Agents Of Truth in an Ocean Of DeceitJune 25, 2007
This first passage is a troubling one in that it outlines the appeal to ones pursuit of spiritual matters as a means of leading them into a way that is in error; even though the profigators of the error may fully believe it to be truth.
II Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
False teachers. Claiming to uphold truth, even using all of the right words, and yet leading their followers into the ways of error. It will sound like the gospel but will be another gospel; lifting up teachings of men, promoting a form of godliness which is powerless to change lives, and ultimately cause the followers to seek after a person instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve known folks to develop an attachment to a ministry, a person, a denomination, or any embodiment of thought to the point that anything coming from that person or doctrine is simply accepted as truth. The Berean test goes out the window and such a person, in the course of conversation, will ultimately make mention of this individual or embodiment of thought that they are following time after time.
Whenever a person follows a person, group of persons, a ministry, or what-have-you, they may reach a point of unwittingly placing the teachings of men in higher esteem than scripture. They may listen to the teaching and memorize the singled out scriptures without prayerfully studying it through on their own. (this will almost always take place without the person being aware of it) Their casual conversations will, at some point, be interwoven with a bringing up of this loyalty. It’s a trap that I’ve fallen into in the past without realizing it until later. Whenever it happens, spiritual pride usually follows close behind as teachings and/or traditions of men become linked together with the gospel of Jesus Christ; thereby transforming it into another gospel. (Mark 7:5-9 gives us a good example of this taking place)
II Peter 2:2-3 “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
While many today are proclaiming the gospel in sincerety, there are also those who are doing so for personal gain or profit. These grievous wolves have been around ever since the earliest days of the church and still go about seeking to turn people away from the truth for personal gain. Fervent prayer, coupled with a continual application of the Berean test (Acts 17:11) is ever so imperative. We live in an age of hyper-entertainment (shock and awe) as the characteristics mentioned in I John 2:16 are running amock. As such it’s imperative to have our senses excercised, through use, to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5;14)
The world is a virtual mine field of deceptions and as such it’s imperative that we be a city set upon a hill. The agents of deception will employ all of the bells and whistles as to draw in the simple; promising them liberty while being the servants of corruption. We must continuously lift up the Lord Jesus Christ alone, live a life of obediance, and be always ready to tell of the hope that is in us. When Jesus is exalted, he will draw folks unto him and the conversions will be real. Despite the complex array of distractions, winds of doctrine, and voices proclaiming one sect or another, when we lift up Jesus and live accordingly, it will be obvious.
This post has yet to delve into the passage of scripture that has been on my heart. here it is now. It’s a window into the life of the apostle Paul and his ministry.
I Thessalonians 2:1-2 “For yourselves, brethren, know our enterance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.”
Contention; not in generating strife, but the establishing of sound doctrine. Paul went forth in the power of the Holy Ghost and as a result his efforts were not in vain. Despite the continual persecutions of diverse methods, he was determined to finish his course. His love for the Lord Jesus and for the church is undeniable. (I Corinthians 4:15 and II Corinthians 11:28)
I Thessalonians 2:3-4 “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
Paul didn’t have a personal agenda. He wasn’t out for monitary gain or self-promotion. He didn’t employ deceitful measures to acquire a following. He just proclaimed that which the Lord had given him; seeking only to please God. Some listened, some didn’t, some went to incredible lengths to hinder the truth. Yet his focus was completely upon obediance to the Lord Jesus Christ. When we find folks who are so completely focused, it’s a real blessing; knowing that they will be honest and sincere. I pray that we all would strive to be likewise as the temptation to water things down a little in order to not offend others is intense.
I Thessalonians 2:5 “For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:”
He didn’t invoke smooth sayings, each one focus-group tested for its effectiveness and ability to tickle the ears of the hearers. Flattering words will put a person at ease; even when they are in serious need of having their cage rattled. Websters defines the word flatter as “to praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest.” One would be hard pressed to find a better definition than that. This practice is rampant today as a continual seeking after numbers and financial acquisition leads to compromises of biblical proportions.
I Thessalonians 2:6-7 “Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdonsome, as the apostles of Christ. But were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:”
This is kind of going back to the same themes as above, but it shows how Paul didn’t seek the praises of anyone. He cared for the saints with an unfeined love that can only come from the Lord Jesus. His care for them was in utmost sincerety as this final verse shows.
I Thessalonians 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear to us.”
In writing this, I’m reminded of Susans telling about delivering bibles and teaching material to the churches behind the iron curtain. The saints in Poland were grateful, but also fervently concerned about getting suich material to those inside the Soviet Union. Despite their own situation, they were thinking of their less fortunate brethren. I can’t remember the name of the posts, however they are on Susans site (Faithwalk; listed in the blogroll)
Well I have to go. This is currently a very hectic time and if I’m gone for a few days, this is probably why. I will strive to remain current as much as possible and visit around likewise. The honest sincerety of those whom I know through this venue is a real blessing. I know that a lot of growing has transpired in my own life from the various communications here. I wish all a blessed day in Christ and will leave with the following passage.
I Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things might be glorified through jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. amen.”
Hello again. I found a great post that is needing of a link. It really got me to thinking on some things and so here it is: www.inhisgrace.wordpress.com/2007/06/25/the-small-stuff-in-life/ Please check it out.