Church & State, A Beast From Each – Part 2: Evil in the Church

Church & State, A Beast From Each – Part 2: Evil in the Church


Revelation 13:11-15 ESV  Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.  (12)  It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.  (13)  It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,  (14)  and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.  (15)  And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

  • So, we are now on our second sermon covering the two beasts of chapter 13.
    • If you remember from a couple of weeks ago we talked about the first beast and we introduced this three part series on chapter 13.
      • Here are the sermons in this series if you could bring those up.

Church and State, A beast from Each

  • Part 1 – Discerning Evil in the Government
  • Part 2 – Discerning Evil in the Church
  • Part 3 – The Mark and the Problem with Situational Ethics
  • So in chapter 13 we are introduced to two beasts and the mark of the beast.
    • Last week we talked about the first beast, the beast that came out of the sea.
      • We talked about how Biblically “sea” generally represents people groups.
      • And we read all the different texts from the Old and New Testaments that show that this first beast is a leader, likely a political leader, that rises out of Europe, specifically around the region of Rome, after a group of Nations unite themselves there.
        • So we spent that whole sermon talking about how we need to understand that politicians are not superheroes, in fact, most of them, on both sides, are evil.
          • Because frankly, anyone without Christ is evil. It’s a basic doctrine of Christianity.
            • We then talked about how we should respond to evil politicians, and we talked about praying for them, and respecting them even when our faith demands we disobey their orders.
              • I tried to make very clear that we can honor our politicians without always obeying them.
        • If you want to hear more about that please go listen to that sermon on youtube or our website.
  • Now the next sermon I am going to preach is going to be on the Mark of the Beast, and we are going to talk about what that might be, what it probably wont be, but more specifically we are going to talk about how situational ethics will be used to try to manipulate Christians into getting the mark.
  • But today we are on Sermon two… about the second beast and Discerning Evil in the church.
  • Church and State, A Beast From Each – Part 2: Discerning Evil in the Church.
    • Now the astute among you have probably deduced already that this second beast, the beast from the Sea, is going to be a religious leader.
      • Last time we talked about Evil in politics because the first beast is likely a political leader.
      • This week we talk about the Evil in the church because the second beast is likely, almost certainly, going to be a religious leader.
        • Let me tell you why this second beast is going to be a religious leader… first because he is described as having attributes of a lamb…

Revelation 13:11 ESV  Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

  • So he has lamb like horns… lambs are biblically representative of the saints, Christians.
  • Second, he causes all the people of the world to worship the first beast…

Revelation 13:12 ESV  It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.

  • So he causes people to worship the first beast, that makes him a worship leader.
  • In verse 13 we see that he puts on a show, he preforms signs or miracles…

Revelation 13:13 ESV  It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,

  • Moreover, if we go to Revelation chapters 19 and 20 we se even more information about this second beast, calling this second beast the prophet of the first beast and then calling him the false prophet.

Revelation 19:20 ESV  And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 20:10 ESV  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

  • So, we see from these verses that the second beast is:
    • Christian like, at least in some ways and appearances.
    • A false worship leader.
    • A miracle worker who imitates God’s miracles.
    • And a false prophet.
  • All of this together brings us a pretty good understanding that this guy is going to be religious in nature.
    • And his job is to lift up the first beast, the anti-Christ.
      • Because the anti-Christ is going to be adored by most of the world just because he will be a great political leader…
        • But us religious folks, we are hard to convince, aren’t we. Especially when it comes to cross-partisan politics…
          • We want someone who looks like us, talks like us, cares about the things we care about… then they grab out attention.
          • And thus, this evil man, this false prophet, this second beast will try to convince Muslims, and Buddhists, and Hindus, and yes even Christians… he will try to convince us all that the Anti-Christ should be worshiped.

Matthew 24:24 ESV  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

  • The antichrist and the false prophet, that is, the two beasts, will try to deceive even the elect… that means Christians, the born again, the saved, the signed-sealed-and-delivered…
    • He will try to deceive US!
  • Therefore it is PARAMOUNT that we as Christians understand that there are and will continue be evil leaders in the church and that we know how to discern evil in the church.
    • That we know how to sniff out the wicked ones who claim Christ, yet really are trying to deceive us.
    • That we know how to tell the difference between a true on fire Christian, and one who is a liar, a thief, a false prophet, a trickster… trying to deceive the people of God.
      • Now we have talked a lot about the Anti-Christ and anti-christs, and we have talked a lot about fighting wolves… so today we are going to focus on discerning false prophets and false miracle workers.

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

Revelation 13:13-14 ESV  It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,  (14)  and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.

  • The second beast, an evil religious leader, is going to use miracles to try to convince you that he is from God.
    • This is what our whole sermon is about, we must be able to tell the real from the false!
      • We must be able to discern between false prophecy and true prophecy.
      • We must be able to look at a man, who looks like he is a Christian, watch a miracle happen, and say with certainty “That is not from God” or say “That is from God”.
        • Because I believe in miracles! I do!
        • I have seen limbs restored in front of my eyes.
        • I have seen the paralyzed instantly healed.
        • I have seen the crippled walk and jump for joy.
        • I have even seen blind eyes opened… Not something I saw on TV, but a man I was laying my hands on and praying for.
          • God can and still does work like this!
      • But I have also seen in faked.
        • I have seen videos of a double jointed woman in Africa pretending to be deformed and then letting her arm grow out as it was prayed for.
          • She was later arrested, turned out she is a Muslim and a scam artist.
        • I have seen a man stand up in front of thousands of believers and declare that God has given him a gift for leg lengthening… whatever that is supposed to mean.
          • And he brought a dozen people who had “Short legs”, one leg shorter than the other he said, and we watched as he prayed and their short leg got longer…
          • And he did this for a woman with a horrible disfiguring genetic disorder.
          • And wow… her legs were lengthened… but a few years later she died of her disorder.
        • The same man prophesied over a woman, one of Amanda’s closest friends, in front of thousands of people in the church, that this woman was in gross sexual sin…
          • Problem is, this woman was pure, a virgin and incredibly holy, never ever had a boyfriend in her life…
          • It was all fake.
    • Now if you can find someone who is doing fake miracles or false prophecy, then you have found evil in the church.
      • So one way we can discern evil in the church is to discern the works of evil in the church.
      • If we can say with certainty “This person is faking the works of God” or even “The devil is giving this person power” then we know that person is someone we need to stay away from as Christians…
        • But how do we do that, how do we discern between true miracles and false miracles…
        • Well, there are two things we can do, we can look to the authoritative record of both true and false miracles, and we can ask for help from the Helper who lives in us.
  • Let’s start by looking to the Bible, an authoritative record of true and false miracles, and when doing so we learn a few things about discerning evil… after all Hebrews 4:12 says:

Hebrews 4:12 ESV  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Discerning The Difference Between Real Miracles and Counterfeit Miracles.

  • So, we will start off by using the Word of God to help us discern the difference between real miracles and counterfeit miracles…
    • What are some signs of real miracles and godly miracle workers…?
  • Signs of real Miracles of God
  • Real miracles help people. (Luke 17:11-9, Mark 10:46-52… etc.)
    • Real miracles serve a purpose, they are not just for show… they do something good.
    • Real miracles led people to God. (Luke 5:1-11, Mark 1:23-28… etc.)
      • They are not simply things that anyone can experience for any reason, they serve the point of bringing people to Christ or helping God’s people who are bringing people to Christ.
    • Real miracles are not self-serving. (Mark 1:40-45, Matthew 8:28-34)
      • No true miracle worker in scripture took up money or tried to gather fame after preforming miracles. At one point Jesus cast out a demon and healed a man and it made the whole village angry and they ran Him off. Jesus would even sometimes say after preforming a miracle “Tell no one about what happened”. This is why I don’t think there are real miracles recorded and shared on TV or the internet. God want’s you to have a REAL experience personally with him… not through a screen.
  • Signs of false Miracles (fake or demonic)
  • False miracles don’t address a specific need. (Revelation 13:13-14, Matthew 16:4)
    • The false beast makes it rain fire from heaven… why? To be some kind of sign of power. Jesus often refused to do miracles just as a sign! The miracles of the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, almost always served specific needs, they fulfilled some sort of purpose other than just being a “sign”. Jesus sad a wicked and perverse generation demands a sign.
      • When this girl with a genetic disorder came up to the stage, she did not need her legs lengthened, she needed her genetic code healed! The leg lengthening looked cool, but served no real purpose, it was a false miracle and later proven to be a trick.
    • False miracles are cheap imitations of real miracles. (Exodus 7:22, Exodus 8:7)
      • False miracles are often cheap imitations of God’s miracles.
        • If you see a miracle that looks cool, but is only partially what is needed, it is probably false. God doesn’t do things halfway.
          • God doesn’t “kind of” cure cancer.
          • God doesn’t “Kind of” split the sea.
            • Anyone who tells you “Well this isn’t exactly what is needed, but God is testing your faith… or God is using this small miracle as a sign” is probably a faker.
    • False miracles are often self-serving. (Acts 8:9-24)
      • Never once did Jesus demand money for His miracles…
        • I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where the miracle worker did a miracle directly for their own benefit.
        • Miracles are to benefit others and lift up God. If you are asked for money because of a miracle, it is not from God. God doesn’t need your money to perform His miracles.

Discerning the Difference between False Prophets and True Prophets.

All slides on this point already in Planning Center

  • Now, just like with miracles, we can look at the full testimony of Scripture and find out who to determine if someone is a real prophet or a false prophet…
  • Signs of real Prophecies from God
  • Real prophecies are true. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
    • This one should be pretty self explanatory… but if someone goes around prophesying over and over and is wrong over and over… they are probably a false prophet.
    • Real prophecies demands real response. (John 4:1-42, Jonah 3:6-10)
      • When Jesus prophesied to the woman at the well, she went and led a whole village to Christ! When Jonah prophesied to Nineveh, the whole city repented. Real prophecy produces real results… real actions… real responses… Now the person being prophesied to may respond by rejecting the word or accepting the word but they always respond.
    • Real prophecy lifts God and others up. (2 peter 1:21, 1 Corinthians 14:3)
      • I once saw a prophet tell parents that their 12 year old girl was in sexual sin. The father was furious, until the daughter began weeping and said “It’s true” and the family embraced her and they repented together. Not only did the prophecy demand action, but the action lifted up the believers… it looked like it was going to tear them down but the Spirit of God was moving and it lifted them up and produced real fruit!
  • So that’s real prophecy… but what does fake or demonic prophecy look like?
  • Signs of false Prophecies (Fake or Demonic)
  • False prophecies turn out to be… well… false! (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
    • Again This one should be pretty self explanatory… but if someone goes around prophesying over and over and is wrong over and over… they are probably a false prophet. It does not matter who nice they are, or how Godly they seem… if they continue to falsely prophecy, and they are unrepentant about that fact… they are false prophets.
    • False prophecies are vague and/or tell you what you want to hear. (Jeremiah 28:10-17)
      • If the prophecy is overly vague “Someone in here just needs to know that God loves them” or the prophecy is just what people want to hear “God will overturn the election results you did not like”… then it is probably a false prophecy. Remember, prophecy demands response… I have seen “God needs you to know He loves you” bring people to tears and repentance, but that is in very specific cases where that is exactly what that person needed to hear.
        • The most positive prophet in the Bible was Hananiah, and he prophesied a large, vague, and uplifting prophecy… only problem was, it wasn’t true and God killed him for it…
          • Now that’s not to say prophets can’t be positive… they can! And should be uplifting…
          • But their prophecies are specific! There is a big difference between “Someone here has a bill of $500 they don’t know how to afford and God is going to pay it” and “Someone here needs more money”… yeah we all need more money bro…
            • You see one miraculously points to God, when Eric Prophicies something as specific as that and someone responds weeping “I was up all night crying out to God how can I pay this bill”…
            • The other is so broad that everyone can say it applies to them, that makes the prophet feel good that they were correct, but it doesn’t show the miraculous prophetic power of God.
            • Even when the false prophet told our friend she was in sexual sin he said it in a vague way that did not demand a response “God sees your sexual sin but wants you to know you are beautiful and He is going to take care of you…”
              • WHAT?! If God is telling you this lady is in sexual sin you need to call her to repent!
    • False prophecy demands payment and/or honor shown to someone other than God. (Acts 16:16-19, Revelation 13:12-13)
      • When the false prophet is more concerned about how much money they are going to get paid, that’s a bad sign.
        • Prophets seek to serve God, not themselves. Many prophets in the Bible were poor, and lived very modest lives.
        • Many times they even REFUSED money. Sometimes they refused HUGE SUMS OF MONEY.
          • Most prophets today would jump at the chance to say something good to a king so that they could receive riches and honor, but these are not true prophets.
      • But worse is when they try to point to someone other than God.
        • If they prophecy about how great this person is or that pastor or this leader or whatever, STAY AWAY.
        • Prophecy encourages the believer, demands a response, and LIFTS UP GOD… not others.
  • So, there you have the biblical record that shows us how to determine if prophets and miracle workers are from God or not…
    • But fortunately for us, God has given us even more than just this to help us determine the real from the fake, the godly from the evil.
      • God has given us the helper, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit.
      • And that helper can impower us with the spiritual gift of discernment

The Spiritual Gift of Discernment

  • So let’s talk briefly talk about the spiritual gift of discernment…

1 John 4:1 ESV  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Philippians 1:9-10 ESV  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  (10)  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

  • And of course we call this a gift of the Holy Spirit because it is listed as such in First Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 12:10 KJV  [The Holy Spirit gives] to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

  • What is the gift of discernment or the gift of distinguishing between spirits?
    • It is the ability to instantly know if someone is good or evil.
    • To know where their heart is at.
    • To know if they are operating in Christ or outside of Christ.
      • The Holy Spirit gives us this gift so that we can know who to trust and who not to trust.
      • Any pastor worth his salt has this gift, and while we are clearly not perfect with obeying it, when we do obey it things ALWAYS turn out better.
        • And every time, speaking for myself here, that God’s discernment screams out to me that something is wrong, and I ignore it… well I end up having to apologize to the church.
        • I need to take heart Hebrews 5:14 and constantly train and practice the gift of discernment…

Hebrews 5:14 ESV  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

  • I bring up the gift of discernment for a few reasons…
    • Maybe you are called into the ministry, like I and many others in this church are, you NEED the gift of discernment or false prophets and miracle workers, and even true Christians who are living in error, will dupe you and leave you hurt.
    • Or maybe you have been tricked before, as I have, and you are tired of getting fooled… you need the gift of discernment.
    • Or maybe you just want to make sure that everyone you work with in Christ is, in-fact, in Christ! You need the gift of discernment…
      • How do you get the gift of discernment? You ask for it.
      • The Bible says that even EVIL fathers give good gifts to their kids… how much more does our Holy Father give good gifts to those who ask?

Luke 11:11-13 ESV  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  (12)  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  (13)  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

  • Now in a moment I am going to pray for you and we are going to ask for that gift of discernment… but first let’s conclude this message…


Turn On Children’s Blessings Lamp

  • Church I have seen many, good, God fearing Christians be suckered in by false teachers, false preachers, and false miracle workers.
    • I have seen it create idolatry in peoples lives.
    • I have seen it bring financial ruin or families.
    • I have seen it destroy the faith of once devout Christians.
      • And one day these evil teachers, preachers, prophets, and miracle workers will do more harm than just to one family or even one city.
      • Because one of them is going to rise up and prophecy on behalf of the anti-Christ. And if possible, he will try to deceive you, me, and everyone in this church.
      • We must do a better job of discerning evil… for our selves, our families, and our church.
    • If you want to see miracles, go on the missions field and pray for people…
      • don’t watch big time tv preachers.
    • If you want to hear prophecy, read your Bible and understand it, and hang out with gifted Christians who flow in prophecy.
      • Don’t give money to people you don’t know and who don’t know you hopping that their prophecy somehow applies to you.
    • And whatever you do, in this church or out of it, read and study your Bible and practice the gift of discernment…
  • Gospel Call
  • Pray for gift of discernment.


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