We need to take heed to the warnings of Scripture and not delude ourselves into thinking that we’re immune to them. We’re living in a generation of so many platforms for people to spew out false doctrine. And many of these false teachers are very likable outwardly, which makes them all the more able to deceive the naive. And immature spiritual children who lack discernment are their easiest prey.
Revelation 3:11 – I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
View the full sermon, “No Longer Children“.
The apostle is clearly indicating that false teachers are involved in this "every wind of doctrine" and that spiritual children are especially vulnerable. But keep reading. "By craftiness and deceitful schemes," or "in cunning craftiness lying in wait to deceive," or "deceitful plotting" or "deceitful scheming." That word "scheming," "schemes." You know it only shows up one other time in Scripture - right here in this epistle where Paul says this: "Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Here's the thing about a scheme, or plotting, it's intentional. They know what they're doing. Do you know several years ago, I preached on each one of those churches in Asia Minor that come out of Revelation 2 and 3. I preached some of those over and over throughout the years. I just brought up the church at Philadelphia to the brethren up there at Fond-du-lac. I'm reminded all over again, there's a very haunting statement said by the Lord to those at Philadelphia. Listen to these. "I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have so that no one may seize your crown." We can just read that. Yes, you know, I see it. I hear it. "...So that no one may seize your crown." Do you ever stop and think why would He say that? Why does He look at His people and say, "You better watch out that nobody seize your crown"? That's an odd thing to say. Unless of course there are people running around and there are people in the crowd real close to you who are crown seizers. And that would be a healthy warning. Remember, they know what they're doing. There's craftiness. And you know what Scripture says? There's these men who it says "through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared." You've got people around you - they're liars. Oh, and the picture is they infiltrate the church. They're here among us now. They're liars. And see, we can look at somebody and say how could they be so bold? Listen, you have to hear what's said there. Their consciences are seared. You get people around you that can't feel. They don't care if you go to hell because they can't feel. They don't feel any sympathy for you. But you know what it says? It says that in the later times, you're going to have these people that depart from the faith. And it says they're going to be devoted to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons. Even if men's consciences are seared, even if there's an ignorance aspect to some of the things that people do, you can know this: There are spirits and demons behind these things. And even if men sometimes are ignorant and don't know what they're doing or their consciences are so seared they can't feel what they're doing, I'll tell you this, the demons know exactly what they're doing. When you get to chapter 6, that's where it talks about the schemes of the devil. And this is the thing about being novice. This is the thing about not knowing how to handle the Scriptures. This is the thing about being a child spiritually. There is a danger. And when you hear about cunning and craftiness and deceitful schemes, when the Lord says to His church - and this was a healthy church at Philadelphia - "Beware that nobody take your crown..." There are people who by scheme and plot are reaching for it. That's the picture in Scripture. And the warnings are profuse. Constant warnings against this kind of particular danger throughout Scripture. Didn't Jesus Christ say it? Matthew 7 - we know there on the Sermon on the Mount. He said "beware of false prophets." Why? Why must you beware? Don't fall to sleep. Why? Because they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they're ravening wolves. Do you know what that means? You see what's so difficult about this? We hear about crown stealers. And you envision this really ugly, scary guy and he's reaching for it. It's like the guy you meet in the dark that you'd never want to meet in the dark. But that's not what they look like. They come in sheep's clothing. They look like a Christian. In fact, you may remember me saying in the past, Lloyd-Jones was quite convinced that it's the guy rough around the edges and the guy that's ugly that is usually God's man. You get people - they look good. They look good. The problem is these people have names and they're often friendly and likable and at least externally, they're nice guys. They're attractive. Listen, the devil is behind these people and he wants to take your crown and he wants to damn your soul. And while we're children, we're vulnerable. This is why you need to grow up out of this because we're vulnerable. But inside, they are ravenous. They have faces and they have names that you associate with Christianity. You associate with going to church on Sunday. You call them brother! But I'll tell you what, eternity will show. When the veil is pulled back, you're going to be startled by some of the people. And they knew what they were doing. Or the demons behind them, they full well knew what was going on. And you know where they are? They're in here. They're on the Internet. They're on Facebook. They're on YouTube. They're on the radio. Spiritual infants - they're the easiest prey. These people look like sheep. They're all around us. This excerpt was taken from the full sermon: No Longer Children