Friday, March 12, 2010

#31) Creatures of Comfort

Creatures of Comfort

If there is one thing we are all guilty of, it is that we love comfort. We love the feel of silk sheets. We want our houses to be the perfect temperature. Our cars have climate control. We have all sorts of fits for clothing so that every person of every shape can be comfortable. Unfortunately, our quest for comfort has also extended into our Christian lives. Many Christians search for a new church if theirs challenges them in their faith. We want to give God control but only if it doesn’t require much from us in return. We desire to be strong in our faith yet we neglect the discipline of daily Bible reading.

(Show video #1)
Ask congregation how many can relate to the video.

It all boils down to us asking ourselves, “Who is Lord in my life? Me or God?” Until one answers that question, it is impossible to grow in our faith or strengthen our walk with Christ. Before we can correct the problem, we need to identify the problem.

One of the major contributors to the problem of self-centered Christians is the “health, wealth, & prosperity” gospel that is preached in churches all across America today. It teaches that God wants us to be happy. It teaches that God wants to bless us with great wealth. It teaches that God has many blessings ready to be poured out if only we are faithful enough to ask for them. An unfortunate result of this doctrine is that it teaches God from a selfish perspective. Instead of focusing on the fact that we are to serve God with all our being, it places the focus on the teaching that God wants to bless us with all His being. God does indeed bless us daily. He blesses some more so than others. He blessed Job immensely. Despite this, God really never promises earthly blessings anywhere in Scripture. In fact, God blessing us should never be the focus or our motivation to live for Him.

Luke 14:33
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

This is not saying one has to give up everything. It is not even saying God desires for all people to be poor. We can see this in Matthew:

Matthew 19:21-24
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Being poor is not the answer. However, seeking treasures on Earth is not the answer either. Jesus did tell the rich man to give up all he had but he was not trying to make the man poor. The rich man desired money. He heard about the treasures of God and that was the reason he was seeking Christ. He already had abundance of wealth but he wanted more. Our faith is supposed to be about serving God wholeheartedly. It is not supposed to be driven by financial gain or physical health but out of love for the one we call Master. Notice Jesus did not say it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. He simply said it is difficult. This is because we are naturally selfish and do not want to break free from our comfort zone. We want blessings, we avoid conflict, and we hope for trials to end quickly before they interrupt our schedules too much.

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Christianity is unique in that it is one of the only religions that does not promise something that will tickle the ears. It promises pain, heartache, and difficulties in this present life. However, it does not promise them in vain. It promises them with the hope of the perfect result of endurance. While perfection is promised, it requires us to break out of our comfort bubble.

Ask congregation if they are willing to break out of the bubble.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

Just how far are we willing to break out of our comfort zone? Are we willing to lose a little sleep to make it to church or are we willing to be killed if it means proclaiming Christ as Lord? Jesus was willing to go through the torturous death of crucifixion so that we might have eternal life but we are often too comfortable to even roll out of bed to go be in fellowship with other Christians while worshiping our Lord. Is He really our Lord or is that just a name we have grown used to saying? How far are we willing to go to follow Him?

Luke 9:59-62
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Here, we can see Jesus inviting some to follow him. However, I do not believe this was a display of Jesus’ ignorance but actually a display of his divine knowledge. He knew the hearts of these men and he knew it was a prime time to use them as an example for his teaching. The requests made by these men are not really extreme by our standards. One man wanted to follow Christ but his dad had just died. All he was asking was that Jesus give him time to bury his father first. The other man simply wanted to say goodbye to his loved ones at home before starting on their journey. This sounds very reasonable to us yet it was a mark of unworthiness in the eyes of Christ. While none of us are worthy of Heaven, these two in particular displayed it prominently. Jesus tells the one man to let the dead bury their own and tells the other man he has no reason to look back at what he is leaving behind.

Matthew 4:21
Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.

To get a better understanding of what Jesus is asking here, we must get an idea of the culture back then. James & John were fisherman. We see they were in their boat with their father, Zebedee. Back then, it was customary for the sons to enter the family practice just as the daughters, if not already married, would often stay at home with the mother to help the rest of the close-knit community. If the sons were to leave their father, he would be forced to do the entire job by himself which would be next to impossible. As a result, their father would not make any money, would not have any food for the table, and would fail to be able to continue providing for his family. Did James & John take time to weigh their options? Did they weigh the pros and cons? Not at all.

Matthew 4:22
Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

There was no time for deliberation. There was no fear of what might happen if they left the security of their job. They didn’t even stop to worry about what might happen to the family they were leaving behind. This is exactly what the two men in the previous example should have done. We are called to serve God and follow Christ with all our being!

Don’t get the wrong idea about family. Scripture is not telling us to hurt our loved ones or cast them out of our lives.

1 John 2:11
But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 3:15
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Ephesians 6:2
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),

The Bible takes our treatment of family very seriously. In fact, it teaches of family being such a close bond that it even refers to our salvation as adoption into the family of God. However, it takes our obedience to God even more seriously.

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Again, this is not saying God wants to us literally hate our family. This would be in violation of everything I just read and we know Scripture never contradicts itself. In the proper context, we can see it is telling us that as important as family is, everything pales in comparison to Christ. As much as we love our family, when compared to our love for Christ, it will appear as if we hate them. As much as we would do for our loved ones, if Christ calls us elsewhere, we won’t even think twice about where it is we need to be and we will have no reason to look back with regret. We are to honor our father and mother but not at the expense of neglecting God or failing to follow His calling. There should be nothing in this life that we choose over Christ. After all, isn’t he our Lord?

Matthew 6:33a
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness

(Show video #2)
Ask congregation how many can relate to the video.

How many decisions do we allow God to make for us and how many do we try to make on our own? Do we really think our own decisions will work out better than God’s?

1 John 3:20b
God is greater than our heart and knows all things.

Jeremiah 32:17
Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,

Colossians 1:17
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

The simple fact of the matter is that God is in control at all times whether we realize it or not. There is nothing outside of His grasp. There is nothing beyond His knowledge. Nothing exists outside of His will. We know this. In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d even say most of us even believe it to be true. The only reason we normally fail to let God take control is because, more often than not, it hurts. It takes us out of our comfort zone and throws us right into the fire.

We are about to get back home in a couple days after 6 months of being at sea. There is going to be a lot thrown at us in an attempt to drag us down. Satan and his demons never stop attacking. Some do it boldly while most do it with subtle temptation. Not to mention, we are fallen beings who even give into ourselves most of the time without any outside influence of Satan even being necessary. We can learn all we can out here on deployment but the time to really put it into practice is going to be once we get back home. Are you going to live for yourself or are you going to live for your Lord? Are you going to make your own choices or are you going to seek God’s righteous will? Are you going to submit to His calling or are you going to pretend you can’t hear Him and walk away before He can snag your heart?

James 4:7
Submit therefore to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Job 22:21
Yield now and be at peace with Him; Thereby good will come to you.

Matthew 11:28
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

John 17:13
But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Acts 9:31
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

2 Corinthians 1:5
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:6a
But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God does indeed want us to be comfortable but we have taken it to a whole different level. Our version of comfort has created complacency and selfishness. God’s definition of comfort requires absolute submission to His will. Yes, it can hurt up front. Yes, it can be scary. Yes, it can be mysterious. Yes, it can differ from our own finite ideas of what is good. However, none of this really matters. God has promised us a comfort greater than anything we can ever imagine if only we submit it Him. The churches in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria all enjoyed the peace of God and their comfort only increased. Oddly enough, it says they obtained this through a fear of the Lord. They knew who the Boss was. They knew who was in charge. They knew who made the best decisions. They knew who they had to follow. My question tonight is do you?

Friday, March 5, 2010

#30) Main Character or Supporting Cast?

Main Character or Supporting Cast?

The last month has been spent covering the dangers of false teaching as well as covering some of the false teaching out there in ministry. Tonight, we are going to cover an even greater subject. It is the subject of salvation. Even more detailed, it is the subject of how much of a part God plays in it. Is He the main character in this play or is He just a supporting cast member who cheers us on in our quest for eternity? My hope is that by the end of the lesson, you will know with certainty who the composer really is.

Ask congregation what role they believe God plays in salvation.

The answer really is a simple one. God is not only the composer but He also orchestrates the entire play. He came up with the concept, wrote the script, designed the set, directed the show, and closed out the credits with two words: JESUS CHRIST!

John MacArthur
Who is responsible for individual salvation – God or the person? Put another way, “Did God sovereignly elect us and save us? Or did He act in accord with what He knew we would do?” In other words, “Who makes the first move?”

There are many today who place God at the forefront in their speech yet their doctrine reflects otherwise. Many say God is in control of all things yet then yield this control in favor of their own control. These people make the claims that God calls and makes possible salvation but we must do the rest of the job on our own in order to make anything legitimate. Sadly, this is not what Scripture teaches.

1 Corinthians 1:30
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

It is by God’s doing and by God’s doing alone. We are going to cover some of these areas from a Scriptural standpoint tonight to see what it is exactly that God does while orchestrating His plan that came from eternity.

1 Peter 1:1a & 2a
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens,…………..who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

There are some out there who teach that God chooses people based on His foreknowledge of what they would choose of their own doing. In other words, they believe God makes salvation possible but then leaves it up to the individual person to accept it or reject it. They agree that there is an Elect but they say this election was based on the free will choice of the individual. In other words, God looked into the future, saw the choice man would make, and then elected him to be one of His own down the road in His own good timing. With this school of thought, it gives man something to boast about. It says that man made a righteous choice, man accepted a universal offer, man stepped up to God, and man essentially saved himself. It is compelled to teach that God does not save but only makes a way to save. Either that or it must say that God does the saving but only if we allow Him to which places us over God in the sense that we start telling Him what is acceptable and what is not. Furthermore, if salvation is only based upon God’s foreknowledge of the choice of man, where did the saving faith come from to begin with? It certainly wouldn’t have been initiated by God if He is only reacting instead of initiating. This is clearly not the Truth.

Romans 8:7
because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

Ephesians 2:3
Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Colossians 1:21
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

1 Corinthians 2:14
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

As the Scriptures point out, there is nothing in us that would ever choose God. Before salvation, we were hostile toward God. We were children of wrath. We saw the things of God as foolishness. In essence, we hated God and had no desire to turn to Him. Even if we didn’t consciously hate God, our actions proved otherwise. We were at war with God and most of us didn’t even know it. Therefore, we know God’s foreknowledge was not of an action we would make as the only possible action we could have made was to continue rejecting Him. As a result, we must continue to look and see what the true context of “foreknowledge” really is.

Romans 8:29-30
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

We see here that everyone whom God foreknew, He also predestined. By itself, one might be able to argue that salvation is based upon God’s foreknowledge of a choice. However, that is the problem. It is a doctrine that stands alone. When used in context with other Scripture, we see an entirely different meaning. The word used for “foreknew” is the Greek word proginosko which simply means to know in advance. However, the Greek word used for predestined is proorizo which means to ordain in advance. Did God simply ordain something that He saw in the beginning? Again, this is impossible because, as pointed out in the above verses, every part of our being was against God.

Acts 2:23
this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

Everything hinges on the election of God; His predetermined plan. All Scripture is saying is that God had full knowledge of what was going on. God is omniscient. He knows all things. He was well aware of the plan He was setting in place. He knew it in advance because He ordained it in advance. The two phrases go hand in hand and actually share the same interpretation of each other.

1 Peter 1:20
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

Notice Scripture says that Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world. If we follow the same school of thought that many people do, we would be forced to say that this passage means nothing more than Jesus was known by God in advance. However, we know that there is much more to the meaning of this phrase.

Jeremiah 1:5a
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

John 10:14
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

God did not merely know the Son in advance. He ordained what would happen in advance. We also see that Jesus knows his own in an intimate way that goes beyond the normal bounds of general knowledge. The same is said in Jeremiah where it speaks of foreknowledge on an intimate level before even being in the womb. In other words, those whom God foreknew on an intimate level in advance, He also predestined.

Romans 11:2
God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?

Notice it says nothing about God foreknowing a choice. It specifically speaks of God foreknowing the individual. Of course, God knows every person inside and out so it cannot be speaking of a general knowledge. It is differentiating this by referring to the intimate knowledge that God foreknew of His Elect before the foundation of the world when He ordained His plan. This concept is also found in Romans 9.

Romans 9:23
And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

Romans 9:15-16 & 18
For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy……… So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

God prepared His Elect beforehand in order that we could share in His glory through an intimate relationship with Him as the Father. All of this was from Him and our own choices had no bearing on anything because our choice was bound by our nature of wrath.

Now that we have clarified the proper relationship between God’s foreknowledge and His predestined plan, let’s go back to the beginning and move on from there.

1 Corinthians 1:30"]But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

Every single part of salvation is accredited to God. We are going to touch on a few of the actions God initiates and completes regarding the plan on salvation.

God wills

John 1:12-13
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.[/quote]

Ephesians 1:5 & 11
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,......also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

Nothing is outside the will of God. The only reason we have salvation is because God willed it in the beginning. He ordained it to be so.

God draws

John 6:44
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

God grants

John 6:65
And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

God calls

1 Thessalonians 2:12
so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:14
It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

1 Peter 2:9
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

God appoints

Acts 13:48
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

1 Thessalonians 5:9
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

God predestines

Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Ephesians 1:5 & 11
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,.......also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

God prepares

Romans 9:23
And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

God causes

1 Corinthians 1:30
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

God chooses

1 Thessalonians 1:4
knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;

1 Thessalonians 2:13
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Ephesians 1:4
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love

God purposes

Ephesians 1:11
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

God delivers and transfers

Colossians 1:13
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

God saves

2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

Titus 3:5
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

God makes us alive

Ephesians 2:5
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

God pours out His Spirit

Titus 3:6
whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

God brings us forth

James 1:18
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

God justifies

Romans 8:30
and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Titus 3:7
so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God sanctifies

1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God glorifies

Romans 8:3
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

As we can see, God is at work in all areas of salvation. He is the initiator as well as the accomplisher in every aspect. All glory is to be given to Him. We have absolutely zero room for boasting as we had nothing within us to save ourselves. Because of this work that God performs in us and around us, we can truly come to understand the plan of salvation.

That plan consists of calling, regeneration, faith, repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification.

In a nutshell:

First, we are called by God. He then regenerates us and gives us a nature of Christ. At this point, we are saved because we have been renewed. Upon this transformation, we immediately gain faith and cling to Him just as a newborn clings to his mother and father. It is at this point, and only at this point, that we now feel guilty of our past nature and confess it before God whereas before, we embraced the evil. Upon this point, we are justified of all wrongs because we now have an Advocate in Christ. We are then adopted into the family of God where we can cry Abba, Father. As new creatures in Christ we are fully sanctified and cleansed by the atoning blood of Christ. Those who belong to God and are given to the Son will persevere until the end for no one can snatch us out of the Father's hand and Jesus will not lose any that are given to him. Upon our entry into Heaven, we will then be glorified in our heavenly eternal state with God.

Ask congregation if they still feel the same way about the role they believe God plays in salvation.

1 Corinthians 4:7
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

2 Corinthians 10:17

Always remember, it is God who gets the credit. Outside of His will and plan, there is no salvation. To say we initiate our own salvation is to take glory away from God and apply it to ourselves. To say God is compelled to give us something if we ask for it makes God our servant and takes glory away from Him. To say God is only reactionary based on our choices removes His sovereignty. It is to say we are more powerful than God and that He must bend to our decrees and desires. This also robs God of His glory by giving it to ourselves. We have no reason to boast. Every single part of salvation was composed and orchestrated by God. Everything we have is only because we received it by a God who gave it to us.

Soli Deo Gloria! Glory to God alone!

Monday, March 1, 2010

#29) Proceed With Caution

Proceed With Caution

Over the last couple services, I have spoken on the differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. We covered much of the teachings of the Catholic Church by using their own writings and then compared them to Scripture. The undeniable conclusions is that there are too many irreconcilable differences and that the Catholic Church is to be viewed as the mission field in desperate need of the Gospel and teaching of the doctrines of grace. Tonight, we are going to move away from this area in particular and cover a much broader subject. That subject is the danger of false teaching and the importance of sound Biblical doctrine.

1 Timothy 3:16
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 4:1
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

Our faith is based on Christ and the Word of God alone. Despite this, there are many out there who teach contrary. Not only are there other religions but there are also those who claim the title of Christianity yet teach something that Scripture refers to as “doctrines of demons.” To get a better idea as to what these doctrines of demons are, we are going to see what Paul had to say to Timothy on the matter.

1 Timothy 4:2
by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

Those who teach doctrines of demons do so without conviction. They believe their lies completely. They have given in to the demonic influence and lies of Satan to the point where they no longer see the line between truth and heresy. This is sort of where the last couple sermons come into play. We covered the irreconcilable differences between Catholics and Protestants such as works versus grace, the priesthood, the Mass, the re-sacrificing of Christ over and over again, penance & indulgences, as well as others. These are all false doctrines that fly in the face of Scripture but use the Traditions of the Roman Catholic Church to support themselves. I was kind in calling them false doctrines. Scripture is not so kind.

1 Timothy 4:3
men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

Both of these are doctrines that the Catholic Church holds near and dear. The priesthood is not allowed to marry. Of course, this was not always the case. The Roman Catholic priesthood was once allowed to marry without issue. Later, rules were imposed barring unmarried priests from marrying but allowing already married priests to remain married. Of course, it didn’t take long for that to change. Another rule was imposed forcing married priests to divorce their wives which caused many of them to be cast out and become street walking prostitutes just so they could survive. This is all the grim history surrounding the Roman Catholic Church. Why would they forbid marriage? Even Peter was married and he is the one they claim to be their first Pope.

Along the same lines, the Roman Catholic Church also teaches that you cannot eat meat on Fridays. Granted, this is most commonly enforced only during Lent, there are still many Catholic Churches that have extended this practice to include every Friday of the year. According to Catholic teaching, eating meat on a Friday during Lent is considered to be a mortal sin.

So, I state it again:

1 Timothy 4:1&3
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,……….men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods[ which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

As I said, Scripture is not so kind. It specifically calls these teachings of the Catholic Church to be doctrines of demons. They are lies straight from the pits of Hell as are the other doctrines we covered in our last 2 lessons. Again, this is not an attack on Catholics but it is indeed a brutal attack on the religion that has perverted the Gospel and doctrines of grace in favor of a doctrine of legalism and tradition of men. Some say I am too harsh. I say I am not harsh enough. There is a very real danger to false teaching. It was the very first verse I quoted:

1 Timothy 4:1
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

We are called to draw people to[ Christ, not to draw them away from him. False teachers present a very real danger to the Church body.

Matthew 24:4-5
And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.”

Acts 20:29
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

False teachers are compared to a pack of savage wolves that tear apart the Church body and do not spare anybody.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

That one sounds a lot like the Pope doesn’t it? Sitting high on the throne, making people kiss his ring, taking on the title “Vicar of Christ” which literally means one who acts as a substitute. The Pope has taken on the title of a substitute Christ. One can’t display themselves as God any more than this even if they tried.

2 Thessalonians 2:10
and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

1 John 2:18
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

The fact that false teaching is such a danger makes the need for Godly teachers all the greater. Teachers have a very high calling and an even higher responsibility to teach the Truth with accuracy.

James 3:1
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

1 Timothy 4:6
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

True teachers are always feeding on the Word of God. We are always diving head first into Scripture in order to gain a better understanding of the Truth. We act as the Bereans:

Acts 17:11
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Scripture is the only true litmus test. If it is not found in Scripture, it is to be rejected. If something contrary or in addition to Scripture is taught, the teacher is to be rejected and shunned. Scripture is what equips us for every good work. It is what makes us adequate. Its purpose is for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Sola Scriptura! By Scripture Alone!

Scripture is plain that not everyone is to desire to be a teacher. This does not let everybody else off the hook. We are all called to search the Scriptures daily. In fact, this is what John tells us all to do in order to know the Truth.

1 John 4:1-3
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

The first place we should start in testing the spirits is to see what their basic teaching is regarding Jesus. Do they teach of him being 100% man while also being 100% God or do they teach something contrary. Peter says if they confess Christ is God in the flesh, that teacher is from God. However, we must realize that there are many other perversions. One can easily claim Jesus was man and God yet then detract from who he really was by diminishing his role. Again, the Catholic Church does this repeatedly by diminishing the doctrines of grace and refusing to accept that Christ died once for all through their re-sacrifice over and over again during the Mass. This only reinforces the importance of knowing Scripture and being able to recall them during those crucial moments. This can only be done by daily examination and study.

1 John 4:5-6
They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

The spirit of Truth will teach from the Word of God. The spirit of error will reject the Word of God by either adding to it or detracting from it. Scripture tells us what will become of this man:

Revelation 22:18-19
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

As a teacher, I am held to a very high standard and I do my best to ensure the accuracy of what I teach.

1 Timothy 4:16
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.


This is the video I played afterward. You can either download it or stream it.