Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Bait of Satan - Chapter 2 - Book Discussion

The Bait of Satan, Chapter 2 - Massive Offense

In Chapter 2, the author of The Bait of Satan states that we are living in the end days, the time period Jesus describes in Matthew 24:10-13.

One of the signs that Jesus gives us of the end times is that Christians will be offended. He tells us that false prophets will rise up and deceive Christians who are living in offense by telling them what they want to hear versus what they need to hear.

The Bible says we need to show love to others even when we don't receive love in return. Spiritual law says that we *will* reap what we sow, though the harvest doesn't always come in the manner we expect. Therefore, in order to avoid offense, we should love others without expecting anything in return.

We build walls around ourselves when we become offended. Love does not go out and love does not come in, which results in selfishness, betrayal, and hatred. Offended people justify their behavior rather than repent of unforgiveness.

Jesus did not take revenge on those who did Him wrong, but rather repaid evil with good and trusted in God to judge righteously. We need to follow His example.

Chapter 2 - Key Points/Bible Verses:

Matthew 24:10-13 - Jesus said in the last days that "many will be offended." The "many" Jesus refers to are Christians. Then Jesus states that "false prophets will rise up and deceive many." The false prophets will deceive those who are offended and whose love has grown cold.

Galatians 6:8-9 - When we sow love, we will eventually reap love, though it may take a long time and the harvest may come in an unexpected way.

Matthew 5:44-47 - If we only love those who love us, we are no better than non-Christians. We must love, bless, and pray for our enemies.

Proverbs 18:19 - When we are offended, we build walls around us to keep others out. Those walls eventually become our prison. Love neither comes in nor goes out and we become self-centered & useless to the kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - The New Testament describes our walls as strongholds.

Numbers 23:19 & Isaiah 55:8-9 - God cannot lie. His ways and thoughts are not like ours.

1 Corinthians 8:1-3 - Knowledge without love is destructive and deceiving. Offended people often justify themselves by incorrectly interpreting Scripture.

Matthew 7:15 - Jesus refers to false prophets as wolves in sheep's clothing. "Sheep's clothing" means that they give the appearance of being Christians, but are wolves in their hearts. They win people over by telling them what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.

2 Timothy 3:1-5, 4:3-4 - In the end times, people will claim to be Christians, but they will deny the power of Christianity.

2 Timothy 3:7 - People will have a hunger for knowledge, but won't apply it to their own lives. The author says: "If you are offended and in unforgiveness and refuse to repent of this sin, you have not come to the knowledge of the truth."

Matthew 24:10 - Offense leads to betrayal and betrayal leads to hatred. After betrayal, a relationship cannot be restored without true repentance. Betrayal is the ultimate abandonment of covenant.

1 John 3:15 - Those who hate their brother are a murderer.

1 Corinthians 6:7, Matthew 5:44, Philippians 2:3 - The laws of love.

1 Peter 2:21-23 - Jesus did not repay wrong with wrong, but committed Himself to God who will judge righteously.

Day 3 and Day 4 - Devotionals:

Days 3 & 4, in the devotional at the back of the book, cover Chapter 2 of The Bait of Satan.

Day 3

Put an X on the line to indicate your level of offense for each statement:

This is hard to demonstrate online, but each statement has a horizontal line. At the far left of the line, it says "Usually True" and at the far right of the line, it says "Seldom True." We are supposed to put an X somewhere on that line to indicate our level of offense for each statement.

- Church people seem to be easily offended. My X was towards "Usually True."
- I offend easily. My X was in the middle of the line.
- Friends seem to offend easily. My X was in the middle of the line.
- People at work get offended easily. My X was in the middle of the line.
- Relatives get easily offended. My X was towards "Usually True."

On a scale of 1 (very little) to 5 (very much), how would you rate each of the following statements in your own life?

- I expect much of others: 3
- I am easily disappointed: 2
- I love conditionally: 3
- I bless to be blessed: 3

Write a prayer asking God to replace your expectations of others with unconditional love for them.

Dear Father, Help me to love unconditionally. Help me to give love to others without expecting anything in return. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Day 4

Check any attitudes you find in yourself: From within our walls, we become:

I checked: Selective about relationships, Less open and vulnerable to others, Closed to those we fear will hurt us.

Complete the following lists, listing both those who have the right to hurt you and those you have shut out with walls.

Those who can hurt me: I listed 7 people
Those I have walled out: I listed 3 people

Write a prayer, asking God to help you tear down your walls, become vulnerable and repent of any offenses.

Dear Father, Help me to tear down any walls that I have up and help me to repent of any offenses I hold in my heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Chapter 2 - My Thoughts

Wow! This was an extremely insightful chapter for me. I've heard of false prophets deceiving people in the end times, but I always thought the people who were being deceived were non-Christians. Because of that, I believed that I could not and would not be deceived.

John Bevere explains that not only will the people deceived be Christians, but the false prophets will also claim to be Christians! Now I see that I could easily be deceived if I have offense in my heart.

Another big insight for me was that just because someone quotes scripture and claims to be a Christian doesn't mean that they are a Christian. We need to ask God for discernment so that we can recognize these false prophets. The author says that many of these false prophets are in the pulpit and in the pews. Satan loves to infiltrate the church.

Another thing that moved my heart is that the author pointed out that we need to love people unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. We have to trust that God will make sure that we reap what we sow. That's a tough one to live out, and something that I will have to work very hard at. I have no doubt that I will experience failure in that area at times.

This past week, I tried to put what I learned in this chapter in action. Two people who are on my "deeply offended me" list (that we wrote out in the devotional section of Day 1) had birthdays. I bought these people birthday cards, got them signed by the appropriate people in my family, and mailed them. It really wasn't that hard for me to do, as a matter of fact, it was actually a lot easier than I anticipated. That's probably due to the fact that I know I cannot expect anything in return from these people.

What insights did you find helpful in Chapter 2? Do you think that you can repeatedly extend love to someone who doesn't give it in return?

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2 comments:

Viki Nygaard said...

I came across something in a book this past week that touches on and enhances what we learned in Chapter 2 about false prophets.

In Luke 4:9-13, satan tempts Jesus and quotes Scripture as a means of reasoning with Him. This goes with what we learned in Chapter 2 of The Bait of Satan - that someone who quotes Scripture is not necessarily a Christian.

I quote from pages 51-52 of "The Book of Luke, the Smart Guide to the Bible:"

"Satan quoted Scripture to tempt Jesus, which teaches us that just because someone is quoting the Bible doesn't necessarily mean we should heed their teaching or buy their book or do what they tell us to do.

Iain Provan, professor at Regent College in Canada, said in a lecture, "It is just as possible to be biblical and wrong as it is to be biblical and right." Discerning whether someone is using the Bible correctly takes thought, prayer, and often research."

Karon said...

I generally find that others get offended less easily than I do. satan knows which buttons to push with me and I've been working on this problem (and it is a recognized problem) for at least a year.

For the chart, I put that I usually offend easily and people at church seem to offend easily (but less than I do). Friends, people at work and relatives don't offend as much... I put their X's more toward the "seldom true" side.

On the scale of 1 to 5 (assuming that the "very little" means I don't exhibit that behavior) I put the following:

I expect much of others: 3
I am easily disappointed: 2
I love conditionally: 1
I bless to be blessed: 1

Prayer

Father, it is not that I expect others to "do" for me. It's that I get offended and irritated and impatient with certain behaviors of others. I don't like this aspect of my personality and I pray that You will continue to help me overcome it through the blood of Jesus. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Day 4

For the attitudes, I checked that I am:

Selective about relationships

Less open and vulnerable to others

The author asked for a list of those who "can" hurt me. If I'm reading him right, this would be anyone close enough to potentially do damage. That would be a long list, but I included:

Mom
Dad
Sandy
Troy
Pam
Viki

Those I have walled out... really just one that I know of. Troy's sister, Laura.

Prayer

Father, I do want to walk in love. Please help me tear down walls I've built against those who have hurt me. In Jesus' name, Amen.