BRAINWASHED

Welcome to part two of our High Intensity Summer series. This is an extremely weird time to be alive. Agreed?
The message I have to speak today is urgent. It may sound dire, but I want to say right up front that Jesus Christ has already conquered every dark force that we will ever face.
He already arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever, with His saints to reign. That is already guaranteed. Jesus is is Christus Victor, the champion you need in the battle for your life.
So that is the end of the story. That is the big finish. And even if, along they way, everything seems royally messed up, we know that God’s truth, God’s goodness, God’s righteousness, God’s Word, and God’s gospel always win in the end.
But that’s in the end. That’s at the second coming. We do not live in that chapter of the story yet.
The story we live in says this:

This fallen world is a morally broken Pain Machine.

It is a pain machine because it is morally broken, and it morally broken because it is fallen. The world has declared a declaration of independence from God.
The consequence is catastrophic.
When sin galloped into the world, every dark force came riding on its back. Death. Heartbreak. Moral Perversion. Greed. Evil. Violence. War. Selfishness. Humanity’s inhumanity against humanity.
All of this is present in the world, because Sin is present in the world.
And I would add that all of this is whipped into a frenzy by one more dark force in the world… which would be Satan, the devil.
In Part One of this series, I emphasized one single point:
The devil is subtle. He does not get into your face and bare his fangs. He doesn’t bust down the doors and announce his intentions to destroy your life.
He is subtle. Crafty. Wily. He’s in incognito mode.
He comes in totally cool. Perfectly dressed. Great smile. Awesome hair. He says, Hi, I’m the angel of light and I’m here to help. Because the devil is subtle. That was my message last time, in part one.

Today, I want to expand on that message.
Today, I want to point out, from God’s Word, that most of us do not deal with the devil directly. There are billions of people in the world, but only one devil.
There are hordes of demons, but only one devil.
He is not omnipresent. He cannot be everywhere at once. He can only be in one place at one time.
Even so, the devil’s influence can still be felt everywhere.
How does that work? That is the main thing for today. How does the devil influence our lives today in his subtle, incognito, wily, crafty, angel-of-light way?
Here is our key Bible verse for today:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (1 Timothy 4:1, 2)

This reference to the doctrines of demons is in my mind one of the most shocking phrases in the whole Bible.
The doctrines of demons.
This is a person who has learned their lesson well, but they have learned it from demons. Not from God, but from demons.
Demons are fallen angels. They sided with Lucifer in the great rebellion in the misty pre-creation chaos. They are spiritual beings. They are wholly evil. They are powerful, destructive, intelligent, twisted, and unceasingly hostile to God and God’s truth wherever it is found.
And here’s the thing so many people don’t realize about demons…

Main Idea // Demons are teachers, determined to worm their lessons into as many minds as possible

What we are seeing in the world today, in our culture today, is an increasing saturation with the doctrines of demons, coupled with an absolute blindness to the diabolical source, resulting in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20, 21)

That is the best description of social media ever written, and it was written 2,800 years before social media crawled out from the primordial swamp.
How does it come to happen that a person could call evil good and good evil?
They have been brainwashed by the doctrines of demons. They have locked arms with fellow victims of fiendish foolishness, they have captured the leadership of institutions, and they have installed worldly, godless deception as the operating system of a world gone mad.
And if they are given enough leash, they will turn to any level of violence necessary to enforce the upside down good that they have swallowed from the Father of Lies.
Utterly captivated. Utterly brainwashed.
Utterly sucked into a plausibility structure that can only magnify the Pain Machine’s pain because it shakes its fist in the face of God over and over again.
That’s how it happens. That’s how we get drawn in. That’s how we turn truth upside down and call it good.

The Origin of Brainwashing
The idea of brainwashing began during the Korean War, in the early 1950s. American prisoners of war we subjected to intentional conditioning. Their captors used psychological conditioning to turn their prisoners. A number of POWs confessed to using biological warfare, when it was impossible that had ever happened. At least 21 American prisoners chose to stay in North Korea rather than come home when they were set free.
A whole science was developed around brainwashing. Movies like the Manchurian Candidate, CIA programs like MK Ultra, explored how to condition and program people to do things against their will.
One of the defining characteristics of a cult is its use of conditioning techniques to break down the will, and suck unsuspecting victims into a vortex of lies.
Why am I bringing this up?

First, because the devil is subtle.

That was last week’s message. I won’t repeat it.

Second, because the way he draws us in is through brainwashing with the doctrines of demons.

And the devil does this in a million ways, all the time. In the field of cyber-security, there’s a kind of attack called a DoS or DDoS attack. It stands for denial of service. What happens is that an attacker takes down a website in a very simple way.
The attacker programs a large number of infected host machines so that they all try to login to the target at once.
So tens of thousands of computers all try to reach your website at once. When this happens, the system gets hit so hard, so fast, from so many angels, it gets overloaded, and the website crashes.
That’s how the devil’s brainwashing happens.
The lies come at you from movies, from art, from academia, from politics, from sports, from entertainment, from literature, from social media, from news sources, from peer pressure, from culture, from a sexual revolution, from every conceivable angle, and you can’t get away from it.
You cannot be a thinking person without being bombarded by demonic propaganda from a thousand sources from a thousand angles every single day.
The devil overwhelms your system. Why?
The devil is trying to create a new normal, and it is as dysfunctional as it can be, and the world is utterly blind to its dangers.

Third, the devil’s lies seem temporarily liberating, but ultimately create a spiritual prison that increases pain and leads to despair.

People are so very happy to cast off God. They think they will be free.
The reality is exactly the opposite.
To cast off God and his truth is to wrap yourself in chains of heartbreak and pain.

Beware lest anyone cheat you [take you captive]. .through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

The word “cheat” means “to carry off as a captive or a slave.”
Any philosophy, any tradition, any principle, any worldview that sets Christ on the side and makes something else central is nothing but a recipe for pain. It is the devil’s spit.
And it is exactly this that is the condition of so many of our friends, and so many of our neighbors, and of the people we go to school with, and work with, and hang out with.
On the surface, they’re great. But inside, they’re hurting. And they’re hurting because the have a God-shaped vacuum that is crammed full of razor-sharp, demon inspired lies.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (1 Timothy 4:1, 2)

They are taken captive. They are sucked into the most painful condition a human can find themselves in.

High Intensity Summer

And this is why our High Intensity Summer is so absolutely crucial.
Shasta County urgently needs a church, needs a gathering of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will consecrate their lives to Christ, pray the Lord of the Harvest for souls, serve the community and the world with the love of Christ, and then proclaim the gospel, the shed blood and resurrection as the only hope of the world, and summon all people to faith in him.
By God’s grace Pathway Church will be that church.
If you love people, you will care about their eternal salvation. Yes, we care about the quality of life here and now, and day after day we prove that through incredibly generous ministries of compassion and care.
But our ultimate mission is eternal salvation. That’s what we care about most.
We care about eternal salvation most because without it, not only is the age to come unspeakably painful, but this present age is doubly painful too.
The heart and soul of our ministry is to break down preconceptions and correct misconceptions and fit together truth conceptions

and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)

There is a whole generation of people who have been taken captive to actually do the devil’s will… and they don’t realize it, and if you said so, they would deny it, and they don’t see their own inconsistency and hypocrisy oozing out all over the place.

The world is stuck in darkness and we who know Jesus Christ have what the world needs.

And no shutdown, no lockdown, and no societal put down should ever shut our mouths.

[The gospel,] for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. (2 Timothy 2:9)

The government my chain our buildings, but they cannot chain our gospel
That’s why I have been calling our church to lean into God. To lean into God’s Word like never before.
This is not a time to take a vacation from God. This is the church’s golden opportunity if we will take it.
And, like I said, that by God’s grace is exactly what we are doing.
We are preaching the gospel of eternal salvation. But we are not doing that in isolation from acts of service and compassion in this world.
And not in isolation from the power of prayer and prayer walking. And not in isolation from hearts devoted to Christ in consecration, and intention to live a life of holiness powered by grace.
The pieces of Gospel-work all snap together like Legos.
And the devil is utterly powerless against it.
The gospel breaks the spell of the devil.
The gospel breaks the snare of the devil.
The gospel breaks the mental, emotional, psychological, and moral incarceration by the devil of a deceived and therefore heartbroken generation.

The Word of God is the unfailing antidote to every form of the devil’s brainwashing.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5)

The devil offers brainwashing when you’re not paying attention.
Jesus offers truth and instruction and invites you to make up your own mind.
When the devil attacked Jesus with temptations, Jesus punched him in the gut by quoting Bible verses.
And it is this same Word, and it is this same gospel, that has been entrusted to our care. We are custodians of the most liberating, joyful supernatural, transformative, corrective, soul-mending, psychologically healing, truth-package the world can ever hear.
May God help us make it clear and proclaim it boldly.
Main Idea // Demons are teachers, determined to worm their lessons into as many minds as possible
But the Word of God is mightier than the doctrines of demons, and the church is the hope of the world.

High Intensity Summer
We can sum up our High Intensity Summer in 4 words:
Consecration. Prayer-Walking. Service. Evangelism.
Let me give you quick update of each one.
And some exciting new developments on the last two.
Consecration
I have been praying for 500 believers at Pathway to rededicate their lives to the Lord. And to say a prayer of consecration. As a sign of that, we’ve been inviting you to put your handprint on a wall, to say God, I’m all in… grace-powered holiness. As of today, 331 people have taken that step. It’s awesome, because a consecrated Christian is a mighty weapon in the hand of God.
Prayer-Walking
When Paul tell the church to put on the armor of God, and to push back the devil, he wraps it up by telling us to never stop praying.
Here’s the reason:
Prayer weakens the devil’s brainwashing so Scripture can displace the lies with truth.
Service and Compassion
I am super excited to announce that this phase opens today. We have always been an involved and serving church. But as part of hour High Intensity Summer, we’re kicking it into high gear.
We have over 19 confirmed service projects opening up right now, today.
We need over 300 volunteers and I’m talking about you.
It’s time to put on our gospel boots, and get our hands dirty for Jesus.
We have sign ups for mask making to provide 1000+ adult and child size masks for area schools
We have a team going to Paradise to help widows and the disabled with clearing their properties to avoid county fines.
One Safe Place- supporting victims of domestic violence., by purchasing items online for assault kits
FaithWorks – which includes Francis Court Transitional Housing for homeless families and House of Cornelius transitional housing for veterans.
Adopt a teen for back to school clothing and school supply basics.
Food drive- collecting non-perishable food to stock the food pantry.
Mentors for Dads: There are 5 young dads working to put their lives back together living at Francis Court. They are looking to pair Christian men with these dads to mentor them.
Means for Veterans: There are 6 previously homeless veterans living in this 4 unit apartment complex.  We are going to show them the love of Christ by having a home cooked meal, delivered in 6 portions every Sunday night.
Sign up… PathwayChurch.life and click Service and Compassion Projects.
There’s another piece of our Service and Compassion initiative. We are going to help launch a ministry to young women and men in Thailand caught up in the sex industry, and I’ll tell you about that next week.
All of this is undergirding and building toward the main event.
Gospel Proclamation
In September we will have a series of meetings to proclaim the gospel. We will ask you to bring your unsaved friends. We will figure out how to maximize our capacity.
We will do apologetics.
We will preach the gospel.
The doctrines of demons evaporate into nothingness before the preaching of the gospel of Christ.
We will bring in a special speaker, digitally… and I am super excited. His name is Justin Brierley, and he has been interviewing atheists for 10 years and has a lot to say about why Christianity is true.
And we will do the one thing that shatters the devil’s lies in an instant.
We will announce the shed blood, the redemptive death, and the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, and summon everyone who hears to believe in him and be saved.
We’re building a jumbotron.
We need 50 homes for home meetings.
We will do print media and whatever it takes to bring the gospel of salvation to our community.
This verse says everything we need to know about the antidote to satanic brainwashing.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:3-7)

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