Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Thieves and Robbers
Thieves and robbers are not just those who steal from us our material possessions, but they are also those who steal from us the Word of God, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the joy of our salvation, our freedom in Christ Jesus (our Lord), eternal life with God, and our joy, hope and crown, the salvation and sanctification of human lives (See: Jn. 10; 1 Thess. 2:19).
And, the way in which they steal from us is via deception, lies, trickery and manipulation of human minds and hearts. So, they are not only thieves and robbers, but they are liars, pretenders and performers whose goal it is to catch us in their lure, in their hook, so that they can reel us in. For, they want to convince us to believe their lies and to reject the truth, as well as to get us to see the truth as lies and the lies as truth, so we will follow them.
And, so their goal, too, is to try to discredit the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ and his NT apostles, and to discredit the gospel’s messengers, too, i.e. all those who still hold fast to the tenets of the Christian faith and who are still preaching a gospel of repentance and obedience to Jesus Christ. So, they will twist the truth to their advantage, and will vilify (malign, slander) the Lord’s servants and witnesses, in order to lead people away from the truth to follow after the lies of Satan, for Satan is the one behind this.
And, not only is Satan behind all of this, but we are not talking here of an independent Charlatan, here or there, either. This is a network of Charlatans who are working together in a unified effort to destroy the church, i.e. the saints of God, and to destroy the testimony of Jesus and his gospel of salvation, and to keep anyone else from hearing the truth and following the truth. In other words, this is a global effort of the beast (of Revelation 13) to conquer the world and the saints of God and to destroy Jesus forever.
Lies versus Truth
These false shepherds of the people, thus, in their hearts, are determined, fixed, established and firm in their unified goal to destroy the Lord’s sheep and the Lord’s gospel message. They are fully involved and engaged in the focal point and in the process of this global deception. They are fully committed, too, to doing what is unwise, reckless, and irresponsible, and that which they know is going to destroy human lives. But, they have given themselves permission and leeway to do so in their evil hearts.
But, they are not always easy to spot, in particular for the naïve and the immature, who are the ones they go after to fool them. For, they are very good at what they do. They are very charming, entertaining, intelligent and are gifted orators who know how to smooth talk and to charm people into believing their lies. And, they are clever enchanters, too, who throw out some truth, but mix it with lies or total nonsense and then bounce it all back and forth to where it is absolutely confusing as to what they are saying.
They speak mainly from their own imaginations, but again, they blend it in with truth. They pull scriptures out of context, apply them where they don’t fit biblically, twist them to say what they want them to say, and use them to manipulate minds and hearts away from the truth to believe the lies. So, their sermons may be very open ended, having no determined limit or boundary, and this, too, is on purpose. For, they will attempt to convince you that what God said he didn’t say, but that what he didn’t say he did say.
So, when we are listening to these shepherds and their messages, we need to be very discerning. We need to pay very close and careful attention, not only to what they say, but to what they don’t say, or to what they imply, and/or that they leave hanging with no real conclusion, so that you are left to draw your own conclusions.
When they quote scripture, check to see how they are using it, and if it is in context, or if they are applying it in the wrong way. Pay attention to their gospel message, too, and how they describe our relationship with Jesus Christ (with God). See if they are consistent in what they say, too, or if they go one direction and then the opposite. For, remember that Satan is the author of confusion, and so he uses his messengers, who disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, to instill confusion, so that there is no definite sense of right and wrong.
The authority over the minds and hearts of these Charlatans is not God, but Satan, and it is their own flesh, too. Yet, they are those who disguise (masquerade) themselves as servants of righteousness. So, they will perform well for an audience, and they may even pretend to be innocent and naïve themselves, or they may appear as goofballs, and silly, in order to amuse, to distract, and to deceive, and, too, to cover-up the evil that is truly lurking in their hearts. So, they can be very likeable people.
Yet, although they may pretend to be Christians (Christ’s true sheep), their profession is outward (surface) only, and their performance does not hold water, i.e. it is not believable, for it is not of the Spirit of God, but it is devoid of the Spirit and empty, for it is the gospel turned upside down. It is the opposite of the Spirit of God which is controlling their minds and hearts.
So, instead of their lives and their messages being led of the Spirit of God, they are trendy, adapted to the culture of today, and to what is popular and up with the times. For, their goal is to appeal to the flesh of humans. But, the path they are leading people on is not the narrow way of the cross of Christ, but it is the broad way of the world which leads to destruction.
For, they have lowered God’s boundary lines, i.e. his moral standard to make the gospel more culturally relevant and acceptable to human flesh. In fact, I heard such a sermon yesterday in which the pastor said that believing in Jesus, basically, is just us saying “Yes” to the person of Christ, but not to his plan for our lives, for, he says, God has not told us what that plan is. And, this he was basing on the call of Abram in the Bible to go where God was sending him, but he didn’t know where he was going, and then he was applying that across the board to all of us today.
But, God did indeed show us his plan. He revealed his plan of salvation in the scriptures, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. And, his plan is that, because Jesus died on that cross in putting our sin to death, and because he rose from the dead in victory over our sin, we who believe on him must then die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. So, that is a big fat lie to say God/Jesus has not shown us his plan, and to say that so that we don’t say “Yes” to the plan, but just to the person of Christ.
Because the authority over the minds of these Charlatans is Satan, and not God, not the Holy Spirit of God, their goal is to lead people off the straight path, the path that leads to holiness, and on to a path which gives them many options for how to live their lives.
But, I am seeing something even more sinister here with this situation I just mentioned above. For, what I saw there is that it was leading up to these false shepherds directing the plan of these people’s lives rather than letting the Spirit of God lead them. Time will tell.
So, we need to be students of the Word of God, and we need to test what we hear against the Word of God, in context, to see whether or not what we are hearing lines up with the truth of God’s Word. And, we need to pray for much discernment and spiritual understanding so that we are not taken in by these charmers and deceivers and be led astray from the straight path. But, we are to run away from strangers, and listen to our Lord, and follow (obey) him where He leads us.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.
Saturday, May 11, 2019, 9:28 a.m.