7463 - To Lead You Astray - 1 John 3:7


Audio transcript

It’s such a joy to have you with us today.

We are now studying through the book of 1 John. Today we look at the first part of 1 John 3:7, which says:

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.”

To be “led astray’ is to be sidetracked or turned aside from the path which the Lord has laid out before us. Obviously that’s not the place for Christians to walk.

Let me share a true event from a Wycliffe newsletter which illustrates how the enemy seeks to lead us astray.

Doug and Carolyn Tharp have been Bible translators in Papua New Guinea. Although they believed God wanted them there, they experienced great discouragement, and even rejection from the people they had come to serve. They tell this story of God’s work to overcome those seeking to lead them astray, and drive them from their work. Some editing was necessary.

We were on an island off the mainland, out in the middle of nowhere. We had been sick often and Carolyn battled malaria. She had been sick for about two weeks, and took the medication. One day Carolyn tried to go down to the river to do the laundry, but came back feeling very faint. Just after she lay down in our bedroom I heard a shriek...then another. I went in to see her.

Carolyn was having a seizure. Every muscle in her body was tightened up and her teeth were clenched. Her eyes were rolled back. I had heard that when you have malaria and you go into a seizure, it means that it has gone into your brain...cerebral malaria. I remembered that you could die within twenty minutes if you don’t get injectable quinine intravenously. We had it in pill form, but not any to inject.

In that moment I lost it. I started screaming and yelling at God. “God, why did you bring us out to this place? Did you bring us out here just to let her die!?

“God, if you want this translation to continue, you’re going to have to do something. You’re going to have to do something!!!” “God, she’s in your hands. If you want something to happen, you’re going to have to do it.”

As soon as I finished praying, of all things, a bulldozer was suddenly pulling up, right in front of our house. I though in my head, “He’s an angel.” And he was there with the bulldozer.

In all our years there had never been a bulldozer in our village. Yet, on that day, the very day she gets sick, while I was crying out to God, it was there. There are no roads in our village. There’s no place for it to come or to go. I started yelling at this guy, “Let’s carry her.”

Now there was a clinic about a half-hour’s walk away from the village. But you can’t get a sick person who must be carried there in less than two hours. We threw Carolyn on the bulldozer and I yelled, “Punch it!” He did and we bulldozed a road through the brush to the clinic. Miraculously, we made it within the twenty minutes, and she received the injectable quinine. The next morning she was stable enough to fly out for more medical care.

I’ve never seen that man again, nor the bulldozer God supplied. In all my screaming and all my yelling God was right there with us providing what we needed and when we needed it. God was there. And He provided exactly what Carolyn needed at exactly the right time.

In the next hamlet the village leader was eating a meal. He didn’t know Carolyn was sick and he didn’t know a bulldozer was in the village. Suddenly he had a vision of a bulldozer digging a hole, a vision he later told us unfolded for him with great spiritual significance. Then he saw Carolyn and me trucking by on the bulldozer.

It took us two weeks to get back to the village. The village leader who had never talked to us before, never even stepped foot in our house, came up and looking me in the eye, said, “Doug, you know when you first came here, we hated you. We didn’t want you in the village. We tried to do everything we could to drive you out. We put spells on you. We told people not to talk to you. We wanted you out of here.

“But because you stayed here with us...because you learned our language...because you learned our culture...because you ate our food, you showed us that you accepted us and that you loved us. No other outsider has done that before. All the magic that we did, all the sorcery we put on you to drive you out did not work. We now know that there is a power stronger than our spirits. That power was with that bulldozer when you went by. Because of that, I’m ordering everyone else now to jump in and help you with the Bible translation.”

As a result of that help, the New Testament is now complete and in the hands of these people. What a wonderful testimony to God’s divine provision.

Opposition, hardships, false teachers and many other tools are used by Satan to sidetrack Christians. We must keep in constant relationship with our Lord, who is able not only to deliver us through the trial but to use the circumstances to accomplish His great purpose.