Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Rather than giving warning after warning about the great deceptions which have been among us, are among us and are coming, I am going to help you focus on how to defeat any and all deception. It is simple to understand, but takes diligence to fully accomplish.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matt. 11:15; Matt. 13:9 and 43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8; Luke 14:35)

What on earth was Jesus talking about? We were created with ears and they work well for hearing all sorts of things. Why would we not be able to hear what is there for us to hear?

I often return to this sentence when discussing discernment and understanding. In context, Jesus was referring to the spiritual ability to understand the parables He was telling. This is not difficult to interpret, because it is very literally spelled out. Let’s gather in the context from Matthew 13:3-17.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

This is more than a statement of understanding and discernment.

Being able to come to an understanding of God’s word is something that is granted to us by the Holy Spirit. We do not gain it from our own knowledge and wisdom. Growing in faith or sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit, which prepares our spiritual bodies that were born when we were regenerated by Jesus. This is not a difficult connection to make, but there is another side to this coin which I have bumped into several times this past week during my prayer and study time. I think it is important that I share it with you, because it brings fuller meaning to what Jesus meant when He cried out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

To unravel and reveal this further, let’s take a look at the 6th chapter of Isaiah from which Jesus quotes. This quotation comes from the scene of Isaiah’s commissioning. Immediately after Isaiah responded, “Here I am. Send me,” God responds with the words Jesus quoted. There is a train of thought that I don’t want you to miss, so keep this scene in your mind as we visit a passage in Romans 1:22-27:

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

God’s commission to Isaiah and this passage from Romans are very much the same. God is delivering a stubborn and stiff-necked people over to their sins.

“You wanna chaw? Then let’s chaw!”

On more than one occasion, I have heard stories of how different individuals were broken of their bad habits through a method that is pretty aggressive, but has been pretty successfully applied in the stories I’ve heard. The story usually goes something like this:

I’ll never forget the day Pa caught me chewing tobacco. He took me out behind the barn, sat me down on a stump, cut off a wad of tobacco and stuffed it in my mouth.

“You wanna chaw?”

I shook my head, knowing the state he was in and that responding with a yes was not my best option. After a few minutes with the chaw in my mouth, I leaned forward to spit.

“Boy! If you spit, I’m going to knock you into next week! You wanted to chaw, so let’s chaw!” Pa commanded.

Since I couldn’t spit, there was nowhere else for the black juice built up in my mouth to go, so I swallowed it. The minute I did, I felt things go off inside of me that I knew weren’t supposed to be happening. My stomach was in rebellion, my head started spinning and I could feel my body tingle all over. I looked into Pa’s eyes, which were cold as steel as he watched me.

I’m not sure what it looks like on the outside when somebody turns green, but I knew what it felt like on the inside. I could tell that it wouldn’t be long before my insides would be trying to put themselves on the outside.

“You like to chaw, huh?” Pa asked.

My response was to lean forward and explode into dumping the contents of my mouth and my stomach out on the ground.

“Pretty pleasurable to chaw isn’t it, boy!” Pa mocked.

When I was finished spilling all that I had inside me on the ground in front of that stump, Pa cut off another chunk of tobacco and put it into my mouth. The scene repeated itself several times. I wasn’t sure if the tobacco or my life would give out first. I finished the supply of tobacco I had so proudly purchased some hours before, spilling that last chunk and the black poison it had formed inside me onto the ground alongside all of the rest of it.

Without a word, Pa got up and left. I was sick for three days after that, but I ain’t never wanted a chaw since.

God gives those who rebel over to their sins

In the same manner as the story above, God gives those who rebel against Him over to their sins. Besides our rebellion, what sin is He giving us over to? The clues are found in the passage in Isaiah as well as Jesus’ words when He quoted from it and are alluded to in two passages from Psalms:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them. - Psalm 115:4-8 and Psalm 135:15-18

Those who rebel against God are made to be just like their idols

They become foolish, blind, deaf, mute and dead, just like the images which they form for themselves. Jesus’ call goes beyond discernment, but is a call to those who are not given over to idols. It is a call to those who do not lust after the will of the flesh. In terms that ought to penetrate to your core:

Jesus calls to those who do not put their trust in silver and gold.

Jesus calls to those who do not put their trust in the work of their hands.

Those who put their trust in those things are guilty of worshiping idols and guilty of falling under what Paul wrote in Romans 1:28-32:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 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.

How do we respond?

We respond by turning away from idols and exalting Jesus. This was the cure for Israel and it is the cure for all of the generations down through history. Jesus has rightful dominion over all the earth. Jesus is to be exalted above all idols, teachings, works of our hands, all silver and gold, all nations and kingdoms; ALL THINGS!

Both Psalm 115 and 135 end with the commands to:

Bless the Lord and Praise the Lord!

Those are not just commands for singing and worship, but attitudes of humble submission and exaltation of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Do not be led astray or deceived by idols, false teachings and trusting in the works of your hands. Exalt Jesus and overcome the greatest deception of mankind.

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