Friday, June 24, 2011

Exposing And Expelling Heretics (Part 1)

Today we start a series on the book of Jude. A small book of 25 verses that often hides in the shadow of Revelation. Though it is small, it still packs a huge punch and it is a punch that needs to be delivered in the 21st century.

Those who know me know that I am passionate about the truth. Truth matters because it is the truth that sets us free. Jesus Christ is the way the TRUTH and the life. Satan, on the other hand is the father of lies. He has been telling lies and twisting God's truth since he first appeared in Genesis 3. What do forgery experts spend most of their time studying? Real money. Why – because when you know what is true it is easy to tell what is false.

John Macarthur says:

My whole life is devoted to the truth. My whole ministry is devoted to the truth. It's driven by the truth revealed in the Scripture. Really I live and breathe for the truth. I realize that God has exalted His truth as high as His name. I know that He is the God of truth, that's how He identifies Himself. I know that Jesus Christ, the glory of God in human flesh, according to John, is full of truth. He is the way, the truth and the life. I know that Jesus said that the truth would set the sinner free from sin and death. The Bible is called the Word of Truth. Jesus said to His Father, "Your Word is truth." And in the Scriptures we are commanded to worship God in truth. We're commanded to obey the truth, to love the truth, to judge by the truth, to speak the truth, to walk in the truth and to love in the truth. Literally, we are engulfed in the truth. That's why the Apostle Paul calls the church "the pillar and support of the truth." We are responsible to hold up the truth, to wield the truth against all the speculations raised up against the knowledge of God. The church is to proclaim the truth, to bring deceived souls to the knowledge of the truth that saves and frees.

Have you ever heard the term ”it was an inside job”? When the company I worked for went bankrupt they were bothered by how other companies knew secret information about them which hurt their business. Who was this enemy that was working to bring them down? After careful investigation it was found to be an inside job. One of their own employees was actually working for another company and destroying them from the inside. There is no bigger danger to an army than an imposter. The enemy within is far greater than the enemy without and the book of Jude is a letter written to help the church expose imposters who are poisoning God's people with false teaching.

It would seem in many modern evangelical churches today that the eleventh commandment, which is clearly the most important commandment, is that thou shalt never criticize. I cannot tell you how many pastors and leaders have so strongly told me that we should never criticize anything anyone else teaches. These people are not only ignorant of the book of Jude, they are ignorant of the rest of Scripture. Much of the New Testament is about dealing with false teaching. John's letters, Peter's letters, Paul's letters to the Corinthians and Timothy, and Jesus Himself had much to say about ”wolves in sheeps clothing”.

Paul told the church in Rome:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

In the King James it tells us to ”mark” those false teachers or point them out and avoid them. Paul goes so far as to pronounce damnation on anyone who preaches any other gospel:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Scripture has so much to say about false teachers and how we should treat them. But Jude is special in that it is the only book in the Bible 100% devoted to dealing with these false teachers. In contrast with the Acts of the Apostles, John Macarthur calls this little book the Acts of the Apostates. And Jude calls us to engage as Christians in a truth war against these apostates who are as prevalent today as they were in Judes time . . . perhaps even more so!

Who are these apostates or false teachers, how can we identify them, and why should we expose them. All will be revealed - to be continued . . .

Go On To Part 2


Randy said...

I appreciate your defense of the truth. I've almost reached my 1 year anniversary at my first church as pastor. I've always felt the need to be outspoken about false teachers. But when I was called to step into a pulpit as pastor and preacher, I prayed hard about calling out false doctrines and false teachers by name. I had seen that "11th Commandment" in action by most church leaders. God put my first sermon series on my heart and it was about Defending the Faith and revealed clearly to me that I should give specifics in addressing false doctrine and teachers. I believe Scripture supports this as fale teachers are addressed in general (as in Jude) but are also called out specifically (Paul does this a handful of times). If you knew of a particular dangerous street in your city that was prowled by a particularly dangerous thug would you say, "We have some dangerous areas in our city" or would you say "Over on Main Street there is this gangbanger named John Doe who lives in a big red house, he is dangerous, stay away from him." Why is false teaching so rampant in the church? Why do false teachers thrive? Because we fail to call them out.

David said...

The reason this 11th commandment is all so precious is that every church, no matter what denominational or theological stripe they go by, are by virtue of their foundation, a little corporation which has income, debts and liabilities. Unfortunately the largest liability these days are the ministers themselves who take the lion's share of the tithes to feed us theological opinions rather than the truth based on the word. Back in the new testament days Paul earned is own living to set an example for us to follow... Why on earth do we blindly follow the opinions of ministers when we can all take responsibility for our own spiritual development and listen to the word of God ourselves...Its because most would rather be religious, attend on Sunday, and hand this responsibility over to someone else! Shame - because they will loose utterly - because most ministers these days have absolutely no clue about righteousness by faith...

Joel Osteen said...

very good comment Randy.
I believe no church has the perfect truth...we are all human and fail to live the life yet God wants us to perfectly.

However: then analogy with the gangster is very good. No street is safe. Even in the 'save' streets terrible things can happen.

So, we should always be 'on guard' and investigate the things which are taught.

Further: accountability of the pastor is a MUST in my eyes.

Cameron Buettel said...

Wow Joel, what a surprise that the "pastor" of America's largest "church" would post a comment on this little 'ol blog! Could you please tell me if you believe that Jesus is the only way? Thanks

John piper said...

Hi joel great to see you here too

Cameron Buettel said...

I've got a lot more questions for you John. What on earth was the deal with that bizarre Rick Warren interview?