18 August, 2006

There Is A Spirit of Deception Active In These Last Days

I am convinced that we are living in the last days. Read your Bible and watch the news and you will see how it is all coming together just as it was laid out for us in scripture thousands of years ago. I don't want to talk about the world events that we see unfolding before our eyes; rather I want to write about what is happening within the church.

Paul wrote to Timothy and said: "But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience." (1 Timothy 4:1-2 MKJV)

We are seeing this happen more and more as we see the return of Christ drawing near. Volumns could be written about these deceptions creeping into the church, but I will only highlight a couple that I have personally had to contend with, either in my church or with people that I know in recent weeks and months. Again, there are many, many deceptions and false doctrines that I could write about, and I may at a later date, but for the sake of time and space I will limit this discussion for now.

The first one is the deception that one really does not need to go to church on a regular basis. George Barna has written a book in which he predicts that over the next 10 years there will be a huge movement away from the church as we know it, toward "home churches." First, I will contend that Barna's book, rather than being a prediction, will serve as a catalyst to drive folks out of the church. I have already seen it happening since his book came out. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will. It may sound self-serving for a pastor to say this, but I believe this trend will in fact happen, and that the Body of Christ will suffer greatly because of it. I believe Jesus had something to say about sheep being without a shepherd. Mark it down, this will be the demise of many good folks who isolate themselves from the flock, thereby opening themselves up to the destruction of the wolf.

More directly, something that I contend with on a regular basis is how people seem to think that they are getting so close to God that that they no longer need to come to church regularly. Those words are never spoken directly, but it is obvious to how the deception works. There are several that I personally know and some I pastor at this time, who contend very strongly that they are growing closer to the Lord than they have ever been before, and that they are hearing His voice more like they never have before, and that they worship and sing and dance before the Lord in their homes.... and yet, they are attending church services less and less.
Hello? Am I the only one that sees a problem here?
If you are getting closer to God, hearing His voice more... then shouldn't you be obeying his commands found in His Word?
Hebrews 1:23-25 says: "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised), and let us consider one another to provoke to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching."

I contend that this is a seducing spirit that is creeping into peope's lives, making them think that
they are getting closer to God, while all the while, they are being led further and further away, once again, isolating themselves, where the wolf is stalking his prey.
It simply contradicts God's Word (quoted above) to think that God would draw you away from the fellowship and worship with other believers.
That spirit that these people are drawing close to cannot be of God, or else God is a liar, for He would not say one thing in His Word and then ask you to do something contrary to that Word. Someone recently told me that they "had a word" from God that they were to stay home, to islolate themselves from everyone else and just draw close to God. I have to question just what "god" they are drawing close too, because again, God will not violate His own Word.

Another lie that is gaining steam in the Body of Christ is universalism. Carlton Pearson who pastors in Oklahoma is a champion of what he calls the "doctrine of inclusion." In short, he teaches that everyone is already saved, they just don't know it. He teaches that there is no literal Hell. According to Pearson, when Christ died, he died for everyone. (This is true.) But he adds this twist: Since Christ's blood saved everyone, they are already saved, they just don't know it yet. He believes everyone will be in heaven.

Does this sound like a doctrine that only fools would believe? Think again. Last week Pearson was featured in an interview on NBC on Sunday night, and this has been the hotbed of discussion all week. On a discussion board where I frequent, well known pentecostal preachers agreed with Pearson. One Church of God pastor argued that the Hell we have preached for years is cruel and that we should come up with one that is more humane. Give me a break!
I did not come up with Hell... Jehovah God did! And he made it so that NO ONE has to go there! Can we say doctrine of devils and seducing spirits?

I will end this one for now because of it's length, but I will be revisiting this one again soon.


David Reish said...

Here's what gets me, back in the days of old, if anyone spoken against or came against God in any way, shape or form, they were either struck instantly dead or something EXTREMELY bad happened to them. With this said, how do these guys, supposed and testifying Christians at that, get away with this nonsense that they are preaching and teaching? I understand grace, but come one, these guys are leading countless amounts of people to an end that is in fact cruel.

Hell is real, as too is the operator of the place. every account we find in reference to the place is one that isn't great or grand and surely not a place one wants to vacation in.

Church of God ministers standing in their pulpits, preaching and teaching that the Holy Spirit can't move in their services and that there will be no speaking in tongues would be sign enough for me to find another church to attend. Add to that all this new emerging stuff and candy-coated messages and feel good services, something has went horribly wrong in the church.

BASICS people... read the Word for yourself, pray over it, meditate on it and you will find the truth. The Word of God is plain in its writing... BASICS!

I'm with you, Pastor, preach on adn preach the truth!

Henry Haney said...

Man you are so right! I had a lady attending my church (occasionally I should add) who felt like she could get all she needed laying in bed having conversations with God instead of attending church.

And the "stuff" she was supposedly hearing from Him, didn't match up with the Word. I think the devil loves the "isolation strategy"- get sheep off by themselves and then devour them!

I have been studying I Thessalonians lately and I'm convinced that we need the gospel-not in "word only" but in the power of the Holy Spirit! (I Thes 1:5). These so-called ministers who want to strip the gospel of it's power are fulfilling prophecy (II Timothy 3:5). The church is "emerging" alright....into a pit of apostacy!!!! Thank you for taking a stand Bro. Darrell!

libbygarrett said...

Isn't this all fulling prophecy? "In the last days there will be a great falling away." There is also a statement as to how the "very elect" could be led astray. I may not have the quotes exactly right, but the point is this. If these people are truly studying their Bibles and praying to GOD, their actions would be to RUN TO God and His house NOT run FROM Him!

The warning is clear that isolating themselves from the church and God's body is dangerous! Even the ananolgies of the Body of Christ contradict the isolatist theory. How can a finger or even a head be of any use all alone! These people have fallen victim to the "tickle the ears" message. They had better wake up!

libby said...

That was supposed to say "isolationist theory".

Exqsme said...

This is all very sad and very true. I have family members who do not go to church, and havn't for years, claiming they are still close to God. If you erad the Word for your self even, and leave it up to your own interpretation all the time, how can you gain new thoughts or perspectives to be sure you're gleaning from the word what God has intended?

I also think that this mentality starts while people are faithfully attending churches. There are many people who attend churches... but are not actually there. They come in just to be there... but they do not actually participate. I think that when they get tired of just being there.. then they move on to the " I can get God on my own in my own home" mentality.

These are the times when you really have to open your eyes, pay attention!!! Be smarty and wise to the tactics of the devil. Even ministers themselves need to be careful and be watchful... I know for myself the devil has been tryign very hard to wear me out so I give up! But i remind myself what the word is, and I ATTEND CHURCH (the fact that Im the pastor's wife rofl.. I still need to attend church purposefully! )

Good stuff... I look forward to more!

Neil said...

There is also a spirit in the church that states: "I know what I need to do, but am not going to do it regardless what you say or do!" It says that I know even I know it is wrong I'll do it anyway!

We boxed ourselves into a religious box that says spiritual people spend their time in prayer and worship, read every line and translation of the Bible, and wait for an extra-biblical revelation so they can do what has already been revealed! Why should God take us to new levels when we can't be faithful at the one we're on?

Deborha's Palm Tree said...

waxed cold hearts, hmmm? If people really had a relationship with God and new HIM and HIS love for them....well, we wouldn't even be discussing this right now! The church needs to get back on track and realize what the cross represents. Anyway, good word pastor!

Barbara said...

I know people the same way, who have been Christians for years, but think now they can be just as good a Christian at home as they can in church. But, where does that leave the verse that says 'don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together' as you see the day approaching?

And, I can't imagine a Church of God preacher saying we need to tone down our speech on hell!

I used to like to listen to Carlton Pearson years ago. Hadn't listened in a long time, and then I heard what he is now teaching. Seems like the devil is truly on the war path; he's going to get everyone who lets him get his toe in the door! And, it's happening more and more. Yes, I do think we are living in the end times. God is going to say 'that's enough' one of these days and tell His Son to go get his children. I pray all my people are ready when He comes.