From Mike MacIntosh
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines deception as a misleading falsehood with a view towards unlawful gain or advantage. Here, Jesus is telling His disciples that there will be many who come to deceive them away from the truth of God’s Word for their own personal gain. People will use and distort the words of God to make money, or to lead people down the path of destruction. Jesus wants our eyes to be open, awake, and alert to the pitfalls and dangers around us. And the very first danger He tells us is deception. Before Jesus talks about the “what’s-going-to-happen-next” question, or about the earthquakes and famines, wars and nations rising up against other nations, Jesuscommands us to not be misled by false teachers and people who distort God’s Word. This is His priority!
Deception generally happens very slowly and very subtly. Today we live in a world where a group of people gathering together may call themselves a “church,” but are far from it. Many places that have the word “church” in their name aren’t really the same church that Jesus talks about. Many people will claim to have supernatural answers that seem good on the surface, but when one strips away the rhetoric and charisma, the content is blatantly contrary to the Scriptures.
Deception also comes by way of the movies or shows we watch. Most of that stuff isn’t entertaining as much as it is implanting a Godless and humanistic message into your heart and mind. So we need to be alert to this deception in the things that we watch. This spiritual alertness will come by being in the Word of God every day. Let the Bible be your guide for spiritual direction. Rely on, and listen to, the Holy Spirit’s prompting; He is with you to convict and to give you discernment as you go throughout your day.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”(Romans 16:17-18).