(Rick Becker – Famine in the Land) The Bible is replete with warnings about deception, warnings that go largely unheeded. Believers are not immune to deception and should be cognizant of the fact that the visible church is where wolves find their prey. The Apostle Paul recognized and warned about this threat: “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears” (Acts 20:29-31). Nowadays, it’s difficult to find a believer that has not been under the influence of some form of false doctrine. False teachers – or fierce wolves as Paul describes them are one of the sources of deception, but there are more. In this article, we’ll look at 3 sources of deception, and conclude with 3 safeguards against deception.
THREE SOURCES OF DECEPTION 1. SATAN Jesus described Satan as follows: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan was the first deceiver or seducer and used his cunning to deceive Eve. He caused Eve to question God’s word (and in doing so God’s character) and replaced the truth with a lie. Satan is called “the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), and regarding his activity within the church he is called an “angel of light” ( 2 Cor 11:14). The world is not a threat to Satan: “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” (2 Cor 4:4).
The church is a threat to Satan’s kingdom, and as a result, he wages war against those who have been delivered from his kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God. Satan does all he can to hinder the work of God: “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you – I, Paul, again and again – but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18).
Satan will do all he can to interfere in our lives through his subtle schemes: “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor 11:3).
Generally, two extremes within the visible church play into Satan’s hands. The first is a mocking and lackadaisical attitude towards our enemy, which allows him to employ his schemes and counterfeits. His task is made easier when his servants in the form of human seducers encourage their followers to pursue mystical experiences, unbiblical manifestations, and trust in new revelations “because if you worry about deception then your God is too small and your devil too big” or “you have more faith in the Devil than in God.” The second is an unhealthy obsession with his activities, culminating in a host of unbiblical teachings and methodologies. The burgeoning “deliverance ministries” and false spiritual warfare activities in the visible church are leading many into bondage – the very thing they purport to set people free from. Satan is not omnipresent and we’re unlikely to encounter him in the form of a serpent, but one-third of the angels who joined his rebellion against God are at his disposal. These fallen angels, or demons, carry out his evil schemes: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).
Rick Becker’s title is “Do Not Be Deceived”
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