TAKE HEED THAT NO MAN DECEIVE YOU
(Mathew 24: 4)
The relevance of truth
Is something true because you believe it, or do you believe it because it’s true?
© Del Leger
We’ve been given an urgent message from James, Jude, Paul and Peter, as well as Jesus. It’s about the times we are in, the many deceptions of the last days. Three times in Matthew 24 alone, Jesus warned of the many that would be deceived, right up to the very elect. He emphasized this by saying, “BEHOLD I HAVE TOLD YOU BEFORE.” So, when we see it happening we can remember His words and know that it is as He said.
There will be many false Christs and false prophets with their great signs and wonders that Jesus said will deceive, not a few, but many. Paul warns of false Apostles that will transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. He calls them ministers of Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15), yet they will appear so saintly showing great signs and predictions of things to come; and to think that this deception will be, and is coming from inside the Christian fold. What’s a person to do? Take heed.
Of course, we should be well founded in the holy scriptures, but look at all the many different views of the Bible, commentaries of learned men with opposing positions. Then there are the different translations, even different Bibles, all claiming to be correct.
Doctrine, a life and death issue:
One might say that we must study doctrine, but of the many winds of doctrine about which we are warned (Eph. 4:14), how can we be sure we are embracing the correct doctrine? There are as many different doctrines as there are denominations, all claiming to be right. Even Paul was astonished at how quickly false ministers so corrupted the correct foundation he had laid. Are you in the right church? Prove it; it truly is a life and death issue. Yours! Study the seven doctrines of Christ mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2. Repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, the resurrections, eternal judgment and finally, perfection. Do you thoroughly understand each of these principles? If not, Paul is telling you that you have not even graduated from the milk of the word.
One thing is quite obvious. Today’s churches are not like the early church of Paul’s day. What has happened to the faith that was once delivered? We have embraced much of Mithraism with its rituals, holidays and doctrines, even in the face of God’s warning not to adopt the ways of the pagans. He plainly tells us how He wants us to worship Him and warns us not to add to or diminish from it (Deut. 12:30-32). I can hear some say, “But that was for Israel. We are Christians and have Christianized those Pagan rituals” - thus proving the shallowness of modern Christian thinking, “a mile wide, but a half inch deep.” “Take heed”.
Reverends from the dark side:
Deception is everywhere; the faith that was once delivered has been corrupted. Ministers of Satan are masquerading as ministers of righteousness right in our own assemblies. Well, what can we do? Again, Christ’s words, “Take heed”.
The Bible tells us many ways to expose deceivers. Isa. 8:20 speaks of a sure way to identify false ministers. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” And yet we hear, even from some pulpits, that Christ came to do away with the law, nailing it to the cross. Christ said, “Don’t think that I have come to destroy the law”. Isa. 42:21 states that He will magnify the law, which is exactly what he does in Matt. 5. As far as what was nailed to the cross in Col. 2:14, it was our penalty not the law. God’s law is a guide and light to our path to keep us from stumbling (Ps. 119).
Wouldn’t it be better to read what He says, than what some say He says? Isn’t it time to take to heart Paul’s advice, “to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), and not depend on hirelings? It is a personal thing between you and God alone. No one can give it to you; no one can take it away from you.
If we love God then we love the truth, and He will lead us into all truth. But, if a thing has been proven a lie and we still hold to it, are we being honest with ourselves and with God? Why would He bother to lead us into more truth if we are not going to act on what He has already revealed to us?
The Bible has much to say about truth. How it protects us, sets us free, leads us to salvation, gives us understanding, and keeps us from being deceived and also, that God’s word is truth, He is the God of truth, His law is truth and He hates every false way. He holds the truth in such high regard, that for those who do not love the truth He will send a strong delusion (2 Thes. 2:11). Therefore, it’s all about the love of, and understanding of truth. Hold it high in your priority of important things.
But what is truth?
At some point our faith is going to be sorely tried. If it is not based on the bedrock of truth, we will find ourselves awash in a sea of doubt, disappointment and fear. The rare ability to distinguish truth from falsehood is a giant step toward a sound mind. But, what is truth? Is truth consistent, or does it depend on the situation? If it’s true for you is it also true for me? Can we create our own truth? If we believe something strongly enough, is there some mystical power out there that can make it so? Truth is not a feeling. It is not emotion, neither is it superstition. It is a cold, hard fact.
Here is something to think about:
Is something true because you believe it, or do you believe it because it’s true? If belief is based on belief alone, where is its foundation? Belief does not create reality; reality exists apart from belief. Truth exists totally independent of what anyone thinks or feels about it. By its very definition, truth has to be true. Absolute truth is true for all people, for all time, for all places, for all situations. It is not wishful thinking masquerading as faith. God is truth. Satan is the father of lies and there is no truth in him (John. 8:44). Why would we want to embrace a lie? Treat it like the poison it is.
Is truth for sale?
We are told to buy the truth and sell it not (Pro. 23:23). How does one buy the truth? Simon found that it couldn’t be bought with money (Acts 8:18); it must be obtained by effort on your part. In 2 Tim. 2:14-15 we are admonished to study, rightly dividing the word of truth. That along with much, heart felt, prayer is how we purchase the truth.
Are you selling your God given truth?
How do you sell God’s truth? Satan is always ready to barter you for it. Recognize his bargaining chips, You will not surely die, you’re immortal (1 Tim 6:16; 1 Cor 15:53) – it will make you wise - you will be like god - you can decide for yourself what is right or wrong (Gen 3:5).
Are you following the traditions of men or the word of God (Mk. 7:7, Isa. 29:13)?
Here are some more lies Satan has used to buy the truth from you. “One shouldn’t call it homosexuality. It’s just a different life style.” “It’s only a fetus don’t worry about it.” “The sanctity of the Sabbath has been transferred from Saturday to Sunday”. (But by whose authority?) “Christians will be raptured before the tribulation comes.” “I have been so bad God will never forgive me.” “If you pray to Mary your prayers have a better chance of being answered, she has great influence over her Son.”
And then we have the other extreme, “If you really want to please Christ, become more like a Jew, wear tassels, use a prayer shawl, learn to speak Hebrew, grow a beard, become a Rabbi etc. He likes that.” Lies all!
Consider, Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews, and a strict law abiding Pharisee, yet he counted it all dung (Phil. 3:4-9). Remember, there were about 3000 Jews who left Judaism and became steadfast in the Apostles doctrine (doctrines of Christ Heb 6:1-2) on Pentecost (Acts 2:41-42).
What did Paul say about those who were drifting back into the old law of ritualism (Gal. 3 & 4 Amp)? Study Hebrews 7. Understand how the Melchisedec Priesthood has replaced the old law of the Levitical priesthood. Christ did not start a new religion, what He taught Israel from the beginning is still valid; but He did replace the old imperfect ritualistic outward expression of worship with the worship of spirit and truth.
I’m sure you can recognize a lot more lies Satan has used to buy the truth from us. How many has he wrangled from you?
Remember what Christ told the women at the well; “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Why do we not take the last part of that command as serious as the first part?
Let’s look again at Christ’s warning to those who would treat His word carelessly:
“…they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thess 2:10-11). Isn’t that verse telling us that the love of truth is not self-generated, it is sent to us, but if we refuse to receive it, then He will send us a strong delusion?
More Examples of deciding right and wrong for yourself:
Christmas is such a nice time to observe Christ’s birthday and it’s so nice for the kids. Heralded as a wonderful time of peace on earth, but, why then is there more crime, murders and suicides than any other time of year? Not to mention the saturnalian revelry and budget busting debt that strains so many marriages. To uncover the underlying deception that causes’ such an outcome look into its source- “Saturnalia.”
Then there’s Sunday, isn’t it a much better day to go to church than Saturday. People have been doing it for thousands of years so it must be right (Ex 20:8), besides Saturday is that Jewish day, aren’t they the Christ killers? If something was wrong to begin with, can repetition over time make it right? Why not just follow Christ’s example?
Isn’t Easter better than that bloody old Jewish Passover (Lk 22:15)? Everyone knows that Jesus died Friday and rose Sunday morning, don’t they? Doesn’t the Bible say the next day was Saturday (Lk 23:54)?” Does it really? Are all High Days a Saturday (John 19:14 & 31)? How was it that Easter (Eostre, goddess of dawn), replaced God’s Passover, and His resurrection?
Never mind the pagan roots of these, so-called, Christian Holy days. Haven’t they all been “Christianized”? Let’s just ignore Deuteronomy 12:30, that’s just that Old Testament nonsense.
Who is the author of this deception?
Rev 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world.” But that’s referring to the world not us Christians, isn’t it? What does Peter tell us?
2 Peter 2:1-3, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.”
Notice that I didn’t directly invalidate all his bargaining chips. I left that for you to do, as each of us must be able to recognize and turn from Satan’s lies on our own. Why should we depend on others for such a life and death matter? Prove it for yourself. Shouldn’t we go to God’s word, the source of all truth, for help in establishing His truth?
Christ has promised that the Holy Spirit, which we receive by the laying on of hands at baptism (John 16:13), will lead us into all truth. The pursuit of truth will and should be a continuous journey throughout our lives.
If we have been tricked into believing a lie, we suffer the consequences even though we were innocently deceived. If poison has been labeled elixir of life, we still die if we drink it. Therefore, we should try the spirits (1 John 4:1). Be very careful to test what we choose to believe. All lies come from the father of lies, whose chief aim is to destroy us. Why would we continue in something that we know is false? Lies lead to death; if it’s not true, get it out of your life.
Let’s review some things that make the truth relevant.
Deception will get worse as we get nearer to the end.
Even the very elect are in danger of being deceived.
There will be, and are now, false ministers within the Christian churches appearing as ministers of righteousness.
They will perform great signs and wonders, even making predictions of things to come.
Many, not the few, will be deceived.
Accepting or believing a lie is as dangerous as holding a serpent to your bosom.
Satan constantly tries to buy the truth from you.
There is a ditch on both sides of the road - liberalism and legalism.
God’s truth is a constant; it is true for all people, for all places, for all situations, and for all times.
Distinguishing truth from falsehood leads to a sound mind and a firm foundation.
Truth is found in God’s word and forms the bedrock of our beliefs.
If we do not love the truth enough to seek it, we will be given a strong delusion.
The truth will be evil spoken of, even from some pulpits.
Satan has deceived the whole world, even many Christians.
Can you add more relevant truths to this list, truths that you have proven for yourself?
If I could stress one point in this message, it is found in Paul’s words, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21), and May the God of truth ever be your guide.
© Del Leger, Christian Church of God, Grand Junction, Co. 8/4/07. (970) 249-6857, email@example.com.