Don’t Be Deceived

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The Bible commands us to not be deceived and delude ourselves. Paul says, “Evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)  Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that many who profess to be believers will hear “I never knew you” and were ultimately deceived. We should heed these warnings. We should also find ourselves letting this cast us upon Christ in whom is our only hope.

Transcript

James 1. My attention is called to this theme in v. 16. James 1:16. "Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." I say this theme, not this verse, because this is a repeated verse in the Bible. A repeated verse and a major theme. Have you ever noticed that? "Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." Now, it's a negative, kind of like the Ten Commandments. A lot of them are negative: Do not do this and do not do that, but that's alright. The negative for the Christian is a positive. A stop sign - that may save our life if we obey it. So, it is a negative command in the New Testament. A negative warning. An admonition. But it's a very tender admonition. Here he addresses the brethren. He said, "do not be deceived, my brethren." My brethren. My beloved brethren. Something for the Christian. Something for us. The warnings are very, very valuable; very applicable; very helpful for the Christian in his walk and in his warfare. And so is this theme of deception. I'm going to use the word "don't kid yourself," and that's really that same idea. Don't fool yourself. Don't kid yourself. Don't deceive yourself. Some things, you know, there's this matter of deception that's not too costly. I've been deceived out of some money. I remember back in high school when somebody tricked me into a stamp collection deal. I probably lost $30, $40, $50 on that. At least once, I've been deceived on purchasing a used car. That motor wasn't what I thought it was or what I was told it was. And some of those things, they can be kind of costly. But nothing compares to being deceived in spiritual matters; being deceived in the spiritual realm; being deceived in the matters of our soul. That is where it's really costly. That's where it's big - being fooled in that category; being deceived in that category. And so he says, "do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." Don't do that. Don't let it happen. Watch out. Don't be deceived, my beloved brethren. It's addressed, you know, it's addressed as though it were a personal responsibility; as though we were responsible in it, and indeed we are. Looking here in verse 22, he says "prove yourselves doers of the Word and not merely hearers who delude themselves." Isn't that something? That we can delude ourselves. And the same in verse 26: if anyone things himself such-and-such and such-and-such, he deceives his own heart. Isn't that something? That we can deceive our own heart? That we can fool ourselves? That we can bring it on ourselves? That we can mess ourselves up? That we can go astray ourselves? Put ourselves astray, and a lot of times, that Greek word is translated that way. It means to go astray. It means to be led off track. And so, do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. We have a responsibility in it, and yet behind it all, who is at work? It is the devil, isn't it? We see this in Revelation 12. I'm going to appeal to you to turn some pages. It helps to look at it right before your very eyes on the sacred page and see it, doesn't it? I was thinking about this last night as we gathered together for prayer and Bible reading. I get a lot more out of that so-called family devotion time when I've got the Bible right in front of me and I'm doing the reading, rather than if one of the children is doing the reading and I don't see the words. And so it does help to turn to the passage and see it right before our very eyes. There it is. I'm reading it. It's mine. And so it says here in Revelation 12:9, (incomplete thought) "And the great dragon, he was thrown down." And we can tell by the following context he was talking about what happened at Calvary. "The serpent of old, who was called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him." Underline that in your mind. He deceives the whole world. It takes a little bit of cunning to deceive one person. You might be sitting at a table playing cards, you know, and trick the other guy, but if there's a whole bunch of people around the table, I'm just imagining, it would be much harder to deceive that other person. But think of this. Think of the skill of the deceiver that he has deceived the whole world. You look out there on the scene of the whole world, and he is skillful enough, he is tricky enough, he is crafty enough, he is subtle enough, he is big enough, he is smart enough to trick the whole world. And to do it from the beginning of time when he deceived Eve, the very first woman. It says it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. By his subtlety, he did that. So the world - the whole system - it's not just one or two on the train that are fooled, but the whole train is on the wrong track. The whole thing is a sinking ship and smiling on their way down. And we tend to think, well, that's just secular, but it's more than secular. It's more than the secular realm, isn't it? It's the religious realm too. It's Christendom even. It's not just Islam and so on, but even Christendom. And I'm taking that from verses like Matthew 7 where it speaks of the narrow way and the broad way. The narrow way leading to life; the broad way leading to destruction. But the few in contrast to the many. The few and the many. That is that most are headed on the broad road to destruction. Who are those many? You can tell by the context that the Lord is not contrasting the Christian with the world, but He is contrasting the Christian with the false Christian. The Christian with the false professor. You can tell that by the context. So, in other words, we are forced to conclude that most of the church goers are deceived and are going to tumble into hell off a church pew with a prayer on their lips and a Bible in their hand. Deceived you see. Many will say to Me in that day: Lord, Lord, didn't we do this and that? and He will say in utter reality, "I never knew you." And so it goes deeper than just the secular realm. It goes into Christendom as well. And in 2 John 7, he says that "many (not few, but many) deceivers have gone out into the world." It says in 1 John 4, "Many false prophets have gone out into the world." Not a few, but many. There are a lot of them out there. And they're getting worse and worse. In 2 Timothy 3, "In the last days, evil men and deceivers will grow worse and worse deceiving and being deceived." It's getting worse. It's getting darker. That which looks like light is not light, but rather darkness, and it's getting darker all the time. And lest we sit here in any smugness, you know we ought to remember that Titus 3:1, "We also ourselves were once deceived and disobedient and worthless for any good deed." It got us. He got us too. We were there. We had fooled ourselves. We had kidded ourselves. We were on the wrong track even ourselves. Lest we think anything of ourselves as being so smart, so secure, we've got it all together. We were fooled ourselves. Let God be true and every man a liar. Isn't it something the way they esteem this man, this singer, this musician James Brown? I mean, the world, U.S.A. mourned over his funeral last week or so, and here the man was a no-good man. He spent time in prison. He was an addict and so on. Unless there's something I don't know about him repenting at the last, but here the world esteems men that are not worthy of being esteemed. So the world - Satan has deceived the world. Look at this again in 2 Corinthians 11. . Paul says, "I am afraid that..." Think of that. Paul had some fears. This mighty apostle - this man was filled with the Spirit of God; had such authority upon him, he had some fears. And here was one of his fears. He says, "I'm afraid for you..." Corinthians - a church that he had started, you see. "I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve..." How? "...by his craftiness, your minds would be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." He says I'm afraid that you're going to get away from the simple and pure - just simple love and devotion to the Lord Jesus. I'm afraid you're going to get away from that. I'm afraid for you that Satan is going to do a job on you like he did on Eve. He's called the serpent here. He's a snake in the grass. Terri's dad one time got bit by a copperhead. He didn't even see it. He was hidden there. He was subtle in the grass. He felt the pain from it and realized that's what must have happened. So the enemy is a wolf, not in wolves' clothing, but in sheep's clothing. He is a crocodile hiding under the shallow water. The only thing you see is the two bumps sticking up. So he is subtle and crafty, very skillful, a master at deception. You know, you think of somebody who's done some skill, some craft, some trade for a few years. The more he goes on in it, the better he is at it right? So here is the devil who has had millenniums to get good at what he does. And he's got workers, right? He's got helpers. We find in 1 Timothy 4 - you don't need to turn to it this time, but it speaks of doctrines of deceitful spirits; deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Referring to Islam here this morning, I've just read a book that Ray brought back from down there at Voice of the Martyrs entitled, "Unveiling Islam." And you get to reading more about Islam, what they believe, and you go how could anybody believe that? How could anybody rejoice in that? Delight in those things? Those things that they teach. It's just so unacceptable. (unintelligible) There's so many laws, so many rituals, so much bondage, you know, and fear - who would want that? And yet, look at the masses of humanity that have been deceived. How? How? Why would they go for that? Doctrines of demons. Deceitful spirits - 1 Timothy 4. It speaks of that. Not only that, but look down here in verse 13. It speaks of false apostles. False apostles. Deceitful workers. Clint and Jenny ran into one up there near Morris. That man - he looked real good. He was very charismatic, right? He knew the Bible very well. And he was very zealous in good works even in foreign countries, helping the poor and so on, trying to get the gospel out and things like that, but at least one problem was that come to find out there was a woman he was closer to than his wife. And when all the dust settled, you have to conclude he was a deceitful worker. It speaks in Revelation 2, "You allow that woman Jezebel to teach and to lead my bondservants astray." The word there is the same word in the Greek "to deceive" my bondservants. Now, I mean, these false prophets, they can affect the saints of God. We have the consolation that ultimately we cannot, will not - if we are true believers, we will not be deceived. And we see that over here in Matthew 24. Matthew 24:24. "Where false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders." speaks of lying wonders. The activity of Satan with all lying wonders, "so as to mislead..." same great word - deceive, "if possible, even the elect." If it were possible - it's not possible. Not in the ultimate sense. I mean, I'm glad for this word right here that the weakest saint will win the day though death and hell obstruct the way. "If it were possible, even the elect." But that just tells us something of the subtlety of the wicked one - how skillful he is. So we ought to be on the alert. It speaks in Romans 16, it says, "they..." speaking of the false, deceitful workers - "they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting." There is a sense in which we ought to be suspicious. There is another sense in which we should not suspicious; should not be critical; should not be introspective and so on. There's a fine balance here. But it says they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. I did not suspect that he was a false leader. And so, we're given this comfort. We're given also this warning. Let's look at some areas in which the Bible either specifically or by way of implication gives us a warning - ways in which we can be deceived. In no particular order, but just working from the left to the right. Proverbs 31:30. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates." What a striking verse! Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. This word "vain," do you know what it means? It means "hollow." It means "empty." Beauty is vain, because why? Because it's so superficial. It's so temporal. It's not really where it counts in the long run in spiritual matters. Yet, Peter says, don't let your adornment be external, but rather let it be the hidden person of the heart. The hidden person. The inner man, not the outer man. Don't worry so much about that. But rather, the hidden person of the heart. "...With the imperishable quality of a meek and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." That's God's economy. Beauty is vain. God is looking for the beauty of holiness. Right? Charm is deceitful. It looks so good, but it deceives the one who has it and deceives others if we're not careful. Men, young men, what kind of a woman do you want to look for? This verse tells us. "The woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Don't be deceived. Look for a woman who fears God. Look for a man who fears God; who has enough about him to turn away from sin. I mean, that's a lot of times, the way the fear of the Lord is defined, right? Job was a man who feared God and turned away from evil. And it says that repeatedly. Same thing in the book of Proverbs. Turn away from evil. "Fears God..." that is, he or she realizes that it is God with whom we have to do. It is God that I have to center my life around. It's God that I must love. It's God's Word that I must deal with. Look for a man; look for a woman who's thinking about things above where Christ is at the right hand of God. He's heavenly minded; she's heavenly minded. Dealing with sin, reading good books, talking about the things of God, exercising self-denial. Look for a woman who fears the Lord; has enough of God about her that she is able to veil that beauty with what Paul calls modest apparel. Fears the Lord - she shall be praised. And it says here a specific in the next verse: "Let her works praise her in the gates." She is a woman (or a man - either way) who is serving the Lord. Her works - what kind of works is he talking about here? Well, according to chapter 31, he's talking about the home work and the way that she cares for the family and the way that she reaches out to the poor and the needy and so on. Rebekah was chosen not for her beauty, but rather because she saw that there was a need here to get the water for those camels and she ran for it. Don't be deceived. Like someone was bringing out earlier today, look at the movie stars with all their glamor, charm, beauty, and all of the repeated divorces and remarraige. Don't be deceived and think you've got to have a pretty woman to be satisfied. Let's go on to Matthew. Back to Matthew 22:29. "But Jesus answered and said to them, 'You are mistaken...'" same Greek word - deceived it could be translated. "...Not understanding, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." We can deceive ourselves if we have a low view of God. I mean, that was going on in Christendom because they do not understand, know the power of God. They do all these tricks to try to get people into the kingdom and make a decision for Christ because you don't have appreciation of the power of God. You answer in anger, or things like that, you see. And not trusting that God is big enough to change the heart or take care, you see, for me. And then secondly, He says, "not understanding, not knowing the Scriptures." Deceived - not knowing the Scriptures. If we neglect the Bible, we are going to be deceived, or we're deceived already. Deceived not knowing the Scriptures. I mean, are we going to try to make it to the celestial city without a road map? Are we going to try to build character without a blueprint? Are we going to try to walk the path of righteousness without a map? A lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path? Are we going to think about standing before the judgment seat of Christ without first judging ourselves by the Word of God? It says in Hebrew 4:13 that it's quick, powerful, sharp as any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asundry of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, as is a discerner of the thoughts - a judge of the thoughts and the intents of the heart. That's why you read the Bible, right? Search me, Lord. Search me with it. See if there's any wicked way in me. That's why we like to sit under the preaching of the Word of God. Give it to me! I remember Maynard's dad - his old dad, Carl. He used to say I like to hear some preaching where I have to scratch and scramble a little. Don't neglect the Bible. I mean, let me make this statement. If you right here today, I mean, as you analyze your life, if your life is not characterized by daily reading the Bible - I mean, if that's not your practice; if that's not your habit, a daily delight in reading the Word of God, be sure of this, that you are not regenerate. You are not a Christian. Be sure of that! Don't be deceived. God has given us gold. Here it is. Let's go on. Mark 4. Mark 4:19. The parable of the sower and the soils here. The seed that is sown among the thorns - in verse 19, it says the thorns are what? The worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires or lusts for other things. But there it speaks of the deceitfulness of riches. That riches are deceitful. Riches are deceitful. Why is that? Because they can give you - they don't have to, but you've got to be careful - they can give you a false sense of satisfaction; a false sense of security; a false sense of success; a complacency. If we have riches, that verse was quoted in 1 Timothy 6, don't fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God. And then he tells them that they ought to use their riches for the furtherance of the gospel, meet pressing needs, and so on. They must be held loosely. They must be used wisely for the kingdom of God and for the furtherance of the gospel. The deceitfulness of riches. In Luke 12, it tells about a rich farmer and his ground produced real well. And he had many goods laid up for many years. And he says to his soul, "take it easy." And God said, "you fool!" You've been deceived, you see? You're a fool. This night, your soul will be required of you. What good did those riches do for your soul? And then who shall those goods be? In other words, they are temporal. They make themselves wings like an eagle and fly away, sometimes even before we die. We can be stripped right down to nothing with some catastrophic thing. Deceitfulness of riches. I know of one man who was a pastor and he was doing real well. He was doing real well. He was bi-vocational. And then he began to get more and more, bigger and bigger salary. Big money he was bringing in. And it led to his fall. Don't be deceived that riches are just neutral. Watch out. Let's go on to 1 Corinthians 3:18. . "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so he may be wise." Don't deceive yourself in thinking that man has the answer in life. Man has no answers. Oh, he may have an answer for how to fix your car and things like that, but when it comes to the big things, man does not have the answers. I mean, in the matters of metaphysics, he has no answers - why anything is here rather than nothing? Where it came from? Why we're here? Where we're going? The destiny of man or of the world. No answers. Even in epistemology - that is the idea of knowing. He has no basis for knowing anything. I mean, sure, gravity's there. It's been there. The sun has risen. It's done that for many hundreds of years. But there's no reason to suppose that it's going to come up again tomorrow. It might do something different for zillions of years in the future. Apart from outside infinite reference point and a basis which is God Himself who upholds all things by the word of His power, you don't know anything. You're just on sinking sand. You don't even have sand there. Or morality - that's most easily seen. You have no basis for right or wrong apart from God - an outside ultimate infinite reference point who says this is right and this is wrong. Man has no answers. And so don't be deceived. If any man among you thinks he's wise in this age, real clever - got it all together - if you're going to get anywhere with God, you've got to come way down to the bottom of the barrel. Let him become a fool that he may be wise. And that's the history. That's the testimony of every Christian - how God brought me to nothing. How God brought me to see myself as a fool. And I'm going to have to come to Jesus for my wisdom. John Sung - He was converted in America on his way back to China. He threw all of his degrees overboard. Paul said all of my religious qualifications I counted dung that I may win Christ. . Here's another one. . "Do you not know...?" You should know this. "...That the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators..." and so son. Don't be deceived he says. And you can talk to people everywhere all around that are deceived on this very thing, thinking that the unrighteous will go to heaven because they have professed Jesus. Obviously, you wouldn't be deceived about a non-professor - it's talking about a professor. Somebody who professes Christ, but lives like the devil. Don't be deceived about that. You know, without holiness, no man will see the Lord. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Don't be deceived about that. I talked to a fellow - a Baptist pastor - a few months ago, and I gave him the example. The same example I used when I talked to a missionary of New Tribes Mission - a mission representative and then the head theologian down in Sanford, Florida with New Tribes. He asked the same question. Here's a guy that's a drunk, and he hears the gospel, he's converted, he lives a clean life for five years, and then goes back into drink and lives the rest of his years as a drunken sot and dies. Did he go to heaven or go to hell? And they say, well, you can't tell. You can't judge, you know. I quoted this verse to him. I said, "Do not be deceived," it says a drunkard won't go to heaven. And it says the covetous - other things here that we often bypass. Buying this, buying that when you don't really need it. Delight in shopping - covetousness. They won't go to heaven. A reviler it says here in verse 10. You know, he's a back-biter, fault-finder, critical, peevish, slanderer. He won't go to heaven. And note this, brethren, that all of the parallel verses just like this one in Ephesians 5 and Galatians 5 where it lists heaven-disqualifying sins, in each place it says, "Do not be deceived." He's trying to get something through to us. And so often you hear that, well, I don't really know where he's at. You do too know where he's at. He's lived a godless life. You know he didn't go to heaven. . , "Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good morals." Don't be deceived. Your company will affect you. It will affect your conduct. Who you hang around with. That's almost the first thing it says in Proverbs. If sinners entice you, don't consent. Watch it! Watch who your friends are. It says in Proverbs 13:20, "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." It says in another place, "Don't be around an angry man." He's sharp with his tongue, see. Don't be around an angry man, lest you what? Learn his ways. I went for 8 months with a mission group in Europe. When I went to that group, I knew good and well they were compromised. But I was going to show God, myself, and my brother that I wasn't too tight, I wasn't too narrow. I could work with other people who aren't exactly like-minded. I went into it knowing that. And I'll tell you before God, by the time 8 months were up, I had begun to be deceived, thinking these things don't matter anyhow. So what that a bunch of them - even the leaders - are Catholics? I was starting to get deceived, I tell you. By the grace of God I was snatched out and got off on a different branch on the vine. Let's march on in Galatians 6. (unintelligible) I hope you can hang on and not miss it. Galatians 6:3, "For if anyone thinks he is something when he's nothing, he deceives himself." It's similar to that 1 Corinthians 3 verse, isn't it? Thinks he's something, but he's nothing. Just a zero. A big zero. He deceives himself. You know, in a way, God works with the Christian, over the years, through many experiences continually bringing us back, more convincing us that we, in fact, are nothing. That folks can get along without us. And we really aren't just a shade better than somebody else. Just continually bringing us down in humility to where He can show us more grace. But it says over and over - have you noticed the repeated admonition, "Do not be wise in your own eyes." You know, watch out for that pride lest you deceive yourself. I read the story of Charlotte Elliot. Anybody know anything about Charlotte Elliot? I'll tell you. She was a pretty young woman. And this would be about a hundred and some years ago. And she was planning to go to this ball - this big ball, and she had a special dress made. And she had been planning to go to this ball for some time. And on the way to the ball, she ran into her pastor. And the pastor pled with her, "Do not go to this ball with these degrading influences." But she rejected his appeal and said, "Mind your own business." And she went to the ball and she was the center of attention. But alas, her gaiety was kind of forced because her conscience was beginning to bother her. And she got home that night and God came right down in her heart and in her room, and she went on for some days just feeling her wretchedness. And she was convicted of her sins and her sinnership. And so she goes to the pastor and tells him, "What do I do? I'm a wretched person." And he says, "You just come to Christ just like you are." "But I'm the chief of sinners - I'm a wretch! I don't deserve anything." He said, "You just come... nothing in your hand, you come like you are." And she went home and did that very thing that night, and was passed from death unto life. And she wrote her thoughts down. You know what they are? You know the rest of the story. "Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that You bid me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come." I've got nothing. Thinks he's something when he's nothing. And it's in the context here, notice, of good works. Helping others, helping, bearing the burden - verse 2 - and reaching out to others. As we sit in our high and mightiness, get down, reach out to others. Now, verse 7. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap." We are deceived if we think that we can fool God and sin and get by with it. See, God is not mocked. Whatever man sows, he'll reap. Of course, the positive side is there too. Right? He who sows to the Spirit will reap. He who sows to the flesh will reap. And so God is not mocked. Now there are consequences to sin. Eve sinned and there were consequences. David sinned - there were consequences. Abraham sinned - there were consequences. Like Rodney was bringing out - broken body, broken finances, broken relationships and so on. Eternal consequences - shall reap destruction. Do not be deceived. God can see. He sees. He knows what's going on right down deep in the secret place of your heart. And there are consequences. Don't think you can mock or fool God. Don't be deceived. And then similarly, please, in Hebrews 3. Hebrews 3:13, "Encourage one another day after day." That's what we're hopefully doing here this very morning. "...As long as it is still called today." Hebrews 3:13. "...So that none of you will be hardened by..." what? "...By the deceitfulness of sin." Isn't that quite a phrase? That sin deceives. I mean, it's not just a raw product. It's not just a neutral product. It's laying there with power in it. Deceitfulness of sin. Have you ever tried to fix a car with that body putty? It's very pliable, and then you add this other substance to it, and what happens? Immediately, nothing happens. But in short order, it begins to harden when you add this other substance. And that's what sin does to our heart. It hardens our heart. It says, "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." You become calloused. You become desensitized. You don't care anymore. Why try? It clouds the fear of God and the eternal values. And the thing to do is right there stay away from that sin. Don't touch it. Keep your heart clean. Keep your hands clean, your conscience clear. In Ephesians 4, it speaks of deceitful lusts - same thing. Now, we come last to James. Back to James where we started. There's one last thing I'd like to point out. This is real positive. This first verse that I read - James 1:16, "Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren," is right in the context of what? Right in the context regarding the goodness of God. You see, it says up here in verse 13, "God cannot be tempted by evil." No, He doesn't do that. He's not in that business. Rather we're tempted when we're gone away by our own lusts. Don't attribute that evil to God. See, don't be deceived there. Then verse 17 after this verse, it says, "Every good thing given..." That is, maybe, in the physical realm - rain from heaven and fruitful seasons. He did good, you see. Acts 14:17. Every good thing and every perfect gift - that is things pertaining to salvation and redemption is from above coming down from the Father of lights. The most basic gift that God has given us is just light. "...With whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." God does not change. He's still good. He always was good. That was the original lie of the devil to Eve. He says God's holding out on you. He knows that when you eat of that, you'll be like God. God's given you the short end of the stick. He's not a worthy object of your trust. And so don't be deceived, my beloved brethren. God is good - a worthy object of our trust. He does good. He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. You'll never get the short end of the stick for following the Lord of Glory. He's worthy of our trust, worthy of our pursuit, worthy of my life, my love, my soul, my song. Don't be deceived on that and think that you're going to come out short by following the Lord and leaving self and sin and Satan behind and society's standards and smiles. In conclusion, what should we say to these things? We ought to examine our own heart. Be vigilant. Be vigilant. Watch it! It says the heart is deceitful and desperatly wicked. I don't know what to make of that. I mean, I know the Christian has a good heart - Luke 8. But nevertheless, there's something there that's deceitful within that we've got to watch. And forget the high theology, we do need to be careful. shows us that. So watch over your heart with all diligence. Watch it. Watch your heart. Keep a clean conscience. Watch out for hypocrisy you see. Here in verse 22, "Prove yourselves doers of the Word and not merely hearers who delude themselves." You see, we can sing that Psalm 19 that the Word of God is sweeter than honey and more desirable than gold - even much fine gold. We sing these songs, you see, and lo and behold, we never do much read the Bible. That's hypocrisy. Don't be a hearer only, but be a doer. Watch out for hypocrisy in your life. Be honest about it. Lord, this just doesn't match up. This is inconsistent. Pray about it. Pray about deception. Proverbs 30, he says, "Two things have I asked of the Lord." One was what? Keep me from lies and deception. Don't let me be deceived. Pray about that. Ask God to do that very thing. Tremble at the Word of God. Stay right true to the truth, you know. It says in 2 Thessalonians 2, he says, "the deceitfulness of wickedness in those who do not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." The deceitfulness of wickedness toward those who do not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. Oh, we better just stay true to the truth. Stay true to the Word. Stay right on the roadmap, you see. And you'll be alright. We can help one another, can't we? Help one another in these things, in this matter of deception. If somebody comes to you with a word of reproof, boy, you better cherish it. You better cherish it. Don't get mad at them. You better cherish that. It says in James 5, "My brethren, if any of you strays..." There's that same Greek word as deceived. "...Strays from the truth and one of you turns him back, don't you know that you've saved a sinner from..." how is it? Anybody know it? Right at the end of James. That saves a sinner "from the error of his ways and will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." See? We can help one another to avoid deception. That's why God has put us around one another is to help one another on to heaven - to not be a hindrance, but a help. So, in this regard, again I emphasize that verse we looked at in 2 Corinthians 11. He says, "lest Satan by his subtlety lead your mind away from the purity and simplicity of devotion to Christ." All to Christ. Death to self. There is safe ground. When it comes right down to it, that's what the devil is after. He's trying to get away from love and loyalty to Christ. You know, it makes me appreciate our Lord and Savior in this regard. There's a verse in Psalm 89:22. It says, "the enemy will not deceive Him." I like that. The Lord Jesus - He made it through without being deceived. He could have been deceived about being subject to His parents. He could have been deceived about His need to pray. He could have been deceived about His need to go through it and call on angels. He could have been deceived and let them make Him a king by force. He could have been deceived in the wilderness and eaten food out of the will of God, and cast Himself down presumptuously, and taken an inheritance prematurely. He could have been deceived, but the enemy did not deceive Him. He made it through. He won the victory for us. He was the one Man who never was deceived. And so, ah, what a Savior we have! A Savior, it says in Hebrews 5:2, we have a Priest who is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and out of the way. And again, it's that same Greek word: deceived. Able to deal gently with the ignorant and those who are deceived. So, suffer the word of exhortation.