Having embraced the world of gay marriage and anti-Semitism, the Church now seems to be starting to break the four-letter-word barrier. I’ve heard two ministers using the “c-@-#-p” word in their Sunday sermons as though it were no stronger than “garbage” or “dirt”…
(ANASTASIOS PAPALIAS: “Fairytale”)
All my life, until now, it’s been considered an alternative to the “s” word, and no less noxious. If I had used the word at school I would have been firmly disciplined. My Dad, and most other godly men of passing generations, would have been horrified to hear it issuing from the pulpit. Aren’t there enough adjectives and nouns in our vocabulary to avoid using the language of the gutter?
Most of us are being shaped by the world we live in. Of course, to an extent that’s unavoidable: we have to get along with others, we have to hold down a job, we have to keep the laws of the land so long as they don’t conflict with our beliefs. The problem is that we’re also being shaped in ways which are not necessary, in ways which are not for our ultimate good, and in ways which are dishonoring to our God. Our culture works to grind and stuff us into its mold, unless we can shake ourselves and work hard to avoid that happening.
It seems that while we long to present ourselves to the world as being “cool”, “unique” and “different”-the most contemporary themes of fashion apart from that of sexuality-we are doing so in order to fit in with the fashionable crowd, most of whom are on the broad road to destruction. We all end up being different in similar, cookie-cutter ways, (tattoos, sporty cars, popular music, clothing styles of the day), and we all get dragged along by the forces of acceptability, driven as they are by the media, by the advertising industry, by Hollywood with its determined social agenda, and by the lure of ungodliness. In short, we’re all willingly influenced by the lowest common denominators of human nature in order to make the equations of life work for us.
If you really want to be unique be yourself, and not a plastic, fashion-conscious, self-conscious version of yourself.
And in this post-Christian, post-modern culture, we’re led to think that there’s no such thing as truth, besides what the government or the TV tells us is true (e.g. evolution), and that which we subjectively attach ourselves to. Spirituality is no longer a search for what’s objectively and demonstrably true for all to discover: it’s a shopping mall of conflicting ideas and feelings, and that which is politically correct and fashionable:
“If you want to believe that you are God or that God is a teapot, that’s great for you, but don’t you dare try telling me that there’s a real God who has different ideas to mine!”
THE AGE OF DECEPTION
I’ve long been fascinated by the Biblical warnings of last days deception. In the New Testament warnings of deception are common, and they’re inextricably linked to prophecies of “last-days” events. Even more fascinating is the way in which the Church, or at least large portions of it, is falling hook, line and sinker for deception coming at us in many forms in direct opposition to what our Book tells us. As an example, churches are inviting Muslims to speak and pray in their services, convinced that Jehovah and Allah are one, when in truth Islam vehemently (and in many parts of the world- violently) asserts that Allah has no son:
“Allah is only one God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son…” Quran [004.171 ]
“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them”. Quran [005.073]
In contrast as stark as it could be, the Bible (written centuries before), declared Jesus Christ to be the Son of God.. More than that, those who deny the Son are “anti-christ”:
“Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the father and the Son. No-one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23).
Deception comes at us from inside our churches and out of them, from religion and philosophy; from the lies of evolution, atheism and secularism, and from our own desire to excuse and indulge our sin nature. We are being conditioned to be unable to distinguish truth from lies or even to care: we are being prepared to accept the lowest, the basest and the blackest lies from the pit of hell. Only those of us who are believing and paying attention to what we’ve been warned of in the Word of God will escape the tide of lies and nonsense sweeping over the world in our time.
Paul said :
“The Spirit clearly teaches that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons…” (1 Timothy 4:1), and;
“…the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
How accurately Paul described the “all roads lead to spirituality” mentality of our time.
Jesus, speaking of the events preceding his return to the earth, seems to have made the warning of false prophets and false Messiahs his top priority-the most important “sign” to look out for. Remember that the title “Christ” means “anointed” or “anointed one”. Therefore this could apply to any prophet, priest, preacher, pope, potentate or politician:
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am the Christ” and will deceive many” (Matthew 24: 4).
“False Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time” (verses 24-25).
Paul prepared his readers for:
“…every kind of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, and so that all will be condemned who have not loved the truth but delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
This thought is echoed in the Revelation:
“Because of the signs he (a false prophet) was given power to do on behalf of the beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 13:14).
If we really don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God, we’ve no authority besides what men tell us: we might just as well believe that SpongeBob Squarepants is God and that he wants us all to stand on our heads for a million years. If we really do believe the Scriptures, now’s the time to really get grounded in what we claim to believe, and to start looking out for the false Christs and false prophets which are all around us.