The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “ in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday, I was trying to think about how I could be more thankful to God. As I was thinking I was recalling how God has changed me. I thought about how I haven’t done that sin in a long time, or how I haven’t said that unkind word in a long time. I began to think “I am becoming more like Jesus.” I realize I am not by any means perfect, but I am getting better. Maybe you feel that way. Maybe you feel not perfect, but when you look at yourself you see less faults than before. I felt that way for about 3 minutes. But then I felt that something was wrong, terribly wrong Why? Because Steps To Christ p. 64 says…”The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature.”
When the prophet Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord he declared “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) You see the closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes. Often our feelings are not a right compass for morality for “the human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) We may often feel righteous when in reality we are sinning against God. We are told that the greatest deception of the human mind in Christ’s day was that a mere ascent to the truth constituted righteousness. The Jews during Jesus time thought that because they knew about the Sabbath, because they knew about the Bible, because they were God’s chosen peculiar people, they thought they must be righteous. But have you ever wondered what is the greatest deception not for the world, but for God’s church in the last days?
Before we answer that question, before we open up the Bible, let us pray.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we discover what the greatest deception for the church is at this hour, we ask that you open our eyes so that we may behold wonderful things from your low. May our prayer today be “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”(Psalm 139:23-24) Reveal our own faults to us, so that we may take them to you and be cleansed. We humbly ask for your Holy Spirit to teach us and convict us and restore us in our lovely image we pray, in Jesus name, amen.
What is the greatest deception for God’s church in the last days?
Would you like to take a guess? What is the greatest deception for God’s church, for us? Thankfully Jesus tells us in Revelation 3 when the Faithful Witness Jesus Christ delivers this message to the final church in prophetic history… “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked ~ Revelation 3:14-17
The greatest deception for the church in our day is that of self-deception. We think we are all right, when we are all wrong. We think that we are rich and in need of nothing, but do not know that we are naked, poor, wretched and blind. This message cannot be in error for it is not my interpretation but rather Jesus own words. He calls His last church blind. What does it mean to be blind? It means you can’t see. Obviously we are not all physically blind. Since Jesus is not talking about a physical blindness it must then be a spiritual blindness. Could it be brothers and sisters that we are blind to our own faults? That we think we have just a few faults, when in reality we are just blind to many of them? Could it be that we are hearers of the word, but not doers, deceiving ourselves?
I said to myself, Lord if this is true, if we as a people are spiritually blind… what has caused this? We are taught as medical missionaries that the first steps in treating a disease is to ascertain the cause. For example if you have an allergic reaction to milk, you shouldn’t take medicine to reduce the inflammation, you should stop the cause by ceasing to drink milk. And we know the Bible tells us in Proverbs 26:2 “the curse causeless shall not come.” So what is the cause, what is the reason behind this spiritual blindness? Testimonies For The Church Volume 3 p. 255 gives us the answer when it says “I have been shown that the greatest reason why the people of God are now found in this state of spiritual blindness is that they will not receive correction. Many have despised the reproofs and warnings given them.” “He who refuses correction goes astray” (Proverbs 10:17) Spiritual blindness is the result.
The reality is some of us have stopped reading the spirit of prophecy, some of us have stopped listening to certain preachers because we do not want to be rebuked. “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 Timothy 4:3-4) That time mentioned in 2 Timothy 4 is now. Does anyone like to be rebuked? Of course not, who likes to be told that they are doing something wrong? But consider this friend, Jesus says in Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline therefore be earnest and repent.” “Those who are reproved by the Spirit of God should not rise up against the humble instrument. It is God, and not an erring mortal, who has spoken to save them from ruin.” (Testimonies For The Church Volume 3, p. 257) Jesus rebukes us to save us. Because Jesus well knows that the only sin that He cannot forgive is the one that we do not confess and forsake. It is in love, compassion and mercy that Jesus utters His rebukes to us, so that we may turn from our wickedness and be saved.
But how are we as a people blind?
Can we talk about some of the sins that we are blind to as a church today? Even if it means that we must receive a rebuke? The following scriptures may be as sharp arrows piercing the soul, revealing pride and uncleanliness that we did not know in our heart. You may be tempted to rise up against this message, but my son, my daughter “do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6) If it meant the difference between you receiving the seal of God or the mark of the beast, would you heed the rebuke? I pray so, let us find one of our blind spots from the Bible now.
The word of God says “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:8-10) Modesty for Christian women is severely lacking today. The lack of modesty is a violation of the commandments of God and a blind spot in the Christian world. Some Christian women are even wearing what the Bible calls “the attire of a harlot” and yet still believe that they are spiritually rich and in need of nothing. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30) The short skirt, the low cut blouse, the exposed back and stomach God calls these things immodest. Daughters of God let your adornment “not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 KJV) The Bible condemns jewelry in that statement. The wearing of gold and silver, necklaces, bracelets and rings are for the purpose of attracting attention to yourself and are contradictory to the meek and humble character of Christ that you are striving to obtain.
This does not mean that we are not to spend any time maintaining our appearance. Christians are called to be clean, proper and modest in appearance. But “I saw that some professed Sabbathkeepers spend hours that are worse than thrown away, in studying this or that fashion to decorate the poor, mortal body. While you make yourselves appear like the world, and as beautiful as you can, remember that the same body may in a few days be food for worms. And while you adorn it to your taste, to please the eye, you are dying spiritually. God hates your vain, wicked pride, and He looks upon you as a whited sepulcher, full of corruption and uncleanness within.” (Testimonies For The Church Volume 1 p. 134) Why would God hate immodest apparel so much? Why would He issue such a hard rebuke against the immodest fashions of the world? Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 5:27-30 when He says “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Many Christian men will go to hell because of lust. Could women have their spiritual eyesight opened they would see demons using their immodestly clothed body to whisper impure thoughts into the minds of men who pass by. Sisters, how could you answer the Lord in the judgment knowing that your immodest influence lead a child of God to be eternally lost?
“Well I can’t help it if he looks. If he has a perverse mind that is his problem.”
It is true men, that you are fully responsible for your thoughts. And a women who is clothed improperly is absolutely no excuse for lustful thinking. But sisters when you say “it is not my problem if he looks” what you are really saying is, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer is yes sister you are your brother’s keeper. Brothers and sisters hear and understand this principle from Jesus.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” (Matthew 18:6-9) Here Jesus says it would be better to be drowned in the ocean that to cause someone to sin by wearing immodest clothing. And by causing others to sin and not repenting of that sin we will be lost. Jesus does not desire that anyone should perish, and so these commandments of modesty are to protect your brothers in Christ, but they are also to protect and save you as well.
Lord open our eyes
Perhaps you are reading this article and saying “I’m already modest”. If so praise the Lord, but we want together to find all our blind spots today so Christ may cleanse us. Because of this may I ask this question in love “How modest is your swimsuit?” Some miniskirts are perhaps more modest than the swimsuit you have at home. Let’s face it friends if we went to the supermarket with the amount of clothing that our swimsuit has, we would be embarrassed. Because we are swimming does that mean we should shed all modesty? Do Christian modesty standards change because there is water nearby? Certainly not friends. In case you are thinking that I only speaking to the sisters I also believe that biblically men shouldn’t take their shirts off when they swim. C’mon brother Will, that’s ridiculous are you preaching male modesty? What is wrong with that? Consider this beloved if a women walks around half naked, we think that’s wrong, but if a man does it it’s ok? Not in God’s sight. That is a double standard built on our culture not on Christ. Jesus says I want you to be consistent.
Speaking of consistency many Christian women wear a perfectly modest outfit to church, yet wear immodest clothing throughout the week. What are you wearing tomorrow? And on Wednesday? The reason I’m preaching this sisters is because I want you to receive the seal of God. There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation.
It is a grave and sinful mistake to wear the immodest fashions of the world. But as a dear Christian woman says “When told of their mistake, many will immediately exclaim, ‘Why, such a style of dress would be old-fashioned!’ What if it is? I wish we could be old-fashioned in many respects. If we could have the old-fashioned strength that characterised the old-fashioned women of past generations, it would be very desirable.” (Testimonies For The Church Volume 1 p. 461, Ellen White)
Cross-dressing is the new cultural normal
There is one final blind spot that we as a church need to address. That blind spot is found in Deuteronomy 22:5 which says “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” If I came to your church to preach a sermon, but I came being a man, yet wearing a long skirt, what would you do? You would kick me off the stage. Why? That’s an abomination… why would you being a man dare to wear a dress in church? If you corrected me for doing so, you would be absolutely right based on Deuteronmy 22:5. But you just told me that I can’t wear a women’s skirt, why do we as a people then think it is ok for a women to wear a man’s pants? That is a double standard. You see friend, God doesn’t have a double standard, He has one standard. The commandments of Christ are to dictated how we live, not the culture of the world. We are to be transformed not conformed. In dress, diet, choice of music and other amusements, speech and action true followers of Christ must be a holy, peculiar people separate from the world.
I am convinced that everything we give up to Christ, we get something better in return. It may seem like a difficult thing to give up much of your wardrobe for Christ. But sisters in Christ hear me, why wear the fashions of Babylon when you can be clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Does it seem like a great sacrifice to throw away improper clothing? If so consider what Christ gave for you. Jesus exchanged a kingly robe for a blood stained garment. He exchanged a heavenly golden crown for a crown of thorns. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Today Jesus is asking you to give up the sinful immodest clothing of the world for the far more exceeding riches found in the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Will you follow Jesus today? If so let us close in prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you Lord that you always work, not from the externals inward, but from the inside first. And so Lord we ask that you change our hearts so that we may say “I delight to do your will, yea thy law is within my heart”. When we have a heart dedicated to Christ, obedience is easy. Lord we want to love you because you first loved us. And so if there is something that we wear that does not give glory to you, we ask that you give us the strength and courage to bring everything into obedience to your will. We pray today, not our will, but thy perfect will be done. We thank you for giving everything first for us, in your Son Jesus Christ, may we now give everything for you. And may you pour out your Spirit now we pray, in Jesus name, amen.
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