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 last page to be added to our website was entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan. This page attempts to explain how Satanic deception can be avoided by being of the same mind, and how that can be accomplished.
PHILIPPIANS 1:27-2:16.... Only be sure as citizens so to conduct yourselves [that] your manner of life [will be] worthy of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, so that whether I [do] come and see you or am absent, I may hear this of you: that you are standing firm in united spirit and purpose, striving side by side and contending with a single mind for the faith of the glad tidings (the Gospel). And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God. For you have been granted [the privilege] for Christ's sake not only to believe in (adhere to, rely on, and trust in) Him, but also to suffer in His behalf. So you are engaged in the same conflict which you saw me [wage] and which you now hear to be mine [still].
2:1So by whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever] strengthening and consoling and encouraging [our relationship] in Him [affords], by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share], and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy, fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.
It is a very difficult task, but not impossible, for our manner of life to be as described above, especially that of "being of the same mind and one in purpose." One of the problems evolves around the various interpretations given to the same passage of Scripture, which, in some cases, can be resolved by a serious study of God’s Word. A second serious problem is the traditions that we have accumulated which we need to be ready to discard if they are not supported by the Word of God. There is only one way to know truth from error – what does the Word of God have to say about it! If we cannot find support in God’s Word for our belief or conviction, it is mere speculation, theory or tradition and cannot be regarded as necessarily true, only God’s Word is absolute truth. We are warned by Paul in 1 Cor. 4:1-6 below, "not to go beyond that which is written." Another words, don’t let your manner of life be developed by relying wholeheartedly upon anything except "by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God," see Matt. 4:1-4 below.
5Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, but stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
14Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], that you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose.
MATTHEW 4:1-4.... THEN JESUS was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry. [Ex. 34:28; 1 Kings 19:8.] And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God's Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. [Deut. 8:3.]
1 CORINTHIANS 4:1-6.... So then, let us [apostles] be looked upon as ministering servants of Christ and stewards (trustees) of the mysteries (the secret purposes) of God. Moreover, it is [essentially] required of stewards that a man should be found faithful [proving himself worthy of trust]. But [as for me personally] it matters very little to me that I should be put on trial by you [on this point], and that you or any other human tribunal should investigate and question and cross-question me. I do not even put myself on trial and judge myself. I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me. So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God. Now I have applied all this [about parties and factions] to myself and Apollos for your sakes, brethren, so that from what I have said of us [as illustrations], you may learn [to think of men in accordance with Scripture and] not to go beyond that which is written, that none of you may be puffed up and inflated with pride and boast in favor of one [minister and teacher] against another.
PHILIPPIANS 3:1-4:1.... For the rest, my brethren, delight yourselves in the Lord and continue to rejoice that you are in Him. To keep writing to you [over and over] of the same things is not irksome to me, and it is [a precaution] for your safety. Look out for those dogs [Judaizers, legalists], look out for those mischief-makers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances– though for myself I have [at least grounds] to rely on the flesh. If any other man considers that he has or seems to have reason to rely on the flesh and his physical and outward advantages, I have still more! Circumcised when I was eight days old, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew [and the son] of Hebrews; as to the observance of the Law I was of [the party of] the Pharisees, as to my zeal, I was a persecutor of the church, and by the Law's standard of righteousness (supposed justice, uprightness, and right standing with God) I was proven to be blameless and no fault was found with me.
7But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ's sake. Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed one), and that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed one), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
Paul came to realize that he had a very important and drastic decision to make, either to hold on to his former manner of life, or to completely disregard all that was contrary to what he now knew to be the Word of God. There were things in the Jewish religious traditions of which Jesus said, "Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing" (Mark 7:13). Whatever we hold on to that is contrary to God’s Word will hinder our spiritual progress and cause us many additional problems, the only sensible thing to do is for us to get back to the basics of God’s Word and discard and forget, as Paul did, the former things that are hindering.
10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] that if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.
Having touched upon forsaking and forgetting the former things that were hindering rubbish and a "loss for Christ’s sake," let us now consider what "straining forward to what lies ahead" might involve. Paul says in Phil. 3:17 below, "Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you. In 1 Cor. 10:31-11:1 he says, "So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God. Do not let yourselves be [hindrances by giving] an offense to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God [do not lead others into sin by your mode of life]; just as I myself strive to please [to accommodate myself to the opinions, desires, and interests of others, adapting myself to] all men in everything I do, not aiming at or considering my own profit and advantage, but that of the many in order that they may be saved. Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah)".
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was first presented to those who already had the existing Word of God, the Old Testament, and they (the Jews) were responsible for checking out what Jesus and the apostles were now presenting to them to see if it was true according to God’s Word that He had already spoken. Those who recognized what had been prophesied in the Old Testament about Christ, and the correctness of what Jesus taught, accepted Him as Christ Jesus (Anointed Savior). Those who failed to properly interpret and understand the Old Testament, rejected Jesus, and thus missed out on the New Testament covenant. There are two very important examples here for us to follow or practice if we hope to remain free of error and deception.
First, whatever is presented to us, no matter the person or the means, should always be checked out according to God’s Word and properly categorized. The Jews checked out Jesus and the disciples, some rightly believed and others failed because they misunderstood the Old Testament. The Berean’s checked out the apostle Paul and many believed his message and others didn’t for the same reason, "Now the brethren at once sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea; and when they arrived, they entered the synagogue of the Jews. Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11).
Second, anyone who claims to be speaking for Christ, no matter who he or she is, must be carefully examined, according to the Word of God, to see that they are following the pattern set by Jesus and His apostles! If they deviate from this pattern, we must not follow their advice or example. As Paul say above, "follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you," observe means to examine carefully, watch, study or scrutinize. This is so important that Paul repeats himself below, and why is it so important? Because there are, not a few, but many who pose as servants of the Lord but are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
17Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you. For there are many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, who walk (live) as enemies of the cross of Christ (the Anointed one). They are doomed and their fate is eternal misery (perdition); their god is their stomach (their appetites, their sensuality) and they glory in their shame, siding with earthly things and being of their party. But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior, Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself. 4:1 Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and yearn to see, my delight and crown (wreath of victory), thus stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
In order to stand firm in the Lord, we will need to detach ourselves from the enemies of the cross of Christ who side with earthly things, such as those we mentioned in our former website page, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan. As Jesus said, "If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you" (John 15:19). Our new citizenship is a heavenly one, and our new manner of living should not be according to the traditions of this world, but by the directives of the Word of God!
For any church or Christian group to arrive at the place where they are as Paul said "being of the same mind and one in purpose," they will have to first examine themselves and discard anything and everything that is not supported by God’s Word. All that has been presented in this article and the one before it, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan, could and should be used in this examination process. When they have agreed and faithfully carried out this process, they will be Biblically and rightly in one accord with the same mind and purpose. Then they will need to be very careful and check out thoroughly everything that they consider in the future.