by Bill Wilson, The Daily Jot
Jesus said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” The word deceive or deceived is used at least 27 times in the New Testament. Jesus warns over and over again about the deception that will fall upon the church in the latter days. He says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Deception is all over the world. It is all over our country. Politicians are deceiving and being deceived. From a political standpoint, Americans are deceived every day. Discerning the truth with regard to the political and economic landscape is more and more a lost art.
Spiritual discernment is even more rare. There are so many Christians who sit in their pews on Sunday mornings to “check off” that they have attended church. They are the “frozen chosen” who are not on fire for the LORD. They would be the first to admit that there are no spiritual gifts in operation today and that the Holy Spirit was for a time in the past. Then there is the other extreme who abandon all sense of doctrine to shake, jerk, scream, run, fall, shout and repeat. They believe they have the handle on the Holy Spirit, who he is and how he operates. The problem here is that the church in general lacks the balance that is found by reading and understanding the Word of God.
Does God lack understanding of man? Is He hard of hearing? Do we need to act like crazy fools to get His attention? Most would respond with a resounding “Of course not.” Yet how many jerk, gyrate, scream out and repeat over and over their prayers? Did God just create the earth and its inhabitants and turn it loose without any more contact? Most would say, “Of course not.” So why do so many never want to talk to God or appreciate His good works? Jesus says in Matthew 6:7-8, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knows what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Deception can be by ignorance or by willful pride, but it is deception nonetheless. Church leadership especially is accountable to this. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” The foolproof way not to be deceived is to read, even digest, the Holy Scriptures.