Derek Prince - Deception The Greatest Threat To The Church
Now we’ll go back to Matthew 24 and consider the second question which was, "What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age"? I want you to notice they didn’t say the signs, they said the sign of your coming. Jesus answered that question in Matthew 24 but He didn’t answer it immediately He led up to His answer. Jesus begins now this analysis of the closing phase of this age with a word of warning. Verse 4: "Take heed that no one deceives you for many will come in my name saying, ‘I am the Christ, the Messiah,’ and will deceive many".
I want to point out to you that the first great warning given to us concerning the period of the end is a warning against deception. This is repeated twice more in the course of this discourse. In other words, three times Jesus warns His disciples in connection with the close of the age against being deceived. In my personal opinion deception is the greatest single danger that threatens us as Christians. Greater than persecution greater than war the danger of deception. I heard somebody say in effect a little while back, doesn't matter who it is "Well, it will never happen to me". I want to tell you, if you think it never will happen to you, it will happen to you. It’s a sure mark if you have that attitude that you’re already under deception. Jesus warns His own disciples His apostles who had been close to Him for three and a half years heard all His teachings seen all His miracles "Be careful, don’t come under deception".
I believe it’s much the greatest danger that threatens all of us here in this room this evening. I want to warn you against deception. There is only one sure guarantee against deception and it’s given to us in 2 Thessalonians 2 "Receive the love of the truth". The only thing that will protect you from deception is not something negative it’s something positive. It’s the love of the truth. The Greek word there is agape which many of you know means the strong form of love. In other words to avoid being deceived you have to have a passionate love for the truth It’s not enough to have a quiet time every morning or attend a good church or say your prayers. You have to have a passionate commitment to the truth of the Word of God if you’re going to avoid being deceived. Let’s go on with this Jesus says in verse 5 "For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ [the Messiah],’ and will deceive many". That’s a prophecy made by Jesus it’s been fulfilled.
A Jewish encyclopedia lists approximately forty false messiahs who have come to the Jewish people since the time of Jesus and all have deceived some of them. Some have deceived almost the whole nation. Bar Kochba, the next one probably did so Moses of Crete led about 5,000 Jews out into the sea believing that the Lord would come. And they drowned. So this is a repeated feature of Jewish history. It happened again in the year 1666 when Shabbatise Svee told the Jewish people he was the messiah he was going to restore them to the land of Israel and thousands of them gathered there. To save his life he converted to Islam. What a bitter disappointment for all those believers. I just want to point out to you that Jesus was a true prophet. Everything He said has been fulfilled or will be fulfilled.