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Four things are little on the earth,
but they are exceedingly important

Agur wrote:

There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise (Prov 30:24).

Then he went on to extract moral lessons from the behaviour of four creatures God has made.

In like manner I would like to point out that:

There are four things which seem insignificant, but they are exceedingly important.

1) The transition from true to false can be ever so slight.

Some time ago, as I was writing I made a slip. (I do all my own typing onto the PC. I learned to touch type when 22, and itís efficient to do most things one- self if you can. So I do. This is a do-it-yourself ministry! We donít have other people do things for us. We do most everything ourselves.)

I noticed as I typed in the word immortality that I left one letter out. It was the letter ĎTí. So, instead of immortality, I had inadvertently written immorality!

It totally changed the meaning and tone of what I had written. Itís just as well I noticed it, because a computer spell-check would have not picked up the mistake. It was so slight as to be almost unnoticeable. Yet the consequences of leaving it uncorrected would have been hugely significant and highly damaging. Everyone would have read a wrong meaning out of what I had meant to write!

Think of it. If it had gone to press and several thousand copies had been printed, how devastating the results could have been!

Deception is like that. The devil just slightly twists the truth. He changes something Ė almost imperceptibly Ė so that what is wrong still looks right. That way, most people donít see that they have accepted a lie. He can hook the majority like that. And he does.

A) Look at the Sabbath. God ordained it to be the 7th day of the week, Saturday, but the devil has got most fooled to think that itís either Sunday (for most Christians), or Friday (for Moslems). He didnít try and fool them that it was Wednesday. Heís not stupid. He knows that he has to keep the error as close to the real thing to deceive the majority.

Further Reading: Our Sabbath Rest (£3.00). The Controversy Concerning Law and Grace (£2.00).

B) Then there are festivals. God ordained seven (Lev 23) and gave them to Israel to preserve. But the devil got in there, too. By misleading the minds of Jewish Ďscholarsí, he convinced them that Passover is not to be observed on the 14th of the first month (even though it is categorically stated that it is, in Lev 23:5, Num 9:3,5, etc.), and misled them to think that it is to be kept at the beginning of the 15th.

Itís just a slight movement one way Ė enough to ensure that the devil has got them enacting an error.

And, of course, itís not just Jews who are hood- winked. Look at the majority of Christians. They keep festival days that are nowhere found in the Bible Ė Christmas, Easter, and some others. They were borrowed from pagan antiquity. Instead of using them to worship the sun god, they use them to worship the Son of God. Just a slight twist, so many say, ďWho cares? What does it matter?Ē

It matters a lot. Error is error, no matter how close you think it might be to the truth.

Further Reading: The Festivals of God (£1.00). The Truth About Easter (£1.00). Why Keep Christmas? (£1.00)

C) Then thereís the matter of the Holy Spirit. Most Christians would stake their lives on it being the Third Person of a Trinity. Itís what they have been told authoritatively by countless churchmen for as long as we can all remember. Itís so accepted, that such a concept doesnít warrant questioning.

But how you squeeze three Gods into one, and call Ďthemí (sorry, ĎHimí) One God, defies rational explanation! Itís just a slight twist from the truth that the Bible reveals (or actually conceals from most). God reveals He is one (Deut 6:4), but churchmen and theologians donít believe that. They believe the tradition passed on down by their church that He is Three.

I have a can of Three In One oil in our shed. Itís lubricating oil for many mechanical uses. But itís not composed of three different things. Itís one substance able to serve three functions. It lubricates, cleans, and preserves from rust. So it is with God. He is not Three distinct Spirit Beings. He is One, but serving three functions Ė as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Further Reading: Wielding The Divine Axe (50p). What The Bible Says About The Holy Spirit (£1.00).

D) Take the issue of church government. It is commonly taught that you are to:

Obey those who rule over you and be submissive... (Heb 13:17).

However, the word translated Ďruleí is from the Greek hegeomai which means to lead or guide, not rule. It is not in the same league as exousiaso, found in Matt 20:25, where it means to wield full power over. There is a slight but very profound difference between a minister who acts as an overseer and one who acts as an overlord! The difference is one of exercising Godís love, or not.

Further Reading: Godís Church Ė Whose Authority? (£3.00)

E) Deception goes far deeper than intellectual appraisals, of course. The devil wants to deceive you about the nature of Godís love Ė which occurs by slightly twisting the true teaching on law and grace.

Godís love or forgiveness is NOT unconditional, as most preachers claim. There is a condition for receiving forgiveness, as with any spiritual promise. Itís called repentance. You must want to obey Him.

Then thereís the small twist put on Romans 13 by Kenneth Hagin and others of the same ilk, who say that if we Ďloveí we fulfil the law (Rom 13:8-10). They mean that if you show kindness and other traits that people consider as showing love, such behaviour is a replacement for keeping the Commandments. This is subtle antinomianism, Ďsupportedí by Scripture! Many fall for the lie, because itís such a slight twist.

There are numerous similar heresies that seem trivial, yet are not. They undermine the heart and core of what being a disciple of Jesus is all about. Itís to obey God in every respect; to shun sin and overcome all the works of the devil.

They Ďforgetí why Jesus died! They Ďforgetí the price of sin. They Ďforgetí that obedience is the bottom line of righteousness. All this is fundamental to why Jesus died Ė in order to pay the awful price of sins that we incurred. How did He pay that price? He was nailed to a cross. It was terrible!

What is the shape of a cross? A ĎTí. And what was the letter that I nearly left out of Ďimmortalityí? There is a moral lesson to be learned from this. One little omission can change the course of your destiny.

Never forget the cross!

2) Why God allows deception

Itís simple, but profound Ė to humble people. When you are proud, He lets you be deceived. In the process of time you learn what a Wally you have been and repent of your folly.

We are all like foolish sheep, going astray. All are deceived, and God is able to deliver us from the misconceptions we have accepted, according to our willingness to humble ourselves or to be humbled by Him. Often He has to initiate the humbling process, because no one voluntarily humbles himself 100%.

For many people, the process cannot be fully achieved in this life. It is hugely humbling meeting God after death! Then a person sees all! (1 Cor 13:12.)

Further Reading: Why Church Divisions? (75p). The Missing Dimension In Christian Living (£2.00).

3) Going it alone

To the natural human mind, there seems nothing wrong with relying upon yourself in every way. What could be wrong with that?

But Paul wrote about what very few consider: walking in the Spirit (Gal 5).

I remember a lecturer at College years ago. (I attended Bible College for four years.) He was a capable man; a macho type; very self-reliant. He said something I have never forgotten, because it struck me as so wrong at the time. He declared, ďYou can do it all on your own, but donít!Ē He may have meant well, but his statement belied his own weakness.

The truth is, you canít go it alone. You need God to go with you. Doing the work of God is impossible by yourself. Jesus stated:

I can of Myself do nothing (Jn 5:30).

How much less can we!?

The problem with the college lecturer was that he had a human approach. He relied on his intellect. He thought he was relying on God, but actually he was relying upon himself. He was deceived because he had a substantial load of pride on board.

The one led by the Spirit is the one who knows his need for God because he has been humbled. He knows he desperately needs Godís help, otherwise heís finished! He is deeply aware of his inadequacies.

If you feel adequate and very confident, cocky, or self-reliant, youíre walking on very thin ice. Sure, you may be able to do a lot, humanly speaking. But you wonít know the closeness of God, which is only available to one category of person (Is 57:15; 66:2).

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? In two words: Pray continually (1 Thes 5:17, NIV).

Further Reading: The Answer To All Your Problems (£1.00)

4) Listening to God

Some years ago God told us to get into the car and travel 200 miles to see a minister we knew in Cheshire. We did as we were told without delay. It took us about 5 minutes to depart.

When we arrived, Jonathan had just returned from a 3-day ministerial conference of the church which employed him. He was amazed at our timing! He had only been home a few minutes. How could we know when he would be home?! He didnít believe in God speaking to people today, least of all, to prophets!

We challenged him on some other aspects of his lack of spirituality before going back home. Itís a pity people donít listen to prophets, and donít listen enough to God. Heís still stuck in that church, drifting downstream, not knowing the wonder of Godís voice.

A year or so later, we were helping a woman who was once in his congregation. She had serious demonic problems. Jonathan didnít believe we could help her, but we could and we did, because God had spoken to us about her.

I often wonder how many Ďministersí there are like him, who donít listen to the Spirit because they are too self-reliant, too capable, too lifted up by their Ďpositioní, and too dependent upon their church!

Further Reading: Listening To God (£2.00). Miraculous Manifestations (£1.00).

Malcolm B Heap

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK