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False Prophets: DECEPTIONS ABOUND...HERESIES IN THE CHURCH

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (the coming of the LORD) will not come unless the falling away (the apostasy, deception) comes first, (2 Th. 2:2-3)

A friend of mine’s son began his own lawn service business when he was a pre-teen and couldn’t imagine why not his great idea to substitute gasoline (what he thought was expensive back then makes him laugh now!) into his lawnmower, with orange juice or any other fluid, wasn’t a good idea. He has learned since about the tools of his trade and that no matter how great the financial saving to replace a required standard; some things just can’t be done. He has also realized that clever or persuasive rhetoric, through his own imagination or by others, or many imitations and “make-do’s” just don’t suffice.

Regardless of temptations to skimp he realized in order to compete with existing lawn-businesses (even if second rate operations), he must learn the basics of his trade, know how best to maintain his equipment and be dedicated to serve to the best of his ability - with no compromise!

I felt this analogy appropriate for professing Christians, to learn, know and be dedicated to our calling as we wrestle to survive aggressive spiritual ambushes exploding around us!

FALSE PROPHETS and CHRISTS

Jesus warned before He returned there’d be a plethora of “false prophets in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15) and “false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect” (Matt 24:23-25).
Interesting that Jesus described last day deception in “church/Christian” terms which is where the apostasy must take place.

Today, as viewed on Christian TV, in mega-churches, or well marketed mass-media events so-called Christian teachers claim Christ is here and there, in this and that sign and miracle, seducing if possible even the elect! Recently, I’ve received several queries from concerned Christians confused about the claimed “healings” and “resurrections” by Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley at his Lakeland, Florida revival meetings. These performances draw tens of thousands nightly, many from around the world, and are being aired live on GOD TV (a religious satellite channel broadcast) and have received millions of hits while streaming live off Bentley’s website.

Those who’ve spoken to me admit they have reservations and “a check in their spirit” but are not being able to put their finger on why. Hopefully Berit Kjos’ informative article will help explain some problems.

TOOLS FOR DISCERNMENT

About discerning the signs of the times in which we live, I encourage those who feel insecure in their critique, or think they’re being too judgmental if they put into action a Bible’s standard, to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading within them but always check it and their emotions to it against Scripture.

Scripture advises us “to test everything” and “not believe every spirit”, (1 Th. 5:21. 1 Jn. 4:1). We’re commanded to avoid evil which means we must make a judgment call!

Satan’s job is to accuse us day and night (Rev.12:10) and convince us we’re unworthy to know God’s opinion. But if we learn the Word, know it and remain dedicated to God’s call to Christian behavior, then Satan is resisted. The snake longs to degrade us with double-mindedness and confusion between the legitimacy of our own thoughts and God’s opinions as stated in the Word. Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), promised He’ll not leave us because He’s resurrected and lives (John 14:17-19). He lives in the one who believes in Him, and sustains the believer in the power of His Living Word (Heb 4:12).

Jesus “calls his own sheep by name and leads them ….He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-5). For this reason, Bible believing Christians need to learn, know and be dedicated to the Word of God which “is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth.” (1 John 5:6-7)

Jesus called Himself “The good shepherd” who lays down His life for those who “know” His voice and “listen” to it. He warned that the “hired hand….cares nothing for the sheep” because they are non-owners, only predators who, when they see the wolf coming, abandon the sheep and run away leaving the flock vulnerable to the attack of wolves and their scatterings.” (John 10:11-13). Such is the scenario today as false prophets and their ungodly false teachings scatter the sheep “secretly introducing destructive heresies”. 2 Peter 2:1-3 continues: “Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.”

Over the last few months I’ve been inundated with inquiries and many beg guidance as they struggle through the confusion of these predicted, spiritually deceptive times. They grieve because many of their family, friends and even churches are falling prey to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. I remind them “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1Tim 4:1). Obviously there are many faiths but apparently only one is the faith which we must strive to enter despite it being narrow, the broad way will lead to destruction. (Matt.7:13. Luke13:24). Jesus says “I am the Way”. (John 14:6)

While there is indeed grief involved when we have heavy hearts about our loved ones enveloped in deception, we must “guard our hearts” (Phil.4:7) so Satan is not permitted to rob our joy which is our much needed strength in these last days (Neh. 8:10). Also we are commanded to cast our cares on Him Who cares for us (1 Pet.5:7) and “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes.5:17) and be confident in the One Who began a good work…..will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6)

We must both be discerning of the times we live in realizing with joy that He is coming back soon and also be ready to fulfill Christ’s great commission in Matt 28:18-20 to “go and make disciples…. teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In order to make disciples we must be equipped with the authority of the Word and “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15-16).

As false teachings abound to confuse and undermine God, an appropriate Word “in season” can excel. We must become more dedicated to learn and know Scripture to, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim 4:1-2)

 

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