Do Not Be Deceived<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
By William Gray
". . . take heed that no man deceive you." With these words, Jesus began to answer the questions posed by the disciples as they sat upon the Mount of Olives with Him. Jesus solemnly warned the disciples that there would be many deceivers in the last days and many false prophets who shall arise and deceive many. The entire discourse appears in the 24th chapter of Matthew's gospel and is very relevant to the events and circumstances that are going on today. The Great Expository Preacher of the 20th Century, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, speaking of the Bible, said:
"This Book is the most relevant, up-to-date Book of this age (1963). It is always relevant and up-to-date because it is God's Holy Word."
Indeed, God's Word is alive and powerful and always relevant! Yet, there are many men in so called evangelical circles who do not believe this to be true. Professing themselves to be wise, they are fools and are deceiving themselves and many others today. There are many false teachers and deceivers who are openly advocating "omitting the Gospel of Christ and doctrine" from the church service. They have turned to calling church members "customers," and non-members are called "non-customers." They have openly stated that the purpose of omitting the Gospel of Christ and true doctrine from church services is to attract those who are "non-customers" to the church in order to "grow the church." These men have mistakenly and erroneously come to a conclusion that God's Holy Word is neither sufficient nor relevant to the events of today. Unlike Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, they believe and openly advocate using management and marketing techniques to bring non-customers into the church. This simply cannot work. It is doomed to failure. It was prophesied to occur nearly two thousand (2,000) years ago, and it is occurring right before our eyes.
There is a move toward a "re-weaving of wealth" or a redistribution of wealth that comes out of the Socialist and Marxist agenda. It has been proven over time to be both ungodly and unworkable. Nevertheless, there are men who are considered to be "Christian leaders" in America who are pushing toward a "one-world religion." They follow the management style and techniques advocated by Peter Drucker, and their ideas to "grow a church" are rooted and grounded not in Jesus but in the rapidly developing ideas of marketing and management techniques.
This technique is based on "compromise" and "syncretism," which comes about as a result of merging any particular thesis in the church with the anti-thesis in order to achieve compromise, which results in a necessary erosion of the truth of Christ crucified. These men are propagating these ideas in the face of the fact that God's Holy Word says that "light" and "darkness" cannot have fellowship together. They are willingly ignorant of the absolute truth that only Christ can make "a new creation." They are willingly ignorant of the fact that if any man be in Christ, he is a "new creation." They are willingly ignorant of the fact that only the Lord can add to the church those who are being saved.
These false teachers are not making disciples of Christ, they are promoting a form of godlessness. The Bible describes the type of person that is produced by these false teachers as being "lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." What is it that one is to do?
The Work that is to be Done
A. Fret Not
God's Word clearly says that we are not to fret because of evildoers. David, a man after God's own heart, wrote in the 37th Psalm as follows:
"Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against them that work unrighteousness. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in Jehovah, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness. Delight thyself also in Jehovah; and he will give thee the desires of thy heart. Commit thy way unto Jehovah; Trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass. And he will make thy righteousness to go forth as the light, and thy justice as the noon-day. Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him: Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, Because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil-doing. For evil-doers shall be cut off; But those that wait for Jehovah, they shall inherit the land. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and he shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord will laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay such as are upright in the way. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken."
Charles Spurgeon, the 19th Century preacher who is often described as the Prince of Preachers, in his great commentary on the Psalms known as The Treasury of David, talks about this commandment not to fret because of evildoers. Spurgeon says:
"It is alas! too common for believers in their hours of adversity to think themselves harshly with when they see persons utterly destitute of religion and honesty, rejoicing in abundant prosperity. . . . To fret is to worry, to have the heart-burn, to fume, to become vexed. Nature is very apt to kindle a fire of jealousy when it sees law-breakers riding on horses, and obedient subjects walking in the mire: it is a lesson learned only in the school of grace, when one comes to view the most paradoxical providences with the devout complacency of one who is sure that the lord is righteous in all His acts. It seems hard to carnal judgments that the best meat should go to the dogs, while loving children pine for want of it."
Thus, it is easy to see that, notwithstanding the fact that evildoers are prospering, we who know the Lord Jesus Christ and who walk in the spirit and not after the flesh are not to fret. Fretting does no good. Besides that, evildoers will soon be cut down.
The Apostle Paul clearly states in his second epistle, chapter 3, to his young protégé, Timothy, as follows:
"This know also that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truth breakers, false accusers, without self-control, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: From such people turn away!" (II Timothy 3: 1-5)
B. Preach the Truth
Paul, being led by the Spirit of God and knowing that his young protégé would have the same questions that many Christians today would have, to wit, "so what in the world are we to do?", charged Timothy as follows:
"I charge thee, therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (II Timothy 4: 1-5)
C. Use Holy Weaponry
As the Holy Spirit revealed these things to the Apostle Paul and caused him to write to the Church at Corinth, Paul informed the church as follows:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (II Corinthians 10: 3-5)
Thus, Paul is addressing specifically those things, including men, who would exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. We have mighty weapons. We have the weapon of all prayer. Indeed, in Paul's letter to the Church at Ephesus, he informs them to recognize that they wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. Accordingly, Paul told the Church at Ephesus as follows:
"Finally, my Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. . . . Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel of Christ for which I am an ambassador in bonds: That therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6: 10-20)
These mighty weapons are available to every child of God. Everyone that the Father has given to the Son can avail himself of the weapons of which Paul speaks in the 6th chapter of Ephesians. We also have the Holy Spirit, who is our teacher and lives within each of us. We have God's Holy Word, which is alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword and able to pierce to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and bone and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our heart. We have His holy commandments, of which He tells us that, "he that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me. And he shall be loved of My Father. And we shall come to Him and make our abode with Him." Wherefore, we have the living God abiding in us and working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We need to use these mighty weapons of our warfare which are not carnal. Unfortunately, many of us constantly want to resort to "carnal weaponry." We want to use politics and an arm of flesh. While it is good for God's people to be engaged in all lawful forms of political endeavors, we all need to recognize that prayer can accomplish more than "we even ask or think." Unless and until there is a national repentance and God's people return unto Him and confess their sin and seek His face, He is not going to hear our prayer and heal our land. It does not matter what economic program is attempted. Only the mighty, non-carnal weapons of our warfare, which we have at our disposal if we will but use them, can return this nation to prosperity. God's Word says righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)
Repent, pray, and seek the Lord's face while we can.
In the book of Isaiah, the Lord God says:
"Hear, oh heavens, and give ear, oh earth: For the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: But Israel does not know, my people do not consider."
Wherefore the Lord said:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1: 2, 3, 18)
Wherefore, as God calls men through Isaiah in Isaiah Chapter 55, He states:
"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the righteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
The Apostle Peter says in his second epistle:
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you: Whose judgment now the long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly (that's today's generation) and deliver just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: . . . the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." (II Peter 2: 1-9)
Contend for the Faith
As we look about us and see more and more false teachers, and deceivers; take heed that you be not deceived. You must know the one true faith. You must also know that you cannot mix light and darkness. You cannot take a little bit of Islam and a little bit of Hinduism, and a little bit of Christianity and come out with some kind of blend. The truth is that Jesus specifically stated that:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes unto the Father but by Me." (John 14:6)
There is no other way to be saved. There is no mixture. No blend! Nothing new! There is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved. It is absolutely imperative for each of us, in order to avoid being deceived, to know and understand the truth of God's Holy Word.
The Apostle Paul stated clearly in Romans chapter 1 that it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. Paul knew and understood that there were many who neither knew nor accepted the Gospel of Christ. Indeed, in the first chapter of I Corinthians, Paul identifies the fact that the preaching of the Gospel of Christ is to them who are perishing foolishness! Paul knew because the Holy Spirit revealed it to him, that the Jews were seeking a sign, and the Greeks were seeking wisdom; but, knowing this, nevertheless, Paul preached Christ crucified! He knew and understood that Christ crucified was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness unto the Greeks. It is no less so today. The preaching of the cross of Christ is to those who are perishing foolishness. Nevertheless, Paul stated:
"Moreover, Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you were saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remained unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not fit to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God." (I Corinthians 15: 1-9)
These false teachers and false apostles are not new, having been around since the beginning of the church. Jude, the brother of James, said the following:
"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and the brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation (that which Paul has set forth in I Corinthians 15), it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men who have crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 1-4)
Thus, Jude, who was earnestly contending for the faith, knew that there were men, even at that time, who were denying the Lord Jesus Christ. They were false teachers. They were wolves in sheep's clothing. They were deceivers purposely attempting to lead astray the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore, Brethren, there is nothing new. The intensity level seems to have increased dramatically just within the last half dozen years or so. There are many pastors who are still preaching the truth of God's Word, who believe that we are in the period of time when Jesus may return. Obviously, Jesus Himself said that "of that hour, no man knows. But only the Father who is in Heaven."
Nevertheless, there are very definite, on-going movements at the present time toward a one-world government; a one-world economy; and, a one-world religion. It has been reported that former President Bill Clinton and former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, have formed a foundation and are working together to bring about a one-world religion. They have reportedly gotten their program admitted into a number of colleges and universities and have called it "Face to Faith." There are others such as Rick Warren and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and many others who are seemingly pushing toward some kind of merger between Christianity and Islam. This cannot be.
Be alert! Be aware! Pray without ceasing. Use the weapons of our warfare, which are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Do not fret. Earnestly contend for the faith delivered once to the saints. Take heed and do not be deceived. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Commit your way to Him,. Be zealous to tell everyone you know of Jesus, who is mighty to save. What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or, to put it another way, what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own son or daughter? Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Now may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Worldview Weekend Foundation
PO BOX 1690
Collierville, TN, 38027 USA