“Watch out that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:4 (NIV)
Many people are more afraid of being deceived by the devil than they are in trusting that God is able to protect them from being deceived if they seek Him. Yes, Jesus clearly warns us that in the last days we must be alert to being deceived (Matthew 24), and He says that the elect can be deceived if that’s possible (v.24). That means those who have opened themselves up to it can be impacted by it. The religious spirit does just that, it keeps people blind. And we empower what we believe!
Though the Bible is our source of truth, how we interpret it is not inerrant! The Catholic Church had twisted the word to the point where people purchased “indulgences” for forgiveness of sin. If it hadn’t been for Martin Luther, we could still be operating under the deception. But Luther nailed 95 protests on a door, and the Protestant Reformation was born! We now have an understanding that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nevertheless, today, the religious spirit is operating just as it did through the Pharisees in Jesus’ day and through the Catholic Church of Luther’s day!
This can be seen through what is called the doctrine of cessation. Recently we have had several bumps with this spirit! Typically, this spirit is cynical and critical of the works of the Holy Spirit. It preaches that the Holy Spirit no longer operates in power gifts. In fact, it is expressing that a great revival isn’t coming, but instead Jesus is going to come at any moment to rescue His church.
Every day I cry out for God to show me any and every place that I might be deceived. The problem with deception is you don’t know you are deceived. We must cry out diligently for God to show us open doors and any place where doctrines that originate from demons are lurking near us. We need not be afraid to walk by faith. God will show you. Trust His ability to lead you more than your fear that the devil may deceive you.
Unity in the body does not mean bringing vinegar and oil together. The only way to mix them is to shake violently. The oil and vinegar church represent the Holy Spirit and religious spirit churches. When we talk about unity, we mean unity in the Spirit. Being of like minds and like hearts. Unity is not every church just because they call themselves “church!” Paul instructs us to not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). We understand that an unbeliever and a believer should not get married. But it can also refer to being unequally yoked in regards to the Holy Spirit. If the husband is a cessationist and the wife is passionately desiring more of the Holy Spirit, there is going to be a huge clash. They are unequally yoked!!!
Ask God to show you any and every place of deception, or potential deception and lay it before Him. Tell Him that you will trust His ability to lead you more than the devil’s ability to deceive. Pray for your pastor, asking God to reveal to him any deception or false doctrines that he may have assimilated into his thinking. Pray that God would expose all falsehood, lies, human arguments and strongholds that have slipped into your church (2 Corinthians 10:4-6). Ask God for unity of the Spirit in our city, that churches of like heart and mind would be drawn into deeper partnership and relationship as we press forward into revival, harvest and transformation of Athens!