Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are You Being Deceived?

Are You Being Deceived?

How many pages would it take to describe every well known deceiver currently operating in the world?

There is a very well known woman who is a very influential TV personality, celebrity, and bizillionaire who has gone the way Cain. She has been deceived or seduced by the idea that she can approach the Almighty God of creation through her own way. In spite of her 'wisdom' she has fallen for the same lie that fooled her great grandmother Eve. She is looking for that little god in herself and encouraging others to do the same thing. She has taken a spiritual mentor who speaks against the God of the Bible. She has been deceived herself. Now she is deceiving many others.

There are many so called Christian teachers who are teaching the same sort of heresy, or something equally blasphemous all in the name of Christ. (read 1 Timothy chapter 1)They have all taken the idea that the Christian can do all things through Christ and perverted it to a sort of 'god will do what you command him to do' theology. Who would a want a god they can boss around? It would be a pretty frail excuse for a god if it let a mortal tell it what to do. Never the less, such teachers are deceived and they are deceiving others.

Honestly, it isn't necessary that you learn the names of all those who have been deceived and fallen for the same line of baloney that Eve fell for. You just need to learn the lie, and how to avoid being deceived yourself. These teachers come and go throughout the centuries. They die in God's time. They stay dead. Their evil teachings may live on, but not through their own power. The evil teachings that oppose the God of Heaven are really the teachings of the father of lies, the devil. This liar, the adversary of God, really can only sing one song. His siren song is 'worship me, not God'. As liars do, Satan is not up front about what he wants from the individual. He 'repackages' his lies for every generation, and for every imaginable sub-culture, minority; ethnic, social, and economic group. He targets those mentioned in II Timothy chapter 3.

V. 1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
The term 'last days' may refer to the entire church age, which is the last age before the 1000 year kingdom foretold in the Bible. There certainly have been perilous times since the time of Christ. But today, the evil seems to be rapidly multiplying throughout all the world.

V. 2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Lovers of their own selves.
This describes a day when mothers will murder their own children because of the inconvenience caused by a child, or impatience with the behavior of the child. The world is full of 'covetous' people. They want what you have, but even worse, they don't want you to have anything. The boasters and the proud walk hand in hand. As proud people, they see no reason to respect the God who created them. They do not acknowledge His might or power. They reject the Holy Spirit's prompting them to be saved. They are disobedient to parents, rejecting the God their parents worshipped. They are thankful for nothing, and defile everything true and right with their wickedness. Mostly I suppose they don't love anything or anyone half as much as they love themselves.

V. 3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
There is really no where to begin describing 'without natural affection'. Homosexuality is an obvious example, but there is so much more to that phrase. Parents abandon children. Spouses leave each other for someone else. Righteous behavior is abandoned if more money can be made through an unrighteous way of doing business. Trucebreakers will not stay in any agreement that requires them to live up to any promise. They excuse their wicked behavior by falsely accusing the innocent. They exercise no self control in any matter. They are brutal and ferocious in forcing their ideals on those around them. They hate anything to do with the truth of the Bible, and people who follow Jesus Christ. Families that love each other and are helpful to each other are laughed at. Grown children are pressured to be disrespectful to parents, and turn from all the teachings of their youth. To avoid being a helpful and involved grandparent a common excuse is, 'well - I raised my kids - and now they can raise theirs.' What a crock! I don't really know of anyone who actually raised their kids without some help from someone. (Here is a 'thank you' to grandparents who are actually raising grandchildren because of parents who have abandoned them. God bless you and help you.) I would like to encourage families to work at developing a family bond.

V. 4. Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Those in government today have traitorously given away freedoms belonging to the citizens. These high minded people are elitists, believing their superior intellect makes it alright for them to discard the basis on which this nation was founded. As 'superior beings', they believe they are more appreciative of pleasures than the uneducated and inferior masses. They certainly would choose their pleasure above the pleasure of God.

V. 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
As far from actually following the teachings of Jesus as they are, many STILL claim to be Christians even though they utterly reject every principle taught in the Bible. Islam rejects the virgin birth of Jesus Christ; that He is the son of God; and that He was crucified. If he was never crucified, they don't have to deal with His resurrection and ascension into heaven in front of witnesses. They also reject the trinity, saying their god has no son. Yet, many claim Christians and Moslems worship the same God. The ecumenical movement has stepped outside 'oneness in the Christian faith' and gone global. They want all religions to come together in the name of peace. They have no understanding that world peace is not an achievable goal. World peace will be a byproduct of hearts that freely choose and worship Jesus Christ.

V. 6. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
This type of person can creep into houses very easily through the television, radio, and internet. (They got in before these things were invented, but perhaps it was harder.) Once inside, they lead captive silly women. I could write a book on 'silly women'. But, these particular 'silly women' are silly because they are carrying the load of their sins and the variety of lusts to which they are clinging. (A very prominent 'silly woman' is Nancy Pelosi. She thinks she is 'saving the planet' by placing burdens on the backs of those she is supposed to champion. Many 'silly women' have the 'little goddess complex', believing it is within their power to fix everything and save the world.) In clinging to their sins, they are behaving as though they lacked in intelligence. The devil loves to make contact with this type of woman or man. They are already looking for a way of salvation that does not require them to set aside behavior that the Bible calls sin.

V. 7. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This includes people who are following the 'name it and claim it' gospel; those who are following the 'path to enlightenment'; those who worship nature; and absolutely anything that does not teach that Jesus Christ is Lord.These are the people who have rejected God and gone their own way. They stand on the shifting sand that keeps the social, political, and religious world in turmoil.

V. 8. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Jannes and Jambres saw all the miracles that God did when Pharaoh would not let the Jews go free. They watched the Hebrew God defeat all the gods of Egypt through the plagues. Yet, they remained faithful to their 'lesser gods', because that was easier than repenting......

V. 9. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their's also was.
The day will come when God will put a stop to their evil behavior.
Next, the Apostle Paul speaks about his own life, and how the Lord delivered him out of persecution

V. 10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

V. 11. Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

This next verse is somewhat disconcerting. No one wants to suffer persecution; yet, Paul says all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer. Christians wonder what level of persecution they will personally face. Some will no doubt face persecution even to death. In America today it seems that Christians are facing being ostracized from all aspects of society and government. In fact, those who attempt to follow Christ according to strict Biblical interpretation, are even being ostracized from religion!

V. 12. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

V. 13. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. We cannot look for the world to change. Evil becomes more evil. The theology being taught by the TV personality mentioned at the first of this article (obviously Oprah) has grown more apostate over the years. She is deceived by the father of lies, and she is deceiving others. If she were to repent tomorrow, and turn from her wickedness, there would be ten others rise up to take her place.

All these sins are things common to the non Christian. Without the God of the Bible to guide them and help them, they are easy prey for such foolish behavior. Practicing Christians have hope of living a better life. This Hope is not within us naturally, but it is a gift of God. Real Christians and so-called Christians can also fall into such foolish behavior if they are not careful to do the things the Bible says to do.

V. 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
A believer should continue to do what they have learned from Bible study and remain confident that the things in the Bible are from God.

V. 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Scriptures can make even the most foolish wise. Lack of a knowledge of the Bible can make a fool of the most intelligent.

V. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Don't limit yourself to just part of the Bible. All the Bible is true, helpful, and good. I personally tend to 'hide out in Psalms'. I read Isaiah, Daniel, Genesis, the 4 Gospels, and Acts. Hebrews is pretty good to. I really have to make a point of reading the rest of it. I like those the best - but they don't tell everything.

V. 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The more you know about the teachings of the Bible, the better off you will be. That means you soul will prosper. Your pocket book may or may not prosper.

There is never a day when a Christian can say, "I have arrived! I know what the Bible has to say. I am in no danger of falling into sin, or falling away from the God that I love.' We have to be vigilant every day to do the things that Christ says to do. It becomes more of a natural action, but no one is ever above sin.

I Peter 5:7-9 gives instructions regarding how to avoid falling into sin, or as the Apostle Paul said, 'becoming a castaway.'(I Corinthians 9:27)

V. 7. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Take your problems to the Lord. He loves you, and He is the One who can help you. I think people fall into sin when they look for solutions from worldly sources instead of from God. Nations make pacts with idolatrous nations. People make pacts with non-Christians. Take you cares to God. Throw all your troubles on His shoulders. Some cares weigh more than others - and as such are sometimes quite hard to throw off your own shoulders onto the shoulders of the Lord, but it can be done.

V. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your advesary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Be aware of what is going on around you. It does matter when worldly practices are brought into the life of the individual Christian, the individual family, into the church, into society, and into government. That roaring lion is nibbling away at the people of God. As soon as he is strong enough, he will devour the individual, the family, the church, society, and the nation.

V. 9. Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your struggles. There is also 'strength in numbers'. The more Christians who steadfastly resist devil, the more difficult it is for him to make any headway with the individual or with society as a whole. (see James 4:7b)
Deceivers offer what appears to be pleasure, but it is only for a little season. Moses refused to accept what the world had to offer. Hebrews 11:24-25 says:

V. 24. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter

V. 25. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

V. 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

Moses refused to be counted with the people of the world, but chose rather to be counted as one of the people of God. He saw the temporary nature of his position as a ruler of Egypt.

Moses saw his power and wealth as nothing compared to the riches he would gain through following God.

Does the world remember Moses today? Will the world remember the deceiving teachers and preachers of today in 4,000 years? Will the world still remember Moses when another 4,000 years has passed?

Does anyone doubt that Moses has an eternal reward so great that it cannot be measured? Can any deceiving teacher or preacher today offer rewards that can be carried from this life into the next?

Moses was not deceived himself. He did not deceive anyone else, but rather taught them the truths of God. Let all believers strive to avoid the fables of the deceivers and instead follow the example of Moses.

I don't know what the music of Moses' day was like, but if had had what is now the old fashioned hymnal, I think he would have loved these songs:

'I'd Rather Have Jesus' (I don't think Moses knew Jesus' name, but he believed in the promised Messiah - so Moses would have probably also liked 'I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb' -
'I Know Whom I Have Believed'
'I Surrender All'
'This World is Not My Home'
AND - 'My Sheep Know My Voice'

God's children who are listening to what He has to say know His Voice. His voice never says anything different than He has said in the Bible. They are not deceived by the promises of glitter, wealth, and fame. The follow the voice of the One they love the most.
So the song for this article is 'My Sheep Know My Voice.' It is beautiful when sung in four part harmony.
Thank you all for reading my very long article. God bless you.
Barbara Henderson
My Sheep Know My Voice
My sheep hear My voice, and the path that I take,
They follow wherever I go;
My sheep know My voice and come at my call,
But a stranger's voice do they not know.
My sheep know My voice, and day by day
They abide in the fold and go not astray,
They love Me because I have made them my choice,
And they follow My call for My sheep know My voice.
My sheep know My voice, and the pastures of green,
Where I lead them so often to feed;
My sheep know My voice and the cool sparkling stream
Where beside its still waters I lead.
My sheep know My voice, and the valley of death
Through which I shall lead them some day;
But no danger nor harm can touch one of them,
For I will be with them away.