Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P66 (04-08-20)
As we close in the last chapter of Romans, Paul writes a warning to us to be on guard against false prophets, against those who use flattery to draw disciples away after them, who claim to have special knowledge, of those who deny the humanity and deity of Christ. The false prophets today are the prosperity gospel teachers who teach godliness as a means to financial gain. The other false teachers are those who preach the tithe as a means to be blessed of God. We have the words of Jesus issuing the same warning, telling us ahead of time about this spirit of the anti-Christ that is already in the world. You have those anti-Christ religions, such as the Jehovah Witnesses, who deny Jesus is God, that you should stay away from. We have the writings of the apostle John, writings to help a pastor protect the people of God from the false prophets, the Gnostics in their midst, bringing destructive heresies. We have the words of Timothy and the apostles, warning us again and again to be on guard. Do not listen to those false prophets. Stay away from them.
Pastors and leaders, protect those who are under your care. Teach these people to quit teaching these false doctrines. Rebuke them strongly and have nothing further to do with them. Refute those who oppose sound doctrine. Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Even call out those who teach false teaching, heretical teaching to destroy the people of God. Paul even named at least six false teachers that the church should watch out for (2 Timothy 4:10, 2 Timothy 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:17).
Then Paul closes by sharing words of encouragement for believers to continue in the grace of God, to hold onto the truth they have been taught and that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, and that God is able to establish you in the gospel that he preached. As we live in this world, we have this conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, so we must keep our focus on Christ, who is our life, holding onto truth and renewing our mind with truth.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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.
Now, the bible talks about flattery. A flattering tongue is something you need to be careful of.
2 Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.
3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue –
4 those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us – who is lord over us?”
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Flattery is not coming along and saying to someone they are doing a good job. That is encouraging people. But you know the difference between someone just complimenting you on a good job and flattering you. It says to be careful of flattering tongues. We also go to other areas of scripture that warn against these same things. Jesus warned about it in Matthew 7:15-20.
15 “Watch out for false prophets.
So you are going to have real prophets and you are going to have false prophets.
They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Jesus warned people many times, as we read also in Mark 13:22.
22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
Now, folks, it talks about people who claim to be prophets. They say, “I have some kind of a direct word from God that you do not have and that is why you need to listen to me and why you need to support me, because I need a Rolls Royce. So you need to get busy.” You have people who are false prophets. How do they perform? They perform signs and miracles. Are they real signs and miracles? No. They are phonie signs and miracles, but they look like they are real. You had the same thing in the Old Testament. Pharaoh duplicated many of the miracles done in the name of God.
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
We need to understand that. We have people who are Satanically empowered to do what appears to be signs and miracles but God says they are false prophets. So Jesus is saying, “I am telling you this ahead of time.”
2 Corinthians 11:12
12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
These people are those saying, “Do not listen to the apostles. Listen to us. We are just as knowledgable as they are.” That is not true. First of all, Jesus came to this earth and discipled the apostles, who were the authority to teach people the word of God. Yet people are coming along saying, “Do not listen to them.” Paul said that he was going to cut the ground right from under them, if he can.
2 Corinthians 11:13
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
We have that going on today. People today are proclaiming they are prophets and apostles. No one put them in that position except themselves. Yet people will follow them and listen to every word they say and swear by what they utter out of their false teaching. These people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:14
14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Satan can take on any of these things, masquerading.
2 Corinthians 11:15
15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
1 Timothy 1:3
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer
Teach these people to quit teaching these false doctrines.
1 Timothy 1:4
4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. (mysticism) Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God™s work”which is by faith.
God’s work is by faith and faith alone. It is not faith in miracles. It is not faith in signs and wonders. As a matter of fact if you need faith in a sign and wonder it is a sign of repudiation of your faith.
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Jesus said, “if you want a sign, tear this temple down. I will rebuild it in three days. He was talking about his resurrection from the dead. If the resurrection from the dead is not a good enough sign for you, nothing will be a good enough sign for you. If you need one sign, then you need another sign. People looking for signs is not faith. You do not look for signs and wonders from God. You take it by faith. God has said this is true and by faith you give your heart to that.
So these things promote controversies, speculations rather than advancing God’s work – which is by faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
There is false faith and there is sincere faith. What I want you to do is to have faith that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience.
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 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.
Have you by chance, ever heard anyone teaching that godliness is a means to financial gain? Have you ever heard that? That if you do something godly then God will bless you financially? Have you ever heard of “name it and claim it”, of “blab it and grab it”? Could it be that is prevalent in Christianity today? You better believe it. It is called “prosperity gospel”. What is that, a prosperity gospel from Jesus, who died on a cross naked, where people gambled for his cloak of the apostle Paul, the pleading of somebody to bring his parchments and his cloak, for he is cold, from people we know who lived liked dogs sometimes?
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Yet, people proclaim a prosperity gospel. Those types of teachings are coming from false prophets. Is a false prophet going to try to look like a false prophet, or a good prophet? If you were a spy, say a Russian spy here in America, would you come over here talking in a big accent, or would you try to act and look like an American? Would you dress and act like an American, but deep down under the skin you are a Communist Russian? What would you do if you were a good spy, act like a Russian or act like an American?
When you have a false prophet, he is trying to act as holy as holy can get. He is going to come up with all the vernacular of holy appearing people. He will take on actions that people perceive as holy, even wearing collars on backwards, which McGee says they are walking in the wrong direction. Robes, funny hats, black outfits, is just people looking holy on the outside. What did Jesus call them?
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Jesus called them white washed sepulchers. You got yourself all dressed up on the outside but underneath that robe and cloak, is a heart that is hard as a brick. We have to understand that. That is what truth is. We have in our midst false prophets. These are people who love to stir up controversy and malicious talk with evil suspicions and friction and rob people of the truth and are teaching the bible as a means to financial gain. Someone says, “If you just tithe, you are going to be blessed.” Anyone ever hear that? How many of you have heard that? Is that true? It appears to me that the bible says that we are already blessed.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
We are blessed, are we not, in the beloved? So giving is giving because you are already blessed. You do not give to get blessed. You give because you are blessed. If you have not been blessed by God, why would you be wanting to give to the work of God? If there has been no reality of God’s presence in your life, why would you want to help somebody else to come to this Jesus who you think is not blessing you. That would be like saying, “Come to Jesus so you can be as miserable like me.”
So the reason that you give is because God has already blessed you. Because you are blessed, you want to see other people blessed. That is what the motivation for giving is. Give so that the people or the ministry of the message that blessed you can reach out and bless others. Is that not what it is all about? Yet, people teach you to give so that God will multiply that. They say, “God will just multiply it and multiply it. You send me a $100 and He will send you a $1000.” What I believe is what a lady from West Texas wrote back one time. “It appears to me you need money a lot worse than I do, so why don’t you send me the $100 and you let Him send you the $1000.” Now he did not respond to that but those are the kind of things going on.
17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
In regards to this teaching that we become little gods, that says, “When you are indwelt by Jesus, you become a little god.” I told people that if I become a little god, then this place is in big trouble. If you become a little god, it might be in trouble too. We do not become little gods. Jesus is God clothed in an earth suit. I am a human being indwelt by God. I am a man. I am not God. I am indwelt by God. Jesus is God clothed in humanity. There is quite a difference between the two. He found himself in appearance as a man but he is God clothed in humanity.
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death” even death on a cross!
I am humanity indwelt by God. People think that you are a little god. What does that mean? That means that anything you think and say comes from God. All you do is speak it and that is God speaking. So people come down and say God told me to get divorced. I am sorry, but God did not tell you that, when something in the bible tells me different. Someone says, “God told me to kill somebody. I do not like abortion clinics so God told me to go down and blow it up to kill people in the process.” I am sorry. That is not God, is it? Of course not.
So that theology that you are little gods leads you to believe that anything you think and say must be from God. Is that true? You see, folks, we have the ability to participate in the divine nature that lives in us.
2 Peter 1:4
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
So we do have God’s nature living in us. I have the ability to participate in that nature, but I also have my flesh. I can also participate in my flesh. So I have two choices that I can listen to. One is God’s voice and the other is my flesh. Are we right or wrong?
17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
They are in conflict with each other. The desires of the flesh are contrary to the desires of the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are contrary to the desires of the flesh. They are in conflict with each other. So as Paul said, that you do not do whatever you want. That is why Paul said he does not understand what he does.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
The things I want to do I do not do and the things I do not want to do I do anyway. How many of you found yourself in that? What is the solution to that? Praise be to Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering
That conflict of the flesh will be with you until the day you are absent from the body and present with the Lord. That conflict will be with you, a conflict between wanting to believe or obey the voice of your flesh that always wants to be pleased, always wants to be nurtured, always wants to be understood, all of those things of the flesh in comparison to the desires of the Spirit that says to love and serve one another. They are in conflict with each other.
Whevever you hear this talking about this godliness being a means to financial gain, you know something, when you know the bible is true, that that is false teaching being taught by a false prophet.
2 Peter 2:1-3
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
These false taeachers make up stories. Such a person will say, “This person had terminal cancer and I blew on him and he was all healed, but the truth is the person never had cancer to begin with.” I could tell you story after story about these things. The more you hear about them, the more sickening the so-called Christian world becomes. If you are not grounded in truth, you would give up on the Christian world as to what is going on in the Christian world today, just from the media lane.
1 John 4:1
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
John is dealing with the Gnostic problem that was very prevalent by the time the book of John was written. Gnostics are people who believed in special knowledge, saying they have special knowledge from God that nobody else had. They had two doctrines they held onto. First, they say that Jesus did not come in the flesh, that Jesus is not human. “You did not see him. He is just an illusion. You just think you saw him.” Second, they are saying, “we, as men, do not have a sin nature”. Well, to handle both of those, the apostle John wrote 1st, 2nd and 3rd John. In 1st John, he starts out describing the physical Jesus, as God in the flesh, the Word of life.
1 John 1:1-2
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
We have seen him. He appeared to us. Why did he write that? To correct the Gnostic heresy that was saying that Jesus did not come in the flesh. Some pastor, probably in Ephesus, was sitting there trying to teach truth and here was a group of Gnostics in the congregation saying, “Hold on. You are teaching wrong. Jesus did not come in the flesh. We do not have a sin nature. We do not sin.” This pastor, troubled by this, wrote to the only living apostle at that time on the face of the earth, the apostle John, and told him what was being said, and let him write and answer this. That is exactly how the letter got there. John was writing to this pastor to correct the Gnostic heresy. They were saying we are teaching in the Spirit. John said, “test the spirits to see whether they are from God or not because there are a lot of false prophets in the world.”
1 John 4:2-3
2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.
Were these people acknowledging that Jesus came in the flesh? No. So what did he say about them? They are not from God. They are false prophets. That is the reason he was writing that. Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. So they are not from God. They are false prophets.
1 John 4:3
This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
You have people who deny the humanity of Christ and those were the Gnostics, denying the fact he came in the flesh. Then you have people today, as back then, who deny the deity of Christ. What group comes to your mind in that, denying the deity of Christ? Jehovah Witnesses. They live to go door to door to convince people that Jesus is not God. They are of the teaching, as he says, of the anti-Christ. This is the spirit of the anti-Christ who you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. A spirit of anti-Christ is teaching something that is anti Christ. It is anti the true humanity of Christ and anti true deity of Christ. The teachers of Jehovah Witnesses went to great lengths in order rewrite the bible, to misinterpret the bible, and misprint it in order to try and justify their own doctrine, or their own bias. With everything, and you cannot get them all, but they are pretty easy to spot. There are people like that in the world today, denying his humanity and denying his deity. That is what the apostle John is writing about in this book of 1 John. They are already in the world.
19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21 Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Again, who was he? He is called an amanuensis, like a scribe. He is one who is writing down what is being dictated by the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul, in so doing this, would also sign his name in large letters at the end of the book in order to prove the veracity of the the fact that he was the author. There are people back in those days who would write books. We listed a lot of those, called the pseudo-apocrypha, where they would sign Peter or Paul’s name to it, where it would not be the authorship at all. There are a list of those books throughout the ages.
23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.
Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings. 
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel
It is interesting how, that because Paul referred to this as my gospel, that there are some people who say that we only listen to Pauline writings. It is kind of a “Paul only” type of a thing. You ignore Peter and anybody else who wrote in the scriptures, and believe only Paul. Certainly the apostle Paul contributed immensely to your and my understanding of the doctrine of God’s grace, but you do not ignore all the rest of the writings in the scriptures.
When Paul refers to it as my gospel, I believe what he is saying is this. God gave me the truth and I am communicating this truth, and therefore this gospel is as much mine as it is yours. This gospel belongs to me. In other words, it was a gospel that was revealed to me by Christ Jesus and it is my gospel. It is the gospel I depend upon. Ii is the gospel I rely upon. It is the gospel, that if it is not true, I would go to hell. It is my personal gospel.
I do not think he is saying it is my gospel that I thought of, as some people think, nor is it my gospel that was only revealed to me. It is my gospel because God revealed it and I made it mine. That is what God wants you and me to do in this world in which we live. He wants us to make the gospel yours. He wants the gospel to be your gospel, not just Paul’s gospel or mom and dad’s gospel, but your gospel. It is not a gospel I learned from People to People or somebody else but this is my gospel. I have made it personal. I have accepted it as truth. I am personally relying upon it for my own salvation so that when I die, that I will be able to go into the presence of God knowing that He has revealed to me the gospel that I stand in today. It is my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ according to revelation hidden for long ages past.
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith – 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
God in His sovereignty revealed to the apostle Paul this wonderful mystery. Here was a man, a total Jew, whom God said will send him to the Gentiles because God said, “I am going to save the Gentiles the same way as I saved the Jews.” It was Paul’s revelation that God gave him that was also accepted and made theirs by the apostle Peter and the rest of the disciples, John and the rest. These things have been revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him – to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.