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What the Bible Really Says, and Who Can You Trust?

December 14, 2008
Key Passage: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

“What the Bible Really Says, and Who Can You Trust?”

How surprised was I when I read the cover of this week’s Newsweek entitled, “Why the Bible Supports Gay Marriage?” If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now. The sheer lunacy that now surrounds our culture’s ability to twist and pervert scripture to meet an agenda not only completely defies logic, it leaves it in a dust trail. This begs the question:

Exactly who or what is a “Christian?” Before we launch into that, understand that just because someone labels themselves or their organization “Christian” doesn’t make it so. I can call myself an Alaskan Eskimo all day long, but one look at me will deny that. Likewise, there are tons of false teachers (and teachings) today that wrap themselves in the cloak of “Christianity.” One stroll among the religion section at Barnes and Noble, or a channel rundown late at night displays more skewed imitations of Jesus Christ than you can shake a Bible at. The false teachers speak of “Jesus,” but it’s a “Jesus” of their own making, a “Jesus” with whom sinful men feel comfortable and affirmed. There’s Jesus the liberator and Jesus the revolutionary; Jesus the teacher and Jesus the example; Jesus the healer and Jesus the burden –bearer. As in this week’s Newsweek article, homosexuals and liberals point to “an unconditionally accepting Jesus.” Let’s be candid here – most people today would rather conform Jesus to our views than have Him transform ours. So what does the Bible really say, and who can you trust regarding it?

Hebrews 1:1-2….this verse is foundational, in that it points to Christ as the lone Authority and Teacher!

So….who can you trust? Follow me here…1 Thess. 2:13 -> 1 Thess. 1:6-8 -> 1Thess. 2:1-12 Here, Paul outlines the fact that they believed the Word (2:13), the difference it made (1:6-8), and how the two were connected (2:1-10). You can trust those who follow the pattern in 1 Thess. 2:1-10
  1. Teachers you can trust will be free from the need of human acceptance and praise; their esteem will come from Christ alone
  2. Teachers you can trust will be free from the need of comforts and securities, wealth and materialism (this, combined with #1, pretty much knocks out most of the Tele-evangelists)
On the flip side, here’s who you can’t trust…false teachers, and though there are many variations of false teachers/teachings, 2 Peter 2:1-3 introduces 3 universal traits:
  1. They are a certainty and they will rise from within the church. They’ll call themselves Christians, will look right, and will say the right things.
  2. They’ll “secretly introduce destructive heresies,” i.e., they’ll bring these heresies alongside the truth of the Gospel. They distort the emphasis of Scripture. They’ll emphasize the “acceptable” aspects of our Lord’s nature and mission, while minimizing or denying those aspects of His being and ministry which sinful men find offensive. They’ll either embrace liberalism or legalism…..
  3. Now, we’re going to look at something really cool to illustrate this – Genesis 2:15-17. Notice God’s simple command regarding the Garden and the Tree. He tells Adam, “Here’s what you CAN do, and here’s what you MUST NOT do, and here are the consequences.” Now, turn to Genesis 3:1-5 and notice what Eve and the serpent do to God’s Word! See?!?
Finally, “they will deny the Master who bought them.” Now, this is really the issue. Though they’ll call themselves Christians, and though they’ll often talk about Jesus’ teachings, you will know them by their fruit because ultimately, and again and again, they’ll not subject themselves to his teachings. See Matthew 7:15-27…..here, our Savior gives the ultimate commentary on false teachers, how to identify them, and their ultimate outcome.

Q: What does the term, “most people would rather conform Jesus to their views than have him transform theirs” mean to you?
Q: If false teachers are so evil, why does God let them teach in His church? How can you spot them?