Watch Out for Flim-Flam Artists

John 10:1-5,10 ESV

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Liars and Deceivers Abound

The Scriptures teach us that we are to test everything, which means we are not to just accept anything anyone says just because he or she said it or just because it sounds good and so we think it must be good. Now, when it comes to people teaching the Scriptures, we can look up the Scriptures they are teaching, and we can look at them in context, and we can compare them to other Scriptures, and in prayer and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we should be able to discern what is truth and what is not truth.

But then we have people who claim to be of God or who say they believe in Jesus but they may not be teachers of the Word, although they may quote Scriptures, and they may make some application of Scriptures to our lives, and so we can test those things. But they are politicians or they are newscasters who wield enormous influence over the people and over their thinking and believing and over their words and their actions. They are harder to test because we aren’t just testing biblical teachings here.

We are testing the character of these people and if they are who they say they are and if they are, in fact, doing the things they say they are doing, or if they are masters at lying and deceiving and if we have been duped by them. And so this may involve some research outside of the Scriptures but which includes the Scriptures and the prophecies of Scripture regarding these last days before the return of Christ. And so we are going to need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know what to look for and for him to reveal to us truth. But we must be in the practice of listening to the Holy Spirit.

For there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing among us, mere charlatans who have infiltrated the gatherings of the church. And they aren’t all pastors or Bible teachers, but they are politicians and talk show hosts, etc., who appear to be speaking on behalf of the church and for the church but who are these strangers who are “thieves and robbers” who have infiltrated the gatherings of the church in order to steal and kill and destroy. They are flim-flam artists who are smooth talkers and charmers who deceive many.

A Call for Much Discernment

If we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, and if we are in the habit of listening to the voice of the Spirit, and the Lord has thus been opening our eyes to what is going on in the world and in our nations and within the gatherings of what is called “church,” then we should be discerning about who and what is of God and who and what is not of God. We should know if someone is of God or not by their spirit, by the things that they do and say, and by the manner in which they say it (compared to Scripture).

And the Holy Spirit should be leading us to discovering information on these people so that we can see that they do not speak for God but that they are speaking either for themselves and/or for Satan and his agenda. For many people in positions of influence over the church today are actually of Satan and not of God because what they promote is not of God but of Satan. But it takes much wisdom and discernment on our part to recognize them if we are not particularly tuned into the Spirit’s voice in daily practice.

But if we are in the practice of listening to the Spirit’s voice, which should always agree with the Scriptures, and if we are truly following Jesus with our lives day by day, then the Spirit has been speaking to us, and he has been opening our eyes to see what is going on in our governments and in the world, as a whole, and the agenda that is taking place, and who is really on God’s side and who is not, etc. But if we are listening to the news and to politicians, instead, then we are not going to be discerning.

There is so much deception going on today in our governments and within the institutional church and in the news media and the medical and corporate and financial sectors of our nations that it is mindboggling to even think about how much of what we see and think we see or hear is actually not the truth at all but it is “smokes and mirrors” intended to continually confuse and distract and mislead the people of the world and the people of God or those professing to be believers in Jesus.

If we read our Bibles and we read about these last days and what we can expect, and we compare that to what is going on in our world and within the gatherings of what is called “church” today, if we are in tune to the Spirit’s voice, we should be able to see that prophecy of Scripture is being fulfilled daily before our eyes. And so we must pull ourselves away from all these worldly influences and we must get into God’s word and listen to our Lord and let him reveal to us the truth of the times we now live in.

But watch out that you are not deceived by politicians and talk show hosts and preachers and newscasters and medical professionals, etc. who would lead you to believe that they are the answer to what ails our nations. God is our only hope for what ails the people of the world, for what ails us is sin. And Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen from the dead is the ONLY solution to the sin problem that is in the world.

So, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Seek his face and his counsel. Dig deep into the word of God and obey it fully in the power of God’s Spirit. Pray for spiritual discernment but then don’t rely on other humans to lead you into all truth. For many liars and deceivers abound. And seriously reduce the amount of time you spend listening to the news and to politicians and talk show hosts and preachers, etc., and just get quiet before the Lord so you can hear him speaking gently to your hearts.

And don’t be afraid to have the ground beneath your feet shaken, because a lot of what we were brought up believing and following was a lie, and since so many people bought into that lie, the masses are terribly deceived, and many are following pied pipers to their deaths thinking that they are following what is of God because it is cleverly disguised to appear as though it is of God. So please pray for the Lord to reveal to you the lies you have been believing and pray he will open your eyes to the truth. And then follow the Lord Jesus in obedience and let him be your only Savior.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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