Beware of False Prophets

This week I was in a large corporate “Christian” book store and I was shocked at the number of books of “false teachers and heretics” that are stocked on the shelves and sold. As I stood in the isle, I must have been muttering to myself. as one of the store’s employees approached me with a smile and asked, “May I help you?” I knew that they were not the store’s manager, and a deep discussion concerning their agreements and contracts with the publishing houses would come to no avail. So, I simply said, “I was surprised that you were carrying this author.” They replied, with a smile on their face, “Oh, we sell a lot of these books from this author.” I was going no-where, so I thanked them and simply said I was just “killing some time until I meet my wife for lunch.” They smiled and as they walked away, he said, “Let me know if there is anything else I could help you with.”

I wanted to shout, “Well, you could remove all the books of this heretic and burn them on a bonfire in the back” so unsuspecting readers would not be harmed by these false teachers. However, I understand where the problem really lays. It is not the reseller or the publisher, and to some degree not even the author. The fault lays clearly on the demand by the readers. If no one purchased their books, they would not be ordered, stocked and sold. They would make their way to the “deep discount” area and the publishers would stop going into contracts with those authors. The problem could be solved in just a couple of years. However, there is so much demand for these authors that until Christians “wake up and heed Jesus’ warning”, the authors will write, the publishers will publish, the stores will order, stock and sell, and the public will continue to be under the spell of “ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Jesus Taught

Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, warned His disciples concerning false prophets and teachers.

Matthew 7:1520 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (ESV)

I believe the reason so many people follow these false teachers is because they are lazy. “Lazy” you may ask? Yes, an emphatic “Lazy.” Instead of reading and studying their bible for themselves, they take the easy way of simply reading and following teachers that scratch their itch, instead of spending the time in prayer and study of the Bible.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Understand this. You will be held accountable for allowing these false teachers into your mind. Jesus says that you can identify them because they bring forth thorns and thistles instead of good fruit. Translation: these false teachers bring disease that can only bring evil fruit and destruction.

The Apostle Paul Taught

Don’t take the easy way out. the Apostle Paul understood this and in writing to his protégé Timothy;

“2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The Apostle John quoted Jesus;

“John 5:37 -43 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
41 I do not receive glory from people.
42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

What Are We To Do?

  1. Get a good “word for word” translation of the Bible, without commentary and without references and study the Bible after prayer asking for the Holy Spirit to lead and teach you.
  2. Journal – write your questions, thoughts and impressions so that you can return to them later.
  3. Be methodical in your approach to study. Learn how to study the bible by “Observing what the Scripture says; search out God’s interpretation of the verse, paragraph, text or book and then apply what you have learned to your own life.
  4. Observation, Interpretation, Application – in that order. Don’t jump to interpretation until you fully understand what the “text within the context” is saying. Don’t leap to applying the Scripture until you have completed the hard work of Observing and then finding out what God is saying and what He means.
  5. It takes time and is an investment in your spiritual health.

As Christians, we are to study the Word of God. We are to receive sound doctrine and oppose false teachers, even if they are the #1 best seller in your local “Christin” book store.

I Wasn’t There

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

(Hebrews 11:1; King James Version)

This is the only place in the Bible where Faith is defined. And yet, time and time again we are told about believers having faith and its importance in the life of the believer. The Bible instructs us that we must have faith to be saved.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews captures example after example of men and women who had faith and the results of their faith. This eleventh chapter of Hebrews has been labeled “the Hall of Faith” in the Bible.

As the title of the Book defines, the letter was written to Jews who had accepted Jesus as their Messiah. And having believed, they were enduring great trials of persecution, which could cause some to relapse.

Peter expresses the importance of maintaining faith when faced with times of trials – 1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Others Have Walked In Your Shoes

The writer’s goal is to show that throughout history, others have demonstrated faith! And for those reading this epistle, in the midst of trials there is POWER through FAITH.

It is crucial that the believer knows what faith is. A man without faith cannot please God. Hebrews 1:6:

Hebrews 1:6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

There may not be a more important verse in the New Testament than Hebrews 11:1. You might say, what about John 3:16 and you would have a good argument. But without faith, there would be no belief. You see salvation is based on faith, repentance, and trust.

John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Everlasting Life is formed when we “Hear God’s Word, Repent of our Sin and Believe that God Sent His Son as our payment for sin. This requires Faith.

English Standard Version

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Let’s define the words of this verse…

Faith – is a Spiritual reality

Assurance – the quality of confidence which leads one to stand under, endure, or undertake anything.

Hope – expect, in a religious sense, to wait for salvation and joy and full confidence.

Conviction – approve, that by which a thing is approved or tested. “True faith is not based on empirical evidence but on divine assurance, and is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8)”1

Not Seen – metaphorically, to see what the mind’s eye, to discern mentally, observe perceive discover understand.

Christian Standard Bible

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

This video is the sermon of this text. Lakeview Baptist Church, Belton, TX on July 2, 2017.

The Wife of a Pastor

The pastor’s wife normally is seen in the background of most churches. These dedicated women of God have been thrust into a lifestyle and conditions not of their own choosing. And yet, behind every good pastor, is a good pastor’s wife.

I personally believe that I have been given by God, the best wife. Not only is she loving and caring for me, her children and grandchildren, but she cares for a different family, not of blood, but of the spirit. The church in which her husband serves.

My wife Linda, is loving, compassionate, dedicated, and led by the Holy Spirit woman. I am so amazed by her attentiveness, commitment, and swaying devotion to the church family.

I want to tell you about an incident that happened this last Sunday. I was preaching in the place of another pastor, at a church that we’d only visited two times before, and it was Father’s Day. I preached a Father’s Day message out of the Christmas story. The point of the message was that God not only choose Mary to be the mother of Jesus, but he chose Joseph to be the father, the earthly father of Jesus. It would be his task to teach the Son of God him how to be a man. Teach him the Jewish lifestyle and the law. Joseph would teach Jesus the tradecraft of being a carpenter.

Towards the end of the service, I asked all the fathers to approach the altar. I had them spread across the front of the church and then I asked the family members to join them. Those fathers had their family members join them at the altar, except for two, I noticed. They were older, and were standing there all by themselves. I remembered thinking that it was a shame that they would be standing alone during this portion of the service, however, I turned my attention to the remaining fathers. I asked the family members to love on their fathers and pray for them at the altar and that I would give them time for them to accomplish this. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my wife get up out of her chair, moving to stand between the two men who had no family to stand with them. She spoke softly to each one of them and then reached out and took her hands into hers. She pulled them in close and prayed for each one of them just as any other family member would do. As each of the families completed their time of prayer, they went back to their seats, and Linda, stood on her tiptoes and kissed each of these fathers on the cheek and then she returned to her seat.

I have to tell you, I was in awe and very proud of my wife. Such a simple and honest gesture allowed these two men to join in in this part of the dedication service.

After the ceremony was over as I left the podium and went to be with Linda, I saw a woman move over to speak to her. I overheard part of the conversation. She said, “You sure are a good pastor’s wife. I saw those two men standing there but I didn’t think to get up out of my seat and go participate in the service with them. But you did!” With a smile on her face Linda just shrugged off the complement and turn to get her things.

smiled, with the pride and love for this pastor’s wife. My wife. Linda.

Introduction and Summary of the Gospel of Luke

The Gospel According to Luke

The Gospel According to Luke is positioned as the third book of the New Testament and is the longest of the four Gospels, containing 24 chapters and 1151 verses. It is considered one of the three “synoptic” Gospels, written somewhere between AD 58-60. Luke is also attributed as the writer of the “Acts of the Apostles.”

Among most theologians and commentators, there is little doubt that Luke, the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14), is the author of the “Gospel According to Luke.” They also believe that Luke was a Gentile according to the Apostle Paul’s own hand. In the fourth chapter of Colossians, Paul differentiates between those “who are of the circumcision” and lists other fellow servants (who are not included in the circumcision, obviously Gentiles). It is in this group that Paul mentions Luke. It is believed that Luke was a native of Antioch.

He is mentioned as the travelling companion of Paul in Acts 16:10, and were close traveling companions during Paul’s second and third missionary journeys referring to Luke as his “fellow worker.” Luke was with Paul during his imprisonment at Rome (2 Timothy 4:11).

The introductory remarks (Luke 1:1-4) indicate that there were many written accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that he found to be wanting. Therefore, Luke, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, undertook writing a Holy Spirit inspired version of the life of Jesus Christ, presenting a complete and thoroughly verified account of the early history of the Christian Church. It is apparent that as Luke traveled with Paul, he talked with Paul, other Apostles, eyewitnesses and believers, gathering the content of this Gospel. Luke, as an educated man, provides a more detailed account of the life and ministry of Jesus than the other Gospels.

As a historian, Luke’s account can be easily established by the known historical events. Luke records Jesus birth taking place before the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC. Jewish history records the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus began approximately 27 A.D. (Luke 3)

Luke contains the lineage (from Mary’s point of view) and the events surrounding the birth of Jesus in great detail, confirming the fulfillment of prophecy of the birth of the Messiah. The announcement of the birth of John and Jesus, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the story of the announcement to the shepherds who came to worship Jesus at night, Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, Jesus circumcision on the eighth day, all of which are not included in the other Gospels.

Luke, as an educated man and a doctor details the unusual conception of Jesus, “a virgin espoused to a man whose name is Joseph.” Luke includes the circumcision of Jesus (Luke 1:59, 2:21). The next time we meet Jesus, he is 12 years of age. It was when Jesus was not found in the caravan that Joseph, Mary and Jesus were traveling. Luke says; “after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.”

Luke shares much of the information found in the other two synoptic Gospels, Matthew and Mark, including the ministry of Jesus in His early Galilean ministry and his latter ministry centered on Jerusalem. Luke recognizes Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ, as a turning point in the lives of the Twelve as well as the ministry of Jesus. Luke details in the arrest of Jesus, His many trials, His passion and ends his Gospel centering on the resurrection of Jesus. He records 20 miracles of Jesus and lists 18 parables which only occur in his Gospel.

Only in Luke’s Gospel do we find the parables of the Money Lender and the Two Debtors, (Luke 7:41–43), The Good Samaritan, (10:25–37), The Friend at Midnight, (11:5–8), The Rich Fool, (12:13–31), The Vigilant Servants, (12:35–48), The Barren Fig Tree, (13:6–9), The Great Banquet, (14:16–24), The Unfinished Tower, (14:28–30), The Unwaged War, (14:31–32), The Lost Coin, (15:8–10), The Prodigal Son, (15:11–32), The Unrighteous Steward, (16:1–13), The Rich Man and Lazarus, (16:19–31), The Unprofitable Servants, (17:7–10), The Importunate Widow, (18:1–18), The Pharisee and Publican, (18:9–14), The Ten Pounds (19:11–27).

Only Luke includes the story of Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree in order that he might see Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). Luke shows love to the unlovable according to the Jews. Jews hated the Samaritans, Luke includes the story of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, however, only the one expressed his gratitude for what Jesus had done, and he was a Samaritan. And we are all familiar with the parable of the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho. It was a Samaritan who came to his rescue, befriended the man and covering the cost for his care.

Another interesting point in Luke’s Gospel, is his special attention to prayer. In all of the Gospels, there are 15 different prayers captured by the writers. Luke records 11, each of the other Gospels highlight 4 or less. Luke records for us a significant portion of Christ teaching on prayer, not recorded in the other Gospels.

The manner in which Luke wrote his Gospel, appeals to the general populous, particularly to the intellectual Greek mind, even though it was written to Theophilus (Luke 1:3). Jesus is portrayed in the gospel of Luke as the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of all mankind. Luke includes the intimate events of Jesus kindness toward women, the infirmed, poor, children, outcast, and those who were suffering.

Luke includes the raising of the dead servant of a Roman Centurion (leader over 100 men(Luke 7:1-10), and the calming of the sea in which the storm was filling their boat (Luke 8:23-24). Luke includes Jesus forgiving sins, which only God could do in Luke 7:48.

Luke’s Gospel could be generally acknowledged as portraying Jesus as the perfect man. Luke uses the phrase, “Son of Man” 26 times.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Together with 1 John 3:6, Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him, are difficult to understand.

These verses must be examined with the entirety of John’s first epistle. For example, 1 John 1:8 and 10, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” and “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” John is clearly teaching that the Christian sins. Understanding that John clearly is not teaching sinlessness on the part of the Christian, then we must surmise that John’s intent is easily definable within the text.

John’s intended audience are Christians, “Whosoever is born of God”, and not to a select few “super Christians.” Therefore, his writing affects the entire body of believers in Christ. John’s point is “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” It is important to know that John is declaring the total absence of all sin, and not just the continuing, practice or keeping on of sin. Some Bible translations translate this verse as: “no one who is born of God will continue to sin,” (NIV). While others will use, “makes a practice of sinning” (ESV, NASB). However, this is not the original Greek. Since God is the source of the Christian birth and he is completely holy and perfect, he cannot “beget” a partially perfect child. “Like-begets-like.”

For the apostle John, the idea that a Christian will continually or habitually practice sin goes against everything that John intends. John clearly defines that man is sinful, and that no sin is allowed in the Christian in order to have fellowship with God.

For John, the believer is in a constant state of struggle with the old man, which is an enemy of God, and the new man which is a born-again believer. The war is between the “inner man which is a believer’s new nature, and the old man whose nature is a sinful nature of Adam. The “inward man” tries to serve the law of God, but the outward man serves his flesh.

We can never be free of this nature, however, the inner man, being the image of a perfect God, is regenerated and does not commit sin. (Romans 7:20-25; Galatians 2:20). The “old man” sins, however the “new man” does not and cannot sin, according to John.

Caution; John does not intend to present the Christian as being able to become sinless perfection in the outward man. Sin does exist in the believer’s life, but it is foreign and extraneous to the inward regenerated man where Christ dwells in perfect holiness.  

“…even now there are many antichrists”

Continuing my studies in 1st John 2:18,

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

antichrist” is the Greek word “antichristoswhich means “against the Messiah.”

John’s reference to “antichrists”, meant that they were evident in the church in his lifetime. It is not a 20th or 21st century arrival.

John further defines antichrists as anyone who denies that 1) Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of the Old Testament, and 2) deny that Jesus is the only means of salvation.

Look at this following list:

  • During the time of Jesus, he preached that there were “tares among the wheat.”
  • In the churches in Galatia, there were false teachers.
  • In the church at Philippi, there were enemies of God
  • In the church at Colossi, there were teachers of heresies.

No antichrists are nothing new, but they are very active today. We should all be on our guard. Study your Bible folks. It will keep you out of heresies and false teaching.

A “Christ Like” Walk

In light of I John 2.6, the Apostle John is describing what a “Christ Like Walk” would resemble.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

In this passage,John also includes why a new Christian cannot attain a “Christ like” walk.
A Christ like walk is attained, based on the maturity level of the believer. Therefore, it cannot be achieved the moment one is born again, as a babe in Christ. Until the heart is fully prepared to act on and follow the commandments of God, through instruction in the Bible, led by the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to be “Christ Like.” Knowing God can only come by an intimate communion with Him, marked by obedience to the Lord’s commands. The disciple abides in Him when he fully experiences a knowledge of His love and grace. And that takes time to learn to keep His commandments, abiding in the Lord and fully resting or trust in Jesus Christ.