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.”
What this brought to mind here was this teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18:5-7 ESV:
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”
Sadly, we have many men (and some women) in “church” pulpits (or on the stages) in the gatherings of what are called “churches” who are teaching the teachings of man, and not of God, which are coming from the minds of dreamers who are fantasizing of how they can grow their “churches” and draw in large crowds of people from the world to their gatherings. So, since they are now trying to draw the world into their gatherings, they are also altering the meaning of church and the truth of the gospel of Christ.
Thus, what many of them are doing is not leading the people to repentance and to obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ, but they are leading them to a false gospel of men which is pacifying people in their sins and which is giving them carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God, only now without conscience or guilt. And should they begin to feel guilty because they are still living in habitual sin, many are telling them to just claim who they are in Christ in order to relieve the guilt.
Now we are all responsible to God for the choices that we make in this life. So, even though those who would attempt to lead us into sin, and/or who are successful in their attempts, are definitely being held accountable for their wrong actions, we are still answerable to God for what we do. So, yes, they can be very persuasive and manipulative and charming and deceitful, and it may be hard to resist them and their charm and persuasion, but resist them we must. We must test everything and everyone against God’s Word.
Yet, many, many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are being led astray by these charlatans (pretenders, fakes, con artists), and they are adopting into their lives a gospel message that makes no requirements of them at all to submit to Christ as Lord, to forsake their sins (to repent), and to walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). And so they are being led into sin, not away from sin, and many people are following these charmers (pied pipers) to their deaths.
And they are using these false teachings as an opportunity of the flesh to live however they want, free from any restrictions at all, and free from any commitments of loyalty and devotion, unless it is loyalty and devotion to the cravings of their own sinful flesh. For they have thrown off all restraints in order to live in freedom to sin rather than in freedom from sin. So, the message that they are giving to God, and many of them to their spouses is:
“Don’t fence me in. Let me be by myself in the evening breeze. Just turn me loose. Let me straddle my old saddle. Let me wander over yonder until I lose my senses. Don’t try to fence me in. I need a lot of freedom. Don’t restrict me. Let me do my own thing…”
Basically, they are like the husband who wants to be married to his wife, at least on paper, and he wants to have her in his life, at least for a time, but he doesn’t want to have to be faithful to her. He doesn’t want to have to cleave to her and for her to be his only love interest. He wants to roam. He wants to live the single life while having the status of being married, too, and it doesn’t work that way. The marriage may technically survive, but it isn’t a marriage. For only one of them is being faithful.
And this is the way many people are approaching their relationships with Jesus Christ, too. They want God to do it all and for them to not have to do anything. They want God to be faithful to his promises, but they don’t want to have to surrender anything to him. It is like a one-sided marriage relationship with God being expected to do his half while the person purportedly in relationship with God thinks he is going to reap all the benefits of the relationship without any of the responsibility on his part.
But the Scriptures do not teach this one-sided relationship with God (with Jesus Christ) where God does everything and we do nothing. True, we cannot do anything in our own flesh to be saved from our sins, but we are saved to do the good works God prepared in advance that we should walk in them. And so if we do not obey him, but we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, the Scriptures teach that we will not enter the kingdom of heaven no matter what professions of faith we have made with our lips.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
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.”
God is not the author of sin, and he does not tempt us to sin, but he allows us to be tempted to sin. Even Jesus was tempted to sin by the devil, but he never once sinned. And the Lord allows us, at times, to be exposed to false teachings and to people who would tempt us to sin or who would try to convince us that we don’t have to obey the Lord. But we are to walk after the Lord our God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and we are to serve him and hold fast to him (see above verses).
But he allows these things in our lives in order to test our faith, to see if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul. But this is really for us to see. He already knows. And it is so that we can learn from this lesson. For, when our faith is being tested, and we see our own reactions to the testing, it reveals to us what is in our hearts that needs to be cleaned out and purified, and it shows us where we have unforgiveness or bitterness of spirit, or where our faith is weak, and where we need to be strengthened.
But if our faith is already steadfast, then coming up against such temptations and tests of our faith should only help to reinforce what we already know and to make us even stronger in our walks of faith and even more determined to stay the course and to not give way to any temptations to sin, and to not give way to any opposition against us that might try to discourage us from obeying the Lord and his callings on our lives. For, if we are walking in obedience to our Lord, we are going to be opposed!
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 17:14; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13]
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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