Beware Of Deception

Spiritual Ponzi Schemes

In case you're unaware, you are living in the days of deception: Self-deception,
Sins deception, Satan's deception—we would call all of that spiritual deception. Some have fallen prey to the spiritual Ponzi scheme. This Ponzi scheme is one that promises that if you give of your time, if you give of your life, if you give of your resources, if you give of something personal, then, of course, the return on your investment will be equal or more.

And what you find out with the spiritual Ponzi scheme that is at work is that it's a sham, it's a scam. It leads to shame. Nobody likes the feeling of being manipulated. Nobody likes the feeling of being conned. But there's something more sinister than a spiritual Ponzi scheme because at the end of the scam, you're aware that somebody's got over on you.

Unfortunately, there are those who are deceived and they're unaware. They're being led astray by lies. They're unaware that they're blind. The Prince of the Power of the Air, the Bible calls him the "God of this age", he blinds the eyes of man in order to keep us from the light of the Gospel. Only the light of the Gospel can unveil the eyes that are blind.

So how do we keep from being deceived? Well, there's only one way, and it's knowing what you believe. Sadly, I have to ask the question:
Do you know what you believe?
Some don't know what they believe. They'll say they believe, but they're not aware of what they actually believe. And to know what you believe is to make sure that what you believe is being brought into alignment with the Word of God.

God gives us His Word, His Truth, His Gospel, His standard. It's not smoke, it's not mirrors. He gives us with full transparency, in His Word, what it is He would have us believe. So I'll reframe the question:

Do you believe what God wants you to believe? 

Because anything less than what God wants you to believe and see is likely a lie, whether it's self-deception, whether it's a lifestyle of sin (which brings its own deception), whether it's Satan's deception.

Do you know what you believe? Do you know who you believe? Because you need to know. And I'll start with the first C of the alliteration: You need to know Christ.

The Essence of Belief

I'm not naive. I understand, not only in this community, this sanctuary, also, when I have the honor of traveling and entering somebody else's context and community, I'm not naive. I know there are those who are in the seats who don't necessarily realize that they don't believe, because they've been told a lie about salvation. They don't know Christ. They may know "church", they may know Christianity, because as the saying goes, "I was born into a Christian family."

But it requires you to be born again, to be in God's family.

It makes no difference. It matters not if we come to church, but never actually come to Christ. The enemy is fine with your decision to come on a Sunday morning and sit in the sanctuary and perhaps even agree with everything I'm going to preach. But I guess what I'm trying to ask you is, do you know Christ? If you know Christ personally, intimately, you are born again.

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Surrender and Conviction

You have been given a new spirit, a new heart. Conversion is apparent.
The evidence of salvation is conversion.
I once lived a life in darkness, now I bring it to the light. I once lived off of lies. Now I hunger and thirst for truth. I once was lost, and now I know that I am found. 

Do you know this Christ I speak of?

Do you know you're a Christian? The Bible says you can know that you know. How do we know that we know Him? If we keep His Commandments, we follow His Word. Now, here's how this transitions: If you know Christ and your identity is Christian, you then become part of His Church, in that order. What I want you to know before we jump back into 1st Timothy is:

You don't come to church to come to Christ.

What? I thought that's what this is all about. No, it's not. That's not what the Bible tells us this is about. You don't come to church to come to Christ.

You come to Christ and become the church. 

Which means I'm asking each of us to consider:
Have we ever actually given our life over to Christ? Have we surrendered?
Have we submitted? Are we confident that we are born again? Not because you come to Landmark. I would never want to put out a false impression that because you come to Landmark, that you are good with God. My duty and responsibility is to press that, so that with confidence you can say, "No, I've given my life to Christ."

There's evidence of repentance, the fruit of salvation. I'm seeing Him work in my life; there's conviction. The Word of God convicts me. Conviction is good, I've said this before. I want to be convicted when I have a poor attitude. When I mistreat my wife, I want to feel conviction. That's how I know the Spirit is alive.

We're laboring, the leadership here, to make sure that we are putting in place the various structures and programs and classes to at least bring you into what salvation looks like and how it applies. Let me say this, because I had an awesome conversation with a friend: Landmark 101, which we encourage everyone to take, is introductory to who we are as a church.

But that doesn't mean that you're part of this church.

I would invite a Satanist to come and take Landmark 101, because I would want them to know what we believe as a church, what our pillars are. So it's possible to be in this community and keep coming, but I want everyone that walks through these doors and that hears these messages to be confident that they're in Christ.

And that's what makes them part of the church, not the other way around. Amen?

This study was pulled from one of our sermons.

To learn more, watch the full sermon below.


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