Maranatha Bible Church Chicago

How To Dodge Deception

"See that no one leads you astray." (Matthew 24:4)

This was the first statement that the Lord Jesus made when he taught his curious disciples about the events that would lead up to his triumphant return. Before mentioning natural disasters, worldwide persecution, moral degradation, and Israel's political-religious activity, Jesus foretold that there will be an intensification of deception permeating the earth.

The rise of deception is not often brought up in conversations and teachings about the last days, yet it was the initial characteristic that the Lord underlines in his Olivet discourse. In fact, he highlights this theme a total of three times in the same teaching (Matthew 24: 4, 11, 24).

Why does the Lord put emphasis on this of all things? Surely because deception will be one of the main causes of untold destruction in the final moments of history. Moreover, the careful reader will note that Christ did not address this issue as a mere prophetic prediction but as a practical warning for his people.

"See that no one leads you astray."

Is it possible for Christians to be deceived? Read the epistles and you may be shocked to realize the warnings the Holy Spirit makes about a wide range of lies that believers are susceptible to being duped by. However, there is no reason to fear because the same Holy Spirit who cautions us also provides the insights that can protect us from being hoodwinked in any way (2 Thess. 2:2). Though we may each possess a dangerously tricky heart and are treading through a world energized by demonic forces, we can know a concrete safety from all sorts of seducing spirits. Consider the following portion of Scripture:

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. — 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
 
Notice the description of those who will embrace the falsehood that will be masterfully propagated by the coming Antichrist: it will be those who refused to love the truth. Some may have an intellectual grasp on the truth, be intrigued by the philosophies around the truth, or even be able to explain key aspects of the truth, but none of that equates to loving the truth.

Paul does not say that the lack of exposure to God's revelation will cause men to be dizzied by deception, but a stubborn refusal to surrender to the terms and claims that God makes. Jesus, the embodiment of truth, said plainly, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). To love the truth is to submit to the truth, no matter how it changes you or what it costs you. It looks like standing for that which is right, even if you have to stand alone. It means unashamedly embracing the entirety of what God has disclosed. If not, we are in danger of making Peter's mistake when he opened his mind to Satan's suggestions because he championed a conquering Messiah but could not accept the idea of a suffering One (Matthew 16:23). Picking and choosing from God's word is a guaranteed foothold for some form of deception to dominate our thinking.

In essence, to love the truth is to be convinced and conformed to the complete will and purpose of God as revealed in the Bible. It is to wholeheartedly exalt divine revelation above all opposing beliefs, all presuppositions, all ancient traditions, all cultural narratives, all subjective emotional reasonings, and all personal experiences.

Dear reader, much more can be said about how we are able to grow in life-saving discernment, but nothing is more foundational than what has been briefly presented. As we navigate through a culture that is abandoning common sense and is vilifying those who uphold the supremacy of God’s word, I urge you to love the truth now more than ever.

4 Comments


Lori - September 15th, 2022 at 6:39pm

Yes! May we love truth as we love Him who is Truth. Thank you, Daniel.

Ruth - September 16th, 2022 at 7:53pm

This is much needed exhortation in this current climate that needs to reach **every** follower of Christ. I realized—after listening to your teaching teaching on this topic via YouTube that I had slowly allowed myself to become majorly deceived and numb to sin.



I have been praying daily for discernment and being able to recognize deception—both self-deception and deception via others. In hindsight, the mainstream media (NYT, Washington Post,CNN et al) is a major player in deception and pushing an anti-Biblical world view. I think we are close to seeing pushback by Christians against deception in this country labeled as “hate speech.”

Tevita Kefu - September 16th, 2022 at 10:50pm

Amen

Michelle - September 17th, 2022 at 4:08am

It is so easy to be deceived. Easier than the believers think. Society has worked carefully over many years through media to desensitize people by bombarding their ears and eyes with hidden suggestions. The only way to combat this is to get into the word and pray in the spirit. Wash your eye and ears with the word. I listen to the audio Bible when I am working. Get close to the Holy Spirit. Make him your best friend. He knows everything and will keep you safe. Don't think you can tango with the world and you won't get burned. People twist the word to suite their own agendas all the time. Know the word. I can't stress it enough. Feed your spirit man. Fill up your lamp with oil. The word says in PS 119: 105 Your word is lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Also get yourself in a bible based, spirit filled and fruit baring church. Also, watch teaching from churches like Maranatha Bible Church. There is no such thing as too much word. I am constantly feeding my spirit. Take responsibility for your relationship with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.