I cannot leave yesterday's subject, it is too heavy on my heart. The great deception is well underway and it is frustrating to experience. There are people who honestly believe they are serving the Lord Jesus Christ at the same time justifying their disobedience to him. They are doing wrong but believe they are doing right. They have no excuse because it has been made plain to us, but if they do not hold to the authority of Scripture they are only left to their opinion. We cannot live a life to the glory of God according to our opinion.
I stand by the Word of God. I know how dangerous my opinion can be, how self-centered, focused on my desires instead of the commandment to love God and others. If I had it my way my life would look a lot different than it does now so I praise the Lord he saved me from my opinion. We have been called to a life of obedience not opinion and we need the Scriptures for this. If we believe that we can pick and choose and that we can call holy what God calls unholy, we are in a place of disobedience and great danger.
We read in the Scriptures:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
My friends, we are in these last days. It's the "having a form of godliness but denying its power" is what we need to be concerned about and for which we need to check ourselves. The day we begin to excuse our sin as not being sin is the day we need to accept correction from the Spirit. It is easier than you think to fall for this self-deception. The Word of God is under constant attack these days, even by those who claim Jesus as Lord, and if this attack falls into line with something we desire outside of the Word then self-deception is born. The Word continues:
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. (2 Timothy 3:6-8)
Also weak-willed men and weak-willed youth. It is frightening how many people who know the Word are turning from the truth of it. They acknowledge what it says but refuse to accept it as the truth, always having an argument for it and an unwillingness to be swayed back to the Lord's side. And they can't see it. Honestly, they have become blind to it. Some of them know the Word better than I do but they miss the truth of it.
Standing in the truth of the Word is going to cost anyone who decides to do so. They will be called all kinds of names and even the laws of the land will be changed so they can be legally persecuted. There will not be a lot of love from this world for them and even the parts of the Church that has been deceived by their own opinion will join in the attack. Paul told his friend Timothy:
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
Paul encouraged his friend to stay true to his calling, to his faith. He knew that the days ahead would be tough and the Spirit has inspired the Church throughout the centuries with these same words as he is inspiring us today:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
It is that last part that is under attack, that the enemy is trying to undermine so that we are only left with our opinion, so that he can convince us to call holy what God calls unholy. It is comforting to hear the exactness of God's Word as we are told of what the dangers will be in the end days. Paul encourages his friend but also warns him:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For 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 4:2-4)
I am repeating myself somewhat from yesterday but this is such a vital message for young and old alike. There is a great apostasy breeding in the Church and it is snatching our youth away from us. It is based on feelings, opinions and self desires. It disguises itself in the authentic, a wolf in sheep's clothing. It says "I know Jesus too, perhaps even better than you". It takes the Father's love and twists it into a great distortion so that evil becomes good, disobedience becomes obedience and the unhloy becomes holy. Listen to Paul's instruction to the Ephesians and use the armour of God to stand your ground against this day of evil. And pray for those who are trapped in this deception, who are not putting up with sound doctrine and are gathering around them teachers who will teach what they want to hear, what matches their opinion. Pray because it is about all we can do.