Of False Christs and False Prophets

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 19-21; Mark 13:21-37

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21 “Then if someone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Christ,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 22 False christs and false prophets will appear, and they will offer signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, those whom God has chosen. 23 But you, watch out! I’ve told you everything ahead of time.

24 “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. 25 The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Human One coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27 Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven (Mark 13:21-27, Common English Bible).

This morning I had a conversation with one of the members of the church where I pastor. We were talking about yesterday’s post. As the discussion continued past the idea that none of us know the day or the hour I said, “One thing that concerns me is how quickly we dismiss those who claim they are the return of Christ.”

Don’t get me wrong. I do know what Jesus is saying in today’s lesson. At the same time, we often dismiss these people (and thus far rightfully so) without even hearing what they have to say. I have heard many times, “He claims to be a prophet” or “He claims to be Jesus returned. That is just crazy.”

So far, we have been right. They have been wolves in sheeps’ clothing. The question to me is, how will we know the return of Christ versus how do we know those who have made the claim in the past were not?

It is easy to look back and see that these false Christs and false prophets are just exactly that. Yet we also know that many are sucked in with the dream of having truly been blessed by being introduced to one who is a special gift from God to the world. We have also all too often seen that once that those who fall for the wolves in sheeps’ clothing are convinced, at least much of the time, that this false Christ or false prophet is truly the person the world must accept. Unfortunately, it also has all too often ended in tragedy.

I wish I could tell you how we will know. Perhaps we will know by the miracles we see. We might know because we see grace and love flowing in ways we have never seen before. What I do know is this. “Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is (1 John 3:2, Common English Bible).” Much of that verse is about us being like him, but those last six verses also speak volumes to me about how we will know, “We’ll see him as he is.” Exactly what that means, I can’t answer. But, somehow, some way, we will know. I believe that just like in prevenient grace, the Spirit will let us know who He is and we will find eternal blessing.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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