2 Thess 2: 9-12 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie,  and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

    Don’t let signs and wonders be the deciding factor in what you believe in!  Although ‘signs and wonders’ accompany the mark of a true apostle (2 Cor 12:12) and are a part of God’s testimony of the Salvation He sent to the world (Heb 2:4), we must remember that authentic signs and wonders from God point to the Truth of the Gospel message.  Jesus said; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6)  How do we know this?  It is through His Word that we know the Truth;  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Luke 21:33)

     Scripture warns us clearly about those who put too much stock in signs;  “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Matthew 12:39)  Jesus is clear about the reception in store for those who rely on their signs and wonders to gain entrance to heaven; “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”  (Matthew 7:22,23)

     Why is it that some will be drawn away by counterfeit signs and wonders?  They refuse to love the truth.  They aren’t interested.  It’s boring.  It’s work.  You have to study the Bible.  You have to attend meetings, read and discuss His Word with boring people.  Hockey night in Canada is better than Bible study in the church hall.  Memorizing scripture is too hard.  Reciting scripture among friends and neighbours lets people know I’m a religous nut.  But nobody can argue with a miracle or terrific sign!  Many are ‘loving life’ in this world but not the Truth that takes you into the eternity of the world to come.   Lovers of life in this world are not inclined to God or His Word; “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15)

     Last night I was the only man at Bible study.  At this particular bible study this isn’t always the case  but I was impressed with the dedication of the women to meet and study His Word.  This has been my experience in many churches over the decades that I have been involved in the church and Bible study. Oh, some of the older men who cannot come to Bible study because of their health I exclude from what I’m about to say.  Also excluded are those men who couldn’t make it because of their work or commitments.   Sadly, most men don’t bother with the Bible.   Many men make a habit of ignoring the Bible’s application to their lives.   Although my current fellowship: drug addicts, car thieves, bank robbers and thugs who are struggling to change their lives hang on to the Bible because they know their lives depend on it – not only in the next world to come but in this one! 

     The desperate to change are interested in God’s Word and His Truth for their lives.   The life of the drug addict or convicted criminal can bring a man to his knees; “My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” (Psalm 31:10) The affluent and comfortable lovers of this life are not interested in change so the Bible isn’t of that much interest or urgency.  They are on the road to hell – even though they make pit stops in church every Christmas and Easter and every convenient Sunday.

     Many in the church are heading for a terrible fall!  This indifference to and ignorance of the Bible will kill the souls of many because not knowing your Bible predisposes you to all sorts of lies.   Charles R. Swindoll writes;   “Our nation’s technical knowledge and scientific expertise overshadow our grasp of Bible basics to an appalling degree. We are, therefore, moving toward an era similar to the Dark Ages when copies of Scripture were chained to the pulpit in Latin—the private language of the clergy . . . when the public was kept stone ignorant of the life-changing teachings of the truth. But I see one great difference; in those days, biblical ignorance was forced . . . in our day it is voluntary. Therein lies the saddest fact of all.”  Swindoll concludes that we all must take personal responsibility; “But in the final analysis, biblical ignorance is a personal choice—your choice. If something is going to be done to plug the dike, it will take your finger to stop the leak . . . and I mean fast.”

     If you want to change, if you want to live life abundantly now and in His Kingdom to come, if you want to overcome the lies and deceptions you cling to then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  Find a copy of the Bible, start reading.  Go to Bible study.  If your church has lost interest in the Bible – BEG YOUR PASTOR to start up a Bible study.  Fellowship with others, who are desperately turning to the Bible for help and guidance in order to CHANGE THEIR LIVES.  Start applying His Word to your life.  Start loving. Stop judging. Start confessing.  Stop hiding.  Start speaking His Truth into your life.  Stop believing that because you go to church one day a week for one hour and that you have never been charged for a crime or have never been caught out in any dirty little secret that you will automatically go to heaven. 

     The Psalmist said it right;  “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him;  he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, ‘Nothing will ever shake me.’  He swears, ‘No one will ever do me harm.’ His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.” (Psalm 10:4-7)  God will hear the cry of the afflicted – the cry of those who really want to change; “The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.  You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, . . . ” (Psalm 10:16,17)

     Praise the Lord!