17 May, 2006

Who Are The Deceivers?

Throughout the history of Christianity, there have been men and women who have turned away the hearts and minds of otherwise good people searching out God and His instructions for believers. The New Testament refers many times to ‘false teachers’ and ‘false prophets’ and it was obviously a problem during Christ’s time as much as it is today. In Matthew 24:4, Jesus says “…take heed that no man deceive you.” (cp. 1 John 3:7) It’s an interesting statement because it implies that learning and coming to a knowledge of God can be accomplished solely by the individual without anyone else getting involved. With no one else involved, there’s no man to “deceive you”. 1 John also talks about deceivers as those who “went out from us”, suggesting that these deceivers were once part of the 1st century ecclesias but who had fallen away and were now trying to lead as many astray with false doctrines as possible (see also 2 Peter 2:1-3).

Jump back to Deuteronomy 13. This chapter tells us that false teachers and false prophets were very much alive and well even during the time of Moses. The deceivers in verse 1 are “prophets” and “dreamers”. The deceivers in verse 13 are listed as a “brother” or “son of your mother” or “your son or your daughter” or a “wife” and even a best friend. It’s obvious what the problem is: those people who leading others astray were the ones with whom the closest relationships were shared. Mothers, fathers, brothers, church leaders…Note that this isn’t a concept that’s confined to the Old Testament. The deceivers who “went out from us” are the very same people mentioned in Deuteronomy 13. Matthew 23:27: “…for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Christians can’t afford to take any one person’s views or words as factual truth. Discovering what God would have His believers do can easily be found within the pages of Scripture. Using God and Scripture as a guide will ensure we aren’t lead astray by any number of deceivers, no matter how long we’ve known them or what role they play in our lives.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

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