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Deception (Part 14) - Self Deception (Part A)

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XII. Self-deception

1. Deceive v. - 1. trans. To ensnare; to take unawares by craft or guile; to overcome, overreach, or get the better of by trickery; to beguile or betray into mischief or sin; to mislead. Obs. (or arch.) 2. To cause to believe what is false; to mislead as to a matter of fact, lead into error, impose upon, delude, ‘take in’. b. absol. To use deceit, act deceitfully. c. refl. To allow oneself to be misled; to delude oneself.

2. We are prone to self-deception because we love lies (Isa 30:10; Jer 5:31; Jer 38:3-4; Mic 2:11).

A. Men deceive themselves by telling themselves things that are false because they don't want to believe the truth (Jer 37:9).

B. We love lies because:
i. The truth requires effort to obtain (Pro 23:23).
ii. The truth hurts (Joh 8:40; Act 7:54).
iii. The truth is depressing (Ecc 1:18).
iv. The truth will cause us to lose friends and be rejected by others (Gal 4:16).
v. The truth about ourselves is hard to accept (Mat 26:34-35).
vi. The truth is not flattering.
vii. The truth is inconvenient; it makes life difficult.
viii. The truth gets in the way of our plans, desires, and lusts.
ix. The truth requires us to change.

C. "Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." – Winston Churchill
D. "Truth is treason in an empire of lies." - Ron Paul

3. We are prone to self-deception because our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9).
A. God asked rhetorically concerning our deceitful heart, "who can know it?"
B. If we can't know our own heart, how easy then is it to be self-deceived!
C. To resist being deceived we must guide our hearts by the word of God (Pro 4:23; Pro 23:19).
D. We must never trust in it (in our emotions) (Pro 28:26; Mar 7:21-23).

4. Sin will deceive us (Rom 7:11).
A. Our lusts are deceitful (Eph 4:22).
i. Our deceitful lusts are desires for such things as money, possessions, sex, power, prestige, attention, recognition, leisure, or pleasure.
ii. They trick us into thinking that we will be better off if we satisfy them.
iii. Our flesh tries to deceive our spirit into doing what we should not (Gal 5:16-17).
B. Sin uses our own lust to entice us and to draw us away from the keeping God's commandments (Jam 1:15-16).
C. Sin is deceitful (Heb 3:13).
D. Our sinful lusts will deceive us into thinking that we will not lose our place in the church if we sin (1Co 6:9-10).

5. We are commanded to not deceive ourselves (1Co 3:18).
A. If we think that we are wise before we have realized that we know nothing, we have deceived ourselves.
B. If we say that we have no sin, we have deceived ourselves (1Jo 1:8).
i. There is not a person on this earth that does not sin (Rom 3:23; Ecc 7:20).
ii. Therefore, if we think that we don't ever sin, we have deceived ourselves.

6. Many religious people are self-deceived.
A. People that claim to be religious but don't control their tongue have deceived themselves (Jam 1:26).
i. Their religion is worthless.
ii. They will only fool others for a while until they get to know them and hear them speak.
B. Men dream up dreams that they never had to deceive themselves (Jer 29:8).

7. Know thyself
A. A wise man understands his own way, but fools deceive themselves (Pro 14:8).
B. I know people who don't know themselves.
i. They make statements about what they are going to do, and in many cases they probably believe themselves.
ii. But I can discern very easily that they will never do what they say they are planning to do.
C. We must examine ourselves (2Co 13:5; 1Co 11:28; Lam 3:40).
i. We must pray that God would search our hearts and reveal to us what we really are (Psa 26:2; Psa 139:23-24; Job 6:24; Job 13:23; Job 34:32; Psa 19:12).
ii. We must think about where we're going in life and make sure we are on the straight and narrow (Pro 4:26-27).
iii. We will never grow as Christians until we take an honest look at ourselves and admit the truth about ourselves.