Christianity Today 2

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 14:14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 23:26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

The prophets and the rest of the Scriptures are replete with examples of false prophets and those who deceive. Could it be that the professing Church is more or less at the same place of an apostate Israel? They kept the externals of the religion and yet their hearts went after other things. Could it be that the professing Church is also at the same place as the Pharisees in the New Testament in the sense that the heart of true religion had been replaced with the externals and the laws of men?

There are twin errors that are in the professing Church and yet drag it down with error rather than build it up. There is the intellectual acceptance of truth without love for the truth. Then there is the opposite side that has no regard for truth and simply accepts any form of experience as truth. The deception of the heart is rather easy work of the Deceiver in our day. On the one hand you have people firmly adhering to a creed or an orthodox statement of the truth and think of themselves as converted as a result of that. On the other hand you have people with large numbers of people in organizations that have a lot of religious activity and yet do not have the truth. For there to be a true Church there must be both the truth of Christ and the love of Christ.

A man can be a pastor in name of a large professing Church that has a lot of energy and numerical growth, but that does not mean that the pastor is preaching the true Gospel. If the pastor is not preaching the true Gospel, then he is deceived and is deceiving the people. It is something like Jesus spoke of which is the blind leading the blind. A man can also profess the orthodox truth and yet love himself as orthodox rather than the truth of God. This man is also deceived and is deceiving the people.

Scripture sets out many ways that people are deceived and one of the main ones it warns about is false prophets. A false prophet (pastor/preacher) can wear a white suit, have a white bible, and be the nicest and most sincere of men. Sincerity is not the same thing as being sincere about the truth. A false prophet can have a zeal for evangelism, but that can be a far different thing than a zeal for the Gospel. We must remember that the Pharisees had a zeal for evangelism and would travel on sea and land to make one convert, but Jesus said they were making their proselytes twice as much a son of hell as the Pharisees were (Matthew 23:15).

What are men in worship of when they sing songs in apparent worship? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:46 that people love those who love them. In other words, sinners love to be loved (in appearance) and will “love” others just in order to be loved. Jesus said we are to love our enemies. The truth of the matter is that as long as a false God is presented people will think that they love that God and as such will be greatly deceived. People like that are really only loving a false god and what they think he will do for them. When the true God is set forth in true preaching, the natural heart of man will respond just like the hearts of the Pharisees responded to Jesus. They will hate Him. This is why men must be born from above by the power of God. Men cannot change their own hearts.

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