1st Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves1 with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings,24:2 influenced by the hypocrisy of liars3 whose consciences are seared.4 (NET Bible)
Whoa! Today's passage is a pretty harsh warning, isn't it? The thing is, though, that this is easy to do. We have our own wants and desires and there are a number of preachers that speak to those wants and desires instead of honestly preaching the Word. The easiest way to pinpoint such "liars whose consciences are seared" is to pay close attention to the words they use. Pay attention to the grammar they use. In other words, who or what is the subject of their sentences. If the subjuect of most of their sentences is you or me or even other people including themselves, their message is most likely not from God. They may use the Bible and the Biblical quotes they use may make sense in their contexts, but they are still lying through their teeth to us!
Whether they know it or not, these preachers are following in the footsteps of the devil not those of Christ Jesus. From the very beginning the evil one has twisted God's words into lies. He told Eve that she would not die if she ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And what happened? Even though God said that she would die, Eve did not die. So who lied; God of Satan? The answer has to be Satan. And, so do these preachers who preach a message other than Christ Jesus and Him crucified for our sins and risen for our lives!
How do we guard ourselves from these charlatans in sheeps clothing? How do we know when they are taking the Lord's Words in vain and twisting them to their own profit? The first clue is to listen closely to their words, like we've already discussed. The most important things for us to do, however is to be faithful to our Lord. Everyday, we need to be on our knes and in the Word. In other words, we need to be continually diligent in building our relationship with God by praying and studying the Bible. Then, just as sheep know their shepherd (and who is not) we will recognize what is of God (and what is not).
Lord protect us from the evil one. Grant us eyes that see and ears that herer so that we may be ever diligent in or walk with you. In Jesus' Name we pray. AMEN.
Our challenge today is to practice discerning what is from God in our lives and always to remember to pray.