that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13
There are those Christian preachers who blame all the problems in the lives of Christians on their carnality and on the words they speak! While Apostle Paul prayed for the individual Christians in Ephesus that God would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man and told them to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places!
To wrestle not only implies force but physical contact otherwise there is no wrestling match. Hence to beat our opponent the devil we must be have strength and power that comes from the LORD, otherwise we will be defeated and even deceived as the devil plays games with our minds, wills and emotions including to cause us to walk by sight instead of by faith trusting and believing God and His word no matter what!
Speaking of deception which is a very common wile of the devil which he used on Eve, Dr. Larry Ollison in his article Self-Deception Can Be Deadly states:
Sometimes we are deceived and it is not Satan who deceives us.
First Corinthians 3:18 says, “Let no one deceive himself.” And in 1 John 1:8 it says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We can see clearly from these two verses that it is possible to deceive ourselves.
But how do we deceive ourselves anyway? Once again let’s go to the Word. James 1:22-25 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
So, according to the Bible, a man who hears the Word and does not do it deceives himself. Because he hears the Word of God, he has convinced himself that everything is okay. The reality however is that everything is not okay. He just thinks it is. Therefore he has deceived himself.
In Matthew 7:24, Jesus tells the story of two men who built houses. One man, a wise man, built his house on the rock and when the storms came, his house withstood the storms.
The other man, a foolish man, built his house on the sand. When the storms came, his house was destroyed. Jesus said the man who built his house on the rock was like someone who hears His sayings and does them. He compared the foolish man who built his house on the sand to a man who heard His sayings and did not do them.
Both men built houses and probably both houses looked good. Both men heard the sayings of Jesus and that’s good. But when the storms came, only the house built on the rock, only the man who acted on what he heard, survived. Acting on the Word of God is what we call FAITH.
We must not deceive ourselves. Hearing the Word of God without acting on the Word can be deadly. God didn’t give us His Word just so we would be highly educated. Education is good. It’s a good thing to read and study God’s Word, but without action it profits us nothing. That’s what the scribes and Pharisees did at the time of Jesus and Jesus rebuked them for their hypocrisy.
So, we have a choice to make. Do we hear the Word and sit back and say, “That sounds pretty good” and do nothing? Or, do we hear the Word and then act on what we hear?
A doer of the Word is someone who prays for the sick. A doer of the Word is someone who forgives. A doer of the Word is someone who loves those who don’t love in return. A doer of the Word is someone who casts out demons. A doer of the Word is someone who has not deceived himself.
Both Jesus and Apostle Paul taught us that we are not to let no one deceive us especially false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing. The bible tells us:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:15-23
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 be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:6-14
If deception of Christians by empty words of deceivers were not possible then Apostle Paul would not warn Christians about it or that because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience and also tells us do not be partakers with them.
And scriptures doesn’t tell us that exposing the unfruitful works of darkness which are done by the sons of disobedience is wrong but rather children of light are to become aware of them, expose them and to have no fellowship with the perpetrators of evil, lies, deception and wickedness many of whom are goats not sheep! And God’s word is true:
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:41-46
Jesus taught that the goats who did not give him food when He was hungry, give him drink when He was thirsty, take Him in when He was a stranger, clothe Him when He was naked, visit Him when He was sick and in prison would go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Yes, all those who did not minister to the least of one of these are unrighteous. And since Jesus wrote the rules and enforces them, they are in deep trouble.
Yes, Jesus taught that all His words were not to be ignored or there would be serious consequences. He also told us to beware of men who would come as wolves in sheep’s clothing and would teach the doctrine of men as commandments of God (Matthew 16:9). He also taught:
· ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.’ ”
· ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
· ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ”
Yes, these are the keys to proper ministry and Christian living for God’s word is unchanging:
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.’ ”
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. “For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ “and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ”
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:6-12
The enemy and men are great liars and deceivers and love to appeal to the lusts of men including mouthing words that sound nice and appear to true but have no basis in fact. In order to ensnare those who are gullible, even the righteous, the eloquent words that men speak about something must appear to be true and must have an element of truth in them. It’s a well known fact that if something appears too good to be true, then it’s not true. Even though many pastors and preachers have promised a hundred fold returns for money sowed into their ministries, very few, if any, of the sheep can testify that they have had a consistent hundred return fold from their giving into a particular ministry. Yet God’s word is unchanging:
“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ “How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, “who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal. “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the LORD. “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
“Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” says the LORD, “who steal My words every one from his neighbor. “Behold, I am against the prophets,” says the LORD, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says.’ “Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” says the LORD, “and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,” says the LORD. “So when these people or the prophet or the priest ask you, saying, ‘What is the oracle of the LORD?’ you shall then say to them, ‘What oracle?’ I will even forsake you,” says the LORD. “And as for the prophet and the priest and the people who say, ‘The oracle of the LORD!’ I will even punish that man and his house. Jeremiah 23:25-34
Even though quite a few pastors and preachers prophecy false dreams and vision and cause God’s people to err by their lies and by their recklessness, God did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit the people at all. And God will in due season punish those are false and those who listen to their lies.
We are to check everything that we hear about God and His word with His written word, the bible, and with the Holy Spirit. If it is really His word then there must be a confirmation with two witnesses and with miracles, signs and wonders – otherwise it not from God but from man or the devil.
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