THE NATURE OF DECEPTION IN THE LAST DAYS

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

           From the earliest record of man’s history on Earth in Genesis, all the way to the future revelation of his history written in advance in Revelation we have the workings of man’s enemy satan revealed as a “Deceiver” whose chief weapon is deception. He ceaselessly tries to lie to people to get them to believe what is not true or accept what is false as true. Those who are deceived are wrong yet they think they are right. The Word of God warns of deception being widespread in many areas of life. Second Timothy 3:13 declares that in the Last Days perilous times includes deception from evil deceived men, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

Jesus, in warning of the prominence of deception in the end times prior to His Second Coming, also said it would be in connection with spiritual things in Matthew 24:4-8:

1. Concerning Christ and His Coming.

2. Concerning prophets and their messages.

3. Concerning supernatural things.

           Just being a good person is not a safeguard. Goodness alone is no guarantee of protection from deception. Adam and Eve were good and Peter was good but they were deceived. We wouldn’t need warnings if just being good alone was enough. We must realize we all can be deceived 1 Corinthians 10:12. The Spirit of God further develops the warning about deception in the first and second letters written to Paul’s son in the faith, Timothy. The deception will cause some to depart (to stand off; withdraw from; fall away; apostatize; abandon; absent oneself from; stand aloof or depart from) from the faith. The Spirit gave this warning in stated, specific, explicit terms so that the warning would be clear. The Spirit adds that evil men and seducers (mind deceivers) shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived in 2 Timothy 3:13.

           In summarizing what the Spirit of God reveals about the nature of deception or what the revelation from the Spirit acknowledges is:

1. Deceiving forces do exist.

2. Their efforts will include being toward believers.

3. It will cause some to depart from and abandon what they once believed.

4. It will be a covered working of both seduction and deception so that the deceived person will be wrong thinking they are right.

5. The nature of the deception will be lies direct to the mind and indirect through men.

6. It will be in the sphere of teachings or doctrine.

7. Two effects of the doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1-4) will be to:

a. Come against God ordained institutions (marriage).

b. Come against God ordained creations (food or other God created things).

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HISTORY & PROPHECY EXPOSE SATAN’S DECEPTION STRATEGY

           One of the most wonderful things about the Word of God is that it contains things from the past that we can learn from, history, but also things from the future before they happen, prophecy, or history pre-written. When we turn to the part of the Bible that covers pre-written history or prophecy which is the book of Revelation it is very informative as to what is revealed about the devil’s main method of operation. As we look at part of the judgment of satan as we know it to be revealed in the end times in Rev. 20:3, 7, 8 our God looks on him and reflects on his activities for all the thousands of years of his activities on Earth and says, v. 3 “… that he should deceive the nations no more….” and then after a thousand year incarceration is loosed for a season and he goes out once again in v. 8 “… to deceive the nations….” The one single goal satan has carried with him throughout world history and his chief operation is to deceive. Deceive means to cause to roam, wander, and go astray from safety, moral virtue and truth. To be deceived is to err by wandering and forsaking the right path whether in doctrine, morals, opinion, or thought.

           The question we need to ask is, “How does he go about this deception strategy on an international scale or among the nations? Will his global strategy of deception succeed? Is that strategy revealed in the record of the Bible? If we would read the OT book of Daniel 8:23-25; Dan. 9; Dan.11 along with Revelation 13:1-18 we will see there are four realms of life he will seek to influence and control. These four areas, influencing and controlling them, have been a part of any world power’s strategy that has ever tried to rule the whole world (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome). They tried (and eventually failed) and he must influence to control these same four areas:

1. Political (government) control (Rev. 13:1-3, 5; Dan. 8:23-25)

2. Religious control (Rev. 13:6; Dan. 9:26, 27; 2 Thess. 2:4)

3. Military control (Rev. 13:7; Dan. 8:24; Dan. 11)

4. Economic control (Rev. 13:16, 17; Dan. 8:25 peace/prosperity; Dan. 11:38-43)

           These are the four areas satan will work the hardest to fill with lies to cause the nations to believe and be deceived. We know that one called the antichrist who one day will be revealed will control these four areas in his platform but is presently being restrained (2 Thess. 2:3-12). None of this can fully happen or come to fruition while the Church with God’s Spirit and Truth is here. He must now contend with a living Church /Body of Christ who opposes and restrains him at every turn. For satan to be able to deceive the nations and for the antichrist to be able to rise up to control these four areas in the Last Days he must undermine the power and authority of his single most powerful adversary in the Earth, the Church. He must work through deception to gradually lessen and weaken our influence in these four areas. The main way he infiltrates the Church to neutralize us is through false doctrine or false teaching which also is prophesied about 2 Tim. 4:1-4.

If you look among the nations the lies presently evident that are causing the nations to err are in the realm of politics (government), religion, military, and economics. Deception is having a heyday for many reasons but some of the cause has to be because of the vacuum created by the absence of the Church’s influence in these realms. Some of our absence is directly the byproduct of years of false doctrine.

Isn’t it interesting that the type of preaching and teaching that brings out the most resistance today from Christians is the kind that calls people to repentance? Whose goal or message is, “We have to change,” not whose goal and message is “Let’s change the Church,” so we feel better about ourselves but never change. You may also be interested to know that John the Baptist, whose ministry was a forerunner to prepare the way of the Lord preached repentance addressed all four of these areas in: Luke 3:7 to the religious community, v. 12 about economic things, v. 14 to the military, and v. 19 to the political. To those who say the Church’s influence should be separate from these realms I say wake up and open your eyes.

THE WORLD IS BEING PREPPED FOR THE GREAT DECEPTION AND THE ANTICHRIST

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DECEPTION THROUGH FALSE TEACHING

           The earliest recorded history of the workings of God and man’s enemy, the devil, is that of a deceiver. The future prophecy recorded in the Book of Revelation’s description of satan’s main activity among the nations of men on Earth shows it will continue to be deception (Rev. 12:9; 20:3, 7, 8). All of mankind without the truth of God’s Word can be deceived in their fallen state (Titus 3:3) as well as after salvation (1 Tim. 4:1).

           When Jesus spoke of the Last Days He emphasized the problem of widespread deception Matt. 24:4, 5, 11, and 24. As Christians, aside from direct satanic deception, and self deception, we need to be on guard against the entry of deception that comes indirectly through false teaching and doctrines Rom. 16:18; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:1, 13;  

           Thank God we have the truth of God’s Word, the Spirit of Truth within us, and the safety that comes from leadership and fellowship in the local church. We must be as the noble Christians at Berea spoken of in Acts 17:11 who received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see whether the things they heard being taught were in the Word. We should not judge the validity of teachings solely on the basis of:

1. The GOODNESS of the person teaching it. Good people can be deceived like Adam and Eve (Gen. 2, 3); like Peter (Gal. 1, 2). The enemy will use good people to float his lies.

2. SIGNS AND WONDERS or supernatural things happening. Jesus said there would be signs and wonders by false Christ’s and false prophets and the Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul revealed satan’s power for signs and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2:9).

3. POPULARITY or how many people are following it. False teaching and false teachers can be very popular 2 Tim. 4:1-4.  Remember Jesus taught in His own home town and not many people followed or believed what He taught yet what He taught was the truth Mk. 6:1-6. In that crowd, He wasn’t honored and there were no mighty works He could do there.

4. RESULTS or if it is working it must be God. No, that is what is called pragmatism or the ends (the results) justify the means (the ways or methods used to get there). Noah would have failed using this measure because he preached for a hundred years and only eight souls made it into the Ark yet he was obedient to God and did what God said.

           We cannot make the mistake of judging the truth of teachings solely by anything in the natural. We must judge everything by the only objective standard we have been given which is the written Word of God.

           2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

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STIR IT UP

Isaiah 64:7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee ….

            The prophet Isaiah in his observation of the people of God in his time saw that they had fallen asleep spiritually and proclaimed, “And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee ….” It is a fact through history that God’s people have from time to time lost their passion, fire, and enthusiasm and are in need of an awakening. They need awakened to a new beginning of obedience, a new beginning of passion and zeal for the things of God. Ps 34:10 says, “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” David’s heart cry in Psalm 63 should be ours where he said, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.”

            It is also true of modern day believers that they need stirred up and awakened. The Apostle Paul told his son in the faith Timothy, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. o stir up the gift of God which is in thee 2 Timothy 1:6.”

When do we need stirring?

1. When I forget what God has done for us and I find myself murmuring, complaining, and unthankful.

2. When I’m not seeking after God like when I was desperate and dependent upon Him for everything.

3. When I think I don’t need to do things I once did like prayer, Bible reading, going to church, serving, and sharing the Gospel.

4. When I’m not using the gifts and grace I have to labor for the Lord and serving of others.

5. When I start redirecting my own life without God’s approving presence, leading, or directing my steps.

6. When I start redefining what acceptable service of the Lord is on my terms instead of what His Word reveals.

7. When I allow God’s blessing to cause me to be more independent rather than dependent upon Him. God will never bless with a certain lifestyle or to the point where He becomes unnecessary.

8. When my love for people begins to be lukewarm or grow cold and I find myself becoming unmerciful, unforgiving, and judgmental.

            Stir yourself up and press into God. It’s time to awaken to a new beginning of obedience. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. This is no time to be falling asleep in the light but rather we are to arise and shine for the glory of the Lord to be seen on us. Ephesians 5:14 says, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Romans 13:11 declares, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

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WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?

Hebrews 4:16 LET US therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

            Throughout the centuries of human history God has remained committed to lifting His people out of the limits of their own ways and into the limitlessness of His great ability.  The main way that God does this is through covenant.  A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties that sets up a relationship of responsibility.  It signifies a mutual understanding between the parties each binding himself to fulfill obligations.  Our Heavenly Father is known as Jehovah God, the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and mercy.  We serve a covenant keeping God Deuteronomy 7:9.

            God is a God of covenant and the covenant we have with Him is a covenant of grace.  Grace has many wonderful meanings but grace also means God initiated it, God acted first.  God took the responsibility for beginning or making the first move. With God making the covenant and initiating a move toward man, man must now make a move toward God in faith. That is why Hebrews 4:16 exhorts by saying, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace….”

The book of Hebrews uses that phrase “LET US” in several places:

1. HEBREWS 4:1, 11, 14, 16.

Hebrews 4:1 LET US therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 11 LET US labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, LET US hold fast our profession. 16 LET US therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

2. HEBREWS 6:1.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, LET US go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

3. HEBREWS 10:22-25.

Hebrews 10:22 LET US draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 LET US hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And LET US consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

4. HEBREWS 12:1, 28.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, LET US lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and LET US run with patience the race that is set before us, 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, LET US have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

5. HEBREWS 13:13 – 15.

Hebrews 13:13 -15, 13 LET US go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15 By him therefore LET US offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

            Remember initiative is defined as: the action of taking the first step; the responsibility for beginning; the right to introduce something; the ability to think or act without being urged; to start or initiate movement. God already initiated a move toward us. Since we have a covenant with God that He initiated toward us we have to initiate a move toward God. We need to quit waiting for something from God to come to us. He already initiated a move toward us, that is what we call grace; now we must initiate a move toward Him; that is what we call faith. We may be looking at a situation or circumstance waiting on God to do something but the reality may be that He’s waiting on us to believe something.

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Remembering 9/11



Twenty years ago, our country was attacked by a vicious enemy. They struck our financial center and symbols of America’s free market success. They struck the Pentagon, the symbol of America’s military might and our commitment to defending freedom around the world.

They also intended to strike a key symbol of our unique republic, perhaps the White House or the Capitol. Thankfully that attack failed when the brave passengers of Flight 93 organized the first American counterattack in what has been a long and difficult war.

We may have peace for a time, but history shows us that evil is real. There will always be struggles to defend freedom, and we must always be prepared to defend our values.

So long as evil men plot in the shadow to bring more death and destruction to our cities and families, let us pray that America never loses the resolve to stand firm in the face of tyranny. Pray that America remains forever the land of the free and home of the brave.

Timeline – morning of September 11, 2001:

8:48 a.m. First news reports that American Airlines Flight 11 has crashed into One World Trade Center (north tower).

9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into Two World Trade Center (south tower).

9:17 a.m. FAA closes NYC area airports.

9:21 a.m. NYC Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in NYC.

9:24 a.m. President Bush calls crashes “an apparent attack on our country.”

9:32 a.m. New York Stock Exchange closed.

9:40 a.m. FAA orders all commercial flights grounded.

9:43 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. (Note: other sources cite the crash at 9:37 and 9:45)

9:45 a.m. White House evacuated.

9:59 a.m. Two World Trade Center (south tower) collapses. (note: other sources cite the collapse at 10:03, 10:05, & 10:06)

10:00 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. (note: the crash happened slightly after 10 am, perhaps as late as 10:10 according to other sources)

10:10 a.m. Portion of the Pentagon collapses.

10:13 a.m. United Nations building evacuates.

10:22 a.m. State and Justice Departments, and World Bank, evacuated in Washington DC.

10:24 a.m. FAA reroutes inbound transatlantic flights to land in Canada.

10:28 a.m. One World Trade Center (north tower) collapses.

10:45 a.m. All federal office buildings in Washington DC evacuated.

10:48 a.m. Police confirm Pennsylvania plane crash.

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ALL OF GOD AND NONE OF US

Ephesus 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

            Redemption, which is the payment of the price to set us free, was all done by grace. We are already redeemed for the scripture says, “In whom we have redemption….”  God redeeming us by grace means God initiated it, God acted first.  God took the responsibility for beginning or making the first move. God did it based on His love not anything we worked for, earned, or deserved. Grace is all of God and none of us. Jesus did the work and it was a complete work. Complete to cover every aspect of our being spirit, soul, and body which were all affected due to Adam’s transgression and Fall. Grace also means it is a finished work and God doesn’t have to do another work or send Jesus to do something else. The ransom was paid full and complete.

            Redemption being by grace also means it wasn’t done by sovereignty. What God does by His grace He makes available by faith.  What God is sovereign over you do not need faith for it.  Sovereignty requires no faith, no choice, no obedience, no action, on man’s part to receive it.  It is up to what God decides and chooses and man is passive. What God offers in grace must be responded to with faith. Grace always requires a response of faith, a choice, obedience, an action, on man’s part to receive.  Grace gives us knowledge what God already decided and has chosen and man must respond by faith (to receive it). God made all redemption by grace to be received by faith so that it would be a sure thing to all that believe. Rom 4:16 says, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be SURE (secure) to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.”

            Redemption being by grace through faith makes the work of God in Christ a sure thing to all who would believe, no matter what your background, I.Q., race, color, social status, or upbringing.  God showed no favorites and made no exceptions.  All can receive the work of God through Jesus and He makes faith available to all who hear the Word.

ALL REDEMPTION WAS BY GRACE

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FACE THE FACTS AND SAY IT’S SO

           A fact is a thing that has actually happened and really is true. It is the state of things as they are; reality; actuality. When it comes to facing a fact, we can try to deny it; or refuse to acknowledge the fact. To live in denial of a fact is “a saying no” to a fact; denial means to refuse to accept or believe as true; it is to reject it as unreal or unfounded.

           Now that we are in Christ, there are many facts of our redemption. They are stated in the past tense in the Word of God because they actually happened and were made available to us after Jesus paid the redemption price on the Cross. All of these redemption facts went into effect in our lives personally the moment we got saved. The church as a whole has not failed in the proclamation of the Gospel (preaching it), but in the explanation of the Gospel (teaching its redemptive truths).  Because of this very few believers have much knowledge of the facts of their position in Christ or truths of their redemption.

           We have a new position called in Christ. Some of these “In Christ Realities” or redemption facts:

1. We are a new creation in Christ 2 Corinthians 5:17

2. We are the righteousness of God 2 Corinthians 5:21

3. We are an heir of God, joint heir with Christ Romans 8:17

4. We are redeemed Ephesians 1:7

5. We are a child of God, chosen and accepted Ephesians 1:4,7

6. We are blessed (blessing is tied to our position in Christ) Ephesians 1:3.

7.  We are the Body of Christ Eph. 1:22, 23.

           All these facts actually happened and are really true. They are the state of things as they really are; reality. We are as “in” with God as we can be which is “IN CHRIST.” Psalm 107:2 says to “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,” or face the facts and say it is so. We do not say them to make them facts, they are already facts. They will be no more facts in Heaven than they are now.  They are no less facts on earth. Examine all the past tense facts on God’s Word and say it is so.

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BEING ROOTED IN OUR REDEMPTION

In whom WE HAVE redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace Ephesians 1:7.

A study of the history of the Church would show us that revivals have been used by God to bring His people back to life again. Revivals bring us back to life again. There is something, though, better than revival and it is roots. By that I mean getting and staying rooted in our redemption to where we do not decline.  There is a life element we contact in revival, but there is life in redemption – through our roots. Redemption means to release through payment of a ransom. We were slaves to sin, satan, and the curse but God paid for our release through His Son Jesus. The price has been paid and it was paid in full.

Think about this, revival itself presupposes that things are in a state of decline. The purpose of revival is because the fruit that should be there is not and God sends revival to counteract the spiritual decline. The fruit of revival should not be the need for more revival.  It is to return us to our roots, our foundation, and our first love.

Yes, we need revivals to counteract spiritual decline, create spiritual momentum and recover spiritual truth but I do not know that Jesus ever needed a revival. God is calling His Church to stabilize their relationship to Him. “… the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit,” Proverbs 12:12.

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REDEMPTION BY GRACE NOT SOVEREIGNTY

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus Romans 3:24.”           

“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace Ephesians 1:7.”

Our redemption is not by sovereignty, but our redemption is by grace. Yes God is sovereign meaning He is supreme, paramount, the highest ruler, and above all. He is subject to no one higher, takes orders from no one, and answers to no one higher. Sovereignty is God doing what He wants, when He wants, how He wants, to whomever He wants completely independent of us but that wasn’t the means He chose to make salvation or redemption accessible to all. The contrast of being redeemed by sovereignty versus grace is this:

UNDER SOVEREIGNTY

1.    What God is sovereign over you do not need faith for it.

2.    Sovereignty requires no faith, no choice, no obedience, and no action on man’s part.

3.    It is up to what God decides and chooses.

4.    Man is passive.

UNDER GRACE

1.   What God offers in grace must be responded to with faith.

2.   Grace requires faith, a choice, obedience, an action, on man’s part.

3.   It is what God already decided and has chosen.

4.  Man must respond (to receive it).

Romans 4:16 says, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end (the point aimed at) might be sure (secure) to all the seed; not only to that which is of the law but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Redemption being by grace through faith makes the work of God in Christ a sure thing to all who would believe, no matter what your background, I.Q., race, color, social status, or upbringing. God showed no favorites and made no exceptions. All can receive the work of God through Jesus (the grace of redemption) and He gives us the faith to receive it Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 12:3. Yes, it was the sovereign choice of God to redeem us but He chose to do it by grace through faith.

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