The Importance of Taking Heed
Deception is frequently talked about in the Bible. It begins as early as the Garden of Eden and continues all through the Old and New Testaments.
When we look at Jesus final warnings to his disciples, He emphasizes deception. Matthew 24 is often referred to as the “Olivet Discourse” and it’s here, when His disciples ask Him some pointed questions about the timing of things to come that Jesus begins His response with these words of warning, “Take heed that no one deceives you.”
This warning needs to be etched on our hearts. It needs to be burned into our memories. Why? Because the Lord Jesus Christ is emphatically pointing out that we need to be on extra alert for spiritual deception. He says, “Take heed” which in our modern English could be translated, “Watch out!!”
This warning is also recorded in the Gospel of Mark: “And Jesus, answering them, began to say: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many (Mark 13:5–6).’”
Jesus wasn’t just speaking to his disciples—He is speaking to us. We are living in a day when people are being deceived right and left. Through the media, through our culture, and, yes, even through the Church, people are being drawn into deception.
How? We can read almost every week of some kind of unbiblical, dangerous, and false teaching. We need to keep our eyes and our Bibles wide open. We need to seriously and prayerfully ask God for discernment and wisdom.
Your next question may be how can people who know God be deceived? You can find the answer in the first century church. You can read the writings of Paul, John and James and note how false teachers, who were slick and deceptive enough to begin to turn people away from the gospel into a “new” gospel, bombarded the 1st century Christians. Just read these passages—Romans 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 6:9; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; James 1:16,22; and 1 John 1:8.
Jesus, like these men, warned us to be watchful. Deception is crafty and we must be on guard so it doesn’t begin to ease us away from our faith.
Jesus not only warned us, He is our hope because He is the power over deception. He is the Truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).” When we follow Him, we walk in truth and if we resolutely stay in the Truth of Jesus Christ the deceiver, Satan himself, cannot touch us. When we daily marinate in the Word, as we actively seek God’s ways and will, deception cannot gain a foothold in us.
Here’s something to ponder: when we play with deception we open the door for Satan and his deception to bring havoc into our lives. He whispers in our ears and when we listen, the doorway cracks open. Every time God’s people suffer destruction it’s because deception took advantage of the crack in the door and gained a foothold.
Let’s follow Jesus command and “take heed.” Let’s not let deception ruin our lives or our church. Let’s covenant together to focus on His Word and His way for us. Let’s not open the door, even a crack. Let’s keep the door closed by the Word, grace and love of God.
Are you with me?