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SATANIC BLINDING

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, February 22, 2015

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3, 4).


I am going to talk about Satan this morning. This has been one of the hardest sermons I have ever prepared. I am sure that Satan did not want me to preach it to you today. I had a book by Dr. W. A. Criswell I was going to use as a source. I studied his sermons on Satan and demons, and thought I would use some of what he said in the introduction to my own sermon. I set the book on my desk. But when the time came for me to prepare the sermon I could not find it! It seemed to have disappeared! It had to be in my study, but I spent nearly three hours looking for it, and could not find it. I am sure Satan had something to do with that.

Then Ileana came home. I stopped and prayed for God to help me find it. Ileana went through all the books on the floor around my desk. As she was doing that I thought I would look one more time where I had seen it. I had already looked there three times, but I tried again. There it was! My heart leaped with joy! God had answered my prayer and had showed me where that book was!

Someone may think that was a small thing – finding a book. But it is often in “small things” that we see how careful and thorough Satan is. “Satan” is his name in Hebrew. “Sawtan” – it means “opponent,” it means “adversary,” “enemy,” and “opposer.” “Satan” comes from another Hebrew word that means “attack.” Satan is the enemy of God. He opposes God. He attacks the work of God. And he is very powerful. Dr. W. A. Criswell was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas for nearly sixty years. He held a Ph.D. in Biblical Greek and Theology. He was a champion of the inerrancy of the Bible. He was a great Southern Baptist preacher, one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. Dr. Criswell said,

      Satan stands in our academic community and lectures brilliantly. He presides over the educational process, and he wants to be sure God is left out. Satan is the god of this world.
      Satan loves religion...The whole story of the ancient world is told in terms of the gods of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. There are 335 million separate gods worshipped in India today. Satan likes that. Worship as many gods as you like, just leave the true God out of it. [Satan] loves the religions of the world. He loves the millions and millions who worship at the shrines of Buddha or Shinto. He loves the gods of the Hindus, and he loves the worship of Allah by the Muslims. Millions and millions worship those gods, and he is pleased. Just leave the true God out of it...
       [Satan] is the angel of light, he carefully hides away the end results of those whom he deceives... He presents a man of distinction. You look at him. He is an able executive, dressed impeccably, and has a high place in the corporation and in society. This is a man of distinction with a glass [of liquor] in his hand. But [Satan] hides away the gutter and the drunk in his vomit and the sorrow of broken homes and broken families and orphaned children. He is brilliant! [He is the god of this world.].
      He glorifies the glamour and the gaiety of a Broadway or a Hollywood or a Las Vegas and all the allurement of pornography. But he hides away the syphilis and the gonorrhea and the herpes and the AIDS and the broken hearts and the tears and the despair. That is Satan [the god of this world]...
      ...He counterfeits the church of the living God and Saviour, the Lord Christ. The Apostle Paul describes the counterfeit church... “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5)...The counterfeit church knows the deep things of Satan and rivals the deep things of God. Satan loves that. He loves a religion without a redeemer...Don’t speak to the lost. Don’t try to convert the unsaved. Just make it beautiful, liturgical, and brilliant, but leave the saving Redeemer [Christ] out of it. That is Satan. [That is the god of this world].
      And brilliant as he is, the angel of light that he is, carefully [Satan] hides away the end results of those whom he deceives (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., “The Fall of Lucifer,” Great Doctrines of the Bible – Angelology, volume 7, Zondervan Publishing House, 1987, pp. 93-95).

But he hides away the ruin of a life without Christ. He hides away the emptiness and sorrow. He hides away the Christless death and the hopeless grave. He hides away the Last Judgment of the unsaved dead. He hides away the eternal torment of the soul in flames and agony forever in the eternal Lake of Fire! That is Satan. That is the god of this world!

And it is this being, this Satan, of whom the Apostle speaks,

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3, 4).

I. First, what is hid to them that are lost.

Why, it is the Gospel, “the glorious gospel of Christ.” That is what is hidden from those of you who are lost. The Gospel of Christ is a very simple thing to learn. You can learn the basic facts of the Gospel in less than five minutes. The Apostle Paul gives the Gospel in two short verses of Scripture. He said,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3, 4).

That is only part of one sentence. One sentence describes the Gospel!

First, “Christ died for our sins.” It was Christ who died for our sins, not some other man. It was Jesus Christ, whom God sent down from Heaven. It was Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary. It was Christ, who was born without sin, who lived without sin. It was Christ, of whom even the Roman governor Pilate said, “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). No fault at all! How true. Even His enemies could find no fault or sin in Him. They had to lie about Him, and say that He said He could rebuild the Temple in three days, which He never said! It was a lie! They had to tell a lie to make it seem reasonable to kill Him. This was Jesus Christ, who never lied, and who never did anything but help people. This was the perfect, sinless Son of God.

Second, “Christ died for our sins.” Christ died in our place on the Cross, to pay the penalty for our sins. The Apostle Peter said,

“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust”
       (I Peter 3:18).

The prophet Isaiah said of Christ,

“He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

This is Christ, our substitute. He died in our place – to pay for our sins in the sight of God.

Third, “he was buried, and...rose again the third day.” He really died on the Cross. His dead body was put in a tomb. They sealed the tomb and left His body there. But on the third day He rose from the dead. He physically rose from the dead – to give us life,h

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15).

That is the Gospel! It’s as simple as that!

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him..much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:8-10).

That is the Gospel. A child could learn these facts in five minutes! Those of you who have come to this church two or three times already know these facts. You have already learned the facts of the Gospel. And yet...and yet...and yet, you are not saved. You know the Gospel, but you are not saved. “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (II Corinthians 4:3).

II. Second, why the Gospel is hid to them that are lost.

The answer is in our text, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Corinthians 4:4). Satan is called “the god of this world.” In John 12:31 Satan is called “the prince of this world.” In I John 5:19 we are told,

“The whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19).

The Scofield center note translates it like this,

“The whole world lieth in the wicked one”

and the NASV gives it,

“The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

These verses make it clear that the world system (the cosmos) with its godless rulers, false religions, wicked people, and twisted ideas, is controlled by Satan. The ideas, opinions, goals and views of the vast majority of people are controlled by the world-spirit of this age. Ellicott called it “the spirit of hate and falsehood and selfishness [which] practically deifies the devil” (Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, volume VII, Zondervan, n.d., p. 375; note on II Corinthians 4:4).

And Ellicott said that the “god of this world is directly in antagonism to [the work] of God” (ibid.). That is what the name “Satan” means – adversary, antagonist, enemy, opposer.

You may not have realized this, but everyone who is unconverted opposes God. Everyone! No exceptions! Those who do our telephone evangelism know this by experience. They never find anyone who comes into the church and is saved without a struggle – very often a titanic, huge struggle! And that’s with the ones who actually come! They only come in with a struggle. But the vast majority will not come at all! That is especially true of white Americans – but, in one way or another, it is true of every other ethnic group as well. Even a “nice” Chinese mother will say, “All right, she can come. But don’t baptize her!” They say that sort of thing so often that you begin to realize that they are against God in their hearts. Their thoughts are controlled by the god of this world, as Ellicott put it, “the spirit of falsehood and selfishness” (ibid.).

I started this church in April, 1975 – and I have gone through forty years of gigantic struggle, unending, agonizing conflict with the world-spirit, with those whose hearts are controlled by Satan, the adversary and opponent of God and His people. In Ephesians 2:2 Satan is called, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” That is Satan! That is the god of this world! That is the enemy of the true God! He works in every human heart to prevent them from becoming real Christians. This is not only my opinion. Listen to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the British preacher, considered one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

The devil is always waiting to confuse us. He wants to destroy God’s work...In very subtle ways, he insinuates his own thinking (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Spiritual Blessing, Kingsway Publications, 1999, p. 158).

In another place Dr. Lloyd-Jones said of the Devil, “His great endeavor is to separate men and women from God.” “[Satan] is God’s great antagonist: he hates God with all his being” (Authentic Christianity, volume 4, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1966, p. 42). Satan – he is the one who blinds your mind and keeps the Gospel hidden from you.

III. Third, how the Gospel is hid to them that are lost.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “The devil is always waiting to confuse us.” The Gospel is glorious, wonderful, giving us freedom and hope. The Devil does not want you to have any of that! Our text says that he has “blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...should shine unto them.” Satan “is always waiting to confuse us.” I am going to give you a few of the ways Satan confuses people, and keeps them from trusting Jesus. I do not need to give many ways, because the Devil doesn’t use very many ways. He does not need to because he knows he can hold on to you and enslave you with just a few tricks. Here are three of his main tricks, that he uses to keep you from being saved.


1.  The Devil insinuates himself into your mind and makes you think, “There is too much to give up. It’s all right to come to church, but if I become a real Christian, I will have to give up too many things.” Jesus answered that Satanic thought with a question. Jesus often answered a question by asking other questions. If the Devil tells you “there is too much to give up,” Jesus says, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37). If you get all that the world offers and lose your soul, you will be doomed for all eternity, without happiness, without joy, without hope – utterly hopeless throughout all eternity.

2.  The Devil insinuates himself into your mind and makes you think, “I am coming to church every Sunday. I am here in church at every service. I think I am all right.” Spurgeon said, “They will not listen to Christ when he says, ‘He that believeth not shall be damned,’ whatever his moral character may be. No; they go on...to destruction with a light and merry heart. Surely these people are blinded by Satan.”

3.  The Devil insinuates himself into your mind and makes you think, “I must have a certain feeling. I know the pastor says I shouldn’t look for a feeling. But if I don’t have a feeling I won’t have anything to tell Dr. Cagan in the inquiry room. Dr. Cagan will say, ‘Tell me about it.’ I won’t have anything to tell him if I don’t experience any feeling.” Listen to that old British preacher Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He said, “How often in dealing with enquirers after salvation, does one have to point out that the New Testament never says, ‘Whoever feeleth shall be saved,’ but ‘whosoever believeth,’...so it is [enough] for you to say, ‘I live by this; whether I feel or whether I do not does not matter; we are not saved by feeling but by believing’” in Jesus (Life in God, Crossway Books, 1995, p. 105).


Now I know that nothing I have said will help you unless God helps you to realize that you can’t get free from Satan on your own. You must see that you can’t choose Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “The ‘god of this world’ makes it impossible for [you] to do so” (Assurance, Banner of Truth, 1971, p. 310). If you become really honest with yourself, and with God, your heart will cry out, “I’m lost! O, Jesus save me.” In a moment like that, Jesus will come to you, and He will save you.

Listen to how simple it was for the leper we read about in the Gospel of Mark a few days ago. The man came to Jesus, and knelt down. He said to Jesus, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand...and [said] unto him, I will; be thou clean...and he was cleansed” (Mark 1:41, 42).

Oh, that someone would come to Jesus like that this morning. “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” “I will; be thou clean” – and he was cleansed. That is the Gospel! That is the good news of salvation! That is your only hope! Away with the Devil and his lies! “Jesus, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” “I will; be thou clean.” If you can believe the words of this little poem from Spurgeon, you will instantly be saved by Jesus. 

A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
    On Christ's kind arms I fall;
He is my strength and righteousness,
    My Jesus, and my all.

And go on your way rejoicing in Christ!  Heavenly Father, I pray that someone here this morning will fall into the arms of Jesus and be saved.  Amen. 

And I know, Yes, I know,
    Jesus' blood can make the vilest sinner clean,
And I know, Yes, I know,
    Jesus' blood can make the vilest sinner clean.
("Yes, I Know!" by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).

 

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: II Corinthians 4:3-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Yes, I Know!” (by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).


THE OUTLINE OF

SATANIC BLINDING

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3, 4).

(II Timothy 3:5)

I.   First, what is hid to them that are lost, I Corinthians 15:3, 4; John 18:38;
I Peter 3:18; Isaiah 53:5, 6; John 3:15; Romans 5:8-10.

II.  Second, why the Gospel is hid to them that are lost, John 12:31; I John 5:19;
Ephesians 2:2.

III. Third, how the Gospel is hid to them that are lost, Mark 8:36, 37;
Mark 1:41, 42.