Yesterday we looked at the verse 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” First of all know that the counterfeit gospel comes because of unbelief. They refuse to love the truth.
                I think we are all familiar with counterfeit money. The word counterfeit means “a copy that is represented as the original.” For example you cannot have a counterfeit 50-dollar bill without a real one to counterfeit. The Bank of Canada offers this tip of which I believe applies to detecting the counterfeit gospel also. They said about “Counterfeit Prevention” that we need to “Know Your Notes. “Security features are helpful only if you use them. To fight counterfeiting, the Bank offers free training materials to help the public, businesses, and police agencies use the security features in genuine bank notes. If you know your notes, you’ll be able to detect a counterfeit at a glance and protect yourself from fraud.” The same applies to knowing your bible. If you know your bible you will know fraud when you see it. Obviously if you are unaware of all the security measures in the bible concerning false gospels, teachers, preachers, apostles, evangelists and prophets you will not know you are being deceived.
                I want to add this to the conversation we had the other day about “It Must be Demonic.” Many people think that signs and wonders are of the devil. This is truth and pure foolishness at the same time. Yes satan does imitate and we must be careful but you will be able to tell because it will not line up with scripture. Many Christians over the years have totally excluded any possibility of signs and wonders happening because they think they are of satan. This is the foolish part. This thinking is similar to this verse. Colossians 2:23 “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” By denying anything that is supernatural, they have denied the power of the Holy Spirit and live with a form of godliness. 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” They are so afraid of satan that they refuse to believe that signs and wonders from God are the original and available to us today. These false displays of power are designed to deceive Christians into thinking the power of the Holy Spirit is present when in fact it is satan. They then follow satan and are deceived all the while thinking they are following God. Having said that we must be very careful to test the spirits to make sure this is of God or is this simply a masquerade. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “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. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
                When it comes to the false gospel and displays of power, most often you will know right away but often times the deception is so close to the original you must be very careful in your discernment. I have found the enemy is so arrogant it will usually tell you what the problem is if you are patient. Now remember the deception is in non-charismatic circles also. satan has already convinced them God does not do that anymore so he wins. In the charismatic circles and especially the extreme charismatics you will see some wild things said and done in the name of the Lord and you will know at a glance. Here is an example of really easy to tell. I watched this video where “Jenn Johnson of Bethel Redding (connected to Toronto Blessing) views the Holy Spirit “like the genie from Aladdin. And He’s blue. And He’s funny. And He’s sneaky.” Bethel Redding is known for many things, but reverence is not at the top of the list. Jenn Johnson, the daughter-in-law of Bill Johnson, also calls the Holy Spirit wonderful, courageous, silly, and says “He’s just fun.”
                WOW! Now deception is not always as easy as this to spot but it gets easier the more you know your bible and by listening to the Spirit’s voice. Another is being slain in the spirit backwards (not the spirit of God by the way). This is a deception that has deceived many into thinking the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them except all that happened was they had some carpet time as they call it. This does not indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit. What this does do is it deceives two groups of people at the same time. The ones being slain and the ones who want nothing to do with any type of supernatural. They say if you open yourself up to the supernatural this is what you will get. No if you seek God you will get the power of God and discernment. Yes you should be very leery with these types of displays but don’t get rid of anything miraculous because you think it is all demonic. Make sure it lines up with scripture. This is another easy one as nowhere in scripture does it talk about this. What it does talk about is falling before God facedown. Ezekiel 44:4 “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the temple of the Lord, and I fell facedown. There is so much we could talk about from healings, visions, prophecy, teaching but scripture must be our guide. Jeremiah 29:8 “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.” Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Jeremiah 14:14 “Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Matthew 24:11 “and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” This is all happening but what is not happening is a true move of the Holy Spirit, so we continue to wait to be clothed with His power.
                So by using this information from the Bank of Canada on counterfeiting, we will be focusing of the real and not on the counterfeit. We could spend time talking about the fake but we are going to talk about the real instead. Jesus warned us to be careful. I have to say that satan was masterful in his deception, which is why he is the great deceiver. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” In the deception of these last days he has deceived multitudes of people by the millions at the same time. He deceived many by false revivals that appear to have power like Brownsville and the Toronto Blessing but at the same time he has deceived those who do not believe there is power available for today so both sides continue to perpetuate these false gospels. 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.”