This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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The basic cause for deception has a very common factor. The apostle Paul established the Corinthian church about A.D. 50 and wrote his first letter to them about A.D. 55. In the letter we find out that the church was experiencing several problems, which Paul addressed and in so doing revealed some of the reasons for, some of the very same reasons plague us today. The common factor that I am referring to is continuing to live according to our own human ability and understanding instead of walking or living in the Holy Spirit and being led by Him. You will see this clearly in the Scriptures we are about to look at.
1 Corinthians 1:4-25 . . . I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, [so] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination [to give you full insight into its meaning]. In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established and made sure in you that you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace [the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you wait and watch [constantly living in hope] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all. And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10-16 But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments. For it has been made clear to me, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions and wrangling and factions among you. What I mean is this, that each one of you [either] says, I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos, or I belong to Cephas (Peter), or I belong to Christ. Is Christ (the Messiah) divided into parts? Was Paul crucified on behalf of you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I baptized in my own name. [Yes] I did baptize the household of Stephanas also. More than these, I do not remember that I baptized anyone.
The first thing to notice and keep in mind about this church is that although it had existed for about 5 years, and was "not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace," yet, it had several serious problems. Spiritual gifts do not necessarily make a person spiritual, as we shall see!
We should also notice that Paul says that they are God-enabled to "be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments." As God’s people we have no excuse to live in disobedience.
17-25 For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect). For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God. For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing. [Isa. 29:14.] Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world's wisdom? For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him). For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, we preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men.
The world or mankind has nothing to offer or add to the knowledge of God, but they continually try to do so. The nation of Israel often tried to incorporate the religions of the world around them into their service of God, but God forbid it and would not allow it. When they continued to do so, He brought sever judgement upon them, and He will do the same thing with the Church as we see in the first 3 chapters of Revelation. None of the vast knowledge and supposed wisdom that mankind has gained over about 6000 years of searching, that is contrary to the Word of God, has any value, it is all foolishness, don’t be taken in by its deception!
"I have seen that everything [human] has its limits and end [no matter how extensive, noble, and excellent]; but Your commandment is exceedingly broad and extends without limits [into eternity]" (Ps. 119:96). "Your testimonies are wonderful [far exceeding anything conceived by man]; therefore my [penitent] self keeps them [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]. The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding (discernment and comprehension) to the simple" (Ps. 119:129-130). "The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning of all Your individual precepts]; and every one of Your righteous decrees endures forever" (Ps. 119:160).
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 . . . Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]. For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. [Isa. 40:13.]
1 Corinthians 3:1-23 . . . However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], for you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? For when one says, I belong to Paul, and another, I belong to Apollos, are you not [proving yourselves] ordinary (unchanged) men?
Two things to consider here, remember we said that we would see that the possession of the spiritual gifts of the Spirit did not necessarily indicate that the person was spiritual; that is essentially what Paul is saying here – after 5 years you are still unspiritual, acting under control of normal human impulses.
The second important thing to notice and remember is that God expects us to stop living under natural human controls, and learn to walk in the Spirit under His control.
5-8 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Ministering servants [not heads of parties] through whom you believed, even as the Lord appointed to each his task: I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase. So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater. He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor.
9-15 For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God's garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God's building. [Isa. 61:3.] According to the grace (the special endowment for my task) of God bestowed on me, like a skillful architect and master builder I laid [the] foundation, and now another [man] is building upon it. But let each [man] be careful how he builds upon it, for no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, the work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire. [Job 23:10.]
We are told in James 3:1: "Not many [of you] should become teachers (self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation]." Those who do become preachers and teachers should have as their first consideration and concern to be faithful unto God and His Word.
16-17 Do you not discern and understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God's temple (His sanctuary), and that God's Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, collectively as a church and also individually]? If anyone does hurt to God's temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [the believing church and its individual believers] are.
This is very serious business with God, for what we say and do can affect others for either good or for bad. So it would be unthinkable to attempt to attach to the Church the thoughts and reasonings of the humanly wise that Gods calls foolishness.
18-23 Let no person deceive himself. If anyone among you supposes that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [let him discard his worldly discernment and recognize himself as dull, stupid, and foolish, without true learning and scholarship], that he may become [really] wise. [Isa. 5:21.] For this world's wisdom is foolishness (absurdity and stupidity) with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their [own] craftiness; [Job 5:13.] and again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the [humanly] wise and recognizes how futile they are. [Ps. 94:11.] So let no one exult proudly concerning men [boasting of having this or that man as a leader], for all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas (Peter), or the universe or life or death, or the immediate and threatening present or the [subsequent and uncertain] future--all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
In the book, A Prophet With Honor – The Billy Graham Story, written by William Martin in 1991, and apparently approved by Billy Graham; you can find a good summary on pages 204-224 of what took place between the New or Neo Evangelicals and the Old Fundamentalists. Then you can apply the Scriptures below in determining the right course of action for yourself.
On pages 220-221 of Martin's book, it is stated that a few Fundamentalists still hoped that "Graham’s flirtations with Modernists would pass and that he would return to the Fundamentalist fold a chastened and wiser man. But about the same time he took the first steps to found CT, Graham dashed those hopes and severed whatever threads of unity remained between the New Evangelicals and the Old Fundamentalists by accepting an invitation from the Protestant council of the city of New York, and affiliate of the liberal National Council of Churches, to hold a crusade in Madison Square Garden during the late spring of 1957."
Thus, Billy grew more and more liberal with those that he associated with and the things they believed. The people that Billy now associated with actually broke-off from the Old Evangelicals and formed a group called the Neo Evangelicals that Shelley, in his book Church History In Plain Language pages 69-74, called Modernists and of whom he said; "Such Christians suffer the disadvantage of being unable to identify any faith or pattern of church government that has the seal of God’s approval. In its extremes it is Christianity without ultimates and absolutes. Everything is up for grabs." Billy seems to have been content with the new procedure and practices as long as they didn’t try to tell him what he could or couldn’t preach. Only God knows the heart of Billy Graham and the extremes he may have been driven to by the choices he had made.
We need to keep in mind that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is not a church, it is an association. Anyone can start and run an association anyway that they please, as long as they do it lawfully. And any Christian can start and run a recognized Christian ministry of any kind; whether or not they are in the will of God in doing so, we may never know. And whether or not they are running it in obedience to God’s Word is sometimes very difficult to find out.
In making a choice as to whether we will join or support a Christian ministry we need to be assured that the ministry has God’s approval and that they are running it according to God’s Word. If we find that they are not, then we can’t support them and ourselves be in God’s will.
Repeating a point already made: A primary point to keep in mind is that none of the Scriptures presented in this article, nor any other New Testament Scripture gives even the slightest hint or indication that Jesus ever intended for His Church to set up a visible kingdom, or even a church building on earth. It is now a spiritual kingdom established in our soul and spirit by the Holy Spirit in which we learn to cooperate with Him in whatever He wants us to do. Since the Church is a spiritual one its primary function is to preach and teach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not get entangled in the affairs and practices of this world. But for the most part the churches have neglected their duty to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the faithful teaching of the Scriptures, and have instead increasingly conformed to the ways and practices of this world.
If we were to start over with the Biblical premise in mind that each local community of believers are to remain independent of all other churches and completely and solely dependent and obedient unto the Lord, what form might our gathering places be and look like, and how differently would or could we function?
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 . . . Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded). When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.
These verses are here to remind us that we presently serve the Lord with limited knowledge and therefore need to daily check with Him and His Word concerning our every action.
2 John 5-11 . . . And now I beg you, lady (Cyria), not as if I were issuing a new charge (injunction or command), but [simply recalling to your mind] the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And what this love consists in is this: that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by His commandments (His orders, ordinances, precepts, teaching). This is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you continue to walk in love [guided by it and following it]. For many imposters (seducers, deceivers, and false leaders) have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge (confess, admit) the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) in bodily form. Such a one is the imposter (the seducer, the deceiver, the false leader, the antagonist of Christ) and the antichrist. Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full]. Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but he who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement. For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings.
There are several important things to consider in these verses: (1) First of all, our love for God means "that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by His commandments." (2) Secondly, even in the first century Church "many imposters (seducers, deceivers, and false leaders) have/had gone out into the world." (3)We are cautioned to, "Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for." There was and still is grave danger that we can suffer great loss if we neglect proper precautions regarding the many imposters "(the seducer, the deceiver, the false leader, the antagonist of Christ) and the antichrist." (4) We are to have nothing to do with anyone who "is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught." We are not to receive him into our homes, bid him any help from God or encourage him in any way, if we do we become a partaker in his evil deeds.
This covers a lot of ground and gives us a great deal to work with to determine what Has God’s approval and what doesn’t.
1 Corinthians 5:6-13 . . . [About the condition of your church] your boasting is not good [indeed, it is most unseemly and entirely out of place]. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump [of dough]? Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth.
Just a little error usually leads to more and greater error.
9-13 I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people--not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether! But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person. What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].
Contrary to popular belief and practice, we are not to tolerate anything or anyone who brings reproach upon God or His Word.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 . . . Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. [Ex. 25:8; 29:45; Lev. 26:12; Jer. 31:1; Ezek. 37:27.] So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor, [Isa. 52:11.] And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
We are to have no spiritual alliances, conferences or agreements with those who are not true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:10-12 . . . Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah). For I want you to know, brethren, that the Gospel which was proclaimed and made known by me is not man's gospel [a human invention, according to or patterned after any human standard]. For indeed I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but [it came to me] through a [direct] revelation [given] by Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
Living in obedience to God will not make us popular with men, and if our goal is to be popular with men we cannot be a servant of God!
The following quote is taken from the Days of Praise booklet, September 22, 2017, published by the Institute for Creation Research ICR.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
There are three Greek words translated "beware," all of which stress watchfulness and potential danger. In a world under the control of Satan, there are many of his devices that can deceive and undermine the faith and life of the unwary Christian.
Our text cautions against false prophets who appear to be true prophets (or teachers, or pastors) but whose apparent spiritual teachings are subversive of biblical truth. John warns that "many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1), and Jesus said they "shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:11). Jesus also warned that His followers should "beware of . . . the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:12). These sects have their respective modern counterparts in the hypocrisy of legalists and the skepticism of liberals, both of which are destructive of true biblical faith and life.
Very relevant to today’s humanistic intellectualism is the warning of Colossians 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." This is the Bible’s only reference to philosophy, here evidently equated with "vain deceit."
Finally, the apostle Peter says, "Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness" (2 Peter 3:17). In context, Peter is referring to those Christian brethren who have distorted the Scriptures in order to seek an accommodation with the naturalistic worldview of establishment intellectuals (2 Peter 3:3-6, 16). Thus, Peter, John, and Christ Himself would urge constant wariness on our part. HMM
If the Church had followed the instructions contained in God’s Word, the world would be a much better place to live in, and would not need all the man-made schemes and practices it presently uses in an attempt to clean up the mess that disobedience has created.
This series is continued with; God Makes His Appeal To Us Through The Apostle Paul.