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Watch out that no one deceives you

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | August 18, 2023 | Matthew 24:4-8


Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. or many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5(NIV).


This passage marks the beginning of Jesus' formal Olivet Discourse, a teaching which is also found in Mark 13 and Luke 21. The Discourse is the longest in Matthew (Matt. 24:1-25:46). Jesus starts this section out with the very interesting statement, “Don’t let anyone mislead you...” Other versions use the word “deceive” instead of mislead; the point is the same. One scholar has said that "Matthew bracketed the Lord's public ministry between two sermons: The Sermon on the Mount, in which the emphasis was practical; and The Olivet Discourse, in which the emphasis was prophetical. In one sermon we read of the rules of the kingdom; in the other, we read of the return of the King. The Olivet Discourse can be divided into two parts: the Lord's end-time prophecy in Matthew 24 and the Lord's end-time parables in Matthew 25. The prophecy deals with the course of this age and is concerned with God's judicial dealings with mankind. Both prophecy and parables are concerned with the last days as they affect the Jews, the Gentile nations, and the church. The prophecy begins with a warning about deception.

Deception is very deceptive otherwise it wouldn’t deceive you it would just irritate you and insult your intelligence. Deception takes many forms and can become so deeply rooted in our lives that even when the truth is revealed we resist it. Resistance often entrenches deception because, as our treasured belief is challenged, we build up walls around it to protect it from the attack of truth. Jesus' words in Matthew 24:4-8 serve as a timeless reminder to remain vigilant and discerning in our faith. Just as a shepherd guards his flock from predators, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, warns us to stay alert and rooted in the truth of His identity and teachings. Jesus' first instruction is to "watch out that no one deceives you." This underscores the need for believers to exercise spiritual discernment and remain rooted in the Word of God. Deception often starts with subtle distortions of truth, appealing to our desires and fears. Developing a deep and personal relationship with Christ through prayer and studying the Scriptures equips us to recognize and resist falsehood. History is full of individuals who have made this claim, and there is one basic reason why people have been deceived and will be deceived by false Messiahs: biblical ignorance - that has caused many Jewish people to follow false Messiahs and reject Jesus, their true Messiah. Sadly, many who profess the name of Jesus are also deluded by false and heretical teachings.


This warning calls believers to cultivate spiritual vigilance, unwavering discernment, and an unshakable foundation in Christ. As we navigate a world filled with uncertainties and potential deceptions, our focus must remain on the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, who offers hope, salvation, and the promise of His eventual return. Through steadfast faith and reliance on His Word, we can navigate these times with confidence, knowing that God's ultimate plan is unfolding, despite the challenges that may arise.


Heavenly Father, grant me the gift of spiritual discernment, that I may see clearly and understand the truth within your Word. In a world filled with falsehood and deceptions, protect me from the deceit of false teachers and their cunning ways. May I continue to seek Your face, meditate on Your Word, and walk in the path of righteousness all the days of my life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen!


SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! ___________________________ DAILY word study: DECEIVE The English word "deceive" in this verse is translated from the Greek word "πλανάω" (planao). Let's delve into the deeper meaning of this word:

"πλανάω" (planao): This Greek verb conveys the idea of leading astray, causing to wander, or misleading. It implies a sense of delusion or trickery, often involving the distortion of truth or the misdirection of someone's understanding.

The word "deceive" holds a vital lesson for us in the context of our faith journey. As indicated, today's devotional underscores the importance of discernment and the need to test the authenticity of spiritual claims. False teachings and deceptive leaders can captivate and mislead even well-intentioned individuals. The deceit described here is not always overt; it can be subtle and insidious, appealing to our desires for quick fixes or easy solutions. Jesus' warning serves as a reminder that spiritual discernment is crucial. It encourages us to cultivate a deep and authentic relationship with Him, grounded in a firm understanding of His Word. When we intimately know the truth, we become less susceptible to deception.


How can you actively cultivate spiritual discernment and guard against deception in your own life? What practices or habits can help you remain rooted in the truth of God's Word and recognize genuine teachings from counterfeit ones?

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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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