Freedom | The Danger Of Deception

Freedom | The Danger Of Deception
Lee Reams












We deceive ourselves when we hear the Word but don’t do it (James 1:122; 1 Peter 1:13)

We deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin (1 John 1:8)

We deceive ourselves when we think we are not (Romans 12:3; Galatians 6:3)

We deceive ourselves when we think we are wise in this age (1 Corinthians 3:18,19)

We deceive ourselves when we think we are religious but do not bridle our tongue (James 1:26)

We deceive ourselves when we think we will not reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7)

We deceive ourselves when we think the unrighteous will inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9,19)

We deceive ourselves when we think we can continually associate with bad company and not be corrupted (1 Corinthians 15:33)


Six identifying marks of false prophets and teachers




JOHN 17:1-26 NLT 1 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

ANDERSON | “If I tempted you, you would know it. If I accused you, you would know it. But if I deceived you, you wouldn’t know it. If you knew you were being deceived, then you would no longer be deceived. Eve was deceived and she believed a lie. Deception has been the primary strategy of Satan from the beginning. That is why truth sets us free, and why Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). “Having girded [our] loins with truth” (Ephesians 6:14), we have available to us our first means of defense.

There are three primary avenues through which Satan will attempt to dissuade you from God’s truth and deceive you into believing his lies: self-deception, false prophets/teachers, and deceiving spirits. We are vulnerable to Satan’s lies if we fail to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (pp. 166-167). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


We deceive ourselves when we hear the Word but don’t do it (James 1:22; 1 Peter 1:13)

ANDERSON | “Those of us who receive the Word are also vulnerable to self-deception if we fail to put it into practice. We hear a sermon or a lesson and say, “Wow! What a great truth!” and share it with someone else without processing it ourselves and applying it to our own lives. James said that hearers of the Word who are not also doers of the Word deceive themselves (1:22).

Why are we afraid to admit it when our lives don’t perfectly match up to Scripture? Don’t we know we are forgiven and God accepts us for who we are? His unconditional love and acceptance are what set us free to be ourselves. Those who feel driven to earn God’s love and acceptance will struggle with perfectionism and will find it difficult to admit failure. But we can’t model perfection because we’re not perfect; we can only model growth. The people around us need to know that we are real people who are in the process of becoming like Christ. They need to see how we handle failure as well as how we handle success. When we model this kind of honesty in the Christian community, we greatly reduce the possibility of the deceiver gaining a foothold. Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (pp. 167-168). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

We deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin (1 John 1:8)

1 JOHN 1:5-8 NLT 5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

ANDERSON | “The Scripture doesn’t say that we are sin; it says that it is possible for us to sin and for sin to reside in our mortal bodies (Romans 6:12). We are not sinless saints; we are saints who sin. It’s important to keep honest account of our failures and pick up our cross daily. When we become aware of a discrepancy between our identity in Christ and our behavior, we must confess it and deal with it. The person who deceives himself by ignoring these sinful discrepancies and allowing them to accumulate is headed for a fall.” Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (p. 168). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

We deceive ourselves when we think we are not (Romans 12:3; Galatians 6:3)

ROMANS 12:1-3 NLT 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

ANDERSON | “Scripture instructs us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. “But I know who I am,” you say. “I’m a child of God, I’m seated with Christ in the heavenlies, I can do all things through Him. That makes me pretty special.” Yes, you are very special in the eyes of God. But you are what you are by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10). The life you live, the talents you possess, and the gifts you have received are not personal accomplishments; they are expressions of God’s grace. Never take credit for what God has provided; rather, take delight in accomplishing worthwhile deeds which glorify the Lord. Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (p. 169). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

We deceive ourselves when we think we are wise in this age (1 Corinthians 3:18,19)

1 CORINTHIANS 3:18-23 NLT 1 18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,“He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”

20 And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” 21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

ANDERSON | “It is the height of intellectual arrogance to assume wisdom without the revelation of God. “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Sometimes we are tempted to think we can match wits and intellect with the god of this world. But we are no match for him in the flesh. Whenever we think we can outsmart Satan on our own, we are prime candidates to be led astray by his craftiness. However, Satan is no match for God. It is important for us not to lean on our own understanding, but to employ the mind of Christ and acknowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5,6; 1 Corinthians 2:16). Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (p. 169). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


GALATIANS 5:7-12  NLT 7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.

11 Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.


FIRST | False teachers distract Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel (v. 7). 

COMMENTARY | “The false teachers are hindering the Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel with all their talk about joining the Jewish people and keeping the law. All those who get the church off on a tangent, away from the clear direction given by the central truth of the gospel, are like these false teachers. They should be disqualified and excluded from the churches.” IVP New Testament Commentaries

SECOND | False teachers replace the call of God with their own deceptive persuasiveness (v. 8).

COMMENTARY | “Their message is all about the works of the law, not about God’s work of grace in Christ. So obviously their persuasion does not come from God, who always calls by his grace.” IVP New Testament Commentaries

THIRD | False teachers gain control over the whole church (v. 9).

COMMENTARY | “False teachers are like that; they seek to dominate every situation in the life of the church.” IVP New Testament Commentaries

FOUR | False teachers cause confusion and discouragement (v. 10).

COMMENTARY |When the Galatians were converted, they related to God with the joyful confidence of children, calling him “Abba, Father” through the Spirit. But their confidence in God’s grace has been badly shaken by the false teachers, who threaten them with the judgment of God if they do not keep the law of God.IVP New Testament Commentaries

FIVE | False teachers spread false reports about spiritual leaders.

SIX | False teachers emphasize sensational rituals.

COMMENTARY | “It is never pleasant to expose the deceptive, destructive tactics of the “false brothers.” But it is necessary to do so in order to protect the freedom of fellow Christians. Of course circumcision is not an issue today. But we are constantly faced with a choice between different religious options. They are not all the same; they are not all spokes on a wheel leading to the same hub. Some religious options lead to slavery and imprisonment. Only by obedience to the truth of the gospel of Christ can we protect the freedom that is ours in Christ.” IVP New Testament Commentaries


1 TIMOTHY 4:1-2 NLT 1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.

ANDERSON | “There are the voices of evil and deceiving spirits, who lie in wait to entrap every traveler entering these higher regions of spiritual life. In the same epistle that tells us that we are seated in the heavenly places in Christ, we are also told that we shall have to fight with spiritual enemies. These spiritual enemies, whoever or whatever they may be, must necessarily communicate with us by means of our spiritual faculties, and their voices, as the voice of God, are an inward impression made upon our spirit. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit may tell us by impressions what the will of God is concerning us, so also will these spiritual enemies tell us by impression what is their will concerning us, though not, of course, giving it their name. “ Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (pp. 177-178). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


1 KINGS 3:3-14 NLT 3 Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship. 4 The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! 14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”

ANDERSON | “Spiritual discernment is our first line of defense against deception. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in every believer, and He is not silent when we encounter the counterfeit. Discernment is that little “buzzer” that goes off inside when something is wrong.” Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (pp. 178-179). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

ANDERSON | “To have a discerning spirit, you need to examine your motives. In 1 Kings 3, Israel’s young king cries out to God for help. God comes to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he wants. Solomon responds: “Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil” (verse 9). God answers: “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart” (verses 11,12).

The motive for true discernment is never self-promotion, personal gain, or to secure an advantage over another person—even an enemy. The Greek word for discernment—diakrino—simply means to make a judgment or a distinction. Discernment has only one function: to distinguish right from wrong so the right can be acknowledged and the wrong can be disregarded. In 1 Corinthians 12:10, discernment is the divinely enabled ability to distinguish a good spirit from a bad spirit. It is a manifestation of the Spirit, which is to be utilized to edify the church.

Spiritual discernment is not a function of the mind; it’s a function of the spirit. Our union with God is what makes spiritual discernment possible. We rightly divide the word of truth with our minds, but the Spirit helps us know what cannot be objectively verified. We can spiritually discern whether something is right or wrong, but we can’t always objectively verify what it is.” Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (pp. 178-179). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


Heavenly Father, I commit myself unreservedly to Your will. I ask You to show me the true nature of this person or spirit. If I have been deceived in any way, I pray that You will open my eyes to the deception. I command in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that all deceiving spirits depart from me, and I renounce and reject all counterfeit gifts (or any other spiritual phenomena). Lord, if it is from You, bless it and cause it to grow, that Your body may be blessed and edified through it. Amen.

Anderson, Neil T.. The Bondage Breaker® (p. 178). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.



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