The Deception

5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
— Matthew 24:5-8

The word sorrows in verse 8 can be translated birth pangs. Now I’m no expert at labor pangs, but I’ve heard ladies describe it. And Jesus says in our text that it is the same when it comes to the end times.

From what I've been told, labor pains start low and they increase in intensity as they continue. They also start slow and increase in frequency. That is exactly the way it will be with the signs of the times which are many.

This week I have been talking about deception and I want to continue that this morning. In verses 4 and 5 is a word of caution from the Lord that before the antichrist, the great deceiver, there will be others who do the same. I won’t name names because there are far too many in our lifetime who claim to be God (or God's spokesman), and many are gaining bigger and bigger followings.

I like what Hal Lindsey said talking about some churches after the rapture, “When Jesus returns many churches will not have to look for a new pastor.” I believe that to be a very true statement. I believe many churches will hardly be affected by its membership. The Bible says that God will cause the one's left here to believe the lie of antichrist as to why many disappeared. That's another sermon.

There are many things seeding deception today. One is Heresy in the church. 1 Timothy 4:1 says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” It didn't say they were departing from church but the faith (Truth).

George Barna does Christian research using Gallup Polling methods, and every year his research shows how those who call themselves Christians move further and further from Bible truth. I got these statistics several years ago so you can imagine the numbers have risen.

-46% now say the devil is not real, just symbolic of evil

-All believe in heaven but nearly 2/3rd’s say there is no hell.

-Many deny the virgin birth, the inspiration of the Bible, and that Jesus could have lived completely sinless in this world.

Over the last 30 years or so there has been a major movement to embrace signs and wonders, and the health and wealth gospel, and people are being conditioned to accept anything their leader says as long as he says God told it to him. It used to be that everyone gasped for breath when someone like Oral Roberts said a 900 foot Jesus appeared to him, or Kenneth Hagan said Jesus came to his bedroom and dictated a sermon to him verbatim. Do I believe Jesus appeared to these men? I believe Jesus is at the right hand of God just like the Bible says he is!

I don’t deny the existence of the spirit world, it is real and all around us, but all that glitters is not God! The Holy Spirit and angels are real, but they are not the only supernatural beings around us. The devil is real and his demons right along with him. It’s a huge deception going on all around us today and weak Christians are gullible.

The antichrist we know will come with signs, wonders, and miracles, and all he needs are people who are conditioned to see that and say, “It must be of God!” Hey, we’re there already today.

Not only do we have Heresy in the church seeding deception but also a Blurring of the truth.

Satan is mixing error in with truth in the church, and he’s also mixing all churches together these days with the notion that we all must get together, lay aside our doctrine, and be one big happy family. It sounds good when you hear them saying, "We’re all going to heaven, just taking different roads. We all believe in the same God even if we call Him by different names. After all love is more important than doctrine." Listen to me, doctrine unites us or doctrine divides us. Religious leaders are wanting to tear down the walls of doctrine!

If you want to talk about tearing down walls between churches, you’d better be talking about walls of racism, legalism, or false doctrine, then I’m all for coming together. I’m not one to major on the minors and have all kinds of preferences that I consider tests of fellowship. But don’t tell me that doctrine doesn't matter, that God just wants us to love one another. TRUTH comes first!

Secondary separation is a lot like Pharisee-ism to me. But on the other hand there are some essentials to true Biblical Christianity and when you tear those walls down you are in violation of Scripture which commands us not only to maintain such standards, but to separate from those who do not.

In my opinion, the ecumenical movement does more harm than good in this world and is a greased slide toward the one world church coming during the Great Tribulation.

Spiritual deception is everywhere, not only in the church. It’s open season on Christians today, from the media to politics, to Hollyweird! (No, I didn't miss-spell Hollyweird!) And the general population has bought into the lies of Secular Humanism, situational ethics, evolution, and New Age Philosophy. Our senses are dulled and deception is already at epidemic levels.

Be like those Berean's in Acts 17 who searched the Scriptures daily to see if Paul and Silas were preaching the truth. God Bless!