Devotional: It’s time to sharpen up the Sword of the Spirit

"For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…" (Matthew 24:5).

The Bible clearly teaches us that the last days are going to be a time of great deception, a great falling away, and a heaping up of teachers that tickle the ears.

We need to understand what Jesus is saying here. We can make these few words mean two different things. It all hinges on where we place the quotations marks or how we read it.

If we interpret this to mean we are to watch out for those who would say of themselves, "I am Christ," then this verse will apply to only a few people. We will then place this warning far from the reach of our own hearts.

But if we read it without the quotation marks, it takes on a whole new meaning. We are to be aware that even though a person can declare or confess with their lips that Jesus is the Christ, it also means that same person can deceive us.

If you think about this verse in this way, then it applies to all Christians, and in particular, to Christian leaders. We all come in His name, we all declare that He is the Christ; but it also means that if we do not heed the warning, we can either be deceived or deceive others. You see, the problem is more subtle and harder to discern than we first thought.

"False prophets will rise…" (Matthew 24:24).

When the disciples asked Jesus about the signs of the last days, the first thing He mentioned was deception. He told them to "take heed." This means "to watch out, beware, keep your eyes peeled, and don’t be so naïve." Why? False christs are going to make their way into leadership and high places of honor among God’s people. And they are not coming to aid the Church into a deeper understanding of Jesus. They are coming into the fold to deceive the elect and lead them into false concepts of Christ.

We must understand that the Devil wants to be seen as more like Christ than he wants to be seen unlike Him. He doesn’t want to be exposed as the destroyer. He wants to be known as the god of amazing signs and wonders.

It’s time to sharpen up the Sword of the Spirit — the revelation of Jesus Christ — and be on guard. It would be better for us to be on guard than to remain ignorant of God’s Living Word.

Source: C.H. James

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