This particular teaching is a bit of a departure. This is mainly not prose, but is rather a sermon outline, but is easy enough to follow. This is a discussion of deception.
Before we go into the teaching let us establish what deception is:
Deception is when you believe you are right when in reality you are really wrong.
1 Samuel 15 v 1-15 says:
1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord . 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "
4 So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim-two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. 6 Then he said to the Kenites, "Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.
7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs-everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 "I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.
12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal."
13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord 's instructions."
14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?"
15 Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest."
The command is in v3
V8 - Did he carry it out? V9.
V10-11, Saul may be deceived but he cannot pull the wool over God's eyes.
V15, Of course Saul had an excuse. He perverted and twisted the Word of God.
Obedience is hard. However God gives us the resources. Heb 12:28, (KJV) reads: -
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear
Notice that the 'grace' empowers us to do what God demands, therefore we have no excuse for disobedience.
Comments on the above scriptures will follow in due course, but for now, here is the teaching on deception.
Ezekiel 33 v 30-33 (NIV):
As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other "Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord"
My people come to you as they usually do and sit before you to listen to your words, BUT THEY DO NOT PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE.
When all this comes true -and it surely will- then they will know that a prophet has been among them.
ü V30 'Come hear the message that has come from the Lord'
In my country we have some of the finest scripture teaching and we have access to such a wealth of scriptural knowledge but
ü V31 'My people listen to your words but they will not put them into practice'.
There are many today who will go to hear a preacher today because
1 - They like his style
2 - He is radical/different/dynamic
3 - He is famous
[we are certainly familiar with that in my land]
This is not why God instituted preaching and teaching - it is for THE PREPARING OF THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF MINISTRY.
What IS ministry?
ü Today we have preachers who are judged by their words!
1) Your sermon wasn't scholarly/deep enough
2) You didn't use such 'n' such a doctrinal framework
3) You didn't get the insight that I did!
Thus today we have teaching and preaching that is soley about doctrine, and getting the theory right - appealing to the brain - and is not concerned with obedience! God wants us to get it right in practice!
I have had people who want me only for my giftings. There have been people who only want to know me when I can do something for them. They don't want to be edified by it - it just fills in part of their little 'programme'.
How often, if we are honest, do we look at preachers, say 'amen' at the right time, but never seek to apply what's taught to our lives?
It's endemic to human nature to be like this, but the good news is that God renews the mind!
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. - NIV
In Phillip's paraphrase reads,
"Don't, I beg you, merely hear the message, but put it into practice"
The NIV says,
"Do not merely listen to the Word and deceive yourselves, DO WHAT IT SAYS"
1) Notice the TONE - "I beg you" - URGENCY!
2) Notice the COMMAND- "Do not . . . Do what it says" - this implies that it's NOT OPTIONAL!
Read the book of James. It reads like a Christian code of conduct of real practical pointers and principles and essentials.
If these things are not written on our hearts, OUR FAITH IS FUTILE!
"Deceiving yourselves" - - - - - - - - - - this occurs when one refuses to TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD or putting it into practice. You will be deceived . . . DON'T BLAME GOD! "Deceiving YOUR OWN SELVES"!!
Of course we will have deception, but we cannot fool God! God is on to us!! We have the responsibility and onus to obey God. If we Don't obey we will deceive ourselves! We must be serious with God (2 Cor 7:1).
Pursue . . . holiness, without which no man shall see God - Hebrews 12 v 14.