus Christ, being a true Son of God, is absolutely incredible. And as adamant as can be, just like this argument here. So that’s why God did it the way that He did.
So they said to Him, verse 41, “We be not born of fornication; we have one father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word” (vs. 41-43). In other words, “There’s no place for the words in your mind.” And to hear means to hear so that they would understand. And they couldn’t understand it. And there are people who are so wrapped up in the ways of this world, the religions of this world, or the atheism of this world that there is no place for God, and Satan is right there, Johnny-on-the-spot, to fill the space. So they cannot have entrance into it.
And in reading this book about what people believe in the canonization of the New Testament, it is mind blowing some of the things that these people believe. And in it you can see Satan’s hand, that there’s no place for the truth. So we have the same experience it is here.
Now continuing on, verse 42, “Neither came I of Myself,…” So He wasn’t an upstart. He wasn’t wandering in the wilderness one day and all of a sudden, “Ding!” the idea came to Him that He would start a religious movement. “…But He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word.” Why? Verse 44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” Now these are religious people, brethren. These were people even keeping the Feast of Tabernacles at the temple. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (vs. 42-44).
And he is the one who misrepresents and twists and turns, and causes confusion and doubt. And he can do this in many, many ways. And if someone gets discouraged and down, we need to help them up. They need hope and encouragement. So that they, what is it said, don’t be wrapped up in it over self much pity. Over much self pity, rather. Because when you… and that’s why I wrote in a letter that when you’re in a trial and you’re just looking to yourself alone and you’re not looking to God, that’s what Paul said to those in the book of Hebrews - looking to Christ, the beginner and finisher of our faith. That’s why when we go through these things, that’s what we have to do.
In order to overcome Satan the devil, now, let’s come back to Ephesians 2, we need to also realize that in order to overcome Satan the devil, who’s the prince of the power of the air, we need to constantly look to Jesus Christ. Not to the circumstances. And always remember Peter and walking on the water. Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you, bid me to come on the water.” He said, “Come.” He started walking on the water. Then all of a sudden he looked at the circumstances and started sinking. He said, “Lord, save me!” And Christ reached out and pick him up and said, “ O you of little faith.” And remember, as soon as they got in the ship the winds ceased, and the waves quit, and they were at the other shore. Now the moral of that story is, when you’re right smack in the middle of a trial and your sinking down, if you look to Christ and ask for help, He’ll lift you up. He will. He’s promised it. And that’s how you overcome the prince of the power of the air. By the power of Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit. By giving no place in your mind to the prince of the power of the air.
Now back here to Ephesians 2:3. “Among whom also we all had our conversation [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh,…” Whatever that may be. That just doesn’t mean sex alone. That’s of physical goods and physical things. Because a carnal mind is minding of the flesh. “…Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;…” And of course, what is one of the big sellers today? Mind control. Develop your mind. Tap the inner powers within. You are more than you ever thought you were. Yeah - Robin. I don’t know if it’s his first name or last name, but I saw him on “Larry King Live” promoting the very same thing, you see. Now that’s exactly what Satan told Eve. “Look, you can decide. You can grow. You can be like God. Tap the inner powers within you. And I’ll be there to help you,” I will add.
(Audience comment). Comment was made that there were some people they knew in the church of God that left the church of God, and they went and - part of his seminar is, your advanced seminar, is that you overcome the flesh by walking on coals of fire. And what you get into with all of that is demonism. What is the insulation between the feet and fire? Some spirit being down there? Now let me show you my arm. I burned it. There are few scars there, and there is a scab here. I burned it three weeks ago, and I had two spots with third degree burns all the way through the skin to the flesh, and the rest of it just the second and first degree burns. And it was innocent that I did it by turning over a piece of meat that I was frying. And it’s splashed. And I burned myself.
So how is it that people can walk on coals? It’s not because of any inner strength or super spirit that they have of themselves. It’s because they become demon possessed and demons help them. They’re working with familiar spirits and they are following the course of this world and Satan the devil. And because they do it, they have a superior self-righteous attitude, that they are better, and greater, and stronger, and more powerful in personality, and mind, and ability, than other people. And, “I’ve done this on my own, and God, take a hike.” Those are the desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind.
Continuing on now in verse 3. “…And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” For lo, always remember this: their day comes. Because God is not swift to execute His judgment, do not for one minute think that it’s not coming, and will come; yea, in fact is already come, because the judgment is, they’ve been given over to these demonic and satanic forces. Now concerning us, here’s how we came to be where we are. Lest in condemning the things of the world and of Satan the devil, we get lifted up in self-righteousness and think that we’re something great. That because we know the word of God and keep the Sabbath and holy days, that we have an inside track that the world doesn’t have. In a sense we do. But by whose power? But by whose spirit? Christ’s. How is it done? It was done by grace. It was done by mercy.
Verse 4, “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ…” “With” means “joined to.” Made us alive together with Christ. “…(By grace ye are [have been] saved;).” And that means from Satan the devil and your sins. We know that salvation is a process. The first point is: you have been saved from your sins and Satan. The second point is: you are being saved if you stand in the gospel. And the third point of salvation is: we shall be saved, and that will be the permanent salvation at the resurrection. But nevertheless, by grace, which is the gift of God.
Now if we had to pay great money for it, we might think it would be of more value. But if you pay great money for something, and even earn great money, like many did in the stock market. And when you set your heart on it, which many of them did, they now have no value. Because that’s the way with Satan. He gets you all enticed in your lust and gets you all on the bandwagon. And then he pulls the rug out from underneath, knowing that he’s going to profit. In relationship to the stock market, remember, the money went somewhere. Someone has it. Somewhere. And since you don’t, where did it go? Let’s go on here.
Now we need to look and focus in on our calling. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places [things],…” What is the heavenly thing that you have and that only those in the church of God have, which the world does not have? Now it says “places” here. Now places will come later. Things are now. What is the thing of God that we have? The Holy Spirit of God. That’s how we sit together with Christ. The Holy Spirit, which is greater than anything in the world. Greater than physical life itself. Notice, and there is a reward coming. “That in the ages to come…” (vs. 5-7). That’s why look for the coming kingdom. That’s why we always need to focus in on Christ.
Let’s go to Hebrews 12 for just a minute. I already quoted, but let’s turn there, because this is very encouraging, very corrective, and also very inspiring. Let’s begin right here in verse 1. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,…” I mean, you’ve got the whole Bible for example, correct? Yes. “…Let us lay aside every weight,…” Sometimes we get weighed down. And that’s called what? A depression. Or bad attitude. Or as they say today in modern parlance, a funk. Another way to say it, because it’s more than you can bear, it’s a load. “…And the sin which doth so easily beset us,…” It does, because the flesh is right there, wanting to sin, willing to sin, planning to sin. That’s the nature we have to overcome. “…And let us run with patience the race that is set before us,…” (Heb. 12:1).
Speaking of races, remember the tortoise and the hare? You have to run with patience the race set before us. Here’s what we need to do in all circumstances. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,…” Look at His example. Look at what He faced, and knew what He faced. “…Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (vs. 2). So that’s why it’s good, if you’d like to, go ahead and study through that section in the Harmony and see what He endured. And then read the section on the resurrection, the Wave Sheaf Offering Day. What a great and fantastic victory that was, brethren. “For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself,…” (vs. 3). Which we just read of in John 8, as well as many others, in the trial and crucifixion and so forth. Now notice. That’s why you need to consider Him. Consider what He has gone through. “…Lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (vs. 2-3). Now years ago I wrote the next three words right by it, because this is implied. You faint in your minds, “…and give up.”
Verse 4 is kind of a nice way of saying, “So you think you’ve got it tough. So you think your circumstances are such a weight that you can hardly bear it. So you’re close to a mental, and nervous, and emotional breakdown. You’re self-centered. You’re not looking to Christ.” He’s saying, “You haven’t had it so tough yet.” Verse 4, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” I have yet to anoint anyone for being wounded, and bleeding because they were fighting overcoming sin. Now the day may come when we have to resist unto blood or death.
But I’ll tell you one thing, unless we’re firm and resolute through the power of God’s Spirit, and God’s way in love and faith, then when that day comes then weakness is going to come. And we’re all going to be confronted with that. Because we are marching slowly and surely, and inexorably toward the time of the mark of the beast. And then we’re going to be confronted with the most powerful, logic and mis-logic that Satan can put forth. Which will be something like this: “So you’re one of those that won’t take the mark in your right hand or in your forehead. So you say you do this because you believe in God. Well, does your God want you to starve? Does your God want your children to go without? Doesn’t the Bible say that if you don’t provide for your own, you’re worse than an infidel? Now how can you be against this wonderful new invention that we have? And really, it’s just the size of a large kernel of rice. And you can have everything that you need. You can work, you can feed your family, you can feed yourself. Now it’s all up to you.” That’s going to be hard, isn’t it? And lo, it is coming. That’s why we need to be strong in Christ.
Now let’s come back to Ephesians 2. Let’s finish this a little bit more. That’s why you need to keep your mind on the things that are coming. Because it is the hope of God, the hope of eternal life, the hope of the return of Christ, the hope of the kingdom of God, which is higher and greater and better and more important than anything else in this world. But you don’t come to that conviction instantaneously. You come to that conviction by experience, by growing, by overcoming, by trials, by triumphs; by failures, by prayer, by study, by anguish. Now verse 7, “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” )Eph. 2:7). And won’t that be something, when you’re resurrected as a spirit being with a spirit body with glory, and you shine just like Jesus Christ does? And you are in the first resurrection? And you can live forever, you can rule and reign with Christ? You can help set this world straight. You can truly end wars. Because Christ is going to end them.
Now verse 8. “For by grace are ye [have been] saved through faith;…” That is, faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, faith in His blood for the remission of sins, faith in the existence of God, faith in the word of God, faith and obedience to God. “…And that not of yourselves:…” Because it didn’t come from within you, or me, or anyone else. It came from the power of the Spirit of God. And “it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship,…” Now you see, God is likened unto the potter, and we are the clay. And God is going to mold us and make us into what He wants. Because we are His workmanship. And He has a way of that workmanship, which is patterned after Christ. “…Created in Christ Jesus unto good works,…” And those good works are the spiritual works of love, and faith, and temperance, or that is, self control; of hope, of overcoming, of yielding to God; the faith of loving one another, the faith of loving God. And all of those are good works. “…Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (vs. 8-10). As compared to verse 2, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world…” So you see, we have the change on how we walk.
So the world that we have to face today is an entirely different world than when many of us who came into the church 30, 40 years ago had to face. Now those in the world today have many different problems that we did not have to face. But nevertheless, the solution is still the same. But what we have to do, we have to have a recognition that there is, like in the days of the Ephesians, there was the power of Satan the devil at Ephesus because of the religion of Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians. And the occult was rampant.
And so again, we’re faced with the same kind of world. The same kind of psychological, and mental, and demonic problems that they faced then. And so what we do in our lives today, and what we do in the future is we’re going to have to account for that, and approach new people from that point of view, so that they can relate to the Bible and relate to the things of God. Rather than saying that what is in the Bible is just a stuffy old religion for old people who are going to be gone in a few years anyway.
So anyway, that’s not what I planned to talk about. I spent three hours preparing for the sermon today. But I guess we will let this one stand.