It seems that so much of our world, including what people think of as the church, is in darkness and in dire need of the knowledge of the truth. And yet there are so very few today who are willing to listen, let alone who earnestly desire to know the truth. Rather, they are only inclined to hear the words of the false prophets who will tickle their ears for a price and tell them what they want to hear. Paul wrote that the time would come when men would not tolerate sound doctrine, and surely that time is now upon us. For there has been a great falling away as men have turned their ears away from the truth and turned aside to myths. Not only do they not hear the truth, but they resist the truth and try to put out any light that might shine on their darkness and reveal their nakedness. For this reason the Lord would have us learn prudence lest we give dogs what is sacred and cast our pearls before swine.
We cannot be encouraged enough to shut out the din of today’s world which vies against the Lord Jesus for our love. John wrote,
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the man who does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15-17
The cacophony of the world drowns out the still small voice of God so that we cannot hear; it’s lusts blind us so we cannot see. Like Abraham, God calls us to forsake our home in this world and follow Him into the land of promise, the kingdom of God—righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If we are to be true sons of Abraham we must obey and go, even when we do not know where we are going. For there have always been those who falsely claim to be the true sons of Abraham. And yet if all God wanted was their religious cant he could raise up inanimate stones for this purpose (Luk 3:8, 19:40). Those who offer God the fruit of their lips and not of their lives are no different than the harlot who loves only with her flesh and not with her heart. They are no different than the wayward woman who has vowed to love the husband of her youth and yet commits adultery in secret. “You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). These words speak directly to the harlot churches of today that have followed after the world and its lusts rather than leading the world into the truth that sets men free (cf. Prov 7:6-27, esp vs 19).
Nevertheless, those who are the true sheep of the Shepherd hear His voice and follow Him. They hear His voice because they don’t allow the world to drone it out. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice (Joh 10:4-5). There are many voices in the din of the world that sound like the true Jesus and who beckon His sheep to come and follow them. But His sheep are not deceived, because they know the voice of the true shepherd and are sober and alert, undistracted by the things of the world. They aren’t distracted by the things of the world because they heed the word of God and do not love the world nor the things of the world.
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come” (1 Jn 2:18). Reflecting the nature of their master Satan these masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Cor 11:15) and will deceive the hearts of those who do not know the voice of the true Jesus. For this reason it is all the more important that we listen carefully for the voice of the Shepherd and be certain that it is His. For it is so easy in a time of apostasy to suppose we are close to God when we are not. It is very easy to gather around us a host of teachers who will tell us just what we want to hear and never offend our cursed flesh, who will confirm us in our stiff-necked stubborn rebellion against God and give us a false security that we are saved when we are not. It is so easy to focus only on those who surround us and console ourselves that we are no worse than they are and that all these people couldn’t be wrong. And yet it is with such great ease that the masses find themselves on the broad road that leads to destruction and why so few find the small gate and narrow path that leads to life.
For this reason Paul wrote, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor 10:12). If all we do is measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves with ourselves, we will perish in our lack of understanding (cf. Hos 4:6). Only when we measure ourselves against the word of God and compare ourselves with its truth will we come to the knowledge of the truth that truly sets us free from our sins. The word of God exhorts us,
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you‑‑unless, of course, you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5
Unfortunately, so much of what people call “church” today is unwilling to consider that such verses exist in Scripture because they contradict their traditional dogmas and might offend the carnal flesh of some tither. And if that happened they might not be able to make the next building payment, or worse, not pay the pastor. Then how would they be able to continue their ministry saving all those people for Jesus? For God has given them over to a powerful delusion (2 Thess 2:11) so that they truly believe they are helping God out (Mat 7:22) despite the fact that they are evildoers who have failed the test and whom Jesus never knew. And so they just add a little water to the choice wine of the word of God (Is 1:22) to keep everybody happy and make everyone (including Satan) feel welcome. It is in this way that the masses are led down the broad road that leads to destruction.
Our prayer for the reader is that you would be sober and alert in these days of great evil (1 Pet 5:8). For Satan is enraged at those who would bring forth Christ in their lives and will stop at nothing to destroy those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17). Truly this calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus (Rev 14:12). So do not let your garments be soiled with the filth of this world, but persevere in truth and righteousness. May your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God (Phil 1:9-11).
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- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?