Yan Hadley spoke this evening on the dangers of distraction, distortion and deception, using texts from Matt 24:4, 10-11, 24 TNIV and 2 Cor 11:14-15 TNIV to discuss how the enemy seeks to sidetrack us from a pure devotion to Christ. His deception is accomplished by subtly targeting and questioning God’s integrity, as in the Garden of Eden, when he distorted the truth (Gen 3:1 TNIV), contradicted what God had said (Gen 3:4 TNIV) and suggested that God was withholding good things (Gen 3:5 TNIV). Just as Eve was deceived, we can be led astray by those who look and sound plausible, being dressed in sheep’s clothing, but who are false prophets and wolves (see Matt 7:21-23 TNIV, Matt 7:15-16 TNIV).

The enemy seeks to damage us through distortion to the message, the methods and the mission of the church. Nowadays, the message of the gospel can be distorted through liberalism (rationalising the supernatural and denying the miraculous), through humanism (developing a system of thinking with mankind at the centre and no focus on God) and through secularism (where any sense of the sacred is lost). We need to be unafraid to confront any message which distorts the truth, as Jesus did when confronting the moneychangers in the temple (Luke 19:43-44 TNIV), for we must not be conformed to the world (Rom 12:2 TNIV).

The enemy seems to focus on methods which involve personality, manipulation, sensationalism and celebrity rather than allowing God to build the house (Ps 127:1 TNIV) and work through His Spirit (Zech 4:6 TNIV). All wrong methods have to be renounced (see 2 Cor 4:2 TNIV), for we must be people of integrity.

We must also never lose sight of the mission Jesus has given us to go and make disciples of all nations. We are to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8 TNIV) and must not be distracted from this primary task.

God has given us a number of safeguards against deception:
1) A commitment to the supremacy of Christ and the centrality of the cross (1 Cor 2:2 TNIV, Col 1:18 TNIV)
2) A reliance on the absolute authority of God’s Word (Matt 4:4 TNIV, Acts 17:11 TNIV)
3) A dependence on the fullness of the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth (John 16:13 TNIV)
4) The sacrifice of making time to be alone with God, allowing time to be unhurried and undistracted in His presence (Matt 6:6 TNIV, Ps 27:4 TNIV, Jer 33:3 TNIV)