SPIRITUAL WARFARE

STORY OF JOHN

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HOW SATAN DECEIVES: THE STORY OF JOHN

    A certain person hears the message of Jesus. He reads Godís Word which says, REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU-Acts 2:38. He falls on his face and calls on God in the name of Jesus to forgive him of his sins. He has a repentant heart and loves Jesus. He finds a good Bible-teaching church and gets baptized by full immersion. He has much zeal for God. The story that is being told here happens time after time. The names change, and a few circumstances may differ, but in essence this story gives you some idea of what lies ahead for born-again believers. This is a story about a young man named John.

    John is anxious to tell others of the salvation that lies in Jesus Christ. One day, while in an elevator, he sees a priest and decides to speak with him. He tells him what a great feeling it is to be born-again. The priest agrees with him. He asks the priest, "When did you repent of your sins and get baptized by full immersion?" Immediately, the priest corrects himóthat he is confused and misled. "One does not need to be baptized by immersion," the priest tells him. He relays that he has not been, nor does he have to be. The priest tries to show a lot of love, but there is an uneasy tone in his answers. John quickly gets away from him and is very uptight. John stops witnessing for a bit. He is confused. Satan has won a temporary victory. John begins an in-depth study of the Bible, yet so many things just seem to come up to hinder him. Over and over he reads, repent of your sins, be baptized (buried with Jesus in baptism). He reads that we are saved by faith and through the blood of Jesus. No where in the Scriptures can John locate baby baptism or sprinkling baptism. John is now more confident.

    As he prepares to go witnessing again, strange things seem to happen. The phone rings as he gets ready to go out. He gets a flat tire. A baseball breaks a window in his house. Yet he goes forth. He spots a well-dressed man sitting on a park bench. John walks over to him and sits down. John has his Bible in his hand, even though he felt funny about taking it. He strikes up a conversation with the man on the bench. John asks the man, "Have you received Jesus as your Savior?" The man replies, "Yes, I have." John asks him, "When did you receive Christ as your Savior? When did you repent of your sins? Were you baptized?" The man replies, "I was baptized many years ago. I guess I was about 2 or 3 years old. Iíve always believed in Jesus. My father was a preacher before me, and I have just graduated from seminary school." John is perplexed and wonders why this person seems to believe different than what the Bible teaches.

    He ponders the situation for a moment. Then the preacher that just graduated from seminary school asks John, "May I invite you to come to my church. I will be glad to teach you the right way. I have had many years of Bible training, and I can help you out. You seem to be a little misguided. Perhaps, you've been attending some church that's a bit off," he tells John. Now, Johnís parents had been telling him the same thing. John is becoming confused and wonders, how can an ordained preacher be wrong? How could the priest he had talked to some time ago also be wrong? In growing confusion, John leaves the church where he was baptized.

    He begins attending this new church. The preaching is nice and mild. The people all seem so nice. There are some beautiful ceremonies. The choir is almost divine. John begins to realize that his understanding of the Bible was a bit off. Many people in the church gladly help and show him his mistakes. But still, something seems wrong. John stops his witnessing. He enjoys going to this new church. He is even becoming somewhat religious, he thinks. Johnís friends are much more pleased with him now that he is going to this church and no longer bombarding them with: they must repent. John "feels" more comfortable also. He no longer feels the "inner pressure" he use to have when he was witnessing for Christ. Still, something is uneasy inside him.

    He decides he must stop listening to other people tell him why certain Scriptures don't mean what they say, even though a voice in his head is telling him that he should listen to these people. He is confused. He cries out to God to help him.

    Then two people knock on his door. They tell him they would like to talk to him about Jesus Christ, Godís only begotten Son, God who came to this earth in the flesh. For some strange reason, Johnís feelings flared up. His stomach was in knots. Something in his mind was saying, "Get rid of them right away." He tells them to leave very abruptly, and they do, yet he could hear a still, small voice, saying, "You should have listened to them." He didnít realize that God had sent them in answer to his prayer.

    John is invited to the pastorís home a short while later. While there, the pastor asks him if he would like something to drink. John replies, "Yes, thank you." The pastor brings him a can of beer. John is astonished. He accepts it, but does not drink it. John stays only a short while. When he arrives back home, he falls on his face, and asks God, "Please help me. I am confused." John turns back to his Bible. He opens it, and the words he sees startles him. He gasps for breath. He is stunned. His spirit stirs inside him. Johnís heart is pounding as he reads the Word of God. He hears these words as if God is talking directly to him. MY PEOPLE HATH BEEN LOST SHEEP: THEIR SHEPHERDS HAVE CAUSED THEM TO GO ASTRAY-Jere 50:6.

    John falls on his face and cries. He realizes he has been led astray by a false shepherd, a false pastor. The Scriptures had become twisted in his mind as he had listened to some of the things he had heard. Other things he had heard preached seemed right. He had been misled into believing that it was not necessary to go forth and win the lost. He had been misled into believing one does not have to try to live a "holy" life. He had been misled into believing that one does not need to be baptized by full immersion after believing on Jesus. It had been impressed in his mind that sprinkling baptism and baby baptism are acceptable. Now, Pv 19:27 comes to his remembrance. CEASE, MY SON, TO HEAR THE INSTRUCTION THAT CAUSETH TO ERR FROM THE WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE.

    God delivered John from the clutches of the false teaching, because he sought Godís truth with all his heart above what he was being taught in that misled church. John never went back to that church. He was tempted to because he had many friends there, but he knew he would be disobeying the Word of God. John now began realizing that there were many false shepherds.

    Once again, John began witnessing. People would call him names. People would call him a deceiver. He recalled that people also called Jesus the same thing. Mt 27:63-SIR, WE REMEMBER THAT THAT DECEIVER SAID, WHILE HE WAS YET ALIVE, AFTER THREE DAYS I WILL RISE AGAIN. People would tell John that he didnít know what he was talking about. As he would get out his Bible and begin to read the Word of God to them, some would slam doors in his face, even curse at him. Others would try to debate the Word with him, but most would soon flee before the Word. John was greatly grieved in his heart as so few wanted to hear Godís Word and repent. Some would reply to John, "Get away from me, I have my own religion. My father went to that church, and I will die in that church. Donít tell me what the Bible says. I know the Bible, and you are wrong and deceived."

    As John studied the Scriptures, God began to reveal to him how it had to be this way in the latter days. This was one of the signs that Jesus Christ would be coming back soon. John knew that he must continue steadfast in Godís Word every day. For if he did not, his faith could begin to shrink back; and it is by faith that we stand firm. There were many times when John would wake up and think he was unsaved or have other doubts. But God revealed to John that MANY ARE CALLED, but of these, only a FEW ARE CHOSEN-ref Mt 22:14.

   Beware. Jesus warned us, TAKE HEED AND BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND OF THE SADDUCEES-Mt 16:6. THEN UNDERSTOOD THEY HOW THAT HE BADE THEM NOT BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF BREAD, BUT OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE PHARISEES AND OF THE SADDUCEES (doctrine of the religious leaders)-Mt 16:12. The religious leaders did everything they possibly could to convince the multitudes that Jesus was wrong. Many may do the same to you, if you take a stand for Jesus. FOR SUCH ARE FALSE APOSTLES, DECEITFUL WORKERS, TRANSFORMING THEMSELVES INTO THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST-2 Cor 11:13. AND NO MARVEL (wonder); FOR SATAN HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT-2 Cor 11:14.

   These are the best actors in the world. They play their part well. They mislead all but a very few people. They are accepted by the world as true, yet they are false. They play their role better than any actor could dream. They study diligently. Their performance is nearly perfect. For you see, the role they play is themselves.

    Satanís weapons to deceive people in these latter days are so great that Jesus warns us in seven verses in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew about religious deception. Mt 24:4-AND JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, TAKE HEED THAT NO MAN DECEIVE YOU. When Jesus was asked what we should look for that would tell us He was about to return, the first thing He pointed out was religious deception.

    God warns people in the New Testament that if they lead a born-again Christian astray (a child that believes in Him), IT WERE BETTER FOR HIM THAT A MILLSTONE WERE HANGED ABOUT HIS NECK, AND THAT HE WERE DROWNED IN THE DEPTH OF THE SEA-Mt 18:6. In the Old Testament, God gives us a similar message. IF THY BROTHER, THE SON OF THY MOTHER, OR THY SON, OR THY DAUGHTER, OR THE WIFE OF THY BOSOM, OR THY FRIEND, WHICH IS AS THINE OWN SOUL, ENTICE THEE SECRETLY, SAYING, LET US GO AND SERVE OTHER GODS (other gods can be the work of oneís hands, sex, pleasures, television, computers, possessions, money, lusts, people, false religions, false churches), WHICH THOU HAST NOT KNOWN, THOU, NOR THY FATHERS; THOU SHALT NOT CONSENT UNTO HIM, NOR HEARKEN UNTO HIM; NEITHER SHALL THINE EYE PITY HIM, NEITHER SHALT THOU SPARE, NEITHER SHALT THOU CONCEAL HIM: BUT THOU SHALT SURELY KILL HIM; THINE HAND SHALL BE FIRST UPON HIM TO PUT HIM TO DEATH, AND AFTERWARDS THE HAND OF ALL THE PEOPLE. AND THOU SHALT STONE HIM WITH STONES, THAT HE DIE; BECAUSE HE HATH SOUGHT TO THRUST THEE AWAY FROM THE LORD THY GOD-Deut 13:6,8-10.

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