Christian Cults: BEWARE!

 

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35

These words in scripture, spoken by the Lord Jesus are an unwavering comfort in the time we live in. They are his promise to us is that all the things he has said will actually come to pass. This is good news for those who trust in him! When the world all around us is changing at a rapid pace, it’s good to remember we can hold onto what Jesus said. In Matthew 24, Jesus foretold the signs of the last days and the signs of his
coming, but his first and foremost warning is to “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.“Matthew 24:4

Jesus describes a time to us in which there will be great deception among those who profess Christ. These will “come in my name” but to lead God’s people astray. Paul admonishes us also by the Holy Ghost saying “...the end shall not come, except there come a falling away first…” (II Thessalonians 2:3). This is a disturbingly far cry from today’s “last- days-revival” promises coming from today’s so-called prophets. How then will man try to deceive us?

Deception comes when there is a departure from the full counsel of the Word of God.

A Christian cult is built upon any such departure. When a person or organization takes the Word of God and neglects or twists its meaning for gain or control over people, and others choose to believe the perversion rather than the Word of God, a Christian cult is born.God told Adam: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). After this we see the first example of the Word of God being twisted to control and enslave all mankind. The serpent told Eve: “Ye shall not surely die: For
God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). His smooth words of assurance that she would not die and his promise that she would be as a god, were enough to convince her to doubt God and eat of the tree. The serpent made it seem that God was withholding a good thing from her. She gave the fruit to Adam and he ate it also. The original departure from God’s commandment brought forth the first cult: the world. They found themselves standing naked and ashamed hiding from God because of their sin. This act of disobedience got them put out of the garden of Eden and worse yet out of the presence of God. They tasted of the death God warned them about. To be out of the presence of God is to be cut off from the one who gives us life in the first place.

You may say to yourself: “That was then, how does that affect me today?”

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron…”(I Timothy 4:1-2). The Holy Ghost is speaking specifically that in these last days there would be people leaving the faith of Christ and going after demonic doctrines and the spirit that inspires them. God also says “... the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.”( II Timothy 4:3-4). Here we see that the people who are deceived are in fact willingly so. The Holy Ghost is saying that people will go after doctrines contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his cross because they don’t want to “endure” the truth but would rather be lied to. The foundation of the Christian faith is one of self- denial, but these doctrines cater to the comfort and satisfaction of the flesh. This type of person will search high and low to find a church that agrees with their beliefs and will disappear into a “Christianese obscurity”, never once considering that they may be wrong.

If there is false doctrine being preached out there, who is inspiring it? God warns us about what happens when someone turns their ears from the truth. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; “ (Romans 1:28). This happens to the person “Who changed the truth of God into a lie…” (Romans 1:25). God is giving people what they want: to believe a lie rather than to obey the truth.

In II Chronicles chapter 18 we see an example of God turning people over to their own desires. King Ahab and king Jehoshaphat were gathered together with their armies at Samaria in Israel. The wicked king Ahab of Israel convinced the righteous king Jehoshaphat of Judah to join forces with him to fight against Ramoth-
gilead. King Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire at the Word of the Lord concerning his will in the matter. King Ahab then called 400 prophets and asked them whether or not he should go up against Ramoth-gilead. They
all with one accord, told the king that he should go up against them“...for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.” (2 Chronicles 18:5).

The problem here was that these prophets were not prophets of the Lord. Ahab was a Baal-worshipping, self-serving pagan who had nothing to do with God. Jehoshaphat soon realized these prophets were false and he put forth the question: “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord that we may enquire of him?”( 2 Chronicles 18:6 ). Ahab had one more prophet to inquire of: Micaiah, but Ahab hated this prophet because he never told him what he wanted to hear, but only spoke what God said. Micaiah was asked to answer in truth what the Lord said to him.

“Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil? Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake after this manner and another after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out and do even so.”

II Chronicles 18:16

God was turning Ahab over to what he wanted. This did not happen over night, though. Ahab was warned many times before and had seen God’ s mighty hand move through the prophet Elijah. Yet he still went after his own desires. Ahab was killed in this battle with Ramoth-gilead just as the prophet of the Lord had said. All the false prophets were influenced by a lying demon to seduce Ahab into believing a lie. The truth is , Ahab was already believing and living a lie. The amazing thing is that Micaiah was one man against 400. You would think he was the “cult” or the “lunatic fringe” because of his stand for God. By definition, a cult is any person or organization that runs contrary to the established religious beliefs of the day. Ultimately, Jesus and his disciples were considered a cult in their time. They were the minority. A lighthouse for truth in the fog of compromise and error which prevailed over the people of God in their day; and let me just say that if you feel like you are all alone because of your stand for truth, rejoice, because God is on your side. No matter if the church and the world mock and ridicule you.

Jesus said: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven... Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:13- 15, 21-23

Jesus has shown us in his Word and by his life that standing for Him is not the popular path to be on. Very few will dare to walk it. The broad way is easier for the flesh. Very few discomforts and very little required of
the person walking it. There are many wonderful works and a very religious appearance that can give that person a feeling of religious contentment in place of the true satisfaction that comes from really knowing Christ.

It was the same way with Elijah on Mt. Carmel in I Kings 18. He stood alone as God’s prophet against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of the groves. One man against eight hundred and fifty. Surely, it would appear, Elijah must be the one who was in error. Most of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, were against Elijah also. That made it look pretty grim for him; but God was with Elijah and proved Himself before all the people present for the show- down that, he is the one and only true God. So convincing was the display of God’s power that the people present fell on their faces and cried,

“The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” I Kings 18:39

The false prophets in the time of Micaiah and Elijah turned the people away from the true living God to serve a pagan god. The same is going on today, big time. Men and women are prophesying contrary to the word of God and are turning the people’s hearts away from God. There are pastors who are lording over the flock of God for personal gain and control, but the problem is that people are being deceived willfully. It’s easier to follow men’s teachings, we think, than to have an ongoing relationship with God himself. It’s more convenient for us, we think, to give our money to the church building fund than to give our lives to God. It’s less burden, we think, to hire men to come tell us what we want to hear rather than to hear the loving reproof of our heavenly Father. So we have fallen prey to a wide variety of Christian cults disguising themselves most subtly as mainstream Christianity. We as Christians can know the truth from the lie by the Spirit of God who lives in us. The Holy Ghost says:

“For among my people are found wicked men: they lay in wait as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:26-31)

What many don’t realize is that they are actually in a cult. Two people may sit side by side in a Christian assembly, one has a true, ongoing relationship with the Lord and the other looks to the church or the pastor instead. The first looks to Jesus Christ for guidance and truth, the second only sees and measures his or her relationship with the church. The first is founded on the rock of God’s Word, the second is in peril of losing his or her soul for eternity. The first will fall away from God when the pastor falls, while the first will be there to strengthen the man of God. The second will fall away from God when times get hard in their lives, blaming the pastor or elders and everyone else around them instead of being honest about their own shortcomings, failures, and lack of faith; meanwhile the second will patiently endure “...looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” because they know him. The others may persecute the small minority who are standing for God as if they were the ones in error, but wont see that their own lives are full of compromise and heresy. If what you believe does not line up with scripture then you my friend are the one in a cult. Your cult may be yourself alone, it may be a mega- church you attend or your entire denomination.

The only way to tell a cult from the truth is by the Holy Ghost who will reveal the Word of God to you.