December 12th

 

Deception and the Church

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.  6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11These things command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:1-11 NKJV

The above passage is an excerpt from Paul’s letter to Timothy, who was a young minister.  Paul explained the conditions of the end times, and mentioned some specific deceptions that would characterize the last days.  Paul referred to false teachers who would deceive Christians in a number of different ways.  These teachers were so deceived themselves that their consciences were “seared.”  Their own sin and attempts to mislead others had numbed their sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.   

A good minister will instruct his congregation on the subtle deceptions of the day and nourish them spiritually so that they are not deceived by the devil and his ministers of evil.  He will lead by example and instruct his congregation in how to exercise godliness.   

Each one of us must walk circumspectly each day in purity. God desires that we connect with other believers in the body of Christ, so that none of us falls away.  Working as a cohesive team in Christ, we can be more effective and fruitful for God’s kingdom than if acting solo.  If we isolate ourselves from the rest of the body of Christ (the church), we render ourselves an easy target for the devil.  He prowls around looking for those separated from the flock, just as a lion seeks out the isolated prey.   

If you are not connected with a good church, please make plans now to find one.  You may find our church page helpful in your search.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of Christ and the privilege to be a part of his body on earth.  Thank you for the wonderful spiritual gifts that you’ve given to edify the body and draw people to you.  If I’ve allowed the enemy to cut me off from the body of Christ, please forgive me, Lord.  Please heal any wounds that I received or caused in others.  Lord, please help me connect to the body of Christ and function in the role that you intended me to fulfill.  Please give me discernment and wisdom, such that I will recognize what is of God and what is not.  I invite you to fill me afresh with the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit.  Please protect me from deception.  Thank you, Lord. I praise you!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”