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What is the key of knowledge that Jesus spoke about? He made and interesting and important statement after a day of testing by some religious leaders of the day, and we would do well to pay close attention to it as well.
Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.” And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him. Luke 12:52-54
These hypocrite leaders gathered for themselves followers whom they controlled by keeping them ignorant about God’s plan for them. They withheld the key of knowledge from them, which is the truth that unlocks the prisons of ignorance that held them captive. The Pharisees were more interested in “church growth” than the freedom of their followers, and Jesus rebuked them for it:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15
While the Pharisees did not care about the spiritual well-being of their followers, Jesus did what He promised to do: set the captives free, (Luke 4:18) and He did so by teaching God’s love for them, and His will for them to be free.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:3,32
The truth shall make you free, and the key to that freedom is in the Word. And to ensure His message is understood well, the Holy Spirit was given to us to be our teacher.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. John 16:12-14
The devil found out exactly how powerful God’s Word is through a firsthand experience when he tried to deceive Jesus.
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. Matthew 4:10,11
Jesus showed us how to do it. No wonder He was found among the scribes when He was only twelve years old! (See Luke 2:41-49) He put the Word in His heart and mind from a young age, and with that truth He destroyed the works of the enemy wherever and whenever he found it.
Now, because the devil knows the power of truth, he came up with some handy tools to trick the vulnerable by stealth to fall for his schemes. His preferred — and battle tested — weapon against the Christian is deception, because it is so effective. The Biblical illiterate believer is a soft target that he deceives by taking advantage of their ignorance: Who God really is, His power, His love for humanity, His will for us all, and His unfailing promises. We have all seen how easy a prey the ignorant is, and how dangerously vulnerable they are because they walk right into his traps without thinking. Make no mistake: ignorance about the Word leaves you weak in the faith department; you cannot believe what you don’t know because faith begins where the will of God is known.
Is it any wonder, then, that Christians find it hard to read and study their Bibles? So many read only a few verses before bedtime, like a daily chore, believing they have done their religious duty. But it is not about duty at all, it is about feeding your spirit and strengthening your faith.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:3,4
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
Faith is the shield that protects you against the fiery darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16) — but only if it is anchored to God’s Word. Contrary to general belief, faith is not positive thinking, or “mind over matter,” make no mistake: God stands only behind His Word, and that is why knowledge of the truth is your protection against deception.
The apostle Paul warns us against various forms of deception in his writings to the church, and we would do well to pay attention them:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1
The apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, was not an eloquent speaker. Actually, he did not have an impressive personality at all, yet the truths that he gave us lasted for the past 2000 years.
“For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 2 Corinthians 10:10
The point here is this: it is not how something is said that matters, but what is being said. Accurate discernment strips the varnish from the sermon so that truth — or lack thereof — is revealed, and that is all that really matters. Everybody loves to listen to bold, passionate, gifted, articulate speakers, and there is nothing wrong with it, but always make sure it is not just attractive wrapping that conceals false teaching.
What is the ultimate intention of what you are listening to, watch on TV, or read in a Christian book? There are two kinds of growth that can be pursued in a church: numerical and spiritual. If numerical growth is the goal, red flags should appear all over the ministry. Notice how every aspect of ministry supports the vision of the church: the worship, the sermon, the programs — everything that happens is aimed at increasing the numbers. The same can be said where the spiritual growth of the congregation is the goal.
Always keep in mind that the Lord adds to the church — not us. Our responsibility is to preach the undiluted Word faithfully and truthfully, and when we do so, the Lord will add to the church as He did in the beginning.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added [a]to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46,47
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. Mark 16:20
This was the simple recipe of the early church, and it reached all of the known world of that time. The early Christians knew it was not their numbers, but their spiritual maturity that established the church, as Paul also teaches:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the [e]edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ… Ephesians 4:11-15
Your discerner should be triggered when the plain Word is taught with clever gymnastics, twisting the simplicity of it to give it a meaning that it clearly doesn’t say. Remember the golden rule for Bible interpretation: when the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense lest you end up with nonsense. Listen to Paul’s warning to the Corinthian church:
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! 2 Corinthians 11:3,4
Jesus thanked the Father for the simplicity of the Word that even the simplest among us can understand:
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. Luke 10:21
Deception never comes with a warning label attached, but with a smooth religious attitude and persuasive words of human wisdom, to borrow a phrase from Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:3-5. Neither does it come from the promotors of evil, but from pulpits that shy away from the full counsel of God. None of Paul’s many warnings were against unbelievers outside the church. The devil knows Christians will not receive counsel from sinners outside the church, so he stations his collaborators on the inside.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie… 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11
The sting of laziness to familiarize yourself with the Word of God is the delusion that God will send to those who do not love the truth, so that they will believe lies. Needless to say, the poison in that sting is fatal to your present wellbeing and your eternal future.
The key of knowledge of the Word is your protection against deception. Study the Word, know the Word, discern by the Word, and build your faith and strength on the Word.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
A popular trick of deceivers, and the most subtle of all, is to preach half truths. Most sects and cults have elements of truth in their doctrines, basing their beliefs on a carefully selection of Bible verses, while ignoring others. A half truth equals a complete lie that is told for no other reason than to deceive. Ignorance gives half truths their power because most ill informed believers will recognize the partial truth, without noticing it is twisted or used out of context.
Context cannot be over emphasized! Every verse in the Bible is placed within in a certain context where its true meaning can be found. That is why you read chapters, not verses. Ignorance is the Christian’s fiercest enemy, even though it can be defeated so easily.
The Holy Spirit uses the Word in your heart to discern intentions that are not of the Lord. You can never go wrong when you filter everything that you hear through the Word.
Finally, remember you cannot delegate your well-being and your relationship with God to someone else. It is far too important a matter. You are responsible for yourself. Protection against deception is readily available; it is in your Bible where God’s entire plan for your life is written in plain language.
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