How will a person know if they are deceived?
If the only things they hear, read or see agree with their deception; if the only influence on their thinking, reasoning or opinion supports their belief system, how will they discover the deception?
If the only information permitted reinforces the misconception, how will they know that what they believing is a lie?
Following the death of Joshua, the elders of Israel continued to lead the nation in serving the Lord. They remembered the teaching of Moses. They had seen the mighty hand of God bring them victory over enemies who were greater and stronger than them. They beheld the amazing miracles God performed on their behalf.
The next generation after the elders had not heard the teaching of Moses.
Whether their parents did not pass on the family faith or the Levites and priests failed to accurately teach and preach the Word, that generation of the children of Israel did not know the Word of the Lord.
They did not see the mighty working of God. The spiritual leaders failed to nurture and cultivate the living presence of God.
Jehovah became a mythical being.
In their spiritual blindness and lack of knowledge of the Word of the Lord, they began to develop their own truth. "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The results were disastrous!
"The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. They abandoned the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed after other gods, the gods of the peoples around them. They worshipped them and provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of those who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they were no longer able to stand against their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them to bring disaster, as the Lord had said and as He had sworn to them. They were in great distress" (Judg. 2:11-15).
One of the great tragedies being played out during the days of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry is recorded in Matthew 23:13. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven against men. For you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who are entering to go in."
The scribes and Pharisees had the Word of God at their fingertips. They lived and breathed the Holy Scripture. Many of them could quote the entire Old Testament.
However, they did not have it in their hearts and spirits.
They did not allow the Word of God to judge their motives and their thinking or measure the accuracy of their moral behavior. They rewrote the Word of God in a myriad of commentaries and sacred writings, giving their own interpretation and distorting the Scriptures to justify their desires and behaviors.
Jesus confronted them with the truth.
They had closed the kingdom of God to the people, yet they were not going into the kingdom either. The truth of the Scribes and Pharisees misled the men and women of that generation into believing deception was truth.
When the living Word of God walked into their presence and taught them truth, the Scribes and Pharisees called Him a liar and a deceiver.
The apostle Paul described the extreme danger facing believers in the city of Rome.
Truth was being suppressed; even the miraculous ways in which God had revealed Himself in creation and nature were being distorted so that generation would believe the lie.
The wisdom of natural man and humanistic philosophy were exalted above the truth of God's Word. Refusing to retain God in their education, philosophy and knowledge truth was being rewritten denying the very existence of God and moral values were determined by individual feelings and desires.
This led to reprobate minds, moral depravity and the acceptance of homosexuality.
The apostle Paul wrote about an even greater danger coming in the last days.
He said it will be a time when men and women will love themselves more than they love God. Mankind will be lawless and undisciplined.
Deception in the Last Days
They will want pastors and preachers who tell them what they want to hear.
They will get angry when the truth is proclaimed.
They will harden their hearts and choose to believe the lie because they do not receive the love of the truth.
God's Word never fails. It is consistently the certain truth. "Forever, O Lord, Your word is established in heaven. Your faithfulness is for all generations; You have established the earth, and it is firm" (Ps. 119:89-90). "Do not err, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures" (James 1:16-18).
Because God's Word is the one certain measurement that has no variation, it alone is the plumb line for measuring the accuracy of truth.
When my truth is out of alignment with the Word of the Living God, who is wrong?
It is our responsibility to bring every thought captive and into obedience to Jesus Christ. Our reasoning, opinions, philosophy, ideology and thought patterns must be measured against the infallible inerrant Word of God.
When your belief system is out of alignment with His truth, you must come into obedience to Him. No human being is given the privilege of having their own brand of the truth. "No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation," the apostle Peter wrote.
There is only one truth—God's Holy Word!
Where does one turn when the truth of God is being suppressed and the lie is being declared truth?
What does one do when the messengers of God's Word are rewriting the truth to fit culture and to please the desires of the flesh?
1. You must fall in love with the Truth.
If you do not love to read the Bible every day, if you do not look forward to spending time digging in the Word, then you need to set aside some meals and spend extra time praying and waiting on God.
Ask Him to melt your hardened heart and give you a love for the Truth.
Continue setting aside days for fasting and prayer until your heart does melt and you do fall in love with the Word of God.
While you are spending time in the Word, humble yourself to God and allow His Word to judge the thoughts, motives and passions of your heart.
It is not just falling in love with reading the truth of God's Word. It is also allowing the principles, precepts and commands of God to truly judge your heart.
2. You must love the correction of God's Word, adjusting your life as much as you love reading God's Word.
The church of the 21st century is in great danger.
Major Christian periodicals are using full page ads that encourage pastors to host seminars for training their congregations in the belief God used evolution to create the world and mankind. Evolution was born in the hearts and minds of atheists.
Richard Dawkins, the most visible and well-known atheist in the world, rejoices when believers renounce biblical creation and embrace evolution.
He is quoted as saying, "My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism."
Why is the church mixing the truth of God's Word with an atheistic concept? Why are we distorting the minds of young people and their parents by replacing truth with a lie?
We have a generation of young people who are not certain if it is a sin to be homosexual or a lesbian because the lines are being blurred between truth and deception.
Christian universities are now teaching gender dysphoria as a disability in their psychology classes.
Christian leaders and Christian periodicals are encouraging the churches to accept those who have this "disability" and to celebrate their diversity.
God calls it an abomination.
There are many Christian leaders and Pentecostal and evangelical congregations encouraging and performing same-sex weddings.
It is not an acceptable behavior and it is not a disability.
God did not and does not create a man or woman with that perception or desire. It is an abomination and a sinful behavior and those who practice such behavior will not enter the kingdom of God.
The only hope for this generation is for Holy-Spirit-anointed preachers and teachers to fall on their face before the living God.
Wait on Him until He has infused your life with His holy power and a love and a passion to preach and to teach the uncompromised Word of God.
Take a bold stand against all distortion, all biblical rewrite and all cultural pressure for tolerance and political correctness.
We must have men and women bold as lions in the pulpits, university classrooms and Bible classes who will teach the uncompromising Word of God with power and authority that can only come from heaven by the Holy Spirit.
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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