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The Character of a Con Artist, Part 1 - Titus 1:10-14

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2020 1:00 am

The Character of a Con Artist, Part 1 - Titus 1:10-14

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 28, 2020 1:00 am

There have always been wolves in sheep's clothing in the Church--from the time of the Apostles until now. In James' day the wolves were Jewish leaders who misguided diverse congregations into thinking salvation had to be earned. Who are the wolves in our day and age? What false gospels are prevalent in our 21st century churches? In this message Stephen unveils a few of them.


Truth of the gospel and that's where our security and hope rests God has reconciled to move toward man reconciling them to himself through Christ. That's the distinguishing mark of Christianity and everything then flows out of the context who we are is redeemed, reconciled clothes in the righteousness of Christ. Children of God by faith alone in Christ alone.

We have that kind of Savior we have that kind of salvation and what does the false teacher focus on everything but him like there are pastors and teachers who clearly articulate that truth.

There are also false teachers who distort the truth and mislead others.

That's really one of the main dangers of our culture teachers in our society and sometimes even in our churches position themselves as spiritual leaders, but their message is empty.

Welcome to wisdom for the heart.

Today Stephen Dave. He returns to Titus chapter 1 in this lesson, he examines some of the characteristics of false teachers with this lesson called the character of a con artist David writes in Psalm 121 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains from where shall my help come from my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip.

He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper.

The Lord is your shade on your right hand son will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will protect you from all evil.

He will keep your soul the Lord will guard your going out in your coming in from this time forth and forever to pray with me.

We raise our eyes today and our hearts to you the true giver of life and the genuine, authentic source of what truly matters. So as we have an opportunity to sing praise to you, and describe with our singing your character in your Majesty, your attributes, grace, love, I pray that we would not hold back for your deserving of everything and all that takes place in this hour from the fellow shipping together to the reading praying and studying and singing that it would exalt you that it would indeed lift our eyes up away from ourselves and onto you are great and glorious God.

We pray to Jesus name dual research on the con artists any more than he bargained for everything from Irish sweepstakes going on a sale, businesses, scams of counterfeit goods rental properties natural disasters which open the door for scam artists. The definition of a con artist is someone who intentionally misleads another person for the sake of financial gain. Several of the most famous con artists in American history included one man I came across in this reading on the subject. You actually in a movie made about his scams during his criminal life.

He passed out bad checks to the tune of about $2.5 million throughout about 26 different countries.

He pretended to be an airline pilot, which then allowed him to travel free courtesy of airline companies use to allow pilots to travel for free and get away with it for quite some time until he was finally discovered and almost caught in three changes profession and in his outfit to that of a medical doctor even landed a job for a while as a medical supervisor you're thinking about having medical major surgery that you pause a moment. He was eventually arrested but escaped from prison by masquerading as a an officer eventually was offered is free from prison if he would help the government against scam artists and he helped them out and started his own fraud consulting firm, and since become a millionaire and an author. Another con artist in the those two are only connected a con artist in the mid-1900s was on the most interesting conmen in American history. He actually made a living selling New York's public landmarks. The gullible tourists he actually on several occasions sold Grant's tomb posing as the generals grandson he actually believe it's a wealthy businessman from out of state sold the original Madison Square Garden you know that you sold it.

He set up a fake office to handles real estate scams produced impressive forged documents to prove he was the legal owner's favorite object to sell people was the Brooklyn Bridge. He sold more than 100 time's.

He convinced his gullible victims that they would make a fortune by controlling traffic access to the bridge on more than one occasion, police officers had to remove these unsuspecting new owners of the bridge when they showed up to try to put up told barriers to start charging motorists. He was finally convicted of his crimes, and since then his scam operations became the basis for the popular saying will of you believe me that I got a bridge to sell you one interesting con artist from the early 1900s built and sold the device that he convinced people could produce a perfect counterfeit $100 bill. Since this was the early 1900s, people were fascinated with this new concept of a paper copy or his name is not Xerox. If you're wondering will come up afterward and asked me that he was able to convince people to buy his device at the unbelievable price of $30,000 in 1910 that was a Kings Ransom but he would tell people he warned people that his device could only print one bill every six hours and he actually designed it to actually spit out a sheet of paper on time perfectly forged, or so they thought $100 bill every six hours. The device actually contained two genuine $100 bills, but once they were spat out of the machine, it produced only blank paper. By the time the buyer discovered the scam.

This con artist had used those 12 hours to get away. I went online and and you can see one that after another they are constantly offering scams as soon as you pay the deposit and get the little kid really is anything in it. Your left holding the bag so to speak is what I saw. That said, earn a college degree at home.

No tests and no grades. I wish I'd had that 30 years ago I would've loved that college education. Another banner flashes bad credit no credit, no problem. You are preapproved.

Another ad offers a laptop and the printer for only 3999 direct from the factory, just click here.

Another promises earn $5000 a week working from home part time is your job you been looking for just sending your money will send you the kid and by the way they got a bridge to sell you to obviously scam artists proliferated any culture as Micah the prophet warned they dream up crimes while they're lying in their beds.

They can barely wait till morning. The lights they will take off to pull off their scheme by paraphrase of Micah chapter 2 in verse one. One thing to be a scam artist where people lose their money.

It's another thing to be involved in a religious scam where people lose both their money and their spiritual equilibrium. In other words, it's one thing for a victim to potentially lose his shirt. It's another thing entirely for scam to cause people to lose their spiritual footing even be deceived and lose their soul spiritual con artists proliferate, as well as financial, state, and the apostle Paul is been telling Titus in chapter 1 how to put the church in good and effective order. It would be paramount to find men who would wear the mantle of a shepherd so that people would effectively be led honestly end up authentically in a genuine spiritual manner. Just no wonder really defined at the end of the list of qualifications in chapter 1, Paul immediately launches into a warning for the church and any basically says you're already in trouble.

They have already infiltrated their already turning everything upside down. So Titus you need to get busy and hurry because they need genuine shepherds because these people are open to being scale is true that wherever the seeds of truth are so seeds of deception will be close by. There is no such thing as a lawn without weeds don't I know that full well. Now the season is no such thing as a garden without weeds. Those who serve as genuine shepherds must not only sew the seeds of truth, but they must be willing to pull out the weeds of dangerous deceptions that Paul referred to as doctrines of demons for 74 that is doctrines that seem otherworldly that seem spiritual but they are in effect misleading and they will lead someone through the doors at whatever religion article that is into the jaws of hell.

So Titus understand why we need elders not only the positive effect of exhorting and sound doctrine, but also refuting those who contradict Titus chapter 1 verse nine and Satan just so happens to be a master at deceptions or his servant. He's really good at it. He has had several thousand years. The practice on human being from the garden of Eden at the beginning of human history to the 21st century. He's literally honed his craft. He is the ultimate con artist in his favorite scam of all were many been distracted and divided and even destroyed. As one author put it is to drape his lies in the beautiful robes of truth and his followers end up with an empty bag with great loss. He hides his deception behind smiling faces and encouraging promises to Titus. You gotta be able to spot the lie and I want to be able to spot a liar and expose them.

So you need to select men who will do the same with spiritual discernment and courage when author writes of this task given a Titus, who was at that moment surrounded by spiritual deceivers.

He writes and how convincing these false teachers are keeping their true nature carefully concealed even from themselves, which is an interesting point because remember they are deceiving themselves in a one-day stand by the load in front of the Lord of things they look good. We prophesy in your name and then we cast out demons in your name and then we perform miracles in your name and Jesus is going to say yeah you did it all in my name, but I will never know you never knew you. You did work for me. He says, is author of false leaders. They definitely move among the elect may move up through the ranks of authority in the positions of power.

They are lacking biblical truth. They win friends and influence people by means of a charisma that's difficult to resist, even for those who despise falsehood.

Nevertheless, a trained eye can spot them. My question would be that how you spot a con artist will Titus it get any given several characteristics of false teachers. I want to go back to verse nine again and that's what sets the stage as Paul writes to Titus. These elders must be able to hold fast the faithful word. Why so that they can exhort in sound doctrine that positive and also refute those who contradict.

That's negative exhorting and sound doctrine is on the offense.

Refuting those who contradict as being on the defensive, which includes offensive qualities as well. Those who contradict there in verse nine is a reference to false teachers.

So how do you spot Paul gives us three descriptive characteristics of these men and all that women who lead the church astray and at least one or more of these. Sometimes all three of them will be evident if you will become alert and evaluate what they say in light of Scripture and even the first one is the first characteristic of a con artist. They are known as unaccountable personalities. Paul characterizes them in verse 10, when he writes for there are many rebellious men. What is he mean without word translated rebellious is the same word found up a few verses earlier in verse six, to speak of a ground elders child at some point his lifestyle even though under still the authority of his father is is trumping his father's authority he sets himself up against his father's authority and having no regard for the authority of his father.

He then discredits his father from serving as an elder.

That's the idea here in the context here, this is a spiritual leader and teacher who claims to be under no authority not even the word is equal to if not above the word of God whatever he speaks is infallible. Even I might not say it that way. Expect you to believe it, simply because he said it is favorite phrases will explicitly state or or subtly implied. God doesn't speak to you like he speaks to me. So you need to listen to me. God told me what I'm gonna tell you, and you get the impression as a listener that what he's got a direct line God speaking them. I wish I could have got me setting himself up as his own authority is effectively telling people if you want to argue with God. You know that's gonna be your problem. Knows he becomes the spiritual authority. He alone is the true source of spiritual insight. The Bible will be a resource for what he teaches, but will not be the source of what he teaches he might quote a verse or two. He might say certain words. It's just a resource that this is part of his scale to let you drop your guard and believe what he says after he quotes the verse is favorite verse by the way is he sets himself up as the ultimate authority is something like first Corinthians 1622 actually prevented it from the poet touch not God's anointed, and do his prophets no harm and that a great verse touch not God's anointed, and do his prophets no harm, and when I decant touch Jim to go that eminent theologian MC Hammer.

I just want to be relevant here for just about okay I'm dating myself to younger people, one who hammer you can touch the skin versus his shield is off-limits is your jurisdiction can come close to. Besides, he makes it very clear that nobody else is as smart as he is or is close to God as he is or is anointed as he is where he says must be from God and so were to just keep your little selves is God's anointed somebody sent me a video link some time ago church service so shocking that actually watched it twice several thousand people are standing and cheering. What I was watching a visiting evangelist, visiting the pseudo-evangelical church came on the stage without with a huge oversized version of the Torah, the five first five books of the Old Testament evangelist was claiming that he was about to perform some sort of special ceremony any promise, this pastor Bishop that he would then receive a special anointing anointing.

I exceeded anything I've ever claimed, so they unroll some of the scroll and they literally wrapped around the pass-through stood there on the stage. They wrapped it around his body where he was hidden from sight, and after making all sorts of declarations that sounded slightly biblical and mostly mystical and even heretical evangelist had them unwrap the scroll and as the pastor stepped forward.

They effectively claimed he was now uniquely anointed to speak with the same inspiration from God as the Torah was inspired by God. He could never be wrong what he said was tantamount to Scripture Damon David further had them seated in his pastoral chair and they several men came and lifted him up over their heads and they paraded around the stage over their heads. As the evangelist proclaimed that he was now effectively profit and keying and everybody's sharing. I sat there with my mouth open as a kind of blasphemy go unchecked. As any man become equally inspired with the text of Scripture and then you just begin to think, false religions, and that's exactly what's happening. I can believe parading around with me I be fun and enjoy the ride. But you can't say about came by Christ profit like Christ. One of the protective benefits of a plurality of spiritual leaders shepherds is that no one is ultimately unaccountable but even the apostle Paul. You think that will pull you know he was taken to heaven given a torque cycle by the spirit of God. He saw the resurrected Lord know even Paul deferred to the Council of other leaders in the church in Jerusalem.

According to Galatians chapter 2 in verse two. What makes spiritual deceivers all the more dangerous is the context here in chapter 1, they are they are rising up from with in the body outside. They don't show up and say hey I'm a false teacher can I come in, designed to deceive everybody. I can see horns and pitchfork in a tail need to go.

I can I can spot that one know these are these are men and women who use the language we use who are part of the fellowship arising from when the body these are professing believers, not unbelievers, and the deception of their teaching seems to have the endorsement of the church. They represent people are cheering them on. This was going here. In fact, Paul begins the parent they think there are many of them many ploy there are there are of them tight as you've already got a problem. The church is already infiltrated you better move quickly.

The deception is already at hand.

There are people who think they were in fact speaking for God will that's the first characteristic of a full teacher. They present themselves as unaccountable personalities.

Secondly, Paul goes on to say it all. I wanted this way they're known by their empty promises. Verse 10 he describes them as empty talkers. This is the only time this adjective is found in in the New Testament, it refers to someone he uses worthless words so many uses impressive language. It seems that it has substance into you critically think through it. Solomon uses the idea, and in the Greek Old Testament translation. The Septuagint translates it this way, it's worth what it's saying it's empty. It's it it has no real substance. It's impressive language, but has little or no solid content. These teachers are fluent, but their shallow and I was there great at making sermons and speeches but when you evaluate the content of the sermon they are biblically shallow, really. At best and deceptively misleading and words lies draped in beautiful call there fluent their oratorical ability that one author said you can often spot those who don't teach the truth. By the way they so beautifully say absolutely nothing will put their slick there there smooth air con artists you buy something from them and realize way that was my shirt to begin with and you try to pin him down on what they're teaching some some objective matter of biblical doctrine and true then they're gonna wiggle around it, but what they do say has no lasting spiritual value. In fact, most of it has to do with temporary life's lifestyles here.

Now they deliver smooth words. What distinguishes Christianity at its heart is not necessarily its moral code. Although little impact.

But it's truth about a creator who was rejected and denied by those he created in his image and he then stooped to reconcile them to himself through his son by faith in Christ alone to Christianity at its heart, which makes it unique is the gospel, the good news that God has reconciled the move toward man reconciling them to himself through Christ. That's the distinguishing mark of Christianity and everything then flows out of the context of who we are is redeemed, reconciled clothes in the righteousness of Christ. Children of God by faith alone in Christ alone.

We have that kind of Savior.

He is that kind of Lord we have that kind of salvation and what does the false teacher focus on everything but him to get heaven now I get some of that gold pavement into our pockets. Now, as we ought. I have it. As children get healthy now to learn the secrets of a good self-image and a better marriage in a positive way of thinking and better parenting skills.

All that which may be in fact true religions teach those things as well, and that is supposed to lead you to salvation. You'll discover those were empty words.

Everything is taught but sin and redemption in Jesus Christ as the crucified toning Lamb of God for sinners, slaying, and even now the soon coming King, for whom we wait. That's a good return to this lesson tomorrow because we don't have time to finish it today when we come back. Stephen will do a little bit of review and then bring the conclusion to this lesson that he's calling the character of a con artist. You've tuned into wisdom for the heart are Bible teacher Stephen Devi is the senior pastor of colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina here at wisdom for the heart.

We have a new resource were calling heart-to-heart magazine by now many of you have probably received a copy of this magazine in the mail if you haven't.

I have a special message for you. We love getting a copy of this new resource to you and letting you learn more about it by actually holding it in your hands and reading it each month. You'll find articles designed to encourage you in the Christian faith is also a daily devotional for each weekday.

Those devotionals allow you to dive deeper into the lessons Stephen taught on the broadcast that day. So if you've not received heart-to-heart and you'd like it. There are three easy ways you can get it if you have the wisdom for the heart app on your smart phone you can request a copy right through that app, there's a simple form you can fill out. You can also call us at the office.

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I'll give you that one more time so that you can write it down its wisdom for the heart PO Box 37297 Raleigh, NC 27627. Thanks for joining us today. Please be back tomorrow for more wisdom for the heart is

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