Friday, July 14, 2017

YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT


Take note…and be sure your sin will find you out.   Numbers 32:23
I SEE THAT HAND.
I once saw a fellow falling asleep during a college lecture. To hide it from the professor he rested his chin on one hand with his elbow propped on the desk. He held the pen in the other hand and moved it every once in a while to make it appear he was writing. His plan was working until he began falling into a deeper sleep. His head sagged lower and lower until he was sound asleep with his head lying flat on the desk with his right hand still holding the pen to the notebook and against his head. Every now and then the pen would oscillate as if he were taking notes. Asleep, he thought he was fooling the professor.

THE CROW FLIES
A seminary professor once told us of an experience he had in a college Latin class. Students had copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars written in Latin and were being called on to read and translate paragraphs in class. One fellow was cheating. He had written the English translation in very small fine print just above each Latin word. The professor called on him, and he began reading as if he were translating the Latin. There is one point in the chapter where Caesar sees crows fly over the river. When the student got to this sentence, he continued reading his small, hand-written print, and said, “And the cows flew over the river.” The whole class then burst into laughter. The young man being puzzled, stopped for a second, and then resumed reading, “And the cows flew over the river.” Once again the whole class burst into laughter. Getting very frustrated, the student yelled out, “What is everyone laughing at?” To which the professor responded, “You Jackass, you can’t even read your own writing! It’s ‘the CROWS flew over the river,” His sin was evident to the entire class.

THE SROUT SHOUTS
My father and Uncle Norwood, when they were children in the early 1900s, planted corn by walking down each row in the field carrying a bag of kernels, poking holes with a stick, and dropping a kernel of corn into each hole. Uncle Norwood knew that the sooner he ran out of corn the sooner he could leave the field and go play. Assuming he had the perfect plan, he buried a handful of kernels at the end of each row so he could get rid of them quicker. No one would know. But when the corn began to sprout through the soil my grandfather found large clumps of corn plants growing at the end of many rows. The “sin” that was hidden beneath the soil “shouted” its presence in the light of the sun as seed grew through the soil. The lesson here is that the deed may hide as seed, but the sprout will surely shout.

HERE WE ARE
I read a story in Readers Digest years ago about two defendants in court being tried for armed robbery. The prosecutor, addressing a person on the witness stand, said, “You saw two men running out of the store carrying guns and a large bag of money.” The witness said, “Yes.” The prosecutor then, turned toward the people in the courtroom as he again addressed the witness, “Now are these two men in the courtroom today?” Before the eyewitness could respond, both defendants raised their hands. 

All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.  Hebrews 4:13

He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”    Luke 12: 1-3


Monday, July 10, 2017

FOUR EUPHEMISMS FOR UNBELIEF


 “…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies….”  2 Peter 2:1

In 1972 I was on staff at a church in Southern California that had sprung up during the Jesus Movement. The spiritual hunger of those days produced a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit causing churches to overflow with young people and hippies who had surrendered to Jesus Christ. There was also a rise in false religions, new age, and occult practices. One of the heresies of the day was the Moonies. A few of them visited our fellowship one evening and tried to convince me that their group’s beliefs were based on the Bible. I quoted the Bible pointing out a number of their teachings that contradicted scripture. They seemed a little stunned and had no real answer, except that they would discuss these issues with their leader. The next week they returned. But this time their argument was that “the Bible is just another book and full of errors,” and they had revelation higher than the scripture.

This is the pattern of deception. The leaders tell the unstable, unlearned, and gullible that their teaching is biblical and based on scripture, or they keep secret their position of departure from scripture. But the further the person goes into it, he is subtly, and often imperceptibly, lured away from the Bible. The Moonies' leader initially told their converts they stood on scripture. But when confronted with Biblical objections, the leaders then told their followers to ignore the Bible. Heresies have to ignore either all or parts of the Bible.

When I was at seminary, a student who was pastor of a mainline denominational church returned from officiating a funeral. As he walked from his car to his apartment he turned to me and said, “I just preached a funeral. It’s hard to stand in front of people and say things you don’t really believe.” This man stood at the pulpit every Sunday and “preached” to his congregation without really believing the Bible. The members of that church were dying of spiritual malnutrition without being aware of it. It is an indictment against the pastor for deceiving the church into thinking he believed the Bible. It is an indictment against the church for not having enough spiritual life, knowledge of scripture, and discernment to recognize the situation.

Heretics usually lull the vulnerable, the gullible, and the unstable by gradually leading them off track and into error. There are four euphemism for unbelief used by leaders who do not believe the Bible. A “euphemism” is a more agreeable or less offensive term used as substitute for a word that might suggest something unpleasant. I am listing four concepts that on the surface sound innocent, but which carry disastrous consequences. You will know people have problems believing or understanding the Bible when they approach it saying it has many interpretations, questioning whether or not it is literal, saying it "contains" the word, or that we can be selective in reading it.

“Interpretation”
The Bible is rich in depth and layers of truth, but it does not have many interpretations. The word is true as presented. When people try to interpret the Bible they are usually trying to avoid the apparent word, principle, or command that is given. The apostle Peter said, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:20-21. The Bible was given to us by God Himself. It has definite, clear, and absolute meaning. It is to be taken at face value.
                                                   
“Is it to be taken literally?”
People who make an issue of literality are usually avoiding the issue of truth. People who say the Bible can’t be taken literally are actually saying they do not believe it is true. Again, this question is often used to avoid accepting certain truths or principles, or commands that are given. The Bible is true, not symbolic.

“It contains the word.”
This concept has been taught in liberal seminaries. Basically it means that the actual written text of the Bible, its history, stories, and messages are not necessarily actual fact and are not in themselves the word of God. They say the Bible is not the word of God, but rather contains the word of God. This heresy allows people to ignore the obvious truth of scripture and simply draw from it whatever they feel God might be saying in it.
This allows persons to ignore the obvious message and find something more palatable to their tastes.
                                                   
“Being selective with scripture.”
This is the belief that we can be selective or pick which parts of the Bible we choose to believe. This is an arrogance that allows us to judge the Bible instead of allowing it to judge us.

Conclusion
We cannot deny the scripture and claim to believe and obey God. The New Testament has many exhortations to know and believe God’s written word. It is also filled with admonitions and warnings about ignoring it, despising it, or twisting it. You cannot hide or escape the true and real word of God. The word of God will not be indifferent to you, and it is a mistake to think you can be indifferent to it. You might laugh at it, despise it, underestimate it, and think it is gone. But it will come back, and it will get you…either in your surrender, or in your judgment.

“If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”   John 5: 46-47

“If they do not believe Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”  Luke 16: 31


“…our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”   2 Peter 3: 15-16