The Two Kingdoms Series – Part 3
The False Kingdom – The Serpent’s Deception
We’ve talked about Christ’s Kingdom and all Authority belonging to Him in heaven and on earth. We’ve looked at the absolute Truth that comes from Him as Author. Why aren’t we all on board? Why isn’t everyone clamoring to be a part of His incredible Kingdom of Truth and Love?
Maybe it’s because there is another kingdom that we must deal with and the lord of that kingdom lies, deceives and does whatever he can to appeal to our selfish desires to draw us away from Christ’s Kingdom and into his. Satan is very good at what he does and we would do well to be aware and know that Christ has conquered satan’s kingdom if we will choose to walk away from it.
Remember He will not force us to choose His Kingdom so we must be alert and self-controlled to the enemy’s deceit and lies (1 Peter 5:8).
“You Can Be Lord of Your Own Life”
Satan knew that God had given us free choice from the beginning, and that is where he got mankind to fall. And it’s still the source of every sin in our lives and world today. You see, Satan can’t stand God and tries desperately to dethrone Him—but he can’t. Yet God has given him an eternal kingdom that completely contrasts Christ’s Kingdom. So, Satan does all that he can to get us to believe that we don’t need a lord believing we don’t need to submit to anyone. Said another way, you don’t have to think of yourself as anyone’s disciple. But is that true? More on this later as it is the root of The Fall and Sin.
In direct contrast. Christ calls us to be His disciples and make disciples for Him. Jesus calls us to be His “student-servants” from our chart in our previous post, to learn from Him and then emulate Him. If we are His disciples, then that is what we will do. If we are not, then we must determine that there is another “lord” and we are someone else’s disciples. Don’t fall for Satan’s lie; you are a disciple to someone. You need to know who that is and what that looks like.
Ask The Spirit to show you how where you are when it comes to His Truth, Authority, and Lordship?
Who’s Your Lord/lord – Satan’s Greatest and Only Deception
You’ve likely heard many sermons or messages on Satan’s lies and deception to lure Eve and Adam into sin and The Fall. They almost always focus on how he questioned God’s Word and called God a liar, substituting partial truth and lies.
All of this is true, as we will recount, but I want to focus on something I think is much more alluring and therefore destructive in Satan’s scheme. He not only used it as the final and fatal appeal with Adam and Eve, but it continues throughout history and with us today.
Take a look at the Genesis 3 interaction between the serpent and Eve with my paraphrase that I pray will help you more fully understand the same tricks he uses in our lives.
“Did God really say…” (v. 1) – Two things to consider here for our own walk with Christ as Lord: 1) Rephrase this and ask yourself, “Do you really know God’s Truth?” That’s what he wants to know. Are you spending time to know His Truth or can the enemy confuse you with the same question? 2) Note how cunningly Satan asked if God had restricted them from eating from any of the trees. He didn’t just focus on the one God had forbidden as he wanted Eve to think it through to see if she truly knew the Truth of what God had said. How easily we can be deceived if we do not spend time in His Word to seek and know His Truth.
“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 hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (vv. 2-3) – Eve’s reply reveals that while she had some knowledge of God’s Absolute Truth, it was not complete. The question itself coupled with her partial knowledge accomplished two things that the serpent desired: 1) Partial truth led to her confusion and; 2) Her response literally “created” an alternate or relative “truth,” one that likely worked in her favor. Now we have “two truths,” God’s and Eve’s. What to do? Relativism is not a modern or post-modern phenomenon; it is as old as human nature itself and the enemy used that very human nature and the free will necessary for love to exist to confuse and deceive. God’s Absolute Truth can never be compromised. Don’t fall for the lies.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die:” (v. 4) – The serpent calls God a liar without even using His Name. He simply appeals to Eve’s desire to live and recants God’s Words, yet Eve still has not given in. The Serpent is just laying the groundwork for his grand finale and the source of every sin since, including yours and mine.
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (v. 5, bold emphasis mine and added) – Ah, the coup de grace for the serpent (likely Satan but never stated in Genesis) that continues to appeal to every human being that has ever existed. And, according to Romans 3:23, all of us have fallen for it!
Only Two Kingdoms, Two Kings, Two Lords
Track with me here as we see the serpent build on the confusion and, I believe, desire coming from the free will that God had given Adam and Eve to accomplish his ultimate goal: death or separation from God. Using the cunning script he has devised and carried out with Eve, he springs the final trap and in so doing secures his prey.
He does this again in two strokes that we all struggle with:
1) He uses a lie to appeal to Eve’s free will. The lie is this: “Guess what? You don’t need a God or Lord; you can be lord of your own kingdom and life!” Brilliant! He knows that free will desires to be in control and he offers a pseudo kingdom—our own—knowing that when we choose to reject God/Christ, there really is no other kingdom but his. He doesn’t want us to know that and he doesn’t care that it’s a lie. He simply knows that when we reject Christ—when we claim Him as Savior then live out our own lives in our own kingdoms—that what we’ve actually done is choose the only other kingdom: Satan’s. I know this is tough to swallow, but it’s reality and we need to understand it. We need to know who our Lord/lord is?
2) He finishes the deception by presenting relativism to Eve (and to us): “You will know good and evil.” How awesome is this? The Hebrew word here for “know” includes, and is properly translated as, “classify.” In other words in one fell swoop the enemy presents us with our own non-existent kingdom that our flesh loves, and now that we have it we can make up our own rules and laws. Sound familiar?
It’s this simple: there are only two kingdoms, which means there are only two Kings/Lords. You’re not one of them, and neither am I. There is only God’s/ Christ’s Kingdom of Light and Life and Satan’s kingdom of death and darkness. You and I do not have a kingdom; so don’t fall for the lie that you can be king or lord, “like God.” In light of this, it’s even more important to know God’s Word, living in Christ and written in The Bible, so you can know Him and know that you belong to His Kingdom.
The bottom line: We can and must know to which Kingdom we belong. Don’t be deceived. Know Christ as Lord and know His Truth. He died to make it possible.
Path to The Fall and Sin
For practical purposes, check out the path below found in the serpent’s temptation that led to The Fall and Sin of Adam and Eve and persists in our sins today. Think about how this applies to your life, temptations, sins, and struggles. Christ has made a way to rescue and redeem us from The Fall and Sin.
- Confusion – “Did God really say…?” Do I know His Truth?
- Deception – “Surely you won’t die.” Do I fall for subtle lies?
- Touch – “You must not touch it.” Relativism leads to initial appeal to the flesh.
- Taste – “Pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom.” Satisfy the flesh (senses/emotions rule rather than God’s Truth).
- Indulge – “She took some and ate it … and he ate it.” Please the senses (self).
- Addiction/Bondage – “They realized they were naked… made coverings for themselves.” Now trapped in their sin they must cover it up.
Christ came to earth and took on flesh in the form of a baby in a manger for the express purpose of dying for our sins so that our relationship with God could be restored. His death on The Cross removed our sin(s) before God and made the way for us to live forever in His Kingdom. It’s your choice.
Whoever is Lord in your life determines your every motive, thought, decision, action, and relationship.
Who’s Lord/lord of your life? Knowing Christ as Lord and His Truth makes all the difference when the subtle lies and temptations come from the enemy. It’s a matter of life and death—and eternity!
In the world, authority is demanded, manipulated, and all about control and “lording it over” others, even when we do it nicely. In God’s Kingdom, authority is invited influence in the lives of those who have willingly surrendered.
The Rest of the Story
If you remember we started this series of posts on the 2 Kingdoms with the story of *John. You can read the intro here. Here’s the conclusion…John arrived for our weekly “iron sharpening” time, it was evident that something had changed.
He began to share with me that the previous week when we were discussing whether or not Christ was going to truly be Lord of his life, relationships, everything, including his sex life, something clicked.
He said that as we discussed the sin of pornography/porneia (Greek word for sexual immorality or sexually immoral mindset and root word for pornography), lust, and promiscuity, that The Holy Spirit literally overwhelmed him. That’s when he abruptly left. I’ll let him tell you the rest of the story as he shared it with me:
“There is no way you could have known last week that I was planning to take my girlfriend from work the following day and spend the weekend at my lake house where we would consummate our wonderful “Christian” relationship. The Holy Spirit made it clear that I couldn’t follow through on that. I left the restaurant and after spending some time in prayer, tears, and asking for forgiveness, I went straight to her office and asked her to come with me. She obliged and I took her to a quiet place and explained what we’d been talking about and that there was no way that we could go away for the weekend. In tears I asked for her forgiveness and she graciously gave it. From that day forward my life was changed.”
You see John had rationalized that porn and sex as a divorced man and with other women from bars and strip clubs were okay until God began to show him the consequences of his actions.
After dating a nice Christian lady for a few months that rationalization had changed. He was now committed and faithful to one person, so surely God understood that they were meant for each other and could act upon that sexually prior to being married. He knew better, but the temptation was strong.
Choosing to be obedient to Christ as His Lord, John and his girlfriend chose to remain abstinent until they were married six months later. He called me from their honeymoon to thank me and confirm that the union of love in covenant was far better than any other experience he’d had.
Just like John, we all have the fruit(s) or temptations rooted in our selfish fleshly desires that we either know are wrong and pursue them anyway, or justify and deceive ourselves in pursuit of them. Their end is destruction as John found out. When he understood and began to walk with Jesus as Lord, everything changed.
Nearly 12 years later, John and his wife are now mentoring other couples to walk in The Lord.
What a beautiful blessing and reward to know your Lord! It will change everything for your good and His Glory. It’s called Discipleship and it’s the only response that makes our lives worthwhile.
“Never nourish an experience which has not God as its Source, and faith in God as its result. If you do, your experience is anti-Christian, no matter what visions you may have had. Is Jesus Christ Lord of your experiences, or do you try to lord it over Him? Is any experience dearer to you than your Lord? He must be Lord over you, and you must not pay attention to any experience over which He is not Lord. There comes a time when God will make you impatient with your own experience — “I do not care what I experience; I am sure of Him.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Contact Love and Lordship and let us know what you’re thinking and how we can help.
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*All names anonymous
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Have you ever thought of satan’s greatest deception as appealing to your flesh with a lie that you can “be like God/god” (be your own lord) and still belong to Christ’s Kingdom? If not, how does that change how you see your commitment to Christ’s Kingship/Lordship?
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – Take some time during your Bible study, prayer and quiet time to reflect on areas of your life that are not fully committed to Christ’s Kingdom and Lordship. List those areas where you have compromised with regard to His Truth and rationalized where you have done so. What do you need to do to bring all of your life into Christ’s Kingdom…for Him to be Lord of all your life?