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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU

Ephesians 5:6-7 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Through his inspired writing, Paul warns us to be followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us (Eph. 5:1-2). To let love rule our lives and walk in love,we must not walk in fornication, ...uncleanness, ...covetousness, ...filthiness, ...foolish talking, ...nor jesting. In order to receive the ultimate benefit of God's love, an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, we cannot be a whoremonger, ...unclean person, ...nor covetous man, who is an idolater (Eph. 5:3-5). After enumerating many sins and vices in the previous verses, Paul now warns the Ephesians, and us today, to let no man deceive you with vain words. In other words Paul is saying that we should let no one deceive us by teaching that these worldly activities are not sinful, or that they will be overlooked by God, or that they will not prevent us from an eternal home in heaven. Such teaching is deceptive and vain.

This warning of Paul went out to the church at Colosse, who seemed to have been giving in to the philosophy of the world, which was obscuring the simplicity of the pure gospel message of Christ: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Col. 2:8). From this warning, it is easy to infer that there were deceitful teachers, probably both Jewish and Gentile teachers, that were attempting to corrupt the truths found in the gospel of Christ. In so doing, these false teachers were trying to spoil, or rob them of their promise of salvation, by compromising God's word with worldliness.

Fleshly, or worldly desires cannot be confused or intermingled with things spiritual. Those that teach otherwise were deceiving Christian audiences in the day of Paul, as well as members of Christ's church today. Again, Paul warns all Christians, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal. 6:7-8). Nature teaches us this very important lesson that is known by all gardeners. Sowing good grain seed will produce grain in kind, but sowing weed seed will produce weeds. Only by sowing the pure seed of God's word, can mankind reap life everlasting. Deceitful teachers, using vain words, plant their own worldly doctrine in the minds of God's children, appealing to their fleshly desires, which can only lead to corruption - the moral depravity that will surely result in everlasting ruin and punishment. In both Matthew 24:4, and Mark 13:5, Jesus gives this warning to all people: Take heed that no (lest any) man deceive you.

Can Christians be deceived today? Certainly! If not, why would Jesus and His disciples, including the apostle Paul, continually warn against false prophets and deceitful teachers? The writer of the Hebrew letter certainly knew the deceitful ways of false teachers and their contagious, destructive affect on the body of Christ. The admonition found here is,Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9a). Unto the children of God, the apostle John said let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, ...he that committeth sin is of the devil (1 John 3:7a&8a).

In these, as well as many other passages, the word of God warns Christians of the danger and deceitfulness of false teachers, who persuade audiences to follow their doctrine to satisfy their own covetous desire for monetary gain, worldly acclaim, and earthly fame. In order to deceive, false teachers use good words and fair speeches (Rom. 16:18). They also use trickery and "magic" referred to as signs and wonders (Matt. 24:24), and by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness (Eph. 4:14). These false prophets will even resort to teaching damnable heresies - doctrinal errors that even deny God and lead to eternal destruction (2 Pet. 2:1).

For 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 (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Christian beware; let no man deceive you!