Sunday, 6 December 2020

What God Expects

 Scripture:  2 Timothy 3 v 8 - 12:  "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

9  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
10  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

The wizards of Pharoah's kingdom were called in to oppose Moses in his powerful appeal to allow the Hebrew people to leave Egypt after 400 years of slavery and captivity.  When Moses threw down his rod it became a serpent.  Jannes and Jambres threw down their wands and they were also turned into serpents, but the rod of Moses devoured their serpents.  God's power through Moses was greater than Satan's power through the two wizards.

This meant that whatever plagues God chose to send through Moses onto the kingdom of hard-hearted Pharoah, were controlled only by Him.  God expects to be obeyed or consequences of a Biblical nature will follow.  After ten calamitous plagues Pharoah submitted to our Almighty God and set the Hebrews free.  

Like those wizards, men of corrupt minds who resist the truth are very much in evidence today.  Even in our churches.  The importance of sound doctrine or true prophecy has been lost to rather tickling itching ears.  Pastors, preachers and prophets now give the congregation what pleases them, uplifting them when they rather need a strong word that will put them back on right path to salvation.

These words from the late Dave Hunt, written in the Berean Call years ago still bring what God expects into focus.

"In pointing to himself as an example, Paul told Timothy, "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions..." (2 Timothy 3:10-11). Notice how doctrine comes first, and out of that flowed Paul's "manner of life, purpose, faith," etc. We can't escape the necessity of being Bereans, sound in doctrine, by saying we're "just going to live for Christ."

Paul's manner of life was rooted in the doctrine he believed, and thereby grew into that purpose for which Christ had redeemed him. He was not his own but a slave of Christ, purchased by His blood. From that doctrinal root (the truth which had gripped his heart and to which he was totally committed) blossomed a faith so strong that nothing could shake it. Thus he persevered in "longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions...." A life without such a foundation is wasted, purposeless and leads to eventual remorse."

If our doctrine, the foundation of our belief, is not pure and solid, then it is tainted and shaky.  If we have been brought up in the faith with errors and adulterated scripture, we are sinking in quicksand and not realising our peril.  

As the days grow spiritually darker, the opportunities for changing people's minds about what they strongly (wrongly) believe are getting fewer and fewer.  Billions of people are in extreme danger of eternal fire of Hell, who all believe that they are destined for Heaven. 

How many Roman Catholics, for instance, are born again believers, baptized in water, and in the Holy Spirit with signs following?  In John 3 v 3 - 7: "  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 
4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

How many Anglicans, Methodists, and other mainline congregations have obeyed these words?  How many preachers still Christen babies and for what reason?  
Acts 2 v 38: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

How many 3 month old babies can repent ?  It's a firm tradition that cannot be challenged.  Many new born again believers resist immersion in water baptism because they were "done when we were babies".  When I visited the USA a few years ago I was blessed to be able to baptize quite a few people who were surprised to know that baby baptism only gave you a wet head.

This is just one error that can rob you of eternity in Heaven with God.  If it applies to you please find a born again believer and get this right.  God expects obedience to His Word and His Word is Jesus.  

To face the end times we need unshakeable faith.  It takes sound doctrine and no compromise to accomplish this.  Ask Jesus to show you where your church's teachings differ from His Word.  Rather suffer mockery, contempt and persecution in the here and now than regret ignoring God's warnings in eternity.  Mistakes can only be corrected before we die, not after.

Our Father loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved.  He went the extra million miles to save us but He expects us to use the Holy Bible as His terms and conditions to survive the world.  His grace will extend to honest errors and silly slips but He expects us to know what is written in the Bible and to comply with it.  

During the time of the Iron Curtain cutting Russia off from the rest of humanity, owning a Bible meant 5 years in a horrible prison.  Bibles were very scarce but the people were desperate for the Word of God.  A Bible was taken apart and each person given one page at a time, to copy, read and hide from authorities.  Every word was sacred to them.  Their faith was so strong that eventually the Communist government realised that persecution made them too strong, and they stopped doing it. 

It's when we stand against serious error that we please the Lord.  He will work with us to expose the wrong and confirm the truth.  Each one must be accountable for his own walk with the Lord, that it is a worthy and humble walk that glorifies and exalts Him.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help us to get our own lives straight with Your Word.  Help us to turn deaf ears to errors and twists in teachings and withstand preachers and prophets who only pander to those who only want to hear things that please the ears.  Let us consider all Your Word and conform to it to be strong in these last days and help others too.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.