Confessing Christ, But Deceiving Many
By David J. Stewart | July 2017 | Updated February 2018
Matthew 24:5, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
I was listening to a wonderful sermon today by Pastor Hank Lindstrom (1940-2008) on YouTube, titled, “Is Lordship Salvation a Counterfeit Form of the Gospel Message?” That is a good title, albeit, Dr. Lindstrom calls the title of his sermon, “Deception,” so that is what I named it. Dr. Lindstrom taught something that I'd never heard before, but I believe it is very interesting.
Please look at our text passage of Scripture again from Matthew 24:5, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Like Dr. Lindstrom, I had always thought Jesus was saying that false prophets would arise, claiming to be the Messiah. But perhaps that is not what Jesus is saying. Could is be that the Lord is saying many false prophets would indeed testify that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, while at the same time teaching a counterfeit Gospel message? That is a brilliant observation by Pastor Lindstrom and something that I had never seen before. I think Dr. Lindstrom makes a good observation. Many people will come along, claiming to be a Christian, but they are not. Instead, they offer a counterfeit message of Jesus plus works, and this message cannot save. If the message of the Gospel is not correct, then no one can be saved.
To be honest, I cannot say for sure what the Lord meant here in Matthew 24:5. But I can tell you this in full knowledge—BOTH interpretations are completely true, although it is clear that the Bible cannot be referring to both. Was Jesus saying that many false Messiahs (Christs) would come? Or was He saying that many false Christians would come in Christ's name, deceiving many? Well my friend, both interpretations are very true, although I personally lean toward the former. We have already seen many nutcases, like David Koresh and Jim Jones, who claimed to be the Messiah. The Antichrist himself will falsely claim to be the Messiah (2nd Thessalonians 2:4). I think this is what the Bible is teaching, although it is also very true biblically that many false prophets nowadays are claiming to be Christians (such as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Roman Catholics), who are not truly born-again, and are deceiving multitudes with their false gospel (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15; 1st John 4:1).
Although I think Matthew 24:5 itself refers to false Christs, the point which Dr. Lindstrom is making is 100% biblical. We find Biblical evidence for this assertion in Matthew 7:21-23. “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 have 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.” The is one of the most remarkable and frightening of all Bible passages. These were very sincere religious people, who preached in Jesus' name, who believed that Jesus is the Christ, but who were horribly DECEIVED concerning the Gospel. As Dr. Lindstrom rightly observes, “The problem with a deceived person is that they don't know they're deceived, or they wouldn't be DECEIVED!” A deceived person doesn't know that they are deceived. Deception is a subtlety. I speak of half the independent Baptist churches in America, who have been woefully deceived. Salvation is not a cooperative venture where you do your part and Christ does His part. God doesn't save anyone who is TRYING to be saved, He only saves those who are TRUSTING to be saved. Jesus doesn't need our help saving us. To be saved, our part is zero, Christ's part is full. Christ paid our sin debt on the cross.
The Word of God is full of examples of false prophets who believed that Jesus is the Christ, but were still unsaved because they ADDED to the simplicity that is in Christ, which is THE GOSPEL. For example: Acts 15:1, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” These were unsaved men, teaching that faith alone in Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins, His burial and bodily resurrection three days later were insufficient to save. They were sincere, but DECEIVED!!!
The Lord answered an important question from one of His disciples in Luke 13:23-24, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Untold billions of people are seeking for salvation “SOME OTHER WAY,” but God calls them thieves and robbers. John 10:1, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” The men in Acts 15:1 are thieves and robbers, trying to enter into Heaven through Jesus plus works, instead of submitting to the righteousness of God through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
Lordship Salvation Errors - Best Looking Heresy! (a great MP3 sermon by Pastor Marc Monte)
The Church at Galatia: Caught Between Grace and Works!
The Holy Bible gives us a firsthand account of a church that was being corrupted by the heresy of wrong repentance. The Galatians were getting involved in some heresy, which required keeping the law in addition to faith in Christ to be saved. The apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” We see this same serious problem in the churches today. Many sincere but deceived people are perverting the Gospel. Brother Lester Roloff rightly says, “There is no pervert like the Gospel pervert!”
Paul said in Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” The Galatians knew that Christ had died for their sins on the cross. They believed that He was buried. And they believed that Christ had raised up from the dead the third day. But heretics had crept into the church unawares, bringing in damnable heresy, which says works are required. There are different types of WORKS that Satan tries to add to the Gospel, but it doesn't matter what they are, because adding ANYTHING to grace cancels it. In the case of the Galatians, they were adding circumcision (a ceremonial law only for Old Testament Jews) to faith. Galatians 5:2, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” In other words, Paul says, if you add circumcision to your faith, you are not saved!!!
The problem in the church at Galatia is no different than the problem today of Wrong Repentance and Lordship Salvation. The heresy of Wrong Repentance requires turning away from deliberate sinful behavior to be saved. This is not the Gospel. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life are free gifts from God, obtained by faith alone in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). The heresy of Lordship Salvation takes people's eyes off of the cross and places them on one's self instead. I am saved solely by what Jesus has already DONE to pay for my sins on the cross. My obedience has absolutely NOTHING to do with God's salvation of my soul. I am saved solely by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!
As I have often done, and will do now for you, the apostle Paul explains to the the Galatians the PURPOSE of God's LAW. Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The purpose of the Old Testament LAW is to give us “THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN” (Romans 3:20), to point us to Christ (GRACE) to be saved by faith alone. The Old Testament teaches LAW; the New Testament teaches GRACE. God's plan is brilliant, so that even a child can understand the concept. God never intended for men to keep the LAW to obtain salvation, because God knew that humans are incapable of such perfection. No one, except Jesus (Whose biological Father is God), is without sin (Hebrews 4:15). If you grasp this great truth, that is, that the only role of the LAW in salvation is to show men their SINNERSHIP and thus, need for Christ, then the Gospel becomes very understandable. The very notion that a person needs to “turn from sins” to be saved is utter heresy! The only requirement to be saved is for a person to judge them self as a needy sinner, so that they'll trust the Gospel to be saved.
Please listen to the excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles, titled, “THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADETH TO REPENTANCE!”
Galatians 3:1-9, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
I really love that wonderful phrase above... “BY THE HEARING OF FAITH” from Galatians 3:2. That is how people get saved, that is, you hear the Gospel preached and you believe it when you hear it. It's that simple to be saved!!! Paul wanted to know how they became indwelt with the Holy Spirit, by works or faith? Obviously, no one can get the Holy Spirit by works, because no one has ever been saved by self-righteous works.
Follow The Voice! (awesome MP3, Dr. Yankee Arnold - Easy-Believism vs. Lordship Salvation)
Jesus Foretold of False Prophets During the End Times
Matthew 24:5, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
The Lord Himself foretold of false prophets in the last days, who would come in HIS NAME, confessing the truth that Jesus is the Christ yet preaching ANOTHER GOSPEL. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again!!!
Beware of anyone who teaches that repentance means “turning away from sinful ways” to be saved. That is wrong repentance! That is keeping the Law, which cannot save. If a person must cease from committing adultery, murdering, bearing false witness and cursing in the Lord's name to be saved, then salvation is based upon merit. Only a fool would say that I'm okay with committing such heinous sins. I'm not saying that God doesn't mind if a person continues sinning if they get saved. I am saying that you don't get saved by giving up your sins. Christ died to save us from darkness, to deliver us from the power of Satan. Romans 3:31 says that we ought to fulfil the law, even though we are no longer under the curse of the law. Ephesians 2:10 teaches that God saves us “UNTO GOOD WORKS,” not BY GOOD WORKS! Every believer is expected and commanded to BE YE HOLY, just as God is holy. 1st Peter 1:16, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Please understand that this has nothing to do with receiving the free gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins. You don't “ask” Jesus to forgive your sins. He has already paid for our sins with His precious blood. You simply need to receive God's gift of forgiveness of sins, by trusting in the Good News of Christ crucified, buried and risen. God can read your mind. The moment that God sees you've placed your trust in the message of the Gospel, you are saved. The Gospel is Good News to be BELIEVED!!!
So keep this truth in mind, that just because someone claims to believe that Jesus is the Christ, doesn't mean they are saved. Every hellbound Mormon, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, and Roman Catholic believes that Jesus is the Christ; but they are not saved because they all have ANOTHER SPIRIT, ANOTHER JESUS, and ANOTHER GOSPEL (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Luke 13:23-24, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” END
Deception (MP3 by Dr. Hank Lindstrom; Lordship Salvation is a counterfeit Gospel)
Wrong Repentance | Lordship Salvation
Why There's A Hell (MP3 sermon by Pastor Danny Castle)
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —2nd Thessalonians 1:8
Ye Must Be Born Again! | How to Be Saved
You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!