A Voice in the
June 25, 1997
Re: Another Appeal
"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)
These, the words of Paul to a group of church leaders. For the sake of being a bit "ridiculous" here ...if we do the math, we could say that he warned them over a thousand times. About what? False doctrine creeping in. About wolves in sheeps clothing..those claiming to be Believers, but were not. About remaining true to sound doctrine. I haven't begun to approach "1000" yet, so please bear with me as I share, another time, from something the Lord brought to my attention in my personal reading this morning.
Paul writes to Timothy, "Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit...but shun profain and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.(2Tm2:14-18)
What we see today is not new. During Paul's day some spread false doctrine about the resurrection, that it had already happened. And at Thessalonica, some were scaring the people by saying that "the day of Christ had come."(2Ths2:2)
Today there is quite a fascination with the year 1999 amongst many. They feel that it will be "the" time of God's "wrath" and then the second coming. Many of these feel that we are "now" IN the seven-year Tribulation. Just like in Paul's day. And he had to clear things up by explaining, again, how the Church will not endure God's "Wrath" but will be caught away first. (We've already been over this topic many times. 'Not going to cover it again here. If you still question this, check out the word "rapture" at the [Topic Search] at the homepage.)
The thing that caught my attention this morning was Paul's reference to the relationship between correct understanding of doctrine, and the person's state of "salvation." Those of you who have been on the mailing list a while, know that there have been arguments from some in the past about this, which have been shared with the rest in Q/A's. When I have written things like this in a generic fashion, some of those who hold to the false doctrines would argue, wondering if I was claiming that they, personally, were not Christians.
Paul, in this passage says the same thing I had replied, from other Scripture passages. "The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His.'"(2Tm2:19)
And then, as some like to continue arguing, Paul goes on, "a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."(vs24-26)
False doctrines are supposed to be exposed.(Eph5:11) We are not to passively let people continue in their false doctrines. And you notice his next statement..."if God perhaps will grant them repentance" in other words, to "be saved." And what is the outcome? "so that they may know the truth." In other words, before they are saved, they don't know the truth. If they have studied, and concluded a certain false doctrine, as the "spirit" taught them, it's as we have said in the past; "they are not In Christ." "The natural man does not understand the things of the spirit of God."(1Cor2:14 The "spirit" they learned it from is not the HOLY Spirit. But they are engulfed in "doctrines of demons."(1Tm4:1)
Paul goes on, "that they may come to their senses." Ah, yes! Deception. That is Satan's way, isn't it. Those who are SO CONVINCED by their false doctrines are in the "snare of the devil" and are "doing his will."
It is not simply, "you believe one thing, and I believe another...let's lay aside our differences and just luuuuv one another." No, Paul pled, "..that you all speak the same thing."(1Cor1:10)
Dear reader... if you find yourself on the "wrong side" of Scriptural doctrine, and are firmly convinced of it because you are "spirit-led" in the matter, please, let me plead with you as the time draws shorter and shorter. Come to God in "repentance" that you "may know the truth."(2Tm2:25) When you have come to know Him Who is the "way the truth and the life"(Jn14:6) ...then you will also have the Holy Spirit, Who guides into all truth (Jn16:13)
Follow-up: Last Days Chapter