Sunday Message 5/07/17
Hearers or Doers… Which One Are We?
We will be continuing this week with part three of the series entitled “Hearers or Doers… Which One Are We?” Last week we talked about how the Bible is a “Living Document”, but not in the way that the world views a Living Document but in the sense that God’s Word can change a person forever. If we are to stand against deception then we must be grounded in the Word and be a doer of the Word because being a hearer only will always lead to deception. If you remember last week I talked about how the first deception came into the world when satan lied and twisted God’s Word in his conversation with Eve (Genesis 3:1-7). We have to understand that even though satan is weak in the aspect of the tools he has at his disposal he is still dangerous because he knows how to use the ones he has. If he can convince us of a lie or convince us that his “twist” is the “truth” then he has us right where he wants us. I have seen this playing out for years in the church and still scratch my head as to how people can continue to follow false teachers whose doctrines teach that “Jesus never said he was the Messiah” or that “Jesus was tortured in hell for three days”. I mean, can people really be that untaught in the Word of God or is it that they are just as deceived as the teachers they follow?
As Christians the Bible must be settled in our hearts as the Word of God forever and not just some book that has a lot of nice things that we should live by. Paul said that if anyone comes preaching another gospel or another doctrine that we are to turn away from them (2 Timothy 3:5). We also discussed that deception entered the Church because Christians did not take the time to test what was being said against what the Bible had to say. Today many Churches and pastors are pushing doctrines such as “COEXIST” and “you can be a homosexual and still be a “Pastor or a Christian”, but instead of the Church taking a stand against it most churches are going right along with it. We as Christians must take a stand, and that stand must be based on what GOD says and not on whatever progressive trend is being pushed at us from the world. Also we cannot let every wind of doctrine that blows in from the world or from the church pulpits sway us from the Word of God, because the closer we get to the end the more this is going to be coming at us. This week will be talking about how we can allow ourselves to become deceived and how if we fail to follow God as he has commanded God himself could send us a delusion if we continue to deny his truth.
“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it”.
Section 1 – “Deceiving Ourselves”
So can we deceive ourselves? Absolutely, and self-deception is one of the most dangerous places that any Christian can EVER find themselves in. As we know James 1:22 says “…be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” so self deception can happen if we are not what? Doing the Word! While it may sound simple it really is a very complex issue but why? Because people who are deceived do not know that they are deceived. Not only do we live in a world full of lying spirits, evildoers, demons, and false teachers the Bible clearly states that our own heart will deceive us as well as our pride (Jeremiah 17:9 & Obadiah 1:3). As I state many times the Christian walk must be an everyday proactive walk because there are many pitfalls that come our way on a daily basis. I am reminded of what David said in Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” because while David was a great man of God he made a very bad mistake and it cost him his son. While many may think that they are exempt from chastisement because they are under the New Testament Covenant the Word says that “… whom the Lord loves he chastens and scourges every son whom he receives (Hebrews 12:6) so don’t think just because you are under “grace” that you can do whatever you want. We can sit in church for years, listen to every sermon in the world, and read the Bible from front to back but unless we put the commands into practice then we are only deceiving ourselves.
Many religious people think that “knowledge” is the key, and while knowledge of the Word is vital the ability to put that knowledge of the Word into practice is the true key to not allowing ourselves to be deceived. Proverbs 4:5-7 tells us to “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” so just knowing what the Word says will not get the job done but putting the Word into practice will. The word understanding here means “discernment” and this skill is sorely lacking in the Church today because so many wolves have been infiltrating the Churches for decades and yet no one has ever said “Hey, that’s not in the Bible” so whose fault is it? THE SHEEPS FAULT! God has given all things that we need that pertain to life and godliness, but it is up to us to put them into “practice”. Also, God gave us his word so that “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:17) so if these people were allowed into the Church then it is the Churches fault for letting them come in. One type of self-deception is in how we speak because in James 1:16 it says “If any man among you seem to be religious and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart; this man’s religion is vain”. Our words do matter so how can anyone say they are following Christ when all they do is slander other people? Answer, they can’t because the Bible says we are not to gossip. If we read the next verse James gives a clear cut definition of what true religion is “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:17) so in James 1 we see a clear cut contrast of self-deception and true religion.
Christians need to realize that the Word of God isn’t “Trail Mix” that they can pick and choose what parts to follow and what parts not to follow. I know that people love the “Ooey-Gooey” verses like ones in the sermon on the mount, but we must be willing to follow all of them including the verse where it says that we are to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The word “deny” means “to forget one’s self and one’s own interests”, which means we are DEAD to ourselves and dead in Christ as Paul wrote. Sadly, how many Christians are truly doers of this verse? Not many unfortunately. I hear it all the time “We Christians have our rights because the Bill of Rights and the Constitution says so”, really? So do these manmade parchments override the Word of God? If this is how someone thinks then they are in deep trouble because you are apparently not dead in Christ because dead people have no rights. Yes we are to obey the laws of the country that we live in, but that is where it stops. This will go against a lot of teaching many of us have heard over the years but God says in 2 Timothy 2:4 “No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” which means that we not to get involved in anything of the world including (politics, religion, etc…).
The Old Testament gives us a couple of great examples of how self-deception can lead to a fall. The first is the boasting of Goliath when he came out against the Israelites. 1 Samuel 17:42-44 says “…and when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog that thou come to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field” and as we know it did not go well for Goliath even though he was convinced in his own mind that the fight was over before it had even begun. The next example of some deceiving themselves is Samson. Samson was greatly used by God, but when he gave up his secret to Delilah and she cut off his hair then the source of his strength (which was his covenant with God) was gone. However, when Delilah yelled Samson the Philistines are here he assumed that God was still with him but he learned the hard way that forgetting the Word of God caused him to fall into self-deception.
A great example in the New Testament of self-deception is found in the 3rd chapter of the book of Revelation. In this passage God is speaking to the Laodicean Church and he tells them this “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou saysà I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothingß; and knows not that àthou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and nakedß I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich; and white raiment, that thou may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eye salve, that thou may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. The Church in Laodicea was in such deception that they thought that they were had it all together, however all they were doing was going through the “Christian” motions which meant they were actually backslidden. Jesus saw their heart and told them to REPENT of their lukewarm ways, but sadly this is a message that we do NOT hear much from American in pulpits today even though it is sorely needed because the American Church is overall Laodicean in nature. The following are verses that show various means of self-deception.
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” People who say they must “sin a little” are self-deceived
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 “Be not deceived evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not…” People who cuss or gossip all the time are walking in self-deception
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches 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” If anyone is preaching another gospel then they are possibly self-deceived
Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” If you think you can sow whatever you want without any consequences you are self-deceived
From these verses we can see that yes we can be deceived, but only if we are not doing what the Word of God tells us to do and do it as it is written (not as we want it to say). The bottom line is that we must never change the Word to match our ideologies, beliefs, or life but we must let the Word change our ideologies, beliefs, and life to do what it says for us to do. If we do not then we are setting ourselves up for failure and setting ourselves up to be deceived. Once again, this is how so many false teachers have been allowed to infiltrate the Church so it is past time to take a stand and that stand must be on “God’s Infallible Word”! If someone deceives you then they take part of the blame with you, but when your deception is brought on by YOU then YOU alone are responsible. As I said earlier the problem with people walking in deception is that they have no clue that they are deceived. Have you ever met someone who is walking in self-deception? If you have then you know that NOTHING you say will EVER convince them that they are following after lies or a liar. This to me is the most DANGEROUS place to be because these people will without a doubt be those that Jesus says this too“…I never knew you depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
As we have seen self-deception comes from not following the Word of God or changing it to match what we want it to say. We must always follow God’s Word as written because once we start to say what it doesn’t say or twist it to match what we want it to say then we are doing exactly what satan did to Eve in the garden.
Hath God Said? OH YES HE HAS SAID!
Section II – God’s Delusion
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 states “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: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” so it is telling us that God will send a strong delusion to those who refuse God’s truth of salvation, but will he do the same to those who have been “saved”? “Once Saved Always Saved” or “OSAS” is always a tricky topic because people on both sides are very passionate about what they believe, but does God’s Word say? Matthew 24:13 tells us that “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”. The words here if we were to use the original Greek would read like this “But he that shall endure (not flee, persevere under trials and misfortunes, to hold fast ones faith in Christ, bear bravely and calmly ill treatment treatments) unto the end (termination or the end of all things), the same shall be saved (keep safe, rescue from danger, and to deliver from the penalties of judgment)”. When I read this it doesn’t sound like OSAS to me because it clearly says you will be saved IF you endure to the end. The point here is that if we must endure to the end then what happens to those who decide to turn their backs on Christ? Yes God is a loving and caring God, but there will come a time when he will no longer strive with man. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but that we can obtain an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I not as one that beats the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway”. Does this sound like Paul believed in the OSAS doctrine? The Greek word for castaway is “adokimos” which means “not standing the test, not approved, unfit for, and reprobate” so once again does this sound like Paul believed in the OSAS doctrine? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I know there are many scriptures that say nothing can separate us from God, but that does not mean that we cannot of our own volition walk away from God. A good example of this is the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. This son is a metaphor for someone who is in the Father’s house (born again Christian) and what did he do? He walked away and what would have happened if he had died in this backslidden state far away from his Father? He would have been separated forever. I know a lot of teaching says the Father went looking for him, but the scripture does not say this at all because it says the Prodigal Son came to himself or had an epiphany about what he should do.
Once we decide to walk away and we harden our hearts against God there will come a time when he will say enough is enough. If not then why did God tell us in Romans 9:21-23 “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”? Also if Christians are safe then who is the fallen in 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”? We all should know that sinners are already fallen, so who is going to fall away? It will be Christians who refuse to follow God’s truths and later in this same chapter God says this “and for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. Do you see it now? Even though you may have had some experience with God (said the sinners’ prayer or baptism in the Holy Spirit) this does give you some escape clause so that you can do whatever you want because Jesus once again said “He who endures to the end shall be saved”! Here are a few verses for your consideration:
Romans 1:21-22 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”. It says that they “KNEW” God and in verse 28 it says “GOD” gave them over to a reprobate mind.
Isaiah 66:3-4 “…Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not”
Who will bring their delusions? GOD! Can you see this around you?
In closing if you can still feel God tugging at you then it is not too late, but there will come a time when that tugging will fade and you will have no conscience for what you do. I was almost at that point at one time and I thank GOD he gave me one more chance, and I pray that if you are at that crossroads that you make the right choice and repent so God can begin using you again.
Next week we will look at ways to make sure we are not “Walking in Deception”
Peace and Grace From Our Lord