1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1 JOHN - To Tell the Truth

"Welcome, friends and neighbors, ladies and gents. Step right up. I have a miracle cure for you. You won’t be able to live without it…"

Back in the 1800’s, "snake oil salesmen" were notorious scam artists.

Their history is quite interesting.

When the Transcontinental Railroad was being built (the railroad that would eventually span North America from coast to coast), labor gangs gave snake oil to the Europeans they worked with. The snake oil was supposed to relieve joint pain. Rubbed on the painful site, snake oil claimed to bring much-needed relief.

Rival medicine salesmen, especially those selling patent medicines, ridiculed the claims. Eventually, "snake oil" became a catch-all term for many compounds marketed as miraculous remedies.

Since the FDA did not exist at this time, it was often impossible to analyze the contents of snake oil, and so the term came to symbolize a hoax, a swindle, a trick – a clever attempt to "pull the wool over somebody’s eyes."

The travelling salesman, often called "doctor," had dubious credentials. But what a great actor he was! His boisterous claims were often supported by an accomplice in the crowd – a "plant" who would attest to the value of the product in an effort to provoke enthusiastic buying.

Were these poor innocent people simply ignorant and naïve? Or were these "snake oil"salesmen simply VERY good at deception?

Things are different, and yet so very much the same, in today’s world. God’s Word warns against false teachers and prophets. It implores God’s children to be wary – to "test the spirit" of those proclaiming to speak the "truth."

Today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" is one of those warnings:

"Dear Friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world…But you belong to God…You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." (1 John 4:1, 4)

What is being said here?

That we should not believe everything we hear just because someone says it’s a message from God.

False teaching is nothing new. The early Church had to guard itself against, and sometimes cleanse itself of, those who spoke something other than the true message of the Gospel.

We are particularly susceptible to false teaching these days because of the prevalence of instant media access for virtually every message anyone wants to speak. You can watch or read or listen to just about anything you can find.

False teachers are popular with the world because they tell people what they want to hear. And that’s why we are warned against them…and asked to test them.

So, how can we test the message and the messenger?

1) Check to see if their words line up with what GOD says in His Word – are
they speaking God’s truth?
2) Evaluate their commitment to the body of believers – are they working
for the good and spiritual growth of the community of Christians, or for
their own goals?
3) Look at their life-style – is it pure and righteous and above reproach?
4) Observe the fruit of their ministries – are they loved by the world (a
false teacher will be well-received by non-believers)?

And is their message "easy on the ears?" No one wants to hear their sins denounced. They don’t want to listen to demands that they change their behavior. People want a comfortable message that makes them "feel good." They want a "good word" that makes them happy. They want to be entertained. And never ever mention sin, or judgment, or punishment, or hell…

But, here's what MOST IMPORTANT of all – What do they believe about JESUS CHRIST? Do they teach that He is fully God and fully man?

False teachers - false messages.

It's easy to be overwhelmed – but have hope!

Our verses today hold a promise. We belong to God. We have won a victory through His Truth. God’s Spirit, living within us, is greater than the spirit of the enemy. God will give us the wisdom and discernment we need. He will guide us into all truth.

Just ask Him.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”
(James 1:5)


“When in doubt, search God out!”

11 comments:

  1. The victory is indeed found in the Truth
    of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The victory
    has been won by His spirit-saving, body-
    healing, mind-renewing blood!
    It's All About Jesus,
    Sandy

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  2. Totally agree with you, Sharon, on how to discern a teaching if it is true or not. If I can back it up with Scripture then I will believe it but if I can't, then "its out the door" in my opinion. I do ask God to show me in his word if what I have heard is his truth or not. Very wise words to start this new year with!

    betty

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  3. Awesome post Sharon. This is my first time to your blog and have found it very interesting. I must admit, from time to time I do a "Bible Pick 'Ems."

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  4. Great post, Sharon. We have to know God's word in order to test what others are saying. These days there are many false teacher about. I believe we are in the time spoken about in 2 Timothy 3.

    Blessings to you, my friend. I appreciate your love of the word and in speaking the truth.

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  5. Sandy - Amen to your thoughts! Victory can only be found in God's Truth. And we must be alert, in our minds and spirits, to listen carefully to that Truth!

    Betty - Thanks for your comments. God's Word must be the "ruler" we use to "measure" what we hear. Only God can be trusted to show us the Truth. And if something doesn't agree with His Word - just as you said, OUT THE DOOR! Reminds me of "Resist the devil, and he will flee..."

    Ken - WELCOME! I'm so glad that you stopped by for a visit. It was good to know that I'm not the only one who indulges in a little "pickin" from time to time. God is faithful, and He always blesses me with His Word.

    Joan - An excellent Scripture to share! Yes, I'd have to agree - there is an awful lot of false "truth" out there nowadays. We must continue to pray for God's wisdom, and the discernment of the Spirit. We must continue to hide God's Word in our hearts...

    GOD BLESS!

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  6. amen! great thoughts this morning! love how you took apart this passage..it is so important for us to know HIs Word in order to test what is around us! It broke my heart to see recently that less than 2% of believers have read through the bible cover to cover! are we not believing it has the power we need??! great truths here, Sharon!

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  7. Mariel - Thanks. What a sad statistic! I'm ashamed to say that I didn't read my Bible through until a few years ago - but once I did, it became a vital part of my life. God's Word has a way of seeping into your spirit - and changing you. That's probably why the enemy has successfully kept so many of us from digging in, and hiding God's Word in our hearts.

    You're right - there's POWER in it!!

    And I am going to avail myself of its TRUTH!

    GOD BLESS!

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  8. Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing, and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well: www.nocondemnation81.blogspot.com

    Have a blessed day!

    In Christ,
    Dakota

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  9. Dakota - WELCOME! I am so glad that you stopped by for a visit! And thank you for joining me on my journey. I have visited your blog, and was most impressed! You have outstanding wisdom and insight. I have added myself to your follower list, and I am also glad to add you to my blogroll here on "Bible Pick 'Ems"!

    GOD BLESS!

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  10. This is so true Sharon, there are so many mega churches today that are packed to the brim beacuse the preachers is more afraid to lose weekly collections than what God thinks of them; but a sincere Christian can always discern these false teachers. Great post, thanks for sharing

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  11. Toyin - Sad, but oh so true. These churches have found a way to preach what people WANT to hear, but not what they NEED to hear. Isn't it rather amazing that Jesus NEVER pulled punches? He spoke the Truth at all times, and yes, it ruffled some feathers (to put it mildly!!) We must never compromise the Message for the masses. Truth will always be a divisive thing - Jesus said, in this way, He did not come to bring peace. If the message of Truth, coupled with the message of God's Love, is not spoken boldly - it leaves the door open to the enemy. We must continue to turn to and trust the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

    GOD BLESS!

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"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!