The Lord has led me to re-post a 2012 blog today as a wrap up word of instruction to follow up the four types of arguments against His program for man presented in this month’s 2011 Commentary Series. This instruction speaks plainly of what the heart and stance of the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ should be as it concerns correctly interpreting, applying and standing on the already written Word of God. As with everything God wants us to be and do, our Lord Jesus Christ set the example! Indeed, right from the beginning of His ministry when He was tested in the wilderness He provided the needed example and set the standard for us.
In replying to the temptation of Satan to use His own power to satisfy His hunger in acting independent of the Father, our great Champion and Hero, Jesus Christ quoted from and stood on Deuteronomy 8:3: ‘“It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,”’” (Matthew 4:1-4, NKJV). Please note our Lord did not preface His statement with “I think, I feel or I believe.” Some smart aleck will immediately declare, “Well, we are not Jesus.” This is true. However, He purposely conducted Himself as our example to follow in the humility of a disciple and power of the Holy Spirit (John 13:12-17; 1 Peter 2:21). It is to the extent that we foolishly do not do this today that professing Western Christianity and so many of our churches are in a mess!
Our mess is made worse by those who arrogantly insist on reading into Scripture what they want as purposeful revisionists to justify their evil theologies and deeds. Such persons will not escape destruction for this (2 Peter 2:1-3, 3:14-16). Truly, our omniscient and infinitely wise God has given us the special revelation of His Word to look to and live (John 6:63)! Jesus, the living Word and Son of God constantly directed His friends and foes alike back to the already written Word of God. In all of His teaching He quoted it directly, illuminated it or illustrated and applied its truths by use of parable for example. We are to do no less; answering all of life’s issues with what God’s Word says!
Originally Posted April 29, 2012
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV). I have lost count of the number of times I have had to direct professing Christians back to what the Word of God actually says to correct bad thinking and doctrine. While it is tempting for all of us to believe at any given moment that we have such intelligence, knowledge and wisdom to think and utter profound things, when it comes to the things of God, none of us are that brilliant. The only safe place to be as it concerns the things of God is in His Word as a devoted, eternal learner re-saying only what He has already said!
How many doctrinal squabbles, compromised churches, sects, denominations and even cults calling themselves Christian would go away if “I think, I feel, I believe” were not allowed as a preface when speaking of the things of God, but only, “This is what the Word of God says”? Indeed, the “profane and idle babblings” that made their way into the 1st century churches and which the apostle Paul gives his godly counsel about how to combat in 2 Timothy 2:15 quoted above are legion today. And why? Because we have fewer students of God’s Word seeking to be approved of by Him in understanding it and instead have those who use the Word corruptly to hold up their own (and other men’s) fleshy thinking that ruins rather than builds up the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14, 16-18).
In my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, we teach men that a very important component of aspiring to be one is studying, internalizing and living out God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit! We are to be diligent--exerting persevering, painstaking effort--in studying and seeking God to know and understand His Word. When we are convinced by God that we have His Word right, then we proceed to teach others in humility what He has said from what is already written. When I have spiritual questions, I want to know first, what does the Word say, not what Dr. whoever said? If I am taught and approved of by God in His Word, then I will never be ashamed from getting it wrong and worse, ruining souls for which I will have to give an account (James 3:1).
Do you feel inadequate to “rightly divide the word of truth?” Excellent! You are just the person God is seeking to teach His Word (Proverbs 1:1-7; John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-14). The first step in approaching Bible study for any purpose is the humility to seek God in prayer for a proper understanding. After all, the Bible is God’s Word. Who best to interpret it to and help you understand it than God (Luke 24:45; 2 Peter 1:20-21)? Additionally, there are some fairly common principles of Bible interpretation such as paying attention to the context of verses you are studying you can learn from books on the subject. This and other principles demand your diligence to apply as God requires so that combined with His help, your study is fruitful and your biblically drawn doctrine meets His approval.1
1 As the Lord led many years ago as a pastor, I outlined seven commonly taught principles of Bible interpretation in a one page document from the excellent non-sectarian
book, Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. Although I would have you get the book, I have provided my Bible Interpretation Document as a free download in our Strong
Man Store as a help to any reader interested in doing Bible interpretation as it is commonly taught in biblically grounded seminaries. There is a right way to interpret and
apply Scripture. Go to https://www.thestrongmanofgod.org/Strong-Man-Store to get your free Bible Interpretation Document download.
Scripture is consistent in declaring the divine hostility toward the corrupt thinking of men in their many concocted philosophies that take them away from the simple deductions that lead to God who is the Fountainhead of truth. Nevertheless, the same Scripture anticipates such behavior from rank sinners who in the face of empirical bread crumbs as vast and luminous as the universe still willfully refuse to acknowledge their Creator. What pains the heart of God above the foolish heart of the unbeliever, is for those that profess to know, love and serve Him to reject His will, way and Word through leaning on their own understanding or if you will, philosophies (Proverbs 3:5).
For years professing Christian men that have not wanted to be made to feel inferior by their secular counterparts have sought to raise the level of academic acceptance of Christianity as their discipline and credentials through personal philosophical musings they call theology. While a number have intended good to the Body of Christ, the result today is a mass of confusion and division no serious Bible student can honestly believe was commissioned by God. When the ancient standard of interpreting and applying God’s Word as it has already been written (Mark 12:18-34) is abandoned in the cause of tolerance, nobody can be wrong and everyone is potentially right or so these self-made wise folk wrongly allow. They are deceived (Jeremiah 8:8-9)!
From professing Christianity’s spiritual morass has come the scripturally unconscionable Christian racist, narcissist, chauvinist, feminist, abortionist, sexual immoralist etc. As has very often been the case throughout the epoch of God’s grace and my own experience, the faithful must grasp why a certain consequence of this is that among our worst persecutors are and will be professing Christians as disobedient religionists and impostors following philosophical arguments that contrary to Scripture, condone their evil conduct (John 16:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:12-13). As I warn in this final blog of the 2011 Commentary Series, sinful human philosophies are not part of Christ’s narrow way nor are they a hedge against the approaching severe, but just judgment of God among American churches!
Originally Published June 2011
The churches of Jesus Christ have no business whatsoever being divided into philosophical camps. As the apostle Paul pointed out in his rebuke of the first century church at Corinth, division among professing Christians is a sure indicator of carnality (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:1-4). Yet, nearly 2,000 years later in a world of 33,000 religions, churches are divided into over 3,000 denominations and sects.1 Even within those denominations and sects there is division and philosophical squabbling over issues of doctrine that are plainly settled in Scripture. This state of affairs is not the will of Christ who desires unity and peace within His Body (John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:1-6).
Human philosophy is all about what sinful men think. No matter how logical or ordered those thoughts, the philosophies of sinful man always come up short. Why? Because when he begins to think he does so in the prideful assumption he has superior knowledge and wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18-20). As it concerns the topic of a Creator, for example, sinful men have looked at the undeniable evidence in the creation (including within themselves) and decided there is not one. Instead, they have made fools of themselves suppressing the truth with lies such as “The Theory of Evolution” and certified their Creator’s just wrath against them (Romans 1:18-22).
As a created being, man must begin to seek an ordered understanding about existence from the One that gave him existence, God Almighty (Genesis 1:26, 2:7). Truly, men are fools who would rather be proud descendants of monkeys (a derogatory accusation once heaped upon my slave forefathers to justify their enslavement prior to the coming of the “enlightened” thinking of evolution) than creatures from earth’s dust uniquely made in the glorious image of the living God! All born again Christians are supposed to be united on the side of the Lord and His Word that He created us. His Church is not a worldly classroom where contrary views with Scripture are tolerated.
All born again Christians are also supposed be one in our understanding of God's creation of man as male and female in this present age. Their roles and responsibilities are not a matter of clearly flawed evolutionary development as the world philosophizes, but the purposeful and perfectly ordered assignment of an omniscient Creator (Genesis 1:27-28). Evolution needs tweaking by its creatures today because it made them unequal. God--who shows no partiality--from the beginning created man one and assigned him to imitate divine Headship over a equal counterpart separated out from him (Genesis 2:18-24, 3:20; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Timothy 2:12-15).
Thousands of worldly religions and philosophies boil down to the reasoning of sinful men versus the declarations of a holy Creator made in His Word. In the churches, nearly all philosophical divisions can be traced to a willful break with the plain teaching of Scripture. Amazingly, God addresses even this latter day maelstrom of confusion and warns twice through Solomon--a man endued with His wisdom: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death," (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25, NKJV). Common sense dictates everybody cannot be right. This is why our Lord Jesus also warns about carefully considering which of only two philosophical ways we will choose.
In Matthew 7:13, the Lord Jesus urges His hearers to "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it," (NKJV). Apparently, God is not as "open minded" as philosophers, false prophets and corrupt teachers would have us believe. There is a right way in Christ and it is found in the narrow way of obedience to God's Word, not the many speculative offerings of sinful human philosophy in and outside of the churches (Colossians 2:1-10). The narrow gate and way of Christ alone leads to eternal life and sadly, He says relatively speaking, "there are few that find it," (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:22-30).
The days are coming and even now are close at hand in America when it will not matter what denomination or sect of Christianity professed believers belong to. Anti-Christians will equally hate and violently persecute all calling themselves Christians (Matthew 24:9-13). Therefore, we ought to quickly repent of our philosophical argument fed divisions or else shamefully, days shortly ahead will force us to do so. Then it will be seen who really is on the narrow and difficult way to life. Aspiring strong men and great women of God who live to please Him and do His will to the death on His side will be prominent among those in that narrow way (Revelation 12:7-11). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 I mistakenly transposed the number of world religions with denominations when I took their figures from my original source. I am now completely blown away to see that
Christian denominations estimated at 33,000 would outnumber the total number of religions in the world estimated by David Barrett in his 2001 World Christian
Encyclopedia to be 10,000--see https://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/how-many-christian-denominations-worldwide/. However, while those doing the
estimating concede it is nearly impossible to get an accurate count, incredibly, their estimates only get worse going forward with the Center for the Study of Global
Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary estimating that the number of Christian denominations by mid-2014 had climbed to 45,000 and are projected to
reach 55,000 by 2025 (see the sub link under “The Estimates,” Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the Web Site cited in the link provided above). This is a great
end time evil.
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