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DEMONIC DOCTRINES AND DEVICES

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 3, 2012

“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).


I know that this event takes place in the future, and is given to us as a prophecy. And yet the truth of it is as old as time. The most ancient book in the Bible gives us a similar account. The Book of Genesis was given to Moses by the Spirit of God. But the Book of Job was written first. Ussher dated it at 1520 B.C. In the Book of Job Satan came down with great wrath and tormented that patriarch with fiendish wrath. So we find a timeless truth in our text. Yet it is a truth more applicable than ever in these closing days of history. As we approach the end of this age the Devil becomes increasingly agitated and angry. He has enough awareness of prophecy to know what sin-blinded men do not know – that time is running out for him and for the human race. Spurgeon said, “It shall be seen, even to the last hour of history, that the devil rages the more when his empire is nearer to its end...the greatness of the dragon’s wrath is a sure prophecy of the end of his reign” (C. H. Spurgeon, “Satan in a Rage,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1972 reprint, volume XXV, p. 616). Thus, the words of the Apostle Peter apply now more than ever,

“The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).

The Greek word translated “devour” means “swallow.” The Devil rages more and more as we draw toward the end of this present world, “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” He rages through the world, like a lion in the streets, seeking to mangle and devour everyone he can! “The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

If we lived in a Muslim country we might well be imprisoned and tortured by the members of that demonic religion. But most of those hearing this sermon live in lands that were healed of such atrocities long ago by the Gospel of Christ. Your secular college professor will undoubtedly deny that. Evil men like him are willingly ignorant of the socially healing medicine of the Gospel, which long ago brought us to a higher degree of civilization than is known in Muslim lands (see Under the Influence; How Christianity Transformed Civilization, by Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt, Zondervan, 2001).

Yet Satan has raged and torn our own culture, until its Gospel foundation is now decayed and cracking under his attacks. And evil men in the highest positions in our government now seem demonically motivated to pull down and destroy whatever is left of Christian morality in our nation. More than ever in my lifetime, I feel that now “The devil is come down...having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

In this sermon I will show you how Satan’s wrath has come upon us in (1) the doctrines of demons, and (2) in the devices of Satan. I will not focus on Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism, which are certainly demonic. But in this sermon I will deal with the main doctrines and devices that Satan uses in the Western world, and to a somewhat lesser extent in the so-called “emerging” nations of the third world.

I. First, the Devil has sent doctrines of demons among us.

The Apostle Paul warned us of this when he wrote these words of prophecy,

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1).

“The Spirit speaketh expressly,” that is, He speaks “distinctly” (Strong). The Holy Spirit clearly and distinctly tells us that this will happen “in the latter times,” at a time in the future. This has an even greater application in the last days, before the coming of Christ and the end of this present world. “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” It is especially true in these evil days that there is a departure from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). In the “latter days” there will be apostasy from the faith which is given in the Bible. They will turn from the plain teachings of the New Testament. “Giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” That means they are turning away from the faith of the Scriptures because they listen to deceiving spirits, which give them doctrines of demons. “In the latter times” they are following false teachings that come to them from demons. As a result “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:4).

The Apostle then gives two of those false teachings. However, “doctrines of demons” applies to any teaching that departs from the New Testament. Today Satan attacks the plain teachings of the Bible “with all his might,” as Martin Luther put it. Luther (1483-1546) said,

When God’s holy Word arises, it is always its lot that Satan opposes it with all his might...he attacks it with false tongues and erring spirits and teachers. What he is unable to crush by force he thus seeks to suppress by cunning and lies (What Luther Says, Concordia Publishing House, 1994 edition, p. 395).

Among the “doctrines of demons” given by Satan are these great end-time heresies,

1.  Rationalism directly attacks the words of the Bible. Johann Semler (1725-1791) was the father of Biblical criticism. He taught that there is much in the Bible that was not given by inspiration from God. He was the originator of the Historical-Critical Method. Semler taught that man can decide what parts of the Bible to believe, and what parts to reject. He denied the verbal inspiration of the Bible. The result of his method was the liberal view of the Scriptures which we see today. Theological liberalism teaches that we cannot believe everything that the Bible says. This is exactly what Satan said to our first mother in the Garden of Eden, “Yea, hath God said...?” (Genesis 3:1). Thus, we are certain that all attacks on the Bible as the very Word of God are demonic in origin. I was faced with demonic attacks on the Bible repeatedly in the two theologically liberal seminaries I attended. I made a conscious effort to reject everything that was taught which was not in the Bible. Thus I was saved from demonic attacks on the Holy Scriptures, and I continue to this day believing that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16). A liberal, critical approach to the Bible is very definitely a “doctrine of demons.”
      I have known several great men who were viciously attacked for defending the Bible against the attacks of Satan. Though I did not know him, Dr. J. Gresham Machen was defrocked by the Presbyterian Church for defending the Scriptures. My friends Dr. Harold Lindsell and Dr. Bill Powell were treated shamefully by Southern Baptists and others for their defense of Scripture. Herman Otten, a Missouri Synod pastor and author, has lived for over fifty years under constant attacks from the world of demons because of his stand for the inerrancy of the Word of God. Only God could have given him the strength to do so! Modern clergymen, in their blindness, have often thought these men were a “little strange.” But it is those clergymen who are truly “strange.” They do not understand that these men were under terrible attacks from the demonic world for upholding the verbal inspiration of the Word of God. Clergymen who are blind to Satan can do little good for anyone in these evil days. The rationalism of Biblical criticism is very definitely a “doctrine of demons.”
      You may ask how this affects us. Here is the answer. Two hundred short years ago the average person in the Western world believed that the Bible was the Word of God. Only a few “intellectuals” thought that there were mistakes in the Bible then. Yet today the man in the streets thinks that the Bible is full of errors. Thus the Devil has stripped away faith in the Word of God. When I show you what the Bible says, you almost automatically question whether it is true. It is now very difficult to persuade unconverted men to believe the Word of God. Now the common man is as much a critic of the Bible as Semler was. Biblical criticism is a doctrine of demons that has robbed our culture of faith in the Word of God.

2.  Darwinism directly attacks what the Bible says about the origin of man. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) taught that man evolved from lower forms of life. The Bible teaches that man was a direct creation of God. The Bible says, “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” in a special act of creation (Genesis 2:7). Darwinism rejects the Bible and says that man evolved from “lower” life-forms. Darwinism is definitely a “doctrine of demons.” It undercuts the whole teaching of the Bible regarding man, sin and salvation, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Christ] shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Since Darwinism attacks these great truths of Scripture, it is very definitely Satanic, a “doctrine of demons.”
      Two hundred short years ago virtually everyone believed that man was a special creation of God. But today the common man believes that we are only animals. This has had a terrible effect on our culture. If you believe that you are only an animal, then the message of salvation in the Bible doesn’t make sense. Thus Darwinism is a doctrine of demons that Satan uses to turn mankind into a herd of animals, with no higher purpose than to live for food and sex. Only the grace of God can make lost men and women see that they were created by God for a higher purpose in life than to “eat, drink and be merry.”

3.  Decisionism directly attacks the Bible doctrine of original sin and its result: total depravity. Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) popularized the idea that “The human will is free, therefore men have the power of ability to do all their duty” (Finney’s Lectures on Systematic Theology, Eerdmans, 1969 edition, p. 325). Thus Finney promoted the ancient heresy of Pelagius (c. 354-418 AD), who denied that the human will was ruined by original sin, and taught that man’s nature is free to bring about his own salvation without the grace of God. But the Bible teaches, “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Since Finney’s “decisionism” flatly denies what the Bible teaches in those verses it is very definitely “a doctrine of demons.” As a result of Finneyism, most pastors now accept any “decision” as a genuine conversion with no questions asked. Dr. Asahel Nettleton, the evangelist who opposed Finney, said this of his “decisionism,” “Nothing was heard [in Finney’s ministry] of the danger of spurious [false] conversions. The thought never seemed to be glanced at that there was any such thing as a Satanic influence...It is an important part of a preacher’s duty to discriminate between true and false conversions” (Bennet Tyler and Andrew Bonar, The Life and Labours of Asahel Nettleton, Banner of Truth, 1975, pp. 367-368). Millions have been led into a false conversion by Finney’s “doctrine of demons.”
      The results of “decisionism” have been devastating. Today the average person you meet thinks he is a Christian because he has a mental belief, has said the words of a prayer, or raised his hand in a church service. Had you asked our Baptist forefather John Bunyan (1628-1688) if those human actions made you a Christian he would have said, “You’ve got to be kidding!” or words to that effect.


I am convinced that those three doctrines, rising as they did in the last two centuries, are part of the war Satan is waging against God in these “latter times.” Rationalism regarding the Bible, Darwinism regarding the creation of man, and decisionism regarding salvation by human works should all be classified as demonic doctrines. As my long-time Chinese pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin, often said, “There are three prongs on the Devil’s pitchfork.” They are these: Bible criticism, evolution, and decisionism.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1).

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

II. Second, the devil uses these doctrines as “devices” to destroy you.

The Apostle Paul said of Satan, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11). Jesus said Satan uses his “devices” to destroy you in sin, and then in Hell. He said to the Pharisees,

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning...” (John 8:44).

Satan was not able to attack God Himself, so he turned his wrath on God’s highest creation, man. “From the beginning” the Devil’s motive was to murder man, to destroy as many of us as he could. As the Apostle Peter put it, “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). Satan’s desire to destroy mankind grows ever greater as we approach the end of this age.

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

And the “devices” the devil uses to destroy you are rooted in the “doctrines of devils.” Yes, the demonic doctrines I have given are some of the greatest devices of the Devil, which he uses to destroy you and send you to Hell.

1.  The Devil wants you to be a rationalist, like Semler. He wants you to doubt “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15). Satan does not want you to believe what the Bible says. He does not want you to believe that God loves you. He does not want you to believe “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). He does not want you to trust Jesus, the Son of God. He does not want you to be saved.

2.  The Devil wants you to be a Darwinist. He does not want you to believe that your sinful nature descended to you from Adam. He does not want you to believe that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

3.  The Devil wants you to be a “decisionist,” to believe like Finney, that you can save yourself by “doing all your duty.” Filthy, Satanic, Pelagian heresy! I despise this doctrine of demons! Satan does not want you to believe “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Satan hates salvation by grace without works and “decisions.”


But the Bible says,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Resist the Devil’s lies and trust Jesus. He loves you. He died on the Cross to atone for your sins. He is alive in Heaven.

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Jesus is able to save you “to the uttermost.” He is able to save you forever from sin and Hell. “Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now; He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now,” as an old hymn put it. Jesus will save you “out of the snare of the devil” (II Timothy 2:26). Trust Jesus and He will pardon your sins, and set you free from slavery to Satan and his demons!

From home and friends the evil spirits drove him,
   Among the tombs he dwelt in misery;
He cut himself as demon powers possessed him,
   Then Jesus came and set the captive free.
When Jesus comes the tempter’s power is broken;
   When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away.
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
   For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.

So men today have found the Saviour able,
   They could not conquer passion, lust and sin;
Their broken hearts had left them sad and lonely,
   Then Jesus came and [set them free] within.
When Jesus comes the tempter’s power is broken;
   When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away.
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
   For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.
(“Then Jesus Came” by Homer Rodeheaver, 1880-1955; altered by the Pastor).

If you are still unsaved, you need to trust Jesus. Please step to the back of the room and Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place for prayer and counselling (they leave).

Now a word to those of you who are already saved. Please turn to Ephesians 6:11-12.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

Our warfare is against Satan and his demons. Dr. McGee said, “I think the Church has largely lost sight of the spiritual battle” (Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, volume V, p. 280; note on Ephesians 6:12). We must refocus on the enemy and fight against him in the power of God’s Spirit!

How is the battle against Satanic forces waged? It is waged in prayer! Read verse 18,

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

Dr. Timothy Lin, my long-time Chinese pastor, said,

The closer it is towards the eve of our Lord’s second coming, the greater Satan’s pressure will be against prayer (The Secret of Church Growth, First Chinese Baptist Church, 1992, p. 96).

To win the battle against Satanic forces, you must pray in detail every day. Also, do not miss the prayer meetings in our church. United prayer is a powerful weapon in our warfare against the Devil! Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Peter 5:6-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Then Jesus Came” (by Homer Rodeheaver, 1880-1955).


THE OUTLINE OF

DEMONIC DOCTRINES AND DEVICES

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

(I Peter 5:8)

I.   First, the Devil has sent doctrines of demons among us, I Timothy 4:1;
Jude 3, II Timothy 4:4; Genesis 3:1; II Timothy 3:16; Genesis 2:7;
Romans 5:19; Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9.

II.  Second, the Devil uses these doctrines as “devices” to destroy you,
II Corinthians 2:11; John 8:44; I Peter 5:8; II Timothy 3:15;
I Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:8-9; James 4:7;
Hebrews 7:25; II Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 6:11-12, 18.