No Return?

The Way of No Return

In the midst of his suffering, Job longed to die. Who has ever been so blessed and then suffered so much because of the adversity which surrounded him? He longed to die, but death would not come. He described his future in these words. “For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return” (Job 16:22). “The way of no return”—think about that phrase. Are there situations in our lives where this phrase might be used?

Where is the point of no return?

Where is the point of no return?

Is there no return for young people who leave God? Who has not seen it happen? Young people, who in their early teens, seemed so close to God, but for some reason turned away from Him? Solomon described it this way, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1). There is such a grave danger for those raised in the church who fall away. Is there a return? Yes, but it is difficult because of the “baggage” one brings with them. There is the added anguish of the experienced sins and the attendant guilt. There is a way to return, but it can be so difficult.

Is there no return for unfaithful husbands or wives? There are many trials and hurts in a marriage, but there are none equal to the unfaithfulness of a spouse. The enticement is real, for Solomon described that path as “…the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death” (Prov. 7:27). Can one return? Yes, but the faithful mate may have gone on with his/her life and have no desire to relive the hurt suffered. A sacred trust has been broken, and it can take years to restore it. There can be a return, but it comes with great “baggage.”

Is there no return for those enslaved by sexual addiction (porn), gambling, drugs and drinking? The power of addiction so often is not recognized. The entrance into sin may seem no great problem, but that entrance opens a door to bondage a Christian will struggle against the rest of his/her life. The obvious demise of media superstars captured by addiction and their loss of fame and fortune is well known, but millions struggle every day with the addiction of sin. Marriages are destroyed, children are scarred and the talents of many are never realized. Is there a return? Yes, but there remains the ever-present temptation of those sins.

Where is the true place of no return? Job was describing the end of life. Life usually ends without notice and all hope of someday “getting it right” is gone. Young people die in their sins.  Unfaithful spouses die in their sins. Drug addicts and drunkards, who plan someday to change, die in their sins. God help us to realize there is a time and place of no return!

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Wisdom and Prom

What God Sees On Facebook During Prom Season

Medical science has not yet figured out how to transplant the brain of a 40-year old, into that of a teenager. But it sure would make helping young people navigate through those teen years much easier. Imagine if you could combine the zeal of a young person with the wisdom of someone who has experienced life for 4-5 decades!

The concept of prom could benefit from the wisdom of Godly minds.

The concept of prom could benefit from the wisdom of Godly minds.

Now that prom season is over for most schools I wanted to take a minute and share a few thoughts. This is not a “bashing” post, written to judge or condemn those who have participated in this annual ritual. This is not meant to be hateful or mean-spirited, and was not written because of any certain person. Rather, it is a perspective that I hope will cause young and old alike to think. It is my hope that after reading this you will be encouraged to be holy like God is holy.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-after all, it is what everyone else was doing.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because older members in the church complimented prom pictures.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because, quite frankly, I wasn’t striving to be more holy.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because I assumed lust was just a part of growing up.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because I wasn’t concerned with immodesty.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because drinking alcohol was not viewed as reckless as other drugs.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because I was not thinking about things through the eyes of my future spouse.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because I was primarily living for myself.

When I was young I didn’t see a problem with the prom…

-because I didn’t fear God.

Now that I’m older I spend a lot of time evaluating how I can be more holy, and as a result, I look at things differently. I’m not saying that with age I have reached a status where I feel I “know more” than others. Just the opposite in fact—with my added years I have come to realize just how little I do know. Instead, the added years have helped realign my priorities better and have helped me take some bold steps in my Christian walk. I no longer place myself first. Instead, I’m constantly striving to be more Christ-like. As a result, my views have changed—somewhat dramatically. Here are some thoughts of what I see today when I see those prom pictures on Facebook.

I see parents who may not realize there is a culture war going on, and that their child’s soul is at stake.

I see parents who don’t believe worldliness is a problem in their home.

I see parents who are teaching their children a poor lesson about pleasure on earth.

I see parents who have not shared with their children the costs of following Christ.

I see parents who are willing to gamble on the purity of their children for a night of fun.

I see parents who are willing to purchase immodest dresses and justify it, because after all, it is the prom.

I see parents who give no thought to the fact that this prom date is not their child’s husband or wife—and yet, the parents are promoting a relationship outside of marriage.

I see young people who have conformed rather than be transformed.

I see young people who fear not attending prom more than they fear the Lord.

I see young people who attend youth rallies and devotionals, but then don’t walk the walk.

I see young people who are weak spiritually.

I see young people who desire to be in a lascivious environment.

I see young people who have no problem twerking or grinding on Saturday night, and then taking the Lord’s supper Sunday morning.

I see young people who will one day wish they had not gone so far with their date.

I see young people who will one day wish they could erase pictures from the internet.

I see grandparents and older Christians who reinforce this behavior by “liking” or posting positive comments under pictures.

I see grandparents and older Christians who believe this is a right of passage—after all, they did it.

I see grandparents and older Christians who see an immodestly dressed young lady and still make positive comments about her dress.

I see grandparents and older Christians who are comfortable with their young people having worldly values.

And lastly, I see young people who probably do not possess the same values that we are trying to instill in our children—and therefore are not suitable candidates for marriage. And that makes me sad. That’s probably the biggest thing I see—sadness. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes pictures say more than that…

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Heart to Tongue

FROM THE HEART TO THE TONGUE

The tongue is a marvelous complex instrument with several functions. It used as a sense organ, containing about 9000 taste buds which distinguish between different flavors such as bitter, salty, or sweet things.  It aids in the forming and movement of food as we eat for ease of swallowing.  And it is frequently used to express the temperament of the heart.

The words rolling off the tongue are a window to the soul.

The words rolling off the tongue are a window to the soul.

Webster dictionary defines the tongue as being a flexible muscular organ in the mouth used in tasting, swallowing, and for speech.  This is the textbook explanation of what the tongue is but for our lesson this morning we are going to be examining what the Bible says about the tongue and just how powerful it can be when it used to express the intent or disposition of someone’s heart. I think we have all experienced what happens when we or someone else loses control of their tongue. As one person said,   “Many things are opened by mistake, but none so frequently as the mouth.”

Lesson Text:  James 3:2-13

James gives us some great details about how powerful the tongue is and how difficult it is to control in:

James 3:2 “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”

Here James is pointing out to us, that as Christians we stumble in many areas of our lives because we are not perfect and God knows this but if it were possible that we could control our tongue then James said we could be perfect and that we would be fully capable of controlling our entire body so that we would never stumble. In this we are being taught that the tongue is harder to control than any things else.

James 3:3 “Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

When you think about the illustrations that James gives isn’t amazing that something so small like a bit or rudder can control such big objects like a horse or a boat. He uses this illustration to point out the power of the tongue even though it is a small member of the body as we read in:

James 3:5 “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.  7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.  8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

We learn from James the tongue can be used for both good and for evil. When we fail to control of our tongue the words that we speak can be a powerful as a spark in dry forest because it can burn everything down in it path. James tells us it is difficult to control the tongue and we as Christians can learn to control our tongues with diligence and through the help of God and by keeping God’s Word in our heart.  I have seen first hand on several occasions where a person who claims to be a Christian will praise God out one side of their mouth and then foul language and harsh word will come out the other side of their mouth but this should not be the case.

Another thing we need to realize about the tongue is that it will eventually express what is in a person’s heart.  You can usually find out how serious a Christian is in the heart by what kind of language comes out of their mouths.

Jesus points this out to his disciples when he responds to the Pharisees after they accuse him of casting out demons by Beelzebub.

Matthew 12:34Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

The words that come out of our mouth are reflection of what is in our heart and if our heart is not pure eventually it will be made known by what comes out of our mouth.  That is why it important that we learn to heed what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (NKJV).

Later on Jesus also rebukes the Pharisees and the scribes for trying to say that unwashed hands defiles a person. He tells them, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”  Matthew 15:11  (NKJV),

Peter doesn’t understand what Jesus is telling these Jews here so he explains it to him in, Matthew 15:16-19, “So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (NKJV).

So the tongue will reflect what is in a person’s heart. It is up to us on whether we use our tongue for good or for evil. If we choose to use it for good:

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.

But if we choose to use them for evil,

Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD …

We have free will and we must make our choice on how we use our tongue but understand that we will be judged by how we use our tongues as Jesus says in,

Mt 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

We need to keep this in mind before we let lose our evil tongue on those around us. We also need to realize that the tongue has the power to bring about life or death.

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”   Those who use their tongues well, will have life.  Those who use their tongues for evil will have death.

The power of an evil tongue brings death…

Paul gives the Christians in Galatia a list of things that will keep them from inheriting the kingdom of God.  He writes in

Galatians 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. “
NKJV

Of these these things Paul mentioned several are directly attributable to our speech.  Contentions, outbursts of wrath, dissentions, heresies and revelries are all tied to the things which come out of our mouths.

Lies are a sin of the speech and will keep us out heaven,

Revelation 21:8
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” NKJV

In Revelation 21:27, John goes on to say again,

But there shall by no means enter it [Heaven] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. “NKJV

And then again in Revelation 22:14-15

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” NKJV

Three times in a row John makes the case that there will not be any liars in heaven.  Therefore if anyone has a problem with telling the truth and they want to live in heaven with God, then they need to make a change in behavior.

How about Gossip?  Paul uses some very strong language about this and other sins of the speech in

Romans 1:28-32

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. ”  NKJV

Paul says whisperers and back biters are worthy of death. Gossips whisper behind the backs of others.  They make false accusations against others behind their backs.  Gossips slander others, meaning they speak evil of them.  Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5,

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
NKJV

Gossiping is a sin of speech which will bring death to those who practice it.  Notice Paul used the word “blasphemers” in this list of people who won’t be spending eternity in heaven if they don’t repent.  Blasphemy is a sin of speech which will keep us out of heaven.   Blasphemy is a term which means to speak evil of.  It can mean speaking evil against God or others.   This word in the Greek language is also translated as railers which is someone who engages in malicious and abusive speech.  The term for blasphemy is not in any way limited to a sin against God.  When anyone reviles, or speaks in a malicious and abusive manner towards another, they are guilty of blasphemy in the sense that this word portrays.

Concerning the conduct of Christian, Paul wrote in the same letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:24-26

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”  NKJV

And now come to the most obvious of all.  Filthy speech.  Many today use the term cussing.  What it all boils down to is filthy language coming out of our mouths.  Paul mentioned this in Colossians 3:8-9

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. ” NKJV

Paul mentions this with some very harsh words in Ephesians 5:3-5

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” NKJV

James summed it up completely in James 1:26

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
NKJV

James comes right out and says that if a Christian cannot control his speech, his religion is useless or worthless, meaning it’s for nothing.  Lying, gossiping, slandering, boasting, quarreling, filthy language, foolish talking and course jesting are all sin of speech and if practiced unrestrained, will keep any Christian out of eternal life in Heaven with God. If we want our religion to be of any use at all, either for ourselves or for others, we must learn to bridle or control our tongues.

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Those who cannot or will not control their tongues will eat of the fruit of death.

So how about the fruit of life?

Good speech which contribute towards life.

Ephesians 4:29-30

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
NKJV

We must use our speech to help edify and build one another up.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
NKJV

Colossians 3:16-17

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
NKJV

These are examples of speech that not only help to bring life to us, but help one another as well.  We are commanded to use our speech for good.  Good speech portrays a good heart and sincere love and concern for others.

We use our speech to proclaim Christ to the world.  Paul wrote in Romans 10:8-10, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
NKJV

And then Paul well on to write in the next chapter,

Romans 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

NKJV

Our speech can be used to glorify God.   In Romans 15:6, Paul wrote, “that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NKJV

Evil speech brings the fruit of death.   Controlled, gracious, gentle and kind speech brings the fruit of life.

As we learned earlier, what comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what is in our hearts.  All of these things we looked at so far on controlling the tongue has to do with the condition of our heart. So the key to using your tongue for righteousness is making your heart pure which means your thoughts will be pure and words will be pure. Paul stresses the need for us to control our thought in,

  1. Cor 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

This should be every Christian’s goal to bring into captivity every thought of man to the obedience of Christ. This is not an easy task because evil thoughts may arise which could cause us to sin. But, if we stay as close to God as possible, and have an active prayer life, even these thoughts can be brought into obedience of Christ. We must train our minds with the Word of God so that eventually good thoughts, not evil, will dominate our hearts. This can only come about by much prayer and much training.  However, it should be the goal of every Christian. Someone once said, “You may not be what you think you are, but you are what you think.”  One who thinks filthy thoughts is likely to live that kind of life. The book of Proverbs also teaches this.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

Jesus told us in the great Sermon on the mount that it is possible for us to commit murder or adultery in our hearts (Matt. 5:27-28).  Bringing our thoughts into captivity is a never-ending battle.  However, it can be done and must be done.  Keeping our heart and speech pure is necessary in order to keep ourselves away from the corruption of the world.  It takes constant diligence and effort because we are out in the world on a daily basis and it is so easy to allow ourselves to become influenced by it.  It is easy to become weary of resisting it and let our guards down.  It is so easy to allow the things of the world to creep in and overtake us.  We must never give in to Satan and never give up.

James wrote in 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”  (NKJV)

I hope this lesson has made us all think more about how we use our tongues and I hope that if we have not been using it properly that we will start today. I also hope we have leaned how important it is for our hearts to be pure so that our thoughts can be pure and finally I hope we have learned that the our tongue has the power to make the difference between life and death.

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False Teacher, Antichrist

“For Whoever Greets Him Takes Part In His Wicked Works”

The church of Jesus Christ is held in very high esteem by the Scriptures.  Our Lord built her himself, and she cannot be destroyed (Matt. 16:18).  He exercises his supreme authority solely in her interests (Eph. 1:22).  She is his body, and is what fills him up (Eph. 1:22-23).  She is the only avenue in which one can know the awesome wisdom of God, which was God’s plan from before the world began (Eph. 3:10-11).  She is the only place in which one can give God glory (Eph. 3:21).  Christ saves only her (Eph. 5:23), and died for her as well (Eph. 5:25).  He has set her apart for glory, to cleanse her and present her to himself without any spot or blemish of sin (Eph. 5:26-27).  He nourishes and cherishes her just as we do with our own bodies (Eph. 5:29-30).  She is God’s family, and is also the firm foundation of the truth of his Word (1 Tim. 3:15; cf. John 17:17).  Jesus purchased her with his own blood (Acts 20:28).

An antichrist may indeed appear as a lamb, but his wickedness is demonstrated in his false teaching.

An antichrist may indeed appear as a lamb, but his wickedness is demonstrated in his false teaching.

Yet, over the years careless and misguided souls have tried to change the church from what the Bible describes it as being.  They say that the Lord’s church is made up of all the different denominations, sects, and religious groups which exist today, that “one church is just as good as another,” that “we all are going to Heaven, just by different roads.”  They say these things even though all of these different churches, sects, and groups of Christendom have different doctrines, follow different creeds, leaders, and authorities…all while claiming to be led by the same Holy Spirit.  Does the Spirit of God tell one church one thing and tell another church the exact opposite?  Or does God’s Holy Spirit-inspired Word (2 Pet. 1:19-21) actually teach that there is ONE body and thus ONE church (Eph. 4:4; cf. 1:22-23), that there is actually ONE faith (Eph. 4:5), and that this ONE faith comes only from God’s Word (Rom. 10:17)?  God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).  Satan is (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43).

The teaching of the Scriptures are so plain, so why do people stray from them and start these man-made churches which teach false doctrine?  The Bible tells us why (2 Tim. 4:3-4).  They do so because they want someone to scratch their itching ears.  They want someone to teach them only what they want to hear rather than the truth of the Word of God.  This is why it is so important to walk in truth and love, friends.  Love and truth are very closely mingled together, because love means that we walk according to God’s commandments which are truth (2 John 4-6; John 17:17).

So how do we walk in truth and in love when we encounter those who teach error?  First of all, we must beware of them (2 John 7; 1 John 4:1-3; cf. Matt. 7:15; 24:11, 23-25; Acts 20:29-31; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Pet. 2:1-3).  In John’s day, they were teaching that Jesus had not come in the flesh.  That was a direct falsehood, which is why John called them deceivers and antichrists (“antichrist” simply meaning “against Christ,” which is what one is when one teaches falsehood about Christ.  “The Antichrist” being some supernatural, satanic, unstoppable, end-of-the-world-bringing force is a false concept also brought about by false teachers.)

Secondly, we must be on guard by watching out for ourselves and examining ourselves (2 John 8; cf. Mark 13:5, 9, 23, 33; 2 Cor. 13:5; Acts 20:28; Gal. 6:1).  We must never take our relationship with God for granted, for by doing so it will be easier for us to fall prey to the deceptions of these false teachers and thus lose our heavenly reward (2 John 8; cf. Heb. 3:12-4:1).  This is why our own, regular, committed, deep study and meditation of God’s Word on a daily basis is so important (Ps. 1:1-3).  It is only through deep study and obedience of God’s Word and constant self-examination that we will abide in the doctrine of Christ.

Abiding in the doctrine of Christ is crucial if we are to keep a healthy relationship with God, because those who do not abide in Christ’s teachings do not have God (2 John 9; cf. 1 John 1:6; 2:3-5).  The doctrine of Christ is defined as both teaching about Christ (cf. 2 John 7) as well as the commandments which he gave (cf. 1 John 3:24).  Those who keep his Word will have a relationship with him and his Father (2 John 9; cf. John 14:21, 23), and will never have to worry about losing their reward.

This is why it is so important that we be on the lookout for those who would deceive us and cause us to lose our inheritance.  Appropriately, God has told us to not even eat or give a greeting to false teachers (2 John 10-11; cf. Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; Eph. 5:11).  From time to time, those who teach error will come our way.  Some will be proven to have taught error out of sincere ignorance, and will be open to scriptural correction (cf. Acts 18:25-26).  However, those who are proven to be unrepentantly teaching falsehood and who are trying to get us to agree with, comply to, and support their false teachings are to be completely avoided.  We are not to eat with them or give them a greeting, a term which in biblical times not only referred to salutations but also meant to give your approval and support to what that person was doing.  Giving your support to a teacher of truth, whether that support be food, hospitality, and/or financial in nature (cf. Philemon 22; 3 John 5-7), meant that you would be a fellow worker with that teacher (3 John 8).  Unfortunately, the same would be true if you gave your support to a false teacher as well (2 John 11).

Therefore, it is urgent that we do everything we can to support those who teach the truth while in no way giving credence or support to those who unrepentantly teach error.  We should not give our money to them, or advertise what they are doing for fear that such would cause people to be exposed to them and fall prey to their deceptions.  Remember, souls are at stake…including our own!  The honor of the church which Jesus died for is at stake as well!

My hope is that we can all walk in truth and in love…the truth and love which are found in the Scriptures alone.

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Deepen Your Walk With God

Walk With God

I have often been told, even since I was a small boy,that being a preacher is the hardest profession in the world. Certainly, being a preacher is not without its challenges. And, I often wonder if James was thinking about this when he wrote James 3:1 about being careful in being a master of knowledge. Was he also reflecting back on his brother’s life and what He endured for His preaching?

Deepen your walk with God and better all mankind.

Deepen your walk with God and better all mankind.

Be that as it may, while preaching is a difficult job, he does so because he wants to make a great impact with his life and ministry and in the lives of others. And, regardless if his vision for his ministry is large or small, we need to consider even more, our relationship with God. Every preacher walks with God. But, preachers need more than to just walk with God. Ministers need to deepen that walk with Him if we want to have a greater influence and if we want to make a difference. But, how do we deepen our walk with Him?

I believe it starts with humbling ourselves before the Lord (Jam. 4:10). Mankind is inclined to fill his/her life with pride. But, as a minister, we need to be meek (Matt. 5:5). You see, the meek are those who wait for the Lord. They trust in God and believe that He will work for them because God is on our side. To be meek as a minister means to realize we are insufficient and that God sustains us and guides us and protects us.

But in addition, if we want a deeper relationship with God, we must do what Paul told Timothy, which is to study and show yourself approved by God (2 Timothy 2:15). Spending time with God in prayer and filling our minds with His words, makes us growin our personal connection with Him. And, the closer connection we have with Him, the more holiness we pursue. The more we put our thoughts aside and the more we allow Christ to lead us. And, it is through this process that a minister puts more trust in the Lord.

In fact, the wisest of all man said to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and do not rely on what you understand (Prov. 3:5). This can be extremely difficult. You may not think so, especially as a minister. But, we oftentimes find ourselves in very difficult situations and we need to trust in the Lord for everything, including our future. He knows us. He knows what is best for us. And, even when we look toward one solution, the Lord wants us to prioritize our lives and trust Him, even when a solution is not visible by you.

By having this kind of relationship with God not only brings us closer to Him and not only lets us grow spiritually, but it also affects those we influence. And so, if you want a greater influence in your ministry, it all begins with our deeper walk with God on a daily basis. Our motives determine our future as well as our prayer life. And, when we walk with Him, we have a heart on fire for the Lord.

 

 

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