Those who have studied and prepared themselves well will most likely pass the tests they must take in order to complete a particular course. In science class I can tell who has and who hasn’t studied for the exams that I give. Those students who use the study guides, helps, practice midterms, homework and lecture notes can be fairly confident that they will pass the exam. Those who have neglected to do the homework and apply themselves to study can be fairly confident that they will not pass the exam. God our Father in Heaven examines our hearts as revealed in the Holy Scriptures; let’s look at those passages to find out how we can pass the tests He uses to reveal the true nature of our hearts.
1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’-which you have not known-‘and let us serve them,’ 3 “you shall not listen to the words of the prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil from your midst. 6 If your brother, the son of our mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you. Deuteronomy 13:1-11
Did the children of Israel do as they were warned? Did they reject the messages of false prophets and stone those who would lead them away from the God of heaven and earth? The prophet Jeremiah describes the spiritual condition of the people of Israel in the waning years of the kingdom of Judah.
16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. 19 “Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the Lord. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?” 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place-on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.” Jeremiah 7:16-20
The northern kingdom, Israel, was already removed from the land due to their gross idolatry. Now it was the southern kingdom’s turn. Their rejection of God and embrace of false gods was so complete that Jeremiah was warned away from praying for these reprobate sinners. Their apostasy was so final that God determined to destroy them and the land that they inhabited.
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:11-12
This is a timely warning for us today. Do we love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our minds so that we turn from the lie and cling to the truth? Are we being led away from Christ and His sure word to us by the deceitful scheming of wicked workers, by lying signs and wonders? Are those who are named “men of God”, those serving as leaders in the church, performing the Lord’s work or their own deceptive philandering? We must take seriously the many admonitions in the New Testament to turn away from false teaching and cling to the Word of God. We must examine anything that anyone says by the light of the Holy Scriptures through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Lying wonders abound leading many into error and apostasy. As we see the time fast approaching for the return of Jesus Christ the incidence of corrupted preaching and apostate teaching will continue to increase. The lies the devil tempts us to embrace are preparing the way for the son of perdition, the Antichrist. If we are not well exercised in the Scriptures, prayer and godly living, standing fast for the faith and rejecting and exposing the lie, then we will fall prey to Satan’s wicked schemes.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to who we must give account. 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14
The way that we battle against the forces of darkness arrayed against us is by knowing the Scriptures so very well and relying upon Jesus Christ so very much that we are well equipped to resist the attack, fend off the attacker, and put the enemy to flight. We have weapons that are not of this world but are mighty for the tearing down of strongholds and destroying the works of the enemy.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints- Ephesians 6:10-18
As we rely upon the Lord, His Word, His Spirit, and one another, we shall not be deluded by the end time deception that will ultimately carry the world away to destruction.
Sadly, it is apparent that many within the church today are completely unprepared to combat deception, and so they are easily fooled by the latest false teaching and the greatest charlatan that speaks great swelling words of emptiness enticing them to embrace the devil’s deceit and destruction. These ones who are so completely misled are being prepared for the coming of the Antichrist who will mesmerize them with lying wonders and wicked words leading them to embrace this one as their god.
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
Loving the truth will keep us from this ungodly deception and prove that we are true to our Father in Heaven. God our Father put the Israelites to the test allowing false prophets with lying wonders to lead them astray in order to prove them as true or false. During these last days, the Lord God Almighty has allowed the infiltration of His church with fakes and phonies who work by the flesh and give no opportunity to the Spirit to lead God’s people to the springs of living waters that they may be refreshed and strengthened during their pilgrimage. Instead these false teachers leave them thirsting in a dry and dreary land. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior leads us from this darkness to His light and carries us along the way as we resist the work of the enemy and expose him for the vile evil operative that he is. Our thirsting hearts, resistance to the lie, and love for the truth prove our faith in Christ. Our humble obedience gives witness to the fact that we are the children of God so that we do not fail the test. Our stand for Christ gives us preparation to stand against Antichrist. To God be the glory who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior as we avail ourselves of His resources which He so generously gives us, so that we pass the test and prove that we are the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.