Tuesday, March 5, 2019

APOSTASY

Apostasy is both a departure and a reverting to a previous condition. [2 Peter 2:20-22]
We learn much from this passage. Notice, these phrases:
a. “after they have escaped...defilements of the world”;
b. “Through the knowledge” – knowledge (spiritual learning/discernment)
c. “entangled/overcome”
d. “Last state is become worse...than the first.”
e. “Better...not to have known...than to turn back”

This is speaking of a return to a defiled condition; one in which was escaped through knowledge of ‘the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’, ‘the way of righteousness’, & the ‘holy commandment’. (all of these are one and the same)
Other passages: 2 Thess 2:3, 10-12. It is called a ‘falling away’.
Here, we are told the causes of this ‘falling away’; namely:
a. “they received not a love of the truth”;
b. They ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’.

*Apostasy implies the existence of truth. Truth is what was ‘fallen from’; something that ‘existed’; something that was made known because of knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
Jesus declared, “I am the way the truth & the life...” (John 14:6). It is ‘‘the holy commandment’; ‘the way of righteousness’.

Truth implies the existence of a standard or a pattern (Gal. 1:6-9) “another gospel as opposed to the one true gospel”.

Something “true” must exist before anything false can be identified'


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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Whence Cometh Wisdom?

Zophar, Eliphaz and Bildad, the three friends of Job were aged and experienced, but could not answer as to why Job would not renounce his innocence, nor could they explain why Job suffered. (chapters 25 – 31)
So many people asked a similar question today…i.e. ‘whence cometh suffering…why does God allow bad things to happen to good people’, etc.
A young lad answered both Job’s three friends and Job. First, his reply to the 3 friends of Job, of whom he had listened, and listened, and listened….waiting for some words of wisdom to be uttered from 3 people who ought to have known the reason for Job’s suffering AND offer wise counsel. But none came.
Read carefully, young Elihu’s words, noticing an eternal truth that he states in his reply in Job 32:6-10:
6 So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said: “I am young in years, and you are very old; therefore I was afraid, and dared not declare my opinion to you.
7 I said, ‘Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.’
8 But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.
9 Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice.
10 “ Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me, I also will declare my opinion.’
11 Indeed I waited for your words, I listened to your reasonings, while you searched out what to said,
12 I paid close attention to you; and surely not one of you convinced Job, or answered his words—

Notice Elihu’s words from verse 8: ‘THERE IS A SPIRIT IN MAN, AND THE BREATH OF THE ALMIGHTY GIVES HIM UNDERSTANDING’!
Physical longevity does not make one “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15); THAT comes from the breath of the Almighty!
The apostle Paul explained it in 1 Cor. 2:9-14, saying:

9 “…as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Elihu was wiser than those older in physical age, because he had spiritual discerning. The scriptures will make one wise (knowledgeable) as to why suffering exists, for they explain how suffering is a result of our sins against God. Jesus was purposed to die for our sins, and teach us how to live a life apart from sinning. So, in His teaching, He taught how to be transformed from living self-FISH-ly, to living self-LESS-ly.
Elihu knew this, and understood the purpose for which Job suffered. Suffering is a means by which God, in His tender mercy, rather than punish us AS WE DESERVE; sends us instead, a ‘light affliction’ (2 Cor. 4:17). This is out of His desire to lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). By giving us a choice to take HIS yoke, we will inherit the eternal rewards for choosing to, “suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25).
Exercising our faith by obedience is how we “witness” to others. Obedience is the true evidence of saving faith. Obedience is the “works” whereby faith is said to “justify”. Abraham’s obedience is set forth as an example in James 2:20-24. The spiritual benefits of enduring suffering is seen from James 1:2-3. Suffering, when endured, declares our dependence upon God, (i.e., His power to deliver).
The wisdom God gives about suffering’s purpose, enables us to endure, because a greater reward than sin’s pleasures, is promised (Heb. 11:26).
Suffering is God’s way to strengthen our faith in Him, to the point of obedience, trusting that, whatever God says, will result. While we may not see the connection between the promise and the command, a trusting faith, does not question God’s love for us, nor God’s ways. In obedience, the genuineness of our faith is witness to others.
All this wisdom from God is in His word, the Bible. Do you understand why suffering is a part of human life? The scriptures will teach you of salvation from the suffering, caused by your sins.
Elihu was wiser than those older in physical age, because he had spiritual discerning. Remember from his counsel, the only source of wisdom, “…there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice.”
Does your life reflect that God’s wisdom rules your life? Evidence of its rule is seen from what James wrote in chapter 3:17, “…the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Does this describe you? As James asked in chapter 4:14, “…what is your life?”
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Monday, February 18, 2019

CIRCUMSTANCES...


From the apostle Paul, we learn some vital lessons as to how we ought to view the 'circumstances' that result from our following the gospel of Christ. The text is Philippians 1:12-14. It reads:
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
We see that he suffered imprisonment, "for the cause of Christ". Rather than elaborate on being falsely accused, he says that it "turned out for the greater progress of the gospel". He mentions the encouragement it had given to other brethren, to "speak the word of God without fear".

Was there any benefit from these 'circumstances'?
What of our "circumstances"? How do we view them? Do we mope around with a depressing, hopeless disposition? Do we, in our daily talk, blame those who contributed to our plight? Do we see nothing but a dim future ahead, with no possible chance of things ever changing?
If we are true to our 'claim', in being a child of God, then why do we not view our 'circumstances' as the apostle Paul did his imprisonment?Rest assured, if we have faith in the saving potential of the gospel, we will choose to attain the same attitude as the apostle Paul. We will do as he wrote to others in the first century, "follow me as I follow Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). 
The gospel is God's power to save (Romans 1:16). To suffer for it, means that we defend it against all "other" gospels, which undermine and divide, rather than unite, and, result in condemnation rather than salvation (Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Corinthians 1:13; Matthew 23:15)
Only when we attain to the attitude of the apostle Paul toward our own circumstances, will there be any benefit for ourselves, for other brethren, and result in "the greater progress of the gospel".
The key is in our attitude toward the message of the gospel. Just how important is it to us? Will we suffer persecution because we teach it as Paul did? What did Paul teach on how to "call on the name of the Lord"? What did Paul teach about division in the body of Christ? Why was Paul imprisoned in the first place? Whatever reasons we might give, first and foremost, it was over the things he preached. He took a stand to defend the gospel, and did not succumb to pressure or threats, even of his own life. Read what he said of his own life in view of the gospel (Acts -20:24).
Unless and until we grow to this level of faith, we will always give in to opposition from those who have no "love for the truth" (2 Thess. 2:10). Others, in Paul's day did, forsaking him and their own salvation (2 Timothy 4:16). Jesus had witnessed the same fear in His disciples (Mark 14:50). Yet, they overcame their fear later, and boldly proclaimed the doctrine that Christ commissioned them with. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).



Herein is the real test of our faith - to stand firm in teaching the doctrine of Christ, in the face of opposition from those who fear man more than God. These are the 'fearful' that are spoken of in Revelation 21:8. Their fate is clearly stated: "But the FEARFUL, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Saving faith will show courage when opposition sets the battle in array. Standing firm will result in "the progress" of the gospel; your example will give strength to other brethren to stand firm. 
Does my 'faith' have such courage? Paul's did. There were those who preached, seeking only to add to his bonds (Philippians 1:16). He stood firm. He said in Philippians 1:22, "...if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me..." 
Let us resolve to imitate the apostle Paul and not 'blame' circumstances for our failure to support the gospel.
Let us resolve to respond to our circumstances in the manner that Paul told the Philippians, "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel..." (Philippians 1:27).

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Monday, February 11, 2019

LOVE and HATE...the growth process

The process of sanctification (the ongoing part of “becoming” a Christian) is a matter of growth, and that developing the Christian graces - the greatest of which is charity, or love (1 Cor. 12:31 -13:13) - - requires careful cultivation that is ongoing as a child of God matures.
One passage which describes this cultivation is found in 2 Peter 1:4-8; which concludes with the following statement: “For if these things be IN YOU, and ABOUND, they make you that ye neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v 8). Love is most assuredly one of the things that gives evidence that one is a child of God. And if love is present in the life, then the things Peter here lists, can be said to "be in" that person. But remember, that Peter said that these things must also ABOUND. In order for these things to "abound" they must be cultivated. In order for love to grow (abound); it must be cultivated...nourished...fed. Then, and only then will love RULE in one's heart.

But, think about this...
Hatred must also be cultivated if it is to grow. Hatred is NOT a Christian grace, nor should it be; BUT IT HAS TO BE ALLOWED TO BUILD AND GROW IF IT IS TO TAKE OVER ONE'S HEART. It may well be a “natural” thing in some respects; but it is incapable of growing out of control on its own.
For it to be that way, one would have to accept the implication that man is by his very nature evil - - which is certainly NOT the case. The reason we know this to be true is because God created man IN HIS IMAGE. This means, that, like as God, man can freely choose. God did, in creating us in His image. He didn't have to, but FREELY CHOSE TO!
This decision was made before we did good or evil. God purposefully, of His own free will, CHOSE to make man in His image. He didn't have to. He could have been "mindful" of something else in His creation, but He CHOSE to be mindful of man (Psalm 8:4 ~ Heb. 2:6). Being in God's image...having free will, (from God) man can choose good or evil (or, to love or to hate). Whichever he chooses, if it is to rule, it has to be nourished; fed and cultivated! It won't happen without nourishment. A man must choose whether to allow hatred to grow in his heart and consume his soul, or to cultivate love and the other Christian graces.
Hatred is a form of lust that a man allows by his choices; choices to nourish that lust. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
Let us remember that we are in control of which virtues (or vices) we cultivate and allow to grow in your heart. We're in God's image. May we choose to obey God, and cultivate the love He has shown us, by treating one another as He treats us.
"For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." (Eph. 5:29-30)

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

"And she shall bring forth a son..." ~ WHY?

"And she shall bring forth a son, 
and thou shalt call his name JESUS: 
for he shall save his people from their sins." 
(Matthew 1:21)

HER SON EXPLAINED THE REASON FOR HIS COMING, IN HIS TEACHING. HE CAME TO DIE! WHY? HE EXPLAINED IT IN :
"If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause'."


IN THIS WAY, "...he will save his people from their sins." ~ Matthew 1:21

Jesus was sent to die for EVERYONE (John 3:16). As Matt. 1:21 declares: "...he will save his people from their sins."
"For if, when we were enemies, 
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, 
much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." 
(Rom. 5:10)

TWO QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION:
#1 ~ Since the death of Jesus HAS occurred, and His death WAS for man's reconciliation, is everyone now reconciled?"

#2 ~ Consider the relevance of His teachings...IF JESUS HAD NOT TAUGHT AT ALL, WOULD HIS DEATH, APART FROM HIS TEACHINGS, SAVED MANKIND???

If yes, then explain WHY Jesus taught at all...if not, why not?

What is the key? Two passages from the apostles Paul and Peter will give us the answer:
"...and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." ~ 1 Peter 2:24
"...and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." ~ Rom. 6:13

If anyone does not "live to righteousness" or continues to present the members of his body to sin "as instruments of unrighteousness...", WILL JESUS' DEATH BENEFIT THAT PERSON?
Jesus commanded us to "die TO our sins...". WHAT IF WE DON'T? WILL HIS DEATH BENEFIT US?

His "teachings" were the "works" that "none other had done". His "teachings" made known to us that we have sin, and need to repent of such a life. Without our repentance, His dying will be in vain. (John 15:22-25)

DO YOU VALUE HIS TEACHING? His teaching was not ONLY for the purpose of informing man that He died, and that His death was to reconcile us to God, but also that we might know the need for and the purpose for OUR OWN DYING! Without His 'teaching', our 'dying' would have no relevance to His 'dying'. 

The apostle Paul explained it as follows: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." ~ Romans 6:1-4

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Demands and Failures of Preaching.

The purpose of preaching is to reveal to man, his Creator. The Creator has revealed His will to man, and preaching is to make this known. In so doing, certain demands will be made upon man. The demands are to believe in the Creator, and in the things the Creator has purposed and promised for man. The 'demands' are not threats, a plea to accept the great love from God for man. This acceptance is simple submission of man's will to God's will. It will be seen by obedience to God. Obedience indicates belief in what God has done and in what God has promised. This is described as the "obedience of faith" [Romans 1:5; 16:26]. That God has love for man in demanding acceptance, are evident in that man will be blessed for submitting to God's will. This we see from the words of Jesus in Matt. 11:29, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
If preaching fails to point this out, man will not only suffer in this life, but suffer eternal consequences. Thus, the demand to accept God's offer of salvation are vitally important.
When preaching ceases to expose and condemn sin, there will always be consequences. One consequence is the hardening of the conscience. When this happens, the following changes develop in one's life: man becomes insensitive to sin, then overtaken by covetousness. What is worse, while this digression is going on, he maintains that he still has God’s favor. This is because of his spiritual blindness. We know this to be true, for we see that it happened again and again in the Old Testament, with the children of Israel. 
Many of their prophets and priests, took bribes and preached lies to the people. As a result of their failure to expose and condemn sin, the majority of the children of Israel became insensitive to their sin, and became more and more covetous, all the while claiming to have God’s favor and calling upon Him as their God. They were very religious, but very hypocritical. 
However, there were those who did not, and preached God's will (i.e., demands). Notice from the words of THESE prophets, how covetous and hypocritical the people had become: 
Hosea 7:13-15 - “…they speak lies against me. They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me. Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against me.” 

Micah 2:1-2 - “Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.”

Amos 6:1, 4-6 - "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion...to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!”

2 Chron. 36:15-17 sums up the sad results: All the prophets that spoke truth, called upon the nation to return in repentance to God, by observing the Law that God gave them through Moses. The prophet Malachi wrote, "Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel" (Malachi 4:4). What was their attitude toward his preaching of repentance and obedience? We find from the prophet Jeremiah that the word of the Lord was, “…to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.” (Jer. 6:10)


2 Chron. 36:15-17 sums up the sad results: "The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy."
So is it true today...there are those who preach perversions of the message that Jesus preached and gospels "other" than "the" gospel preached by the apostles of the Lord (Gal. 1:6-9).  
The same mindset that Israel had of still being in God's favor, even though they have rejected God's will exists. Therefore, the same consequences will come upon all who maintain a disobedient faith.
For those who will heed the demands of God's will, the blessing that God promised of old, yet remains. It is stated in the words of the prophet Malachi, "Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. RETURN UNTO ME, AND I WILL RETURN UNTO YOU, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS" (Malachi 3:7).
Jesus gave His word, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest..." (Matthew 11:28).

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

DOCTRINE MATTERS

In the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi), chapter 2, addresses God's displeasure with the priests. One of the responsibilities of these priests, was to teach the Law of Moses to the people.
God chose the tribe of Levi to be the tribe from which future priests would serve Him and the people of Israel. This choosing came as a result of their zeal for God years earlier at Mt. Sinai, when the idol of a golden calf was worshipped, while Moses was upon the mountain receiving the Law.
In Exod. 32:25-29, we take up the story: "Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, 'Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!' And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. He said to them, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor'. So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Then Moses said, 'Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today'.”
We see that this choosing of them was a blessing and a reward for their zeal in punishing the guilty among their brethren. This act of zeal and obedience is later described in Deut. 33:8-9 as follows: “Of Levi he said, “Let Your Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your godly man, whom You proved at Massah, with whom You contended at the waters of Meribah; who said of his father and his mother, ‘I did not consider them’; and he did not acknowledge his brothers, nor did he regard his own sons, for they observed Your word, and kept Your covenant.”
While many lessons can be taken from this, one lesson is obvious: the sons of Levi chose to side with God rather than family and friends. [Remember Jesus’ words in Matt. 10:37 about loving family more than Him?] Does their behavior here show who they loved ‘more’?
Malachi 2:5 says of Levi, “My covenant with him was one of life.”
However, another important truth that must not be forgotten is that the priesthood was given to the tribe of Levi, no other tribe! As time would go on, within this nation, priests were “allowed” to come from other tribes, although God never authorized such a decision. One of the more notable examples of this being done was when Jeroboam did so, being motivated to secure his rule over the people. He was condemned for such and this practice continued until the Assyrian captivity.
Another thing that happened with many priests, can be seen from the prophet Micah. Micah records the bribery among the heads of the people, the priests, and the prophets. Micah 3:11 states, “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money...”
This too continued to Malachi’s day and brings us up to Malachi’s words in chapter 2:1-9, where God’s anger with the priests is described:
“And now this commandment is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. “So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction."
Among their sins, was that of “corrupting the covenant of Levi”. How was the covenant ‘corrupted’? By teaching error! Notice again the phrase, “…you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction…”. Malachi also said that, “..the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.”
But this didn’t happen…
Such instructions bear upon all who preach today. As was true in the Old Testament, so today, there is truth being preached and there is error! How can one know truth from error in the preaching?
Simple. In the Old Testament, there was a standard; the Law that Moses received from God on Mt. Sinai. Compare every message to that. This was seen from Deut. 13:1-10, where Moses said that if ANY prophet taught differently from what He had taught, that prophet was to be put to death (much as was done with the guilty in Exod. 32 by the sons of Levi years earlier). Error could be distinguished from truth in this way.
An example of error being taught is seen from Jeroboam’s errors.
1 Kings 12:27-29 – Jeroboam changed the place of worship from Jerusalem to Dan and Bethel…did it matter? Yes, for God specified Jerusalem as the place of worship (Deut. 12:5-7; Exod. 20:24; Deut. 12:11, 13; 2 Chron. 7:12). Did it matter?
1 Kings 12:31, 33 – Jeroboam made priests from tribes other than the tribe of Levi…did it matter? Yes, for God commanded Moses to give the priesthood to the tribe of Levi (1 Kings 13:33; 2 Kings 17:32; 2 Chron. 11:15; 13:9). Did it matter?
1 Kings 12:32 – Jeroboam changed the day of worship from the 7th month to the 8th month. Did it matter? Yes, for God had commanded Moses to do so on the 7th month (Lev. 23:33-34).
Why did Jeroboam do this? The answer 'why' is in 1 Kings 12:27, 33.
Today, how can one know truth from error in preaching? In the same way as was done in the Old Testament with the Law of Moses.
As then, there is a standard today also. The standard is the teachings of Jesus; the teachings of the apostles…they’re one and the same. It is the gospel; God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16). But, as Moses said in Deut. 13, there are those who teach differently from what Jesus and the apostles taught. Those who do so, are accursed (Gal. 1:6-9).
While we know of Jeroboam’s motives, we also know that the same motives are found today in preachers who teach a different gospel. 2 Peter 2:10-19 details their motives. Peter had earlier said of them that, “…because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words…” (2 Peter 2:2-3).
Timothy said they were, “…men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:5).
Jude said they were, “…are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage" (Jude 1:16).
Jeroboam’s motives were not known by those he deceived at the time; but by those who knew what God had commanded Moses, it mattered, and they could not support Jeroboam. He was a false teacher, with evil motives!
So, today, motives are seldom known at the outset. Peter revealed their covert ways in 2 Peter 2:1, saying that they “…secretly introduce destructive heresies...”.
Gal. 2:4 says that the innocent are brought into bondage by “…false brethren secretly brought in...”.
Jude said they creep in “...unnoticed...ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness...” (Jude 1:4).
It is sad to say, but the reality is, that some preach lies and distort the gospel. Read again Peter’s words of this occurring under the Old Testament and the New Testament (2 Peter 2:1 – “…false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you...”).
This is why doctrine matters. Friends and families are segregated because of different messages being proclaimed. Preachers need to be held responsible for what they preach. If they are preaching the same thing as Jesus and the apostles preached, then any investigation will vindicate them and prove them to be proclaimers of truth. The standard is the gospel. Compare the messages. Truth will stand out.
As this relates to salvation, the question “What must I do to be saved?”, is foremost of all matters. Is it possible to preach error on “How To Be Saved”? If so, have not people been deceived as to their own status with God? If error has been preached and error has been believed and error has been obeyed, HAS ONE BEEN SAVED? Does this matter??? Remember, the changes that Jeroboam made? Did they matter?What did Jesus command His apostles to preach on this? That is the STANDARD.
Does it matter whether baptism is taught as necessary BEFORE salvation, or AFTERWARDS (as an outward sign of an inward grace)?
All other matters are moot if error on “How To Be Saved” is embraced. There is a ‘form of doctrine’ (i.e., a standard) to be DELIVERED and to be OBEYED! (Rom. 6:17-18)
If not, then where does that leave us? Earlier, the question was asked, 'Is it possible to teach error on “What must I do to be saved?”. Consider some other questions: 1] "Is it IM-possible to teach what the Lord’s apostles taught?" 2] Is it impossible to agree on what they taught? 3] What was taught to people in the book of Acts who asked “what must I do to be saved”?
Whatever the answer THE APOSTLES gave, should be the answer given by all who preach today. If not, why not?
Did the apostles EVER tell anyone to pray a prayer for salvation? If so, where is the passage? Does it matter? Did it matter that Jeroboam changed the things he did?
There is such a thing as “another gospel”; but remember, there is THE gospel (re-read Gal. 1:6-9). DOCTRINE DOES MATTER!
It is why the Lord warned:
"Take heed WHAT ye hear" ~ Mark 4:24
"Take heed HOW ye hear" ~ Luke 6:38
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