HOUSMAIL HM#100 - DAZZLED BY A MIRACLE!                                                                        15 March 2003

Do I believe in "Miracles"? Yes I do!

Do I believe that God answers prayer? Yes I do! It is one of the great promises of the Gospel preached by Jesus, that His followers can expect God to do amazing things -- even naturally impossible things -- to confirm that Jesus is risen from the dead.

But ..... Do I believe that ALL Miracles come from God? Should I "believe" every spectacular attractive "testimony" I hear, or read? Now THAT is a question of a different sort! The Biblical answer has to be NO!

One of the most salutary warnings we have from Jesus, is about the danger of deception by counterfeit miracles ! He told us to be on our guard. We are to take care ! There are some miracles where their true nature and origin is so difficult to discern, that if they do not look beyond the miracle, to the content of the message itself, even the elect will find themselves on the edge of deception! "False Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect ." (Matthew 24:24)

The problem with false prophets is that they don't walk around waving flags to warn you! They ALWAYS claim to be the real thing! They disguise themselves as real apostles. (2 Cor 11:13)

"Wolves" bent on devouring the flock, dress themselves in sheep's clothing, in order to pretend to be sheep! (Matt 7:15)

Satan disguises himself as an "angel of light" in order to pretend to be a messenger from God .
(2 Cor 11:14)

No matter how spectacular the "sign", or beautiful the appearance of the "result", if it is associated with the ministry and message of a false prophet, it must not be regarded as confirming that the prophet is a messenger from God. "You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams ." (Deut 13:3)

It is important because the warning comes from Jesus Himself! It is built into HIS Gospel message! FALSE CHRISTS and FALSE PROPHETS can be expected to preach " another gospel " (Gal 1:7) about " another Jesus", (2 Cor 11:4) which will lead their followers astray. It is a question of salvation !

We are told not to assist such "prophets" in their "ministry", or even wish them a "blessing" in what they do. The responsibility is ours to be on the alert for any such deception! It is to be regarded as the work of the ANTICHRIST! We have been given what we need to detect this. If we are so careless, or apathetic, as to regard this as "unimportant", it could affect our salvation. ( 2 John 7-10)

We can expect the deception to concentrate on one or more of the following areas:

1. Does God really mean what He says. (eg. The Serpent in the Garden of Eden!)

2. Who is God? Who is Jesus? (John 17:3) Is Jesus really a man? (1 John 4:1)

Our answers to those questions will reveal whether we are truly listening to God! (Matt 16;13-17)

If we will not hear and obey what Jesus called the first and greatest of the commandments, that God is ONE ONLY, and that there is NO OTHER, (Mark 12:29-30; John 17:3) there is little prospect that we will listen with any more care or honesty to the others!

3. The nature of the «hope of the Gospel»? (eg. The Kingdom of God on earth? Inherent immortality already, or conditional at the Resurrection? The promised inheritance -- in heaven or on earth?)

4. The nature of the obedience taught by the «Jesus» represented by the «prophet». Is it what the real Jesus taught? Or is it different? (eg. Most 21st Century «Christians» have managed to reverse just about every point of the Sermon on the Mount, to say the opposite of what the real Jesus says!)

The way we view each of those four areas above, will have a subtle effect on how honest we are about searching for God with all our hearts, and whether we will truly find Him or not. (Jer 29:13)

It comes down to the very heart of the nature and quality of our love for God and His truth

1. " The LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul ." (Deut 13:3)

2. «"Because they refused to love the truth and so be saved ..... God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness ." (2 Thess 2:10-12)

Do we really love God? Or are we willing to be deceived by a "better offer"?