Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
This is probably my last correspondence with you all for quite some time. In fact, this may be my last weekly blast to you as the full-time pastor of King of Kings. It is nothing personal, and I didn’t get myself into any trouble. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Please allow me to explain. Within the past 48 hours, I have gotten three different emails from three entirely unrelated people. But in each instance, I am the lucky recipient and benefactor of three pending deposits into my bank account. Imagine my great fortune to know that three unrelated, foreign businesspeople have each chosen me to spread their funds. Within minutes after I send them each just a little bit of my personal accounting information, my currently putrid bank account will be inundated with transfers from overseas. One for $500,000. A second for $2.4 million dollars. And a third for $16.3 million dollars. Of course, I will be making a sizeable donation back to the church, but nevertheless it seems like a good time to alter my life’s course. It was never my intention to retire this early, but with this streak of good fortune I have begun looking for a house on a southern island as my next residence.
Hopefully, by now, you know that I am joking. I know that these emails are scams. I immediately delete the email and block the sender. But sadly, many people fall for such scams. Whether they come via email or over the phone, good people are often led astray and duped by people into sharing their important information. What they think is an unforeseen blessing, turns out to destroy them. What sounds like a satisfying and exciting gift, turn outs to be a hoax. Their lives are irreparably damaged.
Scams come in spiritual forms as well. During our time on this earth, we are constantly distracted by different things that take our focus away from God. Some of this can be turned into our own idols that we worship and put all our focus on instead. God continues to teach us to not be persuaded by false teachings and idols because only He can give us truth so that we can abide in Him. Jesus warns about false prophets and teachers who come to us with twisted ideas about belief in God and how to live our lives. In Matthew 7:15 we hear, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” These people might use the right religious language or seem to be great leaders. But the truth, Jesus says, is that they are like wolves who will wreak havoc within a sheepfold (the church) if they are allowed to go unchecked. You can be persuaded by anything that stands in the way of your relationship with God. People within the church can be a part of this as well and use God’s Word to make their false teachings seem believable, as humans we are easily convinced.
Much like the emails I received, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Being involved with false teachings, whether you spread them yourself or believe the lies they present, causes you to be corrupt and tears down your Spirit. What deceptively promises to help, will actually harm you because it removes your gaze of worship away from the Creator. Don’t get duped! Anything apart from God never can fully satisfy our lives. However, while we may be tempted to take advice from teachings we believe to be easier and decide to follow other things we believe are good for us, only God truly knows what is good. Remember this verses from last Sunday? “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We need to understand that if we abide in God, He will reveal the truth to us through His Spirit and through His Word. I recently saw a Facebook post that said: “I am studying the book of Micah right now and came across this gem of a verse in which he laments how people don't want to hear what's true—they want to hear what makes them happy: "If a liar and deceiver comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' that would be just the prophet for this people!" (Micah 2:11) Some things never change, right? The pleasing "prophets" for today's people just keep repeating in one way or another that every individual is their own authority on the truth and morality. And people love them for it more than they love acknowledging the authority and goodness of their maker (cf. Romans 1).
My friends, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must always view everything through the lens of truth itself: the Bible. Spend time in God’s Word, digging deep in Scripture, meditating on it and committing it to memory. The more you understand and internalize the Bible, the easier it will be for you to discern truth from lie and solid doctrine from false teaching.
Ope, time for me to go. I just got a phone call about my car’s extended warranty—good thing I’m getting all that extra money wired to me soon! 😉
“Error always goes to church because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, infiltrates the systems of religion, particularly Christianity even true Christianity and plants his seeds of error there and a gullible, witless, uneducated, undiscerning church becomes a victim.” (Martin Luther)
“The teaching of a false prophet cannot withstand scrutiny under the divine light of Scripture.” (John MacArthur)
Pastor Steve Vera