Let us continue looking at the great delusion or the strong delusion that God said that he would send among His people. God is allowing leaders to be tested to receive a delusion or that which is not lining up with absolute truth. Then they, (believing to have revelation knowledge) begin to tell others a delusion, a diluted, compromise word, because they are receiving a lying spirit. The word diluted means to make weaker by mixing, such as mixing absolute truth with half truths. This can be illustrated by taking a small bottle of grape juice and pouring it into a pitcher and then filling the pitcher all the way to the top with water. Though it may still look like grape juice it has been diluted, meaning it will no longer taste like the original. This is what we do with the Word of God, the absolute truth. We began to mix with it our own opinions, biases, doctrinal understanding,etc., and thus, we stray from the original intent of the Word.

Another definition of the word diluted, is to reduce the purity of. This is what’s happening with a majority of our modern translations of the Bible. The translators paraphrase the absolute truths to fit their own personal biases, doctrines, or opinions. It’s as though today you can find a Bible translation that will fit almost any opinion of the believers. This has all been designed to dilute the Word in order for God to send this strong delusion to test the hearts of his people to see if we still know absolute truths and will defend them. If we do not know the truths of God’s Word, then we are easily misled by the inaccuracies of many of our new translations. Without studying to show ourselves approved then we will also miss the inaccuracies in sermons, tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Allow me to illustrate exactly what this strong delusion, this spirit of religion, looks like. First we must understand that there is a fine line between a professing Christian and a true Christian, a true follower of Jesus. A professing Christian may very well be one who started out as a born again believer in Jesus Christ. But through exposure to a compromised Word or diluted messages they find themselves in a place of complacency. They develop an attitude that not all of the Word of God applys to their lives. They find themselves in a position of compromise where now they begin to surrender biblical principles such as holiness, purity and righteousness. Soon there develops a “form of godliness but denying the power thereof”, or to say there’s a profession of faith but the power to change one’s life is not evident. The Word of God admonishes us in Philippians 2:12, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” I must confess I always wondered what this “fear” is. Proverbs 8:13 states, “the fear of God is to hate evil.” This is what’s missing in a professing Christian’s life, there is no hatred of evil.

Professing Christians began to place their faith and their eternal security in their churches, denominations, pastors, or other’s opinions. We become more focused on performance than on relationship with God. We may know the Bible yet we don’t obey it. Professing Christians show no regard for the Word of God when it comes to current sins plagueing the church, like divorce. It doesn’t matter that in Malachi chapter 3 God says that he hates putting away, or to say divorce, or that Jesus told us that the only grounds for divorce is that of unfaithfulness, as believers if we want to get a divorce we just do it. We seem to believe that we can do what ever we want, and once we’ve enjoyed sin’s pleasures, then we confess our sins to God and rely on His mercy and His love to just look over it. We have those in the pulpit as well as those in the pew living in adultery,fornication, lieing,etc., and yet professing to be Christians relying on God’s mercy and love to just simply “overlook” our sins. This is a “strong delusion!!” This is what I mean by the Word of God being diluted over the years. With the shift to God’s mercy and his love being the predominant message of the church we no longer fear his judgment, wrath or his hatred of sin.

We may be able to pray like no other. We can even quote Scriptures. We can be faithful and loyal to the local church, Bible studies, book groups, prayer groups as well as other church activities and still be deceived if we do not apply the absolute truth of all of God’s Word to our lives. If we refuse truths because it doesn’t fit our understanding or doctrine or if it interferes with our lifestyles, our recreational pleasures, etc., then we our deceived. It is this mindset that Paul addresses in II Thessalonians 2:12, which reads, “that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteous.”

Paul is stating here that all who do not love, accept and believe the absolute truth of God’s Word are the ones who are receiving this delusion and that they are also going to be condemned. Paul is not necessarily saying that these people are practicing unrighteousness but that they take pleasure in unrighteousness. In other words we may not commit adultery, fornication, gay acts, murder, violence, use foul language, or other forms of worldliness, but we take pleasure in them by supporting them. Whenever we view TV shows, movies, things that we watch on the computer, even the books and magazines that we read or look at we are saying that we approve of those things. So if we’re watching a movie, a TV program or other forms of entertainment that is showing people committing adultery or fornication or committing gay acts or violence, murder or just the use of foul language, if we’re watching these then we are saying we approve of these things as a Christian and that this is proper entertainment and lifestyles for those who love God.

Again Paul addresses this issue by stating in Romans 1:32, “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Paul had been speaking about homosexuality as well as numerous other sins in this chapter when he made this statement. Again, we may not participate in the sins that he had just listed but if we watched them, search the Internet for them, or read about them for entertainment value, then we are, by our actions, approving of them. The book of Psalms 102:2,3 states, “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” Are we walking within our houses with a perfect heart before God and our families? If we are permitting things into our home that do not glorify God then we are not walking within our houses with a perfect heart. ” I will set nothing wicked before my eyes” should be our motto of life. We should not watch movies, television programs, anything on the computer, etc., if it defiles us. If it causes us to meditate upon sinfulness or unrighteousness then we should not set it before our eyes.

Isaiah speaks of this delusion being a religious spirit in Isaiah 66:1-4. “‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ says the Lord.’But on this one will I look: on him who is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word. He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck; he who offers a grain offering, as if he offer swine’s blood; he who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol. Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so I will choose their delusion, and bring their fears on them; because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.’”

God is saying here that he does not take pleasure in those who flaunt their “liberty”. Who “feel no conviction” when living in sin or “approving” of it. But he delights in the one who grieves over sin, not just their own sin but the sins of the world as well. When we offer up the sacrifice of praise unto God without the true spirit of sacrifice this becomes an abomination. We may offer up great prayers, worship and praise, we may lift up our hands, we may even speak in tongues, but without abiding in the absolute truth of God’s Word and being in relationship with Him and being of a contrite spirit then these things are an abomination to God– this is a spirit of religion. All the things that are listed in verse three were forms of religious observances offered to God. What He is saying here is that He is not pleased with religious ritual but with an obedient heart. God is saying here, through Isaiah, that the guilt of the people he was addressing lay in their insincerity. Their heart was far from God when their feet were in His house. Notice in verse four that Isaiah is prophesying what Paul would speak of in second Thessalonians, that being, God choosing a delusion for His people. That delusion is when people offer up their sacrifices of praise, thithes, gifts, etc., but not from a loyal heart and believing that religious rituals please God. II Chronicles 25:2 states when Amaziah become king,”and he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart.” We practice our religion well but our hearts aren’t set on holiness and righteousness, this is a spirit of religion. God said in verse four that when he spoke they did not hear, this is all so true today. God is speaking through preachers and prophets, calling his people to holiness and righteousness, and yet they do not want to hear it. Instead “they did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.”

With the absolute truths of God’s Word having been diluted, mankind now decides what is right for them. We now conform the Word to fit us not conforming our lives to fit the Word. We want preachers who tickle our ears. “Who say to seers,’ do not see,’ and to the prophets,’do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.’”(Is.30:10) This is the strong delusion! This is the spirit of religion!

A spirit of religion, a strong delusion, has captivated a large portion of our churches. Truth is now being mixed with half-truths or man’s understanding of truths. The delusion that God has chosen is a diluted Word, a straying from absolute truth. Remember the definition of a delusion is a false, fixed belief, held in spite of evidence to the contrary. God is testing us to see if we not only know absolute truth but are we obeying it. Do we study to show ourselves approved so that we may recognize half-truths and even unscriptural prophecies and messages? What do our actions and lifestyles tell the world that we are approving of? Is our worship from a loyal heart or just religious ritual? Absolute truth or delusion which one are we following?

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