This morning I was reviewing a study that I had been working on about being worthy, or having worthiness. In 1 Timothy 6. Paul had been sharing with Timothy what, or how, to instruct those that were committing their lives to Jesus Christ. In verse 3 Paul, very clearly, places the words of Jesus above his own, as well as the importance of teaching of godliness.
Regarding ‘False Teachers,’ Paul says, “If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ) and with the teaching that accords with godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in controversies and verbal disputes. This gives rise to envy, dissension, slanders, evil suspicions, and constant bickering by people corrupted in their minds and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of making a profit.”
I really wonder how many sermons are preached, in our times, that are centered on Paul’s letters, without regard for the teachings and words of Jesus Christ. Would those sermons possibly be considered false teachings?
Here is what Peter has to say regarding those that ‘spread false teachings.’
“Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence. “
“And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation (rescue or safety), just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.”
“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.”
Throughout the New Testament we are warned to beware of deception.
The problem is that most people firmly believe that they are in the Light and have Truth. I have not met anyone that has told me that they are living in darkness or deception; it is always the other person that has twisted doctrines and false teachings! Is there anyone that would really want to look honestly into the mirror of God’s Word with the revealing light of the Holy Spirit?
Is there a way to really ‘try’ the spirits? Is there a way to test our personal beliefs?
I believe that there are quite a few, to the passionate seeker of Truth. If you will follow the directions and reasoning of Paul and Peter’s comments above of, I believe that you will find Pure Truth.
If anyone could step back and honestly look at the things they believe and depend on for eternal life, as a normal evangelical Christian, would they find support for those beliefs, if all the letters of Paul were removed from the Bible?
Please think about that for awhile! How many rest their ‘eternal salvation’ entirely on “justification by faith” and “being saved by grace and not by works”? Have they studied and understood a “deliverance that Jesus taught”? Does anyone understand what Jesus meant when He told the parable of the wise man and the foolish man? Have they been taught to be “doers” of the Word of God and not just ‘hearers’?
My desire is not to diminish, at all, the writings of Paul. Paul has such wisdom and insight. The church has been built on the letters of Paul. Paul had an amazing calling as Jesus reached out from heaven and stopped Paul in his tracks!! I am attempting to point out what belief systems have come into being after the writings of Paul have been twisted by translators and commentators of the Bible.
Ask yourself, would there be any support for my beliefs without Paul’s writings? The early church and Apostles had no New Testament. They had the Old Testament, called the ‘Scriptures’, and the Holy Spirit and the Apostles to show them and introduce them to the Truth of who Jesus was, as seen “only” in the Old Testament. Is it not true that some teachers have actually, in effect, thrown out the Old Testament? Do they not say that it is the ‘old’ covenant and not relevant to the ‘new’ covenant?
Wouldn’t any diminishing of any of the Old Testament, according to the history of Christianity, make some of the teaching of Jesus false? Jesus is Truth! He is the Truth and the Way to life, now, and eternally!
Try it for a time. Focus all your reading and studing, in the Bible, on just the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The writer of Acts says, “Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” Are you a real disciple of Jesus, or someone else / something else?
A disciple is a “learner”, a “pupil.” “A learner is someone that is teachable and willing to, and has a dedication to, or passion to, gain knowledge from instruction, from reading or study, or by other means, from a teacher. (generally an individual under the age of puberty)”.
Only by the divine influence (real grace) can an individual die to the old selfish, willful nature and be truly born again; to become spiritually teachable, by the presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is rare to find anyone that has been around churches for any length of time, who would be ‘teachable’ at the feet of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I really wonder if the leaders of many churches are not making people disciples of themselves, and/or a twisted understanding of Paul, rather than teaching them to be disciple of Jesus Christ??
This was an issue in the first century, fleshly body of believers in Corinth. Paul says to the Corinthians, “I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still influenced by the flesh. For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? For whenever someone says, "I am with Paul," or "I am with Apollos," are you not merely human? What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us.
Here are some things that Jesus has to say on a few very important doctrinal topics.
Matthew 7:18-21 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Luke_6:43-44 "For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles.
John 15:4-7 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me — and I in him — bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you.
John 15:10 If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commandments and remain in his love.
Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Perfection (complete, mature, etc.)
Matthew 5:48 So then, be perfect (complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.)),
as your heavenly Father is perfect (complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.)).
Mat 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.
Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations
Revelation 3:1-6 “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have ‘not’ found ‘thy works’ ‘perfect’ before God.”
“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Matthew 5:17-22 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them.”
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
"You have heard that it was said to an older generation, 'Do not murder,' and 'whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.' But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says 'Fool' will be sent to fiery hell.”
The conclusion, according to Paul and Peter, is that you are to base your doctrines and beliefs off of “ the Words that Jesus spoke” and not listen to the explanations of men, who may use only the writings of Paul, which may be confused and easily twisted.
You should not follow the commentary of man, but be taught by the Holy Spirit, who’s Heart intent is the same through the entire Word of God, as it was originally written.
If Jesus and the all the apostles were concerned about the need to warn everyone about hypocrites and false teachers 2000 years ago, how much more urgent should the warning be today?
If the apostle Paul and early teachers were having problems with people making them into ‘gods’ or “idols,” 2000 years ago, how much more of a tendency, in this generation, for people to make idols out of movie stars, and TV/radio preachers?
Jesus said, “"Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “
“But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
"Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.”
“You will recognize them by their fruit” (are not the things we do and are, internally, our meditations; our fruit). “Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they?”
“In the same way, every good” (beneficial) “tree bears good” (valuable or virtuous; having genuine internal integrity and faithfulness) “fruit, but the bad” (rotten, that is, worthless) “tree bears bad” (hurtful) “fruit.”
The nature of the ‘natural’ human mind is to follow the crowd and or the easy way! That being said, along with Jesus’ comments on the broad path, 2000 years later, evil and deception would only have grown and spread at an epidemic speed until, as the Word says, in the last days, good (beneficial) will be called evil (hurtful) and evil (hurtful) will be consider as good (beneficial).
Do you really know the heart of God? Do you spend hours with Him, feeding on His Word? What do you actively believe? What kind of fruit does your life produce? Do you do a lot of stuff in ‘Jesus Name’ without any intimate relationship?
Do your speech and actions demonstrate that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is really living within your body? Is your temple clean or dirty? What influences do you spend the most time with, on a daily basis?
Really, what do you delight in, the Word or the world? Are you feeding on the body and blood of Jesus, as He said to, or are you feeding on chocolate, Facebook, video games, etc.?
Spiritual Leaders, do the influences that you place yourself under allow you to feed your sheep a pure diet of the Holy Spirit or are you enslaved to worldly pleasure that would taint or spoil what you are giving your sheep? Does Jesus know you intimately or will He say of you, I never knew you?
Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
Spending quality time, for a number of months, in the Gospels (without man’s input) the ‘Holy’ Spirit may change your understanding of Paul’s Letters! …if you ask Him (the Holy Spirit) to teach you!!
If you are not familiar with foreign languages or the meanings of words I would encourage using Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary and Noah Webster’s English Dictionary when studying from the King James Bible.
The definition of words is essential in understanding written concepts.
I am NOT an individual that believes in the King James Translation ONLY.
The Holy Spirit has spoken to me using many different translations. There are three that I use regularly; the Net Bible, the Amplified and the King James with Strong’s numbers, along with the Noah Webster’s and Strong’s Dictionaries.
(I have found many, maybe most, sites on the internet to be rather deceptive in their references to the Strong’s definitions, when they are using modern definitions rather than the old word definitions. I use an old version of E-sword where I can download the original dictionaries.)
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.