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Mark 210 - Look

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Mark 13:21,22

Maybe it’s because I’m from the northeast, making me suspicious of everyone. Perhaps it’s because of my upbringing. It might be associated with my spiritual gifts or interest.

I call it my spiritual white blood cell test. Everything I hear: whether song lyrics, sermons, social media, or anything said in the news, I look at it carefully. I sift through it. I care less about who said or wrote it, but I’m intensely interested in the content.

· Does it easily agree with what God has said?

· Does it sort of agree, but is it in a non-critical area – what kind of food to eat, political parties?

· Does it sort of agree, but is in a non-negotiable area – Jesus is God, authority of the Bible, sacrifice of Jesus for our sin?

· Does it easily disagree with what God has said? Saying right is wrong and wrong is right. That black is white and white is black. Bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter[1].

I’m suspicious whenever someone comes up to me, announcing their spiritual position or superiority. If they come up, announcing their label, credentials, or some title, my antenna go up.

Jesus warns us of two different kinds of people to be on the lookout for.

· False messiahs – They’re lying, claiming to be the anointed and appointed one from God. There is only one messiah, not many messiahs. The fact that there are multiples means that someone is lying. Approach anyone carefully that claims to be anointed by God. Also, be careful to receive praise from people claiming to be anointed by God.

· False prophets – They’re lying, claiming to be speaking for God. There’s more than one prophet, so the fact that there are many of these does not immediately eliminate them. Mostly these “prophets” focus in on predicting the future. I ask if all their predictions have come true. And when they say no, I humbly point them to end of Deuteronomy 18 where the test for false prophets is outlined. And what is to be done to anyone fails at any single prediction? They are to be taken out and stoned[2]. I think there would be a lot fewer shows on Christian television if we enforced this. Just kidding. Or am I?

It’s easy to say that someone is anointed by God. Speaking for God. God will hold them accountable for what they say in his name. But you have a responsibility too. We need to carefully examine what they say before accepting it as true.

The easy test is whether it’s consistent with God has already said. Since God does not lie[3], and never changes[4], he never changes his mind[5].

Don’t be like our puppy. No matter what you put in her bowl, she gobbles it up with a vengeance. She tears into it, wolfing it down at a fierce pace. She doesn’t care what’s in it. As long as it’s in her bowl, it’s fair game and it’s gone in a flash.

My goal is not to make anyone upset or angry, but I do need to warn myself and you too. Don’t be too hasty to receive anything said or written. We need to be more discerning, not less. There’s no one out there protecting us from what comes to us.

Don’t depend on a publishing house, social media site, job title, or any organization to protect you from error. That job falls on you and you alone.

When I was a new Christian, I was in total awe of the people who surrounded me. Encouraged me. Trained me. Mentored me. And at the top of that list were the two pastors on staff. They just knew the Bible so well. It was almost too much to bear.

But the thing that they both said many times was, “Don’t just believe it because we say it. Check it out for yourself. Look up the scriptures. Think about it. Does it agree with other scriptures?

From that day to this, it’s exactly what I do. I don’t mean any disrespect whatsoever. It doesn’t matter who it is, but when they use a bible reference, I double-check it to make sure that they quoted it correctly and that the context also makes sense.

If I could give you a gift, it would be to give you the look gift. The gift of discernment. And that starts with checking what’s coming into your eye-gate and ear-gate.

[1] Isaiah 5:20 [2] Deuteronomy 18:20 [3] Titus 1:2 [4] Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8 [5] Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2


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