Heresies…they come in all sizes, shapes and colors. The most heinous ones are the ones that sneak in under the radar.
The most virulent of these have their deadly source in one of two false beliefs. In some cases, perhaps both! (hold on, we are going theological here…):
Christology (the study of Christ) – What do they do with the person of Christ? A great teacher? A moral model for emulation? A “good” person? Sorry, no! They must teach nothing less than what was revealed in Scripture. As Peter declared in Matt. 16:16 – “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
How important is this? Consider the words of the apostle John: By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. – I Jn. 4:2,3
Soteriology (the study of salvation) – How do we inherit eternal life in heaven? Do more good than bad? Obey a collection of do’s and don’ts? Try our best and just trust in God’s “niceness?” Not even close! Here it is, from Ephesians 2:8, 9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.”
How about this one? Paul didn’t mince words; here is his conclusion in Galatians 1:8 – “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
An excellent litmus test – What do they say about Christ? How do they say we get to heaven?
As King Uzziah (2 Chron. 26) sought God in the days of Zechariah (26:5), he experienced extraordinary blessings from God in combat, in construction, in livestock, in virtually everything he did. But when he was “strong” (26:16), his “heart was lifted up to destruction,” ending his life living alone as a leper. According to Scripture, this is how he was remembered: “He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.”
This brings to mind Paul’s words in 1Co 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
And, in 1Co 4:7: “For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
Let’s all remember from Whom our accomplishments come…
Some musings I uncovered (thanks to the Holy Spirit) in my study of 1st John:
John – “the Beloved Apostle” (John 13:23, 19:26, etc.) DID NOT START THAT WAY….
John started out like this:
- Jesus called him and his brother Boanerges (Mark 3:17 – Sons of Thunder, tumult, commotion)
- John told others to stop casting out demons in Jesus’ name, weren’t “one of us” – Luke 9:49
- He suggested they call fire down on the Samaritans when they snubbed Jesus – Luke 9:51-53
- He and his brother asked Jesus to give them top positions in His kingdom – Mark 10:35-45
What happened to him?
JESUS! JESUS happened to him! Matt. 4:13 – “they took knowledge that they had been with Jesus.”
If we haven’t changed since meeting Him, something is wrong!
To quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “May we all learn the lesson of this old incident. Let us meet with this Jesus and listen to Him, and soon we, too, will become phenomena. We will become men and women who are enigmas to everybody else.”
In the book of Nehemiah, as His people were turning back to God, they did not seek inspiring messages, entertaining events, cutting edge marketing techniques, insightful homilies, or clever speeches. They wanted one thing and one thing only:
“BRING OUT THE BOOK!”
And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. – Neh. 8:1
Any worship service that does not “BRING OUT THE BOOK” is not true to its name.
In your worship, corporate as well as personal, be sure you BRING OUT THE BOOK!
“Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.” – John 17:17
As we look again to the year 2017, let’s remember the words of the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 7:12: Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer*, saying, “Hitherto has the LORD helped us.”
*Ebenezer – “a stone of help.”
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Robert Robinson, 1758
In seeking to describe God’s extraordinary gift of His son to a sin-sick world, the brilliant and learned apostle Paul’s vocabulary came up short:
” Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable* gift.” 2 Cor. 9:15
- ἀνεκδιήγητος -anekdiēgētos- not expounded in full, that is, indescribable