Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                                                November 4, 2012                                                                                                                                                                               NO. 41



It may be that someone reading this is unfamiliar with the Lord’s church and may have the idea that one church is as good as another. Maybe someone reading this has no idea, or at least very little knowledge, of what true Christianity is all about. Maybe someone reading this is confused by the mixed and even contradictory messages being preached by the religious world and wonders which is right [if any] and may be wondering if it really even matters.

It matters.

The apostle John warned the disciples of the first century, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The fact is, since the beginning of the preaching of the true gospel, there have been men who claim to be of God and claim to be preaching His word when they are not of God and do not preach His word at all, but the creeds and opinions of mere men. They lead men astray, teaching as doctrine the com-mandments of men (cf. Matt. 15:8, 9), and many souls will be lost because those false doctrines are believed.

Even as these false teachers exist and find great success, there are precious few teachers of the true and pure word of God and the gospel, and they strive to make a distinction between the truth and the numerous false doctrines that are widely preached and accepted. They will warn men about the many errors and strive to get men to focus on Jesus Christ and his word alone and reject and condemn the creeds and doctrines of men. As they do this, those who lead men astray by their false doctrines and the creeds of men often condemn them for preaching the truth — specifically, for labeling false teachers as the false teachers they are, and for exposing the false doctrines and warning others not to follow them.

An oft-heard cry of the denominational world is that men should ‘keep their faith to themselves’ and not condemn anyone else for what they believe. They would have us believe such thinking is ‘noble’ and ‘loving,’ but it is nothing of the sort. Would we think a man ‘loving’ if he did not warn another man he was about to drive over a cliff, simply because he didn’t think he should tell anyone they were wrong, or that the path they were taking led to certain destruction? Of course not! Then why would we say that about men who warn others about the fact they are traveling down the wide path to eternal destruction (cf. Matt. 7:13)?

Let’s face the facts: So many people have been conditioned to think condemnation of false doctrines is ‘unloving’ that they are literally surprised and shocked that anyone would label another doctrine as false, since they have been told ‘It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you’re sincere.’ If a man stands firm on the truth and points out sin and/or error in another, some see it now as ‘hate speech.’ But is it? And why would anyone want to take it upon themselves to point out error and preach a narrow, exclusive gospel that demands we live lives distinctly different than the world? The answer, of course, is found within God’s word. Hear what the apostle Paul said to the Christians in Colossæ: “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28).

Christ Should Be the Focus of Our Preaching.  As Paul will point out later in this letter, there would be some men who would come to them with messages and doctrines that could distract them from their focus on Christ; some would teach “philosophy and empty deceit,” some would bring “the tradition of men,” and some would try to get them to go back to “the basic principles of the world,” but it was all “not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). Paul would go on to say that in Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (vv. 9,10). Nothing else could make them complete, and these other doctrines would only lead them astray from the one source of salvation — Jesus Christ.

When men make anything but Christ the center of their preaching, they will be offended, then, by those who try to get us back on focus and who decry the distractions that so many offer instead of Christ. Many churches and religious organizations offer just about anything but Christ while still claiming to be a part of His church, but don’t be deceived. We must preach Christ and Him crucified as the central part of our faith, for He is what we are all about.

Warnings Are A Part of Preaching. Note in the passage that Paul said they preached Christ, “warning every man”; warning them about what — or whom? This is a strange thing in much of today’s preaching; except for the false doctrine of premillennialism that is constantly citing events in the Middle East as positive signs of the end of time, there is not much in the way of warnings in modern-day preaching. It seems like the main message in much of what is heard nowadays is along the lines of a “don’t worry, be happy” kind of ‘gospel’ that tells everyone they are good enough for heaven already. I wonder why some even call themselves ‘Christians’ since they seem to think we’re all OK already!

But the apostle Paul thought warnings were absolutely necessary — and what he wrote and spoke in warning the first-century Christians was about things that disciples of all times and places would have to face. He warned the Ephesian elders about those who would come from amongst them and speak perverse things and draw away disciples after themselves, and reminded them, “that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31). To Paul [and God] these warnings were needed! He also warned the Corinthians disciples about their immature divisiveness (1 Cor. 4:14), and he gave instruction to the brethren in Thessalonica to warn the unruly (1 Thess. 5:14). Peter (2 Pet. 2) and Jude both gave warnings about false teachers, also. Warnings are not a sign of an ‘alarmist’ mentality or that someone is just trying to stir up trouble; it’s a sign someone genuinely cares about you!

The Reason. Now that it has been noted that acceptable teaching must include Jesus as the center of all we believe and teach, and that warnings against various errors are also a necessary part of preaching, we might now ask, “Why must we preach Christ and why must warnings be given?” Paul answered that, too, when he went on to write, “… that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” We must do it because we want every man to be saved! We preach Jesus because there is “no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) and no man comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). We warn men against errors and against false teachings because they can be led astray by them, even after having once obeyed the true gospel. [Consider the brethren of Galatia as an example, Gal. 1:6-9.]

If you come to where the true and pure gospel is being preached as God intended, it probably won’t sound like much of what is heard from pulpits across this country. Here, you will hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, because only Christ can save us and because our enemy is doing everything he can to cause us to be lost. That is what and why we preach.                        

---Steven Harper

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According to a recent study, people with a college degree are more likely to reject the Bible as the word of God than those without a college degree. A "distinct shift" occurs after college regarding beliefs and opinion, said Richard Brake, director of university studies at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The ISI surveyed 2,508 Americans on questions intended to measure the impact of a college degree on people's beliefs. The study also found that people with college degrees were more likely to support same-sex marriage, as well as abortion available at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason . . . The shift may be attributed to the unpopularity of strong religious views in academia, Brake said. "I think one of the reasons you see this shift is the people that work in academia share these same views," he said.                                       

---via Religion News Service


1 Corinthians 1:26-27  "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."

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