Barnabas Bulletin ~ 0198
KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE
We are living in dangerous days; days when there are all kinds of opposition to the true Christian faith. So many false teachings have and are creeping into Christian circles and it is vital that we know the truth of Jesus Christ ~ that truth that sets us free. The truth is the Word of God (the Scriptures). Jesus said (and says): “If you abide (“continue, to remain”– Bullinger’s; “to stay, dwell, endure, stand” – Strong’s) in My word, you are My disciples (“a follower, one who follows both the teacher and the teaching” – Bullinger’s) indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free . . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-32, 36).
How can we know the true voice of God if we do not know the Scriptures to confirm what is being spoken to us?
God’s voice is always confirmed by the principles of the Bible (Scripture).
GUARDING AGAINST WRONG TEACHINGS
If we do not know the Bible well, then we are likely to be “taken in” by all kinds of wrong teachings, etc. Why do I say this? The Bible is full of warnings to Christians about getting away from the truth of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul declared: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert (“to turn about; to turn into something else, to change” – Bullinger’s; “corrupt” – Strong’s) the Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached, let him be accursed (“a thing devoted to destruction or given up to the curse” – Bullinger’s; “excommunicated” – Strong’s). As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation (“unveiling, uncovering; of facts and truths, disclosure, revelation; of persons, appearing, manifestation” – Bullinger’s) of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:6-12).
If these were real concerns so soon in the days of the Early Church ~ and they were ~ how much more should we be vigilant and diligent to make sure we know what the Bible teaches today? We cannot take it for granted that what the preachers preach is always the word of God! We need to be like the Bereans of old in that “they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed . . .” (Acts 17:10-12). Many preachers have what I call “winning personalities” and have a very effective way of getting their message across. It sounds so good and plausible. But if we do not know the Scriptures, then we can be caught up into something that leads us right into deception and away from the purposes of God for our lives. (Be warned because a deceived person does not know they are deceived ~ they believe they have the truth).
Who were the biggest opponents to Jesus when He was on earth? It was the religious leaders! Who should have recognized and known Him from the teachings of the Old Testament. They were learned, knowledgeable people who believed they were doing right in opposing and eventually crucifying “the Lord of Glory” (1 Corinthians 2). But they were ignorant of the truth, for they were bound up in old mind-sets, traditions and religious ways ~ all of which makes one’s life powerless and in opposition to the truth of Jesus Christ. Consider this:
Every great man and woman in the Bible all suffered persecution and opposition from right within their own families and ranks.
There is a price to pay to know God and to do His will.
That is because God’s ways are so very different to the ways of the world.
So many church denominations started off in the revival fire of God; but over time they have drifted into a more “conforming to man’s ways and ideas”, that they have lost the power of God and become religious. It is very sad when one can prophesy the order of next Sunday’s service today! Why? Because it will be the same as last week, month, year, etc.! Where is the Holy Spirit in that?
True Christianity is all about our knowing Jesus Christ in a real and personal way, learning to listen to His voice (with the view/attitude to obey whatever He asks of us), and to experience what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). The result of this is that we will know the plan and purpose of God for our life in a clear enough way that we can commit our life to doing what He has asked of us. When we have that love and commitment then we discover that Jesus is all Who the Word of God declares Him to be. He is alive today to be with us every step of the way through life.
Knowing the Scriptures is vital in these times. We cannot afford to always rely upon others to teach us. We need to be searching the Scriptures and getting the principles of the Bible firmly established in our heart. For that to happen we need a daily disciplined, devotional life where we spend time seeking God’s face and reading/studying the Scriptures. We really cannot afford to ignore this important part of Christianity. If you have been slack in doing this, I exhort you to make some changes whereby you will put aside time to seek the Lord and the Scriptures ~ even if it means rising earlier than normal to start the day with Jesus and His word. You will reap enormous benefits when you make time for God and His word. ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Prayer:“Dear Lord, I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ, and ask You to help me to be diligent in my commitment to You and Your Word, the Bible. Help me to be a true disciple of Yours, so that I will walk daily in the truth that sets me free. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for hearing my prayer today. In Jesus’ name I pray these things, Amen.”