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Be Not Deceived!

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As we get closer to the return of Jesus Christ, one of the greatest dangers we face is becoming deceived! If Satan can trick us into believing a lie and giving up the truth, he has won the battle.

Becoming deceived is a very real possibility! The command, “Be not deceived,” is repeated many times in the Bible.

When asked what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of this age, Jesus said, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
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). He added, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many… For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:11 Matthew 24:11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
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, 24).

The apostle Paul warned that many would fall away before Christ returns: “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” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 2 Thessalonians 2:3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
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).

Becoming deceived is a very real possibility! The command, “Be not deceived,” is repeated many times in the Bible. Our very nature lends itself to being deceived: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
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, emphasis added).

How can we avoid becoming deceived? The Bible gives us seven steps to take.

1. Pray that we are not deceived . Ask God to protect us from deception. David prayed thus and God heard him: “In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Psalms 120:1-2 Psalms 120:1-2 1 In my distress I cried to the LORD, and he heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
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).

2. Stay close to God through obedience, prayer and Bible study. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8 James 4:7-8 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
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).

We are told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 1 Thessalonians 5:17Pray without ceasing.
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).

The Bereans were praised because they “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
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). Timothy was told to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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).

3. Stir up God’s Spirit in us. God has given us a spirit of power and love and of a sound mind. Stir up that power—use it (2 Timothy 1:6-7 2 Timothy 1:6-7 6 Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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)! The Spirit of truth (John 14:17 John 14:17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.
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) will lead us into all truth (John 16:13 John 16:13However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
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)—it will not lead us into deception. Stirring up the Spirit helps us to fight deception.

4. Cling to truth we have been taught. Jude commands us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Paul commands, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15 2 Thessalonians 2:15Therefore, brothers, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our letter.
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).

5. Avoid false teachings . There is no need to fill our minds with the teachings of deceptive false prophets. Paul tells us, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11 Titus 3:9-11 9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself.
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).

Jude commands us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

We are further told, “Shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16 2 Timothy 2:16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness.
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).

We are commanded to avoid false teachers who arise within the Church: “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6 2 Thessalonians 3:6Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
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).

6. Love the truth. A great false prophet (Paul called him “the man of sin”) will come before Christ returns and will deceive many (2 Thessalonians 2:3 2 Thessalonians 2:3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
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; Revelation 19:20 Revelation 19:20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
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; compare Revelation 13:11-17 Revelation 13:11-17 11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. 12 And he excercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
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).

This man will use signs and lying wonders: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
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).

To avoid being sucked in by deception, we must love the truth, believe the truth and take no pleasure in unrighteousness (sin or disobedience to God).

7. Recognize false prophets. Many people will believe in false prophets if their prophecies come true or if they perform miracles, thinking these are proofs that God is working through them. God gives us the true test: False prophets will lead people away from obeying Him. They will preach another god or they will teach that God’s law longer needs to be kept (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 Deuteronomy 13:1-5 1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof 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 that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proves you, to know whether you love the LORD your 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, and you shall serve him, and join to him. 5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust you out of the way which the LORD your God commanded you to walk in. So shall you put the evil away from the middle of you.
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). If they preach against God’s law, don’t believe them (Isaiah 8:20 Isaiah 8:20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
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)!

Practice these seven principles and it will be very difficult to be deceived!

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