Have you ever watched political debates? Debates take place in the Presidential primary races, the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Did you ever watch these debates on TV? These debates can be very amusing and, if I watch long enough, infuriating. It amazes me to hear how they stand and argue their point of view about any given issue. In many cases, it is as if they like to hear themselves talk. They repeat themselves, contradict themselves, make statements they cannot substantiate, and, at times, make no sense.
Do you know what is really sad? It is that this type of behavior isn’t limited to politicians only, but is, and always has been, a part of religious discourse. The Word of God makes it clear that we have the responsibility to declare and defend His truth to those who are sincerely seeking His Word. We are to be willing to give our all for the sake of reaching out to those who need and are open to the gospel message.
But there have always been those who, in the guise of seeking the truth, set out to defeat the Word through debate and a humanistic, fleshly understanding of Scripture. How are we to handle those who have already rejected the truth, have closed their mind to the truth, and now want to publically defeat the truth through dialogue, debate and the proclamation of error?
God’s Holy Word has the answer to this question….
1Tim 6:3-6 (KJV) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Mark 6:10-11 (KJV) And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Matt 7:6 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
As we serve our living Lord and Savior, it is so important that we are willing to share the truths of God’s Word to all men, through our lives and our actions. The Lord describes His followers as the light and salt of this world. (Matt 5:13-16) By this, He meant that we were living testimonies that showed the light of Christ to a sin darkened world. We are the salt that makes this sinful world a desirous place in which to live. We are to withhold the truth to no one. But, what happens when after ministering to others, they close their ears to Christ’s message, devalue His Word, and choose to work for the destruction of the truths that we are attempting to share?
In Matthew 7:6, we are told to cease sharing truth with those who devalue it… “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Here, we are given two reasons why we are to cease our ministering to them:
- They do not treat the Word with the respect it deserves
- They can harm our ministry, and render it useless, by wasting our time ministering to those who it will not benefit. Also, they can harm our testimony and ministering by using sinful methods to discredit us (lies, false accusations, etc). It is dangerous to continue to minister to those who have stubbornly determined to oppose the Word at any cost.
(Please Note: These teachings only tell us to cease handing the truth to those who do not want it. It does not say cease praying for them or loving them etc etc.)
In Mark 6:10-11, the Lord gave His followers specific instructions on dealing with those who reject and oppose the truth that they had proclaimed to them. His instructions were three-fold…
- “when ye depart thence,” – no longer minister directly to them begin ministering to others who are in need and more receptive to your ministry.
- “shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” – don’t allow the memory of their rejection and treatment of you discourage you. Leave it all behind and go forward in your next place of ministry, proving that they have not hindered your ministry.
- “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” – Remember they are facing God’s wrath, they need a softened heart toward the gospel and its ministers…continue to pray for them, when possible show them your love etc.
Those who hear the truth, and then actively oppose it through their teachings, is described in 1 Timothy 6:3-6.
- “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;”
Note those who “consent not” and “teach otherwise”, in other words, we are talking about those who reject and work against the truth.
- “He is … strifes of words,”
Here, those who oppose the truth are described in detail. The Lord says that they:
are “doting questions and strifes of words” – (plagued with questions and seek to quarrel over the truth we have revealed to them.)
- “whereof cometh envy… godliness:” – Here we find the results of the questions and quarrels that these men… they produce:
“railings” (speak evil of God)
“evil surmisings” (wicked conclusions)
“Perverse disputings” (twisted and bitter, disagreements)
They are described as :
“men of corrupt minds” (minds that are becoming worse, minds that are decaying)
“destitute of the truth” (total lacking truth)
“supposing that gain is godliness”: (temporal earthly gain can bring about godliness)
- “from such withdraw thyself”. – Again, a very plain declaration to remove ourselves from ministering to them and proceed to others who will receive the truth we speak. We cannot force anyone to be saved. If someone rejects the truth and works against it, we need to commit him into the hands of God and move on.
- “But godliness with contentment is great gain” – There is no true gain in arguing, twisting God’s Word and cause disagreements about God’s Word… true gain is found in living a life of Godliness, showing God to the world by our words and actions.
This helps us to understand why we are to cease ministering to them and direct our ministry to others
For those who are saved …
Have you been sharing the Word with someone who refuses to accept it? Do you ever find yourself trying to “force” someone into receiving the truth that they have already clearly rejected?
If this is the case, give them over to the Lord, pray for them, love them, but push them no longer. Allow the Lord, through His Spirit, to soften their hearts and make them receptive to the truth. You can save no one… “Salvation is of the Lord”.
For those who have yet to be saved…
Have you rejected the Word of God that someone has graciously shared with you. Have you settled in your heart that the Word is untrue and of no benefit to you? If so, you are treading on very dangerous ground. There is no guarantee that you will continue to be graced with God’s Word. Be thankful to those who are sharing His Word with you and receive it knowing that it is meant for your good.
Look to the Lord, believe His Word and trust in Him. He will not reject those who come to Him.
John 6:37 (KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”