Recognizing Deception

Christians are warned various times not to be deceived. To this statement, we say, “who, me?" Yes, you and yes me. We might be or could be misled in a wrong teaching and be completely unaware. The people who would attempt to deceive us are being prompted to do so by the devil, the great deceiver. Some may not realize they are being used. They do not usually appear as angels of darkness, but as angels of light. Their teachings might begin with good words, but gradually false concepts are introduced. They then formulate wrong doctrine. Peter himself fell trap to this maneuver in Matthew 16:21-23. From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.V22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. V23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter attempted to dissuade Christ from going to the cross and fulfilling the purpose for which He was called. Jesus recognized who was behind the words coming out of Peter’s mouth and bluntly replied, “get thee behind me satan, thou savorist not the things of God but the things of man” Christ was not calling Peter satan. He simply realized where these thoughts and intents originated. Peter was being led down the road of deception. The word deceive or deception means to wander or veer. When you are being deceived it has the connotation of being led astray out of the right way.

How easy is it to take a thought/fact in scripture and quickly turn it into a misguided purpose, teaching, or doctrine. Let’s go back to Peter in Matt 16. He knew when the Messiah came, He would release Israel from the tyranny of the gentile nations. Peter recognized Christ as the Messiah. So, what is this talk about dying? He was going to help Christ fulfill His destiny. The Messiah was going to deliver Israel not die; right, said Peter? However, Peter was only partially right. When Christ came the first time, He did come to deliver His people, but he came to deliver mankind from their sins. When He comes the second time, He will deliver the nation Israel from gentile domination and oppression. Peter had the timing wrong. Peter understood a partial truth. Many churches today teach partial truth. (Why do you think we have so many different denominations?)

When a small lie is presented mix with a large portion of truth, it is a possible threat, but when a partial truth is taught and is presented as the full truth, it is a much greater menace. Why is this? It is harder to see because some scripture will back up the partial truth., or the partial truth will get lost among the many statements of full truth. When determining what is truth, all pages of Scripture must be considered. Do not just pick out one passage of Scripture and build a whole doctrine on one or two verses. When you find two distinct truths in scripture, which appear to be polar opposites, an honest Christian should believe both truths equally and attempt to find a reconciliation. If you cannot come to a reconciliation in this life, then just believe both truths equally and ask Christ to explain it in more detail in heaven. Many people err in this manner, and they only pick the truth they prefer and dismiss the truth that they dislike. When this practice is exercised often, it will lead to deception. See, I said lead to deception. The Deceiver is methodical and has time to plant small seeds. Small seeds then grow into big obnoxious weeds.

I would like to share with you some of the deceptions that have been and are pervasive among many churches today. Some are small seeds and others have become big obnoxious weeds.