They Smile A Lot
March 18 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 Ministers of righteousness? In this passage we're called to discernment. There are ministers of Satan who LOOK LIKE ministers of righteousness, but who are actually "false." Sit back and think about it - how would you know that a minister is not walking in the Lord, but is actually a deceitful worker? A "false apostle?" Someone desiring fame, all seats in the building filled ... for your money. Would you be able to tell? Jesus told the RICH young ruler to PART with his riches and come follow him: "He said to him, 'You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.' But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich." Luke 18:22-23 Many turn away from a man who preaches about sin, repentance, hell, or judgment. They think him "judgmental," or "harsh," or just too negative. On the other hand, they love the nice guy, the loving minister who tells them happy things. Friends, this is to get it backwards. There is a literal hell. Read the words of Jesus who told us about hell: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body IN HELL." Matthew 10:28 Sin is a destroyer. Sin has consequences. Jesus Christ warns people not to sin again lest they bring "something worse" upon themselves: “See, you have been made well. SIN NO MORE LEST A WORSE THING COME UPON YOU.” John 5:14 He warned that the way is narrow, and that FEW find it. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it. Matthew 7:14 If you're going to reject a minister because he's too negative, you'd reject Jesus. The Lord's message was that in this life you will have tribulation, some will be imprisoned, some will die. He never ever once gave advice on how one can acquire a lot of money or worldly success. No, he said we must deny ourselves. Deny ourselves? Is there anyone in this modern world who could receive a word like that? Who is willing to deny himself? And take up his CROSS and follow him? “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Matthew 16:24-26 If you're being taught that you can have "your best life now," or if you're hearing the way to become rich and successful, if it's about developing "SELF esteem," you might be listening to a man who looks like a minister of righteousness (they usually smile a lot) but who is actually being led by Satan who does not want you to be willing to take up a cross and follow Jesus. You're being deceived. Take this message to the Lord in prayer and ask him to show you who the false ministers are. You might be surprised.