Pristine Grace

Satan's Gospel vs. God's Gospel
April 25, 1976
by Henry Mahan
Satan's Gospel vs. God's Gospel

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Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 11:1-4

     In verses one, two and three we have three very obvious things. First of all, we have Paul’s confession. Secondly, we have Paul’s motive. And in verse three we have Paul’s fear.

     In verse one he says, “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly.” Like any true minister of Christ Paul recognized his infirmities. “My folly” he calls it. Many times he made statements like this expressing his lack of confidence in the flesh; his flesh or anyone else’s. He said on one occasion, “I am less than the least of all the saints.” He felt that. He really felt that. He said, “I am not worthy to be called an apostle.” He said, “I am the chief of sinners.” And he said this one time: “Who is sufficient for these things?” He talked about the power of Satan and the power of God. He talked about the depravity of the flesh. He talked about the gospel being a revelation. And he said, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Certainly sufficiency is not in us. It is in Christ.

     So in verse one you have Paul’s confession, “my folly.”

     And then in verse two you have his true and proper motive. He says, “I am jealous over you. I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy.” His jealousy was for the glory of Christ, for the glory of God.

     Look at the next line. “For I have espoused you to one husband. I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. It is for the glory of Christ that I desire that you be married to one husband, that you find that protection and provision and security in Christ.”

     Now, when a woman is happily married to a faithful, strong man she finds in him security and rest. A woman who is married to a strong individual does not worry about what she will eat. She knows he will provide. She doesn’t worry about where she will live. She is not concerned about those things. She doesn’t worry about what she will wear. She knows that she will have something to wear, that her husband will provide for her. She is comfortable and secure. She rests in him. She does not concern about those things.

     Now, the man may be. He may be concerned about what his family will eat and what his family will wear and where his family will live. But the wife who is married to that man knows that he always has provided and he always will. And she is secure. And she doesn’t worry about her safety or the safety of her children because he will protect. Now, if he is away from home she may be concerned. But if he is there she leaves it to him.

     She doesn’t feel unwanted. She doesn’t feel insecure. She doesn’t feel unloved because she knows he loves her and she has a sense of security.

     Now, Paul says when you are married to Christ, when you are married to Christ if we have properly espoused you to one husband then you have a sense of confidence and security. You rest in him knowing that he will provide. He will protect. He loves you. “Having loved his own, he loves them to the end. And we have found in him a rest and a security.”

     And that’s the true minister’s motive. He does not want people looking to him nor to his doctrine nor to his arguments nor to his abilities nor to his power. He wants his hearers to be married to Christ for they can find in Christ a perfect security and a perfect rest and, in him, perfect provision, protection and all these things. To know Christ in a personal, living, vital union—and he refers to it here as a state of marriage, spiritual marriage to Christ—it is finding rest.

     Do you see what I am illustrating? The women in this congregation whose husbands are dependable and whose husbands are faithful and whose husbands are strong, they are secure. They are comfortable. They are happy because they leave it all up to him.

     And Paul said, “If you have truly come to a knowledge of Christ, if you have been vitally, permanently, personally united to Christ in that type of relationship you can find a rest, a security, leaving it to him, taking no anxious thought for tomorrow what I shall eat, what I shall drink, what I shall wear. Your Father knows you have need of those things.”

     It’s also a Father and child relationship. When a child in a home, if his father and mother are the type of people they ought to be he doesn’t worry about what he is going to eat. He just knows it has always been on the table and always will. He doesn’t worry about being protected or being provided for or these things. He rests comfortably knowing that his parents care for him.

     So we have, first of all, Paul’s confession. “I can’t meet your need. I have as many inconsistencies as you do. I confess my infirmities the same as yours.”

     “Elijah was a man of like passion.”

     “We were dug,” one of the prophets said, “Out of the same pit.”

     Paul said, “I am less than the least of all the saints, but my godly jealousy for the glory of Christ is that you personally might not rest in yours or anybody else’s flesh, but in his power, in his grace, in his love and his mercy, that you be joined to Christ.”

     Now here is Paul’s fear, verse three. Paul said, “But I fear, lest by any means,” and that is the way Satan operates. He will use any means, any means. He is not a person of integrity. “But I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his craftiness, through his cunning, through his abundant talent, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.”

     Satan will use any means, any means, to deceive you, to corrupt your minds that you might be corrupted from the simplicity of Christ.

     This is his purpose. Paul said, “My motive is that you might be married to Christ. My motive is that you might be one with Christ, that you might be brought into that most personal union with Jesus Christ.”

     Satan’s purpose, his motive, is to deceive you, to direct your mind away from Christ, away from the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. If Satan can turn your mind to religion by any means, if Satan can turn your minds to good works, to doctrine, to tradition, to ceremony, to self, to anything but Christ, he is cunning. He is crafty. He is brazen. He is talented.

     We expect Satan to come in like the artists portray him as an obnoxious, ugly, evil person with horns and pitchfork and cloven hoofs and a pointed tail. That’s not the way he comes.

     How does he come? Well, look at verses 13, 14 and 15. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into angel of light.” That’s the way he appeared to Eve in the Garden. “And therefore it is no great thing if his ministers...”

     Now what is Satan’s purpose? His purpose is to corrupt your mind from the simplicity of Christ. Who are his agents? His agents are deceitful workers, ministers of righteousness, angels of light. What is his arena, his theater of operation?

     “Well, the beer halls.”

     You are wrong.

     “The houses of prostitution.”

     You are wrong.

     “The gambling dens.”

     You are wrong.

     “The worldly places of amusement.”

     You are wrong. That’s where preachers have missed the whole thing. His area of operation, his theater of operation, his arena of conflict is religion. That’s exactly where it is.

     Look at those verses again. What are they? Verse 13. They are false apostles. What are they? They are deceitful workers. What are they? They transform themselves into the apostles of Christ. They come as ministers of Christ. And that’s no marvel. Satan himself came that way.

     Whatever method that he can employ to take your mind away from Christ. He may come to you as a very suave, educated, brilliant minister. He may come to you as a very personable individual. When our Lord Jesus was going to the cross he told his disciples that he must suffer and die on a cross, that he must bleed for our redemption. And one of the apostles, Peter, the leading apostle, the one who always did the talking, the one who had said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the one who always spoke for the others. He spoke up and said, “Far be that from thee, Lord. Thou shalt not suffer. Thou shalt not die.”

     And our Lord spun around and pointed his finger at the apostle Peter and he said, “You get behind me Satan. You get behind me.”

     Was Peter Satan? No. But Satan used Peter.

     By any means... Satan is opposed to the cross. Satan is opposed to substitution. Satan is opposed to redemption. Satan is opposed to the simplicity of Christ. And whatever means or methods that he can employ he will do it to direct your mind away from Christ. Satan is not a physical person. He is a spiritual person. He is an evil spirit and his area of operation is in the spiritual realm.

     Now you turn to Genesis three and let’s listen to how he deceived Eve. Paul said, “I fear lest Satan through his craftiness and cunning and subtlety will come to you and corrupt your minds.” That’s where the area where he operates, the mind. We think that if we can keep people out of the beer halls and keep them out of the gambling dens that we can make good people out of them.

     You may make outwardly good people out of them, but Satan’s theater of operation is the mind, the thoughts. That’s where he operates. He is a spirit.

     And in Genesis three he came to Eve. “The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman,” watch this. “‘Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’”

     What’s the first place he attacks? The Word of God. He admitted that God said something. But is this what God said? Is this true? Hath God said? That’s the first place he attacks, the Word of God.

     All right. Notice his second argument now. The woman said, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden God has said, ‘You shall not eat it lest you die.’”

     The serpent said, “You shall not die.” His second attack was upon the justice of God, the holiness of God, the righteousness of God. “God will not punish sin. There is no judgment. There is no eternal condemnation. There is no eternal separation from God. That’s not true. You shall not die.”

     All right. Watch his third argument now. For verse five he says, “God doth know in the day you eat thereof your eyes will be open and you will be as God. You will be as God.” His third place of attack was the glory of God. “You don’t need a Savior. You will be God yourself. You don’t need a redeemer. You don’t need to bow to God. You don’t need to worship God. You don’t need to adore the almighty. You will be God yourself.”

     And that’s the way he deceived Eve.

     Now, in verse three, “I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his craftiness and through his cunning, through his subtlety so your minds should be corrupted form the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.”

     When Satan tempted Eve he put a question mark on God’s Word. He put a question mark on God’s justice. He put a question mark on God’s sovereignty, God’s glory.

     Now, the simplicity of Christ is the opposite of this. First of all, the simplicity of Christ, the simplicity of Christ bows to the Word of God.

     I want to show you a beautiful story. Turn to Luke chapter five. This illustrates what I am saying better than anything I believe in the Word of God. In Luke chapter five I want you to turn over there and look at this. What I am saying is this. The simplicity that is in Christ Jesus, the simplicity of faith, the simplicity of a right relationship with God, of trust and confidence, the simplicity of happiness and assurance in the Savior bows, first of all, to the Word of God. It puts no question mark on God’s Word. It doesn’t matter about the outward circumstance. It doesn’t matter about these things. God’s Word is true. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” It doesn’t ask for an explanation. It just says God’s Word is true.

     Now, in Luke chapter five, “It came to pass that as the people pressed upon him to hear the Word of God he stood by the lake of Gennesaret. He saw two ships standing by the lake but the fishermen were gone out of them, were washing their nets.”

     Now, this must have been in the morning and these men had come in from fishing all night and they were washing their nets. “And he entered into one of the ships which was Simon’s, Simon Peter, and he asked him if he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, or finished his message he said, ‘Simon, launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught.’ And Peter answering said, ‘Master.’” Now watch this carefully. “‘Master, we have toiled all the night and we have caught nothing. Nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net.’”

     That’s faith. That’s the simplicity that’s in Christ. I don’t understand why God permitted Adam to fall because God knew about the fall. He had the savior before the fall. Christ was a lamb slain before the foundation of the world. I don’t understand about the sons of God going into the daughters of men and giants in the land. I can’t explain that at all. I wouldn’t even attempt it. I don’t understand why God was pleased to destroy this world by flood, preserve Noah, the miracle of the ark. I don’t understand why God permitted Saul who stood head and shoulders above all the people of his day, wise, I don’t understand why he permitted Saul to go the route he did or David the route he did. I don’t understand those things. I don’t understand why God almighty permits sin to reign as it does, error to flourish.

     David said one time in Psalm 73, he wept over this and was troubled over this. He said, “Lord, the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. The wicked people are corrupt. They speak wickedly. They speak proudly. The set their mouths against heaven. Their tongue walks through the whole earth. They persecute your people. And yet they prosper in this world. They increase in riches. Have I cleansed my heart in vain? Have I washed my hands in innocency? All day long I have been persecuted and plagued and chastened.”

     I don’t understand those things. People can preach error and they can get a crowd of 50,000. A man who is interested in the glory of God and the sincere dedication of people’s hearts to Christ can’t get a corporal’s guard out to hear him. I don’t understand those things.

     But I believe God’s Word. I believe God’s Word.

     “Nevertheless,” Peter said, “I have fished all night and I haven’t caught a thing. But nevertheless, at your word I will let down the net.”

     And I say there is not going to be any right knowledge of God apart from this book. Now, you can stand out under the heavens and you can see the power of God. You can see the glory of God to some extent. You can walk among the forests and the trees and nature and you can see, to some extent, the wisdom and power of God. But you can’t know much about God’s grace and God’s mercy and God’s love and God’s purposes and God’s will and God’s way except that he revealed himself in the book. You have got to come to know this Word. You are not going to know God apart from his Word. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, correction, for instruction and reproof that you might be mature. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.”

     Christ said to his disciples, “I’ve got many things to say to you. You cannot bear them now. Nevertheless, when he, the Holy Spirit, is come, he will guide you into all truth. There cannot be any right knowledge of sin apart from this Word.”

     Now, I know what the world calls sin, but what the world calls sin and what God calls sin are two different things. The foolishness of this world, or of God is the wisdom of God is foolishness to this world. There cannot be any right knowledge of sin, any right knowledge of Christ, any right knowledge of salvation, any right knowledge of redemption apart from the Word.

     Paul said to Timothy, “From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures that are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” And that’s the way Satan comes. He came to Eve. And he said, “Is this what God said?”

     “Yeah, that’s what he said.”

     “You don’t believe that, do you? You don’t believe it, do you?”

     And he may come to you. He may deceive your and corrupt your mind. I don’t know. Through his cunning, crafty subtle way, but he is not going to come to you as a red devil in a pitchfork. You needn’t look for him that way. Look for him in a pulpit. Look for him as someone who knocks on your door and comes into your home with a Bible and sits down with the sweetest smile in this world on his face. That’s where you look for Satan. Look for him in a friend. Look for him in someone in whom you have the greatest confidence. That’s where he will appear. He is crafty. He is cunning. He changes himself into an angel of light and his messengers into ministers of what? Righteousness.

     But remember this. Here is the way you can discern the spirits. Someone said, “Can you discern the spirits?”

     Well, John said for us to discern the spirits. He said, “Try the spirits. Try the spirits. There are many anti-Christs in this world and the first place is he will start putting a question mark on this Word.”

     “It doesn’t mean that. That really didn’t happen. That’s just figuratively speaking. That’s a myth. That’s just a story.”

     That’s what he said to Eve. “Hath God said?”

     All right, the next thing, turn to Romans seven. The simplicity of Christ in the first place—and I say this confidently, boldly, I’ll never take it back—the simplicity of Christ bows to this book. “Nevertheless, at thy word.”

     Take no man’s word. Do not take my word. Do not believe it because I said it. Believe it because God says it.

     You search the Scriptures whether these things be so. You look into God’s Word and find out what he said. You cannot be deceived by following the Scriptures. But you can be deceived following a man interpreting the Scriptures.

     And, secondly, the simplicity of Christ recognizes the holiness and strictness of God’s law.

     One of our men said last week, he was with me down in Florida, and he said, “One day God taught me what sin is. I didn’t know what sin was. I was religious all my life, but God taught me what sin is.”

     That’s what Paul said. “One day God taught me what sin is. And he taught me sin by showing me the holiness of his law and the holiness of himself.”

     Look at Romans seven. Here is when Paul learned what sin was. In Romans seven, verse seven. “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God forbid. I had not known sin but by the law. I had not known lust except the law said, ‘Thou shalt not covet.’ Sin, taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. I saw it all. Without the law sin was dead, dormant. It was there but it wasn’t revealed. I was alive without the law once. But when the commandment came sin revived and I died... And the commandment which was ordained to life I found to be unto death.”

     What is Paul saying here? He is saying this: That sin is an inward condition. It’s not just an outward act. It’s an inward state. It is an inward principle.

     God said to Samuel, “The Lord seeth not as man seeth. Man looketh on the outward countenance. God looks on the heart.” This is where Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee, the religious man, the good man, the moral man, the perfect man...this is where he died. This is where God slew him. This is where God stripped him. God revealed that sin was an inward principle.

     The perfect law reveals the character of God. God is perfect love. God is not just love, he is perfect love. God is prefect truth. God is perfect holiness. When we compare ourselves to those about us we look pretty good because we are careful about whom we compare ourselves with. We will always pick someone a little worse. But when we compare ourselves with a holy God our thoughts, our motives, our attitudes, that’s when Paul said, “I died.” The prefect law convicts of sin. The perfect law destroys righteousness. The perfect law shuts us up to Christ. It shuts us up to substitution. It shuts us up to redemption. It shuts us up to Christ’s personal work for us. That’s what the holy law of God does. And the simplicity of Christ does not try to catalog sin. But it recognizes sin in the light of God’s holiness. It recognizes the strictness of God’s holy law. It recognizes the imperfections of the flesh. That’s the simplicity of Christ.

     And then, thirdly, the simplicity of Christ—and this is so important—and on that second point the simplicity of Christ recognizes that we deserve condemnation. Now, my friends, most people believe that God is obligated to take us to heaven when we die. God is obligated to let us into his presence. That’s not true. If God almighty damns my soul he will be just, and yours, too. God is holy. We are unholy. God is righteous. We are unrighteous. I believe in God. I know there is a God. I know that Christ is His son. I know that God has been pleased to call out a people for his name. That’s what his Word says. I know that God will punish sin either in Christ or in the sinner. God will punish sin either in Christ or in the sinner.

     I thank God we have a Savior who took our sins. And he is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by him. And God is going to have a people in heaven and there is going to be a people inhabiting eternal condemnation. And if I am one of those whom he condemns he will be perfectly just. Do you believe that?

     Do you say, “Yeah, I believe if he condemns you he will be just,” but how about yourself? How about yourself? Can you say God is just if he passes me by? Well, if you ever come to see the holiness of God’s law and the holiness of God’s person and your own evil and your own corruption you will say that. Then the simplicity of Christ bows to God’s sovereignty.

     “Eve, hath God said...” Will God punish sin? Is he sovereign? Is he worthy of your reverence, your fear, your all? That’s what Satan said. Why?

     “God’s not that sovereign. You are God. You are important, Eve. You are God yourself. God’s keeping you suppressed. He doesn’t want you to know just how dignified and how good and how powerful and how great you are.”

     Men are most willing for God to occupy every place but the throne. Did you know that? This religious world and Satan...that was Satan’s sin. If you will some time look at Isaiah 14, not now, but at another time. What was Satan’s sin? He said, “I’ll be like God. I’ll exalt my throne above the stars of God. Why should I bow to God?”

     Pharaoh said, “Who is God that I should serve him or obey him? Who is this God, Moses, you are talking about? Let my people go. Who is God that I should obey him?”

     That’s what they said when they crucified Christ. “We’ll not have this man reign over us. We have no king but Caesar. We have no king but Caesar.”

     And I’m telling you, God’s king, and I make no apology. I say the simplicity of Christ bows to this book. Let God be true and everybody a liar. I don’t care how many degrees he has or how much theology he studied or whether he has been to Westminster or Union or Southern Baptist or where he has been. Let every man be a liar and God be true. No matter how suave and personable and talented and argumentative he is...You know a lot of people think just because it says something in a book it’s true. If it is says it in this book it is true. But you can have all the books of men and all the arguments of...the simplicity of Christ not only bows to the Word, but the simplicity of Christ recognizes my evil nature and evil heart and God’s holiness and bows to his sovereignty.

     Now, when you take God off the throne I want you to think a minute. First of all, you rob him of his glory. You rob him of his glory.

     Moses said, “Show me your glory.”

     And God said, “I’ll cause my glory, my goodness, to pass before you. Moses, I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful. That’s my glory.”

     He said he chose “the weak to confound the mighty, the base to bring to naught the things that are that no flesh should glory in his presence. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

     When you take God off his throne you take away his power to save. Our Lord, in his priestly prayer...and these are important moments in the life of Christ and this one of the most important when he was talking to the Father. He said, “Father, glorify thy Son with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. Thou hast given me authority, sovereignty, power over all flesh that I should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given me.”

     When you take away his sovereignty you take away his power to give eternal live. When you take away his sovereignty you take away his ministers’ commission. He said to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-19, “All authority, all power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye, therefore, and preach the gospel.”

     Why do preachers, to fulfill their purposes, quote half of a verse of Scripture? “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” That’s not what the Bible says. It says, “All that my Father giveth me will come to me and him that cometh I will in no wise cast out.”

     “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.” That’s what it says. But there’s a line before that. “All authority is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye, therefore, and preaching the gospel.”

     Then when you take away his sovereignty you take away the sinner’s hope. In John 1:12 it says, “To as many as receive him to them gave he the right to become the sons of God who were born not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of men, but of God.”

     You take away the believer’s security. 1 Peter 1:5 says, “We are kept by the power of God through faith. We are kept by the power of God.”

     The simplicity of Christ bows to Christ as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords having no rival. And then, fourthly, the simplicity of Christ acknowledges the redemptive work of the cross.

     Turn to Hebrews chapter nine. “I am afraid.” Paul said, “I am rude in speech. I’ve got plenty of infirmities, plenty of folly. But you would do well to bear with me for these angels of light, these ministers of righteousness, these disciples of Satan who portray themselves as ministers of Christ come to you preaching another Jesus whom we have not preached, another gospel which we have not declared and by another spirit.” But that’s their arena. That’s their theater of operation. Religion.

     Christ said that. He said, “They will come in their own name and you will receive them. I come in my Father’s name and you receive me not.”

     “But Satan, by any means,” Paul said, “I’m afraid that he will corrupt your mind,” that is where he is working, your mind, your spirit, “away from the simplicity.”

     And I’ll tell you when religion gets complicated the minister has to go to school to find out just exactly what kind of robes to wear. He has a certain one he puts on under a certain one and another one on top of that and certain colors to wear and a certain crown to wear and a certain time to walk in and walk out, a certain time to kneel and stand, a certain kind of gold cup to use, a certain type of wafer, a certain type of wine, a certain type of music, a certain time that the choir sings...when religion gets complicated it is not Christ.

     The simplicity of Christ. It might do us well to go back to the brush arbor. It might do us well to go back to the place where the wooden straight back seats, uncomfortable. It might do us well to go back to the open windows where you hear the birds sing instead of all of this finery and this gold and silver and ceremony and ritual. God is not in it. I promise you he is not in it.

     When people just got together and lifted their voices in unison in singing, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” “Amazing grace.” And somebody got up and with a...who couldn’t explain away this Word, but just read it and said, “I don’t understand it, but there she is.”

     And some preacher got up and exalted and praised the Master, the Lord, the Savior and talked about “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.” Most churches have taken the songs with the blood in it out of the song book. “Would you be free from your burden of sin? There’s power in the blood. Would you o’er evil a victory win? There’s wonderful power in the blood.”

     Look at Hebrews nine, verse 26. “Then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world. But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

     Sin is pretty hard to put away. The Jewish sacrifices wouldn’t do it. Paul said, “It’s not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin.” Good works won’t do it. “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in God’s sight.” Church membership won’t do it. Demas, Simon Magus, Phygellus, Hymaneaus. All these men were members of the Church. Being one of the official family won’t do it. Judas was the treasurer of the early Church. It didn’t save him. Death won’t put away sin. Hell won’t put away sin. But Christ can. Christ can.

     “He hath appeared to put away sin.” He hath appeared for the sole purpose of putting away sin. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall save his people form their sin. Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away sin. He hath appeared to put away sin.”

     How? Well, underline this. “By the sacrifice of himself.” That’s what God said. I’m willing to rest my soul’s hope for eternity on that. Are you? “By the sacrifice of himself. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” Jesus Christ is made to me all I need, all I need. He alone is all my plea. He is all I need: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, holiness forevermore, my redemption full and free. He is all I need. That’s the simplicity of Christ.

     You want to complicate it? You are welcome to. But I know who is leading you to complicate it. That’s what Paul says here. “I fear, I fear, lest Satan like he beguiled a mother Eve and through his subtlety and his craftiness and his cunning.”

     This is 1976 we’re smarter than the apostles. We’ve got more wisdom than these great men of God who walked with Christ. The simplicity of Christ bows to this Word. The simplicity of Christ recognizes sin for what it is. The simplicity of Christ bows to God’s sovereignty. Let God be God. Let him reign in the creation. Let him reign in providence.

     Old Eli said this to the Lord, “Let him do what he will.”

     Job said, “Naked I came into the world. Naked I shall depart. God gave and God took away.

     “Let him be sovereign in salvation. Lord, if you will you can make me whole. Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

     And the simplicity of Christ rests in the blood to put away sin, not in the altar, not in the water, not in the sacraments, not in some man sprinkling water in your face and saying certain words and making all kind of crosses and you going into a little cubicle and confessing your heart’s sins to that wicked individual. That’s not the way God puts away sin. God put away sin at Calvary when Christ died on that cross. His blood cleanseth us from all sin. That’s the simplicity.

     And I call you back to it. And I say anything, anyone, I don’t care how crafty and cunning and subtle he is, that corrupts your mind from that simplicity of Christ. It is satanic. It is the spirit of antichrist.

Our Father in heaven, teach us to pray not to try to be impressive, but to call upon God. Teach us to worship, not to go through rituals or ceremonies and form and try to appear righteous and holy to men. But teach us to call on God. Teach us, oh Lord, to believe, not to rest in the arguments of men, the creeds and catechisms of our denominations, but to believe thy Word, to be able to say with the humble fisherman by that seashore that day when he declared, “Lord, I fished all night I haven’t caught anything. I have exhausted human reason, human effort, human strength. Nevertheless, at your word I will let down the let. Whatever you say.”

Teach us to bow to thy sovereignty, oh God, thou art my God, thou art my Lord. Do with me what you will. Only show me mercy that thy blood be propitiation for me on the mercy seat, the chief of sinners. Take away our pride, our arrogancy, our haughty spirit. For pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall. God resisteth the proud and gives grace to the humble.

Reveal unto us thy wisdom, oh God. Do a work of grace in our hearts. For Christ’ s sake we pray. Amen.