Today we continue our series regarding the ongoing, deadly spiritual war raging around us, and we return momentarily to Proverbs 24:6 as our foundational verse for this series of God’s Counselors: “For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6)
Scripture warns us so often about that supernatural battle, that for us to close our eyes to it is to do nothing less than INVITE disaster into our lives and our homes. I have asked this in the past weeks, and will do so again now: Do you want to be successful in your battle against these dark forces that have been unleased on our world and into our churches? Remember this INFALLIBLE counsel by Moses – and toss into the manure pile the heretical counsels of all who oppose the teaching of God’s holy Word:
Today we look at the Holy Spirit’s counsel through Moses in Deuteronomy 13: “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
Through Moses, God again warns us to be on our guard against false teachers and shepherds who – even if they work miracles – try to lead us astray. This is an important point, because not only do Satan’s workers deceive with their words from pulpits, but they also deceive and have deceived others because of the miracles they performed. You will please remember in the early chapters of Exodus how Satan empowered Pharaoh’s magicians to work miracles. For example, they were able to turn their staffs into snakes, just as Moses did with his staff. And although Moses’ staff turned and swallowed the sorcerer’s snakes, that is not the point. The point is that Satan can mimic God’s miracles when God permits him to do so.
And so, throughout the Old Testament and into the New, we find Satan’s coworkers performing supernatural acts. That truth MUST stay in the forefront of our minds. Just because someone can even call fire down from heaven DOES NOT necessarily mean that person is from God Almighty.
The Lord Jesus warned His 1st century followers – as He warns His 21st century followers: “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” (Matthew 24:24-25)
And St. John tells us in the book of Revelation that in the days just before the Lord Jesus returns for His true church, Satan’s emissaries WILL call fire from heaven. Writing about the unholy trio of Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet, John writes: “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform . . .” (Revelation 13:11-14)
Christian, listen! We have to get this. Our spiritual lives and our eternal destiny depend on it: Supernatural displays of power are NOT NECESSARILY from God. They could be from Satan. This will become increasingly important to remember as we move closer to the end times when, as St John again tells us in the Revelation, Satan knows his time is short (see Revelation 12:12).
That’s why John also counsels us: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (I John 4:1) No matter how impressive or accurate a prophet's miracles or prophecies, his or her trustworthiness unequivocally depends on whether he leads people toward or away from the Christ of the Bible. I say ‘the Christ of the Bible’ because there are a growing number of pastors and writers who teach a demonic-inspired counterfeit Jesus. All of them, each of them, vomit out error because they deny the full inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the scriptures.
Also, I want to emphasize that I said people will lead us away from the Christ of the Bible. There have always also been a plethora of false prophets and religions who talk of ‘God’ as they view Him from their own imaginations. But there is only ONE faith – the true faith, the ONLY faith that will give us eternal life – only one talks of Jehovah God who became flesh and blood. Only ONE who is 100% God and 100% man at the same time.
Do not miss that distinction. Your eternal soul’s destiny depends on your correct Biblical understanding of God whom the Bible refers to as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, three Persons.
One of the modern attempts to water down true and salvific faith in Christ revolves around a new religion called “Chrislam.’ Some of you may have heard of it. It is a syncretism or a merging of Christianity and Islam. Pope Francis is a proponent of the merging of the two, as are a number of prominent Protestant pastors such as, according to multiple reports, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California.
Some pastors who have fallen into the satanic trap of Chrislam place the Koran next to the Bible in the church pews so congregants can follow along with the weekly readings.
It is critical you and I understand that Islam completely and unambiguously rejects the deity of Jesus Christ. They consider Jesus merely a prophet, and not even the greatest prophet. Muhammed is the greatest prophet in Islam.
For Bible-believing Christians – not fake Christians, or “Christians-in-name-only” – for faithful Christians the co-equal, co-eternal, coexistent deity of Jesus the Christ is absolutely non-negotiable. Without His deity, Jesus’ death and resurrection would not have been sufficient to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Furthermore, the Koran – the SAME Koran some pastors place alongside the Bible in their church pews – the Koran declares the idea that ‘Jesus is God’ is blasphemy, punishable by death. Further, and not surprising, Islam denies the physical death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ. (4:157-158).
As the prophet Amos wrote: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3) Or St. Paul asked: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said . . . Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
True Christians embrace the words of the Holy Spirit through St John in his first epistle: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 John 2:22) And in 1 John 4:3, the Holy Spirit tells us, “Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
But Chrislam is not Satan’s only strategy to water down the gospel message. The one who deceived Eve into questioning God’s word has always worked to entice the true Church away from believing God’s word, perhaps especially as it deals with holiness. We find one instance of that strategy in chapters 23-25 in the Book of Numbers. The devil, through his human instruments beguiled Israel into fornication with their Moabite neighbors. Anyone familiar with Old Testament history knows how easily Satan seduced Israel into sexual sins.
And of course, such beguilement to sexual sins did not end with the Old Testament. John the Revelator reports the Lord’s threat to the Christians in the first century church at Thyatira: “I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:19-23)
And even up to this very moment Satan has introduced a variety of sexual sins into the Church to lead us astray and to hell. For example, even such a notable as Max Lucado, well-known author and pastor, apologized to the LGBTQ community for speaking Biblical truth about sinful sexual relationships.
And just to be clear, this is what the acronym LGBTQ stands for: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer.” And such a one as Max Lucado apologized for offending them by telling them the truth.
Lucado knows, as you and I also know, God was not ambiguous when He told everyone with ears to hear: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
But Lucado apologized for what he perhaps considers God’s closedmindedness.
And finally, and only for the sake of time, I will share yet one more example of how Deuteronomy 13’s warnings remain so current.
There are churches in this area of Johns Creek (Georgia, where my wife and I live) teaching their congregations from a book authored by a pastor named Richard Rohr. Among many of Rohr’s heretical beliefs, he is convincing people in both Protestant and Catholic pews -- AND pulpits – about the so-called ‘Cosmic Christ.’ But the Cosmic Christ is nothing less than a repackaged pantheism and Hinduism. My wife and I heard that heresy proclaimed as truth by one of the priests at a local Catholic church we used to attend.
Christian! What is happening to the Church? It seems that the prophetic words of Scripture are being fulfilled right before our eyes. Here is 1 Timothy 4:1 – “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1). Here is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the Lord’s return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first.”
Never, never, never in the history of the Church has apostacy been so widespread – likely because of how instantaneously heretical ideas can be transmitted from one area of the world to another. As I said at the beginning of my message, Scripture warns us so often about that supernatural battle, that for us to close our eyes to it is to openly INVITE disaster into our lives and our homes.
Do you want to be successful in your battle against these dark forces that have been unleased on our world and into our churches? Toss into the manure pile the heretical counsels of all who contradict God’s holy Word and remember – and put into daily practice – this INFALLIBLE counsel by Moses in Deuteronomy 13 – and: “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.(Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
God has given us an infallible and flawless standard by which to measure the words of a prophet or teacher or counselor. There is no other, and there will be no other, infallible and flawless counsel. As Isaiah wrote: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)
In other words, if prophets and pastors and teachers and writers and anyone else speaks contrary to the revealed word of God and the historic teaching of the Church dating to the apostles – it is because they have no light in themselves. They are darkness.
That is why St. Paul wrote to the church at Galatia, a church roiled by heresy: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
Christian! PLEASE! Follow God’s word. It and it alone will keep us from darkness.