And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
The false teacher teaches falsely in the name of the Lord.
Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!... They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken (Ezek. 13:2-3, 6-7; cf. Deut. 18:20; Jer. 14:13-14).
Claiming to speak the “word of the Lord,” he follows his own spirit and speaks falsely; the Lord did not speak to him or through him. The content of his prophecy is false. His teaching constitutes the falsehood, precisely because it is not the “word of the Lord” (Ezek. 13:2-3).
The false teacher teaches contrary to the way of truth.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber (2 Pet. 2:1-3).
The content of his teaching is heresy, destructive, deceptive; It is not the “way of truth.” A motive of covetousness is attributed to him, yet it is the false content of his teaching that identifies him as a “false teacher.”
The false teacher is known by his fruits.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-16).
The fruit he bears is false teaching – error – which prevents souls from doing the will of the Father and entering the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21-23). His false teaching deceives the innocent (Rom. 16:17-18).
Content of teaching, not motive of heart, identifies a false teacher.
Just the other evening, and probably for the umpteenth time, I watched the movie Schindler’s List. Being the history buff I am, with particular interest in World War II European history and the plight of millions of Jewish people who were being slaughtered by the Nazi German regime during the period of time that became known as the Holocaust I thought about the quote of Oskar Schindler as he expressed his regret for not being able to save more Jews from extermination. Tearfully, he told his friend and plant manager Itzhak Stern “Oskar Schindler: “This car. Goeth (the Commandant of Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp) would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people, ten more people. This pin...two people. This is gold, two people. He would have given me two more, at least one. One more person, a person, Stern, for this, (starts crying) I could have got one more person, and I didn't! I -- I -- I -- I didn't!”
While Oskar Schindler relied upon his wealth, power and influence within the Nazi party he was able to save 1200 Jews from certain death. As this movie came to its end I couldn’t help but reflect on the power that we as Christians have in saving countless souls from eternal damnation. No, we certainly don’t have the immense wealth and power that Schindler had, but we don’t need it. We have all that we need to save souls through the word of God and Jesus as written in the Scriptures. We have our own ability to create a sort of spiritual and soul saving anonymous Schindler’s list.
Thankfully, each of us Christians have been given this ability first by Jesus as he commanded his disciples in Mark 16: 15-16, when He instructed “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved but he who does not believe will be condemned.” If we as members of the Lord’s church followed just this one simple command there will be no limit to how many souls that we can perhaps put on the pathway to salvation. Following this command doesn’t cost us one cent, nor do we need the financial resources, influence and power like that of Schindler and the number of souls that will be saved can be far more than the 1200 lives that he saved. And on the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter along with the 11 other apostles told those people that were in attendance from other countries such as Parthia (a major and cultural power in northeastern Iran and Iraq, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, to name but a few countries who had citizens there the following command “repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” as stated in the book of Acts, Chapter 2:38. Also in Acts, Chapter 10:42 Peter reiterates Jesus command when he says “and He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”
While each of us are only accountable to God on the day of judgment for our own deeds that we have done while living, we nevertheless were given instruction on how we can and hopefully did through our endeavors reach out and perhaps successfully direct others on what they must do to be saved. And in doing so, we will have in fact, by following Jesus commandments to preach the gospel of Christ, be instrumental to the salvation of those lives we came into contact with and influenced--unselfishly and out of love for others--create and without ulterior motives, our own list.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: 1 Pet 4:12-19
1. Bible teaches who is a Christian, Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16.
I. THREE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS.
God's Man and God's Woman
We have heard a lot about “safe spaces” on college campuses which are provided for students to give them a “supportive environment” when feeling distress over opposing points of view (Bakersfield College Safe Space Program, bakersfieldcollege.edu). “Safe spaces” have become refuges for students too distraught to deal with just about any contrary opinion, be it cultural, political, ethical, moral, religious or philosophical.
Now, some universities are arranging safe spaces where young men can explore their masculinity and discover how toxic being a man can be. “Universities across the country are committing to fight ‘toxic masculinity’ this year with conferences and events exploring the allegedly violent tendencies inherent to ‘manhood’” (campusreform.org). Did you know mental health problems can result from being masculine? “A group at the Claremont Colleges called “5Cs Thrive” hosted an event Monday focused on the mental health problems caused by masculinity” (campusreform.org).
And so it goes on some US campuses, as the movement toward an androgynous society continues to flex its muscles. (Oops, that metaphor may be too masculine, requiring a “safe space” and signaling the onset of a mental health problem!)
Men must learn to be men, not girly men (1 Cor. 16:13). God defines men as leaders who provide and protect (Gen. 3:17-19; 1 Cor. 11:3). Women must learn to be women, not manly girls. God defines women as helpers who are homemakers, mothers and teachers (Gen. 2:18; 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:13-15; 5:14; Titus 2:3-5).
Masculinity is not a license to be angry, abusive and unloving. God’s man is none of these. Young men do not need safe spaces to confront their masculinity. They need instruction on how to be men after God’s own heart. They need space in their hearts and lives for God’s truth.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 01/22/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA