Don't Let Anyone Deceive You | Matthew 24:4-8

deceived
deceived
Mat 24:4 Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you,Mat 24:5for many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah.' They will deceive many.Mat 24:6And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don't panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won't follow immediately.Mat 24:7Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.Mat 24:8But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

Jesus starts this section out with the very interesting statement, "Don't let anyone mislead you.." Other versions use the word "deceive" instead of mislead; the point is the same. On these matters of last day events and on Jesus and His message "many will come" and many will be deceived.

How do you know when your being deceived?

Question: How can I know I'm being deceived?

Answer: You don't know your being deceived until you're no longer deceived.

Question: If I can be deceived and not know it, what must I do to avoid being deceived in the first place?

Answer: Learn that the following statement is not an endorsement for the honesty and integrity of the one giving the statement, it is a call to action. Here is that statement: "Don't just take my word for it; study it for yourself"

Deception is very deceptive otherwise it wouldn't deceive you it would just irritate you and insult your intelligence. That sounds like a bad one-liner but it is actually a true statement. Deception takes many forms. It can become so deeply rooted in our lives that even when truth is revealed we resist it. Resistance often entrenches deception because, as our treasured belief is challenged, we build up the walls around it to protect it from the attack of truth.

So, how can we know the difference between truth and deception?

Be a Seeker - When it comes to the Word of God we must let the Word interpret itself. The bible explains itself to the diligent seeker, but you must be diligent and you must continue to seek. Once you have lined up all the facts regarding a question or subject in the bible then ask for clarity on the matter and be willing to do what it says and stand for what it says.

John 5:30  I can do nothing on My own. I judge as God tells Me. Therefore, My judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the One who sent Me, not My own will.

Be an Honest Seeker - Check your own motivation. Why are you seeking? What is the purpose to what your doing? Are you seeking to know God's Will on the matter or are you seeking to defend your own. Do you want to know what God wants, or are you trying to find backing for your own treasured opinion?

This is not easy. We humans love to be right and hate to be wrong. If you are jealous to know God's will above all else, then He will show it to you.

John 5:39 "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! John 5:40 Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life. John 5:41 "Your approval means nothing to Me, John 5:42 because I know you don't have God's love within you. John 5:43 For I have come to you in My Father's name, and you have rejected Me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. John 5:44 No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from the One who alone is God.

Be Open Minded - ...just not so open your brain falls out. Being open minded is not a license to go wherever the wind blows. Instead it allows us to listen to ideas without throwing up barriers, and then using good methods of learning we can check those ideas against the Word of God to know if they are truth or error. Having an open mind means you are teachable by God...just make sure he is the one teaching you.

Matthew 11:7  As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. "What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? 

Ask for Wisdom - Wisdom is something that God has promised He will give us if we ask for it. Don't mistake God's wisdom for worldly wisdom. You won't suddenly become a master of quantum mechanics, but instead He will give you wisdom to understand spiritual matters. This is where the "honest seeker" must now have the backbone to accept that wisdom. God gives us wisdom, but what we do with it is left up to our free will.

John 14:17  He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.

Ask for Guidance - When we start the journey to find a place we have never been to before, we always consult a map. When seeking for truth, you should always ask for guidance. This will come from the Holy Spirit and you should ask for the Holy Spirit directly. He will guide you into understanding.

Luk_11:13  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him."

Be Willing to Do What you Find - God will reveal His will to those who are willing to do what He asks. Many people think the Will of God is a list of "don'ts", but the truth of the matter is that God usually asks us to "do" something. "Love your neighbor" , "do good to those who persecute you" , "go and preach the gospel". These are all actions! If you want to know the Will of God then be willing to do what He asks of you.

Luke 6:27  "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.

Philemon 1:14  But I didn't want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced.

Wrapping this all up we should do what Jesus says and "not let anyone mislead" us. Be diligent for truth, open minded, seeking and loving the Will of God. Be willing to change your course if God shows you truth and be willing to stand firm in the truth when you know it in your heart. Love God more than your own ideas and you will have a strong position against deception.

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

I am frail and weak. Lord, You are strong and infinitely able. Today I ask you for wisdom and strength to do what You show me is right. Lord, help me to not be deceived by the pleasantries of pride and selfishness. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today. Thank You for Your guidance and love and mercy. Bring Your children home and show me how to do my part. Amen.

The End of the World | Matthew 24:3

planet in danger
planet in danger
Mat 24:3  Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to Him privately and said, "Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal Your return and the end of the world? "

Before we talk about the signs of the End of the World as stated by Jesus, I thought we might tackle the question posed by the disciples first. Why are the disciples asking the question? Why do we ask the question? What motivates us to seek signs for the end of the world?

What motivates us to seek signs for the end of the world?

Personally I think there is an inner part in all of us that intuitively knows that this world is not supposed to work this way. We sense that things are out-of-whack; that sin is wrong and that suffering, death, disease and all other maladies this world has to offer are not how we were intended to live. Even the Atheist strives to avoid the consequences of sin, though he may not give them the name "sin". It is that sense of "wrongness" that drives us to find answers and to seek a source of comfort. It is our sense of self preservation kicking in and God respects that. He gives us signs of the end of the world so that we will have a road map to guide us through the treacherous terrain of life and history. But, all of this begs the question, will the world really end?

Will the world really end?

I am a firm believer, especially since watching this video sermon by Philip Sizemore, that satan has a counterfeit for every truth that God has established. So let's consider the truth that the world will end. Do we believe that? How do we handle this statement as men of belief? Let's look at some of the apocalyptic teachings of denominations and see if they agree with the idea that the world will end.

LDS - Mormons[from their website]

"We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory."

Now that is a definitive answer! Unfortunately, it doesn't completely gel with what the bible says about the second coming and the end of the world. In fact, I believe that the LDS are the most susceptible to the final deception of satan impersonating Christ, because they believe that Jesus is coming to setup His Kingdom on this sinful planet. For more on satan impersonating Jesus, and creating a false second coming, visit this link.

Catholicism[I couldn't find a definitive official statement] I tried to find a statement that made sense from the Catholic church which would clearly show what they thought on this matter, but apparently what they believe about the end of the world is very ambiguous and ethereal so as not to have to make a clear statement at all. I believe this is because they ARE the Beast power spoken of in Daniel and Revelation so every belief that they have on the matter must avoid this clear interpretation. Thus they come off as vague and undecided. This link should help to clear the "why" of this up if you want to do more study.

United Methodist Church[I couldn't find a definitive official statement] Again, I had a hard time finding anything that was clear about how the Mehodists believe about the end of the world. It almost seems as though they just avoid the idea that Jesus did give signs of the end and He did want us to be ready and watching. Not worrying...but ready and watching. I wonder if the Methodists avoid this topic because the study of prophecy might lead their people to seek a different church?

If there is a clear definition out there from the Methodist, I would be happy to post a link to it in this blog if someone can point it out to me. Here is all that I could find that came close to some kind of statement: LINK

Presbyterian [from their website] [visit site]

"...But the church is here by God's design to proclaim the good news of God's love by word and deed until God's loving reign is made real throughout God's world."

Presbyterians believe in being ready for the end times while not being fearfully anxious about them. Presbyterians believe that God's purpose for the world is that loneliness, pain, poverty, sickness, injustice, even death, no longer mar creation. Presbyterians believe God is as concerned with the redemption of society as of individuals and therefore actively seek to demonstrate God's purpose here and now until it is fully realized in God's good time."

I like what the Presbyterian's have to say until we get to this part..

" ...God is as concerned with the redemption of society as of individuals and therefore actively seek to demonstrate God's purpose here and now until it is fully realized in God's good time."

This seems to skirt the fact that the world WILL end. Societies of today and of the future do not get better. As defined by the bible, they get worse. Wickedness runs rampant in the last days and the thoughts of men "are continually evil". God is not coming to take over a partially happy and completed society, but instead is coming to save those who are His and then destroy every part of this sinful planet with fire. Sin always gets worse without the intervention of God...always. He has told us that He will cleanse the earth with fire, and I believe Him.

Baptists [from their website] [visit site]

Article XVII. - Of The World To Come: "We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness."

The Baptists take a good line on the end of the world. They define it clearly and biblically. They see the judgement taking place at the very end and everyone either goes to heaven or hell based on the principle of righteousness. Their end result is off when they say "eternal punishment", but they do believe in an end to this world.

Seventh-day Adventists[from the website] [visit site]

Second Coming of Christ: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour's coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ's coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Rev. 14:14-20; 19:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.)

Seventh-day Adventist also have a very clear and concise definition of how the world will end. They give excellent scriptural references as well. I also noticed that they had 3 other entries under this one that help to more clearly define their end of the world doctrines. They were titled "Death and Resurrection", "Millennium and the End of Sin", and "New Earth". Being a denomination that proclaims the "Advent" of Jesus Christ as coming soon, I would expect nothing less. They believe in the literal cleansing of the earth and that it will be made new along with the complete wiping away of sin.

So, back to our original question...

Will the world really end?

Yes! There is your definitive answer and there could be no other. It is actually our greatest hope as Christians. Sin will be completely and utterly destroyed, never to raise it's ugly head again. God has promised this.

So don't run away from the idea of the end of the world. Don't be afraid of it. Stop, consider and recognize it as a good thing. The end of sin and satan is the end of the world. God wants to save everyone He possibly can. He loves us all unconditionally..and He respects our free will. He will not force you to join Him in heaven, but why would you choose anything else?

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

I wish I was with You there now, but I know we have work to do. Can you help me to please find a way to teach people; a way that really let's them see You? I'm so feeble in my attempts..I need Your wisdom and strength. Today I ask for the Holy Spirit to indwell me. I want to have the Mind of Christ and I thank you that through Jesus Christ I am made righteous. I praise You for this fact! Please help me to follow in the footsteps of Christ. I come boldly to Your throne now and ask for this promise to be granted today. I love You Lord. Amen.

Is God in Your "Church"? | Matthew 24:1-2

big-church
big-church
Mat 24:1 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, His disciples pointed out to Him the various Temple buildings. Mat 24:2 But He responded, "Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!"

There are those today who view size and monetary value of a church as things to be glorified and as aspects of proof of God's working in a ministry. To them I pose this question.

Don't you know from the scriptures that these things are of no value to God?

Outward appearance for show and to gain recognition mean nothing to God. Million dollar stadium churches with their 50,000 members can just as easily fall to the deceptions of the enemy as a small quiet church in your local town. Pomp and puffed up show is only noise to God if it is not generated from a heart felt love for the souls of others. Just in case you think I am picking on the big churches, remember that this is an issue not constrained to just church size. Let's think about what Jesus is saying...

Jesus is dealing with this issue in the disciples. They had been raised in a society where the church [temple] was the most important building in all of Judea. It was the crowning glory of the Jewish people. It was the center of their society and it was where all the important things happened in that society. Men were raised up in power there and condemned to death there. Men were slandered and men were uplifted. Men were absolved from sin, or left to die in it...there in that place. Men were kept outside it's gates to suffer condemnation and accusing glares. Things of such great importance happened there...how could it not be the most important location to God?

Just as we say the presence of God makes a place Holy, so it is with God's people. If there are none of God's people there, then God will not be there either.

I want your Mercy not your Sacrifices.

Whom are you trying to please when you spend exorbitant amounts of money on a podium or a flashing light and sound system. Money represents the sweat of someones brow, and yet we would take that sweat, that sacrifice, and waste it on man-pleasing? Ask yourself; what pleases God? Now don't guess at the answer...don't make up your own...go to the scriptures and find out. Then, simply listen to what God is telling you.

 For My people have abandoned Me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.' 2Kings 22:17  [NLT]

Should we offer Him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Fear the LORD if you are wise! His voice calls to everyone in Jerusalem: "The armies of destruction are coming; the LORD is sending them. What shall I say about the homes of the wicked filled with treasures gained by cheating? What about the disgusting practice of measuring out grain with dishonest measures? How can I tolerate your merchants who use dishonest scales and weights? The rich among you have become wealthy through extortion and violence. Your citizens are so used to lying that their tongues can no longer tell the truth. Micah 6:7-12 [NLT]

My friends, we must beware of the pretended holiness that permits the skirting of the law of God. We cannot be sanctified when we trample that law under our feet, and judge ourselves by a standard of our own creation.

Yet they say to each other, 'Don't come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!' These people are a stench in My nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. "Look, My decree is written out in front of Me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them—both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors," says the LORD. "For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted Me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!

"But I will not destroy them all," says the LORD. "For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, 'Don't throw them all away—some of those grapes are good!'), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess My land. Those I choose will inherit it, and My servants will live there. Isaiah 65:5-9 [NLT]

If God doesn't want shiny suits and frilly dresses, big churches and vibrant song services then what does He want?

He wants our hearts and He wants to live in us. We are the temple [church] of God, not some pile of lumber and nails. My friends, the greatest stench in the nostrils of God is praise from a rebellious pride filled heart. We praise Him with our hands in the air, tears running down our faces, rapturous singing gushing from our mouths, and sweet melodious music to accompany it all...and then...we turn around and slander our neighbor, ignore the lost, pile wicked shameful thoughts upon the shoulders of the weak, and then walk away feeling like we are so good and pure and godlike. When will we hear him as a people? When will we open the steel doors of our hearts; seemingly welded shut?

Aren't you glad that God doesn't love you the way you love others?

Here is what God wants from us...

Rom_13:10  Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law.

Gal_5:6  For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

1Jn_3:14  If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.

1Jn_3:17  If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person?

1Jn_4:12  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

1Jn_4:18  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

Lest you think you can do this on your own I reiterate that you need Jesus living in you to accomplish it. Realize your deep sinfulness and then fall at the feet of Jesus. He will reach down, touch you and make you whole. Then He will bid you to "arise" and follow Him. Follow Him to those He wishes to love through you.

If this is the desire of your heart today, then I ask you to join me in the following prayer...

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

I thank You and Praise You so much for what you did for me through Your Son Jesus Christ. You gave me Life when I deserved death and now You are asking me to live a life pleasing to You. I confess that I cannot do this without You. I know I can't and You know I can't. I confess my unbelief and ask that You would give me a great portion of faith. I accept the death of Jesus in my place and because of that I boldly ask that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to have the Mind of Christ today. If there is anyone that You want to love through me today, I ask that You will give me the words and the courage to do Your Will. I ask these things confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. Amen.