Signs of the Dark Kingdom

I have often, as you have guessed if you have read many articles on this blog, thought that abuse is demonic to one extent or another, varying most likely from case to case.  Thinking about this brought to mind the following Scripture.  Let’s read it and then see what characteristics we can find here that point to the kingdom of darkness being involved:

Mark 5:1-9, They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. (2) And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. (3) He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, (4) for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. (5) Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. (6) And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. (7) And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” (8) For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (9) And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Luke adds –

Luke 8:26-29, “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. (27) When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. (28) When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” (29) For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)”

Ok, let’s see what we can derive from this account (other than the fact that this, as you may know, was the origin of deviled ham.  Really!  My old Sunday School teacher told me so.  The pigs, you know).   What are the evidences here of the devil being involved –

Continue reading “Signs of the Dark Kingdom”

The Abuser as Esau — A Sobering and Freeing Truth for Victims

This is a sermon delivered by Jeff Crippen at Christ Reformation Church.  It presents a realistic view of the abuser who has persisted in abuse without repentance for many years all the while claiming to be a Christian.

           “The Perilous Danger of Hypocrisy – the Path of the Reprobate”
October 26, 2014

Sermon Text:  Psalm 115
Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 44:6-20
Introduction–

“Hebrews 12:14-17  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  (15)  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;  (16)  that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.  (17)  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”

This morning I want to speak to you about a very sobering topic which everyone who professes Christ must be warned about. Let’s state the thesis this way:

If a person persists in walking the path of hypocrisy long enough, if a person who professes Christ is in fact professing a lie, following a “Christ” of his or her own imagination, that person (like Esau) will end as a reprobate, their eternal destiny sealed, and repentance no longer possible for them.

Psalms 115:1-8  Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!  (2)  Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”  (3)  Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.  (4)  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.  (5)  They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.  (6)  They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.  (7)  They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.  (8)  Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

This past weekend as you know I was in Indianapolis for a conference on domestic violence in the church.  When we deal with this subject, we necessarily deal with hypocrites. With people who wear a façade and masquerade as Christians when in fact they are children of the devil. They honor Christ with their lips, with their outward actions, with their mannerisms and glances. But their heart is far, far from Him.

Continue reading “The Abuser as Esau — A Sobering and Freeing Truth for Victims”

The “Christian” Abuser: Couldn’t He be a “Carnal” Christian? (Part 4)

The following is a summary of the conclusions of Sam Storms, who writes at Enjoying God Ministries.  His take on 1 Cor 3:1-3 is a bit different than we have presented in parts 2 & 3 of this series of posts, but it is also excellent and he also rejects any notion that there exists a “carnal Christian” who is genuinely regenerate but who persists without repentance in a state of sin.  I think that you will benefit from this article as well.  Here is the link:

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/the-carnal-christian-study-of-1-corinthians-31-3/

This is how Dr. Storms concludes his article:

“From what has been seen, we may now draw four conclusions.

First, there are two senses in which a Christian can be spoken of as “carnal”. (1) As new converts, all Christians are to varying degrees carnal. (2) Among long-time Christians, some may be. The former is expected. The latter is not. However, insofar as the word “carnal” has come to have such negative connotations, it would be wise for us to forego calling new Christians “carnal”, and do as Paul: refer to them as “babes” in Christ.

We are still left with the fact that Paul refers to the Corinthians, by way of rebuke, as carnal. The use to which Paul puts the word in v. 3 should not be rejected, for it is clearly biblical and appropriate as a descriptive term for those Christians who fall into a similar pattern of behavior. So I see no reason to be disturbed that someone would distinguish between “carnal” Christians and “spiritual” Christians, especially in view of the obvious distinction between “mature” and “immature” found elsewhere in the NT.

Second, I caution against referring to “carnal” and “spiritual” as rigid categories or classes of Christians. The idea of a distinctive class or category implies a strict line of demarcation between one group of believers and another. It suggests there are readily identifiable stages in the Christian life into which one may enter if certain things are done or out of which one may fall if other things are done. Sanctification, however, is far too fluid for such strict categorization. In other words, sanctification is a process which, because of its constantly dynamic and progressive nature, defies rigid classifications. There are “babes” in Christ, as Paul indicates, but no two Christians are ever at the same stage of spiritual infancy. There are “carnal” Christians, but again in varying degree. No two Christians manifest the same depth or degree of carnality. There are “spiritual” or “mature” believers, but all the marks or fruits of spirituality are not apparent in all Christians at the same time and to the same extent. No individual’s spiritual growth is wholly constant and undisturbed and you will rarely, if ever, find any two Christians at precisely the same stage of sanctification. There are countless hills and valleys, stumblings, falls, moments of victory and defeat in the process of our growth in grace.

Carnality, then, although ideally a condition to be found only in the newly saved, is such that may raise its ugly head at any and every stage of the Christian life. Thus, it may be more accurate to say that there are as many categories and classes of Christians as there are individual believers. The principle which bears repeating is this: carnality and spirituality, rather than being categories or classes into which one enters in the Christian life, are characteristics or moral tendencies which one manifests in varying degree throughout the course of the Christian life. The ideal as set forth in Scripture is, of course, a progression that is always upward – away from manifestations of carnality and toward manifestations of maturity.

Third, carnality in the Christian, whenever and in whatever way it manifests itself, is a temporary condition. There is no basis in Scripture for the teaching that genuinely born again and justified Christians can persist, without great discomfort, in their sin (a discomfort, I might add, due to the promptings of the Holy Spirit or the chastisement of the Father, such as lead to repentance). Samuel Bolton put it well:

“We still have the presence of sin, nay, the stirrings and workings of corruptions. These make us to have many a sad heart and wet eye. Yet Christ has thus far freed us from sin; it shall not have dominion. There may be the turbulence, but not the prevalence of sin. There may be the stirrings of corruption. It was said of Carthage that Rome was more troubled with it when half destroyed than when whole. So a godly man may be more troubled with sin when it is conquered than when it reigned. Sin will still work, but it is checked in its workings. They are rather workings for life than from life. They are not such uncontrolled workings as formerly. Sin is under command. Indeed, it may get advantage, and may have a tyranny in the soul, but it will never more be sovereign. I say, it may get into the throne of the heart and play the tyrant in this or that particular act of sin, but shall never more be as a king there. Its reign is over; you will never yield a voluntary obedience to sin. Sin is conquered, though it still has a being within you” (The True Bounds of Christian Freedom [Banner of Truth], p. 26).

Fourth, our consideration of this issue must never result in an unbiblical separation of sanctification from justification. Holiness and a progressively changed life are not optional. “By this we know that we have come to know him,” says John, “if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). Mere profession of faith, unattended by good works, does not guarantee the reality of faith. We would do well to remember the rebuke of Jesus to those who professed their loyalty and cited their miraculous deeds: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Mt. 7:23).

Go to Part 3 of this series