Whenever our youngest and her family come to visit, so does Thelma Lou. Thelma Lou is the cutest, fluffiest little dog that anyone could want. Perfectly house broken. Loves to cuddle. Playful. Obedient. Thelma Lou is the best of the best. But I have discovered: No matter how cute they are . . . you cannot trust a dog to watch your food.
We need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth . . . and that’s what the Lord has delivered with His Word. Scripture tells us what is. It nourishes our soul. It is our food.
Yet among us are some who appear to be the most pleasant, likable people, who talk alot about the Bible, prayer, and even Jesus . . . that Scripture warns: don’t’ let them watch your food.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 3-4).
That was then. And it is now. With best sellers, rallies, and push to be liked by all, ‘certain people have crept in unnoticed.’ These are those who say all are God’s children. These are those who in the name of Christ moralize rights over life. These are those who see the rainbow as God’s vote for the LGBTQ community. National big names. Local small names. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive (Rom 16:18).
God’s holiness? A forever existence in a place sucked clean of the mercies of God? The biblical non-negotiable to embrace the risen Christ and His cross with a repentant faith to avoid eternal punishment? In bending Scripture, you hear nothing about that. Only positive, feel good, make your dreams come true kind of talk. Looking like honest brokers of the truth, Bible spinners is what they are.
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever (Jude 12-13).
A few reminders . . .
Don’t Be Tricked By Christian Shop Talk – Sailing under the Jesus flag, false teachers know the lingo. They know how to disarm an undiscerning listener.
Love. Peace. A word from God. Believe. Faith. Give. Needs. Concern. Care.
In fact, Jesus says come judgment day, Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21) . . . which implies some will think they have a familiarity with the Lord that’s just not there, a familiarity likely communicated to others. Jesus talk. Lots of Jesus talk.
When it comes to spiritual jargon, false teachers have got it down. They know Christian shop talk.
Ever played the shell game with a small object like a pea? You try to guess where that pea is after someone has rapidly shifted the 3 shells around? Religious activity and all the talk that goes with it, is a shell game designed to hide a false teacher’s true nature. Just because an author, a website, a Christian leader talks about Jesus and waves an impressive resume, does not mean they are ‘in.’ On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’ (Matt 7:22-23).
Don’t just listen to what is said. Though the terms may be good Christian terms, learn to listen to what is not said. Christian shop talk is cheap.
Let The Bible Say What It Says – Bible spinners won’t. For example, one cannot celebrate marriage between Adam and Andy, or Eve and Ethel unless there is some attempt to overpower Scripture’s straightforward meaning. Jesus Himself says the standard was set upfront in Genesis 1 and 2: Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Matt 19:4-5). By telling us what a marriage is from the beginning, He is telling us what it is not. A person cannot be loyal to the Lord without being loyal to His Word.
A correction in a small town newspaper read: "The following items need to be deleted from Tuesday's recipes: pork sausage from the carrot casserole, ground beef from the salmon casserole, large can of salmon from the sausage casserole, and lettuce from the chicken casserole. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused." (Reader’s Digest).
Apologies accepted. But not so when false teachers fool around with God’s Word. Because truth is what is, you cannot take from it or add to it and still have what really, really is. False teachers take what is not, and make it sound like what is. It takes a perfect recipe and messes up lives, some to eternal destruction.
Redefining marriage. Embracing an unbiblical sexual orientation. Recasting a new morality. Recasting the living God. We live at a time similar to Isaiah’s when many in the media, Hollywood, and among the elite are saying: "Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 30:10-11) . . . and the false teacher is more than ready to do just that.
Don’t ignore the plain, straightforward teaching of the Word. Let the Bible say what it says.
Learn To Ask Biblical Questions – We have no record of a letter written to First Church Berea, but they had to be a special, special people. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (Acts 17:11). They started asking questions. Biblical questions. Whenever a speaker spoke, there was no ‘Amen!’ until it checked out with the Word.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17).
God superintended over the human authors of Scripture, using their personalities, cultural settings, and particular circumstances to record precisely what He wanted, without turning them into robots. When writers like Moses, Peter, and Paul wrote, it was God spiritually exhaling His revelation through them, not vice versa. Though God used human authors, Scripture is all from God. It was ‘breathed out’ by Him so that what was recorded as they wrote word by word in the original manuscripts, was precisely what God wanted. Without that Divine break- through, we would have been left to connect dots that just were non-connectable, or connectable in a way that was not reality. God wanted to connect them for us, so that we could understand in a simple, direct reading of the text as to Who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will yet do, all without error.
It includes back in the beginning when the Bible describes how everything got here within a six day span, real days like our real days. It includes the details when God made the first two people, Adam and Eve. In fact, all the way to the end, Scripture claims to be telling us the simple, plain truth without any need for accommodations centuries later.
Thus Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness . . . It is the grid we need to evaluate whatever issues we face. It’s where we get answers when questions are asked.
Does what I am hearing align with Scripture? Does what I am reading square with the Word? Does that internet site major on minors to the point that those minors become unbiblical majors? Ask questions. Study Scripture to get answers. Access sound teachers of the Word as resource servants to help in finding answers. Be a wise, good member of First Church Berea.
Just a few reminders . . .
Jesus warns: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matt 7:15).
He said that 2000 years ago. As eternal God, He stands by it today.
So beware. Don't trust a dog to watch your food.
Blessing – Blaine