Cultivate a tender conscience where it concerns your own moral life, your own private thoughts, and your relationships with other people.
And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Well, I trust so. I’m feeling fine. Praise the Lord. No complaints. Glad to be alive and able to share with you some things from the Word of God. I’ve just been praying that God would put His love and grace and power and truth into my voice and into my heart and mind so that something that is said in these few moments might just exactly fit your need. Oh, may God grant that prayer for His own name’s sake.
We got into the third chapter Titus and came to the tenth verse where Paul said, “A man who is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject”. By the way you don’t pass a judgment on people the first time you disagree with them. You want to remember that? Most of my mistakes with people have been made as a result of hasty decisions about them. Had I taken the time to think and to give the other individual a chance to reflect, some situations might’ve been different. Most of my mistakes with people of been made because I didn’t take time with them and give them time. So, he said, “After the first and second admonition”. Give God time with people. Don’t make quick and hasty decisions about them, good idea?
Well, we looked for the meaning of the word heresy, and in that connection we were looking for some of the things that our Lord and the gospel writers have said, “Teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men”. In other words, to take something that appeals to you as a religious precept, and make it the basis for your claim to be teaching God’s truth. Those, the Judaizers, who said that you have to keep all of the Jewish law in order to be a Christian, that was heresy, and that over and first Timothy, Christ plus other things, ‘Seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, the occult”. Hypocrisy, easy disobedience resulting in what Paul calls, “A seared conscience”, and then adding regulations, social, societal, familial, diet regulations. All of these things and that people tack onto the gospel and say, you have keep all of that in order to be saved. See, Paul said in Colossians 3, “Ye are complete in Christ”, and so he said, “Christ has fulfilled the law, He took all of the Commandments out of the way, nailing them to His cross”. and so he said, “Don’t let anybody judge you in terms of the holy days and Sabbath days”, and that all of that. “Let no man therefore”, well I go back a verse or two, Colossians chapter 2, “Having forgiven you all trespasses”, thank God they’re all forgiven, aren’t you glad that’s so. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, He took it out of the way and nailing it to His cross”. The real victory at the cross was the victory over sin and Satan and all of the record of our failure, “Nailed to the cross, and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly triumphing over them in it”, that is in His cross. Here’s the result of it, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink or respect of a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ”. See, the Lord Jesus Christ has changed things for you and for me, and you don’t have to have Christ plus diet, or Christ plus some church observance, or Christ plus some keeping of the old Jewish law. It’s all gone, hallelujah! “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new”.
Now beloved, if some of you disagree with me, don’t bother writing to me because this is how I see it, and if you disagree well then, that is how it is. My father used to say, ‘We’ll be in heaven someday and you’ll know I was right”. He was never wrong about anything. Sublimely, sublimely conscious of his being right. Well, he was most of the time, I have to admit. So, there you have it.
Well now, he says, “These people”, whom he calls heretics, he says, “you reject them”. Now, you don’t reject them as persons. I want to make that clear. You don’t reject them as persons. There is always room to love people for Jesus’ sake, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. I think our fault as believers often times, is that when we disagree with people, we also reject them personally, ‘I don’t like him because he doesn’t agree with me’. That is the theory there. The idea of leadership is something else again. If somebody is off on his doctrine, don’t build him or her into the leadership of your group. I think that’s the point that needs to be brought out. All sorts of trouble and heartache come from people in leadership who have a warped or distorted view of Christian doctrine, and as a result their emphasis in daily life is twisted, as well. So, if you’re building a church, an organization, a group, a community of believers, make sure that those with whom you are going to work in leadership, are facing in the same direction in terms of God’s revealed truth in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I first came to the college back in 1962, I encountered a number of people who said, “Why do you insist on are signing the doctrinal statement and statement of conduct every year? Why do you insist on that”? Well, I said, “People do change their mind, and if you haven’t changed yours, you’ll be glad to say so, won’t you”? We let it go at that, but you know the fact is that folk do, over a period of time, change their attitude toward certain truths and relationships and so and we think at the college, it’s a good thing every year for every trustee and every faculty member and every major administrator to sign that statement of faith and our few rules of conduct that we have, so we are all facing in the same direction.
It’s important if you’re going to build a work that people be straight on the doctrine and straight in their living. Well, we also looked at second Peter chapter 2, where Peter talks about false prophets, “Bringing in heresies even denying the Lord that to bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction”. Now, let me just comment on some of these things that Peter says, not that you necessarily need it, but that you’ll be able to identify the type of thing that he’s talking about. He says, “Through covetousness they, with fainted words, make merchandise of you”. One of the essential elements of heresy is the desire to make money out of religion, and I think we all have to guard against that, those of us who are in Christian work, anytime you say, hey this is a good angle, I’m going to work it because we can get a lot of gifts in this way, at that point my friend, you are several notches away from the center, this is in my opinion at least, the center of the blessing of God. Merchandise of people, manipulating people so that you can succeed in religious work is under the heading of heresies. I think planning is essential, and I think wise planning for your work is something without which you cannot succeed, and you need to plan the best approach to people if you send out the direct-mail appeal or if you’re in radio or television, or all three. To plan your work and to be as effective as you can, that’s essential. We’re talking about the motivation here, aren’t we? Why do you do these things? If you do it so as to manipulate people, to make yourself successful, this is under the heading, actually, of heresy. All right? Says, “These people speak evil of things they understand not”.
One of the marks of heresy is a deauthoritization of the truth of God. Anybody that says, “Well, I know that’s what the Bible says but”, you know the usual excuse. “The Bible was written centuries ago, it can’t possibly apply to us today. It was written to other people in other cultures with other customs with other problems other than our own and it can’t apply to us, and so I know that’s what the Bible says, but it’s not for us, we can do something else”. There is a deauthoritization of the Word of God. This is heresy. Anytime anybody says, “Yes, I know the Bible says that, but I think differently”, you can chalk it down. That’s the beginning of what the Bible calls, heresy. ‘They speak evil of things they understand not”. All right?
And so it says, “They have eyes full of adultery and cannot cease from sin”. Easy disobedience to the rules and the laws of God. Easy disobedience to the moral law of God. Now, especially in our day where permissivism is epidemic, I guess, we need to think about this. Cultivate a tender conscience in all these matters. Cultivate a tender conscience where it concerns your own moral life and your own private thoughts and your relationships with other people. All of the of the values of societal life in general, cultivate a tender conscience will you, so that you don’t fall a victim to this easy disobedience that marks, what the Bible calls, a heretical stance. Then says, “They beguile unstable souls, they have exercised their heart with covetous practices, they’ve forsaken the right way and have gone astray, falling the way of Balaam, who loved the wages of unrighteousness”. Heresy often times, grows out of a desire to be successful, as we said a moment ago. Balaam made the mistake of thinking that God would change His mind if people raised the financial offer for His services. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If God says yes, it’s always yes, and if God says no, it’s always no.
Well, these are some of the things to watch out for. What’s the answer to all of these? Stay close to your blessed Lord in the Word of God. Feed on God’s Word every day and stay with your Lord in the Word until He has spoken to your own heart, until your heart is warm and tender with the truth of God, and then go share that with someone else as quickly as you can. Now, let’s bow to pray.
Dear father, I want just to ask you to keep all of us so close to Thee and so in touch with Thy Word, that we’re not going to be bothered with these different items that have been listed under the idea of heresy, and help us to be loving and patient, will you Lord, with those who need to be straightened out with the truth. Help us not to reject them, help us to love them and yet to stand true to your Word. Thanks for the answer Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Well until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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