SOME SERIOUS WARNINGS FROM JESUS
By Rodney W. Francis
In Matthew Chapter 24 Jesus gives us some serious warnings about being deceived. He warned us: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive (“to make to wander, cause to err, lead astray; used of religious deceit or doctrinal error” – Bullinger’s) many” . . . “many false prophets (“a false hypocritical prophet, one falsely professing to come as a messenger, and with a message from God”) will rise up and deceive many” . . . “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it” (verses 4-5, 11, 23-26). Why do we not need to be going here and going there looking for answers? Because “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21 ). As a result of lawlessness becoming more and more real, many Christians will be affected by the world’s happenings that Jesus said the love of many would grow cold: “And because iniquity (“violation of law; non-observance or transgression of the law, whether unknown or wilfully violated; lawlessness” – Bullinger’s) shall abound (“to be multiplied”), the love of many shall wax cold” (verse 12, KJV). The Bible clearly reveals the worldly situation for these days we are living in, and exhorts us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and not be side-tracked by the ungodly developments taking place all around us. Governments around the world are more and more making laws that are in direct contradiction to the way of God and His teachings, and that means that we Bible-believing Christians are being pressured to change our views and go along with the world’s ways and decisions. If we do not personally know God’s will and plan for our lives, then we can very easily be swayed by the world’s ways, and start compromising and becoming mixed-up with what we believe. Knowing the principles and teachings of the Bible is so important today. Make sure you are spending time searching the Scriptures and knowing the truth that sets you free (John 8:31-36 ).
BE NOT DECEIVED!
Deception of the truth of Jesus Christ is rampant today. Deception is something that takes us away from the truth of the Bible, but in a way that the deceived person believes they really know and have the truth! Once mixture of the truth comes in, then we become powerless Christians and finish up with religious beliefs and not having a genuine real-life experience and relationship with the Living Lord Jesus!
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked (“to turn up one’s nose at in scorn; hence, to mock, deride”); for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption (“a spoiling, corruption, destruction; the bringing or being brought into a worse state”), but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8 ). When people do not know the Scriptures, then deception can come in easily! Every Christian needs to have a daily devotional time of praying and searching the Bible to know the truth that it proclaims to us.
- It is very important that we build genuine relationships with other Christians who are living fully for Jesus Christ, so that they can “speak” into our life if they are concerned at what we are saying, doing, etc., that are not the way of the Scriptures.
- Do you have such people around you?
- Are you teachable enough to listen to any words of concern, correction, etc.?
We cannot afford to be living in deception. Therefore having close and genuine Christian friends around us we can be helped out of deception if we have been caught-up in it. Many deceivers use the Bible to quote and try to back-up their beliefs; but it is knowing the Scriptures ~ and allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture ~ that keeps us free of being deceived by the many false prophets who are functioning today. The Bible warns us: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (see 2 Peter Chapter 2).
The Apostle Paul warned us with these words: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage (“heavy, oppressive; afflictive, violent, severe”) wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse (“misleading”) things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore watch (“keep awake”), and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31 ).
In revelation Chapter 2 we read of “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I (God) hate” (verse 15). That doctrine was started by none other than Nicolas, one of the seven chosen men in Acts Chapter 6. They were chosen because of their “good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (verse 3). They were also men “full of faith, and of the Holy Spirit” (verse 5). Nicolas started his Christian walk right with God, but somewhere along the way he got side-tracked and deceived, and started to preach and teach that doctrine which God hated! He got away from the truth of the Gospel and became an instrument in the hand of the devil to deceive other Christians and lead them astray.
Then there was Balaam (Numbers Chapters 22 to 24), who traded his life of truth and honesty to get caught-up in the making of money. The Bible says he “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:12-22 ). It also said of him: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots (“stains, or hidden reefs”) in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Read the Book of Jude).
Our heart attitude towards money is a huge challenge for many Christians today. We cannot afford to be motivated by money. It is destructive when used wrongly. Judas Iscariot is a warning in Scripture to not allow money to motivate or drive you: “But one of His (Jesus’) disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii (about one year’s wages for a worker) and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:4-6 ). The love for more money was Judas’ downfall. He finally sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He is now regretting that for all eternity. But notice this: not one of the other disciples discerned Judas’ heart or motives! Even when Jesus said it was the one who dipped his hand with Jesus in the dish, they still did not know who it was (Matthew 26:21-25 ). Judas was deceived by his love for more money. It caused him to commit suicide in the end. According to statistics that I have seen, one of the highest rates of suicide in the world today is among millionaires! Money does not bring the satisfaction that many claim it does. For Christians, our trust is to be in Jesus Christ. Look what the Bible declares: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 ). Think about that. His riches in glory far surpass anything we can ever imagine! Jean and I have lived by faith without a salary since 1st January 2000. He told us not to ask people to support us financially, and He would show us what He could do for us. We have lived that way since that time and have been amazed at how He has faithfully provided for us. Every month every bill is paid ~ both in The GFM Ministry and our own personal lives. Hallelujah! It concerns me to receive virtually daily requests from Christian Ministries around the world asking for financial assistance to keep their ministries going, feeding their orphans, etc. Christians, we must keep our eyes on a Faithful God and not look to God’s faithful to meet our needs! Be alert! Sincerely ~ Rodney W. Francis.