Psa. 111:10 π Prov. 9:10 π Amos 3:7 π Mt. 16:13-18 π Mk. 13:22 π Acts 17:11 π 2 Cor. 4:7-18 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π Rev. 3:14-17
Jesus warned us of Last Days deception, ( Mk. 13:22 ), and that the deceived could possibly include Christians. It must be important if it was expressed as a warning. We are in the Last Days. Are we taking heed? Do we know what the deception may look like? Or are we as the church of Laodicea ( Rev. 3:14-17; top ), complacent and thinking we are rich, and need no more? Again, what would deception look like?
The devil is shrewd, so expect the deception to look pleasing even to us as believers. If you are enjoying your church, have you at the very least, considered the possibility you enjoy it may be because the little deception in it is disguised, 95% Biblical, and an unnoticed 5% deception? Just a little leaven. And everyone else seems satisfied, so why should we rock any boats? We could possibly even lose friends doing that, or maybe a church position if we questioned the direction of our church.
Worse, the shepherd of the church may not even know he is also deceived, thinking God has shown a way to gather more followers. One can see many TV churches exploding in popularity. So this shepherd might change course, and copy some of the ways of those popular TV pastors. Remember type and shadow, each Testament explaining the other; In the Old, many times it was shown that when the religious leaders grew lax, the people would go astray, each doing what was right in his own mind. Are our New Testament present day shepherds teaching what seems right in their own minds?
Can a sermon be drawn from the N.T. Scriptures without even mentioning the identity of Jesus? It surely can, and is often substituted for the Gospel being preached. Very little if any mention of sin, repentance, and holiness. Very little mention of Heaven and hell. Very little mention that we have an enemy who seeks to kill, rob, and destroy us. Very little mention of how to fight the war we are in. How often do we even hear of the devil, fallen angels, and demons? Why not? Why do we ignore the war?
When Jesus asked His disciples who they think He is, Peter answered that Jesus was the Christ. ( Mt. 16:13-18; top ) Jesus responded excitedly, noting that the Father had revealed that to Peter. Then Jesus proclaimed that the Father’s revelation of Jesus’ identity to people was to be the foundation of His Church. The identity of Jesus was that He is Christ, the Son of God, come as a lamb to be slain as a sacrifice in our place for our sins, and resurrected three days later, so salvation and resurrection would be there for any who chose to believe in this identity. That is the Gospel. How many are teaching that?
Jesus spoke often of our enemy, and the Holy Spirit gifts are weapons of warfare, not toys to play with and make us happy in this life. As sermons have strayed from the Gospel, they have centered more on finding happiness in this life, rather than building treasures in Heaven. Many think happiness and joy mean the same thing. Not so. Joy comes from knowing the surety of our salvation, and remains through thick and thin. Happiness comes and goes depending on circumstances, and can quickly flee at the first sign of trouble.
The worldly ways to gather fans is to entertain people, never touching on subjects that could cause serious thinking. And to gain everyone’s attention with interesting harmless stories, with little aside jokes to maintain interest. If this is what a pastor is doing in the church he has been given, people would likely go home afterword, feeling fed. But what were they fed? Did any of it include the dangers from the evil spirit world? Were people shown what the Spiritual weapons are, to fight the attacks of the devil? Or were they reassured that all is well, we are rich, we have all we need, and need no more? Are pastors trying to gather fans rather than followers of Jesus?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. ( Psa. 111:10 & Prov. 9:10 ) Does any of the above described give us the fear of the Lord? We are all going to live forever in one place or another, and our rewards, (good or bad,) in the afterlife depend on our life decisions in the here and now. A long time ago, I heard a parable something like this: Picture a three-foot diameter steel ball on a pedestal. Once a year, a dove flies by and brushes the ball with a wingtip as it passes. When this steel ball has worn away to nothing, not even the first morning of eternity will have passed. What we do in this life has serious eternal results. Now is not party time. You can confirm this by reading 2 Cor. 4:7-18 . (top)
Teaching that our time here on earth is mainly to be happy can easily be seen as false teaching. False teachers may not know they are false teachers, yet they can assume they have the way. (“The Way,” another name of Christ. He is also called, the Truth, and the Life.) Have you been like the noble Bereans, ( Acts 17:11 ) and studiously considered what the falling away, (apostasy) could look like? ( 2 Ths. 2:3; top ) Has your church even forewarned you of these possibilities? As it is now, our shepherds are inviting us to join their church, (small c), not The Church. Could that be the falling away?
Back in the 1990’s, I prophesied that the churches would drift, seeking popularity and growth. And in using man’s methods for this, they would not notice the Holy Spirit slipping out while another spirit sneaks in, deceiving and taking over. Few would notice the apostasy had begun. And the surprise is that those staying in the fallen churches were the ones falling away. And those leaving the buildings for home groups were the faithful ones. The very opposite of general expectations. Remember, the Jews continued Temple worship even long after the Presence of the Holy Spirit had gone.
Likely, the new church movement will have a good sounding name. Perhaps, “Community.” Kumbaya!
If today’s shepherds do not understand THE WAY, they will lead the sheep their way. In this, they can ask, even plea for the Holy Spirit to come, to guide us. These prayers will fall to the ground. I repeat; Not all false teachers will know they are false teachers. They teach what seems right in their own minds.
There are two major errors pastors often make. They sound Biblical, but they are not. They come from the pit of hell. One is: “Stay in context!” If you are unable to look for connections all through the Word, you will never get the whole picture. You will see bits and pieces and not be able to put them together into the plan God wants His Bride to see. It is avoiding the Narrow Gate. Many are called, but few are chosen.
Another bit of advice often comes from retiring pastors, telling incoming pastors to listen only to God, not the people. Sounds good, but even King David needed a God sent prophet to bring correction, as did many others. If prophets are out of place today, then why did we get the Holy Spirit gifts? Some saying that the gifts were only for the Apostle’s time makes them hypocrites, since it seems other gift offices are generally accepted by pastors. But somehow, they themselves never need prophets.
Then there is Amos 3:7 . “Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants, the prophets.” (top) Do today’s shepherds think this is an error in God’s Word, or is it merely conveniently ignored? This very serious subject will come up at judgment.
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God bless you.