Tag Archives: Jesus Life and sacrifice

Know Your Teacher

2 Timothy 3:13-14 King James Version

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, of whom thou hast learned them;

I think we all know this to be true.  Evil men and seducers are all around us, trying to lure us away from those things we know to be true.  They come by with new revelation, new theories, new translations, new interpretations.  These things get worse and worse as times goes on, distorting the true gospel and making it what it is not.  It is so important that we know our teacher and where they come from.

Knowledge is rampant in this world of ours.  People have so many avenues that they can search out and make up their own “truth” .  The many search findings that come up on.  Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines online can bring us a multitude of information at a milliseconds notice and we have to discern what is right and what is wrong.  Some men think a certain scripture passage means one thing and others think it means another.  This is why denominations arise, why churches spilt and why there is such division within our own churches.

Typically it is because people take one or two verses of scripture and ignore the other scriptures in regards to the same thing.  For example, let’s take the LGBTQ? Community.  Are we supposed to love them as they are?  Of course we are.  It is our command to love others and help them see their way to salvation in Jesus Christ.  But can they stay in that sinful state of behavior?  Not if they expect a home in heaven!  The Bible is very clear, in more than one place, that this behavior is sin.  Our problem is that we place mercy over truth, when in fact mercy and truth are side by side.  We must apply both to come to the truth about the way we should live.

Knowledge can also drive us away from the truth.  There are so many I have met who used to be lovers of God that are now atheist and I have had discussions with them.  They said once they learned about this, or learned about that, they decided God just could not be real.  So they gave up on God altogether.  Their worldly knowledge was more important to them than their heavenly connection.  Worldly wisdom surpassed Godly wisdom.  There are so many today who think man knows more than God.  The teaching of evolution proves this.  God says creation, man says evolution.  Creation is taught less and less ion our schools and evolution is taught more and more.  Man’s ways replace God’s ways.  This is becoming the norm rather than the abnormal.  It will lead to destruction because if we do not believe the beginning, how can we fully believe anything that happened after that?  How can we believe man was formed in God’s image?  That man was formed from the dust of the earth?  How can we believe original sin, the flood, Abraham, the plagues, the Red Sea parting? Denying one can easily become denying all.

I have a very good Catholic friend whom I believe is reading this post.  We have had lengthy email discussions on the subjects of Salvation, Truth, the Bible, the will of God, and many other topics.  We disagree on many things, but we also agree on many things.  We both have the ability to utilize scripture in backing up our beliefs.  I have learned a tremendous amount about Catholicism from him, and I believe he has learned a lot about evangelicals from me. I truly believe he is a very good teacher of the Catholic faith, as I have been told I am a good teacher of the evangelical faith.  If I was a Catholic, I would love to sit under his teachings.  We have gone back and forth over which one of us actually shares the truth in our faith.  He is thoroughly convinced that his version of what truth is can be the only truth.  I am convinced that what I am saying is truth.  Yet we have many disagreements.  But I believe our disagreement are over doctrinal issues, not what real truth is.  Doctrines are different all over the word, but the real truth is Jesus Christ crucified and risen again.  That is the gospel message we both share.  Giving our lives to Jesus Christ as a living sacrifice is the only truth that matters.  I think Him and I both agree on that!

The point I am trying to make is the same as what Paul is making in these verses.  There are many excellent teachers of the Gospel in the world.  There are also many who subvert the word of God and teach lies of half-truths.  We must be prepared to discern the truth from the heresy.  How do we do that?  Through reading the word and asking God for wisdom, which He says he will give to us if we ask (James 1:5).  It comes down to how much time and effort you have put into your own growth in His wisdom and knowledge.  Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  That is where it starts.  Without a sense of the majesty and sovereignty of God, we will always fall for false teaching.  We must have a sense of just who God is.  Some of the teaching nowadays makes Hm out to be our buddy and our pal.  That demeans Him!  Father is a great term to use.  A father disciplines, teaches, corrects, rebukes and exhorts us.   He is loving in all his ways and only does what is good for us, even if we thinks it is not.  A good father holds us to a certain standard and expects his word to be obeyed by those in his household.  If it is not, there are consequences.  Not because the father is cruel or mean, but because he is the one who provides for us, protects us, gives us direction and purpose.  We owe him our lives.

Our heavenly father is no different. He always wants what is best for us, and often will allow us to fall into this trial or that trial in order to help us grow.  These trials should never cause us to turn away from God, but should draw us closer to Him.  He loves us so much that he gave His only Son to die on a cross!  Why would he ever allow something into our lives that will harm us.  So when you hear something that appears to be new “revelation” or just doesn’t line up quite right with what you have believed before, study it out.  This tries your faith but can be a great way to grow in wisdom and grace.  God has a great desire to see us grow and become disciples, not just believers!  A disciple is one who is disciplined in the word of God.  That discipline comes through listening to the right teachers and studying out what they say, not just taking it for truth.  The truth is Jesus Christ, and He alone can reveal the real truth to you.  Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”  The better question would be “Who is truth!”  The truth was standing right in front of him, and he did not see it.  Will you?

Be a Good Minister

1 Timothy 4:6

6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

We have an awesome responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ. That responsibility is reminding them what God has said. We cannot take for granted that they know what God has said. Paul has asked us here to put the brethren in remembrance of these things. God knows we are flawed human beings and that our flesh wants to gravitate toward the things and ways of this world. Because of this, He has commissioned us to be ministers of the Gospel and the ministers of His doctrine. Not the doctrine of this world, but His doctrine.

What things do we have to remind our brothers about? I would go back to chapter three and everything from there on is what we need constant reminding about. Chapter three deals with the qualifications of our church leadership. I would dare say that some churches and denominations have lost sight of many of these qualifications. The first and foremost is choosing bishops and deacons who are seasoned in the word. These men and women have the daunting task of keeping the church on course in their pursuit of Christ. If they are not seeking out the truth in scripture and applying it on a day to day basis, they can easily slip away from that truth. When that happens, they can erode the fabric of a church if false doctrine should creep in. You may remember our discussion on seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Just as in Paul’s day, these are rampant in the church today. Our leaders must be aware of what the Word says and where these false teaching miss the mark.

Then there is the mystery of the gospel, spoken of in 1 Timothy 3:16. It is imperative that we continually remind ourselves of the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of the church and of our lives. The great salvation He purchased for us must be renewed in us on a continual basis. This is the reason we have set aside holidays to celebrate these events – so we will never forget. That Christ came down from heaven to be born of a virgin is nothing short of miraculous mercy and grace. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords gave up His throne in heaven to come and die for me. He did not come with much fanfare, but in a lowly stable to a couple who were poor. No royalty met Him when He arrived, but shepherds that had heard of Him while watching their flocks at night. God chose them, the meek and lowly, to first witness His Son. He grew up unknown and wise, at one time questioning the temple leaders as if He had the wisdom of God. Until He was in His early 30’s, no one followed Him.

But then John the Baptist recognized who He was. Many heard the voice from heaven speak and say “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Many saw the dove fly down from heaven and land on His shoulder. Many heard John say “I must decrease and He must increase.” It was a changing of the guard and the people started following Jesus. His teaching angered the religious leaders but brought comfort and joy to the common folk. He healed everyone who came to Him, cast out devils, fed the masses and raised the dead. More and more people followed Him through the next three years. He chose 12 disciples to become His closest friends and He taught about the Kingdom of God. He talked in parables which confounded the wise but spoke to the simple. Thousands followed Him wherever He went.

Then He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey just before the Passover. The crowd spread palm branches before Him and cried “Hosanna, hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Pharisees were outraged, but He told them if the people did not praise Him, the very rocks would cry out. The next day He walked into the marketplace and overturned the tables of the crooked moneychangers. Over the next two days He taught in more parables, spoke of the end times and cried out woes to the Pharisees and Scribes, calling them hypocrites and whitewashed sepulchers. They were furious and started plotting His death. They convinced a disciple named Judas to betray Him. His disciples found a place to have the Passover meal by following what Jesus had told them. Their fourth day in town they sat down to share the meal.

But this was no ordinary meal. At the beginning, Jesus got up and washed all of their feet, much to the protests of Peter. He told them if they wanted to be great, they must become servants to all. Then He told them one would betray Him, knowing what was to come. He broke the bread and passed the cup, saying this was His body and His blood. They did as He said, but did not understand what was happening. He told Peter that he would deny Him three times before morning light. As they walked to the Garden to pray that night, He told them He was going away to prepare mansions for them and they could not come with Him, but they would see Him later. He told them He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. He told them He was the vine and they were the branches, and that they must abide in Him. He told them He would send the comforter to help them to remember the words He had spoken and He left His peace with them. He told them so many things that they did not understand at the time. Then He prayed for them that the Father would keep them safe.

Once at the Garden, He asked Peter, James and John to pray with Him for an hour. He knew His death was soon. He knew the one who betrayed Him would be coming. He knew he would be beaten, scourged, spit upon, crowned with thorns and crucified. He knew the pain He would have to endure. He knew the disciples would not be able to bear the test that was about to come, and wanted them to pray not only for Him, but for themselves. Then He bowed to the Fathers will. Two times He went back to find the three disciples, His closest friends, asleep while He was praying. The third time, Judas came and betrayed Him with a kiss. Peter tried to fend off the soldiers, but Jesus told them if He wanted to be freed He could call ten thousand angels to come right now.

The guards took Him into the judgment hall where they slapped Him, jeered at Him, spit on Him and called false witnesses against Him. They took Him to Pilate who said He found no fault in Him but had Him scourged anyway. A wicked whipping with a bone laced whip that dug deep into His back. Pilate sent Him back to Herod, but soon He was right back before Pilate, this time with a crown of thorns the soldiers had placed on His head. Pilate still found no fault in Him but decided to give the people a choice between Him and a zealot named Barabbas. They chose Barabbas and cried crucify Jesus. Pilate found himself in a no win situation, so He told them to take Him and crucify Him and washed His hands of Jesus, saying His blood was on the Jews. He had to carry His own cross, falling under the weight of it and requiring help to finish the long walk. Once at the top of Golgotha, they nailed His feet and hands to that cross and dropped it in the ground. The gambled for His robe, gave Him vinegar to drink, and challenged Him to come down off the cross. But He was there willingly. He was there for you and me. He was there to set us free. Isaiah 53:5 puts it so beautifully “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. Surely the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” He spoke “It is finished” signifying the completion of the plan of our redemption from sin. Then He gave up the ghost. They pierced His side to make sure He was dead.

They took Him down from the cross and placed Him in a borrowed tomb. The Pharisees had heard that He said He would rise on the third day so they asked Pilate to put a guard on the tomb and seal it tight. He did so, and all thought it was over. There was no more hope for a new kingdom to be set up. Roman rule would continue. But on the third day, the women came to anoint the body with spices and they saw the stone rolled away. They saw an angel sitting where Jesus body should have been. They saw His grave clothes neatly folded. The angel told them He was alive! The women ran back to the disciples with Mary lagging behind. Jesus appeared to her and told her He was alive. He is still alive today, to be our friend and our provider, to walk with us and talk with us, to heal us and to comfort us. The cross made a way for our redemption. We cannot stay on the front side of the cross. We must go through the cross to the back of the cross because:

On the front of the cross is agony on the back of the cross is peace
On the front of the cross is sorrow on the back of the cross is joy
On the front of the cross is pain on the back of the cross is healing
On the front of the cross is bondage on the back of the cross is freedom
On the front of the cross is sin on the back of the cross is forgiveness
On the front of the cross we are stained with sin
on the back of the cross we are white as snow
On the front of the cross is defeat on the back of the cross is victory
On the front of the cross is death on the back of the cross is eternal life
If we stay on the front of the cross, hell will be our destination
When we go through the cross, and come to the back, our destination is heaven

All is only achieved if we go through the cross. Where are you standing? Are you still seeing Jesus from the front of the cross, or have you accepted that sacrifice as your own. Have you identified with His death and come to the other side of yourself? Is Christ alive in you today?

This Easter season, let us put everyone in remembrance of these things. Let us make sure we tell all those around us of the saving power of Jesus Christ. When, we do, we are sure to be called good ministers of Jesus Christ.