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Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

by Warren Smith (from A “Wonderful” Deception)

Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement has, in a relatively short period of time, become what TIME magazine has referred to as a “Purpose Driven empire.”1 The word empire is defined in the dictionary as “supreme rule; absolute power or authority; dominion.” It also means “an extensive social or economic organization under the control of a single person, family, or corporation.”2 For all intents and purposes, Rick Warren has become the titular head-the almost emperor-like CEO-of an increasingly apostate postmodern church. But while Warren continues to be embraced by much of the world and much of the church, it is not too late for people to reconsider their involvement with him and his Purpose Driven movement. Here are ten scripturally based reasons why people with any love of the truth should not involve themselves in Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity:

Ten Basic Reasons

1) Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement offers a “Broad Way” Christianity. One of the mysteries of the Christian faith can be found in Jesus’ warning that the way to life is “narrow” and that “few” would actually find it. Jesus is telling us in advance that the “broad way”-no matter how well intentioned-is not from Him. With Rick Warren’s reformation movement based on deeds and not creeds, everyone is invited to partake in this global effort. But biblical principles are watered-down and often cast aside.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

2) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not declare “all the counsel of God.” Rick Warren teaches only what he wants to teach from the Bible. As a result, there are many important teachings that he skips over, de-emphasizes, and leaves out-particularly in regard to prophecy and spiritual deception.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 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. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:27-31)

3) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not discern the spiritual signs of the times. Just as the leaders in Jesus’ day discerned the weather but not the signs of the times, Warren discerns many of the social and economic problems, but not the spiritual signs of the times.

O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:3)

4) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is ignorant of Satan’s devices. Whereas the apostle Paul stated that he and other believers were “not ignorant of Satan’s devices,” Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity states that Satan’s schemes are “entirely predictable.”3 By being ignorant of Satan’s devices, this “Broad Way” Christianity has fallen prey to Satan’s devices-particularly in the area of the New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview.

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

5) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not expose spiritual evil. Warren’s version of Christianity does not sound a true warning about the deceptive spirit world and spiritual deception. There is much more to evil than the problems that Rick Warren is seeking to remedy with his Purpose Driven P.E.A.C.E. Plan. We are told to expose false prophets and false teachers, not to study under them, spiritually join with them, and further their plans.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)

6) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity does not “earnestly contend for the faith.” By not declaring all the counsel of God, by not discerning the signs of the times, by being ignorant of Satan’s devices, and by not exposing spiritual evil, Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is not fighting “the good fight of faith.”

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 3)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

7) Rick Warren and his “Broad Way” Christianity are loved by the world and it’s leaders. Jesus loved the world, but the world did not love Him. Jesus warned his followers they would be hated, persecuted, and even killed by the world-just as the world hated, persecuted, and killed Him. In his compromised effort to reach out to the world, Warren and his “Broad Way” Christianity have become the world.

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. (1 John 4:5)

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. (Matthew 10:22) If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:25)

8.) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is engaged in a process of ungodly change. Rick Warren describes himself as a “change agent” but in his attempt to change the world, he and his Purpose Driven movement are actually changing biblical Christianity. The Bible warns about those who push for unbiblical and ungodly change.

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change. (Proverbs 24:21)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

For I am the LORD, I change not. (Malachi 3:6)

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)

9) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is frequently “double-tongued” and “double-minded.” Rick Warren’s attempts to seemingly distance himself from the New Age/New Spirituality while simultaneously spiritually aligning himself with New Age sympathizers is “double-tongued,” “double-minded,” and deceptively self-serving. In the Psalms, David refers to those who speak with “flattering lips” and a “double heart.”

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. (Psalm 12:1-2)

Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. (1 Timothy 3:8-9)

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

10) Rick Warren’s “Broad Way” Christianity is “not valiant for the truth.” Warren has demonstrated, in numerous ways, that he is politically and spiritually expedient when it comes to the truth. His “Broad Way” Christianity plays to the world and embraces the world because it is the world. It does not hold fast to the truth because it is not “valiant for the truth.”

And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth. (Jeremiah 9:3)

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31)

The Time is Here

The apostle Paul preached the importance of adhering to God’s Word. He warned that the time would come when believers would not endure sound doctrine but would find teachers who would tell them what they wanted to hear:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

As Rick Warren’s “broad way” Christianity seems to be headed down the “broad way” of the New Spirituality, it is very clear that his Purpose Driven movement is anything but the “narrow way” that Jesus Christ described in Matthew 7:14. It is important to understand what is at stake here-the centrality of the Cross as the one and only true Gospel-without which the hope of salvation is lost. Jesus Christ, dying on the Cross for our sins, is the central message of the Gospel. It is the plumb line for ultimately discerning truth from error. But in discerning truth from error, it is essential that we must adhere to all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Jesus is the one and only Savior-the one and only true Christ. Science cannot and will not prove otherwise (1 Timothy 6:20). God is not “in” everything. We are not Christ, and we are not God. What is born of the flesh is flesh. What is born of the Spirit is spirit. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). It is not “as above, so below.” The apostle John states:

He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. (John 3:31)

Jesus Christ is Lord. His name is above all names (Philippians 2:9). He is not the “Jesus” of The Shack, and He is not the “Jesus” of the New Age/New Spirituality. Most assuredly, He is not the “quantum Christ” of a deceived world and an apostate church.

The apostle Paul describes the simplicity of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). According to many of today’s spiritual and religious leaders, it has taken humanity 2000 years to finally “get it.” They say we need quantum physicists, cellular biologists, Ph.D. mathematicians, New Age channelers, and emerging postmodern preachers to finally understand what Jesus was trying to tell us back in the first century. No, this is not the simplicity that Paul was describing. This is the deceptive work of our Adversary as he tries to transform the creation into the Creator and co-opt God’s creation to himself.

Unfortunately, many of today’s pastors have forgotten that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and that we are to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). As a result, the church is now catapulting into great spiritual deception.

For those who still rightly divide and depend upon the Word of God, the Bible warns that the coming deception will be so great that most of the world will be deceived (Revelation 13:13-14). Jesus warned that His way is not the broad way but the “narrow way” of continuing in His Word (John 8:31). And it is His way that leads to eternal life. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)

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IT’S WELL PAST TIME TO GET READY By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Oct 20, 2009 *

Red Sky

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired [Jesus] that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” – (Matthew 16:1-3, KJV)

Each Morning The Sky Grows A Darker Red

Beloved of God, no doubt as this apostasy accelerates within the very heart of the evangelical community, those with eyes that see can see the dark red sky above us each morning. We also recall that our Lord Jesus has said:

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  – (John 10:3-6)

Now in it’s immediate context our Master is speaking to us. He’s talking to the remnant of His people that He is currently calling out of a rapidly decaying evangelical Christianity, mortally wounded as it is by the poison of the Church Growth Movement (CGM) vomited out of Fuller Theological Cesspool; essentially good ol’ ruggedly individualistic [read: proud] American business savvy repackaged as a centered on the self spiritually. I offer the following as an exhortation not to be surprised if “suddenly” you find yourself looking at your local church through a new set of eyes almost overnight.

Perhaps you may not have stopped and thought about something else concerning the above instruction from God regarding hearing His Voice; this spiritual principle is also true in reverse. In other words, the children of their father Satan will also follow him because, well, they know his voice. Can you see this means that God is a stranger to them; and it’s also why they cannot hear what we are telling them. Have you wondered why the leaders within The Ecumenical Church of Deceit (ECoD), duplicious daughter of apostate Roman Catholicism simply cannot rightly divide the Word of Truth?

It is as the Master has just told us — “A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Keep in mind that if we are teaching people from the Bible, and they respond in anger or fear, you now know the reason why. And no, we will not know for sure whether they are saved or not; but because of this backward time in which we are now living my brothers and sisters, we are going to have to turn away from prevailing views of “love” and instead — “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24, KJV).

I write also to encourage you dear Christian that you need not fear these “voices” that have been recently raised against you as a resounding gong and a clanging symbol (see—1 Corinthians 13:1), nor should you become discouraged that so few are responding to our teaching. Remember Jesus exhorts us:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

May We Begin To Earnestly Pray To Be Given Power From God The Holy Spirit

And further the Master tells us — “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19, ESV). However, at the same time, so many Christian “leaders” today in what’s become an anti-Reformational ECoD like Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren, Emerging Church icon Rob Bell, and/or Robert Schuller knock-off Joel Osteen have the ear of the world because they speak their language (see—1 John 4:5).

Dear children, more than ever as we near the end of this Age we need to realize, and to fully believe, that these are not just mere words; but instead, they have even more pronounced meaning in our day. And I’m not talking about some escapist theology. As you know from Holy Scripture, God never does anything without first dealing with His remnant at any given time in history. This truth is all throughout the Bible; it seems that our Lord patiently endures the sin, that is inevitably produced by a corrupt and degenerate mankind in this fallen world, while He gathers in His lambs.

However, when our Lord’s Own people start to be dragged down by corruption and then wander too far off our narrow path, then God will begin His inevitable judgments with His children first. This is most pointedly spelled out by the inspired Apostle Peter when God the Holy Spirit guided him to write — “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18)

And those who truly belong to Christ are now feeling a sense of “urgency”; a quickening, a longing for us to be given the ability to boldly preach His Gospel in the power of the Spirit:

grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31, NASB)

In closing this for now, I remind you of Henry Martyn, who was motivated to become a missionary to India and Persia after reading the biography of David Brainerd, and who was himself a great missionary to the Indians in America. Martyn would write, “The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him the more intensely missionary we must become.” But sadly, despite all their blather about being “missional,” these CGM Pied Pipers of pragmatism in the ECoD are really those who are saying — “for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter” (Isaiah 28:15, ESV).

 

(*) original article can be accessed by clicking here;  Pastor Ken Silva’s other articles are linked with the original post.

 

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Christian ‘Yoga’, contemplative spirituality/mysticism, spiritual formation movement, New Age,  theosophy, ecumenism, Purpose Driven, pragmatism, relativism, Emergent Christianity and universalism…these are but a few yet the most significant  serious errors and heresies that has made in-roads into evangelicalism in at least the last few decades in increasing potency though not necessarily in chronological order. 

Matthew recorded these words of the One true Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God – now enscripturated in the Bible’s New Testament, about the two gates set before all men:

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is [wide and] easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13-14

Lighthouse Trails Research newsletter recently brought my attention to an article published by Newsweek  in its end August 2009 issue about a survey of those who claim to be Christians and how far they have wandered away from the absolute truths of God’s Word.  Although the country in focus is the USA, I am certain that this is but a good sampling of the widespread reality.  Having been in touch with numerous Christians of different nationalities, I have personally heard the kinds of erroneous doctrines that have peppered some of their beliefs already. The most common of which are mysticism, pragmatism and the purpose-driven types. Mysticism particularly finds its roots in Hinduism but it has clothed itself with Christian terms that a good number of Christians became unsuspecting victims and are being tossed to and fro by every wind of these demonic doctrines.

Now the assurance for true believers is what Jesus said about His sheep.  They will listen to His voice [through the Word] and they will flee from other voices [false teachers] (John 10:3-5). Also Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth that God allows factions [in verse 19 – Greek: hairesis, from where we get the English word heresy] in order to visibly distinguish true from false believers (1 Corinthians 11:18-19).

This article below is not only informative, but should serve as a warning to the Church of how currently widespread the effects of false doctrines and the need for vigilance through the serious study of the Word and sincere prayer to God for the Holy Spirit’s continual work to empower believers of the Lord Jesus Christ to be discerning. And we should not be passive bystanders but must always contend for the truth. As it is written,

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 3-4

 

NewsweekLogo

NEWSWEEK Published Aug 15, 2009

From the magazine issue dated Aug 31, 2009

 

WE ARE ALL HINDUS NOW  by Lisa Miller

America is not a Christian nation. We are, it is true, a nation founded by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to identify as Christian (still, that’s the lowest percentage in American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu—or Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan—nation, either. A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

Then there’s the question of what happens when you die. Christians traditionally believe that bodies and souls are sacred, that together they comprise the “self,” and that at the end of time they will be reunited in the Resurrection. You need both, in other words, and you need them forever. Hindus believe no such thing. At death, the body burns on a pyre, while the spirit—where identity resides—escapes. In reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and again in different bodies. So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. So agnostic are we about the ultimate fates of our bodies that we’re burning them—like Hindus—after death. More than a third of Americans now choose cremation, according to the Cremation Association of North America, up from 6 percent in 1975. “I do think the more spiritual role of religion tends to deemphasize some of the more starkly literal interpretations of the Resurrection,” agrees Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard. So let us all say “om.”

Find this article at http://www.newsweek.com/id/212155 © 2009

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1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” – 1 John 4:1-6 

One of the brothers in our cell group asked a very good question: how can a young Christian discern what is right or wrong when he could be in a group that has been mixing truth with error?

His question has to do with ability by the verb ‘can’.  At least two answers came in mind; first, the good practice of checking the Scriptures like what the Berean Jews did (Acts 17:10-11). They received the Word of God and carefully investigated in the Scriptures if what they were hearing were indeed true or not.  They had the Old Testament manuscripts as their reference point. In our case today, we have the full canon of the Old and New Testaments available to us.

Secondly, an elder must be approached. When I speak of elder, I mean the biblical kind as defined by Paul where the criteria was handed to Timothy and Titus, both of whom are elders themselves. This particular elder is equipped to teach and by this I  mean that he has a grasp of the whole counsel of God according to the Scriptures along with the ability to convey thoughts clearly to the flock of God entrusted to his care and to rebuke those who contradict that counsel.

However, Scriptures and a faithful elder alone cannot full satisfy the answer to the question of ability. Our text above provides the primary key to discerning truth and error – the Holy Spirit. He is referred to as the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:6-7). He is the One deposited in every believer (Eph 1:13-14) and faithfully upholds the testimony of the Scriptures about the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:13-15).

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you” -. John 16:13-15

This same Spirit, through the written Word, teaches and equips each believer.  And the litmus question should be: does the explanation that is brought to my attention, whether in print or in preaching, ushers me to a fuller understanding of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures? The apostle John succinctly said that the Scriptures are written so that we may know that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing in His name we have eternal life (John 20:31).  Luke records the narrative about how the Lord Jesus interpreted everything that is written in the Law and the Prophets concerning Himself to the two men along the road to Emmaus. The Scripture also records for us that both John and Luke wrote accurately under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21).

In John’s 1st letter, a gnostic lie that sought to gain a foothold among the believers is exposed and chapter 4:2 tells us that the false gnostic teaching challenges the incarnation of the Lord.  These gnostics apparently have claimed that they have received special revelation that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh because the material world is evil (a  main premise of gnosticism) and Jesus, being God, cannot possess a human body because th human body belongs to the evil material world. Assuming the Lord did not come in the flesh, then his death on the cross is not real, then He was not buried nor did He rise up in a glorified body after 3 days.  Consequently, there can be no propitiation for our sin by the death of His body and the pouring of His blood as an offering to God,  thus we are still spiritually dead and our faith is a lie. Above all this, we are, of all people,  hopeless and foolish. You see, the false teachers always seek to challenge and negate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But because of the Holy Spirit, all true believers know that the Gospel is true and gnosticism a wicked lie.

Discerning and overcoming every deception, as verse 4 reveals, does not spring from our human ability but by grace of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  And there is a radical difference, indeed poles apart in the proclamation of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – versus the propagated lie of the devil.  Those who do not have the Spirit of Truth will never seek to conform to the apostolic writings recorded in the New Testament that revealed the fullness of the Old Testament proclamations realized in Christ Jesus.

Such is the confidence therefore of a true believer, that the Holy Spirit who indwells him, will certainly lead him to truth – all truth – either by direct Scriptures study or through another believer – an elder perhaps, who remains faithfully studying and handling the Scriptures or through the result of the Spirit’s collective work in the church through the ages as He preserves and upholds the truth through the Body of Christ (1 Timothy 3:15). That is why it is wise even today for believers to refer to preachings and essays by Christians hundreds of years ago for there is but one consistent message carried and preserved by the Spirit Himself over time until the return of whom He testifies – the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is through the loving intercession of  the Lord Jesus Christ for His disciples that guaranteed the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence for each believer.  And through this, every adopted child of God in Christ Jesus is eternally blessed.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.  You know Him, for He dwells in you, and will be with you.” – John 14:15-17

 

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One of Ephesus’ most famous structure of antiquity today is the Temple of Artemis (what remains of it) which is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  From the account in the book of Acts (ch. 18:24 – 19:41; 20:17-36), the place was marked with the worship of the goddess Artemis, demonic possession, occult and the trade on paraphernalia on these matters. In fact these evil practice  were so engrained into the lives of the people that they would fiercely resist the entry of other teachings that would threaten to change their beliefs.  And I am referring to their opposition to the Gospel preached by the apostle Paul.  However, the word of the Lord Jesus Christ in Acts 1:8 is that the Gospel will spread to the ends of the earth, and and will radically transform the lives of those whom God will save; these indeed are certainties as worked out by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

Knowing this brief background helps us understand why there was a need to teach on the full armor of God (panoplian tou Theos) in Ephesians 6:10-20 pericope. A short series entitled “PANOPLY” begins today. An outline herebelow will assist us in the course of our study:

  • Be strong in the Lord
  • Spiritual enemies
  • Inclusio of verses 11 and 13 – to stand
  • Full Armor of God
  • Prayer

It is interesting to note that the religious climate during Paul’s sojourn in Ephesus is really quite similar today:  the deification of man, deceptive signs and wonders, and man’s unquenchable thirst for the occult. Television alone is filled with programs that showcase these. Therefore, the teachings contained in the epistle to the Ephesians are all the more relevant to present day Christians who need to face these spiritual enemies daily, in the hopes that God will sharpen their discernment.

May God’s Spirit enlighten us and ground us in the Gospel of His only begotten Son, for the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

Next:  Panoply Series – Part 1 – Two Kingdoms at War (link below): https://emmaustrekker.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/panoply-series-part-1/

 

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