The Main Thing – The Enemy’s Diversion

The Main Thing – The Enemy’s Diversion [TRANSCRIPT]

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says,
Hear, Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deut. 6:13-14 says,
You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,

Deut. 13:1-4 says,
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods (whom you have not known) and let’s serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

1 John 2:15-17 says,
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.

In Matthew 22:36-38 Jesus said,
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.

It was Winston Churchill who once said, “In wartime, the truth is so important that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” This is a wartime tactic to protect strategic information from the enemy. But we also know that an enemy can use lies to confuse, to hide, to divert and to deceive. The reason for that is that the truth is powerful. It is so powerful that our enemy hates and fears it. And the greatest truths must therefore be attacked all the more vigorously. What is the greatest truth? Let’s look at that question and why it matters.

***

I was reading how in modern propaganda; a strategy for a group would be to inundate the information stream with confusing and sometimes contradictory material. In the glut of communication, the truth is completely obscured and hidden. You see, a tactic of someone out to deceive is to use diversion and lies in order to accomplish their goal of deception. This tactic is certainly true of our enemy the Devil. He is a liar and the father of lies. So, I have no doubt that he understands and uses this tactic.

And, as I said before, the more important the truth, the more work must be done to hide, to divert and to confuse the audience.

I often recall a quote from Pastor Alistair Begg. He said, “The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things.”  You see, while the enemy seeks to hide and deceive, God seeks to bring to light His truth. And His desire for mankind is for them to come to know Him. He has revealed Himself. He has provided His Word and finally He revealed Himself in Christ.

When Christ came, He didn’t speak in complex or esoteric concepts. He told simple stories, simple enough for children to hear and comprehend. And yet, within those simple stories were most profound and important truths given to mankind. In 1 Cor. 1:27-29 the Bible says,
but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the insignificant things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no human may boast before God.

Strange how God reveals that the greatest truths can be completely missed by the proud. People who can boast great mental or educational prowess all the while they are not able to detect the greatest truths given to mankind. And yet, these main things are plain things, revealed to those who open their eyes of faith to God.

With all of the players across history, it’s telling that in the drama of truth and lies it always comes back to God, the Devil and mankind. The Devil is the liar, the deceiver. His main attack is against God. And the earthly drama involves humanity. For mankind, it began in a garden and it ends in death followed by either judgment or salvation.

We’ve observed that the tactic of the enemy hasn’t really changed over time. His attack is always against God and the deception of mankind follows a predictable pattern. I have repeated it week after week so that you can learn to recognize it. First of all, the Devil begins by questioning God’s Word, in a sense he calls God a liar. He then adds or provides a substitute truth to draw people away from God’s truth. He then tempts man with the idea that individuals can choose or create their own truth. They can become gods in their own right with the sovereignty over reality. They can then declare that what they believe in is the truth. It's their truth. All along people move further and further away from the God who wishes to rescue them from the darkness into which they’re heading.

But I digress from the main thing, the plain thing, and the greatest truth. That’s one of the beautiful wonders of the truth. It’s consistent. God, from the beginning wanted mankind to understand the main thing.

When God gathered a people together and He revealed His desire. In Deut. 6:4-5 God stated clearly,
Hear, Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

This verse begins with the words, “Hear Israel...”  The Lord should be listened to. He is God and therefore we should pay attention to Him. And what is it that we should give heed to?

God declares that He is to be the premier consideration of life. He is the Creator. He’s the Maker of heaven and earth. In all of existence, there is no one greater. And so, of everything in our lives, He warrants our supreme affection and devotion. Our very existence comes from Him. Without Him we would exist. And so, it follows that we should love Him with all our heart, soul and strength. He is the Main Thing.

He follows that in Deut. 6:13-14 saying,
You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,

There are several commands within these verses. He begins by commanding us to “fear only the LORD.” Because He is God, He is to be respected as God. He alone holds that place. What He says is to be obeyed, for He is God. No others words carry the same weigh and authority. His words are true for He is Truth itself.

It says, “you shall worship Him and swear by His name…” No one else has that position, the position that He does. We praise Him because in truth, there is no one greater than Him. The applause of heaven and earth belong to Him alone. Our hearts, our souls, our strength are directed to the hero above all, the Lord God. His name is the foundational basis upon which reality stands. Other realities may fall or pass away, but not His name. We can bank on His name.

He says also, “You shall not follow other gods.” As the only True and Living God, all others are false, fake, pretenders, lies. To turn to any other substitute or false pretenders is foolishness. It’s rebellion. This includes as it says, “any of the gods of the peoples who surround you.” Regardless of whatever is going on around you, don’t go there. I don’t care how inviting, how popular, how deceptively tempting they appear, there is only One True and Living God. He alone is the first and the last, the final reality, the eternal God. The enemy has always provided alternatives. But they are false. Don’t go there.

Some people may say, “Well, we don’t have idols and false gods like in ancient times.” Hah! The Bible is very honest in this matter. There’s really not anything new under the sun. What the enemy used in the past, he utilizes today. Just like the entertainer seeking an audience, “Give ‘um what they want.

Today, so much is focused for instance on personal experience. This isn’t a new thing. People want to be wowed. Give them something sensational and you have a crowd and then a following. As I said before, the enemy deceives by turning attention away from the main thing, God. He sometimes uses supposed holy men with special revelations or powers. God spoke about this as well. In Deut. 13:1-4 He says,
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods (whom you have not known) and let’s serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

Keep the plain thing the Main thing. If someone comes along and has magic tricks and can wow you, ask yourself, “What words are accompanying their deeds?” If the latest guru or the now popular celebrity has a new book or program and speaks of a way to wholeness or self-realization but it is void and contrary to the Word of God, don’t listen to them. Don’t give them your time or attention. Remember the Main thing. You are to love God supremely. You are to follow Him. You are to keep His commands in your life. Listen to His voice. Serve Him. Cling to Him. He is the Main thing.

You see, the beauty of the keeping the plain thing the main thing is that it puts everything else into perspective. It puts an individual life into perspective. It also puts all of history into perspective. The eternal God has an eternal perspective. He reveals that to us so that we can have a sense of direction for our lives and the future. In light of the Main thing, 1 John 2:15-17 He says,
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.

There are things that the enemy presents to us as something to love above God. They are “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” These basically boil down to what I desire for my body, the lust of the flesh; what I desire to possess, the lust of the eyes, and who I see myself to be, the boastful pride of life. In every one of these, the self is preeminent. The world and its god, the Devil, promotes the self as the prime consideration for life. It’s what he used in the garden and it’s still selling today.

But God is very clear, this is not of His doing. It’s not the truth and it’s not lasting. Remember the Main thing. Who is preeminent? God is. Who is eternal? God is. The truth is, this world and everything about it is passing. But that which is of God lives forever.

The plain thing is the main thing and the main thing is the plain thing. Jesus plainly said it just that simply. And we find that for instance in Matthew 22:36-38. He was asked a question,  
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.

It doesn’t get more direct than that. This is the great and foremost commandment. This sounds like the Main thing, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does.

You know, love is something everyone knows about. But some confuse the emotion, the feeling of love with love itself. Some say they love God but what they really mean is that they love the feeling of God. They love the idea of God and the accompanying emotion it provides. But loving God is not about emotion. It’s about devotion.

You cannot love someone unless you know them. And you cannot know God outside of Jesus Christ. “No one comes to the Father except by Me,” Jesus said. He also said, “that if you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Those who love God are to be devoted to Him and to His Word. Emotion is what accompanies the reality. It’s like the delicious taste of a meal. It only tastes good, because it is good. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.

There’s no one greater than God, so we should love Him above and beyond anyone or anything else. It’s the truth. It’s the Main thing. And when we keep the main thing the main thing, when we keep God exactly where He said we should, everything else falls into place in ways we can’t even imagine. The True and the Living God desires that we know Him, that we love Him. Not because He needs us. It’s because we need Him.

And it is in Him that everything else …. everything else lives.
That’s the truth … and the Truth Matters.

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