Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils… 1Timothy 4:1
Did you notice that? The Swahili Bible says, “giving heed to deceiving spirits”.
That’s pretty strong, dangerous stuff there we are being warned against. It is not just your local trickster coming along and trying to pull a fast one on you. These are spirits, devils, demons! And these entities have power. And worse, they are after the Church.
My family and I love watching Disney’s animated stories like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty; and we can always tell when someone has been put under a spell. They become ‘not in their normal minds’. That is what is happening in churches today. God’s people are under a spell and they don’t know it. They are being robbed in broad daylight!
That is why the Apostle tells Timothy, in verse 16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
Paul is telling Timothy here: “There is danger ahead. Take heed!”
When I see what is happening in churches today, I realize how strong this deception that was prophesied by Paul is. Mind you, the Holy Spirit through Paul said this deception would take place “in the latter times”, meaning the last days. There are things that have crept into the Church within the last 2 decades alone, dangerous things; but they have grabbed God’s people with a power that can only be matched by the advancement of technology. In my country today there are churches doing the weirdest things – churches which teach questionable, non-scriptural doctrines and which operate with even more dubious MOs; and these are the churches you find the majority of Christians running to.
In one such church, they have employed guards with whips to clear the way when the man of God arrives! People are going to church to be whipped! This happens every Sunday, but the numbers keep increasing.
The sad thing is that it is not non-believers who are attending these kinds of churches, but it is born-again believers who have been deceived. These are believers whose eyes have been blinded by the god of this world and all they can see is the material and physical blessings. When a Christian’s eyes are on material or financial blessings he is on very dangerous ground. He is exposed to the devil. He could find himself under Satan’s spell in a second and he wouldn’t even know it. And he could live that life of spiritual deception the rest of his life firmly believing that he is serving God. Remember that Satan tried to deceive even the Lord Jesus using these same material ‘blessings’ (Matthew 4:9).
When I am sick and all I want is healing, then I am standing on very dangerous ground, particularly in these last days. There are Christians who have been taught that having a physical disability or an issue of health is a lack of faith. Jesus said it is far better to go to heaven hopping on one foot than to go to hell with both feet intact! I wonder what these preachers make of such scriptures.
Others have been taught that to live in financial or material poverty is sin! Preachers cite Abraham, et al. I wonder what they make of Lazarus – I mean the one who sat under the rich man’s table!… These kinds of teachings are unscriptural and they are destroying the Church.
When you see how people are being deceived and eventually being ripped off spiritually, financially, materially and even psychologically by preachers, you cannot doubt scripture. There are dark spiritual forces at work within the Body of Christ!
Even for those who are not preaching these extreme doctrines, for many the gospel has become something light – and cheap. There is no gravity to the things that people are hearing. It is no wonder, therefore, that many Christians are not growing spiritually.
It is time for the Church to wake up. The Bible says to take heed to the doctrine we are hearing. That is where everything lies. When you hear the right gospel your spiritual mind is balanced. When you listen to the wrong teaching, you get spiritually off-balance. This has nothing to do with your natural intelligence, your IQ; this is spiritual business.
I believe God is doing something new today. The Church must heed the gospel of the revelation of the Cross that God is bringing to light in these last days. The revelation of the Cross of Christ is not a strange or new gospel. It is the gospel the Early Church preached and lived. It is the gospel that the Apostle Paul preached. It is the gospel that fulfilled in their lives Christ’s words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” because through living this gospel, the Church was taught to lose their lives and to desire the life of Christ in them.
There was a time I did not understand the real gospel of Jesus Christ. I did not know the gravity of the Pauline revelation. If someone had insisted, I probably would have said, “That is a strange teaching!” But the revelation that Paul had of the Risen Christ – that is the power of God in the life of the Church. The Church needs to understand it in these last days.