From social justice to other mainline heresies, false teachers proselytize people with enticing words and compelling arguments which necessitates discernment in the journey of faith. Apart from discernment and a commitment to God’s revealed will in the pages of Scripture, we will wander off down a flatterer’s path only to find ourselves entangled in a net of confusion.
My favorite book outside of the Bible is the classic work by John Bunyan titled The Pilgrim’s Progress. I have learned much of the Christian life by Bunyan’s words and it has served me well through the years. It was Charles Spurgeon, “The Prince of Preachers” who described Bunyan as one who would bleed “bibline” if pricked in his flesh. In Spurgeon’s estimation, Bunyan was so filled with Scripture, that if his flesh was pricked the Bible would flow from him. It was Spurgeon who encouraged me to read and reread The Pilgrim’s Progress through the years.
In his classic allegory of the Christian life, on one occasion Bunyan describes Christian and Hopeful as coming upon a character who led them into a net of confusion that entangled them and kept them from continuing onward to the Celestial City. Upon finding themselves entangled in the net, they recalled the warnings of Scripture about flattery. It was in the net that they were able to see their mistake and their errors. We should learn a key lesson from the mistake of Christian and Hopeful and avoid being influenced by a flatterer who seeks to influence us to depart from God’s will and take a wrong turn that leads us into danger.
The Enticing Words of the Flatterer
One of the great weapons employed against the children of God is a deceiving tongue. We find this in the first rebellion of mankind in the Garden of Eden as Satan embodied a serpent and enticed Eve to rebel against God and the headship of her own husband. In so doing, Adam failed to lead and protect his wife and the rest is history. Sin entered the world and with it came death and destruction.
All throughout the Bible we find deceivers who plague God’s people. We see this in various ways from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
- A young man is seduced by the flattering lips of a harlot (Prov. 7).
- False prophets speak loud boasts of folly and entice people (2 Pet. 2).
- Paul warns the church at Colossae about people who would entice or delude them with plausible arguments (Col. 2).
- The Psalmist prays, “May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts” (Psalm 12:3).
- James warns about the dangerous power of the tongue (James 3).
- The Psalmist prays, “Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:2).
- Paul warns the church at Rome about divisive people who seek to harm the church. He writes, “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive” (Rom. 16:18).
Such enticing flatterers remain with us today. Newly graduated high school students who make their way to the university campuses will encounter flatterers who will seek to lead them down a pathway of doom. Unsuspecting Christians who lack discernment will wander off down the pathway of the Internet to “Christian” websites and ministries who will promote compromising positions and doctrines in the name of Jesus. We see this almost daily as “Christian” articles promote “third way” options for Christians to avoid making abortion such a driving force in the way we approach politics. They encourage Christians to think differently and to embrace a “womb to tomb” approach which encourages people to lower their passion on the abortion issue and vote differently.