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)