“Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. For certain men, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I want to remind you, though you know all these things: the Lord, having first of all saved a people out of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe.” (Jude 1:3-5 HCSB)
During the time I spent in my over-the-road truck ministry, I listened to the “Family Talk” channel on XM satellite radio. “Family Talk” programming is half-hour teachings by a variety of Christian ministers. I didn’t listen to all of the programs, however; some I know are not for me, others I find easy to discount after only a few minutes. And then there are those ministers that I’ve listened to but later come to totally discount. Those, I think, are the more dangerous to my faith and my walk.
Among the ministers I enjoy, and find wholesome, is Hank Hanegraaff, the “Bible Answer Man.” His program is similar in format to a talk show, in that he answers questions from people who call on the phone or send emails. His answers questions and explains Bible passages, doctrine, and on occasion exposes teaching he considers false. Often he says in his talks not to depend upon what he says, but to check it all out ourselves. He believes that all things should be tested against scripture, even his own teaching. Though I enjoy this program, and find useful, I am obligated to examine what I hear.
This is important!
Paul wrote: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5 HCSB) And Jude says he wanted to write about “our common salvation but. . ..” Perhaps Jude wanted to write about the future, when we are all together with Y’shuaJesus, wanting to exclaim, “You got to be there!” Yet he felt the needs, the dangers, of this world encroaching upon those for whom he cared. He felt concerned about teachers stealing away the soul of those to whom he wrote—even us. (G-d is speaking through Jude to His chosen ones, is He not?) Jude is not the only follower of Y’shuaJesus to warn us, either. Paul wrote the Galations that he was amazed that they turned away. He wrote, “I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ, and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7 HCSB)
The author of Hebrews pointed out what we might call a worldliness, and a lack of progress in the faith. He wrote: “We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become slow to understand. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of God’s revelation. You need milk, not solid food.”(Hebrews 5:11-12 HCSB)
Teaching must bring us closer to Messiah, whether through shedding light upon the scripture or convicting us that we might come into the Light of the Lord. There are several considerations regarding teachings, whether from the pulpit, heard on the radio, read in a book, or found on the internet. These might be formed as questions about the teaching. For instance, one might ask, “How does this teaching make me feel while I listen to it?” Do I feel encouraged, convicted, or drawn closer to Y’shuaJesus? Or am I feeling alienated, guilty, confused? “Does what I am being told coincide with scripture?” When I read the scripture for myself, though another read or write it in the teaching, does it come across the same as the teaching? It is important to read the scripture before and after that which is cited, to see if it is appropriately used, and in context. “What do teachers from the past say about the scripture and its current interpretation?” There are some great sources of study—so that we might show ourselves approved, right?—that are of great help to us. One source is the free software E-Sword to which may be added Matthew Henry’s Commentary, John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes, and others. What we want to know is that what is being said today has stood the test of time, so to speak.
Does this seem like a lot of work? It should be. It must be. Jude says we must contend for the faith. Contend means struggle. We are engaged in a war—though won, we must continue to battle. It is a war for our Earthly victory. The enemy would like to destroy us, if that were possible. And if not totally destroyed, the enemy of our Lord, of our faith, would like to disable us, misdirect us, waylay us that we not progress with our faith, that we not bear the fruit of a life well lived.
You can check out this website http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/ for warnings and updates on various strange teaching that is running rampant around the globe. And as said above, take even this site to prayer and to your reading of the Word of G-d.
May the Lord rebuke His enemies, watch over us, give us His mind that we might examine all teaching to see if it is from G-d.
“They prepared a net for my steps; I was downcast. They dug a pit ahead of me, but they fell into it! Selah! My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident. I will sing; I will sing praises. Wake up, my soul! Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn. I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your faithful love is as high as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”(Psalms 57:6-10 HCSB)
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .