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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Morris » Robert Morris - Enemy of Devotion

Robert Morris - Enemy of Devotion

Robert Morris - Enemy of Devotion
TOPICS: Simplify, Devotion

All right, so I'm going to begin a new series today. This is a four-week series, and the name of the series is Simplify. Simplify. Let me ask you this. I didn't even get the word "simplify," right. That's how complicated my life is right now. So, I need the series, the series. I'm just preaching for me, and hopefully, you'll get to hear it, too. But have you ever felt like your life was too complicated or too busy, and you would love to just simplify your life? Well, there's a verse that we're going to be talking about and spring-boarding off of in 2 Corinthians. And it is the Apostle Paul who wrote about a third of the New Testament, 13 out of 27 books. This verse talks about simplicity, but it tells us, this is amazing, what I'm about to tell you, it tells us, the greatest apostle who ever lived, it tells us his greatest fear. It tells us of what he is afraid of the most. And we're going to look at that. And it has to do with simplicity. All right?

So, look at this verse, 2 Corinthians 11:3. This is Paul speaking, "But I am afraid..." Just think about those three words. Paul: "I am afraid". I am afraid. I'm being honest with you. "...I'm afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve..." Now, I want you to notice the word "as" (as the serpent). So, in the very same way, "the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness". Now, this word in the Greek means sophisticated trickery. In other words, Satan is not an idiot; I'll give him that. He's not an idiot. He's brilliant, sophisticated. By his sophisticated trickery, "your minds will be led away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ".

The title of this message is "The Enemy of Devotion". We're going to talk about the enemy of simplicity and some other things, but the enemy of devotion. Now, I want to share something with you that might actually shock you. But this verse has been taken as a put-down to women. But it's actually not a put-down to women; it's a put-down to men. And let me explain why. The Bible says that Eve was deceived, but it never tells us that Adam was deceived. As a matter of fact, it tells us he was not deceived. But let me show you: 1 Timothy 2:14, "And Adam was not deceived", I told you I wasn't lying. "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression". But Adam also sinned. As a matter of fact, sin did not enter the world through Eve. That's Romans 5. This is Theology 101. Sin entered the world through Adam. But Adam wasn't deceived. But he's right there with Eve.

We're going to read it in a moment. He's right there with Eve while the serpent, Satan, is talking to his wife, and he never steps in. And she's deceived, but Adam's not deceived. But let me tell you what Adam was: He was rebellious. And I've been in ministry for 40-something years now. Now, I'm going to say something. This is not across the board. This is just my own experience. I've seen many times that women have had a problem with deception, and men have a problem with rebellion, and it comes from Adam and Eve. You can't believe how many times that I've been talking to men, and they basically say to me, like, about an illicit affair or about divorcing their wife or something, "I know it's wrong, Pastor, but I'm going to do it anyway". And I'm just shocked. Straight-out rebellion.

And you can't believe how many times I've been talking with ladies in counseling sessions where they've told me something, and they're in bondage simply because they've believed a lie. And all I've got to do is share the truth with them. And what's wonderful is, once you share truth with a woman, she just repents. You share it with a man, and he still does the stupid thing he was going to do. And by the way, let me say something about deception, okay? Because all of you do not think you're deceived, and all of us are probably deceived in at least one area of our life. Not totally deceived, but I'll bet there are some areas where you have believed a lie. And let me give you a truth about deception.

Now, I'm kind of known for taking complicated theological issues and making them simple. I'm also kind of known for these statements that are so simple that they're smart. Okay, you ready for this one? A deceived person doesn't know he's deceived, because if he knew he was deceived, he wouldn't be deceived. It's amazing. I've literally had people say to me, "Well, I can tell you one thing, Pastor. I'm not deceived". Yeah, you are because you just made that statement to me. I have a friend of mine who's a pastor who was counseling, and he was counseling this lady, and she said, "My children tell me that I have blind spots, but I just don't see them". He said, "That's why we call them blind spots". And she went like this, "Oh".

So, here's what Paul is saying. Here's what I'm afraid of. Here is what I am afraid of. I am afraid that, in the same way as, in the same way, the serpent deceived Eve, your minds would be drawn away from the simplicity of devotion to Christ. Can I just tell you that all of the complications in your life could be resolved by devotion to Christ? Just devotion.

So, I want to talk to you about the top ten. Pardon me? I want to talk to you about the enemy of devotion, but for something funny, I did find this thing called the Top Ten Reasons that God Created Eve. So, are y'all okay with something just funny? It's just funny. Okay? Don't get mad at me about this.

Here's number ten: God was worried that Adam would frequently become lost in the garden because he would not ask for directions.

Number nine: God knew that one day Adam would need someone to locate the remote control.

Number eight: God knew Adam would never go out and buy himself a new fig leaf when his wore out. By the way, in the Greek, fig leaf is translated underwear. I'm just joking.

Number seven: God knew Adam would never be able to make a doctor's, dentist, or haircut appointment by himself.

Number six: God knew Adam would never remember which night to put the garbage on the curb.

Number five: God knew if the world was to be populated, men would never be able to handle the pain and discomfort of childbearing. That is so true.

Number four: God knew that as the keeper of the garden, Adam would never remember where he left his tools.

Number three: God knew that Adam would need someone to blame his troubles on when he was caught hiding in the garden. Do y'all remember what Adam said when God caught him? Said, "Why did you eat the fruit"? He said, "The woman you gave me".

Number two: It is not good for man to be alone. That is Scripture, by the way.

And the number one reason God created Eve: when God finished the creation of Adam, He stepped back, scratched His head, and said, "I can do better than that". Okay, so the enemy of devotion, I'm afraid the same way the serpent deceived Eve, your minds will be drawn away from the simplicity of devotion to Christ. All right? So, Genesis 3. Let's first read how it happened. Verse 1. "Now, the serpent was more cunning [or subtle] than any beasts of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden"?'" Let's just stop for a moment. God never said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden". They would have starved. It's just stupid. That's where he starts. And the woman gave the right answer. She said to the serpent, "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, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

Now, let me just let you know a little theology here. God didn't say that you couldn't touch it, or you die. He said, "Don't eat from it". But Eve was not there when God instructed Adam. So, she got her information from Adam. So, either Adam got it wrong, or she misunderstood. We really don't know. But He didn't say that part. But all you got to do is go back and read Genesis 2, if you don't believe me. You'll read, "God said to Adam, 'Do not eat from this tree or you'll die.'" And then God said, "He needs a helpmate". And then he created Eve. So, she wasn't there when God gave the instruction. Okay, verse 4: "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die,'" directly contradicting the Word of God. "'For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened'", by the way, that was true, "'and you will be like God'". That was true. In this form, they were already like God, but in this form, knowing good and evil. And the Bible tells us that. Okay, we'll see that in a minute.

"So when the woman saw the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her", so, he's standing right there while the devil's talking to his wife, and he never intervenes, "and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' So he said, 'I heard your voice in the garden'", watch these two responses, "'and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.'"

The first two responses to sin were fear and shame. That right there will help you tremendously. Every time you fall, you will experience fear, and you will experience shame. Fear and shame. Now, here's what I want you to know. There were two trees in the midst of the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "Of good and evil", prepositional phrase. So, you could take that away; that just adds to the sentence. But there was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but the tree of knowledge. Now, this may shock you, what I'm about to tell you. God never intended for you to know evil. Never. But here's what might really shock you: God never intended for you to know good.

See, you don't think about this. You think, "Well, it's just the tree of the knowledge of evil". No, it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He never intended for you to know good; He intended for you to know God. Let me say that again because all of you missed it. He never intended for you to know good; He intended for you to know God. He never wanted you to choose between good and evil. He wanted you just to know His voice and do what He said. That was all He wanted. He wanted you just to walk with Him. The choice, by the way, is not good and evil; the choice is life and death, because He said, "If you eat from that tree, you die".

So, the choice is not good or bad. "Is this school good or bad for my children"? No, that's not the question. The question is, "Is this school life or death"? The choice, "Is this job good for me or bad for me"? No. "Is this choice God or is it the devil? Is this job life or is it death"? It'll change everything about every decision you make when you stop deciding what's good and what's evil, and you start deciding what's life and what's death, and what's God and what's the devil. Everyone with me on this? And here's what Paul says. This is what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid that in the same way the serpent deceived Eve, he'll deceive you. So how did he deceive her? Well, I have only two points rather than three, but here's how.

Number one, Satan tries to get us to question God's Word. The very first thing he said was, "Has God indeed said"? Indeed? Let me say it another way. One version says it this way: "Did God really say"? Did God really say? Here's another way that he could have said it. "Is this really in the Bible"? He says that today. "Do you think the Bible really means that"? He gets us to try to question God's Word. So, I'm going to read you two scriptures that seem contradictory and then explain them to you. All right? So, watch them closely. 1 Chronicles 21:1. "Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel".

Now, I know y'all know that I like grammar, and I know some of you don't like grammar, so I won't stay on it long, but Satan is the subject, stood and moved are the verbs. So, Satan stood, and Satan moved. Okay? So, Satan, it says, "Satan stood up against Israel," stood up against Israel, and, in essence, it's an implied subject, now. "And [Satan] moved David to number Israel". Does everyone see that in the verse? Okay? There's no other subject there. Okay. Wait. Does everyone see that? Because I know, all right, take my word, okay? I know grammar, okay? Satan moved David to number Israel. Do you see those words? Okay. All right. So let me ask you a question. Who moved David to number Israel? Okay, everyone agree? In the Bible, right?

Would you like to see the same passage in 2 Samuel? And there is no theologian I've ever read, ever heard, ever studied, ever that doesn't know these are parallel passages. There's not one. I can't even imagine if there was. These are parallel passages. 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, parallel passages. All right. But watch this. 2 Samuel 24:1, "Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He", capital H, "moved David against them to say, 'Go number Israel and Judah.'" This is fun. So, wait a minute. Who moved David to number Israel? So, according to 2 Samuel, who moved David to number Israel? Where are y'all? Satan is not in 2 Samuel 24. That word was not in that verse. "He" is referring to the Lord, "the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David [to number Israel]".

I'm just talking about grammar now. I'll talk about theology in a minute. I'm just talking about grammar. The Lord moved David to number Israel is what 2 Samuel 24 says, but 1 Chronicles 21 says Satan moved David. So, which one was it? So, this is like one of those passages that ignorant people say, "Well, this shows that the Bible is not true". You know what bothers me is, again, they're going from the knowledge, their knowledge of good and evil. What's amazing to me is that people decide that there are things in the Bible that aren't true based on their knowledge, as if they are the smartest people in the universe. Or they'll say this: "Well, science", I heard this guy say, "Well, science proves that Jonah couldn't have lived in the belly of a fish".

Well, science also proves that you can't walk on water, and I know a man that did. And science also proves that you can't raise someone from the dead. And science also proves that a Red Sea can't part, and you can't walk over on dry land. I really don't care what science says. I care what this Book says. That's what I care. And when you serve a supernatural God, then supernatural things happen. That's just normal. And what's amazing is that you limit the Bible to your knowledge. And hundreds of years ago, everyone's knowledge was that the world was flat. So how do you take your little puny intellect and think you can judge God? You're a prideful, arrogant, ignorant person.

If you think that you can judge God by your knowledge, you really think a lot about how smart you are. But what if you'd have lived 1500 years ago when everyone believed the world was flat? Would you have judged God then by your knowledge? And what about 1500 years from now? What will man know then? What will science tell us then? You know what's amazing is science changes its mind all the time. Masks are good. Masks aren't good. Eggs are good. Eggs aren't good. Shut up! I like eggs, and I'm going to eat eggs. I'm going to eat them fried, scrambled, broiled, boiled. I'm going to eat them every way you can. Are you all following me? It's just crazy! It's crazy that we have people on this earth today who think that they can judge the Bible.

Okay, so here's the point. Would you like another one of those wise sayings that's simple, but it's smart. You want one? If you ever read anything in the Bible that you don't understand, it's because you don't understand. There is nothing wrong with the Bible, but there is something wrong with your fallen mind. But there's nothing wrong with this Book. So, here's what God did to me years ago. I saw those two verses, and the Lord said to me, "Did I move David to number Israel"? And by the way, immediately, one revelation came to me. Satan moved David. I mean, God moved Satan to move David. That's basically what happened. But I've got a lot more revelation I'm going to give you in this verse. But God moved Satan to move David because God tempts no man. But God does tell Satan what to do. And He did not... Job... Satan could not touch Job until he has God's permission. God and Satan are not fighting. If you think they're equal, I feel sorry for you. They're not equal. God, way up there; Satan, way down there, when it comes to power.

So, God moves Satan to move David. And by the way, David had a choice because 1 Corinthians says that God doesn't tempt anyone. But God also makes a way with every temptation that you may escape it, every one of them. So, David didn't have to do it. And God had already told David not to number Israel, but He allows Satan to tempt him, and then David falls. But David doesn't have to fall. He doesn't have to number Israel. Okay. But here's the thing. So, here's the way the Lord presented it to me years ago because what the Lord was trying to do was work this pride out of me that if I don't understand it, it must not be true. And He wanted me to come to the place where if I read it in that Book, it's true whether I understand it or not. I don't have to understand. There are still things I don't understand about that Book, but I believe Him.

Okay, so, here's what the Lord said to me. He said, "Did I tell David not to number Israel"? I said, "Yes". He said, "Then, did I move Satan to move David to number Israel"? "Yes". Then He said, and by the way, you may not know this, He said, "Did I kill 70,000 men because he numbered Israel"? Which, that's part of the story on down I didn't read to you. God gave him three choices when he numbered Israel: seven years of famine, three months of his enemies pursuing him, or three days of plague. Seven years of famine, three months of his enemies pursuing him, or three days of plague. David chose the three days of plague. And in those three days, 70,000 men died.

So, think about this. God said to me, "Did I tell David not to number Israel"? "Yes, you did". "Did I then move Satan to move David to number Israel"? "Yes". "Then, did I kill 70,000 men because David numbered Israel"? I said, "Yes". And the Lord asked me, "Do you understand that"? And I said, "No". And then He said this, "But do you still trust Me? Do you still believe that I'm good and that I'm righteous and that I'm holy and that I don't kill innocent people? Do you still believe that, even though you don't understand? Do you still believe Me"? I said, "Yes". And every now and then the Lord would say to me, "Hey, you remember that scripture in 1 Chronicles and 2 Samuel, David and God and all that stuff? Satan and all. You remember all that"? "Yeah". He said, "Do you understand it yet"? "No". "Do you still trust me"? "Yeah, I do".

Three years later, I was reading through the Bible, read that scripture in 2 Samuel, and it jumped off the page at me, just like that. You ever had the Holy Spirit do that to you? Just like that. But it took three years of me trusting God without understanding it. So, three years from today, I'm going to explain this scripture to you. Hey, I had to wait three years. Why shouldn't you wait three? All right, here's the answer. It's very simple. 2 Samuel 24:1. "Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David", and said, "Go number". Okay. The anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. First thing I want you to notice: it was not aroused against David; it was aroused against Israel. Second thing is, what is the one thing in the Bible that arouses the anger of the Lord? Sin.

So, the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. That means they were in sin. God moves Satan to move David to number them. David still had a choice, but he did it anyway, and then God killed 70,000 people. Here's my personal belief: The 70,000 men that He killed were the 70,000 men who were in sin because God's a righteous judge, and in the process of bringing justice to an unjust situation, He also taught a leader a very valuable lesson. So, I'm just telling you, here's what the greatest apostle that ever lived said: I'm afraid of. "I'm afraid that in the same way, in the same way that the serpent deceived Eve, that he'll deceive you and draw your minds away from the simplicity of devotion to Christ".

So, the first way is he gets you to question God's Word. The second way is Satan tries to get us to question God's character. In other words, we read that 70,000 men died, and we think, "Well, God killed innocent people". Well, that's not congruent with the rest of Scripture. So even though I don't understand it, I can't question God's character. I know God is love. I know God is just. I know God is merciful. I know God is gracious. I know God is kind. I know God's character, so I'm not going to question it. But he tried to question God's character. Here's what he basically did to Eve: "God is holding something back from you". See, he was questioning God's character, He first questioned God's Word, then questioning God's character. "God knows that this will be better for you, and so He's holding something back from you". This is what Satan does. "God's doing something that is not kind". And we should say, "No, wait. God is kind. It's one of the fruits of the Spirit. God is just. God is not being unjust to me. God is faithful. God is not being unfaithful to me".

See, he will do everything he can to get you to question not only God's Word, but God's character. It's all through Scripture. Think about this. God creates Adam and Eve. No sin in the world, no sin when He created them, two perfect people, put them in a perfect society. They had a perfect marriage, and they had a perfect Father. And if Satan can take two perfect people in a perfect marriage and with a perfect Father and get them to sin, you better watch out. That's how good Satan is. He got two perfect people to question the character and nature of God. And God had never done anything wrong to them. That's how good he is.

Debbie has this friend from high school, and I think she kind of reconnected with her at our 20-year high school reunion. And then they started talking some on the phone, and Debbie was just catching up with her. And she said to her, "So, do you have any children"? And her friend said (I want you to think about this) her friend said, "No". She said, "I've never been able to have children". And then she said this: "And I know that God is punishing me for the sins that I did in high school". Now, I'm not saying something bad about this woman. I'm just telling you, that's how Satan is. Satan told her that. You see, God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. Jesus bore all our sins on the cross. How could God punish you for the sins you did in high school when He already punished His Son for the sins you did in high school?

See, what was happening was Satan was getting this woman to question the character of God. But that's not the way God is. Okay, I just want to tell you some more about Satan. Okay? I want you... here's my goal for this message. You want to hear my private goal? This is my private goal: I want you to come out of this message loving God more and hating Satan more. I want you to hate him when you walk out of here because he's horrible. He's terrible. Now, I'm going to say some very tough things, and I don't mean them to be insensitive. Okay? If you've gone through this, I don't mean this to be insensitive. I mean it to be encouraging to you. Okay?

Do you know, the very first Mother's Day we ever had at Gateway Church, I was praying for the Mother's Day service, and I thought about, Mother's Day might be a sad day for some ladies. Maybe they had a miscarriage. Maybe they lost a child, a grown child. Maybe they haven't been able to conceive. And so, what should be a happy day could be a sad day. But I thought about ladies that wanted to conceive. And so, our very first Mother's Day, our very first Mother's Day. Now, we started April 23. By the way, this is our anniversary weekend, 23rd anniversary weekend, by the way. So, we've been 23 years now. So, the very first Mother's Day was just two weeks later. So, we only had like 80 people there. Okay?

And so, I just got this burden, and I said, "Is there any lady here that would like to conceive, and you haven't been able to conceive"? And this lady raised her hand. We only had one. And so, I said, "Do you mind if I pray for you"? And so, I prayed for her. Nine months later, she and her husband walk up with this beautiful baby boy. And I have prayed for mothers, women who want to conceive, every Mother's Day since then. And I have heard hundreds of testimonies of ladies who have conceived because we prayed for them on Mother's Day. I just want to see, is there anyone in this in the Southlake campus (raise it up real high) any ladies that have...? Look at that! Isn't that amazing? That's amazing! You were raising your hand for your wife, sir, right? You didn't... wasn't a miracle? That would really be a miracle. Okay. Alright. Or, you know, someone you were saying? Okay, all right. Praise the Lord! Thank you. Thank you, Lord.

Okay, so. But this is the way Satan is. He tries to get us to doubt the character of God. So let me just show you another passage that looks like God's being mean, and it's actually, God's being gracious. Genesis 3:22, "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us'". See, remember, Satan has some truth in his deception, "'to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever'". Lest he do this. "Therefore, the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So, He [that's God] drove out the man [or mankind, that's the word here, mankind, Adam and Eve]; and he placed cherubim [or angels] at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life".

Okay, that sounds like judgment. That wasn't judgment; that was grace. God drives them out and says, "We've got to get them away from the tree of life unless they eat from the tree of life and live forever". Can I tell you why that was grace? Because they were in a fallen state. And if they had eaten from the tree of life in that fallen state, they would have lived forever in a fallen state. So, the grace of God drives them away from the tree of life. And by the way, the tree of life, Revelation tells us, is in heaven, and you can eat from it in your redeemed state anytime you want. Anytime you want, you can eat from the tree now. But what grace was saying was, "I can't let them eat from the tree of life now because they're in a fallen state, and they'll live forever in a fallen state".

So, I'm just telling you, don't let Satan... Here, the greatest apostle that ever lived said, "You know what I'm afraid of? I'm afraid that in the same way the serpent deceived Eve, your minds would be drawn away from the simplicity of devotion to Christ". You want to simplify your life? You got to get back to devotion. Questioning God's Word and questioning God's character is the way Eve was deceived. Don't let Satan cause you to question, His Word, or His character.

I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. And I just want to remind you that at every campus we have people at the front to pray (every campus) and we want to pray for you. And it might not even be something in the message for which you need prayer. It might be that you need prayer for a job or prayer to conceive (I just talked about that) or prayer for one of your family members or prayer for a medical diagnosis that you received or someone in your family received. That's what this time is for. So, it's not just that you have some sin in your life. That's what the devil says. I'll tell you, the devil's good at, he tries to deceive us, and he'll say, "Don't go down for prayer because they'll think you are in adultery or something, or they'll think you're in sin or something. So don't go for prayer".

That's not what this is about. If you need prayer for any area of your life, then in just a moment we're going to have people at the front of every campus trained who want to pray for you. They come excited about praying with people. And we've had miracles happen at the altar every weekend at every campus. So, if you need prayer for any reason at all, in just a moment we're going to open up the altars. We're going to have people down here trained who will pray with you. But I also want you to just take a moment, like we do at the end of every message, and say, "Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me"? And please, please, please don't let Satan deceive you like he deceived Eve and get you to question God's Word or question His character.

Lord, I want to tell You, thank You that Your Word is true. Lord, I want to tell You thank You that Your character is the same yesterday, today, and forever, that You know the plans that You have for us, plans for good and not for evil, plans to prosper us. Lord, I tell You, thank You, and I pray, God, that You will bless my brothers and sisters to trust You and to trust Your Word, in Jesus' name.

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