Days of Deception

Days of Deception
Robert Wurtz II

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5 KJV)

Paul had already warned Timothy earlier in the epistle of people who would be, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (…) as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2 Timothy 3:7–8 KJV) Disobedience is almost always the cause of people “ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” Nevertheless, Paul issued a solemn charge to Timothy that he was to go on preaching the Gospel that was once and for all delivered unto the saints no matter if it were in season or out of season.

Paul inserts into this charge a prophecy about a type of people who are characterized by three things:

1. They will not endure sound doctrine; i.e., reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.
2. They will heap to themselves teachers that tickle their ears and fuel their lusts.
3. They will refuse to hear the truth, but will turn to fables (stories and myths).

This prophecy is given as a future reality as the verbs are future tense. There was a season coming in which Timothy would have to deal with these people. I suggest that these people would arise as a consequence of Paul being dead. This is akin to the warning Paul gave to the Ephesians that after his departure savage wolves would enter in — not sparing the sheep. In the absence of sound preaching, the lusts of men and women come to the fore and a band of so-called ministers rise to feed them. 

After Their Own Lusts

Markets are driven by demand. This is true in all walks of life. When demand for something dries up — the supply chain for it dries up. Flow is created by pressure; and in this case the pressure is lust. The Greek word for lust is the standard word for strong desire (epithumia). These people are not driven by God’s will or His word — but their own strong desires. Whereas the Kingdom of God is designed around God’s desires, these have traded God’s desires for their own desires. Nevertheless, they chose to remain in the churches. This creates a very serious challenge for preachers. Feed the peoples lusts; or preach for the glory of God?

Heaping to Themselves

The very fact that Paul told Timothy that people will heap teachers to themselves that tickle their ears suggests that Timothy is going to be woefully outnumbered if he carries out Paul’s charge. It suggests that even in the first century there was a serious disparity between the number of true preachers and ear ticklers. Just as in our times, compromisers are able to vote out truth by majority. In other words, majority rules. “They” are deceived into thinking that the more people agree with their lusts the more likely “they” are to be right. Add to that the false idea that popularity equals authority and you have a recipe for wholesale deception.

In our times heaping can be done on an exponential basis. The television and Christian networks are loaded with speakers who have carved their niche in meeting the lusts of men. Between hyper grace preachers and prosperity merchants the masses are made to believe they can drive a Rolls Royce into heaven laden with sin. What has happened? Simply put, they tell people what they want to hear. They almost never serve up news that would agitate their base. Therefore, their TV audience, radio listeners, and Internet mailing lists keep growing. Obviously, not all are in this category, but clearly the majority are. In Timothy’s day “they” could heap a handful of preachers to tickle their ears– today the sky is the limit with so much access to various speakers. One could feed themselves deception 24/7/365.

An Encouragement to Timothy

Paul was telling Timothy what “they” were going to do and what their speakers were going to tell them. Fables. Falsehoods. Twisted notions. All sorts of things that distract them from the truth. Typically, these notions seek to bless “they”, that is, the very people God is wanting reproved or rebuked. It means that Timothy would have to live with what Leonard Ravenhill called, “rejection.” Paul dealt with it too –even among professors of Christ. 

The time came when Timothy got up to preach and could expect a house of reluctant hearers who seemed to merely endure and tolerate his preaching; but then came the “ear tickler” and the house was full and the people anxious and attentive. He would have seen it and it would have grieved and vexed his soul. From people who taught that the resurrection had already passed, to others who promoted the damnable teachings of the Judaizers (see Galatians 1) — Paul was in a constant battle. Paul’s words would come to mind:

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Almost as if Paul shot down all the arguments from the beginning. “They” are thronging the ear tickling preachers you say? ” But watch thou in all things. I know what “they” are doing but “thou” are to watch in all things. The word for “watch” here could be translated sober. “They” may be drunk on the elixir of this world and stagger at the lusts that are heaped up, but be thou sober in all things. “They” might be doing it, but thou must not. You fill to the full your ministry and leave “they” and their speakers to God. Let them be ignorant still. No matter how insignificant you may think your contribution is — keep preaching the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 

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.

Gospel Vaccination (The Sin of Syncretism or synkretismos)

Gospel Vaccination
Robert Wurtz II

They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5–6 NKJV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1 John 2:15 NKJV)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)

Have you ever wondered why so many people seem to rebel against everything that requires them to renounce the world and this present darkness? Have you ever asked yourself why people who profess to be Christians are as good at defending worldliness and sin as your average sinner is? Wonder no more. John gives us the plain answer. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5–6 NKJV) People who are of the world (the “they” in our passage) hear and agree with others who are in the world. What “they” say and do makes sense to them and the world; but it is foolishness to those who are truly born of God. Why? Because we are in opposing kingdoms. No matter what a person professes to be, if they reject the counsel of God and speak the world’s language — they are of the world. They are moving in the spirit of error.

Believed and Received or simply Deceived?

There is a gospel of error (born of the spirit of error) that allows a person to go on living in sin and rebellion while calling themselves a Christian. Tragically, multitudes have never been told some very basic facts about becoming a Christian:

1. We must renounce and utterly forsake all association with evil and darkness. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30–31 NKJV) This means everything that represents sin, Satan, the occult, witchcraft, darkness, and anything else associated with what God has already cast out of heaven. In fact, He has prepared a place to burn these offending ones for all eternity. Why would a Christian want to identify with a king and his kingdom that God has assigned to eternal damnation?

2. We must repent of all known sin. Anything that you and I are conscious of, as being “sin,” we must turn from it. This means turn from it and don’t turn back to it.  

3. There is an exclusivity to Christianity. Just as God called Abraham out of Ur; Lot and his family out of Sodom; and the Israelites out of Egypt; God calls individuals to come out from among this present evil world and be separated unto God. We remain in the world, but we are not identified with it.  

Moreover, true Christians belong to a kingdom where the people agree with God and obey God. They do not argue about obeying God. What God loves they love, and what God hates they hate. They are not siding with Satan against God and calling themselves a Christian. Sadly, many have never heard these things. They are trying to serve two masters (God and Satan). What they needed from the beginning was the real Gospel and not a gospel vaccination. 

Immune to the Real Gospel 

A vaccine is a substance designed to be injected into the body to stimulate an immune system response. It is generally a pseudo (synthetic) or impotent version of a disease. The idea is to trick the body into building up a defense against the real thing — so that when you come into contact with the real thing the body will be immune to it. In other words, you have been immunized

In modern times we are suffering from a wholesale epidemic of “gospel vaccinations.” For nearly a hundred years, the masses have been administered an impotent, inert, pseudo “gospel” that has left them with a false assurance that they are a Christian, without providing them with the reality of it. The result is a syncretic (not synthetic, but syn-cretic) brand of Christianity that is at war with the real thing. Syncretism is a theological term for the un-critical, un- discerning, un-questioning acceptance of beliefs and practices that are contrary to the Word of God. Syncretism is the mingling of worldly and even pagan beliefs and practices with Biblical Christianity within the church. It is a poison that robs the church of its life and testimony.* The Latin word syncretismus comes from the Greek συγκρητισμός (synkretismos), meaning “Cretan federation.” Plutarch (1st cen. AD) speaks of the Cretans, who compromised and reconciled their differences and came together in alliance when faced with external dangers. And that was their so-called Syncretism. The old timers simply called it moral and spiritual compromise. John was more to the point, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15 NKJV)

These are hard truths that we must come to terms with. We live in a crisis hour where society is free-falling morally and spiritually. The consequence of not preaching the Gospel as it was once delivered unto the saints, is that we now have millions of people in the West (and everywhere in the world it has been exported to) who have never truly repented of their sins; forsaken all ties with sin and this present evil world; received Christ as savior and Lord; been baptized in water, and received the Holy Spirit. They were deceived when they should have received. They prayed a prayer and was told they are “saved” and as a result are now immune to the true Gospel — if and when they finally hear it. This is tragic beyond words. 

Winning the People

As Christians our objective is not to “win people.” Our objective is to disciple people to Jesus Christ. They must come under his discipline. Again, this process begins when a person renounces all ties to Satan’s kingdom and turns to God’s kingdom. No half-way conversions. This means we cannot use worldliness to get a person to repent of the world. People are supposed to renounce their love for the world. Just as one can’t use drugs to lure a drug addict into a drug rehab center; one cant use worldliness to lure people into the kingdom of God. 

It is a very simple thing to ask, but, how can we use Satan’s ways to get people to God when God kicked Satan out of heaven? It defies common sense. We cannot use this world to win the lost — when the “god” of this world is the one who caused us to be lost in the first place. No crazier thought has ever crossed the human mind than to think that the world has something to contribute to a sinner’s reconciliation to God or can somehow assist us in ushering in His presence. 

Can the thing that destoyed it all now fix it? If there were ever an illustration of the dog returning to his own vomit — this generation is living it. The very thing that made the dog sick in the first place he returns to — sniffs it — and eats it again. Amazing! This is what it is to utlilize what destroyed our relationship with God to try and fix it again. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may discern what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)

Satan is the “god” of this present evil world, and he has blinded the people of this world with darkness. (2 Cor. 4:4) If we are “conforming” to this world in our worship — we are “conforming” to what issues forth from Satan himself. Keep in mind that this is the same Satan that was cast out of Heaven; out of the presence of God along with one-third of the angels. (Revelation 12:4-12) In fact, he cause Adam (mankind) to be banished from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden. That’s what he does. It’s what it longs to do. How deceived could this generation be to think that they could take pointers from this evil world, led by Satan himself, to “set up” Christian worship and come into the presence of God — while the one who made this pattern was cast out of the presence of God? Think about that and learn wisdom.

We can’t use measures developed by the one who was cast out of God’s presence to usher in God’s presence. Nor can we implement worldly measures to help a sinner get reconciled to God. Have we somehow forgotten that Satan is the one who caused our separation from God in the first place? Do we not know that he works day and night to keep people from reconciling to God? How could anything that this evil world has to offer do anything to fix the problem that it’s “god” and “king” (Satan) caused? He is the agent of separation from God not reconciliation. He caused the fall of man and is not about to help fix it. 

Why would a church conform it’s so-called “worship experience” to this present evil, Satan-led world — in order to come into the presence of God — when Satan and his angels were rejected and cast out of God’s presence? That is pure madness. Sure the Devil would like to design our worship experience… so the churches can get what he and his angels got; cast out of God’s presence and utterly rejected! At the very least he wants to put his “stamp” on the meeting — if nothing else to snub God and the rest of the angels.   

I say away with the gospel vaccine. Lets preach a Gospel that is good, acceptable, and perfect. Lets keep Satan’s influence out of our worship services! Lets discern the difference between a impotent worldly “gospel” that leaves people immune to the true Gospel and one that will bring a person into the Kingdom of God as a new creature in Christ.   



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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