Summary: A sermon describing those who are being deceived by false prophets.
Warning The Wavering
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Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount about false prophets - “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” - (Matthew 7:15)
Then again when speaking about the end times He said that -“ … many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11)
The Apostle John, in his first Epistle spoke of those who were deceivers - 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
He covers this subject again in - 2 John 1:7 for many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Throughout 2,000 years of church history there have been many examples of those who would pervert the Gospel of Christ and they have deceived many. We have seen some extreme examples of this in our own lifetime. Here are some of the most well known:
- Jim Jones (no relation!) and “The People’s Temple”. His entire congregation followed him to South America and over 900 of them (including many children) drank cyanide laced Kool-Aid in a mass suicide.
- In 1997 Marshal Applewhite, the leader of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult convinced 38 people to commit suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following the Hale–Bopp comet.
- In the early 90’s David Koresh (who claimed to be Jesus) and his cult the “Branch Davidians” moved into a compound in Waco Texas. Koresh became the polygamous husband of all the females and there were many reports of sexual abuse and statutory rape in the compound. In a 1993 raid by the ATF & FBI… 76 Branch Davidians died in a fire that was set by the cult itself.
A group does not have to be as extreme as these that we have mentioned to be a considered a cult. There are several groups today who are just as deceived as those we have already mentioned.
- The church of Scientology
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
- The Latter Day Saints
- The Nation of Islam
- Astrology …and many others
These groups already possess massive numbers of followers and are growing rapidly. It is amazing that people would turn away from the true Gospel and follow these false teachings, but it happens daily. Many of those who would join a cult are those who have general knowledge of the bible, and many of them have even made a profession of faith.
> One vivid example is “Mormonism” or “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”
- 80% of converts to Mormonism are professing Christians
- 40% of converts to Mormonism are Baptist
- Southern Baptist’s covert to Mormonism more than any other denomination (http://www.bradmelton.org/assets/Tennessee_Mormon_notes.p)df)
Those are staggering statistics and they should concern us greatly. And the TRUE followers of Christ must do a better job with discipleship and equipping believers to identify and combat false teaching. But the problem of false teaching is not solely found in what we would refer to as a “cult”. Many churches that began with Jesus Christ and the Word of God as their foundation have been infiltrated and deceived by false teachers.