Trinity Fifth Sunday Morning Prayer (4 July 2021) Matthew 24:5 and 11
Today’s meditation is based on Matthew 24:5 and 11. Verse 5 says “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Verse 11 says “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many”. Jesus said these verses as one of the signs of the end times with a warning “Take heed that no man deceive you”. We are in the end days waiting for Jesus to come and receive the church as His bride. We must be careful not to be deceived by false prophets. I had a few questions when I was reading these verses.
1) What is false teaching?
2) Who are false preachers?
3)When did false preaching come into this world?
4) What is the reason for false teaching?
We will find the answers to all these questions in the Garden of Eden.
God created angels without sin to praise and worship Him. The archangel Lucifer had many talents which made him to be proud before God. His pride was the early sin and he was cast into the pit. The archangel became the fallen angel. We read this in Isaiah 14:12–15. God’s anger covered the whole earth and the earth was frozen. Science calls this period as Ice Age. Bible does not tell the time frame of this period. God decided to renew the whole world and to create a new creature. He renovated the earth according to His plan and made everything ready for the humans. God created the new creature in His own image and gave them His breath. He did this so the new creature would not sin. He kept Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and asked him to rule everything.
God created humans to replace the fallen angels. The fallen angel was not happy with this and wanted to separate humans from the presence of God. He knew from experience that only sin could separate humans from the presence of God. He said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve replied “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Genesis 3:2&3). The serpent said to her, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise”. Eve took of the fruit and ate and gave also to Adam and he did eat.
1) What is false teaching?
Any teaching that is not aligned with what Jesus preached is false teaching. What did Jesus preach? When Jesus started His ministry in this world, He preached, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). After His resurrection Jesus commanded “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Jesus asked His disciples to preach about repentance and the remission of sins not only in Jerusalem but throughout the world in His name. Following His commandment, Jesus’s disciples “went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12). We know that the disciples took the gospel of repentance throughout the world and died for Him. We who are Christians are His disciples and have the same responsibility to preach about repentance. Any preaching that does not talk about repentance in line with Jesus’ teaching is false teaching. In John 6:60, many of Jesus’s disciples said, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” It is true that Jesus’s preaching is hard. But the preaching that is not in line with this is good to hear and very attractive to our ears. During these last days, we must be careful about these preaching.
2) Who are false preachers?
Anyone who preaches not in agreement with what Jesus commanded is a false preacher. Archangel Lucifer was the first false preacher. Today, we have the Holy Bible that is the Word of God. Adam and Eve did not have any Bible. God gave them one law about obedience. “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. The serpent knew what God had commanded Adam and Eve. Yet, he told Eve “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” He quotes what God said but tells the words that God did not actually say. It sounds very similar but gives a diluted meaning. After Eve replies, he goes on to say something that is false. God referred to spiritual death but the serpent refers to the physical death in his reply. He twisted fact slightly and presented it in a very attractive way. Eve saw that the tree was good and pleasant to the eyes and committed sin. Anyone who preaches a ‘glossed over’ version from the Word of God is a false preacher. Anyone who does not lead people to be convicted of their sin and repentance and prepare them for judgement is a false preacher.
3) When did false preaching come into this world?
A common misunderstanding is that false preachers cannot stand in the presence of God. The fallen angel came into the Garden of Eden which was God’s protected zone. He entered the garden through the serpent. When the serpent gave place to the fallen angel, he could easily come inside the garden to trick Eve. The first false preaching came into this world in the Garden of Eden. It was done by quoting God’s word. We read a similar instance when Satan came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. The later Adam Jesus Christ overcame the temptations quoting from the Word of God. He overcame false preaching even when He was hanging on the cross. He died on the cross fulfilling the Father’s plan.
4) What is the reason for false teaching?
False teaching and deceiving of people from faith on Jesus will end on Judgement. The Church will receive judgement when Jesus receives the church as His bride. For the Jews it will be when Jesus lands on the mount Olives. Antichrist and his army will be judged after the Armageddon war. Lucifer will be judged before the Great White Throne Judgement. Those who are not accepted Jesus as their personal saviour will be judged on the day of The Great White Throne Judgement. The fallen angel wants to make the best use of his time to deceive people. He wants as many people as possible on his side. His aim is to separate us from the presence of God. He knows that only sin can separate us from the kingdom of heaven. As said in 1 Peter 5:8, our adversary the devil is walking about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. One of the easy ways to do this is through false preaching and teaching. These teachings do not talk about repentance or sin or lead people to lead a holy life as God expects.
On these last days when the second coming of our Lord Jesus is imminent, it is very important that we identify such false preaching. Jesus received the Holy Spirit when He was baptised in river Jordan. Only because of this He could identify and overcome Satan’s preaching. Jesus warned us saying “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” In John 14:26 He told us the purpose of sending us the Holy Spirit. He said “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you”. St. Paul also talks about the Holy Spirit and the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:10. We need the gift of discerning of spirits to discern the preaching form the Word of God. The Holy Spirit and the gift of discerning of spirits guide us to identify false teachers and their teaching. The Holy Spirit always teaches the truth. The Holy Spirit guides us in the way of truth and life. Bible says ask it will be given unto you. In Luke 11:13 Jesus said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” If we ask our Heavenly Father to give us the Holy Spirit, He will surely give us. Coming back to the first verse in Matthew 24 “Take heed that no man deceive you” – Jesus gave this warning so that we are not deceived like Eve and are the reason for others to be deceived. If we are deceived, we are the present day Eve who is leading others also to be deceived. In Matthew 7:14 Jesus said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Any teaching that says the way is wide and easy is false. Jesus expects us to endure unto the end. He has also given us the Holy Spirit who can guide us and the spirit of discernment to do this. Are we willing to endure unto the end and inherit our eternal life with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Let us pray!
Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for speaking to us. Lord, we ask for the fresh anointing of your Holy Spirit on us today. Renew our anointing, Father. Give us the spirit of discernment so we can identify the wolves in lamb skin and their teachings. Fill us with Your wisdom and strength so we can walk in the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Help us to hear the still voice of the Holy Spirit and obey to Your voice that leads us when we turn to the right or left. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!