3Jn 1:9-10 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. (10) So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.
This is the fourth installment in this series. It may have many, many parts because I have 36 years worth of stories to tell about evil in the local church. I say “local” church because in Christ’s true church which consists only of His genuine, regenerate people, such evil does not exist. In this present world, sure, there will be flaws and sin in the lives of the saints – but these we confess and repent of. The things I speak of here however are a different beast entirely.
In every single local church that I have served as pastor, Diotrephes has always shown up. It is in yielding to the offspring of Diotrephes that churches typically become enslaved to evil. It is this kind of thing:
2Co 11:20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
There is something in the typical professing Christian that clings to a false idea of “greatness.” A worldly concept of it, you see. Greatness is power and exaltation. Greatness is authority. Greatness is the guy or gal who just seems to be the one who tells others what to do and “strikes them in the face” if they balk at obedience.
So here is what it looks like.
Continue reading “How Local Churches Become Enslaved to Evil – Part 4”
1Timothy 1:1-7 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, (2) To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
(3) As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, (4) nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. (5) The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
(6) Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, (7) desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
Christ is the Christian’s hope. Not a “got my fingers crossed” kind of hope as in “I hope I win the lottery,” but a certain hope. A confident assurance that what He has promised us He will perform. Hope really is faith looking forward and seeing, as Hebrews says, what is as yet unseen.
Therefore this hope is the believer’s anchor when the storms come-
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
This world (both visible and invisible) works to distract us from Christ. It shouldn’t surprise us. After all, the Christian whose eyes are taken off of Christ is a Christian whose faith and hope are seriously weakened. He or she won’t be very effective in battle with shields down.
Continue reading “Christ is Our Hope – Take Care not to be Drawn Away from Him”
2Th 2:1-2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, (2) not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
Gal 6:11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
If you study the history of the church, you soon learn that charlatans have been very common down through the centuries. One of their favorite tactics has been to deceive people by writing letters or documents that claim prophetic or apostolic authorship. Just about anytime some gap in the biblical storyline exists (details of Jesus’ childhood for instance) along comes some liar to write his fiction and make the claim it is from God written at the hands of one of His chosen.
For instance, there is a Gospel of Peter, a Gospel of Barnabas, and a Gospel of Judas all of which claim to be accounts of the earthly ministry of Christ. And there are numbers of pseudepigrapha that originated in the intertestament era, written by Jewish authors. The Assumption of Moses, the Ascension of Isaiah, the Psalms of Solomon and others.
More pointedly we see this same thing happening even in the time of the Apostles as proven by the Apostle Paul’s statements in 2 Thessalonians and Galatians quoted above. Forgers and false teachers sat down and wrote letters to the churches, claiming to be the Apostle Paul.
Now, this is all interesting but what does it have to do with us today. Plenty.
Continue reading “Evil Authors and Forgeries – A Common Tactic of the Enemy”