The last time I wrote I said I would talk about the reason we as a church should be in great distress. The answer to that question is found in Matthew 24. I suggest you read Matthew 24, 25. Jesus was asked by his disciples, “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.” Today I want to focus on this first part of Jesus answer. He said: 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Then we go down to verse 23. “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” Part of the deception has to do with the Messiah. Remember the word became flesh. Anyone who denies the word by replacing it with their own words now claims to be the word of God. They put their own word above God’s word.
                I am not sure why but I think most Christians think this deception is something that is going to happen in another generation not theirs but it is happening now. Actually it has been happening all along. The only way to know the difference between a false gospel and the gospel of Jesus Christ is to have discernment. Remember Jesus warned don’t be deceived. Satan wants you to believe you are not being deceived. Revelation 12:9 (ESV) “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” According to this passage the only way to defeat him is through the blood of the lamb. “10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
                I believe where most people get confused and then deceived is they fail to stay in the word. They fail to check the word of God against what is being taught. It sounds right so it must be is very dangerous thinking. Just because a person has a great voice and presentation style does not mean it is true. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Our example here is the Bereans. Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” They were checking to see if what the Apostle Paul was saying was true. Remember not every person who claims to be an apostle is actually an apostle. 2 Corinthians 11 (Paul and the False Apostles) “1 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. 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.” This does not only apply to apostles but prophets and teachers. 2 Peter 2:1 [False Teachers and Their Destruction] “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.”
                Once you start looking into this you will be amazed at the extent of the deception going on in the church. This deceptive teaching will be very close to the truth. A counterfeit gospel will look similar but as we know counterfeit is not truth. 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.” Paul’s words could be applied to most of the church today. Galatians 1:6  “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” If you recall satan even had the audacity to try and deceive Jesus with his own words. He will also distort them and try to entice you. Jesus taught us to pray. Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Jesus responded with the truth of the word when satan used it against him.” There are men and women distorting scripture all the time. These false teachers will distort scripture to get their way. Preachers do this all the time. They will use a piece of scripture to promote their agenda even though the scripture used has been distorted. You can tell if it has been altered or taken out of context in such a way as it becomes totally different than its intended use and as seen in other passages.
                From my experience so far the charismatics seem to get all the blame for having false teachers, prophets and apostles. Yes they seem to have more of a grandiose agenda. The other side of the deception are the cessationists and those who lean in that direction, meaning they no longer believe Mark 16:17 is for today. “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” .They don’t even believe there are apostles and prophets any more let alone men preforming miracles signs and wonders. They come from a long line of people who have only a form of godliness but deny its power. (2 Timothy 3:5) Both deceptions are wrong. Two things are happening here in this area of deception. The first are all those who go to things like the Toronto Blessing and Brownsville revivals thinking God is pouring out His Spirit. They are hungry for God to work so they check their bibles at the door and say this is God instead of checking their bibles to see if it is God. A person recently came to our church looking for the same thing that had happened at Toronto. They enter a massive deception by looking for that. The second are those who go to conferences where man’s teachings are promoted totally void of the spirit. My question is which is worse a false revival where there are miracles signs and wonders or a conference where none of these are promoted at all and are actually taught against. Both are under delusion for not believing the truth of the word.
                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.
    Jeremiah 23:26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? This is happening on all across the board. Anytime someone says this is a word of the Lord we must check and test the spirits.
    Because people refuse to believe the truth and so be saved, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 “for this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.”
                The reason we must cry out for mercy is because we have fallen prey to deception in the church. Since the word of God has been set aside the enemy has been allowed to advance against us. We desperately need God to open our eyes and ears once again so they can be defeated. If you are in a church and there are so called supernatural events taking place, check the scriptures to see if they line up with anything Jesus did. Much of the supernatural looks nothing like power displayed by Jesus such as barking like dogs holy laughter, shaking etc. For example the man released from the legion of demons sat quietly at the feet of Jesus. Mark 5:15 “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” What you see in many cases are people gone wild, believing the Holy Spirit has come upon them but they have been greatly deceived. Another example is the phenomena of being slain in the spirit. This will involve people coming to the front and someone laying their hands on them and they fall backward under the power of a spirit. You will also see people teetering back and forth as if they cannot stand up. After being slain they get up unchanged, unhealed but rejoice in their carpet time as they call it. This is not the power of the Holy Spirit. This is definitely a sign showing you the power present is not of God. Wherever you see this God is not present. Falling backward is a sexual act of submission. First of all, when you pay homage to a king you bow. Samuel 14:22 “Joab fell with his face to the ground to pay him honour, and he blessed the king.” Joshua 5:14 “ as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence.” Even Dagon fell facedown. 1 Samuel 5:3 “When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place.” There is great deception in this area; do not submit to this spirit. Another area is speaking in tongues. When discerning other passages of scriptures pertaining to tongues, you must always go back to Pentecost for the true meaning. Acts 2:4 “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”             Blabbering is not speaking in tongues. Read carefully 1 Corinthians 14 and you will see what I mean. Another reason is they say that speaking in tongues is a sign that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit but yet there is no power. There is great deception in this area. There is purpose in this if it is real. People will hear in the own language. There is very little of this happening in North America. Finally one of the great deceptions in the church today is attending church itself. Many Christians think attending church is what it means to be a Christian. This is wrong. Communion Sunday is not a dinner and a show. The quote I have used so often says they come for the show but refuse to grow. Christianity is who you are as you are the church. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” we are part of the body of Christ.
                We have been warned by the word of God to be careful. In our day many Christians have been deceived by false teaching and preaching. As a word of caution an easy way to tell is when you hear something outside of scripture. This will be a doctrine or some theology that adds or subtracts scripture. This is happening everywhere. We know this is the end times and even if Jesus does not return in our lifetime our lifetime is all we have. Once you die you do not have a second chance. 2 Timothy 3 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” This is already happening. So I finish with Peter’s exhortation. 2 Peter 3:17 “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. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
                If you have been caught up in this false teaching and preaching get out, make a change. It is as bad as being in a cult. We are warned by Paul 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
                2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruit to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” Hold fast to the truth. These are not idle words but they are your life as Moses said. Deuteronomy 32:47 “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”