24“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25“Behold, I have told you in advance. 26“So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27“For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
16“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
To me this is the most dangerous spiritual topic that can be discussed. I write based on my own experience in which I had to listen to my heart, question and search out the truth. But note that Jesus said even the ELECT are subject to deception. The elect are our leaders whom we follow. Over the years as I have grown in my walk, I have read many books that discuss various topics about spirituality, religion, non-religious beliefs (which are religions unto themselves), philosophy and a deep dive into the apologetics. I also read a plethora of self-help genres of books that discuss modes of behavior that will bring a lasting fulfillment through thought and effort based on living adjustments and how you think of yourself. All of these each have a central theme, I understand, Try it my way, I promise it works. There is special formula and teachings a certain way of looking at things and a certain belief you should grasp to find fulfillment. However, on my personal journey the realities of life were brought to bear and some of these methods never quite hit the spot. My past is littered with attempts to find a peace I could live with. From my youth: Catholicism, Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Rollism, Agnostic, Higher Power, Rosicrucian (Christian mysticism), Unity Church, Baptist, No Church, United Methodist, and Home Church and from that I finally I received Christ in my Heart instead of my intellect. I developed a Fear of the Lord and acknowledged His Majesty.
Each of these seasons has taught me something; what was truth and what wasn’t. Martin Luther said there were essentials and non-essentials when talking about salvation. This is essential when you discuss the ramifications, if you are a following a shepherd.They may lead you to slaughter.
The Rosicrucian’s and Unity Church at first were filled fresh ideas that put a bright light on half truths wrapped in a lie. Nice people and they showed a genuine care for my welfare, but where there is no Fear of the Lord, a (gospel) view with a message of convenience is usually developed. Once I got behind the curtains, I heard about reincarnation, white magic, meditative states which allow your spirit guides to take you wherever outside of your body and all the while this was peppered with Jesus, so it must be OK. Until, during a deep meditative state when I ventured into a spirit realm,(ether), the Fear of the Lord struck me. I had crossed the line and I was convicted of it, by the Holy Spirit. I will never forget that feeling. Even though I turned from that, I then ran into the arms of the Unity Church, until I heard about reincarnation from a Christian perspective, in the living room of a man I looked up to, I knew I had to cut my ties.
What we are talking about today is eternal not temporal. As I got disillusioned and treaded various paths, I confess I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to, while trying to find a faith that worked for me. Like trying on a pair of jeans, does my butt look big in these?
So for me I wanted it all, a God that loved me, while I put Him on the back burner whenever I needed to. With a mindset like that, there was plenty of fertile ground for the world or satan to turn you from whatever belief you have and question everything and steer you away from God. We are not talking only about faith in God, but religions, practices, end-of world thought, yourself and even faith in faith. If we are honest in today’s world, each day it seems the world is working feverishly to replace the God of Abraham with ____________(fill in the blank). Churches are also replacing the Jesus I know in my heart with someone I don’t know. Like G.K Chesterton said, I paraphrase, From the cave drawing of a deer, we found out that cavemen pulled women by the hair everywhere they went. Instead of it being a picture of a deer. People have read a lot into the Bible between the lines and are preaching a false gospel, but when I finally came face to face with the truth, the Fear of the Lord struck me and I listened and turned towards God instead of away.
So why is this important? For instance, if you do not believe that Hell exists or God for that matter and do not believe in judgment, then stealing, lying, cheating on your wife, even killing provides absolutely no bearing on your internal compass. You might be a good citizen, who will make a mistake now and then, but so what. Your life is about what you make of it better or worse. If you believe you have one shot at it, you will take it, it is part of our nature if not put in check.
If you follow an Eastern Philosophy mindset that believes in reincarnation, what motivation do you need to get it right in this life. Oops, I’ll do better next time. If you think that your goal is to transcend and this world is a illusion, you ignore the world and separate yourself from it while it continues to digress and you work to elevate your conciseness outside your body. Then evil continues to runs rampant. One thing is for certain without an understanding or acceptance of Christ, coupled with an understanding of grace and judgment I am not sure how anyone could make any sense of anything and satan’s game of chaos continues. Just the way he likes it.
To a Christian the extreme concepts I spoke of are easy to grasp, but did you know that even inside “Christian” circles once you step past the church services, child care, outreach, bible studies, the worship, children ministries, singles ministries and even signs and wonders there is a Doctrine that governs most churches. A set of beliefs that guide the ship. There are many groups and churches that say they are Christian but once you pull back the covers, they do not follow Biblical Christianity. THIS IS IMPORTANT, JESUS WARNED US OF THIS!
- What is their source of authority? (Bible or other documents)
- What is their view of God?
- What is the their view of the Trinity?
- Who is Jesus Christ?
- Who is man?
- What is their view on sin?
- What is their view of Salvation?
- What is their view of the future life?
- What is their view of the end-times?
- What is their view of Hell?
- What is their view of Satan?
If the message you hear is one sided and contradicts the Bible or omits passages, then we are following the false prophets spoken of. I have seen signs and wonders from both camps and you can see and sense the differences. Signs and wonders from false prophets are about the sign and wonders, and where will we see it next. However signs and wonders from the Holy Spirit demonstrates and fulfills God’s glory as He allows. There is a difference.
Some of these churches and pastors have huge followings and while they speak a message of love, they might not believe in the Trinity, Judgment, Jesus as the Son of God, Salvation through Christ’s resurrection, Christ’s literal resurrection, Hell or Satan. Some groups believe the book of Revelation is an allegory and will never happen or it already has. There are groups that believe that Christ has already passed judgment against Israel itself and that the Gentiles are not grafted into the End-Time Church anymore with Israel but have displaced Israel (the nation) altogether leaving her behind with a new definition of Israel……..
So while a group may say they believe in Jesus, exactly what does that actually mean? As we allow leaders to speak into our lives and the ministries we tithe into we need to seek clarity from the Holy Spirit with what we are being taught. For what you sow into you will reap and once you know the truth then you are responsible to deal with it no matter what the cost is. God knows your heart, but once the itch starts that something is not right, check it out. It will only make you wise as serpents.
We need to search our hearts and make sure Jesus and the Holy Spirit are speaking to us instead of blindly trusting everything spiritual. It is our responsibility to ask questions if you are troubled by something you see or hear. If all you hear in a message is grace, grace, grace, love ,love, love but if you have not understood the Fear of God how can you appreciate Grace and Love. Likewise until you experience pain, which is one of God’s greatest gift, you never know what the fulfillment of Love actually means, as difficult at that might sound. Love hurts worse than anger but anger can kill a spirit. Once you understand how Majestic God is and truly know His Love for you, the awe associated with that should compel you to stand for God in the face of adversity and protect that relationship at any cost. However, when my behavior separates me from God knowingly or unknowingly and I feel that loss of the connection, due to spiritual residue I place over my spirit, the fear I have that I will not sense His grace and mercy due to my actions frightens me. Please understand God’s grace and mercy are always there but my decisions can separate me from Him. How worse would it be if I followed a teaching that lead me from God without checking in with the Holy Spirit occasionally to ensure I was investing in a pure altar. We need to protect our relationship with Jesus and not let anything corrupt it.
If that wasn’t enough, many Christian denominations are sub-dividing over core beliefs and their interpretation of sin and redefine what sin is based on what they want out of life or from cultural pressure. GOD DOES NOT CHANGE!!! To change the how and why God judges is a license to make a god in man’s image.
From Ian Clayton:
“Judgment requires a response. You need to face the wrath and the judgment of God to find the grace and mercy of God. The wrath and judgment of God releases His power, dominion and might. The grace and mercy of God releases His love, His wonder, His awe and His compassion. For me, I would rather have the wrath and the judgment hit me up front and the grace, mercy, wonder and awe that comes out the other side, than to stand here wanting to receive the awe, wonder, grace and mercy and have the judgment go somewhere else. I would rather be judged now than judged in that day.”
How does your clergy look at sexual sin in the clergy and as a life-style, racial issues, abortion rights, judges that reward evil etc… Is everything permissible and all you need to do is try to do better without a message of consequence. The core beliefs brought forward by church leadership all dictate a message we allow into our spirits and if we are not careful our decisions might promote ungodly edicts as God’s and a viewpoint that will influence those listening to us on how to treat sin and resolve the sin in our lives and actually promote continuing behavior.
The major question you have to ask yourself is, Where is Jesus in all of this? Because as you ask the questions and look deep enough you need to determine if what you are exposing yourself to is about what a man thinketh instead with what God sayeth. Even ministries with large followings that are not speaking about a Fear of Lord and consequences for our actions coupled with the message of Love, is a ministry not in check. I see ministries that started out strong and then changed their core beliefs along the way and if you are not paying attention you might be on the ride to somewhere else through ignorance and open areas in your life and spirit that invites adversity that satan promotes instead of chastening that God promotes through discipline and the maturing of his people. If God is our Father then he will correct His children, not bribe us to do better. If you do this, this will happen. If you study this, this will happen. No, Jesus reveals himself in us, provides insight and revelation on truths in your spirit. If you have to wrap your head around it, your are forcing a solution of your making or desire. When I get insight, the truths hits my heart and I begin to weep. I see a picture and usually the picture says more than the words I can put together.
Yes the crowds are large for messages that cater to our desires even the spiritual gifts, but even in the Bible, the masses never wanted to hear the truth from God’s prophets, they killed most of them. Many times God punished His own people for allowing idols into the fabric of His people’s culture due to their disobedience.
However, don’t be disappointed and feel like there is no place to turn there are plenty of great places to hang your hat, just know what you are exposing yourself to and ask Jesus to always lead you and listen to your heart, that is where the Holy Spirit speaks and resides. The goal is a relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to resonate with your spirit. A reverence for God develops a true Grace of God, if Reverence and a Fear of the Lord are not spoken into your life, you might be experiencing a false grace based on feelings instead of fact.
Don’t chase after people, places, churches or things for your spirituality, chase after Jesus and you will never be disappointed. I spend time with Christ every part of the day. I always speak to Him continually and I partake of communion daily to ensure that I do not forget that I need to be aligned with Christ and let the adventure continue in His name on a daily basis.