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Four Marks of Deception

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Loyal
Four Marks of Deception
May 23, 2014 Keith Ferguson
Last Sunday (5/18), I preached a sermon from Colossians 2:4-7. Verse 4 in particular has stayed with me. Paul shares his desire for the Colossians to “not be deceived by persuasive arguments.” He was concerned that the Christians in Colossae would hear arguments from others inside the church that sounded good at first but would ultimately lead them to destructive ends. As a pastor, I resonate with this concern. I meet with Christians all the time who are struggling in walk with God because they have believed something false.

Deception inside the church is notoriously difficult to see and refute because it always includes some portion of the truth. The most dangerous false-teachings, the ones that deceive the highest number of Christians, are half-truths, teaching one part of the Bible but hiding the whole truth. Every Christian has to grow in his or her ability to discern truth from error for three reasons. One, most deception is subtle, not overt. Two, your spiritual leaders can’t be with you at all times. And three, deceptive teaching leads to destructive living.

How can you begin to grow in your ability to discern truth from error? Let me give you four marks to look for:

First, false-teaching usually proposes something new or better than historic, orthodox Christianity. While Christian truth must be applied in fresh ways to the unique challenges each generation faces, this doesn’t require new truth. Deceivers tend to propose that they have insight into truth that has been hidden until now. Always beware of novelty when it comes to truth.

Second, false-teaching usually seeks to justify sin as acceptable to God. The moral code presented in the Bible has not changed since the canon was closed 2000 years ago. And yet, in every generation, some part of the moral foundation of Scripture is considered outdated. Usually, those who seek to change the moral teaching of the Bible want to justify something they already desire to do.

Third, false-teaching always appeals to some authority outside of the Bible. This authority can be a person or an organization or an experience. The deception lies in telling us that while Scripture is respected and valued, we must decide which parts of it are fully true and authoritative in today’s world. As soon as the whole Bible is removed as authoritative, truth is in trouble.

Fourth, false-teaching turns our eyes from Jesus and denies our need for His grace. In Colossians, Paul was concerned that some were encouraging the church to move on from Jesus to deeper truths. They were teaching that Christ was great, but not sufficient. This deception continues to this day. False-teachers tend to point people to themselves rather than Christ, emphasizing self-effort rather than dependence on God’s grace.

Hopefully, these guidelines begin to give you a grid by which to evaluate what you hear and read. In today’s world, everyone with a webpage, a blog, and a YouTube channel is “an accomplished author and speaker.” Be on guard against those who seek to deceive you with persuasive arguments and hold on tightly to Christ.
End.

The problem with being in deception is that you don't know you are in deception because, obviously, you are deceived....
 
Administrator
Staff Member
The solution to all these problems with so-called believers is rooted in the lack of reading the Word daily and believing in the Holy Spirit's power to guide them.

James 1:5-8
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
 
Loyal
Hey Chad I agree with you on daily reading the bible, I was trying to tell a friend something along those lines, he said the bible does not say you should read it every day, I am looking for something that I can help encourage him to read the bible every day. Any scripture you guys can recommend.
 
Administrator
Staff Member
@Dave M

If someone is not serious about the Word of GOD, then I'd say they're not serious about GOD Himself.

Here's some Scripture that puts emphasis on the importance and power of itself.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 119:11
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Matthew 4:4
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
 
Loyal
How often do each of us these United States (and other countries as well) feed his natural body of flesh each day? If we can do we not usually do so not less than three times and when we can we will add some snacks in between.

So then:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,.." John 1:14

"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." John 6:53

So then if we seek to eat so often for the benefit of our "old" carnal man that is dying in any case, should we not seek to eat even more often of the very Flesh of Jesus, the Word of God?
 
Moderator
Staff Member
@amadeus2
So we are truly deceived if we believe that we will grow in Him with little or no daily intake of His Word.
Another deception!
 
Loyal
@amadeus2
So we are truly deceived if we believe that we will grow in Him with little or no daily intake of His Word.
Another deception!
"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:" II Thess 2:10-11

What we may do is love the doctrines we presently support or the church group with which we fellowship regularly more than we love the truth. We may presume what we have already is all the truth while being in a measure about something in the doctrines and our special group. We need to love all of the truth even though we may not know what all of the truth is... even though some what we believe right is very seriously wrong.

The regularly eating of his Flesh and having it quickened by the Holy Spirit is what will lead out of error and yes... even out of delusion.
 
Moderator
Staff Member
@amadeus2

I've noticed that as well brother.
It's as if the fellowship & the environment of church take precedence, supersedes what truth is or is not.

Still, I have found other beacons of light that shine brightly still even there!

I've always associated 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 with a specific deception dealing with the rapture. I see our current times as more in line with with these two verses.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, [because] they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;" 2 Timothy 4:3

"whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." 2 Corinthians 4:4

Grateful I am that the Holy Spirit has provided the guidance in understanding His Word, and the sight to see if deception exists. With warning and His help. We are able to as you said "out of the delusion" and I would add "out from the deception and being deceived".

Always a joy with you brother!
In the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
C4E
<><



 
Loyal
Another interesting point about being deceived I am very curious about. What about about people who never read read the bible, but go to church (catholic) regularly and their heart is in the right place.WHen I say their heart is in the right place I mean it, they wont watch rated R movies, never under any circumstances miss church never curse try their very best to obey the 10 commandments loves their neighbor. I mean if you are borned into that faith you really do not know anything different, and I know I they (catholics) do not encourage their members to read the bible. They have been deceived their whole life praying the Mary, etc.... My thought is this is one of the many reasons and blessings that we are saved by grace, That if we are deceived by true ignorance on our part, it wont matter as long as our heart is in the right place. Would love to hear what others think on that.
 
Loyal
@Christ4Ever Individuals are deceived rather than entire church groups. The official doctrines of the a church may be in error but that in itself doesn't condemn anyone except perhaps those who were involved in establishing said doctrines. Anyone in any church group can be deceived or can be led by the Holy Spirit. If we really seek God's kingdom and righteousness first (Matt 6:33) we will not go wrong. We need God's help to do that. For that reason we not only are able to ask for help, but we should!

 
Loyal
Another interesting point about being deceived I am very curious about. What about about people who never read read the bible, but go to church (catholic) regularly and their heart is in the right place.WHen I say their heart is in the right place I mean it, they wont watch rated R movies, never under any circumstances miss church never curse try their very best to obey the 10 commandments loves their neighbor. I mean if you are borned into that faith you really do not know anything different, and I know I they (catholics) do not encourage their members to read the bible. They have been deceived their whole life praying the Mary, etc.... My thought is this is one of the many reasons and blessings that we are saved by grace, That if we are deceived by true ignorance on our part, it wont matter as long as our heart is in the right place. Would love to hear what others think on that.
When I was a Catholic 50 some years ago (prior to Vatican II) and what you said about being discouraged from Bible reading was quite true where I attended and served as an altar boy for so many years.

Now I know that they read the entire Bible in their Sunday services out loud every 2 years (as a result of Vatican II). They have improved in that. But, as to their hearts, that as you say is quite another thing.

My first remembered experience with God was when I was 6 years old being baptized in water by a Catholic priest. I felt God. My experience was nothing like what I have had since... especially since I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in 1976. However, we cannot set people aside simply because of where they are, (or are not), in God at the moment. Things can be changed. That is the result of real repentance.

As a devout young Catholic boy I worked hard to please God. I stumbled continuously and repeatedly had to return to the confessional. Was my heart toward God? I believe that it was, although I had a long way to go.

When we walk in ignorance but always working in sincerity to do the things of God as we know them, will we not please God? When we come to know that something is in error, we cannot ignore it and effectively sweeping it under the rug. I tried to be a faithful Catholic from age 6 until I graduated from high school. If I had died during that period, what would have been my result in the hereafter? God knows, doesn't He?
 
Active
@Christ4Ever Individuals are deceived rather than entire church groups. The official doctrines of the a church may be in error but that in itself doesn't condemn anyone except perhaps those who were involved in establishing said doctrines. Anyone in any church group can be deceived or can be led by the Holy Spirit. If we really seek God's kingdom and righteousness first (Matt 6:33) we will not go wrong. We need God's help to do that. For that reason we not only are able to ask for help, but we should!
A definition of a cult is an entire congregation that is deceived out of truth. When a visitor accepts their teaching, they are individually deceived, thereby joining the group deception. The deceived group then overpowers the individuals if the affected individuals stay on, or even leave while still holding to the errors of the group.

The Holy Spirit is not obliged to give truth to the deceived who seek no further "truth". He works from the basis of the Word of God. Beyond mental agreement with truth, not doing the word we hear can quickly result in a state of not ever effectually even heard the truth preached. I look at myself in the mirror daily when shaving, but soon am unable to portray my face accurately in a drawing. "Pappy, that isn't you. Let me draw you.",says my grand daughter.
 
Member
What about about people who never read read the bible, but go to church (catholic) regularly and their heart is in the right place
if we are deceived by true ignorance on our part, it wont matter as long as our heart is in the right place
Would love to hear what others think on that.
I have often wondered these same things! I know that I loved God as a child, and accepted Christ as my savior at a very young age, but it was not until my 30th year of life that I whole-heartedly repenented of my sins that eventually I realized I couldn't escape here in the flesh, and have since devoted much of my free time to studying scripture, daily if it be God's will. It is as if a light bulb has come on: and that is the most simple way I can think to explain myself.
If I had died at any point before then, before being washed by the water of the word, would I have been saved? (I do not claim to know the ways of God, for my ways are not as his ways).
There are several examples of people being saved just by their faith in God throughout the Old Testament, and by Jesus throughout his life on earth. (Saved by grace through faith) Scripture also tells us that God's grace is bigger than all sin. I suppose only God knows all the mighty ways of God.
:glasses: By His grace I am here today to share my thoughts!


Ezra 9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6: 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life

Romans 6: 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

John
Chapter 17
1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.


Very good stuff. Thanks for the post and God bless!
 
Loyal
A definition of a cult is an entire congregation that is deceived out of truth. When a visitor accepts their teaching, they are individually deceived, thereby joining the group deception. The deceived group then overpowers the individuals if the affected individuals stay on, or even leave while still holding to the errors of the group.
Anyone who doesn't have all of the answers, should be very slow to call a group a cult.

What group has no errors in its doctrines?

What individual has no errors in his understanding of the things of God?

Chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation lists rewards for "overcomers". But who are these "overcomers". Jesus is one who overcame the world (John 16:33) but who else has reached the point that He did? All who are in any measure believers in truth have overcome things to arrive at where they presently are in the Lord, but where is that for each of us? God knows. I don't so I rarely, if ever, call any group a cult. I leave that in God's capable hands.

We...? We need to, as I see it, take people one at the time as needed to deal with them. I want to overcome my world, as Jesus overcame his, before the end of my course here. This should, I believe, be our goal, a part of our vision:

"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" Isaiah 28:10

"Where there is no vision, the people perish:... Prov 29:18
 
Loyal
Four Marks of Deception
May 23, 2014 Keith Ferguson
Last Sunday (5/18), I preached a sermon from Colossians 2:4-7. Verse 4 in particular has stayed with me. Paul shares his desire for the Colossians to “not be deceived by persuasive arguments.” He was concerned that the Christians in Colossae would hear arguments from others inside the church that sounded good at first but would ultimately lead them to destructive ends. As a pastor, I resonate with this concern. I meet with Christians all the time who are struggling in walk with God because they have believed something false.

Deception inside the church is notoriously difficult to see and refute because it always includes some portion of the truth. The most dangerous false-teachings, the ones that deceive the highest number of Christians, are half-truths, teaching one part of the Bible but hiding the whole truth. Every Christian has to grow in his or her ability to discern truth from error for three reasons. One, most deception is subtle, not overt. Two, your spiritual leaders can’t be with you at all times. And three, deceptive teaching leads to destructive living.

How can you begin to grow in your ability to discern truth from error? Let me give you four marks to look for:

First, false-teaching usually proposes something new or better than historic, orthodox Christianity. While Christian truth must be applied in fresh ways to the unique challenges each generation faces, this doesn’t require new truth. Deceivers tend to propose that they have insight into truth that has been hidden until now. Always beware of novelty when it comes to truth.

Second, false-teaching usually seeks to justify sin as acceptable to God. The moral code presented in the Bible has not changed since the canon was closed 2000 years ago. And yet, in every generation, some part of the moral foundation of Scripture is considered outdated. Usually, those who seek to change the moral teaching of the Bible want to justify something they already desire to do.

Third, false-teaching always appeals to some authority outside of the Bible. This authority can be a person or an organization or an experience. The deception lies in telling us that while Scripture is respected and valued, we must decide which parts of it are fully true and authoritative in today’s world. As soon as the whole Bible is removed as authoritative, truth is in trouble.

Fourth, false-teaching turns our eyes from Jesus and denies our need for His grace. In Colossians, Paul was concerned that some were encouraging the church to move on from Jesus to deeper truths. They were teaching that Christ was great, but not sufficient. This deception continues to this day. False-teachers tend to point people to themselves rather than Christ, emphasizing self-effort rather than dependence on God’s grace.

Hopefully, these guidelines begin to give you a grid by which to evaluate what you hear and read. In today’s world, everyone with a webpage, a blog, and a YouTube channel is “an accomplished author and speaker.” Be on guard against those who seek to deceive you with persuasive arguments and hold on tightly to Christ.
End.

The problem with being in deception is that you don't know you are in deception because, obviously, you are deceived....

First, false-teaching usually proposes something new or better than historic, orthodox Christianity. While Christian truth must be applied in fresh ways to the unique challenges each generation faces, this doesn’t require new truth. Deceivers tend to propose that they have insight into truth that has been hidden until now. Always beware of novelty when it comes to truth.


Each generation God has brought new insight to His church. He has brought this through His word. So you must be careful when you say things such as in red.
Blessings
 
Loyal
James 1:21; Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

The word can save our souls.... but only if we know it.

2 Tim 2:15; Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Can we be "approved to God" if we don't handle the word accurately? Can we handle it accurately if we don't
know it?

As @amadeus2 mentioned earlier, Jesus is the Word ( John 1:1; )

Can we know Jesus without knowing the Word?

If we can't live on bread alone... but we need the "word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" ( Matt 4:4; )

How can we really say we are living (in a Godly way).

Many times we hear people saying they want to hear God's voice... it can come in many different ways.
But usually the main way... is the word (Bible). If you want to know the voice of Jesus ( John 10:4; John 10:27; etc.. )
read the word. If you know the word, you know what Jesus would say in most situations.

Too many are relying on what men and religions say about the Bible....
very few of them agree with each other, so who do you believe? The one that agrees
with the Bible.
 
Loyal
Anyone who doesn't have all of the answers, should be very slow to call a group a cult.
In Christianity, a "cult" is very easily defined. Any church or teaching that denies the deity of Jesus Christ.

The Roman Catholic church doesn't really qualify as a cult because they believe in the trinity.
They believe in the deity of Jesus. However they do qualify as a false church in many ways.

Mormon's and Jehovah's witnesses qualify as a cult because JW's do not believe that Jesus is God.
Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but not THE God.
 
Loyal
While Christian truth must be applied in fresh ways to the unique challenges each generation faces, this doesn’t require new truth.
Exactly... God's truth never changes. God never changes. His word never changes.
Everything that was a sin in Biblical times, is still a sin today.

What kind of capricious god would change the rules from time to time?
It was a sin for them in those days, but it's not a sin now... Yet many churches teach this.
 
Loyal
In Christianity, a "cult" is very easily defined. Any church or teaching that denies the deity of Jesus Christ.

The Roman Catholic church doesn't really qualify as a cult because they believe in the trinity.
They believe in the deity of Jesus. However they do qualify as a false church in many ways.

Mormon's and Jehovah's witnesses qualify as a cult because JW's do not believe that Jesus is God.
Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but not THE God.
B-A-C Where did you get this definition of a cult? Thereare many cults who emphasize the diety of Jesus. To name a cult is difficult because they pop up and then disappear like popcorn. There was one though that I'm thinking of ...It was at the Community Chapel churches in the Seattle area...Several congregations, and there were also a few 'satellite' churches around the country that .....well they emphasized Jesus and had wonderful praise going on with Him at the focus point...They taught spiritual connections which on the surface looked good but! Oh the destruction this wrought!
So, yes... There are cults who do not deny the deity of Jesus

While I disagree with this point, you gave a very good piece of advice here.
 

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