The first thing God mentions when it comes to the end is deception. Do not be deceived. It is important enough that Jesus mentions it right off the bat.
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.”Matthew 24:4 [NASB]
I wasn’t all that concerned with deception at first. But Jesus said that there will be those that try to enter in His kingdom saying they did all kinds of things in His name, but Jesus will say, begone. I never knew you.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.Matthew 7:21
The closer we get to the end of time the more important it is not to be deceived. This is why the bible tells us to test the spirits. I started asking myself if I was one of those that was confused and misled. How would I know if I was actually deceived? If you are deceived how would you know you are deceived? How would I know? The bible would tell me if I was. And actually that was the first clue. How many of us listen to sermons? We hear them on Sunday at least, correct? Some of us listen or read them throughout the week as well. Sounds awesome, but is it? I am not getting down on sermons per se. Here is the kicker.
Man’s words will never be as good as God’s Word.
Jack Hibbs woke me up to this in my life. He basically said, if you listen to sermons all the time, great. But if you are listening to sermons and not reading your bible, stop listening to them and go read your bible.
So that is what I have been doing. Shock of all shockers. It works!
In the bible God explains what it means to be one of His. He clears it up in a number of ways. One is that His sheep will know His voice. Another is that we are to do His will. His will. This was key for me. In James it points out that when you pray for worldly belongings your eyes are on the world and not on God.
My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?James 2:1-4
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.James 4:3,4
Clearly, if you are living in the world, you are not living for God.
This is how a lot of “churches” operate now. Maybe I should call them false churches.
They focus on earthly possessions. The pastor is a millionaire with 5 mansions. The pastor breaks all kinds of commandments explaining how rich you will be if only you were to have enough faith. This is not how God works though. His Word clearly states that. But how is one to know that if they are listening to what man says instead of what God says?
Read the Word of God first. Listen to Godly pastors and teachers as a supplement only. That is what I have learned this year above almost everything else.