Dt. 11:19 π Psa. 91:1 π Isa. 28:13; 2nd π Mt. 6:6 π Mt. 7:15 π Mt. 7:29 π Mt. 13:29-30 π Mt. 13:39 π Mt. 13:41 π Mt. 24:4 π Mt. 24:12 π Mt. 28:19 π Lk. 9:23-24 π Lk. 12:1 π Lk. 20:18 π Jn. 7:16-18 π Jn. 7:17; 2nd π Jn. 7:18 π Jn. 8:31-32 π Jn. 14:6; 2nd π Jn. 14:26 π Jn. 16:8 π Jn. 16:13; 2nd π Jn. 17:17 π Jn. 18:38 π Acts 20:17 π Acts 20:30 π Rom. 2:6-11 π Gal. 5:4 π 1 Ths. 5:21-22 π 2 Ths. 2:10 π 1 Tim. 4:1 π 2 Tim. 2:2 π 2 Tim. 2:25-26 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π Heb. 6:4-6 π 2 Pet. 2:1-2 π 2 Pet. 2:18; 2nd; 3rd π 2 Pet. 2:19; 2nd π 2 Pet. 2:20-21 π 1 Jn. 1:6 π 1 Jn. 2:19 π 1 Jn. 2:24; 2nd π 1 Jn. 2:25-26 π 1 Jn. 2:27 π 1 Jn. 5:6 π Rev. 13:10
When the disciples asked Jesus what the sign of the end of the age and of His return would be, He replied:
Take heed that no one deceives you. ( Mt. 24:4; top )
There may be no more important attitude than the love of truth for those who will be alive at the end of the age when Christ returns (also see 2 Ths. 2:10 ) Centuries of false religion have deceived us as to the role of truth in leading a person to Christ’s salvation. Though obedience to truth is only one aspect of the standard by which God will judge every man (see Rom. 2:6-11 ), it is the one area where most people fail to press on to attain to all that Christ has for them. These people are basically good people who take care of at least some others and who refrain from practicing grossly wicked acts. But they don’t draw near to God. They allow the “pastor” to “feed” them or, after rejecting the lies of “church,” they neglect to press into the deep, personal relationship whereby the Spirit of Christ leads the genuine believer into all truth. ( Jn. 16:13; top )
False religion has taught us to look for one key event (“sinner’s prayer,” taking communion, baptism, etc.) to mark the an individual’s entry into a life with Christ. And these are potentially signs that one has embarked on a life of faith in God. But where there is genuine conversion to Christ, the reality of that individual’s life before this event is that of already having been in the process of coming to the truth every time he or she chose to reject falsehood and deception and instead chose honesty and reality. This is the training God puts everyone through whom He knows will ultimately receive Christ as their Savior and Lord so that, when they are presented with the facts of the gospel (which require faith to apprehend and embrace), they will be able to step out and receive the things of God which the Spirit is revealing to them. False religion - by substituting the voice and teachings of the “pastor” for the voice of God - trains us away from our initial pursuits and embracings of truth and slowly, numbingly trains us instead to embrace entertainments, knowledge, morality and/or false religion. In short, anything but Christ Himself.
Jesus taught as one who had authority precisely because He was and still is the way, the truth and the life that is the only way to the Father! ( Mt. 7:29 ; Jn. 14:6; top ) When some Jews began to question Jesus? authority to teach what He was teaching, He answered,
My doctrine [teaching] is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine [teaching], whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. ( Jn. 7:16-18; top )
One of the ruler of fearing man’s deceptions, as we have seen, is to invoke fear of questioning the words and teachings that come from the Nicolaitan clergy. But here Jesus invites everyone to question and challenge the source of His words and teachings. If anyone’s words and teachings ought to be above question, it should be Christ’s. Since His words are not above challenge (though indeed they will stand up to any and all challenges), let us be free, once and for all time, from the monstrous, demonic lie that teachings from the clergy are above question. (also see 1 Ths. 5:21-22; top ) Let us also clearly recognize that one who will not stand to have his teachings or practices questioned or examined - especially by the light of the Scriptures - is clergy.
In this passage, Jesus gives the secret to always clinging to the truth and to always being preserved in the truth:
If anyone wants to do [God’s] will, he shall know...whether [the doctrine] is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. ( Jn. 7:17 - emphasis added; top)
If we persistently pursue God’s will rather than our own - as Jesus said in another place, if we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, losing our life for His sake ( Lk. 9:23-24 ) - then we will know, in the depths of our innermost being where our spirit co-mingles with God’s Spirit, whether the words and teachings we are hearing are truly from God or just some man’s spin. Because so few who name the name of Christ really want to do God’s will but rather pursue their own agendas (the lawlessness that abounds – Mt. 24:12 ), many will not be able to differentiate between true and false teachings and will
...depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines [teachings] of demons... ( 1 Tim. 4:1; top )
There have been some who, when confronted about having listened to the demonic, have responded, “We all listen to the demonic,” as if that excused their obedience to some demonic deception. It is true that we have to hear everything spoken in our ear. But it is not the hearing that will cause us to depart from the faith - it is the failure to discern and rightly divide what we have heard combined with our giving heed and obeying what we have heard from some demonic source that will cause us to abandon our pure trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit. Giving heed to (hearing then obeying) the words of the demonic is a clear step toward departing from the faith.
When Jesus gave us the secret to always clinging to the truth and so being preserved in it, He also gives a description of one who speaks on his own authority.
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory... ( Jn. 7:18; top )
These are those who
...rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. ( Acts 20:30; top )
This prophecy from Paul about the coming clergy -
- is the epitome of “church.” The better a man can “preach” or “teach,” the more “congregants” his “church” will attract and the more loot (“tithes” and “offerings”) he will rake in.
While, of course, most “pastors” of a “church” will outwardly deny that he seeks his own glory (some don’t even try to deny it!), his regular spot in the elevated place of attention and authority confirms otherwise. Inwardly, he basks in the attention he gets when he steps into that place which is truly reserved for Christ. He doubles the judgment against him when, in the place of Christ, he speaks deceptions he has learned from other men. His judgment grows exponentially when he speaks deceptions gleaned from the demonic.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed... For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness... ( 2 Pet. 2:1-2 , 18; top )
The word heresies here is most often assumed to mean “false teachings” - and that sense is certainly in view here. But one of the more interesting renderings of that word is divisions. In modern language, we call them denominations. And the sermon, though it has been used by God in times past to stir men to godly repentance, has become something other than what it once was. Now it is often structured (three points and a joke or a poem, etc. and, of course, followed up with an emotional musical plea for converts to come forward to the “altar”) - and it is all lifeless. It is not what the Spirit of God wants to say to His people at that time but it is
...precept upon precept, line upon line... ( Isa. 28:13 a; top)
as these people teach “through the Bible” obeying, not the Spirit of God, but the calendar and their own agenda. This method, according to Isaiah’s prophecy, is for those who are to
...go... (see 1 Jn. 2:19 )
...fall backward... (see Gal. 5:4 )
...be broken... (see Lk. 20:18 )
...snared and caught. (see 2 Tim. 2:25-26 and Isa. 28:13; top b)
It is not the proper method for transferring the characteristics of God to younger believers. (see Dt. 11:19 ; 2 Tim. 2:2 ) Pragmatism (practicing what is convenient or expediently practical) has brought the people of Christ under the reign of false religion precisely because it was (and always will be!) easier to preach sermons to people instead of personally making true followers and disciples of Christ. (see Mt. 28:19; top )
...they allure through the lusts of the flesh... ( 2 Pet. 2:18; top )
“I like the teaching,” “I like the singing,” “We like the children’s ‘ministry.’” These are the desires these false teachers use to draw men after themselves and their “church.” Any time we insist upon a “Jesus” as we want “Him” to be we can be certain that we have a counterfeit, a fraud, a deception that, in the end will be unable to deliver us from God’s judgments on the last day. Using the name of Christ to subtly train people in self-indulgence will never be the real way of Christ. It is a deception of the lords of darkness. Let he who has ears hear.
...they allure...through licentiousness [a hunger for evil or lawlessness], the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. ( 2 Pet. 2:18; top )
This mixed multitude, the mixture of those who have escaped alongside those who live in error, the mixture of the wheat and the tares in the same place at the same time, has been necessary so that the wheat would also grow to maturity. (see Mt. 13:29-30 ) But as we get ever closer to the day of the harvest, the time when the angels remove from Christ’s kingdom
...all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness [pursue their own agendas]... ( Mt. 13:39 , 41; top ),
the necessity for the mixed multitude will cease and the difference between the wheat and the tare will be more readily apparent. The wheat will become heavy with the head of grain it has produced and the stalk will bow down before its King in humility. The tare, with its light and fluffy counterfeit “grain,” will stand proudly and arrogantly, waving in the breeze, an easy target for removal by an angelic harvester - and the wheat will be of sufficient maturity that it will not be uprooted when all the lies that enabled the tares to also grow to maturity are exposed and removed.
While [the false teachers] promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption... ( 2 Pet. 2:19; top )
This is the hypocrisy that is characteristic of all victims of the rulers of darkness. Beware of it and do not listen to or imitate in any way any man whose life is not open to direct observation. (see Lk. 12:1; top )
...for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. ( 2 Pet. 2:19; top )
The enemy who takes you captive also makes you his slave. It is interesting to note that those who place themselves under a teacher or “pastor” do not absorb a great deal of the knowledge that is given forth through the pulpit but they manage somehow to absorb and imitate the private sins of the speaker (arrogance, pride, greed, lust, whatever). And then these “leaders” are offended that someone in “their congregation” would do such a thing or, God forbid, actually address them with their own air or attitude!
The human pawns of the evil spirits should also remember John’s warning:
He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity... ( Rev. 13:10; top )
Though this is by no means the only application that could be made from this statement, those members of the clergy whose “church” has been used to bring others into demonic bondage will, one day, be forced into captivity in more visible ways. Let he who has ears hear.
Peter goes on to say,
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. ( 2 Pet. 2:20-21 ; also see Heb. 6:4-6; top )
Once one escapes the darkness behind the gates of the demonic but refuses to depart from some iniquity and becomes trapped again in the prisons of the rulers of the darkness, that one is worse off than in the beginning. If one starts off life as a sinner destined for judgment, what could be worse than that? Being a sinner bound for hell who has known and rejected the only escape from judgment! So much for that “once saved, always saved” theory!
We have seen repeatedly that truth is our ultimate liberator. Jesus said,
If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ( Jn. 8:31-32; top )
With an attitude of sincere seeking, let us also ask Pilate’s question:
What is truth? ( Jn. 18:38 )
Jesus said to His disciples,
I am...the truth... ( Jn. 14:6 )
He also said,
[God’s] word is truth. ( Jn. 17:17 )
And John later wrote,
...the Spirit is truth. ( 1 Jn. 5:6; top )
The Spirit of Christ (the Person of truth, the Word of God) is the Spirit of truth. He alone - not His teachings, not His miracles, not His people and certainly not religious deceptions practiced in His name - is our Liberator. Only as we abide in Him are we invulnerable to the deceptive schemes of the devil and his assistants.
Those who are unwilling or unable to embrace this truth that the Holy Spirit - and not our doctrines and creeds - is to be the standard of our faith and knowledge are only manifesting their own sin of unbelief. One who is seeking to obey the Spirit of truth will not reject the truth when he hears it. One who has a preset creed or belief, on the other hand, has great difficulty letting go of that creed or belief when the Spirit of truth reveals something that contradicts that creed or belief.
This truth wrests control from the “church” institutions and the “pastor/priests” in their nice wool suits (false prophets wearing sheeps’ clothing – Mt. 7:15; top ) - and it restores the personal responsibility to obey God back to every believer who stands before God on an equal footing alongside all of his brothers in Christ. “Pastors,” because they open their “church’s” doors (and offering plates!) to the mixed multitudes, simply cannot trust that God will control the people (for good reason - they aren’t all His!) - something they could reasonably expect from God if they were dealing with true, mature believers - and they will not trust God any way because then they lose their ability to fleece the flock and maintain their own extravagant lifestyles or their extravagant “church” buildings and “ministries.”
Jesus, in speaking about His own teachings, said:
If anyone wants to do [God’s] will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. ( Jn. 7:17 - emphasis added)
This is Jesus’ promise that we will not be deceived by false prophets and false teachers. But we must fulfill the condition in order to receive the promised reward. If we want to do God’s will - whatever that might be and no matter how costly it may be to our selves - then we will know the truth about what we hear. We must trust that God’s Spirit of truth - by convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgment ( Jn. 16:8 ), by leading us into all truth ( Jn. 16:13 ) and by reminding us of what Christ has said ( Jn. 14:26; top ) - will keep us from being deceived. The one who wants to do God’s will above all else simply will not reject the truth when he hears it. He will be led by the Spirit of God to receive it, apply it and obey it. The religious man, filled with his own understandings and religiously-derived agendas, is far more likely to reject the truth precisely because it is in stark contrast to the things in which he has so heavily invested himself for so many years. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you... ( 1 Jn. 2:24; top )
If we receive only the tiniest spark of the gospel of Christ and we keep that, even if we were in some remote, dark heathen land where we could find no more of the gospel, if what we first heard and received by the Spirit of Christ remains in us, then:
...you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. ( 1 Jn. 2:24; top )
We need to think about this for a minute. If what we heard from the beginning abides in us - no matter how much or how little of Christ’s gospel it was - we will abide in Christ. But if we follow after darkness and deception, what we heard in the beginning no longer has a place in us and, if we allow that fallen condition to remain and continue, we will ultimately have no place in Christ. (also see 1 Jn. 1:6; top ) Let he who has ears hear.
And this is the promise that He has promised us - eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. ( 1 Jn. 2:25-26; top )
That would be both human and demonic deceivers. Too many people fail to see the demonic agenda behind the actions of men. Only as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, can we finish our race without being tripped up by the snares and deceits of both men and demons.
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. ( 1 Jn. 2:27; top )
The Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of truth, gives us an anointing by which we are taught to abide in Christ, by which we learn to rightly divide all things, and by which we do not require anyone to teach us. Oh, how the heaped up teachers try to explain this one away! (see 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ) This is the secret place of the Most High under the shadow of the Almighty God, the only safe haven for our souls and spirits as we make our way out of a dark, deceived and depraved world held captive by the lords of darkness. (see Psa. 91:1 ; compare Mt. 6:6; top ) We must abide only in Christ or we are lost - both now and, if we die like that, crossing the great divide between time and eternity in that condition, we will be lost for all eternity.
I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!