Yesterday we talked about being transformed by the truth. Whenever we talk about truth there is always deception and counterfeit close at hand. Wherever there is a counterfeit one hundred dollar bill for example there has to be a real one. You cannot have a counterfeit of something that does not exist. This is how satan works. He is trying to deceive you and get you to turn away from the truth.  Revelations 12:9 “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” Luke 21:8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” Some people do not even think about this and they are easy targets. Some are so secure in their beliefs right or wrong they do not stand guard and can also be deceived. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11 “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” For us it is scripture. Paul goes on to say “13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” Scripture has much to say about the deception that is all around us but Paul even speaks of our time that many put up with it easily enough. For some reason many Christians think this only happened in scripture and not now or it will only happen in the future. We have been warned ahead of time to watch out. It is true there is much that is false in the church today. There are false prophets, teachers, evangelists, ministers, and apostles. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Sadly they will distort it just enough to make you think it is still scriptural, enough to get you to follow them. This distortion will lead you on a path that leads to death. (Read Proverbs 1-9)
                So how do you tell if something is counterfeit? It really is not that complicated but takes a commitment to know the word and to trust the spirit of truth. The opposite of truth is counterfeit. The word counterfeit means “made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud.” Sometimes the counterfeit is obvious and other times it takes a professional to tell the difference. Some people are trained in detecting the counterfeit. One person said, “Training in identifying counterfeit currency begins with studying genuine money.” The same can be applied to false teachers in the church. Yes sometimes it is just subtle discrepancies and other times it is flat out deception and untruth. Both are bad and both lead to the same place if we let them go. A little bit of bad leads to a lot of bad eventually. Over time it only takes being a little off course to miss the mark. 2 Timothy 2:17 “Their teaching will spread like gangrene.” Other times the teaching is so bad it can ruin people and churches with little chance of recovery if not stopped.
                            We need to be students of the word. This will save us much grief. The more we are into the word, the easier it is to see the counterfeit plus we have the spirit of truth to guide us in all truth. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” When we know the word and listen to the Spirit, we can discern truth. Solomon prayed for a discerning heart and it to was given to him. With God’s help you can be protected from being lead astray. The goal of the counterfeit gospel is to lead you astray.  Isaiah 3:12 “My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.” Jeremiah 23:32 “Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” This is not how it is suppose to be. Malachi 2 said, 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. It does not matter who is at the front, check scripture to see if the speak truth.
                Many will be swayed because they will not listen to the word of God and be corrected by it. I think we have all done this. You hear something and it sounds good at first, but then the more you dwell on it, it starts to bother you. Now you have a choice. You check scripture and you see whether what you just heard does or does not line up with scripture. If you are careful when you listen, you will hear things that are different from scripture. Let me give you an example. 2 Samuel 3 “David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!” 1 Kings 19:1 “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Notice God as compared to the gods. Another example is in Proverbs 9. In verse “3 (wisdom) she calls from the highest point of the city, 4“Let all who are simple come to my house!” Now look at folly “14 on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, 16“Let all who are simple come to my house!” 18But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” The true gospel and the counterfeit gospel will look very similar to those who do not search for truth.  I have found in my journey the enemy is very arrogant and will tell you their words are deceptive. They will give you clues. The person at the front will literally tell you what the problem is if you listen carefully.
                Don’t just listen and accept, check scripture yourself. Be very careful who you talk to as many will say they know scripture. The process now is to replace the deception with the truth. Make sure your hope is in the word of God. Don’t seek mans word about God, seek God’s word.  You need to correctly handle the sword so you don’t hurt yourself or others. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  Proverbs 7:1 “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” 5They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words. 24Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26Many are the victims she has  brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27Her house is a highway to the grave,
    leading down to the chambers of death.”