Today, everyone is trying to protect themselves from sickness and being the next covid statistic. Most people follow are following the government and HSE guidelines (wearing a mask, social distancing, getting the jab, taking supplements to stay healthy, etc) All of these things protect the physical, but did you know that there is disease that is spiritual. Did you know that we can get spiritually sick as well, and it is through false teachings. These false teachings are spread through false prophets and false teachers. The fact is we live in a world with all sorts of false prophets and false teachers, and there are many Christians who are spiritually sick and may not know it. In the first century the Apostles warned adamantly about this danger. Do you think things have gotten better or worse since the first century?
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy…
2Ti 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
God gives us a protection from these spiritual diseases through a local church. Each local church should have a God given pastor and it is his responsibility to study the Word of God and to teach Biblically sound doctrine. It is the responsibility of the church people to also study the word of God on their own so they recognise sound doctrine. That pastor, whom the Lord has given, has the responsibility of being the overseer of the local flock of God. He will one day give account directly to God for how he led the church that God gave him to oversee. Part of a pastors God given responsibility is to protect the flock from false teachers and false prophets. Below are some of the scriptural ways that a doctrinally sound, local pastor is to protect the flock from these ravening wolves.
(1) Pastors and teachers in a local church are responsible to protect God’s people from false teachings (Acts 20:28-31; Ep. 4:11-16 (These are speaking about the church at Ephesus)).
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
One of the pastor’s chief duties is to protect the flock. The Apostle Paul was continually burdened about the danger of false teaching (Acts 20:31; 2 Co. 11:1- 4; Ga. 4:11-20; Ph. 3:1-3, 17-21; 1 Th. 3:1-5; Col. 2:1-4).
(2) False teachers are crafty and pastors must be alert, wise, knowledgeable, and zealous to deal with them successfully (Epesians 4:14; Titus 1:9-11).
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(3) The ability to protect the churches from false teaching is a qualification for pastors (Titus. 1:9-11). Men who refuse to deal plainly with error have no business in the ministry.
9 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.
10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
(4) To warn and teach about false doctrine is a mark of a good minister of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy. 4:1-6).
1 Timothy 4:1-6
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
A false teacher and prophet are not going to come to you and say, "Hi, I am a false teacher." Nor are they going to tell you in their YouTube channel descriptions or title. A doctrinally sound pastor has the responsibility of warning their church. With these things in mind, when you hear a Bible teacher tell you that you do not need to attend a local church, does that align with the word of God? The devil is using them to get you to come out from the protection of a sound pastor.
Some questions to consider…
-Is going it alone, without a local church or pastor, scriptural?
-How many churchless Christians are there in a Bible?
-What does the word church even mean?
-Do you believe God is able to provide you with a doctrinally sound church?
-Are you an active member of a doctrinally sound local church?
-If you are in a doctrinally sound church, are you following and seeking your pastors leadership?
-If you teach others they do not need a local church, have you not become a false teacher yourself? We need to be very careful.
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we (teachers) shall receive the greater condemnation.
-Have you been deceived by false teachers and prophets?
In a day of apostasy, and the accessibility and speed of internet, it is easier than ever to be influenced by false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing. So what do we do if we find we have been influenced? First we need to repent, turn from this error. Second, confess it to God. Last, find a doctrinally sound church to attend and to be involved in. One with a pastor who takes his job as under shepherd seriously and tries to protect and warn the flock of God. There are many of these churches across Ireland, and across the world. You are welcome to contact me if you need any assistance in this area. Read the rest of the article…
(The following is from a booklet written by DR. MIKE ALLISON)
Is the term "LEGALISM" used as an excuse to circumvent the Bible doctrines of separation?
Is the term "LEGALISM" used to intimidate those who preach and practice a valid scriptural principle?
Many sincere Christians feel the matter of holy living is strictly between the individual believer and God, and no one should set standards of dress and conduct.
Other equally sincere Christians believe it is right and necessary to maintain definite standards.
One group calls the other "compromising", while the other group answers with the tag of "legalist".
In this booklet, Dr. Mike Allison discusses the problems. He clarifies the issue of Biblical definitions and gives guidelines for proper Christian attitudes.
Legalism: a Smokescreen
We have an interesting but sad thing that has happened among evangelical churches these days. An exodus from standards for living has taken place. Preachers now preach that standards are a matter of "personal conviction." "If you think something is wrong for you, it is wrong. If you think it is all right, then it is all right."
It has become a common occurrence to hear preachers denounce those who preach standards by calling them 'legalists." A preacher from California recently cried out, while preaching on Galatians 5:1-5; "I hate legalism" (referring to those who preach about standards for living). Another chided preachers for making such a big deal over "regional convictions."
If I am against something they are not against, I am branded a legalist. If I am against something they are also against, we are "separatists."
Legalism has become the compromiser's excuse to circumvent the Word of God. This is a phrase often used by those who think right and wrong is simply a matter of personal choice. "I'm not convicted about it yet." Statements like this sound spiritual; they please the ears of those who have been wanting to indulge in things Christians have stood against for years, but demonstrate a lack of Bible knowledge concerning the law and its importance to the child of God.
Webster's New World Dictionary defines legalism as a "strict adherence to the law." However, theological legalism would have a different definition. Theological legalism is a strict adherence to the law as a means to be saved or keep salvation. Simply, any addition of works by man to the finished work of Christ to bring or keep salvation is legalism.
I. THE PROBLEM WITH THE LAW
The book of Galatians was written to combat theological legalism. Following Paul from place to place were groups of men who taught that simple faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ was not enough to be saved. They taught that circumcision and strict adherence to the law were essential to salvation. Many in the Galatian churches had…
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
If they do not have the Holy Spirit, the Bible says that they are not saved.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
In this article, we are going to look at three names that are given to the Holy Spirit. These names reveal the nature of the third part of the trinity of God.
Read the rest of the article…
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Reading these verses, it seems you can lose your salvation, but you need to read it in context and go back to verse…
Read the rest of the article…
What Legalism is…
First, legalism means to mix works with grace for salvation. A legalist is someone who believes, or teaches, that one must keep the law in order to be saved. This goes contrary to the Bible and contradicts the definition of grace.
A second definition for legalism is to add human tradition to the Word of God, teaching the tradition as if it was what God said to do. The Bible is clear about placing traditions over the Bible. This is one of the things that the pharisees did. Consider the following verses…
Jesus said the following about holding traditions over the Word of God…
Mark 7:9: And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Mark 7:13: Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
The Apostle Paul also said concerning tradition…
Colossians 2:8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Jesus and the Apostle Paul were both very clear that we are not to place traditions above the clear teaching of the Bible. The Jewish leaders were doing this at the time of Christ. (ie They added traveling restrictions to the Sabbath day.) A modern example of a tradition that is not in the Bible would be Christmas. Nothing in the Bible says we must celebrate Christmas. This also goes for Lent, Easter, and every other "Christian" holiday, because according to the Bible itself, there are no holidays, or holy days, that are required to be kept (See Colossians 2:16 below). This does not mean I am personally against someone celebrating the birth of Christ, but I have no problem with someone who does not. This definition for "legalism" also could not be applied to the situation I mentioned at the beginning, unless the people were adding it to salvation.
Colossians 2:14: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Colossians 2:15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Colossians 2:16: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Colossians 2:17: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
In context, these verses above are specifically referring to the Jewish ordinances. The Jewish holy days and dietary restrictions of the Old Testament were done away with in at the crucifixion. They were "a shadow of things to come", a picture of the coming messiah, and when He came and fulfilled His purpose, the ordinances were no longer needed. In other words, since Christ died on the cross I am not to judge whether someone keeps the Old Testament holy days, or not.
“What Legalism Is Not”
Legalism is not New Testament, separated, holy living. Consider the following verses…
Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The New Testament is clear that a born-again Christian is saved by grace without works, but he is also supposed to live a life of good works. These good works do not save a man, nor do they maintain his salvation, but they reveal to the world that they are saved. It reveals that they have power over sin and the flesh. A believer is to follow the Word of God, not to be saved but because he is saved.
Consider some other verses…
Ephesians 5:11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Titus 2:11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Titus 2:12: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Titus 2:13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 2:15: These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
I John 5:3: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
There are some who accuse others of being "legalists", simply because they live holy, separated lives. Taking New Testament commands seriously and applying them to one's life IS NOT "Legalism", it is the responsibility of every born again believer. Also, for a Bible preacher to exhort God’s people to obey the details of God’s Word through the Holy Spirit's power is also not legalism. Rather, it is the responsibility, and what God requires, of every gospel preacher. Although this is not popular in modern contemporary churches, a pastor is supposed to preach the whole counsel of God. If he does not, he is misleading his people.
Ezekiel 3:20: Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Ezekiel 3:21: Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
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