In keeping with the theme of a previous post “Avoiding Error” I was going to title this post “Pursuing Truth” until the Lord Jesus Christ reminded me of an incident that occurred at a church we attended. As I was being diligent to stand up for the truth and encouraging the leadership at our church to do likewise the elder said to me, “We are pursuing the truth with you,” when he was all the while rejecting it, unbeknownst to me at that time. After he said that I thought, we have the truth in the Scriptures, and we can know it through the Holy Spirit, so why must we pursue it? The truth has been graciously given to us by God our Father in His Holy Word the Bible. We are commanded by God to know and obey it. So since we have the truth given to us in God’s Word our need is to be discerning so that we can hold fast to the truth and avoid error. Unfortunately there are so many within the church who are not discerning and are willing accomplices with the enemy who is spreading lies, confusion, compromise and apostasy.
The state of the “church” was made abundantly clear to me this week while I made a strong effort to defend the Word of God from the attack of a false believer. I will quote what this person said:
When did Jesus say that He hand picked Paul to reveal these mysteries? I know Paul said it, but when did Jesus say it? Did a voice from heaven say, “This is my servant, Paul, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him”? Paul certainly earned the right to speak by all he suffered, but I don’t think we should elevate his words to the status of a prophet. He never claimed to be a prophet. He was a church planter. We Protestants criticize Catholics for ascribing inerrancy to their Popes and yet we do the same with Paul. As you know, Paul was well-steeped in the teachings and traditions of the Pharisees, and ingrained teachings die hard. Perhaps that is why Jesus told His disciples to beware the yeast of the Pharisees. Perhaps that is why God said to Peter, James and John, “This is my Son, whom I love, listen to Him!” If I new how to italicize in comments, I would emphasize the pronoun HIM!
P.S. Read my reply to Freedomborn before you quote 2 Timothy 3:16-17 to me.
This was a comment posted on Pastor Joe Quatrone Jr. wordpress site on the post “How Can I Recognize a False Teacher”. The woman posting, The Reluctant Baptist (RB), requested that her posts be deleted and Pastor Joe removed almost all of my replies but left up his rebuke of me. I had two concerns about her comments, first and foremost she attacked God’s Word, and second, Pastor Joe not only gave her a pass but put a smiley face on her link to her heretical post on her site. I reproved and rebuked both of them for their wicked attack upon the truth of God and wrote the post “Beloved Brother Paul” to stand up to her corrupting work. She (RB) showed no discernment in her handling of the Word of God, and Pastor Joe, showed absolutely no discernment in his tactic approval of her heresy. Godly discernment is a work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds, while those who are undiscerning are actually sinning according to the Word of God.
The lack of discernment is listed as a sin that accompanies rebellious sinners in Romans chapter one. I want to quote from both the KJV and NKJV to give a good rendering of the word used and to show that God indeed does call lack of discernment sin.
28 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 death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 NKJV
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:28-32 KJV
Being without understanding, or undiscerning, is the default position of all of humanity, and nobody gets a pass; we can’t say to God, “I didn’t know!” The sad fact that the church at large lacks discernment is extremely distressing for those of us who love God, love His Son Jesus Christ, love His Word and love His Body, the called out ones. The ones who represent themselves as servants of Jesus Christ, called to minister to His body, but lack discernment, are in a perilous place. First, because they are misrepresenting Jesus Christ by saying that He has called them, and second, by promulgating error within the Body of Christ. Woe to those false prophets who despise the truth of God and condone heresy. God our Father calls all of us to discern between truth and error, good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness. The Bible is God’s book that teaches us how to discern what is pleasing to Him and what is a grievous offense to Him, incurring His wrath and judgment.
26 “Her priest have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made know the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God. Ezekiel 22:26-31
When the leaders of the church do not make a distinction between what is true and false; calling out and reproving the liars, and standing true to God’s Word then all manner of evil befalls the church and the nation. Does anybody else see the parallels our nation is experiencing with this prophesy?
All believers are commanded by God to know His truth, properly handle it, and turn away the error proffered by false teachers, heretics, apostates and false brethren. God’s Word tells us how to do this in Hebrews chapter five and numerous verses in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Jude and 2 Corinthians.
12 For by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14
As believers we must be completely convinced about the doctrine of our salvation. If we are steadfast in Christ then we can handle the word of righteousness, which not only corrects ungodly behavior but also ungodly doctrine, and we will be able to discern between good and evil.
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. 6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 1 Timothy 4:1-7
Turning from fables and following the good doctrine of the Word of God will protect us from the doctrines of demons and those hypocrites who speak lies from a seared conscience because we will be taught by the Holy Spirit to discern between the truth and falsehood. Of course, this is only viable for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, and believe that He died on the cross for their sins and rose again from the dead for their eternal life and so are born again, being filled with His Spirit.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 2 Timothy 2:15-16
We must turn away from the apostasy of the world and hold fast the truth of God, the Bible, handling it according to its truth. We must turn away from professed believers if what they profess denies the authority, inerrancy, infallibility, and/or inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. We must turn away from those self-professed leaders who do not fight valiantly for the truth against error.
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 12-17
Those of us who stand for the truth will suffer persecution by those who reject the standard of the Bible. These heretics will become more and more evil as they overthrow the faith of some through their hypocrisy and sophistry. If a leader within the church is not using the word of God to reprove one who brings error into the arena of their domain then you can be convinced that person is not a man of God. We can avoid such by being grounded in the truth of God’s holy Word the Bible.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. Titus 1:7-9
Although this passage is addressed to the leaders in God’s church, as believers, we can know God’s Word and then seek to correct those who contradict His truth and also protect ourselves and others from error. Again, God’s word commands those who are leaders within the church to reprove, exhort, and convict those who contradict what God’s Word says. How much better would it have been if Pastor Joe had corrected RB, and then those of us who love God’s Word, could have just come alongside his spiritual ministry and added to what he had shared from God’s Word. Instead he reproved the one who stood for the truth and championed the heretic. This is a disgrace and he needs to repent.
19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
We keep ourselves from the lies of the wicked by relying on the Holy Spirit, being obedient to God (not allowing any error within our lives), and looking forward to seeing Jesus Christ. There are those who are believers and only need gentle persuasion to reject error, while there are others who are stubborn in their rebellion and need more stringent measures to deliver their souls from hell. We can do these things because we are confident in God our Savior who will not allow us to stumble or fall and will bring us home to be with Him for eternity.
Finally, what should our stance be with those who continue to walk in lies and work the works of the flesh, being led by the devil? God gives us His answer in 2 Corinthians chapter six.
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with and unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Those who do not reject error and/or approve those who promote error are proving by their behavior that they are unbelievers. We must turn away from them. God has promised to receive us and to be our Father if we will separate ourselves from the liars, deceivers, heretics, compromisers, and apostates. Who do you want to serve, Christ or Belial? As we use the discernment given to us by God’s grace through belief in His Word and the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives, let us throw off the works of darkness, reprove the promoters of error and stand valiant for the truth. May Jesus Christ bless us as we seek to serve Him. God bless you.
Here are two links that are pertinent to this post.