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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Take Heed That Ye Be Not Deceived

Take Heed To Yourselves: Warnings From Jesus
(full notes, click link)

Luk 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Consider that the name "Christ" means the anointed one of God. Of course there are those who are deluded and claim to actually be Jesus Christ, but those are not the primary threat I believe He was warning them about. Those are easily identified as frauds. But how many today are on the religious stage proclaiming they are the anointed of God? Many of the religious celebrities travel around holding their conferences, and they boast and deceive all in the name of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ and God. They put on a show, and glory in the flesh and multitudes throw their money at these showmen and women, order their cds and dvds and books, and feed their minds on deception because it's by and large a prosperity gospel, without mention of any cross in the life of a believer. Go ye not after them, He said. Don't listen to them, don't give them your money, don't buy their leaven. The truth is, if they really possess the anointing of God, they will also possess a healthy fear of God, and recognize where the real power is-in HIM not them. They will love Him and not dare touch the glory. They will not point people to their ministry but to their Christ! If anything or anyone except Jesus Christ is at the center, beware.

I've been thinking about this word 'anointing'. It was a custom among the Hebrews and other oriental nations to anoint themselves and when there was no anointing, it was one sign of mourning. To anoint was to put oil on the head or body. They anointed the head, the hair, the beard, and at their feasts, the whole body, but sometimes only hands and feet. Anointing dead bodies was also practiced to preserve them from corruption. Anointing visitors was also an act of hospitality. It was a means of refreshing their bodies. But the common uses for anointing were not to be confused with the special anointing decreed by God. Leaders were anointed and so were high priests at their inauguration. This signified they were set apart for God, and it was a costly and fragrant mixture of oils-forbidden for all others. Jesus Christ was the Anointed One, the anointing was the Holy Ghost working in Him and through Him. This is why I fear to use this word anointing very much-when you speak of the anointing, you speak not of a thing or a condition, but of a Person.

God would only allow the holy anointing oil to be put on that which was sanctified, set apart totally for Him. Common things nor strangers were never allowed to be anointed. They were not allowed to make this oil for themselves and their own personal use, either. This isn't a selfish thing. Its use was always to be governed by God. Whatever was anointed was for God's service. Any vessel used in the ministry in the tabernacle had to be anointed. This is the pattern the church of God was meant to follow. In the book of Acts, they had to be full of the Holy Ghost and faith just to minister to the widows' earthly needs, such as food and housing. Any one who was not filled was not allowed to minister or operate in the Sanctuary. My God. How far we have fallen. This requires a sacrifice of one's time and will but to be granted private, intimate audience with the Lord God Almighty, to be able to sit at His feet and eat His Word and learn FROM Him, not about Him...oh my..what could be better? Nothing can compare with being in His presence, hearing His Voice..

For those in leadership, this is the standard. They should give themselves to prayer and the Word of God else they will have nothing of lasting value to give the people of God. Instead they will have only their basic understanding which is vague at best of Scripture and won't reproduce life in the congregation. Those who would really know God, who want to go deeper, whether in leadership, behind the pulpit or just someone who loves God and sees the need to be an accurate witness of God, this is the way to know Him....get alone with Him, seek Him, search the Scriptures, bring them to Him, ask Him what it meant and dig and dig and pray and pray. Oh, what rich rewards of His presence, to learn from Him instead of about Him. It is necessary for the leadership to be alone with God, to be filled with God, yielded, and know when to step out of the way and let God move because that congregation is naked only before God. He knows each need, each hidden sin, each one who is holding too tight to something they need to let go and too loose to what they need to hold fast. He alone is able to perfect us. The more we decrease, and the more He increases in us, the more perfected we become.

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