If we do not know our enemy, how could we possibly be fighting the right battle in the right war?
Sun Tzu, The Art of War: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
The Bible is a divine Book. In the Bible God speaks with specificity.
Specificity is the act or quality of being exact; the fact, condition, or quality of being specific. Explicitly set forth; definite; clear or detailed in communicating.
When the Bible says “Thus saith the LORD”, God is not just laying out general guidelines expecting us to fill in the blanks.
Tonight we will examine God’s specific instruction for warfare.
I have changed my preaching schedule to address a need in our church and in churches in general. There is a controversy in our churches today concerning our involvement in government and concerning civil disobedience.
With more and more legislation and judicial rulings that seemingly oppose our Biblical values, what are we to do? Do we have biblical examples from which God can give us his direction? What should we do if we are brought before the government to answer for our faith? How do we prepare?
Is it ever okay to disobey our government? Can we find acts of civil disobedience in Scripture? And if we do find instances of opposition to the government in the Bible, what is the relevance for us? And do these accounts provide a template that is viable in the twenty-first century?
Out of deference to some who seem to feel that we as a church should address these issues more directly, I have asked God to help me provide clarity from the pulpit of Faith Fellowship Church of Tennessee, IL.
What we need is …
… People do need to see “where we as a church stand” as judges rule in favor of gay legislation and as legislatures cave to the pressures of public sentiment in favor of ungodly lifestyles.
… People do need to see us state our beliefs, and our stated beliefs need to be grounded in solid, biblical instruction.
What we do not need is …
… more knee-jerk reaction and venom and vitriol in the name of God.
… more dishonor to God in the name of honoring God and his word of truth. (See Romans 13).
… more home-cooked Christianity (American style) that has more attachment to the Republican party than to the Bible.
So I began a journey to find the clearest, most compelling examples in the Bible that would provide us with a solid, biblical template from which to pattern our direction. With this in mind for the next few weeks we will be examining several biblical examples of conflicts of faith.
I began by searching for any and every instance of relevant biblical texts. And I admit to being dumbfounded by the resulting study. Powerful, amazing and solid-as-a-Rock on the Bible.
[Dumbfounded— greatly astonished, amazed, astounded, staggered, surprised, startled, stunned.] “God does things like this.” 🙂
One more thing …
As we move along in our search, there is a question that we must ask: What is my motivation? If I do come to the place where I disobey the government, why did I do it? Was it out of loyalty to God or defiance toward the government?
What stirs my heart?
Loyalty and love to God? Or defiance toward the government?
THIS WEEK …
God answers our questions as only God can.
What is our Shepherd’s course of action in view of a world that grows darker by the day? How does he prepare us? He tells us that he is sending us out as sheep among the wolves.
Amazing message this week as we look at Matthew 10:16-39.
Well, if you can believe it, this is our last message in our series on Romans. What a blessing this has been. I can remember thinking/praying about whether or not I was up to the challenge of this amazing letter in God’s holy word. Thankfully, I trusted God and moved ahead in sharing.
We have a Chinese friend who has a cure for all that might ail a person.
“Drink more tea.”
Cold … drink more tea. Sluggish … drink more tea. Discouraged … drink more tea..
So here is our cure-all as believers in Jesus Christ: “Have more gospel.”
This is our strength, our only strength. Whatever ails you rest in the foundation of God’s hope and promise. “Have more gospel.”
This week it’s all about the gospel and the glory of God. We are to be gospel-powered saints, living by faith, enjoying the “ride” as we share the path with the only wise God.
Before him we fall down in worship. To him we give the glory. Nothing else is appropriate as he reveals his great plan for our lives with him.
And maybe even try our friend’s advice and … “Drink more tea.”
As we think through this our minds may go to what seems to be the most obvious. His teaching is untrue. Or he is evil and diabolical. Or he has fallen for the schemes of the devil. And all of those things may be true.
But that is not what makes him.
Those things are not the driving force behind the false teacher. Not the root issue. And we need to understand the root issue, the most underlying, fundamental characteristic of the false teacher, to be best prepared to watch for him and to avoid him.
So what is this root issue, this fundamental characteristic?
At the core of a false teacher is a person who serves himself first, above and before all others including God.
(We will see this in our text this morning.)
On the surface this may seem harmless enough or even insignificant. But you have to understand that the self-server, with his only concern being his personal interests, that anything and everything are at his disposal. Both sides of the line. Good, bad, evil, righteous, truth, lie. It doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters to the self-serving false teacher is this: Does it serve my purpose to fulfill me, my interests and my needs.
This person will go to any lengths to forward his agenda. Teach truth? Sure. Teach the Bible? Even better.
And before we go to our text this morning, one more question.
Why do people fall for false teachers?
Answer? Because they tell us what we want to hear.