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Category Archives: Scnd Timothy 4:

God’s Word: Believe It Or Deny It… But Don’t Twist It!

SIH STSTA ICON

INTRODUCTION:

Over the years I have seen people believe God’s Word and see their need to come to Christ for forgiveness and salvation from their sins.  Also, I have seen many people make a decision to not believe God’s word, ignore its warnings and continue to live a life that is separated from Christ and characterized by the practice of sin.  We all must make the choice to either believe the Word and apply it to our lives, or ignore its message and the offer of salvation that lies in its pages.

But sadly, there is another group of people whom I have seen that choose to make an attempt to  change the Word of the Lord and twist its meaning and its message.  They do this in an attempt to make it align with their own personal morals, philosophies and carnal desires.  They come to a sinful faith in their version of God’s Word, while in affect denying the true gospel message that it contains.

In this study we will be looking at the Scriptural teachings on the need to refrain from attempting to change His Word to meet our carnal desires.

 

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Psa 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

2 Tim 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Peter 3:16 – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

 

Psa 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Many years ago, King David understood that God’s Word, in its entirety was “true”.  The Hebrew word translated true in this verse refers to something that is trustworthy and certain.  Folks, the reliability of God’s Word is no small issue indeed.  If we cannot depends on the Word in its entirety, we have no assurance of Christ’s existence, identity, or work done on our behalf.  This leads us to understand that we then have absolutely no assurance of our salvation nor of an eternity that awaits us.

King David then continues  by telling us that God’s Word “endureth” forever.   In other words, it remains in existence, and affect, throughout all time and into eternity.  What a blessing this is for all of us.  We can know that not only is God’s Word reliable, but it remains reliable throughout the ages! Never will there be a time when God’s Word will no longer be dependable.  It is only in this truth that we can have eternal confidence of our salvation and the home that awaits us on the New Heavens and Earth.

Sadly, those who seek to change God’s Word, and twist its meaning, are living in denial of its truthfulness and endurance.

 

2 Tim 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Paul, in his writings, prophesied of a day when men would “not endure sound doctrine”, “heap to themselves teachers having itching ears”,  “turn away their ears from the truth”, and finally ‘be turned unto fables”.   In other words, because their sinful natures and desires they did not desire to hear the truths of God’s Word.  Instead, they sought out false teachers who substituted the truths of the Word with “fables”.  The Hebrew word used for fables refers to fictional tales.

When a man is convicted due to their sinful condition, instead of turning from their sin and looking to Christ as their Lord and Savior, they simply attempt to change the truths of the Word which relieves their conscience and allows them to continue living their sinful lifestyles.  When this takes place they no longer see their need to repent and come to Christ.

 

2 Peter 3:16 – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Peter confirms the writings of Paul when he says that, even in his day, there were those “that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”   These men were “wresting”,  i.e. twisting or perverting, the teachings of the Scriptures “unto their own destruction”.

Folks, as difficult as it may be to come face to face with our sinful condition and need of Christ, it is far better than to change God’s Word, twisting its content and meaning resulting in a soothed conscience in the midst of our sins which separates us from Christ, keeps us under His wrath, and condemns us eternally.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, the message of the Word is clear, either accept the Word as eternal truth from God, or look upon it as a collection of error filled human writings, but under no circumstances should we attempt to change it to make it more palatable to our personal whims and sinful tastes.

When we simply choose to believe the Word, or deny it, we are responding to the Scriptural responsibility that God has laid on us.  This allows us to clearly see our standing before the Lord.

For those of us who believe His Word and apply it to our lives resulting in a Godly repentance and belief in Christ, we know our sins have been forgiven and we are secure in Him.

For those who choose to deny His Word and reject its teachings, they can clearly see that they have never accepted the gospel message, and therefore never come a saving faith in Christ.  They are yet lost in their sins and stand guilty before the Almighty God who is the Eternal Judge over all mankind.  This knowledge can then be the basis of consistent guilt and conviction which can later drive them to Christ.

However, when they try to twist the Word to meet their own personal preferences, they are, in effect, fooling themselves into thinking that they are right with God.  They are telling themselves that they are living according to God’s Word and in good standing before Him.  Yet, in reality, they are under the bondage of sin, possessing a carnal assurance of a nonexistent salvation.  They have blinded themselves from the truth and have made themselves “two-fold more the children of hell”. They are living with a false sense of spiritual security when, in actuality, are doomed to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

Lord help anyone of us who have chosen this path of self-deception and self-assurance for our lives.

 

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Spiritual Gifts: Criteria For Trying The Spirits

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

 

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”
VII.   The Criteria For Testing The Spirits

 

Lesson:

The Criteria For TheTesting Of The Spirits:

Please keep in mind, we have already seen that one of the principle tools used by false teachers to mislead others are false accrediting miracles. This can be clearly seen in 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 and Matthew 24:23-24…

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

 

In 1 John 4:1-8, the Apostle John gives us a listing of criteria that is to be used when we “try the spirits” (ie putting ministers “to the test” to discern whether they are Godly ministers of the truth or false ministers of error.)…

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.   Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

 

Let’s take a look at the 1 John 4:1-8 passage and find out what five criteria we are to use as we put all teachers of the Word “to the test”…

 

Criteria For Testing The Spirits:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  

Here, John is affirming the existence of false prophets and teachers that seek to mislead others from the truths of Christ. Based upon their existence, John then explains the importance of putting professing ministers of the Word “to the test”. By doing so, we are discerning the motives of their ministry and the spiritual powers that lie behind their ministry.

 

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:

John now gives us a listing of outstanding characteristics of true ministers of Jehovah God:

 

1. Christ as the central theme of their ministry

Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

The first basis of our judgment involves the presentation of Christ as the central theme of their ministry. The central theme of the Word of God is Christ (John 5:39). The testimony of Jesus is the theme of all Scriptural prophecy (Revelation 19:10). Therefore, any Godly ministry will hold Christ as its central, main theme.

Does their ministry center upon Christ above all other men, deities, and persons of the Godhead?

Does their ministry present the Scriptural truths about the person and work of Christ?

Is the central theme of their ministry the presentation of Christ and Him alone?

Does their ministry result in greater sorrow for sins, commitment for service and appreciation for Christ and His works?

 

2. Upholds Godly Living

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

John now points our attention to the victory that Christ gives over worldliness and the kingdom of Satan.   The Word of God clearly explains the “fruit” that is borne by followers of Christ in comparison to those who are in darkness (Galatians 5:19-23). The ministry of one that is genuinely of the Lord, is a ministry that will uphold Godly living in the midst of a sinful world (1 John 2:15-17).

Does their ministry appeal to the spirit of the regenerate man?

Does their ministry refrain from using motives, methods and means that appeal to the inward lusts of fallen man?

Does their ministry motivate others to live lifestyles characterized by Godliness and separation from the sinful aspects of the world?

 

3. Appeals to Saved Individuals and Is Opposed By The Lost

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us.

The presentation of God’s Word results in two opposite reactions. For those who are saved, the truths of God are welcomed, accepted as truth and applied to the life (John 10:25-28). For those who are unsaved, it is rejected and actively opposed. Why is this? The teaching of Biblical truth involves the presentation of the existence of sin and it’s results upon mankind, mankind’s need of salvation, and man’s inability to gain this salvation of their own merit. All of these are themes that are unappealing and detestable to fallen man (John 3:18-21).

Does their ministry include speaking of man’s sins, need of salvation and inability to save themselves?

Does their ministry present clear teachings that come directly from God’s Word?

Does their ministry appeal to the saved by working revival in the heart through sorrow for, and repentance of, daily sin?

Does their ministry face rejection and opposition from the fallen world?

Does their ministry include warning, correction, exhortation and Scriptural discipline?

Does their ministry refrain from “entertainment” that appeals to the world, but centers on “worship” that only appeals to the saved?

 

4. Presents The Scriptural Truths of God Exclusively

Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

The Spirit of Truth will lead men to the truths of God and the proclamation of the entire counsel of God’s Word (John 16:12-15). The spirit of error will mislead men to pervert the truths of God and present a false message of salvation which appeals to the fleshly nature of man (2 Tim 4:3-4).

Does their ministry encourage personal Bible study and the use of other sound Christian literature?

Does their ministry use open Bibles during services and give Biblical references for all their major points?

Do all aspects of their ministry seek to present the Bible using Biblical methods and motivations?

Does their ministry teach against the false teachings of the world?

Does their ministry refrain from modern psychological theories and motivational methods?

Does their ministry use music that is Scriptural and Christ-centered?

 

5. Does their ministry exhibit and encourage a motivation of love for God and others?

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

A Godly ministry will display a heart of love towards all to whom they minister (Matthew 5:43-48). Their ministry will be characterized by a spirit of self-sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness and patience towards all to whom they minister. (1 Corinthians 13:4-12).   One of their chief goals will be to encourage and cultivate love toward God and others in the hearts of those to whom they minister (1 John 4:9-21).

Does their ministry exhibit a spirit of self-sacrifice for those to whom they minister?

Do they “practice with they preach” motivated by concern for the well being of those to whom they minister?

Does their ministry reach out to those who cannot give back to them?

Does their ministry refrain from favoring those who are powerful, wealthy and physically appealing?

 

 

May the Lord grace each of us as we seek to put all professing teachers of the Word to the test.

 

Additional Information verses mentioned in this study:

The Criteria For TheTesting Of The Spirits:

43) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46) For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?

48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

(Matthew 5:43-48)

 

23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not.

24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

(Matthew 24:23-24)

 

18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21) But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

(John 3:18-21)

 

39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

(John 5:39)

25) Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

(John 10:25-28)

 

12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

15) All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

(John 16:12-15)

 

12) But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

13) For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

15) Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

(2 Corinthians 11:12-15)

 

19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

(Galatians 5:19-23)

 

3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4) And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

(2 Timothy 4:3-4)

 

15) Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16) For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

(1 John 2:15-17)

 

1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

5) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

7) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

(1 John 4:1-8)

 

9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

12) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

14) And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.

15) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

16) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

17) Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

19) We love him, because he first loved us.

20) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

(1 John 4:9-21)

 

10) And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

(Revelation 19:10)

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -8 “The Mission Of The Church: To Teach It’s Members”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

 In this eighth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the third responsibility given to the church in the Great Commission.  This is the responsibility to teach those who profess faith in Christ into the membership of the assembly….

 

THE STUDY:

The Third Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Teaching It’s Members The Word Of God.

1. Where is this responsibility found?:

Matthew’s Account Of The Great Commission…

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.   And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”   (Matthew 28:16-20)

The responsibility to teach the members of the assembly is found in the Matthew account of the Great Commission only.  Please note several things about this responsibility…

1.  It involves “teaching”.
The word translated “teaching” in the phrase “Teaching them to observe all things…” is a different Greek word than that which is translated “teach” in the phrase “teach all nations”. (If you recall the meaning of “TEACH all nations” was a Greek word that meant to take the gospel to all nations.  In other words, it meant to share with the lost the good news of Christ and salvation.)

In our text for this study, the Greek word translated “TEACHING them to observe all things….” is a Greek word that means “to indoctrinate”, “to instruct”, “to share knowledge”,  or “to cause to learn”.  It is through understanding the difference between these two Greek words that we get a clear picture of what was meant in Matthew’s account of the GC.

2.  It involves teaching “them”.  Who does “them” refer to?  It is those who have been given the gospel, accepting it by faith and submitting to church membership through baptism…

The local assembly is to…
1.  “Teach all nations” – Take the gospel to the lost world showing them Christ and the salvation He is offering.
2.  “Baptizing them in the name of …” – When they are saved, they are to make a public profession of that faith and join the local assembly through baptism.
3.  “Teaching them to observe” – Once a member of the church, they are to be instructed by the assembly.

We find the same responsibility reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul as he ministered to the local churches of the Gentile world….

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church…. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.   (Acts 20:17-31)

The phrase “he hath purchased with His own blood” carries with it a dual application.  First of all, the local assembly is made up of those for whom Christ died. So in that sense He died for the assembly.  Secondly, the local assemblies, as the body of Christ, receive the purification of the sins of the assembly through the death of Christ on the cross, just as believers receive their blessings through this same channel (Eph 5:22-29).

Paul also reaffirmed this responsibility to Timothy, who most scholars believe was the young Pastor of the church at Ephesus….

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”   (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

2. How does the assembly carry out this responsibility?  Through the ministry of godly men who are to exercise of spiritual gifts they are given.
The Godly men:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”   (Ephesians 4:11-13)

In this text, we can see several offices being established for the instruction and strengthening of the local assembly…
1. apostles – their ministry was to present the inspired New Testament writings to establish assemblies and to accredit the teachings and ministry of the local assembly.  Their office and ministry ended soon after the completion of God’s Word in 100 AD
2. prophets – their ministry was to present the Old and New Testament writings to man.  Their office and ministry ended soon after the completion of God’s Word in 100 AD
3. evangelists – their ministry is to take the gospel to the lost world.  In today’s time we commonly refer to these men as “missionaries”.
4. pastors/teachers – their ministry, as explained in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, is to teach the local assembly, to evangelize in their local area, and to take the watch care over the assembly. (see also Titus 1:7-9)

Notice the aim of the teaching of His Word to the membership:
1. For the perfecting of the saints – to give the saints EVERYTHING they need to live lives that honor and glorify Christ on earth.  This verse clearly tells us that nothing else is needed for the saint to live a Godly life on earth apart from the instruction of God’s Word.
2. “For the work of the ministry  – to give saints the needed tools to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others.
3. “For the edifying of the body of Christ – to build up, strengthen, the saints spiritually.

This teaching is to continue until
1.  “We all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,  – All saints come into full and complete agreement on the doctrines of their faith and an understanding of the person, work and their relationship with Christ.  In other words, this teaching should continue until we go to heaven.  As seen, based upon past history, all Christians will never come to total, absolute agreement on doctrinal truths this side of heaven.
2.  unto a perfect man unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ  – All saints become spiritually mature and equipped to the point that they are living lives that compare to that of Christ on the earth, with no need of improvement.   Again, this will never happen this side of heaven.

It is because of the need for churches until Christ’s second coming that He promised in the Great Commission that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). In other words, it will never enter into the realm of the unseen.  It will always be seen and active until Christ comes.

ALSO NOTE: The office of “deacon” was also established.  Their role is to help meet the physical needs of the members and to support the Pastor/Teachers who are to care for the members spiritual needs…

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.   (Acts 6:1-4) (see also I Tim 3:8-15)

The office of deacon is not included in the Ephesians 4:11-13 because their ministry does not include spiritual instruction and strengthening of the assembly.  The Ephesians listing is exclusively reserved to those who are active in the spiritual oversight and ministry of the Word to the membership.

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:
1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)
2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:
1.  The content of the gospel message:
Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection

2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as:
To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others

3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world
Jerusalem, the CITY where the church is located; Judaea, equivalent to the state in which the church is located; Samaria, the other states that make up the nation where the church is located; uttermost parts of the world, the other nations of the world.

As we studied the second part of the Great Commission, we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to observe both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ and His Work
2. Baptism pictures the work of Christ on our behalf
3. Baptism is a picture of our salvation from sins
4. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:
5. Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership
6. The Lord’s Supper observance is also the responsibility of a local assembly.
7. The Lord’s Supper is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

As we have studied the third, and final part, of the Great Commission, we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to teach the Word to its members through the use of Godly, gifted men in places of leadership for its edification…

1.  The responsibility to teach the members of the assembly is found in the Matthew’s account of the Great Commission.
2.  It involves “teaching” (ie to indoctrinate, to instruct, to cause to learn).
3.  It involves teaching “them”.  (ie baptized believers who have joined the membership of the local assembly.
4.  The same church responsibility reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul.
5.  Several offices were established for the instruction and strengthening of the local assembly: apostles; prophets; evangelists; pastor/teachers.  The office of evangelist and pastor/teacher continue to this day.…
6.  This teaching is for the good of the membership by giving the saints EVERYTHING they need to live lives that honor and glorify Christ on earth; giving saints the needed tools to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others;  to build up, strengthen, the saints spiritually.
7.  This teaching is to continue until Christ comes again.
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the only organization that has been given the responsibility to teach the truths of God’s Word to His disciples.  It is through the ministry of the local church that the Lord equips His saints to meet all the challenges of life on a fallen earth and still live lives glorifying to Him.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #2

SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?

Throughout our lifetime, we are called upon to choose between trusting the revelation of God’s Word or placing our faith in our life experiences. Phrased another way, are we to make our life decisions based upon what our senses have revealed to us, or do we look to God’s Word as the only unquestionable standard by which our life is to be directed?

This is study I would like us to come to an understanding of God’s will on this all important issue. There will be three parts to our study for us:

1. Should we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?
2. Should we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?
3. Should we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

THE SCRIPTURES: 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 7:8-13)

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, [there is] a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me [him] up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou [art] Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself. (1 Samuel 28:7-14)

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the sky is red.
And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4)

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:21-28)

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. (Mark 8:10-13)

For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-15)

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-14)

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
(Jude 1:3)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

THE STUDY: 

Can our senses, and the events that take place in the physical world around us, be reliable sources to discern, and validate the will of God? This is a very important question that deserves a careful, comprehensive study of the Word of God for its answer.

With the establishment of the Lord’s churches on earth came the clear declaration of the existence of false teaching and purposeful attempts to deceive God’s people….

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:… That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;… (Ephesians 4:11-15)

We must pay attention to  the descriptive phrases that are used in this passage to describe the attempts that are used by Satan to deceive the people of God. For it is in these phrases we can clearly see willful intent, the motive of this deception, and the basic way in which the deception is brought upon Christians.  Please notice:

1. “sleight of men” – this phrase refers to seducing those who are unskillful. It was a term used to describe the experienced taking advantage of naive youths in games of chance.
2. “cunning craftiness” – this phrase refers to trickery, or cleverness, that misleads. It is speaking of the ability to lay plans ahead of time to mislead and take advantage of others.
3. “lie in wait to deceive” – to stay among travelers, or a well-traveled path, for the purpose of taking advantage of the travelers. It is describing something like a lion, who crouches along a much-used path waiting for an innocent animal to appear.

In the above, we can see the nature of Satan’s workings as he makes plans to use trickery and deceit to mislead the people of God. What was God’s remedy that He supplies to us? He graciously has given us the different offices of teachers that will share His Word, whose principles give us the ability to discern and resist Satan’s attempts at misleading us. These offices are listed in this text, “apostles” , “prophets”, “evangelists”, pastors and teachers”

So from this text we learn two very important truths…

First, as Christians, Satan is out to deceive us during our physical walk on earth. He will try to deceive us using various tricks and false teachings.

Secondly, the Lord has given us His Word, and those who minister His Word, both past (Apostles and Prophets who gave us the completed Word) and present (Evangelists and Pastor/Teachers who now minister that completed Word), to us to enable us to overcome the trickery of Satan.

In this text, He establishes the principle that His Word, when used as our standard for living, will thwart any deceitful plans of Satan that are sent our way in an attempt to mislead us. This principle is also presented in 1 John 4:1-6…

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world… Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

Please notice that Satan’s use of false teaching (and false teachers) is emphasized. We are told in this passage that we must “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:” How are we to try the spirits? We do this by comparing the truth of God with the teachings that come our way. This is presented to us in this text in two different ways:

First, teachings concerning the person of Christ are used as the basis of recognition of the deceitful teaching of Satan, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” This tells us that we need to compare the teachings of man with the truthful and reliable truths of Christ found in the Word.

Secondly, please note the closing sentence of this text, “Hereby know we the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, and the SPIRIT OF ERROR.”  What is the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error?
This is further explained in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15…

“For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

In this passage we see emphasized the deceitful nature of Satan’s plan. His teachers claim to be sent by Christ. They claim to be doing the works of Christ and they even appear to our senses to be the servants of the Most High.   In these two texts, Satan uses the proclamation of error through false teachers, false prophets etc. in an attempt to deceive the people of God. This is the “SPIRIT OF ERROR”.

In the 1 John 4:1-6 passage, the term “truth” refers to that which is genuine, actual to fact, verifiable truth. It is this very body of truth that is contained in God’s Word. The Word is the only source of absolute truth that is available to man…

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
(Jude 1:3)

Here we find the need to stand fast and defend the set of doctrinal truth (or “the faith”) God has given to man is found in His Word.  This is the “SPIRIT Of TRUTH”.

Notice what is said about “the faith”…
1. it was “once delivered” – in the original language this phrase means “to be delivered in its entirety once and for all”. This clearly refers to the Word of God, once handed down and brought to completion in about 100 AD.
2. it was delivered “unto the saints” – it was given to those He had selected to be the writers of His Word…. the OT prophets and NT apostles, and their associates. These men were inspired by God to write down the very Word of God recorded in the Bible, which now makes up “the truth” and “the faith” that upon which we base our entire system of beliefs and teachings.

It is this “SPRIT OF TRUTH” that is in a constant spiritual struggle with the “SPIRIT OF ERROR” we have previously seen.

But the Bible goes farther.  As it looks ahead in time, we find that we are told that this struggle will increase and be brought to fruition as the last days draw closer…

… Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

… Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:21-28)

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come… Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was…. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

… And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

In the last three passages, please notice that Satan’s attempts to deceive the people of God are not limited to the use of false teachers and error filled teaching.  We see also the usage of “great signs and wonders” (Matt 24:); misleading miracles, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth:” (2 Tim 3: and Exod 7:8-13); “wrought miracles” (Rev 19:).

Both in the days in which we are living, and in the days which must yet come, we can see the Bible is warning us about Satanic use of “miracles” and “signs and wonders” which will be used in an attempt to mislead God’s people.

Think about it, our physical senses observe that these false teachers are able to perform great acts that mirror the acts of the Godly men in the days of old. Based upon our senses, we are tempted to accept Satanic teachers based upon their display of “supernatural powers”. Then on top of it all, we hear with our ears messages that scratch “our itching ears” (2 Tim 4:), in other words, the messages are be pleasing to us and bring satisfaction to our sinful, fleshly, nature.

In these life experiences, our senses will certainly be working hard to mislead and deceive us. The only hope for us is clearly presented in the 2 Tim 3: passage, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

It is only through the use of the completed, inspired Word of God, that we can possess a standard to compare all teachings and workings of man.

In closing let’s notice a few things about the Word of God from the 2 Tim 3: passage:

1. The Word is what we have “learned” – to come to acknowledge and understand as genuine truth
2. The Word is what we have “been assured of” – to be trustworthy
3. The Word is “known of whom we have learned” – Godly, reliable men have given us this Word.
4. The Word is “able to make thee wise unto salvation” – was applied to our heart when we were saved.
5. The Word is “given by inspiration of God” – spoken by God Himself, it is “breathed out” by God
6. The Word is “profitable for doctrine” – it benefits us by supplying the truths of God
7. The Word is “profitable for reproof” – it benefits us by supplying warnings from God
8. The Word is “profitable for correction” – it supplies direction on how to correct error in our life
9. The Word is “profitable for instruction in righteousness” – it supplies truths on how to live a Godly life
10. The Word causes us to be “perfect” – it supplies what we need to be spiritually mature
11. The Word causes us to be “throughly furnished unto all good works” – it is ALL WE NEED to be furnished to please God in every aspect of our life.

The above description of God’s Word reveals several important facts to us about the Word. Of these facts let me emphasize four of them:

Notice we have learned it is trustworthy… our physical senses, which are touched by sin, are not trustworthy witnesses of that which is Godly and that which is against God. But the Word can be relied upon to reveal the true nature of what we may experience in this life.

We also saw that it was the Word that has revealed the way of salvation to us. If we can trust this Word to give us reliable discernment that affects our eternal destiny, surely we can trust it to give us Godly discernment our experiences in life.

The Word through its own testimony, and the examination of men for over two centuries, has been proven to be perfect, without error, and absolutely trustworthy. Surely, we can continue to rely totally upon this Word to lead us from error as we seek to serve the Lord.

Finally, in the last sentence of 2 Tim 3:, we are told that the Word is ALL THAT WE NEED to become spiritually mature and to perform “all good works” that we are called upon to do. This statement confirms for us the need to rely totally on the Word of God to discern to true nature of our life experiences. We do not need our life experiences, apart from the Scriptures, to show us the will of God. But we need the Scriptures for Godly discernment of all that our senses perceive as we experience life on earth

The revealed Word, as found in the Holy Scriptures is all we need and ALL WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN by God to give us a standard for comparison of all teachings and works of the men that minister unto us.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Getting to the heart of our study for today…

The Word is our completed guidebook for Godly discernment and leadership as we seek to serve our Lord on earth. If we rely upon our physical senses and physical experiences alone to discern the Lord’ will for our lives, we are headed for doom.

How does this apply to us in a practical way? Here are just a few examples….
1. When we hear teaching on spiritual things we must run to the Word and compare its teachings with the teachings we have heard. Any teachings that are in alignment with the Word we can cling to as much fine gold, and any teachings we hear that are in opposition to the Word we must cast aside as chaff.
2. When we see works performed by those who claim to be God’s messengers, we are to grasp our “gold standard” of the Word to see if these works will stand up against its teachings. Does God say that these works will be used by His ministers? Does God say these works will be done during the time in which we are living, or have they fulfilled their purpose and no longer exist? Are the works accomplishing the proper end? Etc etc
3. When we see methods being employed by churches and ministers we must not be caught up in the idea that “the end justifies the means”. Just because a certain method APPEARS to have great results for Christ, it does not justify their use. We are to take the Word, and see if the methods being used are glorifying to the Lord and sanctioned in the Word.

It is these type of issues that Satan uses to reap havoc and chaos among God’s people. It is only through the use of God’s Word as our final authority concerning the teachings, works, and methods of ministry that we can see the true nature of the ministries and ministers that may come our way.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

Please visit…
Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
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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.”

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The Religions of The World

SIH STSTA ICONCurrently there are approximately 40 major religions that exist in the world today. You can see a listing and description of forty of them at http://www.religionfacts.com/

The some of the largest religions include… Christianity , Islam, Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist, Hinduism, Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism, primal-indigenous, African Traditional & Diasporic, Sikhism, Juche, Spiritism, Judaism, Baha’I, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo, Neo-Paganism, Unitarian-Universalism, Rastafarianism, and Scientology.

One thing we can know for sure, each of these religions vary in doctrine and practices.  Their teachings range from Atheism that denies the existence of god, to the Wicca religion that teaches many gods exist.  There are similar irreconcilable discrepancies between the religions in the area of man’s condition, salvation, the afterlife, and their founders.

As you study the basic differences between the beliefs of these religions, one thing becomes very clear… these religions contradict each other in almost all areas of their teachings.  This establishes the fact that all but one of these religions must be based upon error.

Why do so many various religions exist?  The Bible helps us to understand why these varied belief systems exist.

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

2Tim 4

1) I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4) And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 

1Tim 4

1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3) Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

2Cor 11

1) Would to God ye could bear with me a little in [my] folly: and indeed bear with me.

2) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.

3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]….

13) For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

15) Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

THE STUDY:

False religions have been with us from the beginning of time.  In the very beginning, Adam and Eve were called upon to choose which set of spiritual truths they were to embrace and follow with their lives.  Would they accept the truths that had been given to them from God or the lies that were told to them by Satan?  We are all familiar with the choice that they had made and the affects of that choice upon all mankind.

Adam and Eve choose to submit to the teachings and desires of Satan. This represents the first act of human belief in a false religion….

2 Cor 11:3-4, 13-15

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]……  For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Since false religions have been with us from the Garden of Eden, as Christians, what are we to do?  By remembering Adam and Eve’s sin, and its results, we are reminded of the devastating effects of following a false religion.

In 2nd Timothy 4:1-4, Paul writing to the young pastor, Timothy, gives timeless insight into false teachings and the religions that oppose the truth of the gospel of Christ.   Paul’s instructions are so important for us all…

 

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Remember, as Christians, we are given the responsibility to remain faithful to the truths of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

This same Lord that we serve, will someday judge both lost and saved, those who will be physically dead and those who will be alive at His coming.  This means that all men will be held accountable for the choice they make concerning which God they will serve.  The choice is plain, follow the teachings of Jehovah God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ; or the teachings of the  many false gods of this world, created, empowered and supported by Satan.

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Timothy was to:

  1. proclaim the truth of God’s Word
  2. continue to be faithful in blessed times and in times of trial and heartache
  3. convince others of the truth
  4. correct the errors held by others
  5. encourage others to stand by the truths to which they held
  6. do all the above through the use of patience and the teachings of doctrinal truth.

These responsibilities not only apply to Timothy, nor to pastors in today’s time, but to all who hold to the truths and faith of Christ Jesus.  We are to stand for the truth and work for it’s continuance and growth.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Why is it so important for Christians to work for the propagation of the truth?

Because due to the sinful desires of mankind, the natural course of the fallen world is to reject the truth and follow after those who teach error.   The doctrines of sin, man’s inability to gain salvation of his own merit, God’s grace, and salvation through Christ’s work alone, are a few of many truths that go against the lusts of the depraved human heart.    

And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

When looked at from the light of God’s Word, fallen mankind is responsible, guilty, shameful, and unable to deliver themselves from their horrible condition.  God’s Word presents a clear view of the wickedness of man contrasted by the love, grace and the ability of Almighty God.   This is why lost mankind, apart from God’s gracious intervention, will reject the truths of His Word at every turn.

It is due to this desire of our fallen natures to hear fables that we have the false teachings of this world flourishing.  It is much more pleasing to a fallen human heart to hear that they are not wicked and separated from a Holy God; or although sinful, they deserve salvation and can attain it through their own good works.   These are the basic messages of the false religions of the day. These are the messages of error, that if followed, will condemn mankind to an eternity of separation from God in the Lake of Fire.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

As the coming of Christ draws near, each of us must be on guard against allowing error to enter into our lives and beliefs.  As Paul stated so clearly in 1 Timothy 4:1-2….

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; …

Turning from the truth to a false religion is proof of an imitation salvation experience and  a mark of an unregenerate nature.  In other words, if we find ourselves turning from the truth of God’s Word to a false religion, we can rest assured that our original salvation experience was a counterfeit.  It only involved a mental acceptance of truth, without ever receiving a changed heart through the gracious workings of Christ.

For those who have yet to be saved…

In this blog posting, you have come face to face with a small portion of the Biblical teachings on the false religions of today.  The motive behind God’s Word and this blog entry is the same.  It is an attempt, motivated by love to warn those who have been deceived by the seducing spirits of this world and the fallen nature within each of us.

Please, look into the Word of the Lord and by faith, accept it’s truths.  Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done for His people.  Look to Christ and receive salvation from your sins and eternal life with Him.  If you would like more information about the teachings concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation He so graciously gives you have many options:

  1. Open His Word and read about Him
  2. If you are uncertain where to start in His Word you can take a look at my blog page “All About Salvation” to help get you started
  3. You can look at these links for more information:

http://www.bryanstation.com/articles/a-message-to-the-lost

http://www.intouch.org/resources/content/topic/how_well_do_you_know_god

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A335

http://www.lwf.org/site/PageNavigator/jesus/who_is_jesus

  1. You can contact a Bible believing church.  They will be glad to help you to understand what Christ has done for you
  2. Or, you are more than welcome to contact me through my email address settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you.

With the multiplicity of false religions, comes proof that the second coming of Christ is coming soon.  Time is short.  No one knows what tomorrow holds.  Look to Jesus know while He is at work in your heart and you still have time.  Don’t say as did the prophet Jeremiah…

Jer 8:20

20) The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

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