THE ENEMY IN OUR MIDST- DECEPTION
As was mentioned in my previous post (Jan 11), the greatest deception of believers is to be deceived and not know that you are deceived. If you are not studying the Word of God for yourself, anyone, including your pastor or Sunday School teacher, could be expounding errors or half-truths, or compromising the Word of God, by adding or taking from it without you realizing it. Unless you know the TRUTH, how can you recognize ERROR? A lot of what is taught today in churches is a watered-down and a corrupt gospel, served to ignorant ‘sheeple’, who think everything that comes over the pulpit is God’s Gospel Truth. But besides what is preached, what is NOT preached is just as harmful, and is also a major part of the GREAT DECEPTION by SATAN- THE ENEMY IN OUR MIDST .
THE GREATEST DECEPTION– SATAN’S SUBTILITY (Gen 3:1)
The greatest deception in the church is that many folks either deny or choose to ignore Satan’s existence. The Bible describes Satan as ‘the thief (who) comes to steal, kill, and destroy..’ (John 10:10). It is he who has power over the lives and affairs of all of mankind. If we don’t know that there is an unknown ENEMY IN OUR MIDST, we certainly would not be on our guard to defend ourselves.
The ENEMY IN OUR MIDST is SATAN, whose evil work is directed at destroying the faith of believers and the body of Christ. He accomplishes his great deception upon the Christian church by blinding their minds to the importance of God’s Word for their spiritual welfare (2Co4:4). Many programs and activities of today’s churches avoid connecting the rampant wickedness of this world and deterioration of the moral standards in our society with the works of Satan. Thus, the avoidance of the negative and unpopular topics of repentance from sinful living and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, keeps believers in spiritual ignorance while Satan leads many on the broad path to their destruction and HELL! (Mt 7:13)
Multitudes of people are taken captive by Satan! Isaiah 5:13 states ‘Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge‘. We are exactly where Satan, our arch-enemy and foe, wants us to be, by us being woefully ignorant of his existence in the world, and of the TRUTH that would ‘..make us free’ (Jn8:31). By not acknowledging Satan’s influence and power Satan can take anyone captive as he pleases at his will (2Ti2:26), and wreak havoc upon the world . Satan certainly has! Just follow the daily news media and reports full of violent crimes, killings, violence, corruption, greed and graft, sexual perversion, unrighteous leaders at all levels of government, and unholy church leaders, etc. Instead of the Church going into the world, the World has come into the church. As an example, Christians experience the same rate of divorce as non-Christians; high-profiled spiritual leaders fall into moral sins of infidelity, homosexuality, pornography, substance abuse and the like. Many Christian youth are as worldly as their counterparts. And instead of being separated from the world, the church has embraced the fads and fashions, music and entertainment and other venues of the world.
Few ministers and Bible teachers today dare to teach on the subject of Satan, devils, and demons in their sermons or Bible studies. One of the reasons for avoiding these unpopular topics could be that it doesn’t fit into their ‘user or seeker friendly format’, or are ‘politically correct’. They prefer to only spread the gospel of God’s grace and love, and messages of peace and happiness. Since most churches seek to increase membership and/or keep their people coming back to church each week, they will avoid controversial or tough subjects! After all, they must continue to fill their coffers, to pay for their salaries, trips, and ever-increasing church expenses!
Thus, in many churches today, it is rare to hear of end-time sermons, Bible prophecies, the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, the last days, the AntiChrist reign, and the signs of Jesus’ soon return! It is also rare to hear teachings on salvation and eternal life, sin, repentance, hell, Satan, and God’s judgment. Could it be that Bible schools and theological seminaries are not training their students about them either! Also, ministers who are ignorant of these matters would not trust anyone else teaching their members these ‘important’ spiritual truths. They are ‘doing church’ instead of ‘being a church’; doing their own business rather than God’s business.
Despite trying to reach the world for Christ, spiritual and financial bankruptcy and church closures have become a reality today. The recent announcement of bankruptcy of the renowned Crystal Cathedral, a mega-church in Southern California and nearly 140 churches in foreclosures in the past year alone in the U.S. indicates the sad condition of the church today. In 2010, there were 278 foreclosures compared to only 24 in 2008 (Reuters News 3-9-2012). Dwindling church attendance has plagued all denominations. Many Christians are out of work; many churches cannot make loan payments. Some churches are trying to survive the economy by downsizing and meeting in homes of members.
Given the spiritual ignorance of today’s apostate churches, it is no wonder that Satan has had free rein to destroy the churches from within. Pastors, ministers, and Bible teachers who avoid teaching the Truth of the Word of God will have to give account to God one day for fulfilling this scripture, ‘my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge’ Hosea 4:6. (Please also see Ezekiel 3:17-21 and Chapter 7 of my Shofar eBook, https://heulu.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/repent-return-and-remain-with-god-shofar-ebook-chapter-7/)
A few years ago, I had a vision of a sign saying ‘ICHABOD’ which means ‘the Glory of God has departed..’ (1Sam4:21) or ‘the presence of the Lord is no longer abiding here’. In the vision, this sign ‘ICHABOD’ was posted on the doors of churches that literally went ‘Out of Business’ because they were now abandoned! Under one particular sign, it said:
CLOSED FOR BUSINESS
Everything must go: church furniture and nearly new classroom furniture and P.E. equipment,etc.
FACILITIES FOR RENT OR SALE
(to be continued)
‘The Enemy in Our Midst‘ was written after ‘Sounding the Shofar- Exhortations for the End Times‘ was published in Jan. 2012. I will be posting mainly from an unpublished manuscript comprised of messages written to members of my Sounding the Shofar Facebook group, from late Feb. 2012, when we returned from a mission trip to the Philippines, until May 2012.
The purpose for these posts is the same as was my eBook:
“to emphasize the importance of the Word of God to help us in our faith walk- as we occupy and endure in these last days, while looking to the soon return of Jesus Christ.“
I wrote to give spiritual counsel to family members and friends and to provide basic Bible teachings on the strategies and devices of Satan, his role in the world, and how to be free from his influence and power.
The Facebook group was also and still is, a way for me to keep in touch with and exhort ministry friends in the Philippines of which many are Bible school students and young pastors. Many of the posts are written in journal form. They focus on Deception and Satan’s evil work in the world.
From ‘Sounding the Shofar- The Enemy in Our Midst’– to be shortened ‘STS- Enemy’ in future posts.
WARNING ON DECEPTION ( 3-5-2012)
We need to STUDY OUR BIBLES to know what is true and what is false. We are told to:
“STUDY to show yourself APPROVED unto God, a workman that NEEDED NOT TO BE ASHAMED, RIGHTLY dividing the word of truth.“ 2 Timothy 2:15
The ONLY way each of us will be approved by God is by studying His Word for ourselves, with the HOLY SPIRIT as our TEACHER. We need to have the Holy Spirit in us and with us to understand the teachings in the Bible and then be used of God. The disciples of Jesus were told not go forth to do ministry until they received power from the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).
I am encouraging you to STUDY so that you won’t be ashamed of not being able to recognize truth from error. Don’t believe everything you hear or read, even if it comes from a minister or big name evangelist. There are many wolves in sheep clothing masquerading as ministers and spiritual leaders. They are false shepherds, false teachers, and false Christs used by Satan to destroy the body of Christ, the Christian believers; and they are agents of Satan!
We are living in days of great deception, especially as we get closer and closer to the return of Christ. Isaiah 60:2 states that “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people…” which can be interpreted as a time of spiritual darkness, a time when ignorance and/or rejection of God’s Word is worldwide, and a time of evil and wickedness prevalent in the land and among the people. This prophecy describes the conditions prior to the coming of the Lord and the Millennial kingdom.
So what is this ‘great deception’? It is about not knowing what deception is all about and where it’s coming from! Most people who are deceived don’t know that they are deceived. They may think they know the truth, but unknowingly believe a lie. They are ignorant of the Word of God and/or misinterpret the scriptures, and mislead other Christians. A good many are deceiving others, thinking that they are warning of deception, when they are themselves deceived! 2 Timothy 3:13 states;
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse deceiving, and being deceived.“ (KJV)
“But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves.” (AMP)
DECEPTION is the main sign of the end times Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24. In fact, in my Bible, the title for that chapter is ‘Signs of Christ’s Coming‘.
When Jesus was asked in Mt 24:3, “when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?“ He said,
“Take heed that no man DECEIVE you.“
The word “DECEIVE” is mentioned 4 times in chapter 24, about the signs of His Coming. See Mt 24:4, 5, 11, 24. There are also references to deception in Mark 13:5, 6, 22 and Luke 21:8, the end time chapters in the gospels. I believe the great deception today is that the teachings of many false teachers on the signs of the last days, the return of Jesus Christ and the end of the world do not line up with the Word of God. These are days of great deception over the answers to the very same questions asked by the disciples of Christ long ago.
It is important that we know how to interpret the scriptures regarding the end times because this will determine whether or not we will be prepared ‘for the coming of Jesus Christ and for end of the world‘. Therefore, we need to diligently study the Word for ourselves that we will not be deceived. WE must STUDY the scriptures, search out answers for ourselves that we “needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We must be careful not to follow after any man’s doctrines and personal interpretation of the Word of God, but seek the witness of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. (John 15:26; 16:13)
“.. no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Pe 1:20-21)
Before going into our study, here is something you should watch:
Look for SHOCKING VIDEO “Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers”