This article deals with the dangers of deception which Jesus warned was the primary sign prior to His Return…
Now as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:3-4
No genuine Christian has the luxury of taking this subject lightly. How a person spends this life and where they’ll spend eternity depends on being discerning at the end of the age. We’ve got to learn to discern because “discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong but right and almost right.” – Charles Spurgeon
Satan is a master at deceiving people, especially in obfuscating the beautiful and simple message of the gospel. “But I fear that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve through his trickery, so your minds might be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
You Must Be Born Again
Jesus told a very religious and moral theologian… “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Many sincere people believe that being baptized, going to church, doing good deeds and following all the rules are what enables a person to earn a spot in heaven.
The Bible does not teach this but instead, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast.”
Millions of sincere religious people believe the deception. Martin Luther ignited the Reformation in 1517 addressing this error of “salvation by works” and tragically this deception continues to this day.
Scripture teaches that people are saved when they do as God commands (Acts 17:30) and genuinely repent of their sin, put their faith totally in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross, confess Him as Lord and Savior risen from the dead and receive the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:22-23). We are not saved by what we’ve done but by what Jesus did on the Cross that was sufficient for the sins of all mankind.
A person’s eternal destiny is at stake here so this deception has to be addressed. If I had not humbled myself, repented and trusted Christ alone and His sacrificial, substitutionary death, I would, as the Bible teaches, tragically end up in Hell.
Examples of Deception
An NFL superstar in a recent interview shared about his wonderful Christian experience as a young man, mission trips and commitment to Christ. Then he pivoted to say he now sees “religion as a crutch;” and that he does not believe in people being saved or unsaved or heaven and hell; and he likes the Dalai Lama. This is sad and scary.
A young teenage girl, passionate for Jesus, sang before each invitation at the Brownsville Revival as scores streamed forward to get right with God. Last week she posted a statement expressing her turning away from Christianity to some newfound spiritual experience. Multitudes across America were shocked. Sad and scary.
Waiting to pick up my order of Thai food last week I engaged with a mother sitting at the counter with her 10-year-old daughter. She brimmed with enthusiasm for her daughter’s project at school showing me artwork depicting some fantasy land where there is no religion because all of us need “the inner light within and the positive focus of connecting with cosmic consciousness.” Before leaving, I gave her my personal testimony and prayed with her. Sad and scary.
Last Days Deception
Deception is rampant today and our only hope is a Third Great Awakening ignited by humble intercession, national repentance and courageous truth tellers who can discern deception and counter the lies.
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell, 1984
The Bible warns us to be prepared…
- Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies… 1 Timothy 4:1-2
- Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (Greek. “apostacy”) comes first… 2 Thessalonians 2:3
- For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. II Timothy 4:3-4
- If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth…
I Timothy 6:3-5
Be careful on the Internet.
4 Practical Precautions
- Stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth… John 16:13
- Stay in a biblically grounded church with leaders of strong character: …we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting… Ephesians 4:14
- Stay humble and teachable. Invite input and correction: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6 C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
- Stay in Scripture: Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. I Timothy 4:16
Years ago, I had a “divine appointment” with Billy Graham. At the end of our brief conversation, I’ll never forget what he told me as he pointed to his Bible, “Stay in the Book. Stay in the Book.”
Clap Your Hands is Larry Tomczak’s FREE Audio Book. Enjoy and pass it along.
More articles by Larry Tomczak…
- 7 Suggestions for Delightful Gatherings
- Rediscovering 15 Rewards of Fasting
- The Post Pandemic Church
- Last Days Deception
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator with over 50 years in vocational ministry, an Intercessors for America board member, bestselling author of 10 books including the quarter-million-selling “Clap Your Hands!” (now a free audiobook on his site) and a public policy adviser with Liberty Counsel. His innovative video/book, “BULLSEYE,” develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com), and he has a variety of resources on his website (see www.larrytomczak.com).
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