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Weekly Commentary
17511
“Deception”
by Art Sadlier   
April 17th, 2017

To be deceived is to believe a lie. To believe that error is truth, to believe that wrong is right. To be deceived means to be led away from the truth without knowing it. If the person being deceived knew they were being deceived, then deception would not have occurred. One must believe that one is not deceived in order to be deceived.

The deceived are convinced they are walking in the truth. This conviction locks them into their deception. They can only be delivered by someone or something outside of themselves.

The deception is often brought about by a combination of partial truth and truth. Outright error cannot deceive you; it must be mixed with truth or half truths.

Satan has deceived the whole world, it is only the Spirit of God that can lift deception from the eyes of the unsaved and enable them to see and comprehend the truth. Today as we look out at the world we see the depth of deception is growing, as the apostles said it would in the last days. We wonder why politicians and leaders cannot make right decisions and why they seem incapable of understanding the issues. We are living in days of great deception. We are astounded at how men and nations are failing to understand the issues of the hour and how they are making incredibly foolish choices. Deception is the only possible explanation.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (2 Timothy 3:1).

There are many sources of and reasons for deception.

Deception is a consequence of disobedience

Refusal to respond to the truth will ultimately result in God blinding a person to the truth. “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). Those who fail to act in obedience to the truth will ultimately have their eyes and their ears closed to the truth. In verse 15 we see that it is the hearer that closes his or her eyes to the truth. “For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

In verse 16 the Lord explains that those who are His disciples have opened their eyes and ears to the truth with the result that they can see and understand the truth. “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

This principle is further stated in verse 12. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” This is speaking the consequences of a persons response to the truth.

This principle applies to the unsaved in particular, but it also has an application to the believer. A believer can grieve the Holy Spirit by disobedience to God’s Word. A believer can quench the Spirit by refusing to hear God’s Word. This disobedience prevents the Holy Spirit from revealing truth to us and leaves us open to deception. Only through repentance can this situation be reversed for the believer, the believer always has this option open to him.

Deception comes from Satan

The whole unregenerate world is in living in spiritual darkness. In 1 John 19 we read, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (the wicked one).”  The word “wicked” in this verse is the same word translated “wicked one” in the previous verse, making the translation to literally read, the whole world lieth in the wicked one, Satan. That is the position of the unregenerate man. It is not until he is saved that he is delivered from Satan’s domain and transferred to God’s kingdom. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:14).

Satan works to keep the unsaved man from escaping his deception. “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). Satan’s basic method of keeping men from salvation is deception. He causes men, through deception, to believe that they do not need salvation.

Satan also uses deception on the Christian who leaves himself open to deception by not walking in the Spirit. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Walking in the Spirit in obedience to God's Word assures deliverance from deception for the Christian. James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." John 13:17, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Luke 11:28, "But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."

Deception is caused by sin

Hebrews 3:13, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” We repeat what we have already said, disobedience to God and His Word will cause the believers heart to be hardened to truth and lead to his deception.

In such a situation the decisions the believer makes will be wrong decisions and will lead him further out of the will of God.

Deception comes from within

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The unregenerate heart of man naturally tends to be deceived. Your own heart will deceive you. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

It is just natural for the unregenerate man to make wrong decisions. Jeremiah 10:23, “I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Paul taught the same truth in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” We, as sons of Adam, have a fallen nature that drives us to do the wrong things, and seeks to deceive us concerning the truth.

The natural man is totally depraved. Depravity is the absolue inability of the natural man to do anything that pleases God. "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:12). "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8).

Depravity does not mean that a man cannot please other men, but it does mean that the natural man is wide open to deception.

Deception comes from God

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). We learn here a principle about God’s dealings with men. If men turn away from obedience to God, He will at some point, send them strong delusions to deceive them. God will cause them to believe a lie. The Lord is dealing with hearts, He wants hearts that love Him and trust Him and as a result he seeks hearts that will obey His voice. Anything short of a committed heart is not acceptable with God. Remember Jesus said, “He that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple.”

Notice why God sends this delusion, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). The choice for the unbeliever is always salvation or damnation. Do you get the idea that God is serious about man's relationship with Him?

Spiritual life is not static, either you are walking in darkness or you are walking in the light. We read of unbelievers in Psalm 83:5, “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness....”  If you are a believer, the pathway of your life ought to be getting brighter with truth  as you move along.

Deception is perhaps the most pervasive thing in our lives. When we are in the light we are walking in unity and in harmony with other believers who are walking in the light. Today, as perhaps never before in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, believers are going in a multitude of different directions. It seems that almost every believer and every church has a different slant on doctrine and a different idea about the ministry of the church. Their seems to be no unity of thought as to what Christian conduct should be, no unity concerning  modest dress and no unity as to what separation from the world means.

Today, numerous churches are permitting and practicing things that were shunned by all fundamental churches a few decades ago. The Lord said to Israel, “Learn not the ways of the heathen.” Today, in many cases, you cannot tell the difference between the world and the church, in many cases you cannot tell the difference between the music of the church and the music of the world. Today, in many cases you cannot tell the difference the professing Christian and the unsaved.

I can only conclude that a great many Christians are deceived as to what God requires of them. Deception has deeply penetrated the church of Jesus Christ and it is growing in leaps and bounds.

Only the Truth of God's Word can Deliver from Deception

There is oly one source of truth and that source is the Word of God. Any one can read and submit to God's Word and be delivered from deception. There is no excuse for deception.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). "

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6).

"Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 7:12).

I believe that the only hope for a church or an individual Christian is to get back to hearing the Word of God and obeying it. Then the deception will be lifted and the light will fill our lives and our churches.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

Scripture teaches that the last day’s church of Laodicea is a deceived church. It is terrifying for me to read Revelation 3:16-17 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

I tremble as I look out at the evangelical church today and compare it with those verses which speak of the last day’s church and its fate. In scripture we see the faithful last day’s church of Philadelphia and we see the apostate last day’s church of Laodicea. The issue is not, do we believe we are not Laodicean or do we believe we are Philadelphian. The issue is what are we in actual practice?

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