Counterfeit WhispersSeries: Whisper. James Dewhurst October 18, 2020
Not every whisper we hear is from the Lord! In fact, many of them are not. The enemy is the master of counterfeits. In referencing Satan’s lies, the Bible tells us in John 8:44 “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Every day, along with the voice of the Lord, there are competing and counterfeit Whispers that come to our ears in an attempt to deceive and confuse us.
2 Corinthians 11:14
14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 11:3-4
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (ESV)
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (ESV)
Paul’s repeated warning is to watch out for the Whisper of another or counterfeit gospel!
The word Counterfeit means: made in exact imitation of something valuable or important, to deceive or defraud.
It was less than 50 years since Jesus birthed the New Testament church, and Galatian Christians who had just committed their lives to follow the gospel of Christ were already falling away. Why? Because of a counterfeit! Countless Christians who had given their allegiance to the good news of salvation by grace were now embracing another gospel that was a perversion of the true gospel. False teachers, knowing they could not replace the gospel, began teaching a perverted version that was similar but different from the original. In an attempt to place Christians under bondage, these false teachers, called “Judaizers” began adding rules and requirements to their salvation.
Counterfeit Religion: “I messed up. My dad is going to kill me.”
The Original Gospel: “I messed up. I need to call my dad.”
Dale Partridge – “The popular motto ‘Be Yourself’ has become Satan’s counterfeit to God’s ‘Be Holy because I am Holy’”.
The reality is – The true Word of God will either separate you from sin, or sin will separate you from the Word of God!
One of the most consequential moments in the history of Christianity happened on October 31st, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany, on the doorstep of Castle church. Constantly afflicted by his shortcomings, in an attempt to perform all of his pious duties within the Catholic Church, Martin Luther, a committed monk, was overwhelmed by guilt that constantly drove him to confession. Luther could never find peace for his tormented soul, as he was convinced God was mean with unending demands. Luther later began teaching and studying the literal interpretation of Scripture for himself, and had a life-changing revelation. A revelation that the church had stopped teaching what was in the Bible. Luther learned he didn’t have to be perfect or follow a list of church rules to receive salvation. Luther discovered that salvation was by grace through faith alone. As Luther studied God’s life-changing Word, God began whispering truths to his heart that set him free forever. As Luther’s knowledge of the Bible grew, his disdain for the church he loved so much, became overwhelming. Luther had lived under the weight of unending guilt for years because the Catholic Church wasn’t teaching the truth, they were teaching a counterfeit gospel. One that told its adherents that they had to purchase salvation and forgiveness through Indulgences, which only served to enrich the church. Even in the face of certain ex-communication, Luther made a list of 95 unbiblical teachings in the church and nailed them to the church doors for all of the public to see. This birthed the greatest change in the N.T. church, since Acts chapter 2.
Luther started the Protestant Reformation, which returned the church to its biblical roots!
Throughout history, Satan has been sending false whispers into the church, not to replace the Bible but to twist and manipulate it, to confuse. 2020 is no different!
The only reason Martin Luther had to pound those 95 religious grievances on the church doors in Germany is because of a counterfeit whisper. Good and godly men, who started the church out of pure motives, slowly became deceived by the wrong whispers, and the church regressed into being unbiblical and worldly. Martin Luther wasn’t some grumpy church member criticizing 95 of the church’s flaws. He was addressing the fact that God’s church was no longer teaching from God’s Word!
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (ESV)
We expect this behavior in the world, but we never expected this in the church!!!
A.W Tozer – “God’s Words are not for me to edit or tinker with, but to believe and obey.”
It’s not the WILL OF GOD if it goes against the WORD OF GOD!
There is another shift happening within the church today, that is as seismic as the one that happened 500 years ago in Germany. American Christians are undergoing a “post-Christian Reformation,” says Dr. George Barna, Director of Research at the CRC. Unlike the Protestant Reformation, whose goal was to return to the foundational teachings of the Bible, this modern movement is one where Americans are redefining biblical beliefs according to secular values. George Barna, a summary of his findings stated, “It certainly seems as if the culture is influencing the Church more than the church is influencing the culture.” America is undergoing a secular reformation!
Biblical truths that have been facts in the church for centuries are now subjective:
-52% no longer believe that the Bible is infallible, inerrant, and authoritative.
-75% believe that people are good, and not naturally sinful.
-58% believe the Holy Spirit is just a symbol, and not a person.
-43% of Evangelicals believe that Jesus sinned in his lifetime.
-60% of the beliefs of Christians are in contradiction to God’s Word.
-44% believe that the Bible’s teaching on abortion is ambiguous.
-40% do not even believe that human life is sacred. (Can we park here real quick?)
The Bible is not ambiguous about the sanctity of human life, especially in the womb:
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (ESV)
When God visited Gideon under that oak tree 2,500 years ago, he was aiming him at a target called Midian. But much like you and I, he wrestled with fear, negotiated with God and second guessed the voice he was hearing.
How many of you have been there?
How do we know if we’re hearing God’s voice or just hearing ours? 3 filters I use!
> Is it something I would naturally think to do? (God often calls us to selfless things!)
> Is it something that Jesus would likely do? (If Jesus would do it it’s probably okay!)
> Is it something that would help or bless others? (If I am wrong, others will still win!)
God spoke through the prophet in:
31 Days of Fasting & Prayer!
Matthew 18:19-20“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (God shows up when Christians are praying!)
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (Prayer takes humility!)
Pray for God’s will to be done in our nation, not man’s! Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Pray against the energies agenda to bring hated and division! Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Pray for repentance and forgiveness to become the responses that heal our nation and unite us! Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Pray for our president, candidates, government leaders and local authorities! 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV) “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Pray for the health of our nation and for God to protect our families from any sickness! Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV) “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
Pray for the economy to strengthen and recover fully! Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Pray for revival to touch our land and draw people to God! Psalm 80:7 (NIV) “Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
Pray for the health of our faith leaders all over America, who are attempting to navigate these delicate times! “Lord, please cause [Our faith leaders] to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in Your work. Help them to know that their toil is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. (ESV)
It’s the providence of God that is the giver and taker of life, not the preference of man!
MLK Jr – “How can the dream survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is a slave in the womb of his or her mother.”
A former president stated – “I’ve noticed that everyone who supported slavery was free, and everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
Mother Theresa – “If abortion isn’t wrong, then nothing is wrong.” (Help us, God!)
Special Note: I know ladies that have had abortions B.C., God redeems and restores!
It’s one thing for Americans to be confused on the finer points or the hotly debated elements of theology, but for Americans to misunderstand, or to flat out reject the Bible as a foundational source of truth and moral guidance, to reject salvation by grace alone, and to reject core doctrines of the Christian faith points to a major crisis in our society.
How did we get here? Counterfeit Whispers!
3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. (ESV)
The people Satan possesses the greatest power over, are biblically illiterate!
The greatest protection against any counterfeit, is a mastery of the original!
The written Word of God is the most powerful “Whisper” our ears will ever hear!
The moral decline in the church today is directly related to a dismissal of God’s Word!
Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV) “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
1. We Must Repent!
2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
The world is never going to turn to God until the church turns back to God!
2. We must Return!
Revelation 2:4-5 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
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