Acts 20:28-30 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. ”
Sometimes it’s very hard to decipher between right and wrong, good and bad, or true and false. Often circumstances are deceptive, and certain people master the art of deceiving others into thinking they are something they are not. They blend right in with those they imitate and can wreak havoc without anyone really knowing what happened. In fact, discerning who represents truth and who doesn’t is often as hard as recognizing the right blue jeans.
My Blue Jean Dilemma
“MOM, why are you wearing my jeans?” Abigail questioned me the other day.
“These are yours? How can you tell when they all look the same?”
“I just know.”
Ugh!! I have such a hard time telling the difference between all the blue jeans that go through our laundry. They are all the same shade of blue, around the same size, and made by the same manufacturer. A quick glance shows no difference to me – hence why I always put them in the wrong drawers.
The Apostle Paul’s Warning
The Apostle Paul counseled the elders at the church of Ephesus to be on their guard. He knew that look-alikes can often be confusing. He warned that when he departed perverse men would infiltrate the church. These fake leaders would look like leaders, use similar language as the others, and display an authority that would confuse some into believing lies. The results would be devastating and a triumph for Satan. So Paul warned the congregation to stay on the alert.
This same warning rings true for us today. There are many sitting in our churches who seem to fit right in. These parishioners say the right religious words, sing the same spiritual songs, raise their hands in all the right places, and maybe even where the same brand of blue jeans. But they are not who they say they are. When listening to their understanding of God’s plan of salvation they subscribe to a different idea than the Bible puts forth. Maybe they believe that good works will get you to heaven or that God’s love would never send someone to hell. These and other diversions from God’s truth simmer under the surface blending in unnoticed until they eventually find their way into a sympathetic ear and some are drawn away.
Finding the Truth in a Deceptive World
How do we make sure we are not confused?
Paul encouraged the Ephesians to remember all his words and warnings, and exhorted them to seek God’s guidance trusting in His protection. And most importantly Paul insisted they commit to knowing God’s word, allowing it to build them up into all truth. This would be the standard to measure any teachings or words spoken by those around them.
My blue jean dilemma is not of much consequence in the whole scheme of life. If a pair or two of jeans end up in the wrong drawer, life will still go on. But being able to discern the difference between a God-appointed leader and one who is disseminating lies is crucial. It may be the difference between spiritual life and spiritual death for those who are caught unawares.
So make sure you stay alert and evaluate all the teachings you hear. Constantly pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. Set your mind to study the Scriptures intently so you can discern what is truth and what is not. In so doing you will be better able to decipher between right and wrong, good and bad, or true and false teachers . . . even if all of them are wearing the same brand of blue jeans.
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