Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – False Teachers

August 28, 2011 at 7:19 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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    Preface

For more than a century, J. C. Ryle was the leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England.  His policy was to encourage the conservative men to remain in the church rather than to abandon ship and leave the liberals to pursue their program unhindered.

J. C. Ryle is best known for his plain and lively writings on practical and spiritual themes.  His great aim in all his ministry, was to encourage strong and serious Christian living.  But Ryle was not naive in his understanding of how this should be done.  He recognized that, as a pastor of the flock of God, he had a responsibility to guard Christ’s sheep and to warn them whenever he saw approaching dangers.  His penetrating comments are as wise and relevant today as they were when he first wrote them.  His sermons and other writings have been consistently recognized, and their usefulness and impact have continued to the present day, even in the outdated English of the author’s own day. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – False Teachers…

The purpose of the church

November 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about this for awhile, but it becomes more apparent the more I study the scriptures. I’ve studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 John, and now I’m doing a study on the spiritual gifts. In every study, I’ve seen a picture of the church, and when I compare the picture I see in the scriptures with the one that I see in America, they don’t match. It seems like the church in America (and other countries) no longer understands its purpose. No one seems to know what the church is about and this leads to a lot of busyness with nothing substantial to show for it. There are numerous churches who have many ministries and events but to what end? Certain churches are growing and the numbers are increasing but is this a proper gauge? When did it become all about the quantity of “Christians” in the church instead of the quality of the Christians as shown by the way they live their lives?
 
So, what is the purpose of the church? Well, first, you have to understand what the word church means. The word church is found only in the New Testament. It is the Greek word ekklesia and it means: church, congregation, assembly; a group of people gathered together. It can refer to the OT assembly of believers, a riotous mob, but usually to a Christian assembly, a church: as a totality or in a specific locale. In the NT a church is never a building or meeting place. So what does this mean? It means that the church is not the building you meet in whether it’s an actual church building or someone’s house. Instead, a church is the group of believers that meet in that building. Nowadays, it seems like people are more concerned about the state of the building than the state of the people meeting there. It is important to understand that it’s not just anyone who meets, it is the believers who meet. Those who are not believers are not part of the church.
 
Now that we have a simple understand of what the church is, what is its purpose? There are a few things that the church was designed for. The main purpose of the church is to glorify God. Many people would say that it is seeking the lost, but I disagree. As believing individuals, our main purpose in life is to glorify God. Why would that change when we gather together? If we do not glorify God, then it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing does it? There are other important purposes for the churches existence as well. A few of these can be found in Ephesians 4:11-13.
 
and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists,
and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs
to the fullness of Christ.
There are some interesting things to note here. First, there are specific reasons why God gave the spiritual gifts and none of them have to do with someone becoming rich and famous. It’s not the point of this blog to go into whether or not some of these gifts still exist or not (I believe they do) so I’ll leave that for another time. Second, the church is for the equipping of the saints. It is not for sinners. That may sound harsh or unorthodox now, but it’s the truth. The church and its purposes completely revolve around born-again believers. But, today this is not what we see. So many churches have gone to “church growth methods” like the ones at Willow Creek or Saddleback in order to get numbers. In doing so, they’ve gone out to the non-Christians to ask them why they don’t come to church and then tailored their “churches” to suit those who are lost. It seems to be a very weak and very dangerous substitute for evangelism. Instead of going out into all the world to preach the gospel, many try to lure them in with wordly entertainments preach the precepts of men as the doctrine of God.
 
The fact that the church is for believers becomes even more specific though. There are many churches who are filled with believers, but they are still not fitting the purpose that God intended. Why? Because the saints are being entertained instead of being equipped. The churchgoers come to service on Sunday and hear a sermon series on the summer blockbuster movies or popular music icons (like U2) instead of hearing the unadulterated Word of God. They don’t hear the truth or how they can apply it to their lives so that they can grow in holiness. They don’t get the scriptures they need to defend the faith and fight the good fight. The sad thing about all of this is that it is now commonplace. If things don’t go this way, it is an anomaly.
 
The purpose gets still more specific though. The saints are to be equipped for the work of service. What service? Simple. Going out to preach the gospel to all creation, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and teach them to observe all the things that Christ commanded us. The equipping of the saints also facilitates the building up of the body of Christ so that we are unified in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God. This too has not happened. There are numerous denominations and each one of them is going to heaven while the rest are going to hell. We are obviously not unified in our faith. Thousands of Christian brothers and sisters are spurned and treated unbiblically because they don’t fit in the right clique. They are not able to exercise their gifts to glorify God because they aren’t related to someone in charge or because they don’t have the right kind of clothes, the right salary, or the right kind of car. Not only are we not unified in our faith, we’re not unified in our knowledge of the Son of God! There are many people who claim to be Christians who have a false view of Jesus or the gospel. They don’t believe that God is in control, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, or that the Trinity exists. Some don’t even believe that Jesus is God! And these are supposed to be BELIEVERS! Many churches have tossed aside what scripture says in order to embrace a man-made system that provides them the money, power, and prestige they want while neglecting the needs of the church and the lost!
 
From what I see in scripture, this is not how it’s supposed to be. The church is supposed to be like this. You are saved and you become part of a local church. The pastor-teacher teaches you the truth and shows you how to apply it to your life so that you can glorify God and grow in holiness. You are taught about the spiritual gift(s) that you have from scripture (not man made doctrine!).You then begin to use these gifts to glorify God. The church also makes it possible for you to learn how to evangelize and tell others about Jesus. You do this either by becoming an evangelist (if that’s your gift!) and traveling the world preaching the truth or by taking the opportunities presented to you daily as you go about your life. When someone responds to the gospel in repentence and faith, they become part of the church and the cycle continues. There is nothing about entertaining the lost at church. There is nothing about catering to those who hate God, but this is what is happening.
 
Part of the reason our country (and world) is in the condition it is in is because the church has left its purpose in order to pursue worldly things. Many “pastors” today seem to hope that the one or two lines they sneak in about Jesus in the middle of their sermon series on the Spice Girls will somehow be absorbed by osmosis. They seem to think (erroneously) that it’s enough. It’s not enough. Until the church gets back to fulfilling its God-given purpose and loses all of the other things that it has taken up in hopes of inflating its membership, it will never accomplish what it is supposed to…

Just Stop!

December 29, 2008 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Christianity | 5 Comments
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As 2009 begins, I wanted to write a plea to Christians, to other faiths, to Americans, and to the world. My plea is this:

 

Just Stop!

 

To Americans: STOP blaming everything but our sins for the problems that we are now facing! Do you realize that God promised all the problems that we have at this moment to the nation who turns its back on Him? From diseases, to plagues, to enemy attacks, to financial instability, these things are because of our sins. It doesn’t matter who we put into office or what kind of legislation or efforts we make, unless our nation turns back to God, things will only get worse. Not only that, but why not take the time to learn some of our nation’s 200 year history? So many people talk about how having Christianity in the political process, the government, and in schools is unconstitutional because of the “separation of church and state”. Do you realize how ludicrous you look when doing this because you don’t know your own country’s history? The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. It comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. But the idea of “separation of church and state” is not in there either. The founding fathers of this nation feared God and depended on Him to guide their nation. The only thing found in the constitution is the idea that the nation cannot declare a state religion. The U.S. has never declared a state religion although, until recently, it has been recognized by most as a Christian nation. How much has to happen to us before we cast aside our pride and admit that IT IS OUR FAULT?!?!

 

Also, to those who lead our nation, what are you thinking? STOP thinking only of yourselves and nothing of the nation or the future. You don’t seem to care what happens as long as you get yours. You are supposed to be serving the people and yet you’ve done nothing to help our nation get back on track. You vote yourselves a raise every year, even though you don’t do your job, no matter what the economy is like. In the meantime, thousands of people are being laid off and put in positions where they can’t even afford to feed their families, while you make six figure salaries. Why? STOP relying on everything but God and leading our nation away from the One who can actually save us. You rub shoulders with those who pay you the most money while ignoring the people you’re supposed to be representing. You seem to have forgotten the history of our nation and the giants whose shoulders you’re standing on. Just STOP! STOP blasting America and her leaders while you sleep with the enemy and cater to them and their desires (thank you Mr. Carter…). And, all of this is going on while our soldiers are fighting these people overseas! STOP allowing the leaders of foreign countries to speak at American universities like dignitaries when they’ve made it clear that they hate America. Just in case there are a few in Congress who actually strive to do what God desires, then I encourage you to be bolder in your faith. Either you are being overshadowed by the wickedness and deception of the majority or you’re not speaking loud enough to be heard.

 

To those who preach tolerance: First, learn the definition of the word. It is not being accepting of everything and everyone by compromising your faith. Being tolerant is putting up with something even though you disagree with it. STOP saying that you are tolerant and open to all beliefs when you rail against Christianity and those who follow Christ. That doesn’t seem very tolerant (by either definition), if you ask me. You whine and complain saying Christians are intolerant, but you practice the very same thing in regard to Christians. If you really want to be tolerant, then treat Christians and Christianity like you treat everyone else. If you don’t want to do that, then treat everyone else just like you treat Christians. The truth is Christianity, while exclusive, is the most tolerant belief system there is! If you look around the world, you don’t see much about Muslims being killed (unless it’s by other Muslims), but you hear about the Christians in Iraq who are living naked in the woods because the Muslims there have threatened their lives. You don’t hear much about Hindus being killed, but you hear about the Christians in Orissa being killed by Hindu radicals for the death of a high-level Hindu cleric, even though it’s been proven that the Christians had nothing to do with it! How many atheists are being persecuted and killed for their lack of faith? If you’re going to preach tolerance, then live it out as well. Otherwise, STOP!

 

To Muslims:  STOP trying to compare your beliefs to Christianity. They aren’t even close. Allah is not the same as the God of the Bible. Islam is not the religion of peace that many Muslims try to convince Westerners it is (read Surahs 9:29, 5:33). We don’t worship the same God. We differ on the fact that Jesus is God. In Islam, you have to work for your salvation. You must do a list of things to be saved. Even then, you’re not guaranteed that you’ll be saved when judgment comes. In Christianity, you can do nothing to help with your salvation. It is by grace that we are saved and nothing else (Ephesians 2:8-9). In Islam, an “angel” (Gabriel) came and gave the “revelation” of Islam to Muhammed. Oddly enough, much of the “revelation” is based on 2nd century Jewish fables and self-serving “decrees” given to Muhammed by “Allah”. In Christianity, God Himself spoke to prophets and patriarchs in the Old Testament, and through His Son in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:2). To those in the U.S. who call themselves Muslims: read the Quran and the Hadith. If you’re not following this, then can you really be called a Muslim? You claim that the Bible is corrupted and untrustworthy even though the Quran has a myriad of problems and contradictions that you seem to ignore and that cannot be reconciled. You don’t have anything in common with Christianity except where the Quran has correctly lifted verses from scripture…

 

To atheists/evolutionists: Whether or not you believe that God exists is your choice, but at least be intellectually honest about what you believe. STOP saying your belief is based on “cold, hard facts”. Your belief that God does not exist is a metaphysical one. Many of you have been trying to deny, rewrite, or erase the history of our country that shows that those who founded our nation were men and women who not only believed God, they feared Him and it’s apparent in their writings and quotes. Also, STOP trying lump the God of the Bible together with false gods like Allah, Buddha, Wotam, Odin, Zeus, and the “flying spaghetti monster”. I also have to wonder if you really believe what you say. According to what you believe, God doesn’t exist. If that’s true, then there is no basis for morality. I may be missing something, but if that’s true, shouldn’t there be a lot more bloodshed and anarchy? If you really believe in “survival of the fittest” and “man makes the rules”, then why don’t we see more atheists and evolutionists attacking others or using violence to get what they want? Isn’t that how nature works according to what you believe? Not only that, but why do leading atheists (including Richard Dawkins) admit that the atheistic/evolutionary worldview is savage and try to promote a Christian morality without Christ? If you don’t believe that God exists, why does He bother you so much? Why not just be honest and say that you don’t believe He exists because you don’t like the moral laws that come with His existence? Why not just be honest and say that you hate Him and be done with it?

 

To homosexuals: STOP hiding behind excuses. You claim that you are victims because you can’t have the same rights as heterosexual people. In actuality, you do have the same rights as heterosexuals. You just choose not to take part in some of them because they contradict the lifestyle that you choose to live in. Also, STOP trying to compare homosexuality to skin color. The color of someone’s skin is not a choice they make. They are born with it. To compare the “trouble” that homosexuals are going through to the race issues of the 60’s is ridiculous and an insult to those who suffered through those times and even lost their lives in the troubles. Homosexuality is not genetic. The Bible says that when God created man, He made a man and woman. He then instituted marriage between the two in Genesis 2. That’s what marriage is. That is the definition of marriage and to be married, you need to ascribe to it as God created it. If you choose not to, then you are not married. STOP pretending to be Christians when you are living a sinful lifestyle. The Bible clearly says that homosexuality is an abomination to God. This is not just an Old Testament idea (Leviticus 18:22). Paul spends a lot of time in the New Testament saying the same thing (1 Cor. 6:9, Gal. 5:16-19, Rom. 1). If you choose to reject what the scripture says and go ahead to live a sinful lifestyle, then you cannot be a Christian. You are choosing to rebel against God and His Word even though many of you have been told very clearly what the Bible says. That is not the lifestyle of a Christian and it will prevent you from being saved. To those who support “homosexual Christians”, STOP! You are doing nothing but perpetuating a false view of what scripture says and deceiving others into believing they are saved when they aren’t! If you’re going to attack Christians (like that weak Prop 8 musical) at least get some idea of what Biblical Christians really believe (see the next section).

 

To those who hate Christ/Christianity: If you are going to attack Christianity/Christ, please STOP using the same weak arguments. Please STOP setting up straw men that are easily knocked down and ridiculed. I know that it makes you look good and that it helps to persuade people to agree with you, but it is poor form. Not only that but if you’re going to argue, please STOP with the potty mouth. It doesn’t do anything to further your argument and makes you look like a juvenile delinquent (no offense to juvenile delinquents intended…).  If you’re going to attack Christianity, at least make an argument based on Biblical Christianity. Take the time to do some research on what scripture actually says. Do the work to understand what true Christians actually believe and what the Bible really says and then make your argument. If your not willing to do that (whether it’s because you’re too lazy, you think that Christians are beneath you and not worth the time, etc…), then STOP whining and arguing! Many of the arguments used nowadays are the same regurgitated arguments that have been refuted for years (some for centuries). Also, please understand that many (if not the majority) of the “pastors” and “evangelists” that you see on television do not represent Biblical Christianity.

 

To those religions who claim to have ties to Christianity: God the Father is eternal. He is not a man who has been elevated to “god” status, nor does He have any wives. Jesus is eternal as well. He is not a “spirit child” of the “Father” and one of “His” wives. Jesus is God and not just a man or prophet. He is NOT the spirit brother of Lucifer. You cannot do anything to help yourself to enter heaven. STOP trying to force people to believe unnecessary things (dogmas, etc…) as part of their salvation. STOP adding to or taking away from Biblical Christianity to suit yourself. STOP redefining what Christianity is instead of seeing it the way God defines it. STOP trying to read modern ideas and thoughts into the scriptures. Instead, read the Bible the way that it was meant to be read. STOP trying to weave Eastern mysticism (yoga, “centering” prayer, etc…) into the gospel (Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, Doug Pagitt)! STOP claiming that everyone will be saved (universalism), even if they don’t know Jesus. This is a horrible heresy that has no grounds in scripture. You are propagating a false doctrine that will lead numerous people to hell. STOP! If you are not going to follow Biblical Christianity, then please STOP calling yourself a Christian.

 

To pastors: STOP preaching a false gospel and making false converts. You are supposed to be teaching, protecting, and leading people to Christ. If you’re not preaching the truth of scripture, then STOP calling yourself a pastor, STOP calling what you speak a sermon, and STOP calling your group of people a church. If you’re going to spend your time tickling ears and entertaining people instead of warning people about hell and motivating those who believe to go out with you to preach the gospel, then you’re not a pastor, you’re a motivational speaker or a cheap entertainer. STOP preaching prosperity as the reason Christ came and telling others they should be “blessed” and if they’re not, they are missing out (Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Bill Winston, Creflo Dollar). STOP talking about the blessing of Abraham as dealing with material things and actually read the whole text of Galatians 3 in context. STOP saying that we should be “blessed” so that we can turn around and bless others. I can go out and preach the gospel and not have to spend anything, and I will, if it I really want to bless people. STOP encouraging the greed of others to seek material “blessings”. STOP teaching others that they can somehow create the things that they want by “speaking in faith”. STOP telling people that they shouldn’t be sick or they might not be saved. STOP telling people that they should be speaking to the weather, or their circumstances, or any number of other things like they have control. STOP blurring the line between God and man. You bring God down to the level of man and raise man up to the level of God. STOP replacing the true gospel with one that focuses on social ills (Rick Warren). STOP trying to tell believers (or those who call themselves believers) that they need to be spending their time and money helping fight poverty, illiteracy, and hunger. While these are things that we do need to help fight, they are not as important as the eternal destiny of the souls of humanity. STOP saying that the focus of Christianity is “joy, peace, love, and hope”. IT’S NOT! The focus of Christianity is the glory of God through the salvation of man by God’s grace brought about through the death of Christ and His resurrection. The Bible gives no guarantee that the Christian life will be sunshine and roses. As a matter of fact, Jesus gives the promise of persecution to His followers a number of times. STOP teaching people they should feel good about themselves (Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller) when the Bible says that they are wretched sinners. STOP telling people that they just need to “be positive” and “think good thoughts”. STOP trying to be relevant and mimic the world. If you are riding motorcycles on the stage or using secular songs as the basis for your “sermons” STOP! You are not only making a fool of yourself, you are giving haters of Christ an easy time mocking the Lord. STOP courting sinners and tickling their ears with what they want to hear instead of preaching the truth. STOP talking to the unsaved to determine how you’re going to run your church (Bill Hybels). STOP trying to make programs to bring people in the church in the hopes that they might get saved by osmosis while listening to one of your weak, unscriptural messages. STOP shrinking back from speaking Biblical truth because it might offend someone or cause the numbers in the church to go down. STOP compromising the gospel.

 

To those who support unbiblical ideas: STOP calling abortion the removal of “blobs of tissue” when it’s murder and an abomination to God. STOP saying that abortion is about a woman’s choice, when it is about whether you are going to follow God or man. STOP saying that everyone will be saved. I know I said this above, but it bears repeating. Not all religions lead to heaven and God. Only one does. Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” and “that no man comes to the Father but through Him” (John 14:6). This means that if you haven’t repented of your sins and put your trust in Christ, then you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. STOP telling people that hell is not a real place or avoiding the topic at all. Jesus makes it clear that hell is real and that those who are found with their sins unpaid for on the Day of Judgment will be sent there.

 

To Christians in general: If you’re one of the dying breed that obey Biblical Christianity and what the Bible says, keep fighting. Don’t compromise the truth in the name of “love” or “tolerance”. Don’t grow weary because you think that you are the only one who is trying to follow Biblical Christianity the way that Jesus laid it down in the gospels. Remember that if you are truly following the scriptures and doing what God has called all Christians to do, people will hate you. When you speak the truth of the Bible and tell wretched sinners that they will go to hell because they are in rebellion against God, they will not like you. Unfortunately, in America, you will be in the minority. There will be numerous legions of “believers” who will tell you that you need to focus on the love of God. They will shake their head as you preach the truth because they don’t understand it. You will find yourself in hardship and may find yourself alone at times. Nonetheless, it is a worthy thing that you do regardless of whether or not the majority of “believers” agree with you. I encourage you to look for those of like mind and heart. Find those who are more concerned about the truth being preached and the lost hearing how they can be soundly saved. Be bold in the preaching of the truth. Stand in the open square and shout to be heard. Don’t let emotion keep you from telling others the reality of hell and the future of those who die in their sins. Make sure that your motive is the same as Christ’s. Grieve over those who walk away from you at the end of the message without repenting, but trust that God is well able to move on their hearts and confirm the seed of truth that you preached.

 

If you’re one of the many people who claim to be Christian but you do not follow the Biblical view of what a Christian is/should be, then I would have to wonder. If you hold to a worldview that doesn’t agree with what scripture says, then I would have to wonder. If you openly live your life in opposition to what the Bible says, then I don’t have to wonder, you’re not a Christian. It’s really that simple. If Christianity is just a way for you to be “blessed”, or a way for you to feel good about yourself, or a way for you to live the life you want to live; then I don’t just wonder; I’m concerned for you. Christianity is about the sinfulness of man. It’s about how man is a wretch and is unable to save himself. It is about how he rebels against God on a daily (if not minute by minute) basis and is at enmity with Him. It is about how man deserves hell because of the sins he’s committed against a holy and just God. And, it’s about the fact that despite how decrepit and wicked man is, God came to earth and died for us. It’s about how God paid the fine that we couldn’t pay so that He could dismiss the legal case against us. Because of God’s Law, we are all guilty. The punishment for the crime against a perfect, eternal God is eternal damnation in hell. Because God paid our fine, if we are willing to do things on His terms, we can have our case dismissed and be free to go. For this to happen, we don’t “ask Jesus into our heart”. We must repent (turn form our sins) and put our trust in Jesus (like we would trust a parachute). If we will do this, then God will forgive our sins and grant us eternal life. If that’s not your version of Christianity, then I would urge you to examine your motives, your understanding, and your heart. Please make sure of your salvation and know that your eternity and the eternity of those around you may be at stake!

The name of God is blasphemed because of you

November 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Christianity | 6 Comments
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Rom 2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

Rom 2:2  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

Rom 2:3  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Rom 2:4  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Rom 2:5  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

Rom 2:6  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

Rom 2:7  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

Rom 2:8  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Rom 2:9  There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

Rom 2:10  but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Rom 2:11  For there is no partiality with God.

Rom 2:12  For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

Rom 2:13  for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

Rom 2:14  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

Rom 2:15  in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Rom 2:16  on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Rom 2:17  But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18  and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Rom 2:19  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Rom 2:20  a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

Rom 2:21  you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

Rom 2:22  You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Rom 2:23  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?

Rom 2:24  For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

Rom 2:25  For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Rom 2:26  So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom 2:27  And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

 

I know this is a long passage. To be honest, I could have made it longer by putting up chapter 1 as well. The therefore at the beginning of the chapter connects it to what Paul was talking about in chapter 1. At the end of the first chapter, Paul talks about those who have turned away from God. They knew God and turned their back on Him. They didn’t/don’t honor Him as God and now they speculate foolishly about God and His creation. They call themselves wise, even though their fools. They worship the creature instead of their Creator. Because of this, God has given them over to their lusts. He’s allowed them to drift farther and farther away from Him because that’s what they wanted. They have gotten so far from Him that “women have the natural function for that which is unnatural” and “the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Paul then goes on to give a list of things that describe these people.

 

In the second chapter, Paul continues explaining and gets to the heart of the matter. It is something that grieves me to see happening today. Paul continues talking to the hypocrites and tells them that the name of God is blasphemed because of them. They have been judging others and practicing the same sins they’ve been judging. This doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t judge. I know many will throw out Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”. But, Jesus also said, in John 7:24, “judge not by appearance but by righteous judgment”. We are to judge with righteous judgment, and that judgment only comes from God. When we line up our lives and those of others to the Word of God, if there are discrepancies, we have a responsibility to point them out with the right attitude. We don’t become their judge and we don’t hold it over them, but we do let them know the truth of their predicament and what could happen if they continue to live in sin.

 

Paul also says that it’s not someone who calls themselves a Jew that’s a Jew. It doesn’t matter if you do the rituals. That’s not what makes you a Jew. If you call yourself a Jew and transgress the Law, you are no better than a Gentile. But the one who has had his heart circumcised by the Spirit is a Jew. Someone who calls themselves a Christian and does all the outward things to “prove” they’re a Christian but doesn’t obey the gospel, isn’t a Christian at all.

 

There are numerous people today in the church who live like this. They go to Sunday school and church on Sunday. They are there on Wednesday nights. They can pray out loud in front of others like nobody’s business. They can speak the “lingo” and have all the right Christianese phrases, but they hearts are far from God. They can mimic their pastors and teachers, but don’t know (or care) whether what is coming from them is correct. They feel good about themselves and want others to feel good about them. They chase prosperity and health and teach others to do the same thinking that they’re fulfilling the great commission. They judge others and practice the same sins. They think that they are above the judgment of God and are arrogant and self-righteous. They boast in the Law or in their own works. They know God’s will and choose not to obey it. They are confident that they’re living a righteous life and get upset when someone gives even the slightest hint that they might not be.

 

The most horrible effect of this, other than the fact that they’re deceived into thinking they’re Christians, is the fact that God’s name is being blasphemed because of them. The name above all names. The name by which every man, woman, and child will be saved. The name at which every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The name that is so holy to the Jews that they won’t even write it out. This name is being blasphemed because of those who call themselves Christians and don’t live like it. Paul tells the Romans that they non-believers are watching them and blaspheming the name of God because they see “believers” acting just as immoral and unholy as they are. Sadly, it’s still going on today and it seems to be even worse than ever.

 

I’ve talked to many friends who are waiters or waitresses at restaurants and they all agree that Sundays are the worst day to work. It’s not because of the fact that they miss church. It’s because of the “church crowd”. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that the “Christians” who come from church are some of the most rude, obnoxious, ungrateful people to serve. They don’t tip well (if they tip at all), and they have an air about them like they’re royalty. How does this look to those servers who aren’t Christians? They see the attitude of the “church-goers” and how they are treated by them, and have a horrible view of God and the church because of it!

 

There have been numerous times over the years of those leading a church being caught up in a sexual scandal. The world sees this and scoffs. To their eyes, God obviously isn’t powerful enough to help His people stay away from that. They see pastors/clergy/preachers as hypocrites (and they are) because they preach truth, righteousness, and chastity in the pulpit, and then disobey what they’ve just preached.

 

Another reason the name of God is blasphemed is because of the false prophets, false teachers, televangelists, and prosperity preachers. People like Peter Popoff talk all about God and say the right things in their “crusades” and bilk thousands of people out of millions of dollars a year. When it was shown that Popoff was a fraud, he wasn’t the one that was affected. It was God’s name that was blasphemed and Christianity was ridiculed. Popoff was just “another one of them preachers”. The same goes for the numerous (and the numbers seem to be growing) prosperity preachers. People like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Bill Winston, Jerry Savelle, Benny Hinn, and many others preach a man centered message that skews the truth of scripture and portrays a false Jesus. They teach that Christians should be healthy and wealthy because “it’s their right as Christians”. They teach that we have some sort of “mandate” from heaven to be rich and healthy. They teach that God needs our permission before He can take action here on earth. It’s all false. There is nothing in scripture that supports this. People who preach this type of message sound like a broken record. They preach the same messages and same scriptures over and over again. They take scriptures out of context to support their false teaching and constantly ask for money to support their ministry so that their followers can be “blessed”. But where does all the money that gets “sown” into their “ministries” go? I’m sure that some of it goes to good things, but is a 6 million dollar mansion necessary? Another more recent example of this is the Lakeland “revival” that took place in Florida. Todd Bentley, the leader of the revival, claimed that thousands were saved and healed. There were even claims that people rose from the dead. There was no documentation to show any of this. In fact, there were some cases of people dying because an expected healing didn’t come. And the shenanigans that went on just gave non-Christians another reason to blaspheme God’s name.

 

There are many instances of false prophets as well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say they’ve had a “Word from the Lord” and it hasn’t come to pass. Many of these people are the same ones that preach the prosperity message. There are others though. I lost track of the number of times that I heard someone say that God told them that John McCain and Sarah Palin would win the election because “they were raised up for such a time as this”. One prominent person who “prophesied” this was Dutch Sheets. In case you’ve been in a cave somewhere, that didn’t happen. So, according to the scriptures, those who “prophesied” this are false prophets. So what was the response of Mr. Sheets when his “prophecy” didn’t come to pass? It was because God’s people didn’t stand up and vote like they should have. Mr. Sheets said that this election was not the will of God. Um…whose will was it then? Doesn’t scripture say that God is the one that puts kings and rulers into place and takes them out? First, as a false prophet in the Old Testament, Mr. Sheets would have been stoned to death by the nation. Second, if I understand Mr. Sheets correctly, he’s saying that the reason the “Word” that God gave him didn’t come to pass was the fault of God’s people. Where is this in scripture Mr. Sheets? If we look in the Bible where would we find this? As a matter of fact, let’s just look at the book of Genesis and the “Words” God gave.

 

In Genesis 3, God tells Adam and Eve of the seed of the woman. Women don’t have seed. And yet, in God’s time, a young virgin woman conceived by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word came to pass, even though Herod tried to kill all the kids two years old and younger. Even though many other things tried to thwart the plan of God.

 

In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that He will bless him and make him out of a great nation. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham that He will give him a son of his own. Abraham had a son just like God promised, even though Abraham tried to do it on his own. It didn’t thwart God’s plan that Abraham had Ishmael. The promised child was still born. God’s Word still came to pass. God’s will wasn’t dependant on His people.

 

In Genesis 28, God gives Jacob a promise that his descendants would be given the land that he was resting on and that his descendants would be a great nation. That’s come to pass too, despite God’s people.

 

In Genesis 37, God gives Joseph two dreams. Both of them consist of Joseph’s family bowing down to him. In Genesis 40, Joseph receives the interpretation of two dreams. In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh. All of these things came to pass. Jacob and his sons ended up bowing to Joseph when he was made second in all Egypt. The cupbearer was restored to his position while the baker was hanged. There were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Not only that, but the famine helped bring Israel into Egypt where another one of God’s plans was fulfilled. In Genesis 15, God told Abraham during the making of their covenant that his descendants would be strangers in a land that wasn’t theirs for four hundred years. When Israel left Egypt on the Passover, it was 430 years after they entered. They entered Egypt as 70 people and came out as millions. They were a nation.

 

Everything that God has ever spoken has come to pass, regardless of God’s people. Much of what the prophets of the Old Testament has come to pass. What hasn’t come to pass yet will come to pass in the future.

 

To be honest, I’m tired of hearing that people have a “Word from God”. Many of times, these “Words” use scripture out of context and twist the meaning to make it fit that “Word”. When these things don’t come to pass, how does that do anything to edify the body? What do non-Christians think when they see these people “prophesying” in the name of God and it doesn’t come to pass? IF all of these people are hearing from God and it’s not coming to pass, is God really all knowing or all-powerful? If this wasn’t God’s will, then is God running around making up backup plans? If all these people aren’t hearing from God, they are false prophets. If they’re not hearing from God, who are they hearing from? If they “hear from God” and they’re wrong, why should I believe other things that they say?

 

This is a sad commentary on how far the church has drifted from the truth. We love to hear what we want to hear and there seem to be a growing number of preachers who will speak exactly what we want to hear. They don’t tell us what we need to hear. They tell us what will keep us coming back and giving money. They will make us feel invincible and above God. They will build us up on a foundation of false scripture and present to us a false Jesus that loves what we love and hates what we hate. These are the people that Peter warned about in his second epistle. It is a call to repentance. The church is still losing its influence and we seem to be oblivious to it all. We need to stand up for the truth even if it means disciplining people, calling false prophets/teachers what they are, and holding our preachers up to the standard of the Word. We must not take anything for granted and when things don’t line up, we have to ask questions. Where are the real Christians? It’s time to start standing up for the truth!

The charlatans of the gospel

March 31, 2008 at 11:26 am | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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In the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a group of people who made their living running cons and scams in many places in the US. These are not the only people that have ever done this, but they are of interest to me. Many of these men and women worked the Mississippi River. They played games like three-card monte and the shell game. There whole purpose was to find people willing to play the games and then take them for as much money as they could. They would make the games look extremely simple and easy to win, but when the person put their money down, they always lost. Not all of the con artists of the time ran these games though. Others worked through fraud or scams to make their money. I bet that you’re wondering what this has to do with Christianity right? Well, while it’s nothing new, there seem to be a lot of charlatans in the church as well.

I’m not talking about those that are (or should be) obvious. I would hope that you would be able to see them for what they are. I’m talking about in the “mainstream” denominations. If we were to look at some of the main denominations, we would find plenty of charlatans. Before I go on, let me define a charlatan. Simply put, a charlatan is a fraud or “quack”. What they are doing or saying is not true. Interestingly, the Webster’s New World dictionary that I got the definition from also said that a charlatan was a seller of papal indulgences…

Many charlatans have used religion as a way for them to make their money. As I said before, this is nothing new. In recent times, people like Father Divine (George Baker), Aimee Semple McPherson, and Peter Popoff have used “faith” to fleece people of untold amounts of money. While their methods differ, each of them used cunning and glib words to deceive people. They told the people what they wanted to hear and used whatever means necessary to prove it.

As charlatans go, nothing seems to have changed. There are numerous preachers around the world and on TV that are using the same methods to draw otherwise faithful people away from God. The messages are a little different depending on whom you’re listening to, but they are all similar in some respects. The greatest similarity in all of those who use “faith” to mislead others, is the twisting of scripture. They will take verses out of context and make them say what they want in order to show that they have “God’s” support. Another similarity is that many of them seem to imply that those who follow them have to believe everything they say. If someone were ever to doubt them, they would be guilty of “not understanding” or being a “black sheep”. Their questioning of the charlatan would show that they “don’t have the faith” to see the “truth”.

Most of these men and women spend time on how God wants people blessed. They talk about the blessing of God in every sermon they preach. Some of them focus on the financial blessing of God while others focus on the power of God. Some have made their focus the “fact” that God wants us to be positive about life. It is a message filled with a lot of New Age ideas about thinking positive and seeing things in a “positive light”. They give light, airy messages about how great life will be if they just follow the right steps. Others have taken things that God clearly says are wrong and made them ok. They spend much of their time focusing on the love of God and His grace toward sinners and lull their congregations into a false sense of security. Still others make out a laundry list of things that their people can or cannot do without risking hell. They tell them what to believe and how to believe it. They make rules for who is forgiven of their sins and who is not.

The sad part about all of this is the fact that there are many people who believe them. There are many people that are so eager to be blessed by God that they completely forgo logic and reasoning. They spend all of their time and what little money they have giving to these ministries and devouring their teachings. They are so captivated with how to “stay positive” that they completely lose sight of who God is and what is really going on in their lives. They deny certain situations because it would cause them to be “negative”. Others are so caught up in their sin that they seek out someone to tell them that what they doing is ok. They don’t want to hear that their lifestyle or actions are wrong and many Christians are afraid to tell them. Instead, they just look for someone who will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear. Then there are those who would rather follow man and his ideas. They are allowed to live their lives the way that they want because they’ve learned how to manipulate the rules in their favor. All of these things (and more) are happening in the body of Christ as you read this and it’s an utter tragedy.

It’s a tragedy because people are being hurt and broken due to the false teachings. They are being misled into thinking that what they’re hearing is the truth and they have been conditioned not to see for themselves. Many of them got “saved” because of these ministries and have no inkling of how to check what they’re learning against scripture. They are being taken and the saddest part of all is that it’s not just their money that’s at stake; it’s their eternal future. These charlatans are playing fast and loose with people’s souls and it seems to be growing more common all the time.

So, how do we change this? We have to start by stopping. We have to stop teaching things that are not scripturally correct. Contrary to popular belief, God made a number of things very clear when He had scripture written. There are some things that take a lot of studying, but not things that need to be understood for salvation. Once we stop teaching the things that are false, we have to start teaching the truth. We have to help people to not only read the Bible, but to understand it! If I hand you the gospel of John in Chinese and you can’t read Chinese, then it’s not going to do you a bit of good. It has to be understood because it has to be applied. To know the truth, you have to know what it says the way God said it. That means that the scriptural and historical context has to be understood as well. Not only that, but we also have to drop any presuppositions we have about what the scriptures say. We cannot bring our interpretation into the Bible and make it line up with scripture. We have to let scripture tear down whatever false ideas we may have about what scripture says.

“Gee, that sounds like a lot of work!” Of course it is, but isn’t it worth it? Shouldn’t we have the desire to actually know the truth of the Word of God and how to apply it? Shouldn’t we be hungry to know what God has to say to us? We can’t allow ourselves to get caught up in the “emotion” of it all. I have seen many people that go to church because it’s just so emotional. The music and the message whip them into an emotional frenzy and they end up on a spiritual high for about two days. It’s not about an “emotional high”! It’s about living the truth!

See, while the charlatans will tell you that God wants you “blessed” the Bible says that there is more to it. Does God want to bless us? YES! But, that blessing comes from obedience. And, that blessing is more than just money. While the charlatans will tell you to be positive, scripture gives many examples of people who were in the midst of trials and tribulations and cried out in anger or frustration. They understood who God was and knew that He was there with them, but it didn’t mean that they denied what they were facing. While the charlatans will tell you that you can live how you want because “God loves you”, the Bible says that God’s wrath is on the sons of disobedience. If you’re living in a way that is in opposition to God’s Word, then you’re living in sin and it will send you straight to hell if something isn’t done about it. While the charlatans will tell you that you can go to heaven if you jump through a number of hoops and walk on a razor’s edge, the Bible says that if you repent of your sins (turn from the things that you know are wrong and stop doing them) and put your faith in Jesus Christ as the only One who can save you from eternal damnation, then you will be saved and you can know that you’re going to heaven.

The body of Christ has to stop listening to the world and has to start listening to what God has told us through His Word. We have to stop following the worldly fads and spend our time and money on doing what God said needs to be done so that the lost will come to repentance and be saved from hell. I believe that that means that we have to start calling out the charlatans. Unless we point out the false teaching, it will go on unhindered. I understand that the Bible says that false teachers are going to arise and lead many away, but if we have the truth, then we might be able to see some of those people saved.

Your thoughts?

What’s the answer?

March 17, 2008 at 9:44 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I’ve been writing this blog to reach out to Christians and non-Christians alike with the truth of the gospel. That sounds funny even as I type it. Surely, if you were a Christian, you would know the truth of the gospel. And yet, from the stories I’ve read and the sermons that I’ve heard from all over the world, it is clear to me that people don’t know.

I’ve seen and heard churches that try to be relevant. They talk about sports, movies, and the latest Disney program, but they rarely (if ever) get to the gospel. I’ve seen others that are so busy with the agenda they’ve created that they neglect the one thing that could change the lives of their congregations. Still others are familiar with the Word, but only through bits and pieces. They pick out a verse or two here and a verse or two there and then make it say what they want. I believe that many, not all, pastors fit into this last category. Most of the sermons that you hear today are topical. They touch on one topic and are a conglomeration of numerous scriptures that are sown together with quips and anecdotes to make the scriptures all seem to fit. The topics that are talked about are usually uplifting and energizing. They range from things like finances, to spiritual growth, to relationships, to evangelism. They almost always seem to be focused on the “good” things that Christians can experience.

If this describes you or someone you know, you may be wondering, “How can I/they expound on all those scriptures when I/they only have so much time?” Here’s a tip from someone who’s heard plenty of topical sermons. STOP! There is nothing wrong with a topical sermon now and then. But if you can’t give those listening the truth and help them to understand it the way that God meant it, then you’re just adding to the problem. When I hear a topical sermon and there are 40 scripture references, I immediately begin wondering whether or not the pastor actually knows what he’s talking about (I’m exaggerating here, I usually start wondering at about 8, unless they’re explained). It’s like the pastor is trying to hurl elephants and just throw so much scripture at people that they give under the sheer weight of the amount of scripture. It’s like modern pastors think that if they just toss out enough scripture references, then the congregation won’t question the topic, even if the references have nothing to do with it! I find this to be deplorable. The weight of scripture comes from the truth found in it and if you don’t help them to understand that truth, then it’s meaningless. I have gotten more out of two verses that I’ve heard explained rightly than I have out of entire months of sermons so full of references that they seem ready to burst.

I think that this type of preaching is popular because there is no confrontation in it. The topics uplift those who hear them and they aren’t made to feel uncomfortable about sin or hell or judgment. It stems from a few things that shouldn’t even be happening:

We don’t know the Word – This goes for the congregation as well as the pastor. We casually glance at it. We read chapters of it. We read entire books of it, but we don’t know it. Sure, we can quote some of the verses because we’ve been told that they hold special meaning for us, but do we understand them? Are we sure that what we’ve been told they say is actually what they say? Nine times out of ten, the references that I’ve heard given don’t actually mean what they’re touted to mean…

We don’t understand the Word – This is in direct correlation to the first point. We don’t actually know the Word the way it is written, so we don’t understand it either. We don’t know anything about hermeneutics or context. We don’t actually know how to study so that we can get the meaning that God desires for us to have. Instead, we take the popular meaning that has been passed down as tradition. The sad thing is, we’re not taught how to study the Word either. Instead, we’re taught how to understand the verse in light of what “we feel” it means. “Well, I think that this verse means…” That’s not how scripture was meant to be used…

We don’t live out the Word – Again, this is a result of the two points above. Because we don’t know the Word, and because we don’t understand the Word, we can’t apply the Word. We misuse it like we’ve been taught to. Sometimes, it’s used to amputate a limb when it may have been better to just make an incision. Other times, we use it to poke around when there’s major surgery needed! Most often, it’s used to cut down others or to justify the way that we’re living, or how we’re doing things that are “scriptural” while others are disillusioned and blind to the “danger” they’re in. We use it to stab others in the back and lift ourselves up, and this is in the church!

  

So what’s the answer?

First, for those pastors out there who are copying sermons from the internet (yes, it’s happening), either take the time to study or step down. It amazes me that there are pastors out there who get up every Sunday and tell their flock that they have a Word from God just for them, when they actually just plagiarized the hottest sermon on the internet.

Second, whether you’re a pastor or a part of the congregation, learn how to study the Word. Learn how to use hermeneutics to get the context, the historical background, and other information that will allow you to correctly interpret what you’re reading. This may mean that you end up talking about a smaller portion of scripture, but it will also mean that God will reveal Himself in that scripture and honestly change people’s lives. For a person in the congregation, it’s imperative that you know what scripture says. If you don’t, then you will perpetuate this endless cycle of mishandling the Word. You need to know what it says so that you can be obedient to it!

Third, instead of all of the programs that I see out there that are “designed to bring you face to face with God” and “radically change your life forever”, just teach people the Word. In Nehemiah 8, Ezra the scribe is asked to bring the book of the law out. He brings it out and as soon as he opens it all the people stand and begin to praise God. He reads it to all of those who are able to understand it and explains it to them. There isn’t anything topical or “hip”. He just reads them the law and makes sure that they understand it. The response is amazing:

 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. (Neh. 8:9) 

The people wept when they hear the law in a way they could understand! It’s not Ezra making it say what he wants! He was a scribe and considered the Word of God much to holy to ever do something like that! (Sadly, the Word isn’t given near the respect it deserves in our time). But Ezra didn’t stop there. The people were sent away and the Bible says that they rejoiced over the Word they heard and the fact that THEY UNDERSTOOD IT!  On the second day, Ezra calls together all of the heads of the households, the priests, and the scribes. They come together and Ezra begins to teach them, to “give them insight into the law”. Through this teaching, they were reminded of the Feast of Booths. Moses instituted this feast through the Levitical laws (Leviticus 23:34-44). The feast started on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Ezra was teaching them on the second day of the seventh month. The insight they gained from the law being understood by them helped them to be obedient to it and to observe the appointed times, something that hadn’t been done since Joshua’s day!  

This is a part of Old Testament history but it has a lot of value for those of us who live after the sacrifice of Christ. We don’t need to be relevant. We don’t need to be hip and have the newest equipment or the hottest band or the most entertaining events. What we need is the Word rightly taught and rightly understood. When Ezra read the law to the congregation, all he had was a wooden podium. That’s it. But the effect that it had on those who returned from captivity was amazing. They wept and mourned but they also rejoiced and celebrated. They understood the very words that God had given Moses! They knew what it said and they understood how it applied to them. Because of this, they knew what they had to do and they did it. 

 There is one thing that I wanted to point out from Nehemiah 8. When Ezra read the law to the people on the first day, it was to all of the men, women, and children that were able to understand. I believe that there are a number of children who understand the Word (many of them better than a lot of adults I know) who are kept in “children’s church” or some other program when they are perfectly capable of hearing and knowing the Word.

On the second day, when Ezra began to explain the Word it was to certain groups of people. One group was the heads of households. If the head of a household doesn’t know the Word, understand the Word, and doesn’t know how to apply the Word; then his household is doomed. As the head of a household, it is extremely important for you to know the truth of the Word of God the way that He meant it.  

The second group was the priests. In the Old Testament, these were the ministers of God. They were the ones who took care of the tabernacle and the holy things. They were the ones who administered justice/judgment, oversaw the sacrifices, and were even doctors. There are many today who view the church the same way. But, that’s not the case. When Jesus shed His blood on Calvary and died the substitutionary death for you and I, it had an awesome effect. It rent the veil in the temple in two. The Holy of Holies was accessible to man. This is confirmed in the New Testament when Peter calls all believers a royal priesthood. We have a responsibility to understand the truth found in scripture according to how God says it and not according to what we want to make it say. Because we are all priests now through Christ, we need to rightly divide and know how to apply the Word to our lives.  

The third group was the scribes. These men were the ones who handled the Word of God. Ezra was a scribe. They were the copiers of the Word, but they were also the teachers of it. They needed to understand it more correctly than anyone else because they were the ones that were teaching it to others. In Jesus’ time, the scribes were corrupt because they hadn’t taught the Word in truth. They twisted it and added to it (which God specifically condemns – Prov. 30:5-6) and used it for their own purposes. In 2 Peter 2, Peter writes to warn us of the false teachers that will come among us and tickle our ears. They will introduce destructive heresies and exploit the people with false words. Those who teach the Word in churches (pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc…) need to make sure that they are teaching the truth of the Word and not introducing a false doctrine or destructive heresy. The only way to do that is to know the Word, understand the Word, and live the Word.  

I lament over the Body of Christ often. I see the potential that there is for those who believe in Christ to impact the world and change things. Sadly, that isn’t happening like it should because there are a small number who seem to respect and fear the Word of God. Many don’t know it and just as many don’t live by it. If you are a Christian, please put everything you have into studying the Word of God the way God wrote it. Please show God and His Word the respect that they deserve. And please learn how to apply that Word to your life and let it change you to be more like Christ instead of changing it to fit you how you are…

Design of the Week 03/05/08 – Equip Yourself!

March 6, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This design comes from the desire that I have to see those who profess to follow Christ actually know what the Bible says about different things that we face today. It also comes from the love that I have for studying the Bible on a daily basis. For us to truly understand what God is trying to teach us through the Word, we have to study it. For us to protect ourselves and those we love from the numerous false doctrines that are running rampant through the church right now, we have to study it. For us to reach out to the lost effectively with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have to study it.

Many people in the church often complain about this or that, but they don’t know what the Bible really says. Many preachers often take scriptures out of context to support their “vision” or purpose because they lack the ability to study the Word properly. Many people are being deceived into thinking that God approves of things/lifestyles that people are involved in because they don’t study or have not studied well enough.

Thousands upon thousands of churches across the US and around the globe are misleading their congregations and misusing scripture to fulfill their own agendas, but until the people of God put in the time necessary to gain an understanding of the Word and honestly look at how that Word applies to their lives, they will continue to be deceived and many won’t even realize it. They will continue to perpetuate lies and false doctrines because that’s what they were told. they will be swayed by every wind of doctrine because they have no foundation in the truth…

For an amazing and indepth method of studying the scriptures go to : Precept Ministries International

Christian…EQUIP YOURSELF!


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