The Apostle Paul penned the following in the opening of his letter to the Christians of Galatia:
I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ, [and are turning] to a different gospel – not that there is another [gospel], but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him. As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him.
For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. (Galatians 1: 6 – 10)
Where the Apostle stated, But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach any gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him. The pronoun we implies any such apostles would be accursed when they veered – whether they were true apostles of Christ, of churches, or false apostles, and apostles of Satan or of some altogether unknown stripe.
So, if Peter had stopped by and was found teaching something new or different, he was to be rejected, and he would end up being accursed if he continued. And he would have been lost. If you fell for it and listened to him, you would have ended up exactly the same way. If somebody else came along claiming the same authority and taught things new and unknown, and you took to it, you’d end up in the same place along with the teacher who brought it to you. Further, if an angel landed under a tree and showed you where to dig up a gold plate laden with marvelous new things, and everyone was later saying they were sent from God or Christ, you should automatically know the angel was lying, that he had not come from God, and therefore that he did not have the sanction of heaven. That he had made you a liar if you believed him. And all liars will end up in the same place.
Dear friends, what does that say of those who claim they speak with the Holy Spirit and yet deny the efficacy of baptism or anything else that is clearly taught within God’s Word? What does it say of those who teach that Jesus wants you to be a success, and that God wants you to have everything you desire in this life? What does it say about those who say that all you need to do to be saved is to utter a prayer? What does it say about those who supersede the first day and worship on the ancient Sabbath; or of those who teach that Jesus is really Michael the Archangel? In fact, what does it say to the persons who lean upon catechisms whether Catholic or Protestant?
How does the Apostle’s command speak to you concerning Popes and Ecumenical Councils? Do you pay heed to such things? Why would you worship at a church bearing a man’s name and that teaches his tenets in the name of Christ? What of others who state they carry the authority of heaven, or who teach openly that they are the Messiah and possess the authority to supersede the ancient word, such as Sun Moon? What happens if you follow a teacher to the exclusion of the word of God? Who is it that would allow themselves to be called the messiah or reverend or a holy father? I’ll not comment on those who call themselves the messiah; God is surely ready and waiting right now for them to stop by. Calling anyone a father religiously was condemned by Jesus outright. So, that sure doesn’t sound good either. Reverend is an English word that appears only once in the KJV (and in no other version), and there refers to The Lord God Almighty (Holy and reverend is His name. Psalms 111: 9)? Who is it that is bold enough to claim this for a title?]
None of these things are sanctioned by the Scriptures or ever appear in the Scriptures. Yet they have found their way into people’s beliefs and into churches and homes.
I could go on; but why bother.
The point is that we all need to be very, very careful and pay strict attention to the details. We need to do what God and Christ gave us to do, and leave it at that. And if we are anywhere near departures and doctrines like these (or any of a number of others) we need to repent, get down on our knees (or even lower), and seek forgiveness. Then we need to get as far away from this stuff as possible.
Turn to the Word of God. The Lord God Almighty conceived the plan of salvation and Christ is the author of salvation. He executed it and sealed it with his blood. The Holy Spirit was sent here to confirm it all. The apostles and disciples disseminated the message having witnessed the events and proved the truth of it all. Did they each complete what they had been given to do? The Word of God says it has all been completed exactly as designed (Jude 3, Galatians 1:6, and any number of other places).
Moses first took undue honor to himself, and then he struck the rock. He never got to Canaan. The young prophet in Israel died because he accepted an amendment to his instructions as if it had come from God, when he had already been told exactly what he must do, and how he must do it. He found out that a lie can send you to your death. And you already know that a lie will have the same effect on us as the truth if we do not know it is a lie. Just ask Jacob. Did he believe the rest of his kids when they told him his favorite son Joseph had been killed?
Lies can lead us to the wrong conclusions and those can land us squarely in Hell. And we won’t be able to get out of it by saying: “But I didn’t know it was a lie!” False teaching is everywhere. And there are many out there who do not serve God. Seek first the kingdom of heaven. We need to know the Word of God. But we will never know it unless we bury our heads in it and don’t surface until we have learned what God wants us to all do. It isn’t that hard, and it is easily understood, if we will but spend some time there.
The reading below is a little long, but certainly worth your time.
A man of God came from Judah to Bethel by a revelation from the LORD while Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense. The man of God cried out against the altar by a revelation from the LORD: “Altar, altar, this is what the LORD says, ‘A son will be born to the house of David, named Josiah, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who are burning incense on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’ “He gave a sign that day. He said, “This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: ‘The altar will now be ripped apart, and the ashes that are on it will be spilled out.’ “When the king heard the word that the man of God had cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Arrest him!” But the hand he stretched out against him withered, and he could not pull it back to himself. The altar was ripped apart, and the ashes spilled off the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
Then the king responded to the man of God, “Please plead for the favor of the LORD your God and pray for me so that my hand may be restored to me.” So the man of God pleaded for the favor of the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it had been at first. Then the king declared to the man of God, “Come home with me, refresh yourself, and I’ll give you a reward.” But the man of God replied, “If you were to give me half your house, I still wouldn’t go with you, and I wouldn’t eat bread or drink water in this place, for this is what I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or go back the way you came.’ “So he went another way; he did not go back by the way he had come to Bethel.
Now a certain old prophet was living in Bethel. His son came and told him all the deeds that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. His sons also told their father the words that he had spoken to the king. Then their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” His sons had seen the way taken by the man of God who had come from Judah. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him, and he got on it. He followed the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he said. Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” But he answered, “I cannot go back with you, eat bread, or drink water with you in this place, for a message came to me by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or go back by the way you came.’ “
He said to him, “I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’ “The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate bread in his house, and drank water.
While they were sitting at the table, the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back, and the prophet cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Because you rebelled against the command of the LORD and did not keep the commandment that the LORD your God commanded you, but you went back and ate bread and drank water in the place that He said to you: Do not eat bread and do not drink water, your corpse will never reach the grave of your fathers.'”
So after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. When he left, a lion met him along the way and killed him. His corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it; the lion was standing beside the corpse too.
There were men passing by who saw the corpse thrown on the road and the lion standing beside it, and they went and spoke [about it] in the city where the old prophet lived. When the prophet who had brought him back from his way heard [about it], he said, “He is the man of God who disobeyed the command of the LORD. The LORD has given him to the lion, and it has mauled him and killed him, according to the word of the LORD that He spoke to him.”
Then the old prophet instructed his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” They saddled it, and he went and found the corpse of the man of God thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse or mauled the donkey. So the prophet lifted the corpse of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back. The old prophet came into to the city to mourn and to bury him. Then he laid the corpse in his own grave, and they mourned over him: “Oh, my brother!”
After he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, you must bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones, for the word that he cried out by a revelation from the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines of the high places in the cities of Samaria is certain to happen.”
After all this Jeroboam did not repent of his evil way but again set up priests from every class of people for the high places. Whoever so desired it, he ordained, and they became priests of the high places. For the house of Jeroboam, this was the sin that caused it to be wiped out and annihilated from the face of the earth.
(1 Kings 13)
(This is loosely based upon Brent’s morning lesson on 11/14/2010. You can link to it through the Haverhill church link listed at the bottom of the page.)