One of the things Paul was trying to make clear to the Galatians church was that they needed to be taught by God and led by the Holy Spirit to understand the truth. The challenge they were facing at this time was they had some men come to them who were supposed to be Christians, but these man were teaching them what was essentially a form of Christianity and Judaism combined.
They were being told by these men that if they were to follow God, they had to be circumcised and taught to follow the law of Moses.
But this is not what Paul had taught them when he and Barnabas first opened the gospel of Jesus Christ up to the Galatians. And we see in these two verses that in his own early Christian walk, Paul sought confirmation of what he was teaching in order to check that he was not making an error in what he believed and then taught to others. Continue reading “Test Your Faith”
One of the things all Christians need to do is to examine themselves and try to understand who it is they are listening to and learning from because the gospel truth is not from men, but from God.
There is only one truth of the New Covenant, just as there is only one God and Father, One Christ who is the Son of God and Saviour of all mankind. But in this world we do not see this same oneness of mind, spirit and purpose. This is especially true in the church today, for the church is widely splintered in a multitude of sects, denominations and groups, all of whom claim to be Christians, but who frequently disagree on what is the fundamental truth of the New Covenant.
That is why it is important to examine yourself and determine from whom you are learning. Is the quality of the doctrine and teachings that you accept and believe really the truth, or is it a concoction of teachings, some of which are true and some of which are not, for the purpose of bringing you under the dominion and bondage of men rather than into the freedom of Jesus Christ. Continue reading “Gospel Truth Is Not From Men”
I travel a lot each year, often going into distant cities as well as the remote towns and communities of outback Australia.
In my travels I have often visited churches and listened to the messages being preached in those churches. Some of these have been small country churches with just a handful of people, while others have been the large mega-churches with congregations in the thousands.
As I have listened to the messages preached from these various platforms, I have been often joyfully surprised at what I have heard. But at times I have left the churches stunned at the deceptive lies in messages preached and sick to the stomach at the damage being done to those who are receiving these messages.
This is the thrust of Paul’s words today where he too was horrified at how easily people in his time accepted a different gospel, a different Jesus and a different spirit than what is taught in the truth. And they submit to these lies and accept them readily. It was happening then, and I would go so far as to say it is worse today. Continue reading “A Different Gospel”
How many denominations, sects, groups, cults and churches exist under the banner of being Christians? I’m quite certain I have no idea, and nor does any other man upon this earth. Only God knows how many there may be. But there seems to have been a challenge within Christendom going back hundreds of years as new groups form and splinter off from other churches to follow Christ in their own way. And this is expected for we are told as much in the Bible.
Furthermore we are told that there will be divisions in the churches and that divisions are necessary. But with all of that upheaval it can be difficult to know truth from error, and it could become hard to decipher what is true and what is not, or who holds the keys to the truth.
So it becomes increasingly important to learn the truth for yourself and to seek it diligently, regardless of which church you may be affiliated with. In the end we will be judged as individuals, not as members of a church. The church serves an important purpose, but we must learn to stand and seek the truth that will enable us to stand regardless of what any specific church teaches. Continue reading “Christians Unite”
Have you ever heard the expression “belts and braces?” It refers to the process of ensuring that something is checked and then double-checked to ensure it is right.
If you look at the concept from a clothing perspective, it is like a man who is worried that his trousers might fall down. To ensure they don’t, he wears a belt AND he wears braces to hold his pants up. Are both belts and braces necessary? Probably not, but by wearing both he is making doubly certain that he will not be embarrassed if gravity takes a hold of his trousers!
In business, especially among engineers, the concept of “belts and braces” is often seen. When they want to make sure something is done correctly, or a design will work correctly and safely, they go to greater extremes than might otherwise be necessary. And in some cases this is what we want, especially to ensure something is safe.
This scripture clearly tells us that this whole world has been and continues to be polarised by Jesus Christ.
It was because Jesus came that a line in the sand was drawn separating people clearly into two camps: the good and the evil. No other person ever had such an impact on the world as He did.
And we must learn and understand why this polarisation exists. Jesus explained in Matthew 5:48 that, “You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is because the power of the teachings of Jesus and the working of the new covenant are aimed at bringing man into perfection that the whole world has been polarised. In Christ we learn the difference between good and evil, and we learn to discern what is good and what is evil and unfortunately in this world there are things that are evil that the world calls good and vice versa.
Those of us who teach and preach the word of God need to listen very carefully to the words in this section of scripture.
Our work is ministry and ministering to the spiritual needs of those we come into contact with. Our work is to feed people with spiritual food so as to nourish and replenish the spirit’s of men and women, so that they do not starve and shrivel for lack of God’s sustenance.
We are stewards of God’s word and we need to use it to instruct, teach, encourage and help others so that they will grow to maturity in Jesus Christ. This is our mission, and these words today exemplify the extent and extremes of that mission. So you teachers out there, listen carefully and prayerfully. Continue reading “Faultless Ministry”
As I mentioned in my last post, there is a commonly held myth in the modern church that tongues were given only to the early church so that they could spread the gospel. Likewise it is held by these same people today that there is now no need for tongues.
Both of these beliefs are false. Tongues are a gift from God and are as much available to believers today as they were in the early church. But they are not and never were given to teach or to proselytise or make disciples in the early church.
And in this section of scripture, Paul absolutely smashes that idea out of the park. It is a false teaching in the modern church and should be discarded and rejected if you seek the truth.
Purity in the church is important for the sake of holding fast the truth of the new covenant and to ensure what is taught is aligned with the ways of Jesus Christ.
And just as the doctrines and teachings are to be pure and undefiled, so too the behaviours of those in the church need to be pure and undefiled. This is the issue Paul addresses with the church at Corinth in this section of scripture.
In fact all of this first letter to the Corinthians up to this point has been about attaining and maintaining purity in the church. And there are several good reasons why this is so important.
The way to life cannot and must not be compromised. There is no place for compromise in seeking the truth and the ways of God, for truth is not compromised.
What is leaven? In a baking sense it is an agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by fermentation. In a more general sense it is an element, influence, or agent that works subtly to lighten, enliven, or modify a whole by permeating through the substance to which it is added.
From a spiritual perspective, and what this teaching is trying to tell us, is that some things can permeate what we believe and like leaven can subtly modify our beliefs from a strict adherence to the truth. This is the issue with leaven in the spiritual sense because it pollutes the truth, and it is a great problem in the church today.