This penman loves illusion, commonly called magic. He even has a few things he has made or bought. He has gone to see David Copperfield a couple of times in Birmingham, Alabama, even visiting with him for a few minutes the day after one show.    The famous magician has made it clear that he has no special dark powers to actually do what one sees. He has told audiences that what he does is sleight of hand, the hand is quicker than the eye, misdirection, illusion, and such like. He is quick to tell those whom he entertains that he cannot literally move jets, buildings, and other objects, but make it look that way. There is nothing dark and devilish about his programs. He simply leaves one wondering how he did those things.

There are those who are deceptive illusionists, leaving people to believe that they actually have the powers to do the improbable or impossible. Simon the sorcerer, “bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.” (Verses 9-11). He had all the people, from the least to the greatest,  so deceived that they said, “This man is the great power of God.” (Verse 10). However, when the Samaritans heard Philip “preaching the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also:  and…he was baptized.” (Verses 12, 13). Jesus had said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;….” (Mark 16:16). Simon, as many of the Samaritans, was saved. Prior to his conversion, Simon had deceived the people, and he led them to believe a lie, that he was the great power of God. He was not, and he did not have the powers he claimed to have. Yet, they believed Simon. Following Simon’s conversion to Christ, he was “beholding the miracles and signs which were done”, and, seeing “that through laying on of the apostle’s hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Verses 13, 18, 19). His sinful  request was denied, and he was told, “thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” (Verse 21). He was told to “repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity.” (Verses 22, 23). Simon was prompt to do so. (Verse 25).

God through Samuel (1 Samuel 15:10) told Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” (Verse 23). “The word of the Lord that came to Micah” (Micah 1:1), told God’s people, “And I will cut off witchcraft out of thy hand;  and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:….” (Micah 5:12). If we were still living under the law of Moses, we could “not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18). Under the law of Christ, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write, “witchcraft…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5;19-21). The word “witchcraft” here has to do with the misuse of drugs connected with the occult and devil worship.

There are many other illusionists who deceive the masses. Many appear to be honest in their masterful religious presentations. Nonetheless, there are many misdirections used by numerous proclaimers of the word of God. Paul told the Corinthians, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3). He immediately mentioned one who came who “preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached…another spirit…another gospel….” (Verse 4). Paul said some “are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (Verse 13). He further declared, “And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed as the minister of righteousness;  whose end shall be according to their works.” (Verse 15). Sadly, Paul told the Corinthians, “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” (Verse 19). Do you allow others to deceive you in the word of God?

Notice, please, prayerfully, carefully, and reverently, some examples of masterful religious  illusionists. The word of God says one thing, and they change it to something entirely different. For example, Moses was inspired of God to write, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1ff). Atheists, infidels, agnostics, evolutionists, and such like, put this chapter in a box, cover it, and uncover it to say that there is no God, that all we now see is the product of atheistic evolution, coming out of an explosion of a deadly sea of gases aeons, or ages ago. Many have been led to believe that it happened that way because the “educated” teacher told them that it did. Some through independent study have learned better, that their instructors had but used misdirection. Cf. Psalm 14:1;  53:1.

Titus 2:11-14, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;   who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Immoralists are surely masterful magicians, deceiving the masses into believing that there is no such thing as ungodliness or sin, that there is no Jesus who saves, and that heaven is no more than “pie in the sky”, a pipe dream. They have pulled a “no right or wrong” rabbit out of the hat. Listening to the language of many, accompanied by their actions shows that many have been deceived.

Jesus was crystal clear about being saved from the wages of sin, death. (Romans 6:23). Please read without comment by anyone what JESUS said one must do to be saved. Mark 12:29, “Hear, O Israel;  The  Lord our God is one Lord.” John 8:24, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Luke 13:3, 5, “I tell you, Nay:  but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Matthew 10:32, 33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven….” Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” If there were no religious illusionists, and if all would simply “speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11), “speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you;  but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10), and all lived as Jesus prayed to His Father, “That they all may be one;  as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us’ (John 17:23), what would the lost be told to do to be saved?  Read the following verses to tie these things together:  Romans 10:17;  Romans 10:9, 10;  Acts 2:38;  Mark 16:16;  Romans 6:1-5;  1 Corinthians 12:13;  Ephesians 1:22, 23. Rather than teaching the things Jesus taught as He taught them, some have made “the sinner’s prayer” or “salvation by faith only” appear in place of the word of the author of eternal salvation. Cf. James 2:14-26, esp. verses 17, 20, 24, 26;   John 9:31;  Hebrews 5:8, 9;  Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6;  Revelation 22:18, 19.

The worship of the first century church was simple, consisting of “the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42). This verse informs us that they were preaching, giving, partaking of the Lord ’s Supper, and praying. Hebrews 2:12 informs us that singing, not singing and something else, was a part of their worship. In spite of this simplicity, look what has been done to worship. Many have changed the simple into pomp and ceremony. Some “laugh and roll on the floor to the glory of God”, “run around the auditorium to the glory of God”, “dance”, “clap”, “use mechanical instruments”, and so much more.

The “doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9-11), “the gospel” (Romans 1:16), “the truth” (John 17:17), has been given once and for all time (Jude 3;  2 Peter 1:3). Any other gospel is not another, but a perverted, troublesome message, even if from an angel or apostle, and will destroy one eternally. (Galatians 1:6-9). Yet, the masterful religious illusionists continue to change the teachings of Jesus  through manuals, creeds, disciplines, catechisms, translations, sermons, tracts, books, lectures, and many other means. Many are deceived into believing these things instead of the word of God.

What are we to do? A considerable number of books need to be burned, as was done in Ephesus. (Acts 19:19). When people freed themselves of their erroneous doctrines, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Verse 20). They got back to, “For the scripture saith….” (1 Timothy 5:18).

The plea of New Testament “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16), those who follow the Builder of the church (Matthew 16:13-19), continues to be UNITY based upon what the word of God says, allowing for differences in matters of opinion, where God has not spoken, and with love for saint and sinner. Are you looking for the church of the New Testament, a church which does not practice magic, does not change the word of God? If so, get in touch with the one who gave you this tract, or write or call the one on the back of this tract. THANK YOU for taking time to read these few words. Please feel free to make any comments regarding this message by writing the author.