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Deception In The Church

John Collins03/04/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/PNSa7rt5Yxw

I enjoy watching football, although my favorite NFL team, the Chiefs, have not had a team worth watching for several years.  They have had good players come and go, but as a whole, the team just can’t seem to pull anything off.

For a while, they got some good players that were at the dying end of their great careers, like Joe Montana.  During his prime, Montana was an incredible quarterback, very fun to watch.  His throwing arm is one for the hall of fame, and will never be forgotten.

But while in the active roster, nobody cares one single thing about how great he was in the past.  Even if he were to win every single game he played several years ago, fans want to be sure that he can do the same thing now.  They want to know that he will be able to do it going forward if they are to keep him on the team.

If Montana were a prophet, and the team were a church, they wouldn’t care one bit if he prophesied about events during the 2nd World War.  They wouldn’t care if he once had the ability to prophesy about the animals he used to kill in expensive hunting trips.  In fact, they wouldn’t care about future kills in future hunting trips, because they had absolutely nothing to do with the church!

If Montana were a prophet, and the team were a church, they would want to know that he had the ability to lead them spiritually.  Cars shaped like eggs would not matter.  How Marilyn Monroe died would seem like a silly thing, spiritually speaking.  If he got the wrong bridge during a prophecy, and men died in the past, people would not listen to him, because all of this is looking backward and not looking forward to the coming of Christ.

Yet, after the deception came, we have between two and four million cult followers looking backwards instead of forward!  We have helpless cult followers standing like drones praising the works of a dead guy!  

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a solid and clear warning against deceivers, as well as a very accurate prediction that deceivers will turn many away from God.

The serpent deceived Eve, and she ate of the fruit in the garden.  Deuteronomy gives this warning: Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them (Deuteronomy 11:16)

Paul gives warnings in every letter sent to the church:

Colossians:

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Romans:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Ephesians:

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Thessalonians: 

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

Corinthians:

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Romans:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Timothy:

while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Titus:

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.

Phllippians:

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

1st John

I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.  Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

2nd John

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Even the book of Jude – only one single chapter – contains a warning of the deception that is coming:

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

These are very strong warnings.  If God thought it important enough to include in every book of the New Testament, don’t you think we should pay attention?  The writers of these books are calling out to us from the grave, holding up large signs of warning!

Paul’s first letter to Timothy starts with a warning of these men that would rise to deceive the church.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

Listen to what Paul is saying here.  Myths, things that have no bearing whatsoever on your salvation!  Promoting speculations rather than stewardship from God!  This is exactly what we see today!

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

I almost wonder if Paul had seen a vision of the Branham cult!  “Vain discussions!”  Whether or not a large bear was killed.  Whether or not antlers measured a certain length or if that second bear was ever killed as he had prophesied!  What do these things matter to our salvation?

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

This is exactly what Branham did!  Preaching law, not even understanding the law itself!  Applying certain Mosaic Laws to the church, not even knowing that he himself was breaking other parts of that same Law!  Paul just said that the Law was written for people like William Branham and his two homosexual “tape boys!”

Paul says that we need to rise above these evil men:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 

Christ came for SINNERS!  Not to save the saved!  Not for a “little bride!”

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul trusted Timothy to keep the wolves out from among the sheep.  False teachers like William Branham were certain to come into the church, severing the Body of Christ. 

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  once we found out that we were part of the Body of Christ that was severed, what did we do?  Did we flop around like an arm that was chopped off, saying how glad we were that we aren’t with the head, legs, and torso?  Or did we do everything we could to join back to the body?


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