If Satan is a deceiver, and if he seeks to ply his nefarious trade of delusion and darkness, where might we expect to encounter his most effective influences of deception? The answer is obvious, but sometimes overlooked.
"Many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).
Recently, I told a congregation that when I meet someone who identifies himself as a Christian preacher, I find myself immediately putting up my guard rather than lending instant credibility. Now, since we have a lot of preachers on our mailing list, allow me, gentleman, to affirm my utmost confidence in those of you kind enough to read these messages. I know you as faithful communicators of God and His Word, and seek to follow your example since I share the calling. Moreover, I know there are multitudes of good and godly preachers and teachers of the Gospel. However, I am not naive enough to believe that our adversary would fail to fill as many pulpits as possible with darkness rather than light. Thus, I do not lend a man instant credibility because he identifies himself as a preacher. Nor do I want or expect people to immediately trust me. Again, a devil exists in the world, devouring those who fail to realize that some shepherds feed on the flock rather than emulating the One who declared and then lived out His loving devotion to God and man: "I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep" (John 10:11).
Some false prophets obviously originate in an influence other than Christ and His truth. Others are harder to identify. I offer no parameters for testing in this message. I rather simply affirm and remind of the challenging truth that many false preachers and teachers exist in every denomination and movement of professing Christendom. If we fail to recognize this reality of which the Scriptures plainly warn, we do not have to be concerned about being deceived. We already are, at least in the sense of embracing a gullibility against which the Biblical prophets and apostles continually sounded their clarion voices of alarm. Indeed, the pulpits of light can just as easily purvey darkness to those unsuspecting sheep who unwittingly grant credibility to those who affirm the calling of Christ while actually being the voices of deception.
"There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers."
"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, of if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
(II Corinthians 11:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.