GS24-03 Step Out of Self Deception

Step Out of Self Deception
Bill Giovannetti
Welcome to Giant Steps at Pathway, 2024.

Who's ready for this?

Today, my topic is the topic everybody struggles with, nobody realizes it, and nobody admits it when you talk about it.

In case you missed last week, we're in a very special series this week. It's called Giant Steps.

Giant steps going where?

Giant steps going straight into the promise of John 10:10. John 10:10 is the place in the Bible where Jesus promised you something pretty amazing.

He promised you an ABUNDANT LIFE.

That's bold. That's a God-blessed life. That's a prosperity inside and out. It's the thing that nobody could put a price tag on.

Last week I said that I was going to preach three kinds of sermons. Step out. Step into. Step up. I won't go into them, but these are the step out sermons:

STEP OUT of...
Self-Harm (Cutting, Body Dysphoria, Cutting)
Substance Abuse, Gambling
An Affair, Pre-marital Sex
Condemnation, Guilt, Shame
Anger Issues
Substance Abuse
A Traumatic Past
Gender Dysphoria, SSA, Sexual Brokenness

Attachment & Bonding
Therapy, Community, Groups
Shedding Negative Labels
Claiming Life-Giving Labels
Meaningful Singleness and Dating
A Healthy Marriage
Working Out, Losing Weight
Daily Devotions
Rededication To Christ
Repentance, Consecration
Taking Dominion

Having a Testimony to Give
Generous Giving
Church Partnership
Prosperity, Financial Freedom
Workplace Influence
Being A Bible Teacher
Serving Christ and the Gospel
Writing That Book, Launching That [___]
Full-time Christian Ministry
Becoming a Missionary

When I was working on this list of sermons, I had a meeting with a respected counselor/therapist in our community. I showed him my list of sermons. I wanted some wisdom. One of the questions I asked him was if I missing anything. He looked over the list and the first thing he said is actually my topic for today. He said, Bill, there's one thing I see all the time in my practice, and it's one of the hardest things to deal with."

Okay, here's my topic for today: Step Out of SELF-DECEPTION

This is coming from a professional who has counseled thousands of people over decades.

Because people are living in denial of the essential forces that are hurting their lives.

I want to take you through a number of Scriptures today. You can highlight them in your Bible, or mark up your Bible. Because I want to say something very important, I hope you never forget it. It's going to carry us through all these sermons.
There is one self-deception that is the mother of every other self-deception. If you fix this one, you will break the power of them all.

Would you like to know what it is?
"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? [2] This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? [3] Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:1-3)

Self Deception

This is from the Book of Galatians in the Bible. Galatia was an ancient city. It would be in present-day Turkey. It was a center of culture. And there was a great church there. The founder of that church was Paul.

He came. He preached the Gospel. He established a church.

The Galatians were joyfully saved by grace through faith.

Then, Paul moved on to another city to plant a church there, and right away, false teachers moved into Galatia. These false teachers began undercutting the teachings of Paul.

Specifically, they were undercutting grace through faith.

Paul taught salvation by grace through faith. The false teachers taught salvation by obedience through works.

Tragically Galatians believed the false teachers.

Paul literally says they were bewitched. This means they were hypnotized by lies, and those lies were demonic. This is shocking to him. Paul says, "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel." (Galatians 1:6)

So Paul writes this letter, this Book of Galatians, to bring them back to their senses, which means to bring them back to grace. He is going to knock the self-deception out of them.

I hoping today that you will etch this truth into your consciousness: The essence of all self-deception is living in denial of your Father's all-sufficient grace.

Let's look at how this works: The Triangle of the Soul

Let's look at the blueprint of the human soul. This is the spiritual machinery going on inside your soul, your heart, your brain.

This triangle is your soul. We'll draw a line across it.

Below the line, this is your dark side. This is the part of you that pulls against God and against God's truth. The Bible calls this part of you The Flesh. Not your body or your skin or even your appetites or sexuality, though it influences all that. This is the part of you that stores all the broken stuff, the selfish stuff, the angry stuff, and the "I give up" stuff of your life.

Above the line, this is your Noble Self. It is the part of you that wants God and wants God's truth. The Bible calls this part of you the spirit, or the Human Spirit. This is the part of you that interfaces with God, through the Holy Spirit.

So, in this same book of Galatians, Paul explains this. He says, "For the flesh has strong desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you really want." (Galatians 5:17 [BG paraphrase])

This is the tug of war you feel inside your soul, pretty much all the time.

Back down to the Flesh. We'll divide the flesh into two halves.

On the left, is when you are whiny, weak, and wimpy. We'll label that Passive.

On the right, that is when your flesh is aggressive, grasping, demanding, and mean. We'll label that Aggressive.

So, if you want to understand the inner workings of your heart, please understand that you have a dark side that is polarized into passive and aggressive attitudes.

Over this Giant Steps series, this set-up will apply in a whole lot of ways.
We'll come back to this.