It’s getting late… have you proven all things?

Posted: April 13, 2014 in End Times, Wake Up!
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I would like to share a quote with you by John H. Leith. John is a brother whose book is titled appropriately by its contents, “Creeds of the Churches.” This quote comes from his preface an serves well as a reminder of our obligation to God to prove all things and to hold fast to that which is good.

 “. . . the nature of man is an intelligent being. Just because of intelligence the Christian, of all men, has to learn to discern with agonizing clarity what is conceivable by him about God Himself. What cannot be thought through critically and expressed with reasonable clarity cannot demand the allegiance of man’s whole being. Understanding is necessary for man’s full commitment. Hence faith must be spoken and made intelligible. That is not to say faith must be enclosed within the limits of reason, but it does mean that faith must never require neither the closing of the mind nor the sacrifice of the integrity of the mind.”

This statement has possibly encouraged me more than any other man’s personal words of wisdom for the sake of Christian unity, to be willing to spend whatever time and effort required, without concern or measure, to labor in love to understand another man’s personal profession of faith. Likewise, it has compelled me to be as clear and thorough as possible when sharing my own convictions concerning the things that pertain to God, our virgin born, crucified and resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus and the precepts of pertaining to His judgments and eternal Kingdom. For if I am not willing and careful to invest the time in others, seek God’s truth with prayer and fasting, than I too will doubtless be found guilty of being a slothful servant and therefore a willful hindrance to fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for the glory and unity of His church. Please take time to read the prayer of our Lord below –

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”

  “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”

  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Jesus has given to us God’s truth that we might be sanctified, unified and glorified in Him through our faithful acceptance and application of it. However, people are ignorant of much of God’s truth until they have come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit that leads to a godly sorrow which stirs in their heart a mourning for sin and a seeking for repentance. Only then are they compelled to flee the wrath to come and embrace the “way” of the cross for themselves as they seek to draw nigh unto God that they might “know Him.” Very early in our walk as young believers we learn a few basics, the milk of the word so to say and we begin to grow in our knowledge of God, and before long we find ourselves rejoicing in what we believe and are happy to have Christian fellowship with “like-minded” believers.

We are taught early as new believers how we must be careful, for there are false teachers and prophets lurking outside the church who are going to come and try to snatch us away from our new-found truth we hold so dear and close to our hearts. As we grow and study our bibles we begin to easily accept things from our teachers as “they” begin to make disciples out of us, and soon we are able to reiterate verbatim the very things they’ve taught us with firm conviction that we hold forth as truth and in turn in love offer it freely to others who would accept it as truth. If they don’t accept what we share, we begin to question and look in our catalog for the reasons why they wouldn’t readily accept and gladly receive the truth that we so clearly see and confident in. Yet, the question we should ask, do we really have cause for the bold confidence in what we believe? Have we really proven it? Has what we are holding fast to in fact past the test and verifiably good?

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things, hold fast to the good.

As believers, regardless of one’s denomination or religion, straight way we all seek to categorize spiritual things when hearing them for the first time, and to be honest, so I do too. Then upon determining how we should categorize something, we next tend to accept or reject its validity based upon our own (or perhaps the pastor’s) categorization of it. From that time forward, we tend to instantly accept or reject things related to the subject matter because of how it was initially placed into our own catalog of perceived truths and heresies.

However, few recognize how often our practice of categorization can be used as a subtle and ingenious tool of the adversary to interfere with our scriptural responsibility to “prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.” Think just for a moment how much leverage the word “cult” has when you hear it used defining a particular group . . . and now consider how Christianity was first identified as a cult when it was called the “Sect of the Nazarene.”

Because of our general acceptance of the practice of categorization and the ease whereby we do it, we have actually allowed an opportunity whereby the adversary often quickly comes in and causes us to accept or reject instruction or admonition from real men of God; because straightway we hear the subtle whisper of categorization and thereby instantly judge without proof what is being presented. We often continue our lives with a vain confidence, as if we had actually “proved” the validity of what the Spirit of God might be saying afresh to us again, when in reality it is because of our emboldened and unwarranted confidence that we are actually worthy to be condemned as those who “hearing they hear not and seeing they see not.”

This practice of categorization has historically proven to be a source of powerful manipulation to actually keep those who are loyal to their denominations, creeds, and/or pastors, blinded to the truth. Perhaps you might more readily see this clearer and admit it more quickly to be so in another’s religion, like Islam. However, this phenomenon limited to other religions, but has for  too long been working effectually to blind people in Christendom as well. History alone should serve as a sober warning how we each need to be constantly proving “all things” afresh which we personally haven’t already thoroughly proven in agreement or contrary to the true scriptural tenants of the faith which pleases God.

It is my persuasion that there are many precious and pertinent biblical truths which have not been faithful embraced by many believers. That primarily because the adversary has managed to thrust some of these truths to the forefront of various denominations or religions as strongly emphasized, yet clearly unbalanced mandates. This is not to say the adversary is preaching truth or the gospel, rather by his over assertion of certain truths beyond their proper measure or by mingling it with lies, he has caused many to reject such truth in their proper balance and application. This stratagem actually serves the adversary’s agenda well, turning what is actually “legality” with God into a “legalism” among men. The following verses are simple examples of what Jesus holds forth as “legality” for those who would be forgiven and enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.

If we permit such truths to be improperly categorized, it can then be boldly rejected as legalism and false doctrine while entire denominations and pastors cry out “heresy” or “cultish!” Certainly, the way certain religious institutions may hold forth and exercise particular truths can render them both null and offensive; for any truth tainted becomes a lie just as Jesus and Paul warned, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” But do not deceive yourself for a second by thinking the misuse of truth by others will be accepted by the King of kings as a justification of your own ignoring or casting His word behind you.

Such is why I have always been careful not to categorize myself as a Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Calvinist or Arminian, or any other such division or categorization of the Christian faith. I simply assert to those who would ask that I am one endeavoring to be a disciple of Jesus Christ my Savior. Nonetheless, there are in fact certain aspects in each of these that I personally recognize as truth, not only because are they “supportable” by the scriptures, but oftentimes more importantly because they cannot be disqualified by such. There are volumes of beliefs and doctrines in the world today that boast a solid foundation of scriptures; yet when thoroughly examined they will be found to be in conflict with other passages scriptures which refute the very aspect of truth they are claiming to have. After years of studying, I could convincingly preach many of today’s popular false doctrines to those who are simple and ignorant in their faith since I had to untangle myself from their deception.  Therefore I will say it again, it is not what one can find scriptural support for that should be embraced as sound truth, but rather that which does not conflict with the whole of scripture and an accurate record of history, and remember, if the adversary cannot alter God’s truth, he will attempt to rewrite history. As George Orwell said in his book 1984, “He who controls the past control the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

All that all being said, as believers in Jesus Christ, we all should be striving in humility and love for God to be good disciples of Jesus, continually proving all things and holding fast to that which is scripturally sound and worthy of our wholehearted acknowledgement and observation as living testimony to our love for our Redeemer.

While there are many enlightening precepts from the Word of God that guide the exercising of my faith, at this point I want to touch on to the godly correlation of love, truth and fruit.  First, Jesus tells us through His word that if we love Him we will keep His words –

John 14:21 He that hath My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. 22 Judas said unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself unto us and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24 He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.”

If I truly love God,  it is vital to the integrity of my faith that I give myself unreservedly to the things I am presently persuaded of, even if what I may currently believe may be deficient or even wrong concerning the word of God. For I am persuaded that even a perceived divine truth will produce godly fruit, if the heart is truly humble before God. This I believe is the admonition of Apostle Paul below–

Romans 14:5 One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks.

Therefore as I have stated before, the things I share on the Gates of the City are never intended as a statement that I am right and others are wrong, or a condemnation on others for their beliefs. I share them because I truly believe them and live by them and openly submit them to the scrutiny of other believers that they may understand the basis for how and why I exercise my faith in taking the stands and positions I do. But what I do is an endeavor to labor in harmony with the Spirit of God for the souls of the deceived and/or lost out of servitude love for my Lord because my Savior is worthy of the full reward of His suffering.

The Apostle Paul was extremely clear when he warned us to not quickly “judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way . . . for we all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Paul wasn’t saying don’t prove the object of your faith here, rather do so and exercise it in such a manner so as not to condemn or damage another in their growth of faith. Because that is the point, we must have faith for without it is impossible to please God. This brings me to another guiding precept which is coupled with a sure promise of God –

Hebrew 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

We must have godly faith if we are to be found pleasing God; but like all things even faith can be counterfeited and reduced to a mere believism. True Christian faith is not something we create or muster up, it is a gift of God. It comes freely to those who have ears to hear, for “faith comes by hearing and that hearing the word of God.” Freely I say, because it is the reward for their diligence of seeking God in true humility and brokenness. We must be diligent, for I have yet to find a scriptural promise by God to the half-hearted other than disappointment and if you don’t absorb anything else from this article, never forget that God resists the proud. We need to always keep in mind God’s grace is poured out upon the humble and by it true faith works/performs by gratuitous love for both the Redeemer and the redeemed; such is the breastplate of righteousness, the armor of the saints.

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.

Ephesians 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

Faith is God’s gift to those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for such is the breastplate of faith and love, it is a breastplate of righteousness.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.

Too many Christians are actually choosing to continue “weak in faith” because they will not purposely seek to prove, know, and understand the surety and truth of God’s word. Instead, they have settled for the ease of just accepting what has been categorized by others and taught as doctrines and creeds, accepting practices which for a long time has been seemingly been working in today’s traditional Church systems. But longevity and successful social practice doesn’t prove these things to be products of the pure seed of God’s word, which is the only quickening source for a holy life. Remember, based on what each has heard, believed, and accepted, are the tares and wheat seemingly growing together in the world.

Whether it is one of the oldest church in town still the oldest holding to vain tradition (longevity proves nothing) or the new mega-churches growing exponentially by the worldly marketing wisdom catering to sinners by making them “seeker friendly,” they cannot produce life apart from the truth of God’s word faithfully applied. Divine truth, when loved and obediently embraced, always produces godly fruit. For this reason we must constantly prove all things and earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For since Jesus openly triumphed against His enemies upon the cross and proved Himself to be the Christ and Son of God by rising from the dead, there has been a steady attempt to pollute the truth, a flood as it were of false doctrine flowing ultimately from the mouth of the dragon whose earnest desire is to cause the woman (church) to be carried away from the true Christ via another false gospel unto another Jesus by another spirit.

Revelation 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. 

Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

These very problems Paul faced in his day with the churches in Corinth and Galatia, the unlearned were opening their hearts to false doctrines by false brothers who “appeared to be somewhat.” Yet Paul was very strong in his judgments against such, showing no mercy to those false teachers who were proud. They were not only hindering believers in their growth of faith, but were actually shipwrecking many by causing them to be removed from Him that called then into His grace.

Galatians 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.

Paul said, “Let them be accursed… even cut off!” To be blunt, Paul was expressing his desire that they were both dead and in hell already. Yet, nowadays it seems everyone has a new doctrine and a revelation to share, which is why we need to be careful that we do not hastily run off saying, “The Lord showed me, the Lord showed me!” or blindly accept it when someone yells “Cult, cult.” Nowadays many quickly embrace new revelations or generate a new calculation of the times and seasons; declaring dates and thereby causing many to be carried away. How many false teachers and prophets have declared such things only to be later found worthy to be stoned by the very scriptures from which they boasted such great things?

Don’t you think the devil believes in end time prophets? He absolutely does, that is why he has cleverly promoted so many false dates and calculations. That is why there have been and will continue to be the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh, Harold Camping and other deceivers. We heard so many false dates and of countless people who were disappointed and thus turned away, leaving God and His Lord and Christ to be targets of mockery and scorn. For the most part this is due to silly Christians who bring shame to both themselves and their Redeemer by not obediently studying the scripture and proving the tenants of their faith, but are instead willfully ignorant of the word of God. Sadly more believers have more thoroughly read so-called “Christian” fictional series and formulated their beliefs from such than they have God’s own word. Personally, I simply fail to understand how any true Christian would willfully author “Christian fiction?”

1 Timothy 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Sisters and brothers, true servants of God are both broken and humbled by the things God reveals to them. True servants who find themselves in fear and trembling before a holy God, humbled because He has rewarded their efforts and revealed His truths to them as they prudently seek to abide in Christ. Godly men of the likes of Charles Spurgeon, Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson, purchased and redeemed and lovers of their great Redeemer, who walked worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called. Remember, divine truth produces godly fruit in every humble seeker.

Consider now the countless popular and arrogant religious men professing to be leaders in Christendom nowadays. Mere hirelings and showmen who think themselves to be something, when they are cursed. Deceived and deceiving, ever learning and never able to come to the truth while building religious empires and making fortunes instead of truly glorifying God and building up the body of Christ. Such men are not worthy to be compared to the godly men mentioned above who have labored and travailed for the souls of the lost. These deceivers only tell their followers the truth when they say, “You can have your best life now.” For be assured afterwards hell has open wide her gates and awaits them.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory [confident they are leaders and teachers], provoking one another, envying one another. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts.  5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:  6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.  7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children:  8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because you were dear unto us.  9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.  10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:  11 As you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

We must examine everything we are being fed and swallowing as truth, as well as those who are teaching us. The admonishment to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” is not just discretionary advice for the believer. Though sadly too many are deeply entrenched in their own strongholds of loyalty to their leaders and their church’s rules and creeds, while they blindly go along singing lyrics to unbiblical song as if they were their personal statements of faith and oracles of God. When they are confronted by truth, they loyally only dig in deeper. If, and when, they do set out to prove “all things,” they do so only to prove that “all things” they believe are correct and “all things” that their opponent believes are false. From the very start their prideful strife is with a spirit of debate (a work of the flesh) looking through scriptures only to dispute others instead of seeking and proving the truth.  This is not the noble spirit that was found in the Bereans, who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

These “strongholds” have to be pull down and as sin repented of, for they are false doctrinal strongholds serving only keep people powerless by preventing them from coming to a liberating knowledge and understanding of God’s truth. Even Paul had his stronghold of defective faith from which he persecuted the church, absolutely convinced he was serving God while doing damage beyond number to the very sect of believers he later became a master builder of.

The weapons of our warfare have always been and ever will be mighty through God, the greatest the world has and ever will see for true victory over this world. They are the sure word of prophecy, our sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, coupled with both fastings and prayer. More now than ever we must be vigilant in proving all things, diligently seeking God via His holy word by humbling ourselves with fastings and giving ourselves completely to prayer. We must aggressively cast off the weights and sins that presently hinder and distract us and endeavor to draw nearer to Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. By obediently studying God’s word and humbling ourselves we can be assured the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth . . . if we will follow. But we must, and I emphasize it again, we must be willing to keep all our beliefs on the altar before Him, allowing them to be adjusted and fine tuned by Him as we continue to study, watch, fast and pray.

It is God’s yearning desire is to give us wisdom and knowledge of His will for us today. Will you listen to Him today?

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

“But hold fast what you have till I come and he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ –as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

 

 

Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear brother, I am reminded of Paul’s counsel to the elders in Ephesus: Acts 20:16-38
    Your post is echoing these things. Thank you for speaking the warning.

    Like

  2. cindy j says:

    good word, bill. i am so thankful for God’s grace to keep learning His ways as i let go more and more of my opinions and long held beliefs that were not proven thru the labor of dying to myself and exercising the gift of faith He has given me. so thankful He is forever opening my eyes to his truth…i love Him more every day! keep pressing in to Him! \o/ Phil 3:8-15

    Like

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