Learn To Spot A Demonic Sermon

Text: Genesis 3:1-21

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Who was it that preached the first heretical sermon the world has ever known?  There are a lot of choices to choose from in the Old Testament – plenty of false prophets, plenty of pagan diviners, and plenty of worldly hawkers.  To our surprise, though, the first heretical sermon was preached by none other than Satan himself.  Yes, the first heretical sermon was preached by the Devil in the Garden of Eden.  


Now, just to be clear, what makes a sermon a sermon is that a sermon typically delivers words about God and from God to the ears of mankind.  For example, a sermon is different than a TED TALK simply because a sermon is a religious and oral discourse that delivers theological insights, whereas a TED TALK mainly focuses on a variety of topics from politics to societal issues.


And so, back to the first heretical sermon ever preached.  Consider the reading from Genesis 3 again.  Notice what Satan said to Eve, 

“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”   

Did you hear that?  Did you hear how Satan was speaking about God to Eve?  Satan was indeed preaching about God to Eve right there in the Garden.  But then, again, what Satan preached was totally heretical.  

Now, it would be easy to brush Satan’s sermon aside and leave it in the past.  However, sermons like the one that Satan preached in the Garden of Eden still exist today.  And so, we can learn a lot from the Devil’s sermon so that we can spot bad preaching in the church today.  

First, we must be very careful to understand that just because something sounds religious, it does not mean that it is necessarily good.  Remember, God preached to Adam – which was good and true.  And then, Satan preached to Eve about God – which was evil and false.  Just because something sounds religious and pious, it does not automatically mean that it is good.  In other words, it would be better for a pulpit to remain empty than a pulpit to be filled with a heretical sermon that speaks about God incorrectly.  Or, think of it this way: what is worse for a secular society – no talk about God or incorrect talk about God?  Clearly, incorrect talk about God is worse.  And so, beware of those who say, 

“Yeah, that sermon was incorrect, but at least the sermon was talking about God.”    

Using this same kind of na├»ve rationale, one could say, 

“Satan was certainly wrong in what he preached to Eve about God, but at least he was talking about God to Eve.”

Dear friends, we Christians need to wise up.  Too many Christians in America are like reeds blowing in the wind – they are functioning like a bunch of theological snowflakes.  They get upset when bad theology and false sermons are critiqued while not realizing that they are actually upholding satanic sermons inspired by the tactics of the Devil himself.  

Secondly, it is important to know that all sin is very dangerous.  For example, hatred that breaks the Fifth Commandment, lust that breaks the Sixth Commandment, and gossip that breaks the Eighth Commandment are all very dangerous.  These can all attack Christians with the intent to kill, steal, and destroy faith.  However, what is even more serious than these enticements to sin is for you and me to be drawn away from the Word of God.  You see, in the Devil’s sermon to Eve, he was able to draw Eve away from God’s Sermon to his.  And once Eve was listening to the Devil’s sermon, he promised her something good – that she could be like God.  In other words, evil sermons that are preached in many pulpits today typically do not encourage people to kill, fornicate, disobey their parents, lie, or steal, for that would be easy to spot.  Instead, these Satanic sermons always attempt to draw people away from the Word of God to a different word altogether.  

Let me give you an example of what the Devil’s sermons sound like today.  

“You may think there is a lot wrong with you, but there is also a lot right with you. And so, stop looking at your weaknesses and declare your power.  Say that you are strong, healthy, blessed; say that you are beautiful and prosperous and that you already have what it takes to make a difference in this world!”

You see, the Devil is quite content for you and me to be successful and prosperous in this life without the Word of God.  Again, the Devil’s sermons typically will not advocate for you and me to break Commandments 4-10 but will subtly work for you and me to break commandments 1-3.  In other words, the Devil’s sermons will often speak quite positively about a lot of things while subtly trying to dislodge us from hearing and resting in the word of God (i.e., 3rd).  When this happens, false theology can be spoken in the name of God without us realizing it (i.e., 2nd), and then, in the end, we end up worshipping a false god – a god that does not exist in the scriptures but only in the imagination of our minds (i.e., 3rd). Indeed, beware of breaking commandments 4-10, but be more alert to breaking commandments 1-3.  

Finally, the Devil’s sermons work to always inflate mankind’s pride instead of strengthening faith.  Listen again to the Devil’s sermon to Eve, 

“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”   

Now, did you notice what the Devil preached to Eve?  He spoke to pride – you will be like God; you will not surely die. You see, the more that we disconnect from the Word of God, the more that we are inclined to trust our own wisdom and strength.  Let me repeat that again: the farther we draw away from the Word of God, the wiser we appear to ourselves.  

This is exactly what is happening to Eve.  In the Devil’s sermon, he diminished God’s Word, destroyed her trust in God’s Word, and then appealed to her own wisdom.  

I don’t have to try and convince you about this; this tactic has been going on for decades in American Churches.  Large segments of the church have resorted to not trusting the authority of God’s Word.  They say, 

“The Bible is not the Word of God; it only contains the Word of God.”

As a result, theologians and laity alike resort to big talk and rants against the Word of God as being inaccurate, archaic, out of touch, and politically incorrect – pick your poison.  This results in faith being eroded and pride taking its spot.  In the end, the Lord God is neutered, His Word is reduced to nothing more than a fairy tale, and the so-called wisdom of mankind drinks deeply from Satanic sermons as the church steers towards the gates of hell.  It is a bunch of Christless and prideful noise of nothingness.   

Lord have mercy!

So, where do we go from here?  

Perhaps a good place to start is to contrast the Devil’s sermon in Genesis 3 with how Jesus speaks in our reading from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 4.  

Briefly, when Jesus speaks in Matthew 4, He preaches the Word in response to the Devil’s temptation.  Specifically, I want to draw your attention to what Jesus says in verse 4.  He says, 

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Baptized Saints, the most powerful and effective weapon against the Devil, is a simple statement of Scripture.  This is what Martin Luther was getting at in the famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  Listen to Stanza 3 of this powerful hymn, 

“Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us, we tremble not, we fear no ill; they shall not overpower us. This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will; he can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done; one little word can fell him.”

Indeed, all the strength, power, and might of the Devil is nothing compared to one little Word of God.   

And so, Baptized Saints, you and I – and this church - shall not depend on silly words that get dressed up as God’s Word.  We shall not rest on satanic devices, foolish myths, our human strength, or even our intellectual wisdom, but rather, we shall rest in the power of God’s Word alone, for that is all that we need.  

Listen up; it does not matter if the world considers us foolish for preaching the Word, singing the Word, studying the Word, praying the Word, and meditating on the Word, for we are not ashamed of the Word, for it is the power of God for our salvation – it is the strength of this church today, and the strength of this church for the next generation, and the generation after that.  

Baptized Saints, you live by every word that comes from the mouth of God because His Word is for you.  

And so, let us pray boldly:

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that you uphold Your Word among us for our instruction and edification.  Bless Your Word among us at St. Paul’s that we may be strengthened in the divine truth and remain steadfast in your grace unto death.  Give us strength to fight the good fight and by faith in Your Word to overcome the temptations of Satan, the flesh, and the world, for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  


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