Don’t Be Deceived

Ephesians 5:1-20

Study #8

By Sandy Simpson



A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. "That's for me, as I am a Fox," said Master Reynard the fox, and he walked up to the foot of the tree. "Good-day, Mistress Crow," he cried. "How well you are looking to-day: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds." The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox. "That will do," said he. "That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future.”Do not trust flatterers." (Source: Aesops Fables)

The purpose of becoming mature in Christ is so that we will gain discernment with regards to truth and error.  Jesus Himself warned us not to be deceived.  He foretold of deception coming on the world that was so tricky to discern that even the elect may be deceived.

Matthew 24:4-5 & 24 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. "For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many."For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (NKJV)

I used this verse from the NKJV because I think the NIV is quite far away from a true translation of the verse.  In fact every English translation of this verse is not accurate.  The only words used at the end of this verse are “dunatos” possiblekai” and “ho” the “eklektos”elect or “possible and the elect”.  “If possible even” is a stretch in the NKJV. “If that were possible” in the KVJ and the NIV is not even in the original at all.  The stress is not on whether or not the actual elect can be deceived.  Only God knows who the elect are.  For the time being we have to make a commitment to follow and obey the Lord.  So the Lord’s emphasis is not on the argument on whether the elect can be deceived, but on the fact that the coming deception is so severe that even the elect could be fooled.


If we put on the new self, then we will not be deceived if we remain in tune with the Holy Spirit and in His Word.


Eph. 5:1 ¶ Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

Eph. 5:2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Love is a central theme of Christianity.  God loved us enough to send His Son to die.  He sent His Holy Spirit to be our helper.  God dearly loves us as His children.  He takes care of us more than earthly parents take care of their children.  In turn, our lives need to be lives that show the love of Christ.  We need to give ourselves to the Lord and to others as an offering and sacrifice to God just as Jesus Christ did.  He is our example.  The Apostles are our examples.  At this point I think it might be beneficial to read the “love chapter” which is 1 Cor. 13.


1 Cor. 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Eph. 5:3  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.


Unfortunately the Ephesians were involved in a number of things they should not have been.  So Paul addresses some of these.  These are still our problems today.  Christians are to be salt and light to the world.

Matt. 5:13-16  "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Because of our witness in the world, the lives we live must be consistent with what we say we believe.  Therefore we need to keep away from any hint of sexual immorality.  Of course this covers blatant sexual sin, but it also covers the appearance of sexual sin. 


1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (KJV)


This is why, for instance, I don’t believe that male pastors should counsel females alone in their office behind closed doors.  The only time when it whould be permissible is if their husband is present, or the pastor’s wife is present.  This avoids the “hint” of immorality even if no sin is ever committed.  I have seen more ministries destroyed by male pastors counseling married or unmarried women alone.


In the same way we are to avoid impurity and greed.  Impurity can mean lustful ideas, wrong motives, impure thoughts, and rebelliousness of many kinds.  Greed covers the areas of covetousness (lusting after other people’s things) and the love of money.  Why don’t we engage in such things?  Because God says they are improper for God’s holy people, and because our God-given conscience tells us it they are wrong.  Remember that we already studied that the Holy Spirit abides in us.  We must keep in step with the Spirit and reject the old man.


Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.


Obscenity is course talk, vulgar speech.  It can be talk about sex, or it can just be dirty language.  Along with obscenity, foolish talk and course joking are mentioned.  What comes out of your mouth betrays who you are.  I can tell if a person is a believer or not almost immediately by how they talk.  Believers, on the other hand, are careful about what they say.  They would rather use their mouths to praise God and thank Him than to use it to try to fit in with the world. Worldly people talk dirty and they expect their friends to do the same.  It is the same everywhere in the world.  The islands are no exception.  I have often heard people who claim to be Christians talking dirty when they get away from the church.  This is not how true believers should act.  The Bible tells us that the tongue is like the small rudder of a ship or a small spark that can start a destructive fire.


James 3:4-8 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.


Only God can change a man’s tongue.  Those who are true followers of Christ are those who are allowing Jesus Christ to keep their tongues in check.


Eph. 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Eph. 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.


How serious is it for a Christian to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit to holiness, and instead engage in immorality, greed and filthy language?  Anyone, believer or not, who consistently sins in these ways, without repentance, is in danger of hell.  Don’t deceive yourself and don’t let others deceive you into thinking that you will escape God’s wrath by engaging in these things.  Often repeated is the phrase “let no one deceive you”.  People who claim that God will accept wickedness and allow people entrance to heaven can deceive us.  There are many false teachers in the churches today who claim this very thing.  God loves the wicked.  God loves and accepts you as you are.  If God accepts you as you are, why did He have to send His Son to die in your place?  Why do you have to recognize you are a sinner, repent, and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved?  Don’t be deceived by those who say immorality (like homosexuality), greed (like building huge churches so you can make and spend lots of money) and filthy language (mocking, course talk) are just fine with God.  Here are some things God does not want Christians to be deceived about.  The reason I say Christians is because worldly people are already deceived about reality and have no hope of understanding without Christ.  But Christians can be deceived.  The following passages were written to Christians.


James 1:13-16 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.


A false teaching today in the churches is what is called “the devil made me do it”.  Or Christians lay the blame for what has happened to them on God.  The fact is that our sin nature and our giving in to it is to blame completely.  We are tempted, not by God, but by the devil and our own evil desires, but in the end we have the choice to make.  We choose to either sin or not sin.  We can deceive ourselves by believing those who blame God or the devil for our own sinful choices.


Gal. 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.


Another false teaching in churches is called “Universalism”.  It teaches that everyone will be saved in the end, no matter if they believed in Jesus or not because “God is a loving God” and will not send anyone to hell.  This idea is becoming very popular.  But the biblical facts are that a man reaps what he sows.  If he sows to his fallen nature he will reap destruction.  If he sows to the Spirit, he will reap eternal life.  Don’t deceive yourself by thinking you can do whatever you please now and be granted eternal life. 


1 Cor. 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.


Many churches have ignored what the Bible clearly states about the sin of homosexuality and sexual immoralities of all kinds.  A number of “Christian” denominations are even ordaining homosexual and lesbian pastors.  This is an abomination.  None of those who practice the lifestyles mentioned above without repenting and turning to Christ will be saved.


Luke 21:8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.

Matt. 24:4-5 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ‘and will deceive many.

Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect— if that were possible.


There have been many false teachers who have gone out claiming they have seen Christ in visions or in their homes.  They claim he is going to show up in public in meetings.  They even claim that they themselves are little Christs.  They claim they are the anointed ones, meaning little Messiahs.  Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Kenneth Hagin, and many others have claimed this.  There will be so many false Christs and false prophets in the end times that they will even deceive the elect if possible.


2 Tim. 3:12-15 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.


We have to understand that there are evil men posing as true believers who are going from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  That is how it works.  If you hang out with deceivers you have a very good chance of being deceived.  When deception has taken hold, you then pass on your deception to others.  Then you go find other deceivers and get more deceived. It is a downward spiraling process that can only be halted by complete renunciation of any ties to deceivers and their deceiving doctrines and practices.  This is why it is almost impossible for a person to repent once they have started down the road to deception.  They only way is if they listen to the convicting of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God and Christians who are trying to bring them back to the truth, repent of their sins, and walk away from deception.


1 Cor. 3:18-20 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

Colossians 2:4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.


There are many today who claim special revelation from God, or that they have special insight into the things of God.  They may even seem wise by the standards of this age.  Rick Warren recently published an article in the Ladies Home Journal, the title of which was “Learn How To Love Yourself!”.  This sounds wise by the standards of this age, but the Bible tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ.  We need to realize that the wisdom of this age is foolishness and allow God to change our thinking, our belief system, our worldview through His Word.  To get out of deception you have to ask God to change your worldview.


2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.


Another deception that is being taught in the churches is that Jesus Christ is not coming back till after the Church takes control of the world.  These people often mock the Rapture.  They say Christ is not coming back soon.  We have lots of time.  They teach that there is a great revival taking place where the whole world will be saved.  Even here in HI some churches have been passing around a prophecy for years that every person in HI will be saved.  But they foolishly forget that the rebellion, the falling away, and the antichrist come first.  We are in the middle of a falling away, an apostasy in the churches, yet many have deluded themselves that we are in revival.  This is a great deception.  There can be no revival without the clear preaching of the Gospel and sound doctrine, which is, by in large, not happening.  They are simply setting the stage for a world church under a world government led by the antichrist.


1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.


Many Churches teach that when you become a Christian you actually become perfect and holy.   This comes from a movement called the “holiness” movement that is one of the catalysts behind the modern day Third Wave.  But a believer is only holy because they are in Christ.  Christ has substituted His holiness for their sin in the eyes of the Father.  We still live here and struggle against our sin nature.  This is why we need to take up our cross daily and die to sin.  This is why we must put on the armor of God and stand against Satanic attacks. The Holy Spirit is in the process of changing obedient believers to be more like Christ in holiness, but we will not attain holiness on this earth.  If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves.


James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.


One of the biggest deceptions in the churches is that people can go to church and listen to preaching and sing and fellowship, and yet not put into practice what they have learned.  This is deception, and one of the biggest modern deceptions in the churches.  The idea of “worship” has been redefined to mean the time where churches sing songs, clap, jump up and down, raise their hands, and act like they are truly worshipping God.  Then they go out during the week and live just as they want to live without regard to Christian witness and obeying His word.


Eph. 5:7 Therefore do not be partners with them.


So don’t associate with people who are teaching and doing what I have mentioned above in the Church.  Don’t associate with those in the world who are sinning, and don’t be deceived by so-called Christians who are teaching false teachings.  Don’t partner with people who are not obeying the Lord, inside or outside the churches.  You should witness to unbelievers, but don’t join in their sinful activities.  You can rebuke those who are deceiving people in the churches, but don’t join in with them just because they say you have to be in unity.  Remind them that Christians are brothers because of unity of the Spirit AND unity of the Faith.  Without unity of the Faith you cannot be a brother to those who are deceiving and being deceived.


Eph. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Eph. 5:9  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)


As I stated before, we are salt and light.  We were once in the darkness.  Don’t go back to the darkness by following the world or deceivers in the churches.  Live in the light.  Be honest and truthful.  If you live in the light you will exhibit the fruit of goodness, righteousness and truth.  Be good to others, be righteous in your actions and motives, stand up for the truth and speak it boldly.


Eph. 5:10 and find out what pleases the Lord.


Instead of finding out what pleases you, like our modern culture tells us to do and people like Rick Warren write articles about, find out what pleases God.  A old evangelist was once asked the question: “What is the meaning of life?”.  He answered, “To please God.”  Such a simple answer and yet so profound.  When you think about it you find it is true.  The meaning of life is ultimately to please the One who made us, sustains all life, redeemed those who believe in Him, and will take those who please Him to be with Him.  How do you please God?  By being found by the Father in Jesus Christ.  God has done it all.


Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.


Our response to His grace is to bow down our mind, body, and spirit in obedience to Him.


Eph. 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.


We are to expose those who are deceiving people.  We are to bring to light the lies and deception they are fooling others with.  We are to bring their sinful deeds to light.  This is so that we can help others to not be deceived.  But we must first expose these things in ourselves.  We must expose them to the light of the Word of God and to the Holy Spirit.  We do that by recognizing them, confessing them, repenting or turning from them, and obeying what the Lord wants us to do.  How do we know what?  By constant use of the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to expose the darkness within us.  Only when we do that can we expose the darkness in others and perhaps help them to the light.


Eph. 5:12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

Eph. 5:13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,

Eph. 5:14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."


You need to be careful about exposing private sins in public.  We need to follow the instructions of the Bible in exposing shameful private sins.


Matt. 18:15  "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


The idea is that private sin needs to be exposed in such a way that gives the sinner a chance to repent.  If they are immediately exposed in public they will be alienated from the church and the chances of them being redeemed are small.  As to public false teaching and false prophecy, that can be dealt with in public.  It is a good idea to try to reason with a false teacher, but if they refuse then there is a mandate to bring those things to the attention of the churches as the Apostles did.  Sin, when it is exposed to the light, either takes root and grows or it dies.  If it remains in the dark it can grow to the point where it can affect many people.  Only the light of Christ will expose sin and deception.


Eph. 5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise,

Eph. 5:16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.


We need to take the opportunity to expose sins in ourselves to the Word of God, and expose sin in the world and in the churches.  A wise Christian is one who does this.  A foolish Christian allows sin to continue and thus becomes deceived himself.  We need to make the most of every opportunity to expose evil because we live in evil times.


Eph. 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.


Many Christian do not understand that it is the will of God to expose evil.  They have been deceived by our age into thinking that it is God’s will to be tolerant and understanding of sin.  That is not how we are to be.  We are foolish if we do not understand God’s will in this. 


Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.


The Bible states that a little wine is good for your health. 


1 Timothy 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.


But a lot of alcohol causes people to get drunk, and the more they drink the more they want to get drunk. 


Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.


We are not to get drunk on wine, but desire to be filled with the Spirit.  Now this passage is not comparing the work of the Spirit to alcohol.  This idea is a contrasting idea.  Alcohol and the Spirit are opposite ideas. 


Drunk                                                 Filled With The Spirit_______________________

Out of control                                       In control

Lose ability to reason properly  Clean and clear mind, discernment

Careless, who you are with                   Careful, who you are with

Easily angered/violent                            Peace loving, can be angry without sinning

Worried about your own feelings           Focused on Christ and others

Escape from problems                          Deal with problems


This is why the teaching in Third Wave churches that we need to be drunk in the Spirit is so foreign to what the Scriptures teach us to be as Spirit-filled believers.  Let’s look at some of the observed effects of being slain in the spirit, also called “drunk in the spirit”:


Laughing, crying, shaking, running around the building, fast dancing, running followed by collapse; barking-howling, trances, drunkenness, falling out, oinking, being "hot", fanning self or blowing, walking like chickens, high pitched whine reminiscent of a lively horse, mooing and crowing, swimming in the spirit-on the back and also breast stroke style, women going through imaginary birth pangs, loss of consciousness, trying to soar like eagles, hissing and moving like a snake, inability to speak and involuntary body spasms, kung fu-like stances, vomiting in the spirit and holy head-banging, and stripping.


These are actions observed in these churches as a result of being slain or drunk in the spirit and these churches claim it is the Holy Spirit and it is a blessing from God.  But when you look at the Bible you find that these things have more to do with being drunk on alcohol or being possessed of a demon than the Holy Spirit. 


1 Peter 4:3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do— living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry


Matthew 8:28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.

Matt. 17: 15  "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.

Luke 4: 33-35 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, "Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are— the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

Luke 8: 27-29 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!" For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Luke 9:42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.


The Holy Spirit causes people to be just the opposite of drunk.


Gal. 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.


Eph. 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Eph. 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Instead, what do we find in the gatherings of the saints?  Encouraging one another with psalms.  The Psalms of David and others have always been a great encouragement to Christians, especially during hard times.  Christians are to sing spiritual songs, not worldly songs.  Christians are always singing in their hearts to the Lord and that comes out in the way they treat others.  The reason we give thanks to the Lord for the food at our meals is that we should always be giving thanks.  I love to do this.  I love to spend much of my time thanking the Lord, not just for what He has done for me, but what He has done and is doing for others.  I trust Him that He is taking care of those who love Him, so I thank Him for that often.  We thank the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ because it is only because of Him that we came to know how thankful we are to God.  This is likely why many end their prayers with “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”.  It is not mandatory that we do that, but we just naturally thank the Father in the name of the Son for all He has done for us.