Monday, March 22, 2010

Deceiving spirits


1 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV) The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (2) Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. (3) They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. (4) For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, (5) because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.


The "last times" began with Christ's resurrection and will continue until his return when he will set up his Kingdom and judge all humanity.

False teachers were and still are a threat to the church. Jesus and the apostles repeatedly warned against them (Mark 13:21-23; 2 Peter 3:3-7). It is not enough that a teacher appears to know what he/she is talking about, is disciplined and moral, or says that he is speaking for God. If his words contradict the Bible,
his teaching is false. Like Timothy, we must guard against any teaching that causes believers to dilute or reject any aspect of their faith. Such false teaching can be very direct or extremely subtle. Believers ought to respond quickly when they sense false teaching being promoted. The truth does not mind honest questions. Sometimes the source may prove to be ignorant of the error and appreciate the correction. But a firm warning may at least keep potential victims from the disastrous results of apostasy that Paul described.

Satan deceives people by offering a clever imitation of the real thing. The false teachers gave stringent rules (forbidding people to marry or to eat certain foods). This made them appear self-disciplined and righteous. Their strict disciplines for the body, however, could not remove sin. We must not be unduly impressed by a teacher's style or credentials; we must look to his teaching about Jesus Christ. His conclusions about Christ show the source of his message.

Many leaders and authorities today demand allegiance, some of whom would even have us turn from Christ to follow them. When they seem to know the Bible, their influence can be dangerously subtle. They are modern-day false teachers. How can you recognize false teachers? (1) They teach what is contrary to the truth found in Scripture (1 Tim 1:3; 1 Tim 1:6-8; 1 Tim 4:1-3). (2) They promote trivial and divisive controversies instead of helping people come to Jesus (1 Tim 1:4). (3) They aren't concerned about personal evidence of God's presence in their lives, spending their time on "meaningless discussions" instead (1 Tim 1:6). (4) Their motivation is to make a name for themselves (1 Tim 1:7). To protect yourself from the deception of false teachers, learn what the Bible teaches and remain steadfast in your faith in Christ alone.


The Word of God makes it very clear that there are "deceiving spirits" at work all around us. At work, school, entertainment, in our families, in the ministry, and even in the church. We must be aware of the deception of the devil. He is sly, subtle, deceptive and a liar. The truth is not in him. He is the father of lies, and we must always remember this. He has crept into the teachings of the church world down through the years. How?

Matthew 7:15-16
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (16) By their fruit you will recognize them..."

With the increase of deceiving spirits, we need Spirit-led, spirit-fed, discernment. Where we KNOW what is of the Spirit of God, and what isn't!

The first deception ever recorded was the one where Satan, disguised as a serpent, convinced Eve that God didn't really mean what He said. And he's still using the same tactic. You hear it in comments like:

(a) "If you're sincere, it doesn't matter what you believe." What if you're sincerely wrong? If your car brakes don't work your sincerity won't stop you - telephone poles and buildings will.

(b) "We must be careful not to offend anyone." What if people don't want to hear the truth or live according to it? Should we soften or edit the Scriptures based on what we think they can handle? If you love someone, wouldn't you interrupt their sleep to keep them from burning up with the house?

(c) "There is truth in the Bible, but not all the Bible is true." Paul writes that "All Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). And Isaiah says, "If they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). One hundred centremetres make one metre, otherwise we're all open to each other's interpretations and subject to each other's value judgments - and somebody's going to get the short end of the stick.

Now, when we become arrogant in presenting the truth, then Christ's cause suffers and Spiritually hungry people are turned off. We, who have received grace and mercy, must show it. But let's not compromise what God's Word says. Interestingly, when polled recently, the majority of today's young people (aged 16 - 29) said, "Give it to me straight. And if you don't live it, don't give it!"

Bottom line: God's Word is wholly, fully, completely and altogether true. So be faithful to the Scriptures!


"Lord, I know that there is so much deception in our world. Everywhere you turn. Deception is on the increase, so I need to walk in the Spirit more than ever. Holy Spirit lead me, direct my steps. Just like someone points, tunes their satellite in to get a clearer picture, I tune my ears to Your Spirit this morning. I stand still...and listen as you speak and guide. Help me to do this daily. May I spend DAILY time in Your Word, reading, meditating, memorizing and praying Your Word. In Jesus name, amen!"