Monday, July 18, 2016
How to avoid deception - Part 2: Know God's Word!
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Matt 24:4
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matt 24:24
The first thing we must do to arm ourselves against deception is to Know God. I spoke in depth about some ways to do this last week. If you missed the post, you can catch it here.
The second thing you must do to ensure you won't fall into the devil's deception is Know God's Word! You may think this is sort of the same thing as knowing God, but it isn't. They are related, of course, because one way to know God is through His Word. But actually knowing His Word, I mean REALLY knowing His Word is something different. And something vitally important. Yet so many Christians rarely read their Bibles, let alone study them and memorize Scripture.
I know a man who was once an atheist and who had a miraculous conversion experience much like that of the Apostle Paul. He saw into the spirit realm, heard directly from God, awesome stuff. Afterward he gave his life to Christ and spent the next 3 months reading the entire Bible in two different versions. Then he stopped, and he hasn't picked up the Bible since except to take it to church. When I asked him about it, he said that he'd already read it and knew what it said. I might also add that this person, though still a believer, is now very much wrapped up in the things of this world.
The truth is, the Bible is alive.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
What does that mean? It means as one famous preacher once said "When you are reading your Bible, your Bible is reading you!" Imagine you pick up your favorite book. Maybe it's a certain pirate romance. (WINK) or some other adventurous tale. You've already read the book multiple times, yet this time you've invited the author of the book to join you and comment on each scene as you read it. You'd be amazed at the insight the author can give you into the storyline, characters, plot and all the little subtleties and nuances of theme, moral, dialogue, and events that he or she was thinking when they wrote it. By the end of the book, the insight you would have gained would really make the story come alive for you.
That's what the Holy Spirit does for us when we read HIS Book! He points out certain verses, passages, and stories and makes them pop off the page at us. He touches our hearts with things that we need to hear, things we are dealing with personally, temptations, struggles, even questions we may have. Need to hear from God? Have a question? Dive into His Book and ask Him to reveal His answer to you. The good news is you always have the author with you.
I have read through the Bible countless times, and I can honestly say each time I find something new, something I've never seen before, or I learn something I really needed to learn. It is truly amazing! But it won't happen to you unless you sit down, open up the Bible, and read!!!
Don't just read it. Slow down and meditate on it. Take it verse by verse and look up all the references that link to it in the rest of the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to help show you what He wants you to know. Meditate, think about, ponder, discuss the meaning with others. This is how you will remember the Words of God when you need them the most. And let me tell you, you are going to need them desperately soon.
You must KNOW the truth inside and out if you are ever going to recognize the Lie. The Word of God must be hidden in your heart, in your mind constantly, and ever upon your lips if you are to defend against all deception.
Not only that, the Word of God is a weapon. It is the believer's ONLY weapon of offense, besides the name of Jesus. Jesus, Himself, used the Words of God 3 times against satan when he was tempted in the wilderness. The Son of God used His Own Words as a weapon!!!! How much more should we do the same??
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17
From His mouth comes a sharp sword (His word) with which He may strike down the nations Revelations 19:15
Come back next week for the third thing we need to do to avoid deception