The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

The Purpose of God’s Power

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 10, 2014

God’s power comes to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ to enable us to “rise from the dead” (spiritually) and walk in newness of life. Both the gospel message and Jesus Himself are called “the power of God.” (Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 1:18, 24) To see a person born again as a new creature is the greatest miracle I can think of–much more amazing than a physical healing.

God’s power is also given to the born again believer to enable him to wage spiritual battle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The believer is given the spiritual armor of truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God (the Sword of the Spirit), and prayer. (Eph. 6:10-18) I note in this passage that while Paul seeks boldness to speak as he ought, he does not seek to be free of his chains! (19-20) While he has an awareness of all the power available to him, he does not try to misuse that power. He would later explain, “I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.” (2 Tim. 2:9)

That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. (Col. 1:13-14)

Paul says believers are strengthened by God’s power forall patience and longsuffering with joy.” Isn’t it a bit trite, then, to speak of that glorious power as the means by which we secure some temporal thing? Has His strengthening been provided so we can win the lottery and ensnare our own souls? Or is it provided so that we can be patient in tribulation (Rom. 12:12) and joyful in longsuffering?

How many times have we heard people say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) They often mean that they can get the new job, or buy the new house. But what was Paul’s context in that verse?

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. (Phil. 4:11-14)

Paul did not say that the power of God would shield him from distress, abasement, hunger or need! Rather he said the power of God would strengthen him to be content even when suffering.

Many false teachers have reinterpreted the concept of God’s power through the (very American) filter of materialism, self-preservation, and self-exaltation. These deceivers decree that money will flow into their bank accounts. They have body guards and idolatrous followers who believe whatever they say. They put on circus-like shows where they make people shake or laugh or fall down. Yes, there is a power at work when you can get thousands of people to give you their money after you’ve spent two hours lying to them. And there is a power at work when you can demonize people and they claim it is the Holy Spirit. But this is not God’s power; it’s the power of satan (Acts 26:18; 2 Thess. 2:9).

This false “power” is nothing new. The Old Testament prophets spoke of their lying contemporaries, how they were given to covetousness and were like greedy dogs which never have enough, only looking out for themselves. (Jer. 6:13; Isa. 56:10-11) Jesus warned that we must not give into covetousness (Lk. 12:15), for such will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:10). Jesus also warned us about self-preservation–He said if we love our lives in this world, we will lose them! But if we hate our lives in this world, we will have eternal life. (Jn. 12:25) God’s power was not given to us so that we could have the best of earth. God’s power was given to deliver us from the power of darkness (which rules the earth) into the heavenly kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God. (2 Tim. 1:7-8)

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What Spirit is Working in You?

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 27, 2011

And you [saints] hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:1-2)

I’d like to draw your attention to the last phrase, “the prince of the power of the air [satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”  The saints to whom Paul was writing had walked according to the course of this world only in time past.  Since then they had died with Christ, and been raised to a new holy life. Their conduct was no longer disobedient toward God, for those who are disobedient now are still being controlled by satan.

Many profess to be children of God and filled with the Spirit of God. However, the tree is known by the fruit it produces (Luke 6:44).

The Spirit of God is the HOLY Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to and finds rest in only those who obey God (Acts 5:32).  If a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, his works will be holy, for the Spirit working in him will produce fruit after His own kind (holiness). The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love (obedience to God’s commands–Jn. 14:23), joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance [self-control] (Gal 5:22-23).

If the fruit being produced in a man is fleshly and disobedient to God, the spirit at work in that man is the devil. He can say he believes in Jesus all he wants; even the devil himself believes in Jesus. Not only that, but the devil trembles, knowing that Jesus will soon crush him beneath the feet of the saints (Jam. 2:19; Rom. 16:20).  What the devil will not do is obey Jesus. And those who are taken captive by satan to do his will also live in disobedience (2 Tim. 2:26). As their father does, so do they.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:44a)

Those who are doing “the lusts of your father [the devil]” are yet children of the devil.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (I John 3:10)

Are you DOING righteousness? Not merely acknowledging that Christ was righteous, but doing likewise–living as He lived? Have you crucified your flesh with its affections and lusts?–If not, you are not yet Christ’s (Gal. 5:24). If you are still walking after the flesh, be assured that you will die (forfeit eternal life; Rom. 8:13). Let no one deceive you that you can walk after your flesh and yet possess eternal life.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Gal. 5:19-21)

Those who DO such things shall NOT INHERIT the kingdom of God. For King Jesus Himself will send His angels to remove from His kingdom all things that cause sin and those who DO sin and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41-42). It makes no difference what you believe in your mind and profess with your mouth, if your works continue to be unrighteous.  For many will say “Lord, Lord” on judgment day, and the Lord will turn them away forever because they did not put His words into practice in their everyday lives (Matt. 7).

So I ask you, dear reader, what spirit is working in you? Is it the Holy Spirit of God, working what is righteous and obedient to the Lord? Or is it the spirit of the devil, working what is disobedient?

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  (Eph. 5:3-7)

“Let it not once be named among you,” for the children of disobedience have only wrath to look forward to! Those who live and preach that we can only be disobedient for the rest of our lives have missed the whole purpose of the gospel of grace; they do not understand that Jesus has come to redeem us from all sin and purify for Himself a peculiar people who no longer walk in disobedience, but are zealous for doing what is good (Titus 2:11-14).

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [lust], and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. (Col. 3:5-6)

Again, the children of disobedience will have wrath!  If this describes you, your only hope is to repent of doing evil, and turn to the Lord in obedience, trusting in His sacrifice to atone for your past rebellion.  Do not receive the grace of God in vain; do not do injury to the Spirit of grace by continuing in willful disobedience after coming to know the truth, lest you be considered worthy of greater punishment than those who despised Moses’ law and died without mercy (Heb. 10:26-29).

You must let the devil do his works in you no longer, giving him no place (Eph. 4:27).  Submit yourself to God (letting Him reign and rule in your life); resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam. 4:7).  The Son of God to Whom you submit was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn. 3:8). In becoming Christ’s servant and the servant of righteousness, you will no longer be the servant of sin or the devil. In submitting to His yoke (both His control and His divine assistance), you will find rest for your soul at last.  Follow the Lamb of God–Jesus–who only did what pleased the Father (Jn. 8:29).  As He lived, so you are called to live in this world (I Jn. 4:17).  If you do this, you will have confidence before Him at His coming because you have been abiding in Him (I John 2:28) and His Spirit has been living in you (I Jn. 3:24).

May God bless you and dwell in you by His Spirit!

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The Field is the World

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 15, 2011

When discussing the rampant sin in the professing church, how often have you heard, “The church is full of wheat and tares. We can’t tell the difference between the two, so we just have to wait until the end and let God remove the tares.”

I submit to you that this is a wrong interpretation of the passage in question, Matt. 13:24-30. Let us examine it.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.   But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.   So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?   He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.   Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Notice that when tares appeared, the servants of the householder immediately recognized them as tares rather than wheat.  Servants of God can recognize the children of the devil and the children of God. “For every tree is known by his own fruit.” (Lk. 6:44)

Later in the chapter, when the disciples asked Jesus to help them understand this parable, Jesus declared the following:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;  the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.   As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;   and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.   Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (vss. 37-43)

The field is not the church. I repeat, THE FIELD IS NOT THE CHURCH!  The place where wheat and tares must be allowed to co-mingle until the end is THE WORLD.  In the world, there will always be wicked people and righteous people. If the righteous were to go about “gathering up” the tares (killing them!) before the appointed time, it would bring hurt to the wheat. Instead, the righteous must wait patiently for the angels to gather “all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” and cast them into the furnace of fire.  Vengeance is the Lord’s, and He will repay. Untold harm has come to the testimony of the church when “holy wars” have been carried out in the name of Christ. These are the premature “gathering of tares” to which Christ was referring. While the door of salvation stands open, it is still possible for the children of the devil to repent and believe, and become children of God. In the meantime, the servants of God must be content to allow the wheat and tares to grow up together in THE WORLD (not the church!)

Now it is true that wicked men have crept into the church unawares, perverting the doctrines of God (Jude 4), but that is another subject.  The subject at hand is whether or not the righteous (wheat) and the wicked (tares) are permitted to grow up and produce fruit together in the church.

The belief that the the field of wheat and tares is the church, rather than the world as Christ taught, has caused leaven to spread unchecked in the church. This parable has been wrongfully used to ignore the Apostle Paul’s admonitions in I Cor. 5 to:

MOURN over sin in the church (vs 2),

JUDGE the deeds of wicked men in the church (vs 3, 12),

DELIVER sinners to satan for the destruction of the flesh (vs 5),

PURGE the leaven of sin out of the church (vs 7),

STOP having fellowship with wicked people who profess to be Christians (vss 9-11), and

PUT such people “away from among yourselves” (vs 13).

If we are to do all these things, is it not obvious that we must first judge the tree by its own fruit?–that we must discern whose works are inspired by the devil?

Paul asks in I Cor. 6:3-5,

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

Paul is reproving the church for failing to judge appropriately! Is there no one in the church who is wise enough to judge between what is good and evil? How can this be, among the very people who will judge angels?

Again, in Eph. 5:3-7, Paul writes:

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.   Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.   Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

We, the saints, are not to allow wicked people to remain “among us” in the church, turning a blind eye to their wicked works, saying “God will deal with the tares in His own time.” We are to purposefully refuse to be partakers in other men’s sins, and to keep ourselves pure (I Tim. 5:22). This means there must be church discipline. The sinner must be confronted in love, and commanded to repent. If he does not repent, we must separate from his company. There is not to be a mixing of holy and profane in the house of God, but a distinct difference between the two. It is this very mixing of holy and profane that has caused untold reproaches to fall unjustly on the name of Christ!

When sin is rampant in the church, and you hear the tired excuse, “God will deal with the tares in His own time,” and “it isn’t for me to judge,” remember that Jesus said THE FIELD IS THE WORLD.  Stand against the false teaching that the field is the church. The Bride of Christ that Jesus will come for is a pure Bride that lives in daily communion with Him, hearing His voice and following Him, and having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness that the children of the devil continue to produce.  Obey the Holy Ghost-inspired words of Paul–“Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

God bless you!

 

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Spiritual Drunkenness, Part 2–“Be Sober”

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 21, 2010

Be Sober

In the previous post, I shared Scriptures that both condemned drunkenness and revealed that spiritual drunkenness is a judgment sent by God on the disobedient. Now I would like to examine the Scriptures that command us to be sober, and examine 2 “proof texts” used by false teachers who peddle the evil spirit of drunkenness.  All Scriptures are in the KJV version.

Amazingly, the phrase “be sober” (or its equivalent) appears 12 times in the New Testament! For simplicity, I have included only the parts of the verses which apply to our study, but I encourage you to look up the verses in your Bible or Bible program.

Scriptures Commanding Sobriety

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. I Thess. 5:6-8

A bishop then must be…sober, of good behaviour…I Tim. 3:4

Even so must their wives be grave…sober…I Tim. 3:11

For a bishop must be blameless…sober…holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:7-9

Note: the teachers peddling spiritual drunkenness are neither holy and temperate, nor are they holding fast the faithful word and sound doctrine.

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith…Titus 2:2

The aged women likewise [sober like the aged men], that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness…Titus 2:3

That they [the aged women] may teach the young women to be sober…Titus 2:4

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. Titus 2:6

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Titus 2:11-12

Note: The grace of God that brings salvation teaches that we should live soberly! To be given to a drunken state–regardless of how it is achieved–is to follow worldly lusts.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13

Note: Those who are not sober minded are not “girding up the loins” of their minds. Their minds are open and vulnerable to attack!

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. I Peter 4:7

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8

This is a command with a terrible consequence for disobedience! My friend, if you refuse to be sober minded, the devil is going to devour you. These words of warning are from the Lord for our good.

The command to be sober has gone out to the bishop, the bishop’s wife, the aged men, the aged women, the young women, and the young men! That’s EVERYONE! Are you going to obey the Word of God, or are you going to obey some staggering teacher who is clearly in rebellion against God and desires to defile you as well?

Examining the Scriptures The Drunkards Twist

First, we must have a close look at Acts 2:1-18.

1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place…

4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

First, I would like you to observe that when the men spoke with other tongues, there were people present who understood their words in their own languages (vs. 6). In fact, they heard them speaking the wonderful works of God (vs. 11).

Second, observe that the ones who accused these men of being drunk were mockers (vs. 13). Mockers are not known for speaking truth.

Third, observe that Peter did not use this occasion to teach the crowd that a new way to get drunk had been given by the Lord. He did not say, “No longer do you have to buy wine; now you can get drunk spiritually–come, get some!” In fact, Peter quickly corrected the false accusation with, “These are NOT drunken”! (vs. 15) Can it be any clearer? They were not drunk!

If one reads to the end of the chapter, one can see that Peter used this miracle to point to Jesus–Jesus had been crucified by sinners, raised up by God, and now it was the crowd’s responsibility to repent and believe the gospel! Nowhere did Peter teach that spiritual drunkenness had occurred.

Next, let’s look at Ephesians 5:18.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

This verse is often used to say that instead of being drunk with wine, we should be drunk with the Holy Spirit. I submit to you that being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is NOT the same as being “drunk.” The Christian is commanded to be sober; therefore he must be filled with the Spirit and sober at the same time. The term “drunk” should NEVER be used in conjunction with any work of the Holy Spirit, who always promotes sobriety and holiness. Let’s examine the immediate context to see what Paul meant by being “filled with the Spirit.”

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Eph. 5:18-21

So we see that those who are filled with the Spirit will build themselves and one another up with Psalms/spiritual songs, they will abound with thankfulness to God, and they will submit to one another in the fear of God. If you continue reading, Paul goes on to talk about loving one another. Being filled with the Spirit produces love for God and men.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17

The Holy Spirit empowers hope (Rom. 15:13), gives joy (Acts 13:52), empowers witnessing (Acts 1:8), encourages speaking the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31), comforts those who have the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31), sanctifies (Romans 15:16), and teaches (I Cor. 2:13). Nowhere does the Holy Ghost, who is first of all HOLY, cause or condone the sin of drunkenness.

There are mockers among us telling us to get drunk spiritually. They are blind leaders of the blind.  They claim spiritual drunkenness is a “higher plane” or “something deeper” to be sought after. They are like the serpent in the garden telling Eve that she can have more knowledge than God has allowed. Had Eve been at her husband’s side and submitted to the Word of God ALREADY given, she would not have been deceived. And if the church would remain glued to the side of Jesus (her husband) and be submitted to the Word of God ALREADY given, she also would reject this evil “drunk in the spirit” doctrine, seeing it for what it really is–the same old serpent offering the same old bait on the same old hook.

Be not deceived. The Lord has already commanded, “BE SOBER!”

God bless you.

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Division in the Church

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 28, 2009

Why is the professing Body of Christ seemingly so divided, and who or what is causing it?After all, we all claim to be following the Holy Spirit. That should give all sides something very serious to think about. We can’t all believe different things and still all be right.

According to the Scriptures, here are 3 things that cause division in the professing Church:

1) False teachers allowed to remain in the professing Church

Any time a teacher leaves the Truth, he is sowing division.

Romans 16:17-18 “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

It is very important to keep in the “teaching we have learned.” That is, the doctrine of Christ and His apostles found in the Bible (not the doctrine taught in a church building or seminary. This is an important distinction.) Those who leave the teaching of Christ and His apostles and teach some other wind of doctrine, or doctrine of demons, are serving themselves and dividing the Body of Christ.

2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”

The “way of Truth” will fall into disrepute because of these false teachers whom “many will follow.” The phrase “denying the sovereign Lord who bought them” suggests that these teachers were walking in Truth at one time, but have left the right way and are now taking others with them. Those who follow these blind guides have stopped following Jesus, the only Way of salvation. Because they are deceived, they will claim they are still following God, to the shock and dismay of those who have remained faithful to Jesus. Now two opposing groups will claim to be serving Jesus and following the same Spirit. Thus division is created in the professing Body of Christ by false teachers and those who follow them.

Jude 18-19 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

2) Siding with the Truth (or not)Jesus, who is the Truth, said He came to bring division that would even tear families apart.

Luke 12:51-53 “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Those who side with satan, “the god of this world,” will naturally despise those who side with Christ—the One who testifies that the world’s deeds are evil (John 7:7). A natural division occurs between light and darkness, Christ and Belial, righteousness and wickedness, and the temple of God and idols. (2 Cor. 6:14-16)

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Jesus is called the “Word made Flesh.” The Word of God is even said to divide.

Heb.4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Those who subject themselves to the Word of God will become divided from those who do not. (John 7:43, John 9:16, John 10:19)

In the world (and professing church) as it presently stands, there are wheat and tares growing up together. (Matt. 13:24-30) The wheat CAN BE distinguished from the tares by the servants of God. But they are allowed to co-exist until the time of harvest, when the “reapers” will permanently separate them. The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim. 2:19).

3) TestingBelievers are tested by heresies, to see if they will remain in the doctrine of Christ or not. This testing causes division between those who are approved by God, and those who are not.

I Cor. 11:18-19 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

It is also important to realize that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed because we rightly divide the Word of Truth! (2 Tim. 2:15)

It is very important to abide in correct doctrine—so important that even salvation is at stake!

I John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.

2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Paul cursed those who taught any gospel other than what had already been taught. (Gal.1:6-9)

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (2 John 9-10)

We will be tested by heresies, just as Eve was tempted in the garden of Eden. Eve fell because she believed the words of a deceiver (she believed false doctrine) that questioned WHAT GOD HAD ALREADY SAID. Satan promised Eve an experience that she couldn’t pass up. The Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict the Bible, which He authored. The Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and thoroughly equip us to live holy lives abounding in good works (2 Tim.3:15-17).

So what about unity?

Didn’t Jesus pray that His disciples would be one? (John 17:17)

Yes, and His true disciples ARE ONE. They abide in His teaching, and His Word abides in them. They together abide in Christ, and they stand together against the false teachings that are threatening the flock. (Titus 1:9, Romans 16:17, Jude 3, 2 Cor. 6:17)The disciples of Christ are denying themselves and carrying crosses, dying to this life and loving not this world nor the things in this world. Because their focus is on Jesus Christ alone, and they are not carried away by every wind of doctrine, they are united—even though they may not even know each other. They are satisfied with their daily bread, trusting that man shall indeed live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. They are not divided because of skin color or nationality. They are not divided due to wealth/poverty, or station in life. They are people of peace and they love one another. They do not take advantage of one another, or lord it over one another. They do not lie to one another, and they do not elevate themselves over one another—rather the greatest among them is the servant of all.

These love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength; and they love their neighbors as themselves. They help the weak and gullible by rescuing them from the mouths of wolves. They often do this by exposing false teaching and false teachers, which unfortunately earns them a reputation for being “divisive.”

God bless you.

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