Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P27 (04-07-21)
In this life, it is sad when those you minister to the most hurt you the most. This happened to the apostle Paul, to Jesus, and still happens today. So how do we fight such things? Not by the weapons of this world. Not with envy, strife, or jealousy, or revenge. No, we fight with truth. Truth is what sets people free. Think about Peter who betrayed Jesus. Jesus told him ahead of time what he would do, but that he prayed for him, and after he returned, to go strengthen his brothers. We like redemption stories like that, and all of us have been redeemed, who are in Christ Jesus. God is always about our restoration. He uses truth to restore people to proper functioning. For the truth shall set you free.
So what are the weapons used against false teachers? Truth. Will truth always be well received? No. All the apostles were martyred for speaking truth, except the apostle John. But he was persecuted for the truth and was exiled to the island of Patmos. Yet, even from there, we have the rich prophetic scriptures of the end time events from Revelation, as Christ spoke to him there. God’s word cannot be bound.
As we are called upon to proclaim truth, the response to that may be that we are martyred. But what is our attitude of heart to be? Like that of Jesus, who said to those who had crucified him, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. And then Stephen, while being stoned to death, said, “Do not hold this sin against them”, and Saul, later to become the apostle Paul, but at that time, being enslaved to sin, was there giving approval to his death. Now the apostle Paul, after having an encounter with the living Christ, God used to demonstrate His great patience, to the worst of sinners, to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, to you and me!
Let us not give in to false teachers, who tell you that godliness is a means to financial gain, that you have allowed them to put you back under the law, of tithing for example, or who say that if you keep being holy, God will bless you financially. Why put up with that? Have you lost sight of your identity as a child of God? Is your identity wrapped up in being a Baptist, a Methodist, or whatever it might be, with a false identity you have assigned to yourself, that if your minister should pass away, you are left without an identity? Do you have a misplaced identity, that you need their acceptance, and even though they have enslaved you, you will allow yourself to be enslaved and slapped around because your identity is so wrapped up in your denomination, your acceptance of others, and have let go of truth, the truth of who God has given to you, a new identity as a child of God? It is for freedom that Christ set you free. Do not let yourself to be enslaved all over again.
So read along as Paul addresses the churches in Corinth and Galatia, who had been led astray by false teachers, and Paul, once again is puzzled concerning them. As Paul expressed what he was going through, “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? You would have given anything for me in those days I proclaimed the gospel to you, which you wholeheartedly received. I had become like an angel of God to you. What happened?” What happened was false teachers infiltrated their midst and got them enslaved all over again. That is why it is so important to hold onto truth from the word of God, to let no man deceive you, and run away from false teaching. Rebuke strongly those who bring false teaching among those whom God has made you an overseer. Guard well the flock God has entrusted to you.
We are studying together the bible study series, A Closer Look at the Word of God. We are in the eighth chapter, Warnings Against False Teachers. Folks, I think that there again as Paul was dealing with this whole subject, and he really started through chapter 10 in 2 Corinthians, where he was being criticized for his preaching and teaching of the truth of the word of God. People said to him that he is bold in his letters but he is a real wimp when it comes to it. So Paul answers that by saying, “by the gentleness and meekness of Christ, I appeal to you”.
2 Corinthians 10:1-4
1 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
In other words, it is a tragedy, isn’t it, that when you see a person like the apostle Paul, and as we read today, the depth of his life, to realize, that while he was on earth, just like Christ and the other apostles, that he was perceived as the scum of the earth? Even to those he had brought the message to, if after a while, they became wiser than the apostle, he became just kind of a yucky character over there, and a source of criticism. It seems, that many times, that the people that you minister to the most, and in the most depth, if they ever turn on you over some little issue, they become your most vilest critics.
I believe that was the case in Corinth. Paul went into Corinth. Here they were absolutely heathen. That was Los Vegas, Calumet City, and Atlantic City all wrapped up into one in the city of Corinth. Here he went into that country, where temple prostitution was taking place, every form of perversion taking place on the face of the earth. He proclaimed to them Christ Jesus is Lord, of His love, forgiveness and mercy. Many of them came to Christ, and when you do, you carry all of that baggage with them. The patience and love Paul had to them, in continuing to proclaim truth to them, even referring to them as saints, even when having orgies at the Lord’s supper. He was doing everything in his power to proclaim the truth of the word of God. That did not mean anything. People are wanting more. Give me a new miracle. I want some new revelation. This old stuff about forgiveness, love and acceptance. That is an old hat. Give me something new. Because of his refusal to do something new, but to hang in there with truth, began to become a source of criticism and antagonism toward him.
They say, “he is bold in his letters, but when he gets around me, he is very timid”. Now, Paul has to answer that. Is it a tragedy that a man in his life has to answer to those kinds of people? But that is life. Jesus came to his very own. What did his own do? They did not receive him. They called him a winebibber and a glutton and criticized him.
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
People went around him and said he was not what I expected him to be. What did you expect him to be? I expected him to be like us and lie, tickle my ears and tell me things that are not true to make me feel better. That is life and that is true to this very day.
Some of the people that ministered to over these twenty some years, some of the people who became the most vindictive are the people I ministered the deepest. But go off because of an unrealistic expectation. I should have had more or whatever else comes into your mind. That is not unusual. That is how life is. I am talking to people here that live by the standards of this world, not the standards of God.
2 Corinthians 10:3
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
He is talking about how he is going to fight this teaching.
2 Corinthians 10:4
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
What are some of the weapons of the world? Well, beat him in the head. Go out and sue him. Go out and spread false rumors about him. Those are all weapons of the world. Go out and insinuate things. I know this person. There are some things you ought to know about him, but I am really not going to tell you. Those are the weapons of this world.
2 Corinthians 10:4
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
The weapons we have are not weapons of this world. They have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:1-4
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
You are only looking on the surface.
2 Corinthians 10:12
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.
People commending themselves, are we going to dare classify and compare ourselves with that?
2 Corinthians 10:12
When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
They are fools. There is nothing to compare ourselves with other people with. I like old Bob but not Bill. That is comparing yourself. When you are comparing yourselves by themselves, you are not wise. That is total pride. It is a total exercise in futility to compare myself to another person. First of all, the moment you do that, thinking that I am either better than they are, which is pride, or worse than they are, which is condemnation, and both out of the pit of hell. That is ridiculous. Usually you do so out of pride, because you already know before you do the comparison that you are better than they are. That is why you compare, for you already know in advance you are better. Paul says that is not good to do.
2 Corinthians 10:13
13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits
But Paul is going to address false teaching, whether received or not. But he was going to confront false teaching. He was going to confront behavior and mindset and deception that was taking place among the saints. So, even though it is not, many times, well received does not negate it from being true. I think that what we, as teachers, have to do, we are not going to fight this with worldly means. I do not want to discredit nor do I want to put out of business a false teacher. I want to expose false teaching and let you make a decision on it. The more I read out of Corinthians, the more it amplifies this.
2 Corinthians 11:16-20
16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Again, to some of our listeners, I am speaking to some people who have been put in situations and possibly are very much in there today, for people who are taking advantage of you, robbing you of your resources through guilt, pushing themselves forward, making them appear the leaders, as if they are something and you are nothing, slapping in the face. There have been situations of that, slap you in the face, and say, “Oh holy one, please do not do that again”. Exploiting you. Taking advantage of you. Enslaving you by the law. It says you put up with that. You put up with anyone doing that to you. Paul’s situation is asking, “Why are you doing that? Why would you allow that type of thing to happen to you? It is for freedom Christ has set you free. If you are in Christ, why would you allow yourself to be controlled by another human being?“
(Paul said a similar thing to the people of Galatia.)
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
Today, we would call that codependency and all kinds of stuff. He does not talk about that at all. He is talking about a fact of a misplaced dependency. You are into something where your identity is so much into a church or a denomination, an organization or whatever it might be, that you are so identified, that if you went down I would go down. I would lose my identity if anything happened to them. As a result of my dependency, I am a slave. As a slave, you will put up with anything they want to do just so they will like you. Just so that you will find acceptance with them. So if they enslave me, and I act like I am enslaved, then they also accept me because I am a slave. I will just hang in there. I will let them exploit me. I will let them come down and teach tithing, so I will tithe. Not only will I tithe today, and I have not tithed in ten years, then I will have to make that up. All of that is taught today. In other words, interfering with your own personal life. That kind of stuff is going on today, in the name of Christ. Slapping you in the face and pushing you around, because we as clergy are wonderful and you down there are dirt down there. That is going on. Anyone who does not see that is naive of what is going around in this whole realm in religion.
18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.
As we were talking about red flags, here are people talking about what they have seen. I have seen Jesus. I had this encounter. Jesus came and told me this and that. His mind is puffed up with idle notions. What is an idle notion? Believing that stuff. I got a notion. I think I saw something. You got indigestion and think you got a revelation from God. All of that kind of thing is taking place.
What authority are they relying on? Their own notions. What are the results of that type of thing? It says, do not get involved in it. That is a red flag to you. You see people talking about the worship of angels. You see people talking about things we have been dealing with, masquerading as apostles of God, seeing angels of light come to me. They are false prophets, false apostles, deceitful workmen, people masquerading as apostles. There are no more apostles. Those are red flags. When you hear it, get away from it. It is not in the word of God.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 is another red flag.
1 Timothy 6:3
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
Here is the result. Here is a person teaching false doctrines, a person does not agree to the sound doctrine.
1 Timothy 6:4-5
4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
A person conceited and understanding nothing. A person conceited thinks he is something. If I ever think I am something, I do not understand anything. False humility is talked about. There is no such thing as false humility, unless it is trying to act humble. Humility comes from reality. The reality of who God is in light of who I am is humbling if you believe that. When I know what I am in light of who He is, there is nothing else to do except to be humble. When I see what He has done in light of what I am, totally incapable of doing anything, how can I be conceited thinking I can do something when Christ says apart from Me you can do nothing.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Conceit is a preoccupation with me and what I am doing instead of Him and what He is doing. It really came from the garden of Eden. In the garden of Eden, man decided to be like God. So if I am going to be God, then instead of perceiving myself in light of who God is, I am perceiving God in light of who I am. And there is your difference. Am I perceiving God in light of who I am?
As we deal with the area forgiveness, if my child goes out and does something, then he needs to come back. What are you doing? Perceiving God in light of what you are doing. If that is what I do, that is what God ought to do. So instead of perceiving myself in light of who God is, I am perceiving God in light of who I am. That is conceit and pride. That is trying to be God. I do not want to bring God down to how I forgive. I want to be elevated up to how he behaved. As Christ Jesus forgave, so forgive one another. As you forgive theirs, God will forgive you. That was Old Testament teaching, when Christ Jesus was not living in you and the provision had not been made yet. Now that provision has been made, that even in doing that, that you are a lost sinner, and are despicable. That is why Christ had to come to give you new life. As a new creation, now elevate yourself. Do not bring God down to where you are. Go up to where He is. Instead of perceiving God as you perceive Him, perceive yourself as God perceives you.
You are conceited and you understand nothing. There is also an unhealthy interest in controversies. There is a healthy interest in controversies. Then there is an unhealthy interest in controversy. Controversy for the sake of controversy is idiocy. But when you are talking about controversy for the sake of coming to the truth, then that is beneficial. But controversy for the sake of controversy itself is an unhealthy controversy. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies over words. We quibble over words that result in envy and strife and malicious talk about each other. Evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind. Words that result in envy.
I can teach in such a way that it results in envy. I can teach in such a way that results in strife. I can teach in such a way that it will encourage suspicious talk and evil suspicions. What is gossip about? What does it do? It results in envy strife, malicious talk, and evil suspicions and creates constant friction. That is what gossip is designed to do. Those kinds of controversies and quarrels should have no place in verbiage of a Christian.
If we have envy, strife and selfish ambition, there are all kinds of evil. There is no room for competition in the Christian realm. Competition is praised and honored. The more you beat somebody, the higher you get. Competition is good. That is the world. With every winner, there are a ton of losers. In Christ, there is no competition. We belong to the body. Each part of the body has a different function. We are not in competition with each other. Where competition is encouraged, and it is encouraged in many realms of Christianity, you will have evil suspicions, strife, malicious talk and constant friction between men of corrupt mind.
Let us go on with a red flag discussion. In other words, when you hear things like this, put up a red flag. It is a warning to you that you may be listening to a false teacher. We are talking about 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
1 Timothy 6:3-5
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They [teachers] have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
Folks, does that sound familiar? Once again, the bible clearly states that anyone who is teaching that godliness is a means to financial gain. There will be teachers called false teachers who teach that godliness is a means to financial gain. From God’s vantage point, they are called a false teacher. From man’s standpoint, they are called a real source of encouragement. From God’s vantage point, they are false teachers. Whenever you hear a man teaching that godliness is a means to financial gain, you are dealing with a man that God says has been robbed of the truth, and is a man of corrupt mind, called a perverted mind.
If you are listening, mark down 1 Timothy:3-5. I do not want you to believe what I am saying because I am saying it. I am not the one who initiated that. I am just recording to you what the bible says. Anyone getting on television, or wherever else it might be, and saying that your godliness or what you do or your tithe or your money is a means to gaining more money, or if you are just so godly and you just stay so godly, as if we could, that you are going to be wealthy and wise, that is a man who has been robbed of the truth, and is a man with a corrupt mind. That is what God called him, a false workman, masquerading as something he is not.
So when you hear that folks, you do not have to sit around and wonder if this guy is okay. If a guy is teaching you that godliness is a means to financial gain, financial reward is a reward for godliness, then you got a man robbed of truth and with a corrupt mind.
These things we talked about are subtle because they give an appearance of godliness, but now let us look at the scoffers. Let us see what the scoffers will be saying in regard to the second coming of Christ?
2 Peter 3:3-4
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
Scoffers will say, “What is this stuff, that Jesus is coming back? He is not coming back? Where is he? We have been waiting for him for 2000 years. Everything is going on as it always has. This second coming is just a farce.” If you have the unfortunate experience in sitting in a church or under teaching that is scoffing at the second coming of Christ, there again you are in the presence of a false teacher, and warned of that by the word of God.
Can that happen? Of course it can. I have been in churches where right out of the pulpit someone is saying this second coming is not true doctrine. They will say, “Christ is not coming again or Christ coming is because he is living with us right now and that is the second coming.” That is not true. Jesus said, “Just as you see me depart, you will see me come again. I left this earth physically. You will see me come again physically and you will see my feet plant right there in the middle of Jerusalem. Just wait on that to occur.” Yet man says He is not coming back.
4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”