Have you ever been deceived? It happened to a Pastor friend of mine while visiting Jerusalem. He loved to play chess. Very often on route to another site that was hours away he would pull out his portable chess set and play anyone who was up to the task. In Jerusalem he saw a beautiful chess set made of marble. He negotiated the price. The salesman asked if he would like it wrapped in a beautiful box with wrappings. He was excited, paid for the chess set and placed it in his bag. I pleaded with him to check the contents. He said, no I saw him take the set and wrap it. I explained to him that he briefly took the set behind the curtains, got the wrapping, came backed and wrapped the box in front of him.

After traveling to Egypt for the final leg of our tour, he opened the chess set to look at his prized possession before placing it in his luggage bag. Well to his surprise he discovered that it was not the same chess set. The quality was inferior. He was deceived! He was angry that night, frustrated on plane, and finally he was heart broken as we landed. My good friend did not heed the warning. However, he warned others at our pastors meeting. “We need to be careful not to be deceived.”

The Bible warns us that before Christ comes, many will be deceived. “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24 The first warning of deception comes from false signs and false miracles. We see this strategy used by the enemy when the magicians and priests of Pharaoh confronted Moses. In the end, God prevailed and the false miracles were exposed to all for what they were. Today we have many Internet speakers claiming to know the signs of the times and predict the month or season of the coming of Christ. After so many predictions, God calls them by name. False Prophets.

The second warning, deals with wolves that cause division in the church, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17,18

The third warning, deals with doctrinal issues. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” Ephesians 4:14 We need to be grounded in the word of God in order not to be deceived. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

The fourth warning, deals with people who love to predict the future. At a camp meeting we had an individual who predicted the future. He predicted events that would happen with the economy, events that would happen with Congress, world events that would take place. In the end, the Bible calls these people prophets of doom, false prophets. “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18: 20-22

The fifth warning, deals with people who preach or teach a message that is contrary to the Bible. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20 God speaks to us from His word. Thru His word, and by His word. The best way to counteract being deceived is by getting into His Word.

How do we safeguard against deception? Here are three safeguards.
1) Study the Scriptures. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
2) Follow the Scriptures. “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, that, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” 2John 1:6
3) Scrutinize what others say about the Scriptures. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11

Here are some further insights: “Because of the fanaticism resulting from the work of men falsely claiming to be taught of God, many good people regard with grave suspicion or even disbelief the claim of anyone to divine revelation. But the searcher after truth must guard equally against deception by false prophets or teachers, and a failure to recognize the true. ‘Despise not prophesyings,’ writes the apostle. ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21.“ Christian Experience and Teachings p.244

May God Bless you this Sabbath as we study His word
Angel J. Rodriguez, D.Min
Houston Central – Senior Pastor

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