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Watch Out for Deceivers and Manipulators

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by Christsfreeservant, Jan 24, 2022.

  1. Christsfreeservant

    Christsfreeservant Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Philippians 3:2 ESV

    “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.”

    Look Out for the Dogs

    The term “dog” is used here figuratively to denote someone who is a spiritual predator who feeds off others. They are the impure. They are workers of evil. They are the unholy, rapacious (greedy, insatiable, destructive, harmful, aggressive), those who flatter others to their own advantage, but who will take you apart (devour you) if you resist them and/or if you oppose them and their actions (behaviors, conduct).

    They are the idolatrous, but they can be professers of faith in Jesus Christ, even though they usually oppose the true gospel, if not in words, then they definitely do by their actions. They may put on a show of righteousness to impress others, but it is all for show. For they are deceitful, masquerading as servants of righteousness while truly they serve themselves and the devil. They are shameless, impudent, dissatisfied, and contentious.

    They are superficially charming, usually entertaining, self-absorbed, egocentric, restless, reckless, habitual liars, manipulative, and those who show no remorse, who rationalize wrongdoings, who have shallow emotions, who lack empathy and true compassion, who exploit the goodwill of others, and who are sexually promiscuous and impulsive. And they are those who use poor judgment and who fail to learn from their bad experiences.

    They accept no responsibility for their actions but they usually pass the blame on to others. They are lacking in self-control and in inhibitions, they have no long-term goals, do not respect authority, and they have no consciences, for their consciences have been seared by their repeated (habitual) offenses and by their unwillingness to biblically repent of their sins and to follow Jesus in genuine obedience to his commands.

    [Php 3:2, 18-19; 2 Pet 2:22, 1-3, 12-21; Jude 1:4, 8, 10-13; Rev 22:15]

    Now, not all “dogs” will have all of these characteristic traits, but many of them do, for their hearts have been given over to evil, to do what is contrary to God’s commands, and to do so without conscience or concern for who they are trampling on in the process. They don’t care. For they keep repeating the same behaviors with no true remorse, and while continually making excuses for why they are still in the condition they are in.

    But the point here is that we are to be aware that such people exist and that they are out to do us harm, not good, although on the surface they may appear friendly and even spiritual. Some of these “dogs” are in positions as pastors and elders and Bible teachers in local church congregations, but most likely they are seen in institutional churches which are run more like businesses and which are working to attract the world to their meetings.

    Now I am not suggesting that we go around mistrusting everyone we meet or that we assume people are “dogs” who are not “dogs” just because we think they have one of these personality traits. But this should be a “heads up” for us to realize that not everyone is who he says he is, but that liars and deceivers abound among us. So, this is why the Scriptures teach that we are to test the spirits to see if they are of God, and that we are to test everything to make certain what we are hearing is indeed the truth.

    Philippians 3:3 ESV

    “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.”

    Now, in context, this is talking about the Judaizers who were trying to convince the Christians that they had to be circumcised and that they had to follow some of the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial and/or purification laws that the Jews of old had to obey. But not many of us are being faced with this specific situation today. But we are being confronted with “dogs” who are trying to convince us to follow the flesh and not God.

    And we are being confronted with “dogs” who are persecuting those of us who are still holding to the gospel as Jesus taught it and as his New Testament apostles taught it. And many of these “dogs” are in positions of rule and authority within the institutional church of today here in America, and perhaps in other nations, as well. And they are those who are promoting the cheap grace gospel which demands no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Jesus Christ as Lord.

    They are those who are teaching a diluted half-truth (lie) gospel message intended to appease human flesh and to appeal to the ungodly, and which is also intended – at least coming from those who initially introduced it into the mainstream “church” – to replace the true gospel, and to lead people away from genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and thus to leave their adherents still bound in their sin, headed to hell, but on the promise of heaven.

    But we are those who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are those who take no confidence in the flesh but who glory in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and whose desire is for our Lord to please him in every way. For we are those who are walking no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. And we are those who are being opposed by these “dogs” who many are following.

    [Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

    Philippians 3:17-19 ESV

    “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

    So, the encouragement here is that we are to follow the example of those who are truly following Jesus Christ with their lives. But since so many are faking their Christianity and are liars and manipulators, who are users who take advantage of others for their own evil purposes, it is best if we just follow Jesus and his example and his teachings on how we are to live our lives as his followers while we still live on this earth.

    And the encouragement (exhortation, urging) here, as well, is to test the spirits, to test what they do and what they say against the teachings of Scripture, but in context, and to pray for discernment so that we don’t fall prey to these “dogs.” For they are many! So, we must not have blinders on and end up following other humans unreservedly. For many are being led as sheep to the slaughter by these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Also, don’t be men (or women) followers. Many people are following other humans almost as though these other humans are gods, or as though they see them as their saviors. No human is to be our savior. Jesus Christ is to be our only Savior and Lord. So don’t look to humans to deliver you from the evils of this world but look to God and to God alone. For I guarantee you that these “dogs” abound. There are many of them everywhere.

    So, please keep your eyes on Jesus and on the truth of his word and don’t become followers of other humans, many of whom may be “dogs.” Follow Jesus Christ, instead, for he is the only one who is going to lead you into all truth.

    Footprints of Jesus

    Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
    Music by Asa B. Everett


    Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
    Come, follow Me!
    And we see where Thy footprints falling
    Lead us to Thee.

    Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
    Seeking His sheep;
    Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
    Helping the weak.

    If they lead through the temple holy,
    Preaching the Word;
    Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
    Serving the Lord.

    If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
    We go again,
    Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
    Our cross of pain.

    Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
    Our journey done,
    We will rest where the steps of Jesus
    End at His throne.

    Footprints of Jesus,
    That make the pathway glow;
    We will follow the steps of Jesus
    Where’er they go.


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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
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  2. pescador

    pescador Wise old man Supporter

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    "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, exult in Christ Jesus, and do not rely on human credentials." Philippians 3:2-3, NET v2.1

    That's all my Bible says. There is this accompanying translator's note: Dogs is a figurative reference to false teachers whom Paul regards as just as filthy as dogs.

    This is clearly about actual, physical circumcision; some were wrongly saying that one must be circumcised to be a Christian, to which Paul vehemently objects. It says nothing more than that...

    You also wrote, "But since so many are faking their Christianity and are liars and manipulators, who are users who take advantage of others for their own evil purposes..." and "For many are being led as sheep to the slaughter by these wolves in sheep’s clothing." Who are you to make such a sweeping condemnation of other believers? How would you respond about someone making that comment about you? Where is your evidence???

    You also wrote "And the encouragement (exhortation, urging) here, as well, is to test the spirits, to test what they do and what they say against the teachings of Scripture, but in context, and to pray for discernment so that we don’t fall prey to these “dogs.” For they are many! So, we must not have blinders on and end up following other humans unreservedly." Here we agree. We should test what anyone does and what they say against the teachings of Scripture. Including yourself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  3. Christsfreeservant

    Christsfreeservant Senior Veteran Supporter

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    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for reproof, correction, instruction, and training in righteousness. Yes, the original text is dealing with the subject of Judaizers who were trying to convince the Christians that they had to be physically circumcised. I noted that.

    But there is another message in this text and it has to do with evildoers who were wolves in sheep's clothing who were trying to lead the believers away to a false gospel and there are several passages in Scripture which describe these evil workers, these dogs, who are trying to lead God's people astray. One of them is Jude 1 but there are others we can draw on, as well. They are those who lead God's people into sin and to false beliefs.

    Also, physical circumcision is a cutting away of physical flesh but we are the circumcised of God who put away the flesh, our sinful practices, and who follow Jesus in obedience, which is also part of this lesson. So we are not to be led astray by charmers and manipulators who would lead us away from our pure devotion to the Lord and back into sin. So we need to know what they look like so that we don't fall prey to their deceptions. And that is the underlying message in this passage so this teaching is not out of context. We are not dealing with the same deception they were then in our world today so to apply this to our lives today we talk about the huge deception that is permeating the church of today.
     
  4. Christsfreeservant

    Christsfreeservant Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Philippians 3:2, 18-19: “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.”

    “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

    2 Peter 2:22, 1-3, 12-21: “What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

    “But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

    “These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

    Jude 1:4, 8, 10-13: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

    “Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.”

    “But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.”

    Revelation 22:15: “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

    [Php 3:2, 18-19; 2 Pet 2:22, 1-3, 12-21; Jude 1:4, 8, 10-13; Rev 22:15]
     
  5. pescador

    pescador Wise old man Supporter

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    Thanks but I already own a Bible (actually several). So what's your point?
     
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