Sunday, September 8, 2013

To Judge Ourselves Part 2 – Admonish: False Apostles

To Judge Ourselves
Part 2 – Admonish: False Apostles
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We spent the last year looking at what the Book of Acts had to say about the founding, operation and behavior that the Lord expects from us as individuals, and as a church, or congregation of believers.

We then spent a few weeks looking at the letters that Jesus sent to the seven churches in Revelation, telling them where they were going right, and wrong, as well as what the punishments and rewards would be.

Last week, I took all of those letters, and compiled them into one letter from the Lord, to us.

Our new series will take a look at each of the points Jesus made in that letter, and we will not only examine our church as a whole, but ourselves as individuals.

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

2 Peter 2:4-10 "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge[e] in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority."

Revelation 2:2b
"...I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false."

I.       I KNOW YOUR DEEDS {Divine Knowledge}
a.      God knows the heart and mind of man
i.       Deuteronomy 11:18 "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."

ii.    Psalm 7:9 "you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts."

b.     No one else can know the heart of man
i.       Jeremiah 17:9-10 "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart  and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

c.      The Lord judges us by our hearts
i.       Psalm 26:2 "Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;"

ii.    Luke 6:45 "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

d.     This is why the scriptures teach us
i.       Matthew 22:36-38 " 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

a.      Why the first and greatest commandment? Because salvation of your soul depends on it. This is where you will be judged.

ii.    Philippians 4:7 " And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

iii. Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

iv.   James 4:8 "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

Revelation 2:23 "I will strike her children dead (Those who follow Jezebel, or false doctrines). Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

a.      Who are wicked people?
i.       Wickedness is the opposite of Righteousness

b.     Jesus tells the parable of the Net in Matthew 13:47-50
i.       47 "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

c.      How do we know the difference between Righteous and wicked
i.       Since we cannot "know" the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9-10), only God can, we must know them by their fruit.

ii.    Matthew 7:15-20  15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

iii. The Word of God continues to warn about false disciples,  21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

iv.   We see Jesus make the distinction between those who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and those who will be rejected.
a.      It is based upon their "works"

b.     Because, their "works", their "doings", their "deeds", are FRUITS...

c.      And the fruit they produce in their life is determined by the tree they are, or in other words, who their "MASTER" is!

d.     Are the Deeds, Works, Doings, Fruits of yours naturally produced by righteousness of Christ through the Holy Spirit, or by your sinful and unredeemed flesh?
i.       Galatians 5:13-18 " 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

ii.     Fruits naturally occurring if you are "wicked" (or live by your flesh) - Galatians 5:19-21 " 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

iii. Fruits naturally occurring if you are living by Christ's Righteousness through the Holy Spirit - Galatians 5:22-26 " 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

e.      The Lord rewards the church for not tolerating wicked people
i.       These "wicked" people are rebuked and corrected
ii.    These "wicked" people are not allowed to hold any positions in the church

iii. These people are not allowed to spread false teachings in the congregation

f.       There are dozens of examples of wicked people in the scriptures, being compared to ashes under the feet, bad fish, blind people, briers and thorns, chaff, clouds without water, corrupt trees, bad figs, fools building upon sand, goats, moth-eaten garments, serpents, scorpions, swine, tares, wandering stars, wayward children, wells without water, white washed graves, etc.

i.       God is angry with them - Romans 9:13 "Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

ii.    The Spirit of God has withdrawn from them - Romans 1:24 "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another."

iii.  The wicked hate those who are righteous - Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."

a.      The Biblical definition of an Apostle
i.       Apostle (the word) means "One sent as a messenger"
a.      Hebrews 3:1 actually calls Jesus an Apostle

ii.     Acts 1:15-26, Peter stood among 120 followers of Christ, or "disciples" to pick a replacement for Judas, who had hung himself.

iii. The Word of God requires the following of an Apostle
a.      v15 must be a disciple of Jesus

b.     v21 "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us."

c.      v22a "beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us."

d.     v22b "For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
iv.   Biblically speaking, if you lack ANY OF THESE, you cannot be a disciple.

v.      Also, an Apostle was chosen by APOSTLES...if there be more than one nomination (made by Apostles), then they cast lots.

b.     Why was the testing of Apostles so important?
i.       Because the Apostles had the God given responsibility of establishing the foundation of Christian faith.
a.      therefore, they had to be trained by Christ Himself

ii.    This authority to set the foundation, and record the Word of God through the leading of the Holy Spirit is important.
a.      If someone comes along, claiming to have this authority, they could mislead God's people by confounding the Word of God.

iii. We see this in Catholicism, where Popes are given the authority, because of their belief in the false doctrine of Apostolic succession, where they write books which are quoted as scripture in services, and held on the same level, with the same regard as the Holy Bible.

c.      What does this mean for us today?
i.       We test what people are teaching, whether it be in service on Sunday, on DVD's, the radio, or TV.

ii.    Remembering that teachers are only human, and they can make man should ever be considered to be on the same level as the scripture of God.

iii. Psalm 118:8 "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."

iv.   Jeremiah 17:5 "Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord."

Luke 3:7-9 The Warning to the Wicked
7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

James 2:17 Are your deeds righteous or MUST have deeds to make your faith ALIVE!
"... faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

1 John 4:1 Test the spirit, know whether the Word you hear is of God, or a false prophet
" Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."

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