Monday, May 24, 2010

Are You An "X-Man"?

I came across Larry DeBruyn's article and am so glad he asks the same thing!
Marked for life: discernment ministry in light of Ezekiel 9:1-11. by Larry DeBruyn
Someone once said that sin is as much breaking God’s heart as it is His Law. When God looked down on the perversity of the people on earth before the Deluge, it was recorded that He “was grieved in His heart” (Genesis 6:6b). When confronted by resident wickedness both without and within the professing church, Christians can manifest one of three reactions: approval (1 Corinthians 5:2), indifference (Zephaniah 1:12), or disapproval as indicated by the presence of either anger (Psalm 119:53) or grief (Psalm 119:136). So the question becomes, as we see the worldliness-wickedness invading the church, how do we feel about it? Are we agitated by, indifferent to, or accommodating of it?
The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a different mark, an "X" that was to be written on the foreheads of those in Judah who had refused to go along with the popular spiritual trends of that day. The "X" would spare them from the coming divine wrath. So the Lord instructed the angel: "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst" (Ezekiel 9:4). Pause with me . . . for a moment let's project back to that era and ask ourselves the following question: If we had been alive in Ezekiel's day, would the angel have marked us to be spared from divine judgment?
Allow me to propose a litmus test as to whether or not we might have been marked in Ezekiel’s day. But before asking some questions, we should note the Apostle Peter’s warning: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1; Compare Matthew 7:13-15; Jude 17-19.). Based upon Peter’s prediction, does the worldliness that is invading the church bother us? (James 4:4) Does it concern us when we see churches being manipulated by the mechanics of church growth, when the end of growth justifies any means to achieve it? (2 Corinthians 2:17) Does it bother our souls to see the goal of growth eclipsing the Gospel, to see methods employed usurping the Message preached? (Romans 1:16) Does it grieve us to observe the church believing God’s truth less while enjoying “worship celebrations” more? (Matthew 15:8-9) Does the rampant immorality amongst professing evangelicals cause us to sigh? (1 Corinthians 5:2) Were you bothered a few years ago when one evangelical leader, who led a movement in his state to preserve the institution of traditional marriage, was cornered into admitting that he solicited sex from a male prostitute? (Jeremiah 23:14) Do false teachers with their strange and unbiblical teachings annoy you? (Revelation 2:2) Given our media age, does the development of the personality cults around evangelical leaders and speakers, where appearance and a schmoozing style trump substance, concern us? (1 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 16) Are some of us even unaware that there are such critters as false teachers who stupefy their followers with their heretical teachings? (Romans 16:17) Does it upset us to see the Christian faith being publicly maligned for reason of the immoral behavior and unbiblical teachings prevalent amongst professing evangelicals? (2 Peter 2:2) In short, are we discerners? (Hebrews 5:14) If we are not, then we should not expect to be marked.

Well, you might be asking, how can we know whether or not a person is a false teacher? Through Jeremiah the Lord provided this description of false prophets: “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). Of such prophets Jeremiah said that, “They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16b). Again, I ask you, do you know of any false prophets today? You may protest the question saying, “Well, I know men who speak for God who are true.” But that’s not the question. Do you know any false teachers? I know this is a discomforting question–but do you? If you don’t, I would say that you have a very grave problem . . . a very grave problem indeed. And it is this: You may not value God’s truth enough to know what it is and thereby be incapable of discerning “the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:4-6).

End quote.

For the entire article go here.

I've been very concerned lately about the lack of belief that there are indeed such things as wolves among the sheep RIGHT NOW. It seems its impossible for most "Evangelical Christians" to think that there are wolves among their own church or circles. Certainly, their favorite pastor/teacher/conference speaker couldn't possibly be a wolf, nor would he ever offer a wolf to them!

Oh no?

Then why is Scripture replete with warnings to believers to watch out for false shepherds, false teachers, false brothers, wolves in sheeps clothing....who "secretly creep in among YOU"?

If you think there is not a false teacher among you in this current soceity, then you are already deceived my friend.

Heretics do not announce themselves as heretics. They don't have horns protuding from their heads, they don't have pitchforks and red suits, they don't have an evil look.

Heretics are those who look just like  sheep but inwardly are wolves. His nature and his heart are hostile to the truth, but outwardly he claims to hold to the truth. Its enough to get him in that church door of yours, or on your "Christian" bookstore shelf, or in your "Christian" magazine.

He often wears a smile and has a friendly countenance (for a time, before he is revealed by the light of Truth). He prays, he professes faith in Christ, he may preach from your church pulpit or teach your Sunday School. You might hear his voice on the radio or see his books in stores. Your best friend highly recommends this "godly" man. He seems so nice and sincere, he couldn't possibly be a wolf.

But he's not of Christ. And when you start to compare all he does and says in light of Scripture, you begin to get the REAL picture of who he truly is. Remember folks, sincerity is not the test of whether one is in Christ. How nice a person is, is not the test either. Nor is the rubber stamp of approval from others you admire, the test of whether he (or she!) is biblical.

The first step in not falling for deception is to have a high (the highest) view of Scripture (Ps. 119; 138:2; Matt. 4:4). It is through knowing and literally handling the Word of God, in faith, that one can know truth from error which is part of maturity in Christ:

Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Knowing and believing that deception will grow worse as the days grow darker and the return of Christ is soon, we will, as God has commanded, be on guard all the time. Also, because we believe what Scripture says, we will start to see the reality of false teachers sprouting up all around us for this same reason:

2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The more you know and love the Word, the more you treasure it and strive to obey it. This means that your heart will be grieved at what you see because of the deception of so many. At the same time there is also true joy in the beauty and truth of the living Word.

God's standard is high. It is our rod and staff. It is our measuring stick by which we test all things. If we truly love God and His precious Word (as HE does), then anything that falls short of it will grieve us.

When you look at someone like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Beth Moore, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, what do you see? What do you think when you hear their names? Do you think they have the Gospel? Do you think they proclaim the Truth? How would you know if any or all of them fail the test of Scripture as teachers of the Word?

Do you care?

If you see the doctrines of Scripture as optional, then that means you have a problem of discernment and with the Word. It means you need to examine yourself to see if you truly are in the faith. It means you need to consider if you know what the real Gospel of Jesus Christ is and what the doctrine of Justification is.

Are you willing to divide from family, friends, pastor, church, books, authors, singers, for the sake of the Truth? Are you? You do realize that following Christ Jesus in faith guarantees you will need to choose between them and Christ at some point, don't you? Exactly how do you suppose households would be divided among themselves for the cause of Christ (Matt. 10:21-22, 34-38)?

Isa 8:20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Remember what Scripture says:

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Act 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;Act 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.Act 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


Robbie said...

Thank you Denise... Just when I was thinking of giving up.

Denise said...

Isn't the Lord awesome!?