Deuteronomy 13:1-3 ESV
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams.”
Test what You See and Hear
Just because someone was able to accurately predict something that would happen in the future, because what he predicted came true, it does not mean that person is of God or that he is listening to God. He may be able to predict what is coming because he (or she) is part of a group of people who are the ones plotting and carrying out that exact event.
Sometimes people will fake prophesies or miracles or words of knowledge to get others to believe that they are hearing from God, so that people will believe them when they teach what is clearly not of God. So, this is why we need to be students of the Scriptures so we know what they teach, and it is why we need to test what we hear against the Scriptures (in context).
So, don’t get caught up in outward signs and wonders. Remember that the Scriptures teach that the false prophet and the beast will also use signs and wonders to deceive people. And don’t get caught up in what appeals to your emotions, for just because it looks good, sounds good, and feels good, it doesn’t mean it is good. Feelings can be so deceiving!
So, listen to what this person is teaching, and then compare it to what the Scriptures teach (in context), and compare it to what the Scriptures teach regarding who God is and regarding his divine character and will for our lives. And also test the spirit of that person to see if what he is teaching and how he is living is consistent with God’s holiness and righteousness.
Going After Other Gods
Now, a false teacher is not generally going to say, “Let us go after other gods.” That would be a dead giveaway that he is a false teacher. But he will say it, just not in obvious words, but in subtle, deceptive, and hidden ways to where it doesn’t sound as though that is what he is saying. For, false teachers will use deception to deceive you into believing them.
In fact, they will use the Scriptures to deceive you, because they will use them in manipulative ways. Sometimes they will just quote a Scripture but then talk about something else, but it has the appearance that it is biblical because they quoted Scripture. Or they will quote a Scripture out of context and teach it out of context so that it appears as though it is biblical.
These false teachers are masters at deception and manipulation. They are con artists performing their magic tricks in order to trick you into believing their lies and into rejecting the truth. They are very good at twisting the Scriptures to their advantage to where it sounds that what they are saying is truth when really it is a lie cleverly disguised as truth.
So, this is why we need to be students of the Scriptures, and it is why we must study them in their context, for many lies come from Scriptures taught outside their context. But we are not going to be discerning at all if we are caught up in this world and in sinful practices and if we are not listening to the Lord but we are actively following after our own fleshly desires.
You Shall Not Listen!
So, again, the only way we are going to know if this is something we should or should not listen to is if we are students of the Scriptures, and if we are walking in obedience to the commands of God (New Covenant), and if we are those who practice testing what we hear against the Scriptures (in context) to make certain that what we are hearing is indeed the truth.
When this is our practice, we are then able to discern truth from lies, and we will also begin to see patterns of lies and deceptions in how things are worded, such as in how some people will quote a Scripture but then go off and talk about something else so you think that what they are saying is biblical, or how they will use biblical phrases to make it sound biblical.
Memes on Social Media are one of the biggest ways right now that these deceptions are being communicated to and accepted by Christians. And this is because they are designed to be short and quick and emotionally driven and easily “liked” and “shared” without anyone taking the time to test them against the Scriptures to see if they are true or not.
So, if the message you are receiving is giving you the impression that you can believe in Jesus, be forgiven all your sins, and that heaven is guaranteed you no matter what, no matter how often or how much you sin, then please know that is a lie from hell! Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).
Deuteronomy 13:3-4 ESV
“For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”
Fear God, Honor Him, Obey Him
Our God is completely sovereign over all that he has made (created). There is not anything that happens that is not ultimately under his control. It doesn’t mean he causes all things to happen the way that they do, for he is not the author of evil, but he does allow evil to exist, and sometimes he uses evil acts of others to accomplish his purposes.
For example, our Lord allows us to be persecuted, to be mistreated, to be slandered, to be rejected, and to go through trying times in order to test our faith, to see if we will respond to our circumstances in a manner which reveals that we do love our Lord with all our heart and with all our soul. For, trials are used of God to also mature us in our walks of faith.
Okay, so here is the clincher: We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to walk (in conduct, in practice) after the Lord our God, according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh. We are to honor him, revere him, respect him, and obey him and his commandments (New Covenant). And we are to serve him as our only Lord by doing the works he prepared for us to walk in.
We are to leave our lifestyles of sin behind us and we are to live holy lives, separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Sin is to no longer be our master. We are to no longer live under its control. For, if we do, we don’t love God, we don’t know God, and we will not be with our Lord for eternity.
Yes, this passage of Scripture in Deuteronomy was under the Old Covenant, but the teaching in these four verses is consistent with and/or is repeated specifically for us in the New Testament under the New Covenant. We must still test false teachers, we must still not listen to false doctrines, God does still test us and our faith, and we are still to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and love our neighbors as ourselves.
We are still instructed under the New Covenant to walk in the ways of the Lord and to give him our honor, respect, and obedience, and we are still to keep his commandments (New Covenant), and we are still to obey his voice and follow him wherever he leads us. And we are still to hold fast to our Savior Jesus Christ and to his gospel until the very end of time.
For, if we do not love our Lord (obey him) with our whole heart and soul, and if we do not walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, but if we continue to live according to the flesh, making sin our practice, ignoring our Lord and his commands, we do not love God, we do not know God, and we will not be with God for eternity. Please take this to heart!
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44]
By Ann Aschauer
So shine on through the darkness;
Be the salt and light for all your world.
Live for Jesus, ’til you see Him,
And your faith has its reward;
Shine on through the darkness;
Let His love shine through you all your days.
Go and win your generation for the Lord.
c 1990 Ann Aschauer