2 Ths. 2:10-11
So now we have seen what to look for in discerning the fruit of not only our leaders, but ourselves as well. I hope you also saw that each time the Patriarchs ruled with iniquity, the people under them paid the price for it, not themselves. The iniquity we saw in them could be called “The Jezebel Spirit.” Jezebel usurped her king husband’s authority and ruled the people wickedly. That was obvious. And we see how the Pharisees also usurped God’s authority to rule the Israelites by putting extreme legalism on them. Let’s see if the same iniquity in the Patriarchs can be found in our present leaders.
Let’s first look at the foundations of the Church so we can know what to compare fruit with, to see if it is good or with leaven of the Pharisees. To see if the foundations were built upon properly or not. To see if the same childhood vows that drove the Patriarchs to be seen as significant drives our present teachers, without them knowing it.
We all came into the churches that had already been set up and running, and we assume this is the proper way to run a church, for we see good things going on in them. Thus, we fall under the traditions of men. You might ask if it could be done another way that it is now being done? Frankly, we don’t know how the power of God might have spread the Gospel, if the foundations that had been laid had properly been built upon.You see, in the earliest church, God was spreading the Gospel very well indeed. And we saw how the churches took up collections for the needs of other churches, <>those in the family.> And if a teacher needed to travel, they took up collections for that. That was the foundation of our way to give. And we saw Paul warning that, already, false teachers were coming in among the flocks.
Jesus told us who the family is. It is His brothers, the ones who already follow Him. It is the ones whom we were supposed to feed when they were hungry, and visit when they are sick. Brethren are notorious for killing their wounded. If we treat our own family this way, then how will we ever become one as Jesus said His disciples would? He said there that if we did become one that the world would then know we are His disciples. In other words, people would run to join a family that truly was one.
In the O.T., God had commanded the Temple priests to use the sacrificed meat for themselves and also the widows and fatherless in Israel. The word translated “widow” there included divorced women. Time after time, the priests began taking the most and the best for themselves, leaving the needy ones in the family to go hungry. God complained about that when He judged them, so He has made it clear to feed His family first, then go out and feed the stranger passing through.
It might be eye opening to read the book of Acts again with these thoughts in mind. We see there that the people met in people’s homes and shared. The teachers worked for a living and did not need money to build and maintain a tower. Most of us saw before we came into the churches that the churches are hypocrites. Then after we join the churches, we forget what we once knew.
Now, in discerning fruit, remember that leaven is very hard to see, which makes it easy for us to be deceived. Besides, today’s wolves in sheep’s clothing have seen the obvious traits of the Pharisees, so they know how <>not> to act. And more often than not, today’s sheep really enjoy the more subtle methods used to put them in bondage to the Law and leaders. So what should we look for, to determine fruit?
Well, we can start by seeing if a leader is gathering followers under himself, growing his empire. Is he really pointing them to Jesus, as much as attracting them to himself? In this, is he making them his disciples, rather than Jesus’ disciples? Is he grafting himself between the sheep and the Vine? <>It would matter not how many times this leader says that all the Glory goes to God,> because the leader would not even know he was fulfilling his childhood vows. He would be just as blind to his own iniquity as were the Patriarchs before him.
Another thing a false teacher might do is use dramatics to heighten the emotions of the sheep, to make his sermons seem more anointed. Sheep love to have their ears tickled. We tend to forget that Jesus did not want certain people following Him, for He saw they only wanted their flesh satisfied. He had multiplied food and did miracle healings, and they liked following Him for that. He knew they did not want to learn the deeper things of the Spirit. But would a false teacher turn away that kind of sheep?
False teachers basically use two methods to win people over. One is by using words to make you feel guilt to do other than join him. Another is by trying to raise your emotions positively. The latter would cause your brain to release endorphins, which naturally flood us with good feelings. This feeling is very similar to the feeling of God’s presence, and can be mistaken for it. Flows of endorphins are addictive, and you have to keep coming back for the next “fix.” Meanwhile, the problems the false teacher was telling you how to get rid of keep coming back. Some time ago, we had the revelation of “Praise the Lord anyway.” It was good for its time, but it has now become a chant to dismiss thoughts about why the same problems keep returning.
A false teacher would disdain any vision or word of knowledge you got from God that does not go along with his agenda of building his Tower of Babel, another way to Heaven. And it is about babbling, using a mass of words designed to bring you under his agenda. Nor would a false teacher welcome a true prophet sent by God for correction. He would warn them off by telling them to not touch God’s anointed. A false teacher would even warn us to beware of false teachers, no knowing he himself was one.
A false teacher would try to establish followers, perhaps calling them “Prayer Partners,” or “Supporters.” This would make their pride feel good because they are becoming significant in the eyes of others. He would even offer free gifts to prospective converts, in order to get them on his mailing list so they can be pummeled with reasons to send more money. He would not only number his converts, he would keep records on their giving.
Another thing false teachers would do is put disguised Law on the people, telling them that obedience to God is the only answer. And of course, they certainly want the Law of tithing strongly emphasized for their own convenience. When they talk of that, they themselves are the nearest ones to give tithes to, so it works well for the false teacher, if not for the sheep. False teachers would know the Word better than almost anybody, so they would know which verses to choose to make their points. Even if the verses do not mean exactly what the teacher implies. They would ignore that the Church’s birth brought a change in our way to give. Yes, Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees they should tithe. But don’t forget He lived in the O.T. times of the Law, before the birth of the church.
In time, false teachers would find verses to justify themselves becoming rich, even taking widows mites to fill their own coffers. To cover for this, they would also set up showpiece ministries of giving to the poor outside the family. They would not see their own hidden agenda to bring in more sheep under them by doing that. But they would not lift a finger to help the ones already in the flock who are suffering financially. Instead, they would insist the sheep tithe, so they can be blessed like the teacher is. This fits with Jesus’ words declaring corban. In that, people were holding back their money instead of helping the family, claiming it was promised as a gift to the Temple.
They would justify their greed by telling us that we are not to muzzle the ox as it treads the grain, using a Bible verse to usurp God’s authority. But their way of taking other people’s grain and getting fat off it cannot be justified. They would tell us about Paul’s prayer for his friends to prosper, but not notice that Paul was often in a jail, not prospering financially himself. Yes, we are also told the laborer is worth his hire, but we are also told that a hireling does not make a good shepherd.
They would further justify their greed by claiming Jesus was rich, “so why shouldn’t we be?” In this, they would conveniently forget He came to serve the lowest of the low, having no place to lay His head. And they would ignore that when taxes had to be paid, He sent a disciple to get money from a fish’s mouth. Does that sound like He was rich?
One might wonder why miracles can occur in a false teacher’s ministry. Don’t forget, the gifts and anointing are without recall, once given. Remember King Saul was a prophet and he remained one to the end, even after turning against God. Even after God sent an evil spirit to him.
It might be good here to remember how, in Leviticus 26, God told the people to hearken to Him or plagues would come upon His people. Look around at the brethren. Have you noticed how many of them are sick, pining away, or in financial distress? Perhaps when we see the healing miracles, it is not just to see God’s goodness. After all, not all are healed, and many who are soon lose their healing. Is it possible we see the <>need> for miracles to clue us in that we are not hearkening to God in some way?
Sooner or later, false teachers would begin selling their giftings and anointing, being after as much as they can squeeze out of the sheep. Yes, they want their word to get out, but is it word without leaven? If Jesus came by, would He overturn their sales tables? Would they be offended if Jesus spoke His mind, and would they tell Him to not God’s anointed? More likely they would not recognize Him, for false teachers would have so turned to men’s traditions rather than the truth.
Make no mistake about it, false teachers hear from God <>about> the subject to preach on. But focusing on the Law, they have no fresh manna, so they would put in their own agendas in forming the sermons. Their agendas would look Godly because some of God would be in it. Understand, these false teachers have a real passion for God. They do great exploits for Him. They desperately want to see people saved and healed. But there is also leaven included. This goes from the most famous false teachers right down to the local small church, and farther, right down to us. Each fulfilling our childhood vows to show we are significant, to the extent we are able.
Jesus said that in the end times, we could expect to see people coming in His name saying, “I am the Christ.” Perhaps they are not saying it in quite the way we expect. “Christ” means, “Anointed One.” One might look to see who has to keep talking about his own anointing all the time.
There would be some who have the gift of prophecy, given them to make them watchmen on the walls to keep teachers in line with God’s aim. Unfortunately, many of those who would fall right in with those false teachers above, having fallen to their own greed and vows to be seen as significant.
In short , a false teacher’s ministry would be so convincing, it could even fool God’s elect.
God has a way of giving mercy to His people until the sin is complete. If they will not to see the truth, He will send delusion on them, then He judges them. ( 2 Ths. 2:10-11; top ) False teachers would assume this mercy is blessings, showing God’s approval on the ministry. Even mercy is a level of blessing. It is time for the Bride’s eyes to be opened. Unfortunately, people now justify the wrongs they see happening in churches by saying, “Well, that goes on in all the churches, because no one is perfect.” But God told us to be perfect, so that is a lame justification, an excuse to not bring about change. Is it possible that today’s “Bless me now” generation is the beginning of sent delusion? Of people demanding their inheritance now instead of waiting, just as the prodigal son did?
None of this is advice for you to quit your church, stop tithing, stop evangelizing, or stop doing good outside the church. It is merely meant to help open your spiritual eyes. God will show you the if’s and when’s in His timing.
No wonder Jesus said that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. “There is a way that seems right to men, but………….” One might wonder what it is within men that causes them to change to hidden evil ways, once they become leaders. Let’s find out.
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