One of the greatest signs that the return of Jesus Christ is at the doorstep is the amount of deception taking place around the world, especially within the professing church. Perhaps it became most evident with the events surrounding the ecumenical patriotism of Glenn Beck's interfaith rally to "bring the country back to god."
Evangelical leaders held hands with Jewish rabbis (who deny Jesus), Muslim imams (who deny Jesus), Catholic priests (who deny Jesus), Mormon teachers (who deny Jesus), and untold others (who deny Jesus) for the sake of "saving America". Most notable among evangelicals was the presence of televangelist John Hagee, who is known for preaching a false gospel that Jews do not need to come through the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
Even so, hundreds of thousands showed up for the event last weekend to put the nation's focus back "on god" (who's god anyway?), and countless other Americans across the country are on the same bandwagon. What's more, the majority, dare I say, are professing evangelical Christians who have bought into the deception hook, line, and sinker. I have seen a few myself who have had the blindfolds removed (praise God!), but many have yet to see the undercurrent of lawlessness taking place.
My dear friends, the deception is here to stay.
My pastor, Loran Livingston, preached two timely and must hear messages today. I've wondered over the last couple of weeks if I would hear him discuss these recent spiritual events concerning Glenn Beck and as soon as I heard him speak of deception as he opened up this morning, I knew it was coming. Among his first words were,
"Deception isn't what you think it is, that's why it's deception."
How simple and profound, and yet many continue to be deceived despite the ear-piercing alarm that has been sounding these last couple of weeks (and longer). How have we gotten here? How did we get to the place where fundamental Christian principles are compromised? How did we manage to find ourselves blurring the lines of patriotism and our faith to the point where one might consider the terms (faith and patriotism) to be interchangeable?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not being preached any longer, collectively speaking. And when the unadulterated Gospel is no longer preached, a void forms, and has formed, only to be filled by self-improvement therapy gurus and consumerist vultures. People seek to be freed from social bondage rather than the spiritual bondage sin has over them. The Gospel has largely been lost in the modern Church, and as a result, many are being deceived because they no longer spend time alone with Jesus through prayer and study, but rather their minds are filled by the latest book, video, or self-help program being sold by the latest trend-setter. What has resulted is a compromised church - and we saw this last weekend at the 8/28 rally.
Untold numbers of professing Christians are being led by a conservative Mormon - a member of a cult that denies the deity of Christ, that denies faith alone in the blood of Christ alone, that teaches God is flesh and bone just as humans, and that believes Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer! Yet ignorant professing Christians are being deceived into thinking that Mormons are Christians too and as long as we are praying to "god", then that's all that matters because we just want what's best for the country. Blasphemy! If it doesn't line up with the Word of God, it's antichrist!
But the deception does not end there. It is important to understand that the majority of the professing church today are not part of the Body of Christ. As we are in the Last Days, we are the final church spoken of by Jesus in Revelation 3:14-22 known as Laodicea. We are a fallen church. A compromised church. A lukewarm church. A deceived church. As such, there are many professing Christians who will spend an eternity in hell because their profession of faith is built on sand. They are false converts, and they are deceived.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11,
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
Ephesians 5:6-7 also warns us,
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them."
This is the bottom line: those who practice these things as a lifestyle will not inherit the Kingdom of God. When the Lord Jesus Christ saves you and regenerates you by the power of the Holy Spirit, you become a new creation (2 Corinthians 13:5). God exchanges your old heart for a new one, thus the power that sin had over you is broken such that Christ will reign in your life thereafter and forever. But there are many who profess the name of Jesus but they live no differently than before they made that profession. They still run with the same crowd, go to the same places, and do the same things as they did before. They do not understand 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, where it says,
"Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." 34Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame."
They love the world and the things of the world, and God calls them a liar. They have no fellowship with the brethren, the have no love for the Body of Christ, they have no fellowship with God, and they have no love for God or the things of God. They lie and they do not practice the truth (please read the book of 1 John).
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
A lifestyle of serving your own pleasures and desires is not compatible with a lifestyle controlled by the Spirit of God. Nominal Christians whose lives are marked by sin are only fooling themselves into thinking they will see heaven one day. My friend, you cannot serve yourself and/or the world and also serve the Lord Jesus Christ. It is one or the other, all or nothing.
Looking back at 1 Corinthians 6:11, if you are truly saved, you are no longer a fornicator or a drunkard or an idolater because your life is no longer defined by this lawlessness. You no longer pursue these works of darkness but rather you pursue righteousness and the things of God because God has implanted His seed in you, if you are indeed His child. If God's seed is in you, you will no longer habitually practice the works of the flesh. You will no longer practice a lifestyle of sin. 1 John 3:7-9,
"Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God."
To further contrast the old man and the new man in Christ, consider the following Scriptures:
"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them."
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit[b]is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."
Dear reader, do you hate sin? Or do you take pleasure in it? Do you love God, or do you love the world? Who is your Lord? Jesus, or Satan? God or money? Do you pursue holiness or unrighteousness? Do you thirst and hunger for the Word of God or what this world offers you through entertainment? Who are your closest friends? Christians or non-Christians? Who would you rather spend your time with?
These are serious questions to ask yourself - for all of us to ask ourselves. Jesus Christ demands us to be willing to give up everything for Him. He says in Luke 14:33,
"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."
Have you been deceived? Have you tried to have one foot in the Kingdom of God and one foot in the kingdom of this world? If you are sitting on the fence, just remember, Satan owns the fence. Is that where you find yourself? Are you ready to change that? Are you ready to forsake it all for Jesus Christ?
Lives were saved today by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. Their sins were covered by the blood of Jesus Christ because they repented from a lifestyle of sin and trusted in Him alone to forgive them. God knows who they are and they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit to receive eternal life. Would you like to become one of them? Would you like to become one of us in the Body of Christ? Washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Turn to God and be healed. He awaits you at the Mercy Seat. Come to the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Deny yourself, deny your will, and give everything that you are to everything that He is.
As for Glenn Beck and his agenda, what will you do, Christian? The line in the sand has been drawn. Will you stand with your brothers and sisters in Christ on the solid Rock of the Word of God and defend it at all costs? Or will you continue down the path to the alter of ecumenical patriotism, thus sacrificing the Gospel for the sake of country? I promise you, the wheels will eventually come off that bandwagon - it will be better for you to jump off now than to sail over the cliff of peril.
I invite you to listen to this morning's message on deception - isn't it time you stopped being deceived?