One of the men in a prayer group I attended many years ago always used to say in his prayers, “Lord, help me to get it right!” Lately I find myself thinking and praying the same thing. This is because we now live in an age of information overload. Depending on how you handle the information, it can actually be very damaging. Ask yourself this, “Am I controlling my smartphone or is it controlling me?” Am I getting it right or am I not getting it right? Look up any biblical subject on the Internet and you will find countless views that are 180 degrees apart. So which is correct? Keep this one thing in mind —> it doesn’t matter what you think or someone teaches you —> God’s ways are much higher than man’s ways. The clay does not tell the potter how to form it. So you best be seeking what God is actually saying, not what you want to hear or think you hear or what you were taught.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV)
Let’s just start off by concentrating on biblical information overload. You can literally access an endless supply of views and interpretations. But is it spiritually healthy what you are taking in or gravitating towards?
Daniel warned us 2600 years ago about an information explosion in our age:
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4 ESV)
So how do you then live? Do you test everything?
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 ESV)
So what am I getting at? I believe that discernment is more important today than any other time in history. I believe that the gift of discernment is the most important gift that the Lord gave to the church for our day and age:
…..He (the Holy Spirit) gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit…..(1 Corinthians 12:10 NLT)
There are false prophets and teachers that will lead you straight to destruction. Yes, maybe they started out good but no longer are. Maybe they presented once something that was spot on. But where are they now? Are you following something that once was, but no longer is?
The following is a list of Scriptures that should wake us up out of our anesthetized state and remind us of the day and age we live in:
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. (Matthew 24:3-5, 11, 24-25 NKJV)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things. (2 Timothy 4:3-5 NKJV)
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He (the Holy Spirit) who now restrains will do so until He (the Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:7, 9-12 NKJV)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers…..lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13 NKJV)
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15 NKJV)
But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. (2 Peter 2:1-3,12-15, 19)
These scriptures should literally have the effect of a cold slap in the face. They are here to remind us that we are soldiers walking through enemy land where we can be ambushed at any second. When reading these verses very carefully I realize that on the outside these false prophets and false teachers will be able to deceive through their incredible abilities in deception because they are able to mask over what is really taking place within them. But God in His Word gives us an inside look at the darkness that operates within them and what their true intents are. Those Christians who do not devour and abide in God’s Word are under the spell of these false prophets and false teachers. They are unable to detect the darkness even when it is pointed out to them. Never forget the fact that Satan himself used Scripture when he tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:6). I have literally watched false teachers use Scriptures that warn about false teachers to try and make it look like others are the false teachers, and that they are the true teachers. This is the pinnacle of deception.
Our God is a God of miracles, signs, wonders, and healings. But, just like there is genuine money, there is also counterfeit money. Money must be held up to the light to see if it is genuine or not. It is the same when it comes to so-called miracles, signs, wonders, and healings. They must be held up to the light of God’s Word to see if it is genuine or not. It must also be put into perspective that miracles, healings, signs and wonders do not produce faith. Faith only comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
1st Corinthians chapter14 verses 23 and 33 warns us: “Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your church meeting and hear everyone speaking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.” From these verses, God makes it clear that He is not an entertainer or showman or a performer of antics. Please watch the following video to get the gist of what I’m talking about:
I want to have a pure heart, not a heart that has been manipulated. Paul wrote:
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT)
We need to take a hold of the following two verses in these end times more than ever:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep. (Romans 13:11 NKJV)
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12 ESV)
Paul asked the following question back in his day. How much more does it apply today?
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? (Galatians 3:1 NKJV)
I come across false prophets and false teachings almost every day in my studies. Outside false miracles, healings, signs and wonders, one of the most common areas is false teachings on love. If love is taught without righteousness, it becomes a perverted love. Our God is not only a God of love, He is just as much a God of righteousness. This perverted love is very dangerous because those that have been tricked by it are the ones who are most susceptible to false teachers and false prophets because they are blinded by it. They actually defend these workers of iniquity, instead of exposing them as Ephesians 5:11 commands: “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”
A second area is in the enticement of prosperity. Read what the Word of God warns in 1 John 2:15-16, not what the false teachers twist it to be: “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”
A third area is in music that has become a valuable part of most churches. Music is a wonderful thing, but examine the worship music from years past and compare it to the music we have now. Notice the repetitive nature that has entered the songs of today. Study meditation that has come out of the Eastern Religions and how it is based upon repetitiveness. Don’t allow yourself to get into a semi-hypnotic state. Bethel Music/Jesus Culture are masters at this. They gear their music towards ‘experience’ rather than relationship with Jesus Christ.
We are in trouble when churches become like NFL football teams. Technology has become such a vital part of the NFL teams that every single movement and iota is analyzed and orchestrated before the next game. It has infiltrated the church to the point it is all about numbers and money. “How can we get more people and more money to come into our church?” How can we tweak here and there. The ‘Our Father’ prayer that Jesus gave us for an example reminds us that it is supposed to be “on earth as it is in heaven” rather than the other way around.
Because I wanna get it right, I appreciate Francis Chan who tries to bring us back to what the early church was like in its simplicity when it turned the world upside down:
There is a song I appreciate also that takes me back to what the heart of worship really is. It is called ‘The Heart Of Worship’. Here are the lyrics:
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart
I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
People may be enticed toward the Kingdom of God by manipulation, showmanship and theatrics, but Jesus made it clear that there was only one way into the Kingdom:
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 ESV)
As I conclude, may your prayer be, “Lord, I wanna get it right!” May you be on a daily healthy diet of devouring Scripture every single day. May you be fellowshipping on a regular basis with sound believers and are accountable to its leadership. May you walk away from being a spectator to the myriads of false teachings on TV and the Internet. May you truly recognize the day of extreme deception we are living in and the fact that it will only get worse and worse.
…..When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 NKJV)
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22 NKJV)