VIDEO Demons and Idols

1 Corinthians 10:19–22

The amount of space that Paul devotes to the Corinthians’ participation in pagan worship meals (1 Cor. 8:1–10:22; about one-fifth of the book) indicates that it was a significant problem. After critiquing the practice as unloving toward other Christians and warning the Corinthians about the danger of idolatry, the Apostle in today’s passage brings his argument against taking part in these pagan meals to its conclusion. His essential point is that although the Corinthians are correct that pagan gods have no existence as gods and that eating in itself is a matter of indifference (8:4–6, 8), they are incorrect that these facts mean that eating meals in pagan temples—in the context of pagan worship—is not the worship of beings other than the Lord.

Formally speaking, the pagans were not worshiping Zeus, Artemis, or any of the other dozens of pagan gods to whom temples were dedicated in the first century, for no such gods have ever existed. However, the pagans were worshiping beings that had a real existence—namely, demons (10:19–21). This comment has ramifications for how we understand non-Christian religions. Apparently, worship takes place in these religions, but this worship is really the worship of demons no matter how it may appear to the contrary. Furthermore, Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that Satan sometimes disguises himself as an “angel of light” implies not only that demons are the true objects of worship in false religions but that these false religions were given to their adherents by the demons themselves, at least in some cases. This certainly seems to be the case in Islam, where Muhammad claimed that the religion of Islam was given to him from Allah through the angel Gabriel. Surely it is not hard to imagine a demon, maybe even Satan himself, coming to Muhammad in the guise of a holy angel to originate a religious system that enslaves millions. In any case, whether the non-Christian religion is monotheistic such as Islam or polytheistic such as Hinduism, all faiths apart from biblical Christianity worship demons. We must take this into account and pray against these evil spiritual forces when we evangelize members of other religions.

Christians in Corinth could not eat of the Lord’s table and also of pagan temple tables because the latter entailed worshiping pagan gods even if the Corinthians thought otherwise. Similarly, we cannot join in interfaith worship services. That is idolatry (1 Cor. 10:21–22).

Coram Deo

It is common to find people of many different religions joining in interfaith worship services, especially after a national crisis or for a non-sectarian holiday. We cannot ever do this. To join in worship with others who do not worship the one true God is actually to worship demons, no matter how kind the people from these other religions may be.


You will be undefeatable against the enemy – How To Apply The Blood – Derek Prince

Servants of the Night

May the Lord bless you from Zion. Psalm 134:3

It’s 3 a.m. at an acute-care hospital. A worried patient presses the call button for the fourth time in an hour. The night-shift nurse answers without complaint. Soon another patient is screaming, crying for attention. The nurse isn’t surprised. She requested the night shift five years ago to avoid her hospital’s daytime frenzy. Then the reality hit. Night work often meant taking on extra tasks, such as lifting and turning patients by herself. It also meant closely monitoring patients’ conditions so physicians could be notified in emergencies.

Buoyed by close friendships with her nighttime co-workers, this nurse still struggles to get adequate sleep. Often, she asks her church for prayer, seeing her work as vital. “Praise God, their prayers make a difference.”

Her praise is good and right for a night worker—as well as for all of us. The psalmist wrote, “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord” (Psalm 134:1–2).

This psalm, written for the Levites who served as temple watchmen, acknowledged their vital work—protecting the temple by day and night. In our nonstop world, it feels proper to share this psalm especially for nighttime workers, yet every one of us can praise God in the night. As the psalm adds, “May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth” (v. 3).

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

When you consider nighttime workers—nurses, janitors, first responders, and others—what prayers on their behalf can you offer to God? Why would praising God lead to a blessing from Him for nighttime workers?

Dear God, in the early morning hours while I safely sleep, send Your blessings to nighttime workers doing vital work in my community. And help me to praise You in the night.

Sunday Reflection: To Know and Be Known

Jesus calls us His friend, but we often don’t treat Him like one

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

If you had a friend who called or dropped by your house only when he wanted something—who never reached out to show concern or to see if you needed help—it’s likely that the friendship wouldn’t last long. Why? Because there’s no intimacy there, no true relationship.

We might be tempted to shake our heads at such selfishness, but it’s far too easy to treat God the same way. Sadly, many Christians reach out to Him in prayer only when they lack something or when things are a mess. Life in Christ, however, isn’t just about getting our needs met. It’s about experiencing a personal relationship with the Lord, the “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Jesus told His disciples they were no longer slaves but friends (John 15:14-16), and that same promise is true for us today. We can speak to our closest companion—God Himself—at any time and for any reason. He longs to hear from His children, to be approached as the loving Father He is.

Think about it

• How would you describe your relationship with God? Does He feel near? Take time this week to begin speaking with the Lord in a more personal way to build or strengthen that bond.

The Power in Us

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

This amazing assurance of God’s unlimited ability to answer our prayers is related to a unique “power [Greek dunamis] that worketh in us.” Paul had used the same word twice before in this same epistle, speaking of “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe” and “the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power” (Ephesians 1:19; 3:7). “Effectual working” in the original is one word, energeia, from which we get our word “energy.”

Such power working in us is actually nothing less than the presence of God Himself. Its very first occurrence is in the model prayer. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” (Matthew 6:13). It is this “power of God unto salvation” that is received when we first believe on Christ through the gospel (Romans 1:16). It has been so ever since the fulfillment of Christ’s promise when He told His disciples that “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

This remarkable power of God is thus imparted to us and energized in us by the Holy Spirit. Because of this, we can be filled “with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). He thereby provides impregnable security for time and eternity, for we “are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).

With such a resource of unlimited spiritual power working in us, God is able indeed to accomplish far more than we can ever imagine, as He works in and through those yielded to His will. HMM

As Holy as I Want to Be

I dwell in the high and holy place…to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. —Isaiah 57:15

Among revival-minded Christians I have heard the saying, “Revivals are born after midnight.”

This is one of those proverbs which, while not quite literally true, yet points to something very true.

If we understand the saying to mean that God does not hear our prayer for revival made in the daytime, it is of course not true. If we take it to mean that prayer offered when we are tired and worn-out has greater power than prayer made when we are rested and refreshed, again it is not true….

Yet there is considerable truth in the idea that revivals are born after midnight, for revivals…come only to those who want them badly enough. It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. BAM007-008

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;

Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;

Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,

And make me love Thee as I ought to love. HCL137

The Worst Thing …

Whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, but a false witness, deceit.—Proverbs 12:17

Both we and the universe are made for integrity, and both the universe and we are alien to untruth and dishonesty. The whole thrust of the universe which God designed and created is simple, uncomplicated, and built on truth. There are great mysteries, of course, but no lies. Scientific laws are upheld by truth. Gravity, for example, will not lie; it is as true in one country as it is in another, as reliable in Jerusalem as it is in Japan.

It has often been pointed out that the word “evil” is the word “live” spelled backwards. Satan delights to take what God does and try to reverse it—to move life in the opposite way to that in which it was designed to go. Satan is a liar (Jn 8:44), and lies are always roundabout, complicated, and deceiving.

The fact that the universe is built on truth can be verified by the simple device known as a “lie detector.” The lie detector test works on the basis that people who tell lies and know they are telling lies become extremely anxious and uncomfortable, and this anxiety is then picked up by the machine. But why does telling a lie make a person anxious? Because we are built for truth, and any departure from it registers on the inside in a way that can be picked up on the outside. A lie detector is not infallible and can sometimes (though not often) be fooled. But what cannot be fooled is the soul of the person who is lying. The worst thing about being a liar is to be the person telling the lie.

Prayer

Father, help me lay hold of the fact that a lie demeans me, but the truth develops me. I cannot live successfully by a lie any more than I can fling myself out of the window and defy gravity. May I be a person of truth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 10:1-8; Mt 17:17; 1Tm 6:3-10; Pr 28:18-28

List some of the aspects of integrity to which David committed himself.

What did Paul highlight as one area where integrity is compromised?

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11

My “country aunt” was my favorite when I was a child. Not that her city counterparts weren’t wonderful people whom I loved, but Aunt Dina embodied a kind of natural beauty and order that I found especially attractive.

The time-honored practice of sitting down to the table at mealtime was a habit she refused to abandon, even in later years when that custom was challenged. She brings to mind a white linen tablecloth stretched and ironed to perfection, real cloth napkins carefully folded, and clean, sparkling dinnerware. Aunt Dina’s table always featured some centerpiece of grace and beauty.

Her favorite centerpiece was a silver basket-like bowl reserved for special occasions. From one of the several fruit trees on the farm she chose five of the most perfect golden apples, polished them with beeswax and placed them artfully in the bowl. Generally, the top apple retained a pinkish blush and two or three of its own dark green leaves. The effect was one of perfection and simple elegance.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Whether the writer of Proverbs had such a centerpiece in mind when he wrote his delightful simile, one cannot be sure. The image at once summons the idea of beauty and good taste. Coupled with its allusion to the apt word, the picture engenders some rather significant insights.

The word is the right word to speak when it is the true word. Silver and gold, to which the writer refers, are both precious metals, costly substances, that must be refined. The purer the gold or silver, the greater the price. The truth is often costly, but precious and enduring.

For the person who follows Christ, the true word is the natural word, springing from a heart that has been purified at great cost. “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts,” the psalmist wrote, knowing that the inner part determines the direction of the outward behavior (Psalm 51:6).

We will be responsible for our words as well as our deeds. People who cherish truth will heed the injunction: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

What a different world we would know if everyone did “speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). It would be a world as beautiful as “apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word