Sunday I asked the question if someone asked you in mid-September of last year to project one year ahead what you thought the state of the country would be like, what would you have said? Even wearing a tinfoil hat and the most aggressive conspiracy theorist, I am convinced you would not have predicted the dramatic shifts we have experienced in a single year. The speed they have come is remarkable. Modern media has imperceptibly become our second brain injecting liberal ideologies on an unimaginable scale. I still remember something called the 6:00 news and the phrase, “film at 11:00.”
Opinionated people who are self-espoused influencers now make up anyone and everyone who wield wide platforms feeding people their agendas. So, in less than two months (November is right around the corner) we will vote for whom we believe will best serve our country for the next four years. I heard a prominent pastor recently say that one of the Democratic political party is running on the platform of Romans 1! A decade ago, this may have sounded harsh but sins associated with gender inversion mixed with self-worship spelled out in Romans 1:18-32 sound terrifyingly familiar. What is worse is what God does with a culture that will not repent of this spiraling perversion. God takes his blessing away.
"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done." (Romans 1:28)
Liberalism seems to be winning the day and you can feel the effects. You might agree that one of the worst effects we experience from these days is living in a culture driven by fear. I see it in people’s eyes around town. People are frightened on multiple fronts thinking to themselves, “I do not want to lose my health, my loved one, my friends, my job, my freedoms, my future, and even my faith.” Even Christian believers are buckling under fear-based pressure succumbing to what amounts to spiritual amnesia over verses like:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6).
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
How about the fact that God has the timing of our death planned out, so we truly do not need to worry about that. As sobering a reality as it is, God has actually marked out the day of your death. Whether we acknowledge this or not, our life and our health is solidly in the hands of our Creator.
"And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)
So who is truly behind our fear culture? Back to our conspiracy theorists. I recently enjoyed time with a family who during a meal listed all kinds of alleged conspiracies ranging from Big Foot, to multiple shooters who shot JFK, and how the planes crashing into the twin towers were holograms as cover for ballistic missiles. As entertaining as it was to hear these theories, we actually know of one true conspirator who is truly the source of everything evil in the world. I am certain of the source because the Bible tells us who it is. It is Satan. Jesus while on earth warned his disciples about the ruler of the world (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Paul calls him the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). John the Apostle at the end of his ministry acknowledged that the world lies in his power (1 Jn 5:19).
America is under demonic influence; what Daniel identified in the ancient world power of Persia (former Babylon), where the unseen realm was ruled by the demon called, Prince of Persia.
"The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia." (Daniel 10:13)
What happens when you have a culture gripped by fear is that soon fear turns into anarchy and lawlessness. Fear will not stay bottled up. Like shaking a carbonated drink, eventually bottled up fear will explode. We have all seen news feeds of bullying crowds, riots, and fires being set. As disconcerting as this is, we have to remember that Satan’s chief means of attack is through the mind. In your thinking.
Satan is attempting to brainwash our country from Christ and not only our country but our churches! Since the beginning, the devil has used the same three basic temptations (cf. Gen. 3:1-6). Satan promises: Instant gratification, Absolute freedom, and Unlimited power. In these last days the Antichrist hold out dangling temptations like shiny bait on a hook.
"For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world." (1 John 2:16)
In modern vernacular, these temptations promise: you can feel however you want to, you can do whatever you want, and you can have whatever you want. By the way, these lies are what drives money lust. Not only does society bite on these lies it is driven to fulfill them with cash!
I am not going to take time and recap in detail, Sunday’s sermon from Matthew 4:1-11 on Jesus three temptations. However, let me offer a brief summary with application. Satan came at Jesus three times in the wilderness. First, after forty days of fasting, use your power to turn stones into bread! Instant gratification! Use you divine rights and eat now! Second, Satan puts Jesus on a high stage, on top of God’s religious center, the temple. Show God’s children their Savior has come by taking supernatural flight, God promises angels will catch you. You possess absolute freedom to do this. Third, the devil takes Jesus to an even higher peak and opens up a supernatural vision to display all the kingdoms of the world. Here Satan acknowledges Jesus’ unlimited power. At the same time, Satan being “the god of this world” must mean he has the right to keep these kingdoms from Jesus unless he bows down.
These temptations are all half-truths or whole lies! These are damning lies that rip lives apart now and send souls to Hell forever. Jesus did not fall to any of these three traps. Though Jesus was physically weak being hungry, he was spiritual strong in God’s Word. Quoting parts of Deuteronomy he counter-attacked Satan’s half-truth whole lies with whole truths. Man does not live by bread alone but by God’s promise to provide. You shall not put the LORD to the test. And you shall worship God and him alone!
You can boil down three promises Jesus claimed to one thing. Trust! Jesus trusted his Father’s plan by trusting his Father’s word! Jesus acted in complete submission, yielding to his Father’s will and Jesus was vindicated as God’s Son and was victorious in battle. Satan wants you to short-circuit the hard way saying, “Take the easy way!” He lies by telling you, “God’s best is not really the best for you at all!” Nothing could be further from the truth. A fear-based society wants you to react in your flesh. Instead, trust God like Jesus did, by faith.