This article today is longer than normal. But I need to share this!
These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, (7) or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” (8) And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. (9) Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. (10) And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. (11) These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. (12) If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. (13) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure (1 Corinthians 10:6-13-NLT).
I’ve been speaking on Sundays at Victory Church about the challenges of deception all around us today. Both Jesus and Paul mentioned that one of the major issues we would face just prior to the return of Christ would be rampant deception (see Matthew 24:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Deception is now enmeshed into the fabric of many business practices today. And day after day, we are bombarded by news media snippets that are basically propaganda! Things are being said over and over again as truth that are simply not true, so as to sway the minds and wills of the people to a certain political persuasion. And this is happening right now worldwide as well as in America.
Another huge area of deception worldwide is in the area of sexual practices. God created sex between a make and a female for two reasons; procreation and enjoyment in marriage (see Genesis 2:24-25). Sex was initiated by God to be a close bonding act between a male and female husband and wife within the framework of a monogamous relationship called marriage.
Again, deception has entered the arena of sexuality. Sex before marriage is now a common practice. And cohabitation has been socially accepted for many years. Homsexual and lesbian relationships have become mainstream and socially acceptable worldwide. And to top it off, in 2015 the United States Supreme Court recognized same sex marriage as having the same rights as heterosexual marriage. In our now politically correct culture, if you disagree, you are defamed, mocked, criticized, marginalized, ridiculed, ostracized, and in some cases financially penalized by losing your job, or in business by loss of revenue.
Also added into the mix of sexual deception is bi-sexulity, transgenderism, and pansexuality. Our world is drowning in incredible common sense defying practices. As Christians we are called to live Holy. Illicit sex carries with it terrible spiritual defilement. Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God (2 Corinthians 7:1-NLT).
I want to share the background of the sexual deceptions that rule today. These ideals of sex without boundaries are proagated by demonic forces in our day just as they were promoted by rampant worship of idols in history.
Notice that God told the Israelites in the Old Testament to have nothing to do with the idolatrous nations surrounding Israel, or they would be ensnared by the practices of these cultures.
Listen to these scriptures:
Exodus 34:12-15 (NLT) – Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. (13) Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles. (14) You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. (15) “You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them.
Numbers 25:1-3 (NLT) – While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. (2) These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. (3) In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord’s anger to blaze against his people.
Joshua 23:11-13 (NKJV) – Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God. (12) Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, (13) know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.
The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible reveals in its notes on Numbers 25:3 noted above that this is the first reference to the false god Baal in the Old Testament. The historical time of this reference is in the Bronze age somewhere between 1500 and 1200 b.c. Baal was one of the main false gods in Canaan and was the god that the people believed oversaw human sexuality and fertility. Baal worship had a destructive effect on the cultures that participated in it. Baal was worshipped with the use of homosexual and lesbian prostitutes and involved the people in sordid orgies including men, women, children, and even animals. Babies were sacrificed in their heathen temples to Baal.
Molech was another god worshipped in Canaan during the Old Testament period. Molech was an idol sitting erect with the head of a bull and with arms stretched out. The stretched out arms of this idol were coated with a flammable substance. Participants in this idol worship would pass their children through the fires (arms) of Molech and dedicate their children to this false god.
I mentioned all of this to say that the worship of the idols of Baal and Molech subjugated the participants to demon forces that saturated these cultures with excessive lusts and perverted sexuality. Every time they worshipped these idols in their frenzied orgies, they were actually worshipping demons.
Notice Paul’s statement to the believers in Corinth who were also surrounded by idol worship: What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? (20) No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-20-NLT). Worshipping idols is equal to worshipping demons.
I believe in the light of the scriptures that I have just referenced that it is safe to say that any person involved in sexual activity outside of God’s plan for human sexuality are worshipping at the altar of demons! Let me say it again, any person involved in any sexual activity outside of the God-made safe place for sex called monogamous, heterosexual marriage, is worshipping at the feet of Baal. And when pregnancy occurs that these sexual idolaters do not want, they offer a modern sacrifice to Molech with an abortion!
Our culture has fallen head over heels into idolatry. Every act of sex outside of marriage is bowing to a demonic force called Baal. Every person committing adultery is bowing to Baal. Every married couple involved in sex parties with other married couples (swingers) are bowing at the altar of Baal. Every homosexual and lesbian act is literally bowing to Baal. Every crossdresser is bowing to Baal. Every gender binary and trans-gender person is bowing to Baal. Every person viewing pornography is bowing their knee to Baal. Our world is obsessed with demonic worship in the name of free sexuality.
Dear friends, the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is a Holy God. He is pristine light and pristine purity. All through the New Testament, believers are urgent with great love to walk with Jesus in purity, and to resist the sinful lifestyles promoted by these current world trends.
If you or someone you know are involved in any of these behaviors, be aware that they are literally participating in Baal worship today. And these behaviors will be the absolute ruin of our modern culture, just as they caused the demise of the great civilizations of history.
Let’s pray and ask God for revival in America and the world. Revival is our only hope. Let’s cry out for Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2 to be fulfilled. And let’s get ourselves ready to ministry life to those bound in the deceptive chains of darkness.
I will address sexuality again tomorrow. As I close, listen carefully to the Apostle Paul:
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 -(J.B. Phillips Translation) – God’s plan is to make you holy, and that entails first of all a clean cut with sexual immorality. Every one of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect, and never regarding it as an instrument for self-gratification, as do pagans with no knowledge of God. You cannot break this rule without in some way cheating your fellow-men. And you must remember that God will punish all who do offend in this matter, and we have warned you how we have seen this work out in our experience of life. The calling of God is not to impurity but to the most thorough purity, and anyone who makes light of the matter is not making light of man’s ruling but of God’s command. It is not for nothing that the Spirit God gives us is called the Holy Spirit.