Summary: Deception can come from within. Have you ever told yourself a lie, and talked yourself into believing it? That is self-deception. Have you ever seen your friends doing something, and you know it is wrong, but you still talked yourself into doing that exact same thing? That is self-deception.
My Bible tells me as we approach the end times, there will be one major event that will occur that the church is silent about for the most part, and therefore, the church is not teaching its members to be aware.
But this event must occur, and we must be prepared for it because God said it in going to occur. If God says something is going to happen, it is going to happen. Let me read you one verse from 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NKJV) to tell you what that that event is.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.
Before the end can come, there must be a time of deception and a great falling away from the true church of Jesus Christ. This deception can occur in one of two ways. Certainly, in can come from without. Those around me, those I come in contact me, those I listen to can deceive me from the outside. The devil is a master at trying to deceive me from the outside since he cannot get into the heart of a Christian.
But there is another way that I can be deceived and that is I can deceive myself. This attack comes from within. Have you ever told yourself a lie, and talked yourself into believing it? That is self-deception. Have you ever seen your friends doing something, and you know it is wrong, but you still talked yourself into doing that exact same thing? That is self-deception.
Well, as we approach this great falling away that must occur before Christ returns, I am afraid that so many Christians will be self-deceived. Today, we are going to look at one of those ways that we can deceive ourselves.
So, if you have your Bible or if you prefer to look on the video screen, I will be reading two verses from 1 Corinthians 3. Please stand.
1 Corinthians 3:18-19 (NKJV) 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness".
Let's make sure everybody understands this important truth. You can deceive yourself spiritually.
1 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) 18 Let no one deceive himself.
Paul is clear here. He didn't say that you might be able to deceive yourself. Or that there is the possibility you could deceive yourself. You definitely can deceive yourself spiritually. Every one of us in this room can deceive ourselves spiritually. How is that possible? It is our heart that will turn on us.
Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) 9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Do you hear what Jeremiah just said? Above all things in this world, the number #1 thing that is most deceitful is our heart. I know what you are thinking: "Is our heart more deceitful than the devil since the Bible says that he is the father of lies?" I go back to Jeremiah's words- above all things. Our heart can get us to do things, the devil may not be able to get us to do. Let me explain why.
We may be on guard against the devil and his attacks. Bro Greg, on Wednesday nights, has been teaching us about guarding ourselves against the schemes of the devil by putting on our spiritual armor. We are hypervigilant that the devil is going to attack us, so we guard against it. But very seldom, are we are on guard against our own heart, something within us, turning against us, and leading us astray. But unfortunately, our heart does that all the time.
Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate. You commit some terrible sin, and your mind starts telling you God will never forgive me. As a preacher, I hear often, when talking about salvation with someone, God cannot forgive me, I have done too many terrible things in my life. That is self-deception because Jesus will forgive every sin.
And there is the self-deception that somehow, I am protected from the punishment of hell because my parents are Christian, and I was raised up in a Christian home. The deception is that you must decide yourself for Christ. Another self-deception is that I am saved because I belong to a certain denomination. No denomination will save you. If you believe that because you are associated with some church organization that you are saved, that is self-deception. You must make an individual decision for Christ.