I hope this newsletter finds you well, rejoicing and growing the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Half a year has gone by and we are already into the 2nd half of 2010. How time is ticking by and the words of Paul in Eph 5:15-17 constantly remind us to live as wise, redeeming the time for the days are evil.
In this update, I want to write a little about Deception. In our information and knowledge age, there is just so much going around in the churches and on the internet. Walk into any Christian bookstore and you are immediately swamped with so many titles calling out for your attention. Google and search on YouTube and you will find a variety of messages catering to your every need. Convenient and attractive these all may be, but do they present the Truth?
We know that the enemy seeks to deceive the whole world (Rev 12:9). It started in the Garden with Eve and it has continued to this day. While the whole world lies under sway of the evil one, believers must be made fully aware that they are also targets of deception, and especially so in the last days (Matt 24:24). The problem with deception is that it looks and sounds just like the Truth. It is not an outright lie where believers can spot it a mile away. Not at all! It is presented and cloaked in Truth … just not the whole truth. Like a snake, the deceiver weaves in and out of truth, throwing in bit and pieces of untruth to entice and lure the unsuspecting listener. Everything appears spiritual and biblical, the right words and phrases are used. But contained at the core of every message is an attempt to de-rail believers from the Truth of God, and dare I say, to even rob them of an eternal relationship with God!
I make no apologies for the seriousness of tone for I believe it is needful in this season. Many Christians are viewing the Word of God through postmodern filters of pluralism and individualism! The truths of God are being tweaked, twisted and touted to suit our humanistic tastes and appetites … all in the name of cultural relevance and contextualisation! What a sumptuous buffet spread that is being offered – just pick what you fancy and discard the rest. The sad thing is that people are lapping it all up, ingesting the poison of deception and dying a slow death without even realising it. And that is precisely what is happening in the Church. We only want to hear what we want to hear, and that which does not sit comfortably with our presuppositions, we promptly disregard. Does not 2 Tim 4:3-4 warn that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”? And if you are one who thinks you are exempt from this, may I humbly suggest that you think again, asking the Lord for wisdom and revelation.
What is the safeguard against deception then? I’m afraid there is no shortcut, no 10-steps to follow, no video to watch, no sermon to listen to. You need to know the truth, the Person of Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is your relationship with Him that will steer you through the minefield of deception in these final days. Even this simple statement can draw a wrong response from our deceived and deceitful hearts! No, not a frivolous, mushy relationship that some suggest, but one that is solidly built on the foundation of the Rock! Not only must you know the Word for yourself, you need to have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Too many are leaning on the interpretation and teachings of others, assuming that these have their welfare at heart. Deceived! On the other hand, too many are copping out with phrases like “led by the Spirit” and ignoring the Spirit-inspired Word of God. Deceived!
The bible reminds us that Eve was deceived because she didn’t know the Word for herself. Having only heard from Pastor Adam, it did not become a personal conviction for her. As a result, she was deceived by the twisty sneaky serpent. Adam, on the other hand, was not deceived but was disobedient. He knew the Word and the consequences but the temptation was too good to resist. Likewise, may we not be like Eve who operated on hearsay. May we also not be like Adam who was too ready to compromise the truth for the sake of fitting in and keeping peace.
Forgive this rather lengthy discourse for I did start out with the intention of writing a little about Deception. Borrowing the words of the author of Hebrews, “I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words.” Heb 13:22 (italics mine)
Thank you for taking time to read and to share this burden in my heart. I do not claim to know everything or that I am walking 100% in the truth without fault or error. By this, I do not mean to alarm those who have been blessed or encouraged by my teaching and preaching ministry. I regard my ministry as a privilege and an honour to serve my Lord Jesus Christ and I will do all to protect the ministry and His precious Name! To this end, I am constantly studying, learning and researching, challenging, testing and examining myself that I do not fall short of His amazing and abundant grace extended so lavishly on me and my household. I also recognise the awesome responsibility I have as I speak into the lives of many in the Church. This explains my willingness to continue to preach, without compromise nor apology, tough messages that provoke and challenge; not to place unnecessary burdens but that each will be raised up as trees of righteousness, able to stand firm when the shaking comes. For this, I covet your continued prayers and support as I stay faithful to the call of God.
Please feel free to browse this blog for the latest happenings in my family and the ministry. May you be encouraged as you see God’s hand in our lives and how He directs us as we serve Him and His people. There are also new articles and posts which reveal my heart and thoughts. Some may surprise you but don’t allow it to stumble you. My desire is to always be real that through the presentation of my weaknesses and shortcomings, others will see the glory and power of God in my life. For sure, I am no superman, nor some mighty man of God. All that I am, all that I have, all that I do … entirely by the grace of the God! On this note, I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul …
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and noe of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Cor 4:7-10