The Gospel According to Satan – I Timothy 4:1-3

75 years ago, when WWII was still raging in the South Pacific, and 10,000 islands were held by the Japanese, the allies set up observation posts on remote islands; sometimes on islands still held by the enemy.  These spotters would take up positions on the sides of mountains; sheltered amongst trees or in caves.  It was their job to watch the sea and sky in order to report, by radio, what they saw in enemy troop and ship movements.  It was very dangerous work, and it cost the lives of a great many good men.  Every message they sent told the enemy that they were in the area and put them at risk.
The Apostle Paul was like one of those spotters at the top of an enemy-held mountain.  He looked down into the mist below him and radioed to Timothy: “Tell the troops to prepare themselves.  The enemy is approaching.  In the days to come there will be temptations to defection, and many shall turn from the truth.  People will give ears and hearts to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.  I repeat, I see the Devil’s army moving in the area of deception and treachery.”
I Timothy 4:1 is an important statement, and it needs to be repeated constantly, because I believe that we are in the “latter times” to which Paul referred.The Apostle says that the Holy Spirit is the One who actually saw – or foresaw – the Devil’s assault.  In other words, this is an official – authorized – dispatch from God.  And among other things, the Lord foretold that one of the characteristic results of the upcoming attack will be the defection of professing believers.  Without knowing it, or without admitting it, professing “Christians” will listen to the wooing of demonic spirits.  They will depart from the true faith to follow the doctrines of demons.  As he wrote to the Thessalonians – “Let no man deceive you by any means; for (the day of the Lord) shall not come, except there come a falling away first – an apostasy…”  The days of the Tribulation – “Jacob’s Trouble” – are not very far away.  And the translation of the saints is even more near.
The phrase “doctrines of demons” isn’t referring to people turning their attention and love to demonism.  This is something which is certainly true in our day, and thousands of people are worshiping demons in one way or another.  Not only are there multitudes of foolish people embracing “Wicca” and other forms of Satanism, but I’m afraid that the majority of the talk these days about “angels” is ignorant talk about “demons.”  But Paul isn’t referring to people accepting, believing, and following Satan and his minions.  This isn’t so much about listening to demons as if they were gods, but following what those demon’s teach.  Unlike foolish men, Satan and his angels don’t care if their names are printed on every heretical doctrine.  They don’t pout and slink away if they aren’t in the limelight.  Their message is far more important to them than their personal notoriety.
One of the most effective attacks Satan has had, down through the centuries, is attacking DOCTRINE.  By that I don’t necessarily refer to his assaults AGAINST this doctrine or that doctrine.  He most certainly does that.  But I’m refer to his hatred of doctrine in general – the systematic declaration of the Truth of God in a topical and organized fashion.  So much of modern “churchianity” is characterized by distinct lack of distinct theology.  I refer especially to modern evangelicalism and the major denominations of Christendom.  Most of the good people in those churches eat a diet of only spiritual junk food.  It pleases the palate; it pleases the ear.  It tickles and excites.  It doesn’t necessarily anger the Lord, but it’s not what their spirits need to survive.  What they need is an balanced diet of Biblical nutrition: meat and potatoes to go along with the periodic dainties.  This poor, anemic spiritual diet makes most professing Christians like jelly-fish; they have no skeletons.  If you get them out of their church shell, they can’t stand, and soon they fall victim to the doctrines of devils.  The Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to their door and they can’t recognize their lies.  They watch the “Da Vinci Code” on TV or read Von Daniken’s old the book “Chariots of the Gods,” and it confuses and overcomes them.
Satan has his own SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE.  But how do we know that one set of teaching is of God and another is of the Devil?  We know through a diligent comparison of what we hear to what the Scripture says.  As long as 21st  Century Bereans compare scripture to scripture, they will never fail to find the Truth.  But if all they get are predigested religious tidbits, they will never be strong enough to withstand heresy.
Not only does Satan have his own doctrine, he has HIS OWN MINISTERS – both spiritual and human.   II Corinthians 11:13-15 – “Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”  Again, how can we discern between God’s servants and those who are not God’s?  I John 4:1 – “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  And by what test do we try them?     By the Word of God, which we hold in our hands, but more importantly, which we cherish in our hearts.
Not only does the Devil have his own churches, his own doctrine, and his own ministers, but he also has his OWN PLAN OF SALVATION of works and of duties.  II Thessalonians 2:7-10 – “The mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Satan even has HIS OWN CHURCHES.   Revelation 2:9 – “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write;   These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”  When preachers refer to the “synagogues Satan,” people often picture Satanic cults.  Those things truly exist, and they are of the Devil, but some of the synagogues of Satan are actually highly respected churches – including some wearing the name “Baptist.”  The synagogue of Revelation 2:9 isn’t a black robed, coven of witches sacrificing virgins at the equinox.   It was more like the most prominent self-righteous church in town.
Since the subject of the Devil’s religion is so vast, I thought I would concentrate on his Gospel this morning.  By that I mean the part of Satan’s doctrine which He says prepares a soul to die.  Yes, Satan’s gospel does prepare the soul to die – to die the second death.  And I’d like you to realize that it is more commonly heard in this country than the gospel of Christ Jesus.  It is pervasive; it has permeated nearly every kind of church and religion from Hindu and Shinto to Baptist.  But it is usually not recognized as the Gospel of Satan by those who accept it.  Secondly, I’d like you to think about it, because I once accepted it as the truth, and I was deceived by it.  And I am not any more gullible than the average person.  So I must assume that anyone of us is in danger of being sucked into it as well.  Third, the gospel of Satan doesn’t rescue souls from their damnation; in fact, it confirms them in it.  We can’t afford to dump deadly poisons into our aquifer – the drinking water of this Spokane valley.  And we can’t afford to permit our valley to be infected by the gospel of Satan without raising a voice of warning.  Perhaps we can’t stop it, but we must denounce it.  I’d like you to think about the gospel of Satan because it is a very efficient killer.
First of all, the Gospel of the Devil is INTELLIGENT – it makes sense.
Most people will not automatically believe something which they perceive to be clearly stupid.  (Although there are some notable exceptions.)  For this reason much Demonic doctrine is designed to be plausible to the unsanctified human intelligence.  For example, it is logical to expect God’s blessings if we get religious or start to do Biblical sorts of things.  This makes sense; it appeals to the mind; it appeals to our hearts and our pride.  Ie., it is reasonable to be moral; obedient to priests, mutter a few religious words and to pray now and then.
It is also reasonable to ask why anyone would dare to say that these things are snares of the Devil.  Many eminent and good men and women throughout the centuries have accepted these ideas as the gospel truth.  But it must be remembered that some people’s standard of truth is not what other people accept or believe.  Truth should be measured by God’s Word not by any man’s opinions – even the “smartest” people.  “Ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise man after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.”  “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways saith the Lord.”  The Bible student knows that Jehovah seeks hearts that are beyond the natural, because “The (average) heart is deceitful (gullible) and desperately wicked.”   The natural heart is therefore capable of believing almost anything.  It takes the Spirit of God to show us that what Satan says is “intelligent” isn’t necessarily acceptable to the Lord.
Satan’s gospel is one of IMPROVEMENT.
One of the basic tenants of Lucifer’s doctrine is that all of us have a touch of divinity somewhere deep inside.  Even Kim, Hitler and the Green River Killer, have – or have had – some goodness in them.  And this goodness might have made them decent people, if the right circumstances were made a part of their lives.  Despite a multitude of Biblical statements to contrary, most of the world really believes that kind of psychological garbage.  We have a bobcat who is terrorizing the neighborhood where we live.  Someone might say he is really just a nice kitty and only needs a good home to bring out his friendly nature.  No, actually, a bobcat is a predator; a wild animal.  That is his true nature, no matter how cute he may appear to be.
The natural result of this Satanic doctrine is man’s attempt to exploit his make-believe goodness.  By that I mean, most modern religious leaders are nothing but cheer leaders for self improvement.  Some churches say, “Give up your liquor bottle now, and you can later drink it new in the Kingdom of Heaven.  So long as your adultery or your homosexuality is with a consenting adult it is not evil.  So long as you are still climbing up the evolutionary ladder, you will eventually make it to God.”  Other heretics teach personal confidence, or that a few words of some mantra will give people peace.  There are the social gospel churches saying, “Help, help others, because soul you save may own.” We have dozens of “mind over matter” religions; faith healing, positive thinking, name it and claim it religions.
Again, to some sin-sick souls these things sound good and reasonable.  But they cannot be found in the Word of the Lord.  Pick up the Bible and read it for yourself – these things can’t be found in its pages.  Man doesn’t need improvement; he needs regeneration.  He doesn’t need self-justification; he needs divine justification.  He doesn’t need to adopt African orphans; he needs to be adopted into the family of God.  He needs a spiritual life which he does not and cannot possess naturally; he never will on his own.  There is no divinity in us; there is no spiritual life in us; we are dead in trespasses and sins.
Then the Devil’s doctrine has a division called INVOLVEMENT.
If I tried to catalogue all the religions, denominations and churches in the world, 3 classes would be sufficient.  Jehovah’s is one of the heart, based upon faith in the finished work of Christ, plus and minus nothing.   Then Satan has two types of religions: the church of the hands and the church of the head.
Some religions have an appeal which is directed toward the educated and to the pseudo-intellectual.  Church after church, after church, dabble in various fields of psychology.  And for the most part they leave the common man behind – except that many common men want to be thought of as “uncommon.”  Sadly, there are a lot of churches, including Baptist, which prefer to preach psychology rather than Bible.  They teach a mystical stupidity wrapped in the cellophane of sophisticated terminology.  This kind of religion “of the head” is growing by leaps and bounds.
But the undisputed leader in religion, are the “CHURCHES OF THE HANDS” – the involvement religions.  These have imitation bibles which they claim say, “Do something for God, and thou shalt be saved.”  “For God so loved the world that whosoever shall live morally shall not perish.”  “By your actions, through love, are ye saved and that wholly of yourselves.”  “There is therefore no condemnation to those who serve in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the scriptures but after the pattern that men have designed.”  Of course I’m being somewhat facetious – no Bible actually says anything like that.
The Holy Scriptures say:   “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
It says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
The Book of Galatians declares, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. and the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith”
Should Christians serve God and their neighbors?  Absolutely.    Christians should serve God even by serving men – if it can be done according to the Lord’s pattern.  But their service should be OUT OF THANKSGIVING for the Lord’s grace and blessings, not IN ORDER TO OBTAIN God’s grace and blessings.  No true Christian works for the Lord in order to reach Heaven.  That is impossible, and it’s not a part of the true gospel.    It is less logical and less possible than walking to Japan.
The word  “Gospel” means “good news.”  There is no good news in telling a quadraplegic man that he has to run a marathon.  There is no good news commanding someone who is spiritually dead that he has to make himself live.  There is no good news in ordering someone to do the impossible.  The Bible says that the natural man “cannot please God” – Romans 8:8.  But that is a part of Satan’s doctrine of lies – despite what the Bible teaches.  The Devil is a liar, the father of lies, and the father of today’s religious liars.  The Truth that sets men free ought to whip Satan to death, but it is not generally given the opportunity.
Another part of his doctrine is IMMEDIACY – easy and instant religion.
Just as we have instant potatoes, instant replays, prefabricated housing, instant cash machines, and “pay-day loan” sharks, Satan has his various kinds of instant religions.  So many say or imply, “Join this church and pow – you will be a citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  “Utter the words, ‘Jesus save me,’ and that will make you part of the army of God.”  “With one splash of water over any bald head and that man or baby is born in to the family of God.”  “Walk that aisle, turn over a new leaf, speak in tongues and you, too, can have instant Christianity.”
Mind you, the salvation of God really is an instantaneous thing, but it is vastly different from Satan’s version.  Because it doesn’t come by joining, signing, saying, earning, buying, or anythinging the sinner might do.  The salvation of the Lord is instantaneous and coincident with repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ as the one and only Lord and Saviour.  But then it doesn’t stop there – salvation is a life that begins at new-birth.  If religion to you is nothing more than a few words and your name on our church membership list, then it is of the Devil.  Just check Biblical character of the child of God:   I John 3:14.  – “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”   Do you love God’s people and long to be with them?  I John 4:13 – “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”  John 15:14 – “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”   Do you seek to know what God wants you to do?  Do you love to do what He commands?  John 15:18-19  – “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”  Do your old friends ignore you because you love the Lord more than your old sins?
What I am  trying to say is that the true Gospel starts a new life – a different life – which never ends.  It doesn’t skip five or six days a week, or six months at a time – appearing only on Sundays or popping up at Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas.  Biblical salvation is a personal marriage to Christ as Lord and Saviour.  Demonic pseudo-salvation is a periodic prostitute in sleazy hotel; maybe even in a fancy church edifice.
But one more thing: Satan’s Gospel is one of INTENTION while Christ’s is one of possession.
Devil whispers in ears “You are too young for all this religion business.”  “It is fine for old fogies like your parents and your grandparents, but you’ve still your own life to live.”  “When you finally reach 70; when all is said and done, then it will be time to get religion.”
God on other hand doesn’t talk about “religion” at all; the Bible talks about a life with, and in, Jesus Christ.  And it says that NOW is the time to consider the emptiness of your life without the Lord.  “Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”  “What is your life, it is even as a vapour that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.”  The Devil often says “tomorrow,” while the Holy Spirit says don’t waste another moment without the Saviour.
The question has perhaps become cliche, but I’ll ask anyway – “If you died right now would you go to Heaven”?  Do you know the most common answer?   It’s a toss-up between  “I don’t know” and “I hope so.”  Personally, I don’t want an “I hope so” religion; that’s the Devil’s kind of religion.  If God is not bigger than that, then He’s not what I need.
But the Lord IS bigger than that; much bigger.   “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  In other words, it is not necessary to wait for death to see if God is satisfied with all the sacrifices that you have made for religion.  The vast majority of people in this congregation know, based upon God’s Word, that they have been delivered from the penalty of their sins.  And they know that by the grace of God they have been made ready for eternity with the Lord.  It’s not about their sacrifices, as the Devil would like people to think, it’s about the sacrifice that Christ Jesus has made for their salvation.
That is Christ’s gospel and it is very different from the gospel of Satan.  Again, “If you died right now would you go to Heaven”?  The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can give you assurance.  If you know yourself to be a sinner before God, trust the crucified Saviour to deliver you from those sins.