Tuesday, August 13, 2019

August 13, 2019

Deception is nothing new, but there will be increased efforts to deceive the people of God in the last days. Jesus states: 
“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.” Mark 13.21-23 
I remember well, in 1982, the bold headlines of major newspapers around the world: “The Christ Is Now Here.” The premise was set forth that the long-awaited Jewish Messiah,  the Buddhist Maitreya, the Islamic Iman, the Krishna, and Jesus were really all one and the same, and He was now here among us, ready to be publicly revealed. Bible students, of course, saw this as something sinister and deceptive, rather than our long-awaited hope. 
One is coming, among many imposters, who will be far more deceptively effective. He is described in 2 Thessalonians 2.8-10:
“that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. “
The best way to avoid deception is to be very familiar with truth. It is those who have “the love of the truth” who will be saved from deception in the last days. To love truth is to be a firsthand student of the Bible, led and directed by God’s Holy Spirit. That means not taking teachers and preachers at their word alone, but carefully investigating their messages under the magnifying glass of personal Bible study. No matter how impressive the credentials of the Bible teacher, God’s sincere, Spirit-directed believers have all the needed tools available to ferret out truth firsthand from the pages of the Bible. Due diligence is required (2 Timothy 2.15).
I’m thankful that I know many people who take truth-seeking seriously. Their priority is to know, live, and love truth, and be vigilant against deception. They will stand strong amidst the increasing tide of deception. A greater concern is for those marginally familiar with truth. Those whose source of spiritual nourishment is largely through devotional thoughts, and lessons and seminars by well-known teachers, are at greater risk. While these may be adequate supplements, they can never substitute for first-hand Bible study and application. 
The burden that motivates what I have shared with you is that which the apostle Paul placed on Timothy: “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.” 1 Timothy 6.20. As those who choose to receive and read these thoughts, my burden is that you ever stand strong for what is true and good, and avoid deception at all costs. 
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8.31-32
May you thrive in the liberating freedom that comes from continuing in the word of truth.



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