Sunday, 25 February 2018

Beware


Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7.15-20

False teachers and false prophets have been a major problem since the very beginning. We might even say that false teaching started it all when subtle Satan caused Eve to doubt God’s word and fall into sin. The word of God is full of false teachers. While Moses was receiving the Law false teachers led the nation to make a golden idol. Some Jewish leaders kept adding man’s traditions to the Law imposing burdens on the people that God never intended. The prophets of Baal drew many to forsake the Lord. The Gnostics and the grace robbers were rampant in the early church.

False teachers have harried the church all though church history. They often have been wolves in sheep’s clothing looking good, but with the goal of destroying God’s work.

We are still living in a day that abounds with false teachers. Our defence against them is to examine their teachings in the light of God’s word and to see the kind of fruit they bear.

The key thing for us to do is to be Bereans. Every time we hear or read teachers lets us ‘examine the scriptures to see if these things are true.’ The Bible is the one standard that we can compare all teachers and all teaching to. If they can’t stand up to that standard then we must reject their message. That is why we need to be studied and prepared and ready to compare teachings to the Bible. In order to compare teachers and their teaching we need to know our Bibles.

Don’t be fooled. Don’t be deceived. Check our teachers with the word of God and examine their fruit to see if it is godly.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Two ways


"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Matthew 7.13-14

From the very start of time life has been a story of choices. Eve could eat from the tree or not eat from the tree. Cain could have loved Able or hated him. Joshua and his family could have chosen God or pagan gods. Elijah challenged the people to choose God or Baal. Jesus had just talked about serving God or stuff.

But here we have the most important choice of all. This choice results in either life or destruction. The choice is made difficult because one choice is through a broad gate with an easy path and the other is a narrow gate leading to a rough path.

There is a choice for life.

Sadly most of the world would rather just go through the broad gate, down the easy path, and not think about the destruction at the end of the road. It all looks so easy and, really, no one likes to deal with bad news so they would just rather not think about it.

But there is a tight and narrow gate as well as the broad and easy one. This one is fraught with trials and hardships and difficulties. The gate is such that few find it. This is the gate that leads to eternal life. It is the life that is entered by turning from sin and turning to Christ. Few find it in part because the labourers to show the way are few.

Everyone starts down the path to destruction. That is the default path. It is our task to direct others to the straight and narrow path. Life is still going to tough on this path. We are going to suffer pain and heartache and sorrow. People are going to get sick and die. We may even face open opposition. But at the end of the road is an eternity of peace with God.

It will be worth is all when we see Christ.

Friday, 23 February 2018

The Golden Rule


Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7.12

As much as people know ‘judge not that you be not judged’ in a critical way people all over the world also know this verse. Jesus refers to this as the sum of the Law and Prophets. It fits right with His summation of the Law with ‘love God and love others.’

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is a universal standard that virtually everyone can accept. It is called the ‘Golden Rule’ for a reason. If the whole world would treat everyone else the way they want to be treated themselves the world would surely be a better place.

Here Jesus specifically applies it to His people. He is telling us how to live in a world where we were never meant to be on the inside track. It is a way that we can show ourselves different in a ‘me first’ world.

We all want to be treated well. We want fairness and good treatment and kindness and charity shown to us. We want forgiveness and understanding. We want patience and longsuffering. We want to be loved.

Knowing that, we need to take it into consideration when we think about how to treat others today. Whoever we encounter today not matter what the situation we need to think about how we would like to be treated if we were in their shoes. That, not our emotions, should determine how we should treat people in every encounter today.

Do unto others exactly what you would have them do to you were the roles reversed.


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Asking, seeking, and knocking - with confidence


Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! – Matthew 7.7-11

Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open. If you ask you get and if you seek you find and you knock the door will open.

What a blessed prayer promise. It looks like if we want something all we have to do is keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.

In a general way that is true. As we keep asking and seeking and knocking God does hear and answer our prayers. But the passage does not end there. It goes on to say that this is based our Father knows what it going best for us. He knows how to give the good things to those who ask Him. The good things.

We can keep asking and seeking and knocking with full assurance that God will keep giving and keep allowing us to find and keep opening according, not to what we think is best, but according to what He knows is best. That ought to give us great joy to know that he will not give what will harm us, He will not let us find which is bad for us, and He will not open doors that are dangerous for us in response.

So we can pray for what we need or want with full confidence. If it is the right thing for us He will give it, if not He will spare us.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Beams and motes


And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. – Matthew 7.3-5

These verses are a perfect follow on and illustration of verses 1-2 that talk about judging. They describe a wonderful illustration that I wish I was artist enough to illustrate.

‘Why do you look at and judge your brother for the speck of dust in his eye when you have a wooden beam sticking out of you eye? You can’t see well enough to judge hum until you deal with your own sin.’

That really addresses the judgement issue doesn’t it.

We are happy to judge others for their sexual sins but ignore our pride.
We are happy to judge their anger but ignore our lack of faith.
We are happy to judge their evil tongues but ignore our gossip and backbiting

For some reason we tend to think that our sins are not as bad as theirs.

So while this massive railroad tie is sticking out in our eyes we are searching the next guy for a speck of dust. Something is seriously wrong here.

Judging others is a dangerous road to go down. I think we are better off to share the gospel and stand for what is right and love others and leave the judgement up to God.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Judge not


"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  – Matthew 7.1-2

If I could think of one verse that people who don’t know or care about the Bible would know this would probably be it. If you get into a discussion about nearly any sinful activity the person will say something ‘even your Bible says ‘judge not lest you be judged’ so you better not judge me.’

‘Judge not’ is not an excuse to cover up or hide sin. It does not mean that Christians should never speak out against sin or point out sin.

The problem here is one of attitude. The kind of character described here is the guy who comes up and tries to judge someone’s sin while not taking the time to deal with their own sin.

It is easy to judge and condemn others with our attitudes. I wonder if we would like to have every aspect of our lives judged by the same standard.

More tomorrow. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Tomorrow


Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  – Matthew 6.34

This idea of not worrying must be important. Jesus talks about it over and over trying to make sure that we get it. Here He repeats the phrase ‘don’t take any thought for tomorrow.’

It’s a little different context here. In the other verse Jesus talked about God knowing all of our needs. Here He is saying, in essence, ‘don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow.’ It is important that we deal with things that are going on today. Take care of these things. If we are too focused on what might or might not happen tomorrow we are not going to get anything done for today.

The reality is that we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. It could be full of its own troubles or its own joys.

Of course we need to be responsible and not be foolish and we need to take care of daily needs and concerns, but as far as worrying about tomorrow?

Let’s just deal with today and see what God brings us tomorrow.