Saturday, August 22, 2015

Devotion: Are You Strong In The Lord?

Imagine believing yourself to be a believer only to find out what you believed you were you were not.  Imagine believing yourself to be a follower of Jesus only to find out that the one whom you claimed to follow was not the one that you needed to follow.  Imagine believing yourself to be saved because you believed you joined the family only to find out that the family you joined was not the right one.  Imagine believing yourself to be free from condemnation only to find out you have been held in captivity because you have rejected the knowledge needed to make yourself free.  Imagine all that you believed was based in untruths, based in deception, based in lies, and based in fiction.  Imagine believing in a truth that has been manufactured by the great deceiver himself, all for the sole purpose of taking you out of the kingdom of heaven.  Imagine not even being aware of any of this until it was too late.

We are so eager to meet Jesus that we see him in pots and pans, on building walls and in sidewalks, and in all kinds of food such as bread, chips, tortillas, bananas, and even in the bit mark of a Kit Kat candy bar.  The problem is that all of these images mirror the paintings that we currently have of Jesus, which are someone else’s interpretation of what they believe Jesus to have looked like.  The Bible never gives us a clear physical description of what Jesus supposedly looked like, yet we believe we are able to see images of him in so many things.  God warns us that “there will come false Christs and false prophets who will give great signs and do great wonders, so much so that if it were possible, these things could turn the very elect from the true way” (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22).  The Message (MSG) puts it this way:

If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, ‘Here’s the Messiah!’ or points, ‘There he is!’ don’t fall for it.  Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere.  Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better.  So watch out.  I’ve given you fair warning” (Mark 13:21-23 MSG).

This is a very illuminating passage.  The fact that the great signs and great wonders of the false Christs and the false prophets are so convincing that these things could trick “the very elect,” those who ought to know better, means that all who are not “the very elect” are in trouble of being deceived.  Do you know to whom “the very elect” refer?  Are you sure about that definition?  The possibility that “the very elect” could be deceived is a little disturbing and should raise all kinds of red flags.  While many believe they are “the very elect,” the possibility does exist that they may not be what they think they are.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  and in thy name have cast out devils?  and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Scriptures tell us that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven.  For they will ask, “Have we not prophesied in your name?  Have we not cast out demons in your name?  And have we not done many wonderful works in your name?”  But Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you, therefore, depart from me you that work iniquity.”  Does this mean that “the many” who claim to be “in Christ” are not what they profess to be?  Are “the many” already deceived?  Here is the disturbing part, they, “the many,” will not find out any of this until the end, when it will be too late

When the judgment comes, “the many” will come to the Lord and tell of all the things that they have done in his name, but he will tell them to depart from him.  You see the deception is not what one would think or even recognize.  Most recognize “the works of iniquity” and know that these things are never of God.  Therefore, one can see Jesus telling them who do or practice such things to depart from him.  But the one thing that many fail to recognize is “to whom” the Lord is actually speaking.  While it appears that the Lord is referring to those “workers of iniquities” when he tells them to depart from him, he is actually speaking to those that “he never knew.”  Because they never truly received Christ and trusted in his name, they were not given the privilege to become “a child of God” (John 1:12-13).

The sad part is they truly believed yet they will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  They truly believed yet they were never part of the family.  They were never part of the family because they believed in someone who was not the real deal.  They never truly received Jesus so they were not given the privilege to become a child of God.  They believed they received only to discover that the one they received was from the one who continues to deceive the world.  They believed in the message of the one who can appear as “Christ’s apostle” and whose servants can be transformed to appear like “godly ministers”(II Corinthians 11:12-15).  They were deceived by the false Christs and false prophets.  “Are you strong in the Lord?”  If this message causes unrest in your spirit, then you may not be as “strong in the Lord” as you should be.  The good news is that it is not too late to make a change.

We pray that today’s message will abundantly bless you, greatly inform you, and that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings. - KW

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