Do not be deceived, hardened or seduced out of the light is a warning not to unbelievers but to believers. And it can be found from the beginning of the bible to the end. If it were not possible to be deceived as Christians, it wouldn’t be in the bible. A warning is always given because what is being warned about has the possibility of it happening or being prevented otherwise the warning is useless and a waste of time.
God does not waste time neither does He waste words or speak useless words. Hence, in warning His beloved children to avoid being shipwrecked or hardened by the deceitfulness of the Antichrist (sin or the man of sin), He has given us the history of the devil and how his awful end will be in order to deter us from yielding to him (sin) Hebrews 3:13, James 4:7. He has given us the names of those who were deceived and got shipwrecked. It is clearly written in the bible starting from Adam and Eve to the five foolish virgins as well as those who escaped being deceived ranging from Abraham to the five wise virgins. So, the two are possibilities.
The Antichrist is at work walking to and fro the whole earth seeking to perfect his dual function of blinding and shipwrecking. The devil is happy for us to be ignorant of this! However, it is more important not to lose sight of the truth that, God’s eyes runs through the earth drawing and keeping those whose hearts and minds are stayed on Christ by grace, faith and patience John 6:44, 65, Titus 2:11, Revelation 3:10.
When we are ignorant of the antichrist’s scheme, we become slothful in making disciples of all men Matthew 28:19. It becomes meaningless to us and at the same time, we increasingly grow wise in our own eyes, careless and disrespectful of God while falling back on “we are the children of Abraham” (we’re born again) and God understands Proverbs 14:16. So, whether God likes it or not, He is at our mercy because we have once received His Son. The Antichrist loves for many of us to hold tightly to this kind of delusion Revelation 3:15-22.
Because it is possible for one’s faith to be shipwrecked, Paul wrote that the devil made ‘shipwreck of the faith of some’ 1 Timothy 5:15, 1 Timothy 1:19. The Holy Spirit brought a word from Christ to Peter to remind the saints that faith in Him has an end which is, the salvation of our souls John 16:13, I Peter 1:9.
No one who has looked away from God, turned away from Christ, disregarded and or blasphemed the Holy Spirit has survived the antichrist’s power. Jesus said, “The devil is a strong man”—that is, a strong blinder as prince of the power of the air and as the father of lies or deceiver who wrecks the faith of saints that look away from Christ. Adam and Eve looked away and could not stand to walk with a gracious Father. Hiding became preferable to them.
Because the only Person who can stop the Antichrist in his tracks is Christ, Paul wrote to warn the Corinthian Church with whom he had spent considerable time in fellowship thus, ‘guard your soft, sincere or pure mind’ 2 Corinthians 11:3, Proverbs 4:23, Philippians 4:8-9, 6. This means, fight to retain your heart of love, faith and hope Jude 1:3. All who are in Christ are bestowed with this gift of a sprinkled mind (a mind amiable to the discipline of the Lord).
With the gift of love, faith and hope (sprinkled mind), no one can be admitted into hell. Therefore, the antichrist’s resources are hugely invested towards luring you away from this precious gift but he can’t unless you submit to him. This is why he lays seduction before our eyes and flesh and sets pride in front of our hearts. In the same manner, God lays before us His precious promises that we may rather choose to continue submitting to His Son, the Way (Christ) 2 Peter 1:4.
Therefore, our response to the Lord’s discipline should be positive not negative. What is being said here? Clearly, we can accept or endure (submit) to God. Or refuse—that is, treat His discipline lightly and continue in our own ways (our old dead self or un-renewed mind) by which the Antichrist lived his life through us in time past. If we refuse to endure God’s discipline (it is possible because we’re not conscripts but beloved children), we put ourselves in harm’s way 1 Peter 2:11. God has warned that, “all who set their minds on the flesh (enmity against God) will not inherit His Kingdom” Romans 8: 7, Galatians 5:19-21. Therefore, God’s discipline is intended for us to participate or share in His holiness Hebrews 12:5-10, 1 John 1:6, 1 Corinthians 11:32.
So, the Antichrist will keep offering us his own gift of unbelief, hard heart and wickedness to replace the heart of faith, love and hope Christ has offered us—which we willingly and gladly accepted or received. The reason the Antichrist offers his own gift is because, without we receiving it, he can’t live his lifestyle through us nor will we be admitted into his awful abode, hell. To this end, Christ’s dimensions— apostles, prophets, teachers, shepherds, evangelists and all His gifts to the saints have been blowing the trumpet saying to the world, “repent (accept or receive Christ into your lives) and to the gathering of His people (Church) “endure, remain, abide, persevere and keep looking unto Christ to the end by the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Don’t now leave the relationship you have with Christ and turn to the Antichrist through religion no matter what name is attached to it.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
The Antichrist will not come through any other religion other than the “Christian religion”. While, it may be painful and provoking, it is true. It’s not a ridiculous statement. The angel known as the Antichrist or Satan was initially an angel of light. Selah!
By his evil example of rebelling against God, Satan succeeded in derailing some angels. He was one of them—it’s not like he came from nowhere and just made them choose to fall with him. Interestingly, some chose to remain with God. The fact that the angels were clothed with immortality meant they couldn’t ever repent. Thankful to our loving, omniscience and gracious eternal Father, man (Adam and Eve) were not clothed with immortality when Eve was deceived and both of them sinned.
Now, Christ did not come down to earth as Jesus to establish His religion. He is not interested in man searching for Him no, not at all. He came that He may dwell in man and man in Him referenced as Christians (disciples or followers of Christ’s life) John 14:20, Acts 11:26. God wants His tabernacle to be with men on earth as He originally intended.
But, the Antichrist has quickly set up “religion and attached the word Christian to it” to counter God’s intent. “Christian religion” is a counterfeit of “the way” —that is, Christ’s relationship or operation in mortal men. “You will seek Me and find Me…Jeremiah 29:13” simply means to accept Him in the heart and not, crisis crossing the world searching for the God who is Omnipresent.
The Antichrist does not come to deceive (blind) just the world; if that is his only task, his work is easy and done because the whole world is already blinded. But there is a body of people in the world that is not of the world—that is, the Church (those in Christ Jesus). He also wants to deceive them—this is the hard task he has. It is the main reason he masquerades as an angel of light through his set up (Christian religion and others).
The world does not love light. The people interested in the light or the way is God’s children. For him to deceive the world, he does not need to masquerade.
Dual function of the Antichrist
Blinding: So, his first function is to keep those outside Christ in their blindness since man is born blind into the world. This is meant to stop them from seeing and accepting Jesus Christ who laid down His life for mankind’s redemption 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 2:2. Hardly, any Christian denies the devil is still carrying out this duty and truth be told, he is succeeding largely, which accounts for why many are still on the broad or blind way.
Shipwrecking: His second function is what Christians are in denial of. And it is not too hard to figure out why. While through blinding he keeps those who have not received Christ from doing so, he uses blinding to shipwreck the faith of those who have once accepted Jesus Christ 2 Peter 1:9-11. Frankly, it’s regrettable and painful many of us Christians are in denial that the Antichrist is active and sadly also succeeding in this. The denial only serves to accentuate the falling away (turning to the broad or fake way). Zion Awake!
Because God gives His children light they are able to love the light Psalm 119:105. Therefore, on one hand, believers are exhorted to continue to love the light and on the other hand are admonished thus, “if you be in the light (love the light), walk in the light”. Jesus said it in many different ways, “abide in me”, and ‘if you love me (light) obey my commands—not ten commandments on a tablet of stone.
Close to the admonition to believers to ‘abide in Christ, to continue to love and walk in the light’ is, “Do not be deceived”. Meaning, don’t look back or down having put your hands on the plow. Rather, keep looking up where Christ Jesus is seated as our High Priest Hebrews 12:2, 6:20. Remember Adam and Eve, Lots wife, Demas, Judas and the strayed widows who failed because they stooped looking — abiding or obeying Christ 1 Corinthians 10:11. They stopped living by faith and drew back forgetting that God’s righteousness runs its full course—from faith to faith Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38.
Hence, we need to be watchful and careful as we remember those who in the last few centuries, recent decades and now, went/have gone from believing in the resurrection to being Sadducees, from believing in life after death to annihilation, from believing in marriage between man and woman, to man and man, or woman and woman.
Also, from believing that God’s grace persuades and enables His people to live godly and righteously in this present world by faith, to believing that His blood and gracewaits on us hand and foot to ensure that as we continue in sin God remains handicapped to spit us out of His mouth.
Furthermore, from believing there is hell to believing in ultimate reconciliation or universalism and from believing in Acts 4:11-12, to subtle inclusivism.
The devil never gives up easily in his effort to derail saints and to keep those outside Christ from ever getting to receive Him. He will use any means possible. He is desperate if we care to know—that is, if we still believe that there is a Satan at all.
While in the past, he used the usual kind of hypocrites (those who are hard on others but soft on themselves); he has long included a special kind of hypocrites.
These special kinds of hypocrites are increasing by their numbers in this generation like never before. Special kinds of hypocrites! What is that?
Now, we have those who are in Christ (especially preachers) who will not touch or go near sin under any heading— they love Jesus, fear God and rely on the Holy Spirit to live their lives. They don’t kid with praying fervently, don’t just read the bible but study it deeply, pursue love with their hearts because they fear God and understand that everyone without exception will reap what he or she sows Galatians 6:7, Revelation 14:13. So, they are quite aware that God’s justice cannot be bribed by a cover up with “born again” façade Matt 7:21, John 4:34.
But, in spite of all the wonderful virtues they have as listed above, when it comes to their work (serving the church) and reaching the world with their ministry and spiritual gifts, they become smart with God because they want followership. They want to be reckoned with in the religious world. They want to be identified with a prestigious camp (theological niche). Therefore, they teach tactically the devil’s lies about Christ’s doctrines (watered down) in such a way that they themselves don’t secretly believe and live as they prescribe for others to. They live their lives better in accordance to Christ’s true doctrine for His honor and their safety but tell others to believe and live less by the watered down doctrines of devils. No Christian is above being tempted in this matter.
Is, preachers who teach others that they should worship God based on their love for God, faith, His grace etc but cleverly exclude the fearof God in the list Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 16:6. They unlike the usual hypocrites are hard on themselves and soft on others mainly for the sake of followership. Meanwhile, these are preachers who are prepared to lose everything they own including their own lives and (actually have been tested as such), and in those times of their trials and temptation, the very thing that crystallized their love and faith in God and His grace they found is their fearof God’s wrath.
The Fear of God
While faithful and victorious Christians in every generation knew/knows that love for God is a main pillar for persevering by faith and the grace of God, none denies, none should deny the truth that their literal fearof God’s wrath was/is also, a crystallizer during the times of their severe trials and temptations Matthew 10:28.
This matter is not to be overemphasized. We just need to mediate over the subject and let the Holy Spirit converse and teach us what to believe and how to live.
To have faith and love towards God and grace is wonderful but, minus fear of God, we are prone to worship and persevere during our times of trials and temptations in our own ways and not His. This is why many times, we as Christians give blanket testimonies—we can’t state the nitty gritty of how God delivered us from our trials and temptations because we cut corners.
The words of R C Sproul hits the mark in this regards, “God absolutely requires that He be…worshipped in a way that He commands, not according to the way we prefer”.
Cajoling people into our churches with watered down doctrines and slick testimonies have hardly been helpful.
Our command is to tell of the gospel (testify of the person of Christ) to the lost, those enslaved by Satan and their own desires. If they believe as His Father draws them, they will be saved, cleansed, infused with incremental grace, and exposed increasingly to the depth, height, width and length of the visions of Christ as savior, Lord, prince of peace, provider and eternal Father. These activities of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart, overshadows his or her soul and bears out of their body the fruit of the Spirit not our own righteousness. This leading of His Spirit in and about the believer and the Church, is our safety against deceiving spirits in these last days as it has been from the start of the church of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Let those who have the Treasure in their earthen vessel indeed, look closely to themselves, examining their doctrine and walk carefully with all manners of prayers and in regular fellowship with other believers 2 Corinthians 4:7, 1 Timothy 4:16NLT, Hebrews 10:25, Colossians 3:16.
To fear God without loving, reverencing, praising, giving thanks and proclaiming His Son Jesus Christ unashamedly amounts to nothing 2 Kings 17:33, Exodus 1:17, 21.
As we hold faith towards God, love, reverence, serve and fearHim, May His grace, peace and joy abide with us all!
In the first post on mentor and protégé, I identified that, when we seek to advance our entire life (spiritual and temporal) we come face to face with our creator—Christ Jesus. As said also in the previous post, it will be the reverse of wisdom to become a man’s protégé or disciple rather than Christ’s.
Importance of the Church
God who is Omniscient has placed His gifts we need to fulfill our destiny in His Body. He is the Alpha and Omega! He pilots us through His ways to prevent our fleshly ambitions dressed up in spiritual facade from leading us to destruction—that is, away from destiny.
Like He often instructed Israel not to adopt the styles, models, aspirations and goals of the other nations, so does the Holy Spirit instruct us individually and as the Church today.
Therefore, if we plant our feet in the shadow of His wings in His household (gathering together of believers) we will certainly drink from His stream of rejoicing (Psalms 36:7-8). Given, that the functioning of the gifts (not mentors) He has set in His household will constantly calibrate us to His ways that places the temporal (marriage, children, degrees, cars, houses, popularity, writing books, own businesses etc.) at our disposal without jeopardizing our destiny.
In 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul tells Timothy, “Take hold of eternal life to which you were called”—That is destiny! All who are in Christ are already in their destiny. The works Christ does through us is the fight of faith or the following of God’s ways that ensures we stay on course of our destiny. But, the devil is standing by to readily fool us that our ambitions are the same as our destiny. Our lack of understanding of the difference between destiny and ambitions is evident when we say, (so and so Christian’s life was cut short of achieving their destiny e.g. Stephen in Acts 7:59).
A Christian’s destiny can’t be cut short by those who can kill only the body and not able to touch the soul Matthew 10:28. At best, they have only hastened the Christian’s destiny. In Philippians 1:23, Paul says, going to Christ is better. But, if it is to stay, it’s for serving the saints for their progress and joy in the faith (verse 24-25). In verse 26, the saints can see Paul’s lifestyle and be encouraged. What lifestyle was to be seen in Paul? Verse 27, A life worthy of the gospel of Christ to be constant in them not playing eye service for Paul to promote them. But for them to be bond by one spirit and having one mind (the spirit and mind of Christ) to the work of His gospel and verse 28, as they oppose the enemies of the gospel and not fight themselves. This standing fearlessly together in the gospel against the emenies is a sign for their destruction but, salvation for the saints. This is God’s kind of salvation in the saints, it is evidenced by boldness in the gospel not compromise.
God alone holds our destiny and it is eternal.
The temporal things we want are our ambitions which are dispensable and must remain secondary—including seeking to establish grand godly things for which we will be remembered and counted among God’s generals which does not exist except in our little competitive minds. The pressure of seeking to institute grand things, whether we admit it or not is a huge part of the reason we’ve adopted secular model of mentor and protégé. We simply need to repent and trust the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truths and blessings.
But, if we insist on mixing our theologies with management courses rooted in ESP, unity of the faith in the bond of peace will remain a mirage though, union will blossom—blossoming to hell except we repent turning again to Christ (the faith) and to Him alone who is the Mentor of the Church.
As the church wakes up to the Truth—to Christ, the following results will be inevitable:
* Many of God’s people will have a healthy desire to be intimate with God and serve others; not full of ambition to be servant-leaders (a cunning word) not found in the bible Romans 8:14. A servant is not a leader, teacher, a guide or mentor and a mentor is not a servant but a leader, guide, teacher or master.
To systematically hype up an individual in the gathering of the church because he or she is giving false allegiance behind closed doors to gurus in Christendom is a shame. Yes they will climb in servant-leadership but, let’s hear this: the tactics by which man has elevated you will be the same way by which man will easily destroy you if the union goes pear shaped. So, to prevent this demise, you have to keep the false allegiance to man going. Under this condition, Christ can speak to you the much He like; you’ll not obey Him at the expense of your elevated position in man’s sight. Saleh!
To the Body of Christ (those in Christ and Christ in them) hear this: Jesus clearly said He alone is the Master—that is, Lord and the teacher or Mentor John 13:13-17. Note also in Matthew 10:25—He depicts all his disciples as students and servants, not teachers and masters. Not servant-leaders. Servant-leader is a sanctimonious rebranding of the word “clergy” whom God’s people have come to recognize does not exist among those in Christ by understanding 1 Peter 2:9.
Are you led by the spirit of Christ or your “servant-leaders”? Be honest with yourself for it is your own life and destiny being examined here.
* With the servant-leadership crap scrapped, the inevitable importance of the Church on earth will once again come to our forefront. Then, many that are driven by the “leadership rat race” and those giving false allegiance at the expense of their consciences in order to be recognized and promoted to leadership will leave the body of Christ alone. They will go to pursue their leadership thing in the circular workplace or in politics. Or, they’ll repent which is our earnest prayer for our brothers and sisters taken in by the spirit of pre-eminence or leadership.
It is J.R. Woodward who said, “The problem is that when we enter the rat race, we often become rats in the process. Will we fear God and learn from this wise word?
The Church in helping us understand the difference between destiny and ambition will help make us…
*Take God’s word seriously and searching it constantly for the right reasons
*Go consistently to the throne of mercy and grace to obtain grace for the right reasons
*Appreciate the fellowship of believers increasingly for the right reasons
*Submit to one another for the right reason (out of reverence for God)
The benefits will not be theoretical—actual growth in Christ will happen and evidenced by strong unity in the Faith in the bond of peace not union of faiths which is just mutual beneficial friendship and fake peace.
For everyone to believe what they like and practice what they like works against God’s redemptive purpose. It creates religious harmony but not unity of the faith for which Christ specifically gave five dimensions of himself as a gift to some parts in His body Ephesians 4:11.
Every time the church loses sight of the importance of the unity of the faith, we become loud mouthed about how much we have increased in goods and or, the number of people trailing behind us as our own followership. Little wonder we adopt any model available to succeed in our ambitions. This is why we’ve incorporated mentor and protégé approach against what we see clearly in the scriptures.
By the way, the scripture never uses the word growth to describe the church when God joins people to her. The word always used is added. Growth is used to describe the church’s increase in the stature of Christ (loving one another, honoring one another, holy inside and outside the cup, preaching His gospel, perseverance, patience, long suffering, faith, forgiving, praying, no laziness—for short, obedience to the faith Acts 6:7.
But, in lusting to be “successful and recognized”, unavoidably we have muddled up things.
Give thought to Jesus the Mentor—He is the destiny to be taken hold of and to never let go! Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need Matthew 6:33NLT.
This excerpt from “Beauty for Ashes Part 5” is written by George H. Warnock–a beloved brother in Christ. Exposing how self centeredness led to wrong expression of emotions which eventually led the children of God to idolatry (worship of things and the enemy of their God and their souls). This holds a lesson for us today, as we seek a simple and truthful walk with God.
Quail Instead of Manna
The people of God were on their way to Canaan. Even in their much murmuring and complaining God had been faithfully making every provision for them: manna from heaven that provided absolutely every nutrient that they needed for physical health and strength. Water out of the Rock… pure and fresh, and so mingled with the life of God that it was called “spiritual drink”. The Cloud of His presence overshadowed them by day and by night. Briefly stated, Moses declared:
“Thou hast lacked nothing”. But they got tired of it all. The vision of Canaan became something far-out and strange. This precious food God gave them became something they loathed. It didn’t satisfy their fleshly appetites anymore. It didn’t seem to fill them up. (We have dealt with all this at some length in the writing “Beauty For Ashes Part II – A Way Through The Wilderness“).
They complained to Moses, and Moses told God about it… and God said “I will send them flesh to satisfy the lusts of their hearts… I will send so much of it they will not know how to handle it”. What a strong warning to us in this day! If we forsake the vision of those “far-out” fruits of Canaan land, and continue crying out for temporal blessings… God might listen to our cries! God sent them so much fleshly blessing it seemed to fall like rain from the sky,–but it was a blessing that became a curse. The prophet Malachi said, “If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart… I will curse your blessings” (Mal. 2:2).
Even while God was blessing them and answering their prayers, they were “sinning against Him” “provoking Him”… “Tempting Him”… “Speaking against Him”… “Limiting Him”. (See Psa. 78). I know God is blessing His people today in copious showers everywhere. But in many cases there are resentments and murmurings against God and man, hard-feelings, unforgiving attitudes of the heart. And perhaps most of this stems from lack of vision for the true riches. The deeper life that comes in abiding union with Christ is set at naught for the enjoyment of temporary blessings that soon wither away.
In the morning God “rained” manna on them from heaven. And at eventide He “rained” flesh on them by an east wind, (In the scriptures the “east wind” speaks of blight, and drought, and judgment). And while He was answering their prayer His anger was kindled against them.
He “opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them… He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls as the sand of the sea” (Psa. 78:21-27). It wasn’t something the Devil sent. God sent it… because they insisted they were starving to death with that loathsome manna. Actually they were never so healthy in their lives. There was not one “feeble one among them” as they walked with God, and partook of His provision with thankful hearts. The leanness they thought they had, kept them in good health and strength. They thought they were too “lean” by eating the manna; but when they ate the quail, God “sent leanness into their soul” (Psa. 106:15).
Notice this very awesome fact: While they were chewing on the food that God sent them, “The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them” (Psa. 78:31).
Now if all this sounds strange and perplexing it is because we do not understand Gods righteous judgments. We can see an enactment of this same story right in our midst today. Once again in the midst of the Church we have “a mixed multitude” who have “mixed desires” (See Num. 11:4). We better seek the Lord earnestly that He would purge from our hearts every desire that is not from Him. Because if we want God, but want carnal blessings along with it,–God may send the manna in the morning, and the quail in the evening. “Purge our hearts, Lord, from evil desire, that we might delight ourselves only in Thee.”
What did Moses the prophet of God mean by telling His people that they have “lacked nothing”!? Was He lying? Because, the people were still in the wilderness not in a posh neighborhood, didn’t have houses, their children were not in schools that will guarantee their earthly futures, didn’t own chariots (admirable cars), the girls available for the boys to marry and vice versa didn’t have bright future, their husbands and wives were not doing so well like those of other nations etc. These are the things that had the highest priority in their hearts and not having them, created excessive bother to them, made them hurt, sad, sorrowful, bitter and jealous and then, rebellious against God’s servants, murmur, and eventually lead them to idolatry.
If the same lust for things hidden in their hearts is in our own hearts, in the time of exposing what is in the heart (time of testing) why would we think it wouldn’t lead us to end the same way they ended except for the few who knew what the faith was really meant for. Which is, to worship, edify His people and teach pagans to accept the God of Israel and stop crisis crossing the earth for cucumber which lasts only for a season!
If we have Christ indeed, we lack nothing! All the blessings God can give to us to prove He loves us and that we belong to Him is Christ in our spirit and soul. Christians who realize this truth enjoy this present life while it lasts through every circumstance (rich or poor not withstanding). If you’re a minister of the gospel, don’t let the graveyard preach this truth more than you do! For it will be a shame to you! Selah!