17 ¶ Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
There are other warnings that the evil that a person speaks will cause him problems;
Proverbs 18:7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
Verse 17 will cut both ways like a two edged sword. Mankind has always enjoyed its share of deceivers, people who say just the right words to get what they want. There are those who will sweet talk you, compliment you, and cover you with their supposed approval to get you to do what they want.
In Christianity, as I’m sure it is in other religions because people are people everywhere, there are those who gain entrance to our congregations, into their minds and hearts by flattering words of deceit. They know the churchspeak, the words that are used like “fellowship”, and “the Lord”, and “separation”, and “sanctified”, with, of course, “sin” being a big one. In the more Fundamentalist congregations they know if they condemn the “others” whomever they happen to be, they’ll get people’s attention. They might scream things against “queers”, people who are “shacking up”, or say things like “I wouldn’t send my dog to a public school”, or they’ll defy the government to “just try and take my guns” or something that really appeals to the flesh of the congregation.
They don’t talk much about the fruit of the Spirit, loving each other, or what a Christian is supposed to DO, as much as they talk about what he or she is not to do. They don’t like to talk so much about what a Christian IS as much as they like to talk about what he or she isn’t. They are deceivers and the bread of deceit is sweet to a man or woman. We like the compliments. The false doctrines appeal to our flesh. The emphasis on sins that probably aren’t MY problem appeals to our carnal minds because they invoke the righteousness of self.
The deceivers want to manipulate your emotions; your guilt, your uncertainty over your salvation, and to draw you away from fellowship with Christ in the Spirit. They want to glory in your flesh by making you think that the only proof you can show them, and they get you to thinking you must prove to them that you are saved, is by doing whatever they tell you to do.
Do you know there are some Fundamentalist churches where people actually ask their Pastor before they can take a vacation or even if they can take a vacation? There are some Fundamentalist churches where you need the Pastor’s approval before you can take a certain job?
The deceivers will sponsor events revolving around themselves rather than Christ like banquets entitled “Prove Your Love”, not to Christ, but to them. They will abuse physically and emotionally weaker members of the congregation with words and deeds. In our churches even the men will follow them blindly because they are the “man o’ God”. Some of the woman are victims of verbal rape as foul or suggestive language is used against them, sometimes privately, but often within the venue of the church service itself inappropriate comments and putdowns are made at the expense of women.
The bread of deceit is sweet to a man. But, sooner or later, if the congregation itself is not Bible reading faithfully and “all prayed up” as they say, Christ will remove the lid from the pot. That’s what the word “Revelation” means; to reveal something. He’ll show you and everyone, even the unsaved. He doesn’t view His church as a private club whose indiscretions must be hidden from the world. We are to act in such a way that everything we do is open and apparent to the world. We have no secrets. But if we live in a way that brings shame and disgust we must be exposed to the world’s scorn for the wrong reason.
2 Timothy 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
What is the deceiver to say when he is exposed? What is there to say? When their disappearances weren’t to Bible conferences or Evangelistic opportunities but to bars and nightclubs? What is there to say when homes and vehicles were gotten by deception and fraud? What is there to say when an abused child grows up and files a criminal complaint or a woman demands her right to have the law enact justice on the deceiver? There is nothing that can be said. The deceiver’s mouth is filled with gravel as is the mouth of those who praised him.
In the little church body to which I belong everyone’s love for each other is apparent and genuine. There is a true spirit of Christian fellowship and concern. The Pastor is a man who loves Christ more than Self and Christ’s Bible more than the world. The people want to live a life in the Spirit, walking with Christ, learning and growing. It is a healing church, where people can come who have been hurt elsewhere, even abused. May it always be so. May our ability to discern between good and evil keep us from accepting the teaching of anyone who comes through the door looking for victims rather than fellowship with the believers.
Things have changed in our culture in the last century. Sometimes those changes have been wrong and counterproductive but some changes have been good. It is no longer something we accept and wink at when a man deceives a woman in order to get her to marry him. I can remember hearing my aunt tell me about how my grandfather, a good Baptist in every other respect, promised his Lutheran bride to be that their children would be raised Lutheran but once the first of twelve babies was old enough, they proceeded to the Baptist church his father started because, according to him, it was closer. The fallout from his deception harmed his children spiritually, particularly his seven sons, a great deal.
This type of behavior is no longer justifiable. It happens but we all agree or should agree that this deceit is wrong. But, there are those who would appeal to a man’s insecurity, to his flesh, who would tell him that it is still okay, and even acceptable to God.
Women in our culture have enjoyed the rights and privileges that the Bible demanded for them long before Christians could or would accept them as having any rights.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Yet, there are men who will preach and teach that women are no better than pack animals, and they’ll do it with a smile even. They’ll teach that women aren’t capable of loving and devotion to God in the same way that men are. They’ll teach that women are always trying to take over, always wanting to have the rule over men, as if it was inherent in their nature to want to dominate everyone around them.
The bread of deceit is sweet to a man. It appeals to his flesh, to his fears, to his insecurities. But one day we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and many will find their mouths once speaking great swelling words of vanity, to be filled with gravel.
The Christian, particularly a leader in the church, if he doesn’t have the evidence of Christ’s indwelling Spirit in him, the fruit of the Spirit of Galatians 5:22 evident in his life; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in his speech and actions calls into question whether or not he is even saved. The Christian, particularly a leader in the church, if they don’t have the love for their brothers and sisters in Christ as Jesus said that that was how people would know that they were His disciples in John 13:34, 35, calls into question His relationship with Christ.
2Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
The deceivers will always appeal to the flesh under the guise of spirituality. They’ll want fleshly proof of your salvation.
Galatians 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
They’ll get you to believe in a religion of works, just like any other.
Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
They’ll get you to do their bidding by flattery, mocking, jesting, insults, and emotional manipulation and guilt trips. Humans like deceit. It’s sweet to us. We like nothing more than to be sold on a product or an idea. Lest our own mouths which were full of praise for a man, simply a man, be filled with gravel rendering us speechless when the truth comes out let us be discerning and cautious, testing every spirit by the word of God, whether it be good or bad, and let us not ever partake of the sweet bread of deceit.