It really is this simple; believe what the bible says, not what the many men and women say the bible says, because by their teaching, scripture has been distorted. 2 Peter 2:2 “Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” Following empty and distorted ways is not what was supposed to happen. Jesus said, John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” This tells us that Spirit and truth go hand in hand. 2 Corinthians 3:16 “Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” This is what was supposed to happen. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” Love God, keep His commands and the Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth. John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” If the church had adhered to keeping the commands of God, God would not have turned His face from the church. We were supposed to learn this from the Old Testament. 1 Corinthians 10:5 “God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Many have fallen.
Instead of the simplicity of the gospel, the truth of God’s word has been set aside for complicated manmade and demonic doctrines. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” There are all kinds of people who want to hear those teachings and follow their ways instead of listening to God’s words. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Those days are already here. Timothy 4:3 “For 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.” Sound doctrines are not the doctrines of the manmade church, such as the Baptist or Catholic way, but the way we are taught in scripture. Paul told Titus, Titus 1:9 “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Notice Paul said, “as it has been taught.” Sound doctrine is truth. Paul said in Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.” As we have seen with the church history, Catholicism, Orthodoxism, Protestantism, all have stopped imitating the word of God to go their own way and every faction believes their way to be right. We were warned over and over but the church failed to listen and continues to reject the truth of God’s word to go their own way. Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” God said to Moses, Deuteronomy 31:16 “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’ 18 And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.” God gave them a song that they were supposed to remember so they would not turn away but they did. (Deuteronomy 32) 24 After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, 25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: 26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them. 29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” Moses also said, Deuteronomy 29:19 “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” Going our own way is always disastrous yet the church embraces their own ways.
The church became corrupt right away and has been corrupt ever since because the church refuses to turn from their wicked ways and return to God’s word. As Peter said Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” The church is still corrupt because men and women continue to add to scripture and remove scripture for their own purposes. 1 Timothy 1:6 “Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” Hebrews 5:12 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” The church doesn’t even follow the elementary truths, therefore still immature and needing milk. Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”
The doctrines and theology of the church vary from faction to faction and cannot be considered truth because of that variance. This is why the church must return to God’s word and once again model ourselves after Jesus and not man. As I said the other day, I grew up in Methodism / Wesleyanism and those churches modeled themselves after John Wesley. Others have done the same with John Calvin and still others have modeled themselves after modern day gurus. It is only when the church turns away from man and returns to the simplicity of the truth, that God will turn His face back to us. We were warned that God would turn His face from us as we read in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 31:18 “And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.” Deuteronomy 32:20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.” That was part of the song. Isaiah 57:17 “I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways.” Ezekiel 39:23 “And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.” The same has happened to the church which is why the abomination that causes desolation has decimated the church.
The good news is that if we return to God, God will return to us. King Hezekiah told the people 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” Isaiah 8:17 “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.” Habakkuk 3:16 “I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” The abomination will come to an end. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” King Hezekiah told the Levites 2 Chronicles 29:5 “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 6 Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” We will talk about the responsibility of the shepherds tomorrow.
The bible is truth, and we must believe God’s word if we are to call ourselves Christians. You do not have to be able to explain everything about God to believe, but you must fear God and live by faith. Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” Solomon concluded Ecclesiastes 12:12 “Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” There are many things like lights in our house and computer that I use every day and I have no idea how they work, but I still believe electricity and the combustion engine exist. Faith is believing even though you cannot explain it or even see it. That does not make you naïve or uneducated if you can’t. Yes, there are people that can explain the things I don’t understand but there are still unexplainable events in this world they will not be able to explain just as God revealed to Job. For example, God said to Job, Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” Man’s answer to the question; I think it went boom and everything came into being. (said sarcastically) The appropriate response to God’s questioning was as Job said, Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Still the church refuses to repent.
Two verses show us the simplicity of God’s word, but man makes it complicated through unbelief and lack of faith and selfish desires. There is a reason why these verses are at the beginning of the Old and New Testaments. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If you do not believe that, especially the six day part, you might as well stop reading. Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Again, if you do not believe Jesus is the Messiah stop reading because you will not believe the rest. Also, God gave both David and Abraham promises that affect us today. If you can’t believe these verses or the promises, then, how can you call yourself a Christian? If you do not belief God’s word and have replaced it with man’s words, you are not a Christian. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” The foundation of Christianity is faith not in man’s words but God’s. If you believe in the beginning God created, then it takes very little faith to believe the rest. This is the barometer of faith. Jesus said, Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” You don’t need to see it happen to believe, you just know that God can move the mountain, yes, a real mountain, not just a difficult time in your life. If you believe that can move a real mountain, then the only faith you need can be small as a mustard seed. This faith will change your life.
Jesus prayed for His disciples and said, John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Yet, many churches try to convince you that their words are truth, but they do not line up with scripture as there have been many modifications. Paul tells us what the church should be doing. 2 Corinthians 4:1 “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
Right away as Paul said the church turned away from God’s word. Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.” The church followed other gospels / other gods instead of following the truth. Today the church is filled with other gospels and doctrines of demons, yet every Sunday people think God is with them and even blessing their rebellion. Paul told Timothy 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” There are many who do not correctly handle the word of God. To make sure we must test the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” They are everywhere in the church and people are still being deceived. Our only hope is to repent and turn back to God’s word so that His kingdom will come near once again. This means just reading the bible and submitting to God’s living word. This means not reading the million books about the bible from man’s perspective which is not the living word of God. It was only those men God chose in the beginning. James 1:18 “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” Peter said, Acts 10:39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” This means testing the spirits and turning away from everything false. As Paul told Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:20 “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.” Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.” The question then is Psalm 2:2 “How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”