FALSE TEACHERS

FALSE TEACHERS

It would have been better for them (false teachers) not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” —II Peter 2:21-22

A dog is a dog is a dog and dogs do dog things, disgusting things like eating their own vomit. That is so gross! A sow is a sow is a sow and sows do sow things, dirty things like wallowing in the mud. You can get a pig squeaky clean, but let it see mud and that cleanliness goes right out the window.

You cannot change the character of a dog or a pig. That is just what they are. God tells us that false teachers are like that. Their ungodly character has not changed. They cannot change their character any more than a dog or pig because that is what they are— ungodly false teachers.

The sad thing that is mention in this context is that they once knew the way of truth, but they decided “to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” These false teachers are against God and against His people. False teachers “secretly introduce destructive heresies.” They may even deny “the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” Then “Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” They are “greedy” and “will exploit you with fabricated stories.” They “follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.” They are “Bold and arrogant.” We are also told that false teachers “are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.” These are people that can’t be reasoned with. You can point them to what God says in His Word, but they do not pay attention to it because they have their own agenda. These false teachers do “harm.” They have “eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!” False teachers “mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” (II Peter 2:1-3, 10, 12-14, 18-19). Beware of these type people. The Apostle Paul said, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). These false teachers want people to follow them, not Jesus. We who love the Lord desire others to love the Lord and live for Him. We want people to follow Him and to follow those who are following Him. May we do so!

Jesus said, “for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40) and that “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23). “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Joshua 5:13-14). It is not about sides… it is about obeying the Lord. We are not trying to get God to do our will, but we need to line up with His will. Again, Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Are you and I with Him? Are we gathering with Him? May it be so!

Dear Father, thank You for giving us Your Word— the blue print for life, the love letter from You, and those things You have chosen to revealed to us. Oh, that we would be obedient to Your Word and be aware of those who would twist it just like Satan did with Eve. May we be wise in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obi5ZGujiuU

TELL HIS-STORY

TELL HIS-STORY

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. —II Peter 1:16

When was the last time you told someone a Bible story? Peter said that “we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Peter saw with His own eyes what happened on the mountain when He, James and John went up with Jesus (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). They saw Jesus in power!

You and I have not seen Jesus with our physical eye, but “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6). Now “what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (II Corinthians 4:5). Peter, James and John saw the glory of God on the mountain. Those of us who are now following Jesus have “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” because God has “made his light shine in our hearts.” Our hearts had been blinded and we were in darkness (II Corinthians 4:4), but God caused His light to shine in our hearts and transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:9-14). Paul puts it this way. He was sent “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17-18). We are sent as well (Matthew 29:19-20).

So, when was the last time you told someone about Jesus? Who have you recently told of His majesty? God’s Word is Truth and not cleverly devised stories as some people might claim. Let us tell others the story of God! May it be so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvXAojrVehs

Dear Father, today help me to be sensitive and ready to tell Your story to those I come into contact with. May this be done in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

HUMBLENESS

HUMBLENESS

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:1-7

Elders are to “be shepherds of God’s flock” which is under their care. These shepherds are to be watching over the flock with a willingness to do so. God’s desire is to have shepherds that are willing to look after the flock. These elder/shepherds are not to be watching over the flock for dishonest gain— they are not being selfish and just wanting to get, get, get what they can— finances, power… No, instead these shepherds are eager to serve and not seeking domination over those they lead, but are examples to them. Those faithful shepherds will be recognized by the Lord when He appears. It will be a recognition that does not fade away.

As godly elder/shepherds are to submit faithfully to God’s will, so those who are younger are to submit themselves to their elders. Just as the elders willingly submit to the will of God so the younger are to willing submit to their elder/shepherds. Both the elders and the younger are to be clothed with humility because “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Pride keeps elder/shepherds from submitting to God as He desires and also keeps the younger from submitting to their elder/shepherds as He desires. Pride keeps “all of you” from being humble toward each other. To be raised up by God’s mighty hand in due time will not happen unless a person is humble. Instead of worrying about this we can put our lives in the hands of Him who cares for us. May we do so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU8MAQKSbEI

Dear Father, Oh, that I would not be prideful. Please help me to be more like Jesus in this. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

SUFFERING, BUT DOING GOOD

SUFFERING, BUT DOING GOOD

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. —I Peter 4:19

There are those “who suffer according to God’s will.” We all have a “race marked out for us” and for many this will include suffering. As we run this race we are to be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Those suffering and those not are all to “commit themselves to their faithful Creator.” Regardless of what is happening we know that our Creator is faithful. We may not understand how He is using what is going on in our lives, but He is and we can trust Him for it. He is doing a good work in our own lives and through our lives.

Even in suffering the sufferer is to “continue to do good.” We are not saved by works but “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Our suffering is not to be used as an excuse not to serve Him. Even as we suffer we are to serve. Service to our King is a great reminder as to who really is in control. Are you going through suffering? Commit yourself to our “faithful Creator and continue to do good. That is His desire for you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCpP0mFD9F0

Dear Father, please help me to always be serving You regardless of what is going on in my life. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

BE READY!

BE READY!

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (I Peter 3:15-16).

Jesus is Lord, my Master and King. Because I love Him I will live for Him. It is so clear what many of His desires are for us. We are to be witnesses and the Holy Spirit enables us to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). I am to be always ready to “to give an answer to everyone who asks” me “the reason for the hope that” I have. The answer is clear as the song “The Solid Rock” says— “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

When giving the reason for this hope we have, we are to do so with “gentleness and respect.” People will know if we really have a concern for them. They will also know if you are genuine when speaking to them. The way we behave toward them, and not just the words we say, will have an impact on their view of us. If they sense we are treating them as a “project” then their ear will not be open to us. We need to be sharing out of genuine concern! As followers of Jesus we are to be authentically concerned for the lost!

As we speak to people with sincerity, having a clear conscience and behaving properly in Christ, then this may cause those who slander us to be ashamed. So let us be living faithfully for Jesus, loving Him and being obedient to Him. Lord, who would You have me talk with today?

Dear Father, may I approach people as Jesus would have me. Oh, that I would give them the reason for the hope I have. May I do this clearly by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvLxZEU02uI

CHOSEN AND CALLED FOR PURPOSE

CHOSEN AND CALLED FOR PURPOSE

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light… Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. —I Peter 2:9, 16

Dear fellow follower of Jesus our King, you were chosen. You did not make the choice, but God made choice to save you. All believers are a royal priesthood of God’s. He has made His priesthood holy. We are God’s special possession. Wow, do you feel like that as His priest? Well, that is what God says… you are His special possession! Believe what He says!

Now He chose us and made us so we would “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” He called us. There is a great line in one of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. One of the youth said to Aslan, the Christ figure, “we called on you” and Aslan responded, “You would not have called on me unless I called upon you.” And so it is with us. We would not have called on the Name of the Lord (Romans 10:13) unless He called us (John 6:44). All those who know Jesus were called by God for His plan and purposes. Rejoice because “the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). God qualifies us. We can never qualify ourselves!

Now that He has freed us from our sin “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” Too often people’s “religion” is used “as a cover-up for evil.” We are not to do this! Instead you and I who have trusted Jesus are to “live as God’s slaves.” We have the privilege and responsibility to serve the One who so dearly loves us. Why would we not want to serve Him? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MbcYyOsF50

Dear Father, thank You for choosing me for You purpose and plan. Now may I be faithful to what You desire. Yes, may I declare Your praises. Thank You for calling me out of darkness and into Your marvelous light. Oh, that I would truly live as a child of Light. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

PRAISE!

PRAISE!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time —I Peter 1:3-5

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Yes, let us sing praises, let us write praises, and let us speak praises to His Name. What joy should fill our hearts for all that He has done, is doing and will do for us. Yes, let us praise His Name for Who He is.

He has great mercy and has not given us what we all deserve— hell! Instead it is He who has caused us to be born-again (John 3:3-21). It is through this “new birth” that we have a living hope. This hope comes “through the resurrection of Jesus.” If Jesus did not rise from the dead “our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (I Corinthians 15:15-19). BUT our hope is in the resurrected Christ and it is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Without Jesus there is no hope. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvLxZEU02uI

Those of us who have “called on the Name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13) have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17). “This inheritance is kept in heaven” for us! Wow, nothing can spoil this and it is ours waiting for us to arrive in heaven! By putting our faith in God we are shielded by His power. Think about that! What greater shield is there? We are safe until that coming of our salvation is revealed. Fellow follower of Jesus, we are safely shielded until we are in our glorious inheritance. Yes, let us sing praises, write praises and speak praises to Him who is our life. Our hope is Him who is our Hope. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0M0NALW7EM

Dear Father, thank You for Your great mercy. Thank You for my new birth. Thank You for the resurrection of Jesus. Thank You for my imperishable inheritance. Thank You for that this inheritance is kept in heaven for me. Thank You for shielding me by Your power. Our of loving gratitude may I live faithfully for You. May this be so in the in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUxI-ynsTnM

THE SIN OF OMISSION

THE SIN OF OMISSION

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. —James 4:17

Oh, yes… the sin of omission. How many times have we known the good God wants us to do and we do not do it? What is the good now the Lord is putting on your heart to do? Will you do it? If you do not, then it is sin. It is very clear.

Now there are very many good things God has mentioned to us in His Word to do. Jesus Himself says, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21). “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). As the Lord speaks to me, I need to obey and not excuse away what He did say. If I do just excuse it away, it is sin. If I deceive myself into thinking it does not apply to me… it is sin. If I ignore it, it is sin still. If there is some good that God wants me to do and I use whatever reasoning to dismiss it away, it is sin.

So what is the Lord Jesus speaking to you about? Is the Spirit of God working in your life to direct you and you are resisting the good He wants you to do? Do you truly desire to please the Lord Jesus (I John 3:22)? Truly, do you really love Him? Then there is only one thing to do—- be obedient to Him! Otherwise… it is sin! “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). Will you obey? Will you do the good He desires you to do? May it be so.

Dear Father, may I do the good that You desire me to do. Oh, that I would not be distracted by what I think is good or what others think what is good. But may I stick to what You reveal is the good I need to be doing. May I do Your desires to bring honor and glory to Your Name. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYXJmnJCPG0

FAITH WORKS

FAITH WORKS

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. —James 2:18-24

A person can say they are a doctor all they want, but I want to see their track record before they operate on me. A person can stand on a used car parking lot and claim they are a used car, but that does not make them one. A person can say they have faith, but that does not mean they do. People can “say” many things, but that does not make it so. Actions speak louder than words. But it is not just actions either. Actions come from faith. The doing comes from our being. Our works are worship. As followers of Jesus what we do comes out of our loving relationship with Him— “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10). God does not give us spiritual gifts (Romans 12; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; I Peter 4) to keep on the shelf. No, He gives gifts expecting they will be used for His glory as they are used properly (I Corinthians 13). Matthew 25:14-30— Parable of the Talents…

Look at what is referred to as the “faith chapter” in Hebrews chapter 11. Faith is defined in verse 1. We are told that “the ancients were commended for” their faith in verse 2. Then we are told in verse 3 that “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” In verse 6 God says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Then the rest of the chapter is about the “ancients” and what they accomplished through faith. At the end of the chapter we are told that “These were all commended for their faith.” Isn’t it interesting that God’s Word doesn’t say “they were commended for their works!” They were commended for their faith in God and it was because of their trust in Him that they were able to do what they did!

Now here’s the challenging thought for me. If after my life something was going to be written about me, where would I fall in this chapter? What would be said about me?” “By faith Ted…” Oh, that my faith in our Lord God Almighty be that which would accomplish those things pleasing in His sight (I John 3:22).

Dear Father, may I trust You for those things You would have me do in this life. I am so grateful for all Jesus has done, is doing and will do for me. Out of loving gratitude may I faithfully serve Him. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g-iYws5868