If you’re going to carry out God’s work here on earth, it is so important that you be straight on the Word of God.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything all right at your house? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. Nice to be back with you. This your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’ve just been praying that God might take some word of this truth from the Word of God, and fit it especially to meet your need, some need that you have, that can be answered by God’s infallible, inerrant Word, the Bible. We try to put a handle of God’s Word so that you can apply it for yourself.
Well, we just finished Titus 3:9 where Paul said to young Titus, “Now avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions and strivings about the law, for they are unprofitable and vain”. The bottom line in evaluating what we’re going to say and do is, does this have any value in the light of eternity? That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it? That’s where we make the distinction. If you’re going to evaluate your ministry, your life, your relationship to your family or your business or whatever, you ask the question, ‘What value does this have in terms of my eternal commitment to Jesus Christ’? That uncertainty doesn’t mean that everything has to be religious because there are some things that cannot possibly be religious in nature.
There are certain actions and duties and so on, in our life, that are secular and you simply cannot overlay them with a cold piety. Doesn’t work, but there is nothing in all of world that you may not do for God’s glory, that is nothing that’s right, that you may not do for God’s glory, “Whatsoever therefore ye do, do it heartily as for the Lord”, says Paul, “and not just for people, knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ”. So, that no matter what you, you can do it with an eye to the values of eternity and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That’s the truth there and so he said you avoid things that are outside of that descriptive area, foolish questions, things that are said “just to run your mouth”, as my friend, Ollie Short, says. I was talking with him one day and we were discussing something that someone has said, he said, “He was just running his mouth”.
“Foolish questions and genealogies and contentions and strivings about the law”, he said, “these things they’re unprofitable”, there’s no profit in them. Detour around them. You don’t have to put another person down to avoid being involved in an unprofitable conversation. Have you learned that? Remember what I told you about Dr. Narramore, who taught me to say, “That’s a good question and there are some answers, but right now let’s go back to the point.” You can stay on the main line of reasoning in subjects that really count, while avoiding something foolish.
Now he says in verse 10, “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition, reject, knowing that he that is such, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself”. We’re talking, I think, especially in terms of leadership here. The Bible doesn’t teach that you are to snub people. You know, you disagree with me religiously so I’ll snub you. I’ll have nothing to do with you. I don’t think that’s what the Bible teaches.
We’re talking here about leadership. He’s been telling Titus how to build a good work. He said in the beginning of this book, just set in order the things that are necessary, “For this cause, left I thee in Crete, that thou should set in order, the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee”. He goes on to talk about leadership all through the book. So, that to in my opinion that applies to choosing the leadership of the work.
If you’re going to lead God’s work, in the local church or in any other outreach of our Lord’s work here on earth, it is so important that you be straight on the Word of God. Heresy, basically, is that which violates the revealed truth of God as found in the Bible. Heresy is something that goes counter to the revealed truth of God as revealed in the Bible, God’s inerrant word. So he said, if you’re going to build a successful work, you make sure that people are straight on the Word of God.
Now of course, somebody is immediately going to say, “Well Brother Cook, you know people disagree about the truths of the Bible. That’s why we have so many different denominations’. Well, I’ll grant you that, but the evangelicals, that is to say people who espouse the classic, historic Christian faith, do all of us agree on the basics of the gospel, don’t we? This is the place on which a person needs to be straight. There is room for disagreement, let us say on the mode baptism, there’s room for disagreement, let us say of the best method of church government. Some favor the Episcopal form with supervision from the top down, and others favor the Congregational form with participation from the congregation up. There’s room for disagreement, I say, of forms of church government and mode of baptism of different other that the type of doctrines, and I don’t think the Lord is nervous about that. He has room for all of us in His heart and in His heaven, but there is no room, beloved, for disagreement on the essentials of the gospel. The deity of Christ and His sinless life and His atoning death and His bodily resurrection, the inspiration of the Word of God.
We take our stand on the Bible as being the inerrant, infallible, God-breathed word of the living God. The oneness of the body of Christ, we’re one in Christ, “Whether we be barbarian Scythians, bond or free”, says Paul. All one in Christ, Christ is all, in all, and there’s no difference. We’re agreed that salvation is by faith, apart from anything you can do to deserve it, and that good works, as I told you a day or so ago, are a byproduct of salvation, not a cause of it. I think evangelical people, generally, those who espouse the classic, historic, Christian doctrine are agreed on these great truths, personality and work of the Holy Spirit. The worldwide commission to evangelize, that is preach the gospel to the entire world. All these things we are agreed on, isn’t that true? So, what Paul is saying to Titus is, that if you’re going to choose a person that’s going to be in leadership, He said, don’t accept someone who is weak on the fundamentals of the faith, and you get after him if he is weak, and if after two times, after the first and second admonition see, after you’ve spoken with him twice about it and he still is off course, so to speak, then don’t build him into the work. Now, in my opinion, that’s what Paul is saying there.
Heresy and how to handle it. Well, how are you going to identify all of this? Our Lord Jesus said spoke of heresy and His phrase was, “People who teach for doctrine, the commandments of men”, “who teach for doctrines”, that is revealed truth, “the commandments of men”. Now, there were hundreds of rules in the day in which our Lord Jesus walked on earth. There were hundreds of rules that were to be kept by people who wanted to be accepted into the religious community there. Rules about everything. These it been added, like barnacles to a ship, through the centuries and the rabbinical tradition then, was considered as sacred as the Scriptures themselves. So He said, “In vain do they worship Me”. “Teaching for doctrines, the commandments of mere men”. This is one source of heresy, you add to the truth of God. It’s a dangerous business when you start taking your own ideas and adding them to God’s truth and claiming that this is part of God’s revealed truth, that’s heresy.
Over in Acts 15 verse 24, they were the Judaizers who said to the new Gentile believers, that in order to be saved they, “Had to be circumcised and keep all the Mosaic law”. “To whom”, it says, “we gave no such commandment”. There are people who would add rules that you must keep and religious rights that you must observe in order to be saved. Now, this is nothing more nor less than dead works and God will have nothing to do with it. Nobody can fix himself or herself up to be worth saving. It’s by grace that we’re saved through faith and that not of ourselves that is the gift of God, not through anything that we can do, “Lest any man should boast”, says Paul.
So, there were these are the Judaizers who said, “You have to be circumcised keep all of the Mosaic law”, and then of course as you see them 1 Timothy 4:1, it’s the idea of Christ plus something else, “Giving heed”, says Paul, “to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons”, the occult. There’s a whole segment of religious life in our day that says, sure be a Christian, but you can have all sorts of the extra experiences, by dabbling in the occult and that letting the other spirits talk to you. Well, the Bible simply conveys against that. He said, “Stay away from the wizards that peep and mutter”. That’s another phrase from the Old Testament there. God will have nothing to do with anything that shortcuts, get this very carefully in your mind beloved, God will have nothing to do with anything that shortcuts the simple approach to Almighty God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Everything about the occult is it an attempt to short-circuit or to shortcut or to detour around, changing the figure of speech as you can see, detour around the clear directive of coming to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. People who dabble in the occult, inevitably are weak on salvation by grace through faith. You’ll find that almost as an axiomatic truth. People who dabble in the occult inevitably, either are or become weak, in the clear gospel of the Lord Jesus and His Lordship. Jesus is Lord, every demon in all the world, every spirit beyond the pale of human, earthly existence has to bow down that, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the father”. Stay away from the occult. It’s not Jesus plus, it’s Jesus only.
Dear Father today, keep us straight on the Gospel and keep us right with our Lord, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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