The Destructiveness of Spiritual Error

The Destructiveness of Spiritual Error
Robert Wurtz II

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 7:22, 23)

Early in the Lord’s ministry He tried to clarify a common misconception that was sure to present itself in the months and years to come; namely, that the supernatural is evidence of Divine approval. In other words, the belief that one is right with God simply because one prophesies or performs miracles. In fact, our passage suggests that many people are deceived by this belief to the point that they work iniquity while still believing that one day they will go to heaven. This is a shocking and sobering fact. How could so many people be deceived like this?

If I were to remind the reader that the Lord Jesus told us plainly that we will know people “by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16, 20) it is very likely that I would get a hearty amen. However, when was the last time someone made the cover of Charisma Magazine because of their “fruits.” What about Daystar, Trinity Broadcasting, or the Word Network? Does anyone “follow” a minister because they demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, gentleness, etc.)? The chances are very low that this is the case. People will line up to see a man wave his arms and a crowd fall backwards or will buy every book they can find on “the anointing” — while marginalizing to the point of obscurity a solid, text-book Christian or minister.


There is something about the human mind that is fascinated by the sensational. Simon the Sorcerer used this human tendency to enslave the people of Samaria. Acts chapter 8 details how this man had bewitched the people from the least to the greatest until they believed that he “was the great power of god.” How did he do it? He preyed on people who were impressed by the supernatural. Had this man been able to buy the power of the Holy Spirit like he tried to do, he would have gone on manipulating them until they were all doomed. Nevertheless, Peter exposed the man and a tragedy was averted. Unfortunately, all too often there are people sitting in churches who are just as duped as those poor Samaritans who followed Simon.

If the topic were less serious we would not need to belabor these points. But “many” are going to by lost on that great judgment day because they believed their own hype. Jesus could personally shout with ten megaphones in some of these peoples’ ears “You will know them by their fruits!” And somehow their mind will default back to looking for prophesies, healings, or some other supposed supernatural event to validate themselves and other people. It’s like the devil is in their minds switching the discernment meter off of “fruits” of the Spirit and on to “gifts” of the Spirit. Tragically, this is not a new problem.

The Corinthian Example

Reading Matthew 7:22, 23 almost always brings to mind the letter to the Corinthians. Among their many errors was the misuse of the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, there were people suing their brothers and sisters in Christ; fornicating in ways not known among the heathen; and dividing into factions behind their favorite apostles — yet we’re still keen on moving in the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, Paul asked, “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:26 NKJV) Apparently, everyone, including all the carnal people, were participating in the meetings. That is scary. The devil was having a heyday in that church because the people had completely lost sight of what our high calling is all about. It’s almost as if they believed that so long as the gifts of the Spirit were in operation God was pleased with them. A cursory reading of the 1 and 2 Corinthians destroys that notion. They were in total chaos — but that never seemed to faze them.

I have sometimes wondered if the fornicator in 1 Corinthians, who Paul commanded to be turned over to Satan, had been prophesying, giving messages in tongues, or laying hands on people? Here is a case that could have matched the scenario the Lord Jesus put forward in Matthew 7:22, 23. The man was clearly working iniquity. Yet he attended a church that almost prided itself on the operation of the Spirit. It begs the question: if the Corinthian church was so prophetic, why was this fornicator never dealt with? Why were the secrets of his heart not made manifest that he might repent? Could it be “because people assume that if a person is operating in the gifts of the Spirit that God must be overlooking their sinfulness? And if God is overlooking it — who are we to challenge the person?” Do you see how deceptive and destructive this false notion is? Is there any wonder the Lord Jesus dealt with it so early in the Gospels?

Notice that the individuals in Matthew 7:22, 23 (who will be cast-out) cite their “supernatural works” as evidence of knowing Christ. It was all deception. They think that because they are working in ‘the gifts’ (or at least they thought it was the gifts they were moving in) that they know Christ and He knows them. They seem to have been totally taken off guard by Jesus’ declaration I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. This should give us great pause.

However, notice what the “many” did not say. Lord, Lord in thy name have we not loved our neighbor as ourselves? Have we not given to the poor and lifted up the widow and orphan? Have we not followed after love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness and faith? None of these criteria were in their defense. Only sensational – supernatural proofs. Imagine the tragedy of this. The people are moving in what they think is God’s approval, while living in rife sin. It was a demonic deception. They apparently lorded their exploits over people until no one dared reprove them. Again, this is what Simon did to the Samaritans. But Jesus said it would be “many” that would say Lord, Lord… not “few.” Despite all the warnings many are still going to live and die believing that God approves of them because they believe they are moving in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Weapon of Influence

The Weapon of Influence
Robert Wurtz II

“These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:26–27 KJV)

“From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)


One of the ways the enemy destroys vast numbers of people, is to lead them into error through the influence of persons they have come to like, love, or admire. Once a relationship is established, and a person has someone “in their hip pocket,” they may convince them that almost anything is true. That is the subtle power of relationships. This is especially true for people who tend to follow the crowd. 




The enemy knows that relationships are one of the greatest means of controlling a persons’ beliefs. If he can use a relationship to influence someone else, a domino effect can take place in which an entire progeny is put at risk. Take a young man or woman for example. They may have grown up with a group of people who subscribed to set of values “A” and then met someone else who captured their heart and turned them to set of values “B.” The relationship broke down the door of the persons’ reason, and overthrew their upbringing. Whereas their parents spent their entire life raising them to serve God, now the relationship trumps everything. This is why God warned Israel not to become involved with the idolatrous nations. 

Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. (Deuteronomy 7:3–5 NKJV)


Notice that the passage says the daughters of the idolaters will turn your sons away from following Me. This may be the Old Covenant, but there is a principal here that is timeless. Relationships have the power to completely overthrow a persons’ belief system. In fact, they can turn a person completely away from the One True God to false gods. 


Charmed to Deception

Have you ever noticed how when a person is “likable” they can nearly get by with murder; but if they are “unlikable” they can do no right? Take politicians, for example. Since the dawn of pictures and sound, men have been able to sell themselves as “likable” characters. The word is “charm.” If they can find a way to come-off on the radio and in the news as “charming,” they get more votes. If they can get you to like them or admire them, they can control you (at least in the voting booth). Modern media has allowed people to market themselves to the highest percentage of voters. This is why politicians are charged with lying and being fake. They are playing to the largest number of people in an audience. This is exactly what Edward Bernays was referring to in the quote above. 

Former president the late Richard Nixon once advised a comrade on how to win the vote of the people. His surprising answer? “Lose twenty pounds.” We may ask, “Are people really that shallow?” Unfortunately, many are. They are seduced into thinking a certain way by people who know how to manipulate them. If they can appeal to someones unconscious desires, they can control their decision making; they can take advantage of the person.

How Not To Win Friends 

Have you ever wondered why some people never take a stand on difficult subjects? Often it’s because they want everybody to like them. They are too concerned about building up appearances to allow some important or controversial subject to tarnish their glow. Jesus was never concerned about His “image” and “reputation.” He was no deceiver. His approach to winning men and women was to tell them the truth and allow their conscience to do the work. He never solicited or moved in ulterior motives. He did not manipulate a “yes” from people. In fact, He went to great lengths to test a person’s “yes” before He would believe them. 

Duped By Deceivers

John writes, These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. The enemy was working in the churches, through people, to lead the saints astray. Think about how many have used their “smooth words and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:18b NKJV) They sport their charm and other carnal means to achieve their own ends. All the while the true men and women of God are marginalized. 

I recall an old western song that depicts a woman at home alone when a knock comes to the door. “Lord it’s the Devil,” She exclaims, “Would you look at him? I heard about him, but I never dreamed… He would have blue eyes and blue jeans.” This witness is true. This is the power of charm. This is the power of seduction. Multitudes are seduced by the devil every day. He comes dressed as an angel of light and lures away scores of unsuspecting — undiscerning people. Never mind what his values are, look at him! Can’t you see how beautiful he is? Listen to him, can’t you hear how charming he is?

The apostles were forever dealing with these type of people who tried to come in and seduce the saints. People would make fun of the way Paul looked and spoke — favoring those who better looked and talked the part. What did he say?

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.” (1 Corinthians 4:19 NKJV)


While the masses are swooning after those who come dressed as angels of light, Paul said he would discern the power they were moving in. This is key. Does the words the person speaks resonate in the conscience? Is the Holy Spirit backing the message? This was Paul’s concern. there are a lot of smooth talkers in the world, but there are few who are speaking for God. 





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