Do Not Be Deceived…

Do y’all know how many times the Bible gives us this warning? A LOT. It’s something that I keep coming across in my reading, nearly daily it seems, as of late. It’s also been a topic of much conversation lately, in real life. So as always, I took it to the Lord in prayer and decided to write about it. Obviously it’s a matter of great importance if it was told to us so many times, don’t you think? I do. So let’s spend a little bit of time talking about Biblical examples we’re given of deception. I bet you can think of a ton of them!

My mind immediately went to the very first example we’re given in the Old Testament–Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?) deceived by that no good slithering snake. The same one at work throughout all the ages on every single soul ever to live. The very one behind every form of deception there is and the one that we must understand is at work ALWAYS behind the scenes, to steal, kill, and destroy us–along with lie to, manipulate, and deceive us. This post is going to be filled with Scripture as God floods my mind with it while I write. This is our greatest defense (and offense!)–The Word of God. The verses that come to mind here are Ephesians 6: 10-17: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This tells us WHO we are battling (the enemy of our soul and all the forces of darkness) and HOW to battle him (by having our full armor on at all times, that we may stand). Isn’t it awesome that when we are children of God, our Father gives us all that we need to live a life of godliness and victory (2 Peter 1:3)!?

For sake of space here, I’m not going to give all the Scripture references to these examples because I already have so many others I’m going to share, but I’m sure you all remember these stories (and you can feel free to look them up yourself!)…After Eve, I think of Cain murdering Abel and God confronting him about it and him trying to deceive God. Then Abraham lying about Sarah being his sister…twice! And the apple not falling too far from the tree when his son, Isaac, did the same thing about Rebekah! And the third generation there, Jacob–his very name meant “deceiver,” and we know he lived up to this when he lied about the birthright ordeal to both his father and Esau. His mom was also part of the deception as it was all her idea! Deceit was an underlying theme in this family quite a bit, wasn’t it? Remember how Laban, Rachel and Leah’s dad, deceived Jacob to get him to marry both daughters? Sheesh!

Then, David comes to my mind as well. How he deceived (and killed) Uriah the Hittite, his most loyal warrior, so that he could get with his wife, Bathsheba! So much craziness recorded for us in the Bible…aren’t you glad though, that God is real with us and gives us all the nitty gritty? We aren’t left to think that Christianity is just a bunch of pious, perfect, religious people who have it all figured out and have their acts together in a way that we could never attain to. By no means! If we are reading our actual Bibles and not just going off of stories we hear (again, THIS is how we avoid the deception that we are warned so much about!), we will know that man always screws things up. Royally. Lies and deception abounds…BUT GOD. God sent Jesus to save our wretched, pitiful souls and to show us a way out of all of this. When He saves us, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we have all the tools needed to avoid the snares of the enemy. And since we’re given so many warnings about deception, I think God really wants us to understand that 1.) we CAN be deceived (even IN CHRIST), but 2.) He doesn’t WANT us to be deceived. Let’s look at some verses about all of this:

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Matthew 7:15-23 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Ephesians 5:6-21 – Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Colossians 2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

So all of these Scriptures are telling believers to follow (hard) after Christ and not men, because MANY false prophets/teachers/pastors are out there. Take heed to God’s Word and test EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!! The Word here says that “the days are evil” and even men who “play the part” can be workers of Satan, sent to deceive even the elect! This is scary…but again, God doesn’t leave us unaware or vulnerable to attack–IF we are abiding in Christ, seeking His Word and Holy Spirit’s guiding in ALL things. God also tells us who will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God and gives us this strong warning about being deceived in this area too. We cannot live in habitual sin and think we will inherit the Kingdom. Period. And there are whole denominations and doctrines made up of men that say contrary to this…who do you trust, them or God??

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

We are given many, many warnings about deception in these last days. Why do you think that is? I don’t have to guess here. God has written in plainly for us, much of it in red letters. You know what that means–Jesus Himself, The Word, spoke it. He said this:

Luke 21:8 – And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Matthew 24:4-5 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:11-15 – And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Matthew 24:23-27- Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

So many warnings of what’s to come. Look at what some of the other disciples of Jesus have to tell us about the perils of the days we are quickly approaching.

2 Timothy 3:13-17 – But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 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. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Romans 16:17-19 – 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. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

I’m not going to say a lot on this except to point out that what Paul says here lines up with the timeline of events that Jesus gives us in Matthew 24 and they both say that “that Day” (Jesus’ return) will not come until the falling away (of the church) happens first and then the “man of sin, the son of perdition”–the Antichrist–is revealed FIRST.

More on the last days:

1 Timothy 4 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

2 Timothy 3 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 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. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 – And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Further instruction/admonishment/warning to us:

1 John 1:8-9 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

And some final verses specifically pertaining to Satan, the ultimate deceiver and father of lies:

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 – But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Revelation 12:9 – And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Glory, hallelujah, when the final victory is ours in Christ and all deceit is done away with once and for all!!!!!

But for now, we must contend with it. Standing firm in the full armor of God, testing EVERYTHING, being Bereans–studying the Scriptures night and day to see if what we have heard/been taught lines up. If it doesn’t, GET RID OF IT. Your soul and mine are at stake and nothing could be more urgent or important. Do not be deceived, brothers and sisters. We are IN these “evil days” where evil men are masquerading as ministers of light. It’s all around us. We must wake up. Our loving Father has given us all that we need–to live in the TRUE Light, shine our light, and point others to His Light. Where this happens, the darkness flees. Look at the fruit. Always. Jesus gave us so many stories about the fruit. How well are we examining what’s being produced by those we “follow?” Stick with Jesus. Narrow is the way. Amen.

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