Sunday, October 20, 2013

To Judge Ourselves Part 8 – Faithfulness

To Judge Ourselves
Part 8 – Faithfulness
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.

A few weeks ago, 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."

We have already looked at Jesus speaking to us about hard work, not tolerating wicked people in the church, and testing those who claim to be apostles, but are nothing more than false prophets, and last week we spoke on perseverance, and enduring hardships for His name, Spiritually Rich during times of affliction and poverty, Slander, Not Being Afraid.

Last week we looked at Where Satan Rules.

This week we will look at Faithfulness.

Revelation 2:13b
"13 remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives..."

a.      In scriptural context, speaking of Pergamos
                                                             i.      Pergamos taught doctrines other than from Christ

                                                          ii.      Including the doctrine of Balaam
1.      Committing Spiritual Adultery
2.      All for the sake of money

                                                       iii.      However, Some within the congregation remained TRUE to the doctrine of Christ

b.     Theologically speaking on this lesson
                                                             i.      "The Church", or "Body of Christ", can be caught up in teaching doctrines other than those of Christ.

                                                          ii.      Pergamos taught many Spiritually Adulterous things for money.

                                                       iii.      Modern churches can be guilty of the very same thing
1.      TV Evangelists who look more like QVC than a Ministry for Christ

2.      Going on tour in big venues, simply to increase sales of products you are peddling on your tour
3.      selling "tokens" of faith, such as prayer cloths, oils, trinkets, sand, rocks, etc...nothing more than a money making venture.

                                                         iv.      However, Though we are one Body of believers, we do not all have to give in to these false doctrines being taught for the sake of money.

c.      Remaining TRUE to Jesus' Name
                                                             i.      Jesus teaches us what is true to Him, and what His doctrines are (the commands of Christ)

                                                          ii.      Remaining TRUE to His doctrines, is HOW we remain TRUE to His Name!

a.      Remaining true, and NOT renouncing your Faith
                                                             i.      We have a choice in life

                                                          ii.      When we hear doctrines being taught, we need to be like the Bereans, and search the scriptures to see if they are true!

                                                       iii.      The Bereans did "Scriptural Comparison"

                                                         iv.      Collapsing context is a fast track to Cults
1.       This is the practice used by cult leaders to control and manipulate followers

2.      It is also used to win arguments, misuse the scriptures, justify a person sin, and more.

                                                            v.      There are different ways to collapse context and misuse the Word of God
1.      Inaccurate Quotation: Gandhi said, "Christ says, be still and know I am God."

2.       Twisted Translation: Jehovah's Witnesses translate John 1:1 as "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the word was a god."

3.      Biblical Hook: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so non-biblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God's wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body. (Which is scripturally incorrect.)
a.      John 4:24 "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

4.      It goes on, 20 different ways to incorrectly use the scriptures

5.      However, you do not need to learn them all, because there is ONE correct way to use the scriptures.

a.      Who wrote it, Who did they write it to, What was the purpose of writing it, and cross reference your understanding of the scripture with other scripture, to ensure the meaning is correct!

b.     Losing your way is not always turning away
                                                             i.      Just because you may find yourself lost, does not necessarily mean you "renounced" your faith in Christ.

c.      Renouncing is a purposeful act
                                                             i.      Renouncing is like lying.

                                                          ii.      If you tell someone something that you "thought" was true, it really is not considered a lie. You did not mean to mislead the person.

                                                       iii.      However, if you KNOW the TRUTH, and tell them something that is not so, then you have LIED. It was a purposeful act.

                                                         iv.      Renouncing faith in Christ, is the same way.

                                                            v.      You may find yourself in a situation through bad decisions which places you in odds against Christ and His doctrines, but perhaps you did not intend on being there.

                                                         vi.      This is finding yourself lost.

                                                      vii.      However, you may KNOW that a situation is against Christ and His doctrines, and CHOOSE to do so anyway. You have made the choice to renounce your faith in Christ, and take matters into your own hands, putting your faith in something other than Christ Jesus...either yourself, another religion or person.

a.      The ones Jesus is commending, did not turn from Him
                                                             i.      They remained true to Jesus' name

                                                          ii.      They stuck to His doctrines and teachings

                                                       iii.      They did not purposefully renounce faith in Him

                                                         iv.      Even when some were put to death for not accepting the "New Teachings" of false doctrine.

b.     Are you staying true to Christ?
                                                             i.      Standing on His doctrines and rejecting false doctrine

                                                          ii.      Keeping your faith in Him alone or putting your faith in other things such as money, status, people, false teachings.

                                                       iii.      Are you remaining true to Christ, regardless of the "majority rule" around you?

c.      We can KNOW Christ and His doctrines through reading the Word of God
                                                             i.      We can know our understanding is correct through Scriptural Comparison

                                                          ii.      We can remain faithful to Him by trusting Him with everything

                                                       iii.      And when persecution comes from the outside world, where Satan rules, or from within the church, we can remain TRUE to Christ Alone!

2 Timothy 4:3-4 "...the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

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