Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sickening deception

Began a new study over the last couple of weeks reading through John Piper's "Let the Nations be Glad." I am eagerly awaiting each week of this study as I am currently in desperate need of deep wisdom regarding the supremacy of God as it relates to the missional manner to which we are each called to live. As we began our discussions this week, we were focused solely on the introductory materials in the book, in particular Piper's pleas to prosperity preachers. A discussion on the folly of prosperity, word-of-faith, charismatic "Christianity" is typically right up my alley. I can make fun of the hawkers of this perversion of the faith I love for hours.
But not tonight. Tonight, it hit me in such a different way. I think this is owed to a working of the Spirit on my heart over the past year, kindling within me a deep desire that none should perish without hearing the beauty of the gospel of Christ. None should go to their grave without the knowledge of the propitiating, atoning, rescuing life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Tonight, the thought of the deception of millions in Africa was nothing but heart-wrenching, sickening reality. This stirring in my soul and alignment of my desires to see the nations reached with the Word has been an ongoing work throughout our church's study through the book of Revelation. I find it impossible to glimpse into the vision cycles of the Apostle John as he sees the resplendent glory of the Lamb, and the full weight of the just wrath of God culminating as these last days come towards their close and to sit back and not let it change the way I see the world. Tonight as we watched videos of the charismatic Pentecostalism that is sweeping through sub-Saharan Africa, and watched men preach messages of promises of wealth, health, prosperity to those with enough faith. And imploring their listeners to prove the level of their faith with a monetary gift that shows sufficiently the size of the faith they posses, regaling their audience with the proof of God's faithfulness based on the cars in his own garage. The deception at hand made me want to vomit. The book of Revelation, and supportive texts throughout the New Testament, is clear that God will utilize Satan's propensity for deception in this current age as one of the tools of His harvest, We see that those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life before the ages began will continue to hold to the commandments and testimony of Jesus, and that those whose names were not found will be deceived into believing the lie. We know that throughout this age, and until the culmination of this age, that deceivers, such as those who are spreading this false truth across Africa and other parts of the world, will continue to multiply and their words will continue to strengthen. We know that this horrendous deception will be used to achieve God's ultimate purpose in the redemption of His saints. We even know that on that last day, the great deceiver, Satan himself, as well as the deceivers of this earth, will be thrown into the lake of fire that burns for eternity. But tonight, none of that knowledge touched the reality that right now, in our world these deceivers are doing their work. Right now, in our word, people are believing the lie. And that these people, in their current state, will join the rest of the deceivers and deceived in that same eternal fire.

My soul despairs at the thought of so many people being led away by half-truths that are full lies while men who claim to be speaking truth (and I believe many of them believe that they ARE speaking truth, for they have been deceived in the same way) are becoming exceedingly wealthy at the expense of the eternal souls of millions. My heart breaks for the cycle of deception that is spinning wildly in our world.

So, what do we do about it?

We pray. We seek ways to help send truth into these regions. We ask for the powerful work of the Spirit to continue to awaken the deceived to the beautifully bright reality of the true gospel. We ask for the resurrection of dead souls in these regions. We do whatever we can to see the living breath of God breathed out onto dead, dry bones, bringing life where death previously reigned. We pray for the story of Elly Achok Olare to be multiplied in the lives of countless others who are ensnared in the prosperity teachings. Olare is a pastor in Kenya who spent many years preaching the messages of the word-of-faith movement. He had been deceived, and fully believed the messages he preached were true. Through much trial, torment, and pain, he was brought to his knees in realization of his deception. He now leads a mission effort in Kenya to establish and spread the true gospel to his people. He desires to rescue from this movement people like himself and those whom his teachings affected for so many years. Men like Olare are needed to continue to work we see laid out in the book of Revelation. We see not only the deceivers and those being deceived in John's visions. We also see the saints, those who hold to the testimony of Jesus and hold to his commands. Throughout this age, we see those saints continuing to proclaim and prophesy against the deceivers of this world that some might continue to come out of the darkness and believe. Saints like Olare and the workers of his ministry, and saints like each of us who are called to the proclamation of truth among a world of lies, we are needed to continue to purpose to which we were called. We trust that among those being drawn into deception exist individuals whose names have been written, whose eternity rests among the elect of God. We trust in the effectual, sovereign call of Christ to His sheep, cast out among all nations. We trust the words of the Good Shepherd that His sheep know His voice, and that we come when called. We trust that God knows exactly what He is doing as the age heads towards culmination. We trust that He will continue to do all according to His own will and counsel, working all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

(for the full story of Elly Achok Olare: )

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