The Greater Condemnation #5

Saturday, June 16, 2018

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:1,2 KJV).

While many want to lead in local assemblies, today’s Scripture issues a stern warning. They had better reconsider!

“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. None of us are perfect, but we had better get our doctrine straight before we become Bible teachers. Compared to all other things in nature, sinful man’s tongue is the most unmanageable (see verses 3-12). Only a “perfect” (spiritually mature) man can control his tongue. If he can govern the most intractable member, he can manage the rest of his body. Such a Christian (or teacher) is rare; therefore, we should not impetuously appoint the first “teacher” who desires the office!

Paul advised the Ephesian church elders in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Notice the “speaking” evil doctrine!!) First John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Moreover, 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;….” (The “spirits” here are the voices of false teachers!)

As a final addendum, Acts 13:14-15 says the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia allowed complete strangers to teach their congregation! (They heard from Paul sound doctrine, but just imagine if he were a false teacher!) Would you want visitors taking over your assembly, people whose doctrine you have not thoroughly examined?! “Be not many masters!”

The Greater Condemnation #4

Friday, June 15, 2018

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:1,2 KJV).

While many want to lead in local assemblies, today’s Scripture issues a stern warning. They had better reconsider!

God will hold church leaders—“masters” (today’s Scripture) or teachers (John 3:10)—to a much higher standard than He will church members. Do they believe the right doctrine? Are they practicing what they preach and teach? Christ said to Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 23:14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” Unsaved false teachers will have a hotter place in Hell than those whom they misled!

In time past, Israel had God’s Word and the Gentiles did not (Romans 3:1,2). Compared to Gentiles, Jews were the teachers. Yet, the Israelites were hypocrites—they committed the same sins they had condemned the “wicked” Gentiles for doing! In Romans chapter 2, God holds the Jews as the more responsible party. Gentiles were without God’s revelation; Israel knew God’s Word and still committed those atrocious deeds (see verses 1-3,12,17-27). They would all endure God’s wrath!

While we members of the Church the Body of Christ never have to fear seeing God’s angry face or winding up in Hell, we should know that God Himself will review our Christian service. Jesus Christ will examine our soul, to determine the quality of doctrine we built into it (see 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). Was it “gold, silver, precious stones”—valuable, spiritual information, His Word rightly divided? Or “wood, hay, stubble”—useless doctrine, human wisdom, religious tradition? Paul warned the Corinthian saints that they were allowing false religious leaders to contaminate them with doctrinal error, which would cause them loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3).

Dear friends, we had better be cautious of whom we allow to become our Bible teacher. Furthermore, we had better not rush into becoming Bible teachers ourselves. Bible teaching is a most serious job….

The Greater Condemnation #3

Thursday, June 14, 2018

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:1,2 KJV).

While many want to lead in local assemblies, today’s Scripture issues a stern warning. They had better reconsider!

“Masters” here is didaskalos, or teachers (“didactic”—instructive). God’s Word repeatedly cautions against corrupt teachers, those who should not be leading congregations. We should be on guard concerning their “ministries.” First Timothy chapter 6 says of those who refuse to embrace Pauline doctrine: “[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

The Holy Spirit forewarned in 2 Peter chapter 2: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people [see 1:19-21], even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

Chapter 3 also speaks of non-dispensational teachers, those “wresting” (distorting) God’s Word: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Brethren, such spiritual catastrophes are the risks we run when we hastily appoint teachers or rashly become “masters” ourselves….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Luke 21:20-24 fulfilled in A.D. 70?

The Greater Condemnation #2

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:1,2 KJV).

While many want to lead in local assemblies, today’s Scripture issues a stern warning. They had better reconsider!

A dear sister in Christ recently explained to me how her pastor has gotten into the habit of delivering “conspiracy theory” sermons. She and her family have to deliberately skip fellowshipping there at times in order to avoid hearing that nonsense. When the brother could be talking about valuable material, he wastes time on speculations and schemes. They are prudent in shunning such services!

“For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Romans 16:19). The Holy Spirit through Paul said He preferred us to be “wise” (knowledgeable) concerning good, and “simple” (inexperienced) regarding evil. Rather than focusing on erroneous thoughts and committing wicked deeds, we should be entertaining beneficial information and conducting our lives accordingly.

Every Christian—especially the minister—needs to reflect on Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Dear friends, if our message does not underscore God’s grace, Pauline doctrine, it is destructive to our listeners and readers. We had better not utter one peep or pen one letter—the best action to take is to be silent!

In the context of today’s Scripture, James is writing about the dangers of the human tongue. Read that third chapter in your own time. The Holy Spirit has quite some ghastly insight into how man’s uncontrollable tongue gets him into such major trouble! All gossipers and tabloid writers, and many reporters and news anchors, are experts here. Well, frankly, a lot of preachers and teachers are professionals in this regard as well. Rather than talking about sound Bible doctrine, they (sidetracked) can rattle on and on about everything else (and thus distract their audience). They need to take heed as James instructs….

Two Rocks #8

Sunday, June 10, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Hebrews chapter 3 reveals that God sees Israel as two houses overall: “[1] Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; [2] Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. [3] For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. [4] For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. [5] And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; [6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

One house is historical: Israel under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law, a “weak and beggarly” system (Galatians 4:9) because Israel was a nation of sinners always falling short of God’s righteous standards (Hebrews 8:7-13). She repeatedly engaged in idolatry (“rocks”). The other house is prophetic: Israel under the New Covenant, God making her His people by Christ’s finished crosswork (1 Peter 2:3-10; cf. 1 Peter 1:2-5,13-25). She will never again be idolatrous.

Isaiah 51:5 anticipates new Israel, what Hebrews 3:6 calls “the house of Christ:” “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD [the Rock!]: look unto the rock [!] whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” God generated Israel’s bloodline with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. He delivered them from Egypt to become the nation Israel. They are to see Him as He really is (the Rock that their ancient ancestors refused to build on because their counterfeit “rocks,” or idols, had distracted them). Jesus Christ said Israel had better build on the right foundation (Him, the Rock, and His words), or experience spiritual destruction (Matthew 7:24-27)!

Two Rocks #7

Saturday, June 9, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Decades after Calvary, the Holy Spirit wrote to the Jewish kingdom believers in 1 Peter 2:3-10: “[3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. [6] Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

“[7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, [8] And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

God will take Israel’s believing remnant and form a house in which He will manifest His life forever. Jesus Christ, the Rock, will serve as the house’s foundation (cf. Matthew 16:16-18). This “Little Flock” will be the new Israel, the heirs of God’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:31,32; cf. Matthew 21:42-46). All unbelieving Jews—those depending on the counterfeit “rock” (idols)—will be judged and destroyed during the seven-year Tribulation and at Christ’s subsequent fiery Second Coming (Matthew 7:24-29; Matthew 13:37-43). Israel’s Little Flock will enter the Millennium as God’s kingdom of priests, fully capable of carrying His Word to the Gentiles, that the Gentiles give up their rocks (idols) and believe on the Rock as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do we live in the ‘Church Age?’

Two Rocks #6

Friday, June 8, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

When considering the two rocks in the Bible, one should certainly be quite careful in interpreting one particular verse. That passage has been deliberately withheld until this point in our discussion. Remember, the consistent testimony of the Scriptures is: (1) JEHOVAH God (Jesus Christ) is the Rock, and (2) Satan promotes a counterfeit rock to distract. Not surprisingly, false religion stresses an imitation rock even now.

Jesus Christ declared in Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Here is the classic “proof text” for the Roman Catholic papacy. According to such traditionalists, the pope derives his authority from this verse. Tradition dictates Peter was the “first pope,” so every pontiff thereafter is allegedly “Peter’s successor.” (Ironically, Galatians 2:9 says Peter was a Jewish apostle, whereas the pope leads Gentiles. If anything, Romans 11:13 says the pope should be Paul’s successor. Of course, as one priest told this author, they do not care what the Bible says. They prefer following tradition… and quote Scripture only when it supports their theology!)

Peter is supposedly the “rock” of Matthew 16:18. In Greek, “Peter” (petros) means “small rock;” “rock” (petra) is a larger mass. Such distinction is lost in Aramaic, which explains why a Roman Catholic would favor Jesus speaking Aramaic. Furthermore, the “church” of Matthew 16:18 is supposedly the Roman Catholic Church (erroneous). It is assumed to be built upon Peter (also incorrect). Matthew 16:18 is not about Peter’s Church but Messiah’s Church. Verse 16 restricts it: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.Again, Jesus Christ is the Rock of Scripture. But, if we lift Matthew 16:18 out of its context, then we make the Bible say whatever we want.

Jesus Christ says that, no matter what Satan does to hinder Him, upon “this rock” (who He is—Messiah/Christ) He will build the new (stronger) nation Israel….