“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”1 John 4:1 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)
The father of lies
Blinded eyes from the real truth
Are opened by Christ
You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. (Galatians 5:7-10 NLT)
This past Sunday the kids in my class got a bit of a reward for their exemplary behavior: they each received a huge Hershey bar. One of the girls only ate a very small piece off of her’s and then decided to put it back into the package. She struggled at getting the chocolate bar back in and just wasn’t having any luck. So, our Sunday school superintendent offered to help, by “trimming” the candy bar down (i.e. eating some) for her.
Today society would have us to think we can do the same thing with God’s Word: just “trim” it down to fit our ideas and wants. The world rejects the very thought of things like moral absolutes, saying that disciples of Jesus Christ are “intolerant” because of our adherence to the teachings of Scripture. Well, you know what? They are right: all of God’s children are intolerant of sin, just as our Father is intolerant of it.
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
After hearing Paul and Silas preach the Bereans then searched through Scripture for themselves to determine if what they heard was truth. They took it upon themselves to make certain they weren’t being taught bad doctrine.
This evening I turned a Christian tv program that I wasn’t familiar with. I watched for a few minutes, interested in who the man was and what he was preaching about. After about five minutes I turned the channel; he was teaching incorrect about a passage from the Old Testament. (I should say that this was not a prophetic teaching, just so you don’t think I was biased. Clearly there are differing views on eschatology and I don’t think that is an issue with our salvation.) He was just plainly teaching it wrong: bad doctrine. I knew this only because I had studied on this passage a few months, maybe longer, ago so I was familiar with the meaning.
The Bible exhorts us to study for many reasons. Not the least of these is so that we will know if someone is teaching or preaching bad doctrine. If you have not studied a subject or passage and you hear it taught or preached on it is your duty to study it and see if it has been presented right. If you think about it, quite a large portion of the New Testament addressed heresy and bad doctrine at the time of it’s writing. And God’s Word clearly tells us there will be false teachers and heresy to deal with until the end. Being mislead by a teacher or preacher is very serious; both his and your eternal destiny could be at stake.
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means
doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the
man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
– C.S. Lewis
These words from Lewis went along with a lot of the lesson and preaching I heard today, at least in my mind. There are so many roads and intersections out there today. It can be easy to get guided in the wrong direction, take a wrong turn, or get completely off course. False teaching and heresies abound as much or more today than at any time in history. And we have so much “political correctness” being shoved at us in the name of tolerance that more and more folks are getting turned down the wrong road. It’s true there are many roads that lead to one destination. But all of those “broad” roads lead to hell, not to Paradise.
PC it isn’t but the truth is this: There is only one way and that is through Christ Jesus. And thank God we have a map to lead us along the road: the Bible.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I would like to share a story with you. It’s a true story that I was blessed to find out about recently.
A man was talking with his friend. He had been saved when he was young but fallen away from his faith many yeas ago. Under heavy conviction, he had a conversation with his friend about the things of God. His friend explained to him how far short we fall of God’s goodness and how we must put our whole trust in Christ alone to save us. The man said he didn’t know how to go about getting saved again at that point. His friend then explained that you can’t be re-saved; naturally and spiritually we have one birth, not multiple ones. He then explained that he needed to truly repent and pray for forgiveness.
It was a few weeks later that the conversation happened that I initially referred to. The man thanked his friend from the bottom of his heart for explaining this truth to him. He said that he had been praying for years but for the wrong thing: He didn’t need to be saved but forgiven and once he asked for the right thing he instantly felt like “God wiped all the sin from my heart”.
Thank God He’s still in the saving and forgiving business!
Hebrews 7:27; 10:10
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
In each of us in our different lives and interests we all have different things that motivate us. An athlete is usually motivated by compitition, a parent by love, and an employee by one of several things, the need to make a paycheck being one for sure.
As many of you know, I used to be in the car business; yup, I was a used car salesman, among many other “hats” I wore during my time in that business. We were paid twice a month and each half started a new; in other words if you had not produced, you made no commission, and therefore no paycheck. So I was comstantly motivated to make sales in order to pay bills, put food on the table, etc.
Today when we look around at the world, our own country, and even our communities we see things that we would have never imagained a mere few years ago. Unfortunately I’m speaking of bad, ungodly, unrighteous things that surround us and our families.
The Bible teaches that as the end draws near the world will become more depraved, false teachings more rampant, and a general moral decline will beset it. We know we are living in the last days now, the final age, the period of Grace, how ever one wishes to call it. These things and the very fact that the clock ticks away as I write this and you read it show we are coming closer and closer to the end.
For a Christian this is a twofold idea: On one hand we are closing in on our goal of finishing the race and being Home with the Lord. And yet we must be horrified by the thought of the vast numbers of people, family, friends, loved ones, and those we don’t even know, who are facing an eternity of torment. Should that single thought not be motivation for everyone one of us to tell at least one person each day of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.