so that no one will seize your crown!"
"For false christs and false prophets will appear...
so as to deceive, if possible, the elect."
Recent interactions on Facebook with professing Christians have left me unsettled. I fear we are witnessing the day the apostle Paul warned of in 2 Timothy. Rather than clinging to sound doctrine, many are seeking those who would 'tickle their ears' with the words they want to hear.
Jesus warns us to "HOLD FAST WHAT YOU HAVE." The Greek here is 'krateo.' It means to use ones strength to retain, to hold on with all your might.
The enemy knows his time is short. He is quietly working to deceive and destroy as many as he can before his inevitable demise. He is diabolically clever and will even use our best intentions to ensnare us!
Any coach or military commander carefully studies the tactics of the opposition. I recently read a chapter in a collection of Tozer's work, called "The Set of the Sail." Though lengthy, I found it extraordinarily relevant and timely...I pray it will inspire you to HOLD ON with all your might, so that no one may seize your crown!
Many times in history the Christians in various towns, cities and even whole countries have given up their defense for reasons wholly evil. Worldliness, sinful pleasures and personal ungodliness have often been the cause of the church's disgraceful surrender to the enemy.
Today, however, Satan's strategy is different. though he still uses the old methods where he can do so with success, his more effective method is to paralyze our resistance by appealing to our virtues, especially the virtue of charity (love).
He first creates a maudlin and wholly inaccurate concept of Christ as soft, smiling and tolerant. He reminds us that Christ was "brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth," and suggests that we go and do likewise. If we notice his foot in the door and rise to oppose him, he appeals to our desire to be Christ-like:
"You must not practice negative thinking," he tells us. "Jesus said, 'He that is not against Me is for Me.' Also, He said 'Judge not,' and how can you be a good Christian and pass adverse judgment on any religious talk or activity? Controversy divides the Body of Christ. Love is of God, little children, so love everybody and all will be well."
Thus speaks the devil, using Holy Scripture falsely for his evil purpose; and it is nothing short of tragic how many of God's people are taken in by his sweet talk! The shepherd becomes afraid to use his club and the wolf gets the sheep. The watchman is charmed into believing that there is no danger, and the city falls to the enemy without a shot. SO SATAN DESTROYS US BY APPEALING TO OUR VIRTUES!
...And so it is in religion, especially among the Protestants. Let a man (or woman) rise to declare the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ and the absolute necessity of obedience to Him and he is at once branded as a hate-monger and a divider of men. The devil has brainwashed large numbers of religious leaders so successfully that they are now too timid to resist him. And he, being the kind of devil he is, takes swift advantage of their cowardice to erect altars to Baal everywhere.
The Bible is a book of controversy. The Old Testament prophets were men of contention. Our Lord Jesus while on earth was in deadly conflict with the devil. The Apostles, the Church Fathers and the Reformers were men of controversy. They fought the devil to the death and kept the torch of truth burning for all succeeding generations."
"Is our contribution to history to be the ignoble one of letting the torch go out?"
(From 'Controversy May Have its Holy Uses,' The Set of the Sail. AW Tozer)