Hold Fast to God’s Truth
It is the truth that sets people free. Knowing the truth, speaking the truth, and practicing the truth liberates us from the shackles of Satan’s lies.
John 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him. 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
It is keeping the truth that liberates us from sin, and when we speak the truth to others, they, too, have a chance to be liberated, if the truth contained in our words delivers them from believing in half-truths or outright lies.
The apostle Paul explains in many places in his epistles that the brethren are to teach and to exhort others to live according to God’s truth and righteousness including the times when it may be painful to speak that truth.
1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
The whole world lies under the sway of Satan, and all of mankind has been indoctrinated by his deceptions beginning with Adam and Eve. We all have been held in bondage to Satan’s lies and for that reason God sent His Son to reveal the truth. In so doing Jesus sets the captives free for those who listen, believe in Him, repent, and then live according to God’s Word for the rest of their lives.
This was Jesus’ mission on earth when He was here as a man: to speak and to demonstrate the very TRUTH of GOD, and then to die to pay the penalty for the sins of the world.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
When Jesus was twelve years old He told His mother that He must be about His Father’s business.
Luke 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
It is the whole Word of God that sets men free and that has been the Father’s and the Son’s mission from the time of Adam and Eve when the first couple chose to believe Satan’s lie rather than to believe their Creator.
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
At the beginning of His earthly ministry Jesus stated what His work on earth would be, but also said that the same work would continue through the efforts of His disciples after His resurrection and ascension to His Father. Jesus said to His disciples: “as the Father has sent me, so I send you”. The Father and the Son’s mission has been the same down through the ages, as they work through the efforts of their called-out people right up to the very end of the age.
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
It is Truth That Sets Men Free From Bondage to Ignorance and Sin
The whole world lies under Satan’s deception and is in need of being set free; it is only through the work of God that humanity will be delivered from Satan’s bondage. God speaks through His Word; and it is by our speech, and the truth contained in our words, that we help others to come to know the truth about God and how to attain to eternal life.
People have a great need to communicate and we all love to be able to share and exchange our thoughts with others. Studies suggest that the average adult speaks approximately 16,000 words per day. If the average person lives to be 70 years old that is a total of almost 409 million words spoken in a lifetime.
In our modern times speaking face to face with those we want to talk to is only one means of communicating with each other. Most of us now have computers, phones, cells phone and I-pods. We see people everywhere talking on their cell phones or I-pods while walking down the street, shopping in stores, or even as they are driving their vehicles.
With the Internet, we now have the ability to send instant emails or text messages which is speaking words in written language. It has been estimated that some 294 billion emails are sent every day, along with approximately 340 million tweets through Twitter. All of this new technology provides even more opportunities to communicate with each other via our electronic devices and through social media in all of its various forms, plus instant messaging by way of text messages.
With all of these means of communication that we have at our disposal, there is a constant stream of speaking going on throughout the invisible air waves of our modern society. But as God’s people, it is important to keep in mind the importance of not speaking carelessly no matter what means we choose to convey our words. Jesus tells His disciples to be very careful in how we speak.
Matthew 12:3 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
As we know, none of these modern day means of communication were in existence at the time the Bible was written. But God’s Word supplies us with time honored biblical principles that God’s people must always apply when speaking.
God’s principles apply just as much to online communication as it does to real-life interpersonal relationships and face-to-face conversations. Whether we are speaking in person, talking on our cell phones, writing a letter, text messaging or sending emails online, Scripture gives us the principles that we are to engage when we communicate with others.
Paul instructs us that we must communicate with grace, our speech seasoned with salt that we may always know how to talk to others in a godly manner.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Growing Up In Christ
In Ephesians, chapter 4, Paul instructs that we are also to speak the truth in love which is a vital principle whereby we are to help one another to grow to the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
The Greek word for “love” in this verse is “agapé“, the same word used for “charity” in 1st Corinthians 13 which is called the love chapter.
Agape is (Strong’s #26) and means; From agapao; love, i.e. Affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast–(feast of) charity(-ably), dear, love. (Strong’s Concordance)
What does it mean to “speak the truth in love”? The Greek word that is translated “speak the truth” is alétheuó (Strong’s # 226) and means more than speak, it means embody, speak truth, do truth, live truth.
Paul is admonishing us to live, speak, embody God’s reality, and by this we exemplify His divine, unselfish, sacrificial [agape] love.
What is the biblical definition of love? There are many verses that describe the love of God and how we show that we love Him and others.
God’s love is the keeping of God’s commandments which is His whole Word.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it
It is the keeping of God’s commandments; that is what constitutes His love.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
The foremost and most descriptive chapter on agape love is 1st Corinthians 13. It is Paul’s detailed description of what it means to love in the very spirit and intent of God’s law of love, and at the end of the chapter we are reminded that [agape] love is even greater than faith and hope. Notice how many of the fruits of the Spirit are indicated in this passage.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Perfecting the Saints, Guarding the Truth
In Ephesians 4:15 Paul says that he is speaking the truth in love. According to the Greek definition of agape, if he is speaking the truth according to agape love then it must be for the good of the people he is speaking to and that he is presenting the reality of what God deems as truth.
From this passage in Ephesians we can see two important practical applications for godly communication in the way we are to speak to one another. The first principle is that we are to speak the truth. The second is that we are to do so in a way that is characterized by [agape] love.
So what is the CONTEXT of Paul’s instruction in “speaking the truth in love”, and how will it benefit those who are hearing his words spoken in love?
Here is the setting from which Paul says this and shows us exactly what he is expounding upon:
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Paul begins this section about speaking the truth in love with this verse which lists the offices that God gives some, and then follows up in the subsequent verses with an explanation of the purposes and functions of those whom God has gifted and placed in these various offices.
These people who serve diligently in their respective positions are not only gifted by God to perform their duties, but they, in turn are a gift to the Ekklesia if they are faithfully carrying out their God-given responsibilities.
Paul then tells us what the purpose and function for which God places these persons in their respective roles.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
They are a gift to the body of Christ because of the role that they play in helping others to grow spiritually through their preaching, teaching, and administrative works; but also the work that they do is also supposed to help the ones that they serve and to protect them from the pitfalls of succumbing to false teachers and false doctrines.
The persons placed into offices are to faithfully minister to and edify the members by their preaching, teaching, exhorting, so that all may come to the complete knowledge of the truth; and thereby all be in perfect unity with Christ who is in perfect unity with His Father.
The various people who are appointed by God for these offices serve to protect the brethren from false teachings, from cunning, crafty, false teachers who sneak into the assemblies to deceive the brethren and to gain a following for themselves and they seek to take the members away from the truth of God.
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
This verse can be compared with sailing a sailboat that can go nowhere if it is lacking the centerboard (or what is called the “keel” in larger boats). The centerboard is like truth, it helps to stabilized the sailing craft and to keep it on course when it is properly in place.
If we fail to lower the centerboard once we set off from shore, the sailboat will careen around aimlessly; and if it is really windy, the boat will lean to one side and can tip over easily unless we hurry and put down the centerboard.
The centerboard (or keel) is basically a flat blade sticking down into the water from a sailboat’s bottom. It has two functions: it prevents the boat from being blown sideways by the wind, and it holds the ballast that keeps the boat right-side up. Without a keel the boat is just pushed and blown whatever way the wind blows.
A person without the Spirit of Truth as his guide is like a sail boat without a centerboard and they are easily blown off course; anything that sounds good or makes them feel good, or teachings that somehow supplies their emotional needs can easily sway or redirect them.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
In Ephesians 4:14-16 Paul is exhorting the brethren not to succumb to the false thinking of the world around them, but rather they are to reject falsehood and instead speak the truth to one another in love.
We need to focus on God’s truth at all times to keep from being misled by the deceitful teachers that abound all around us in our present evil world and who have even subtly crept into and among the Ekklesia (Please see the whole epistle of Jude).
We can detect the context by which Paul is instructing in his letter for in verse 15 he says: “may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ“.
He is talking about doctrinal issues that have to do with growing up to be spiritually mature in all the ways of Christ, in both our speech and by our lives, expressing His truth and following His example, for He is our Head.
So the context of Paul’s instruction centers around speaking the truth; namely in regard to sound doctrine which is directly applicable to the edification of fellow believers, encouraging them to grow to be more and more like Christ. Teachers are to teach the absolute truth, the whole Word of God, and they are to refute the falsehood of deceptive teachings and the worldly philosophies of men; and they are to do so in [agape] love, for the purpose of building up the body of Christ.
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.
As the called out disciples of Christ, we are to be those who UPHOLD the TRUTH of God’s revealed Word at all times and reject what is false wherever and whenever we find falsehoods.
2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
“Hold fast” is a command by God Himself! We are told by Paul, who was inspired by God, to HOLD on to, and never let go of sound words [Doctrine]; to be totally grounded in the truth, for that is our hedge of protection and will help us to stay in the unadulterated Word of God, which also will enables us to discern error when we encounter it.
The world hates God’s Word and the truth that it contains. If believers allow themselves to follow after teachers who dilute God’s truth, even if it is just a little, they will come to tolerate more and more watered down versions of what God plainly says in His Word is truth.
Unfortunately, too many who call themselves Christians prefer a soft Gospel and to be taught soft doctrines that appear loving and easy to digest (not requiring radical change in one’s life) and yet God’s Word is sharp and exposes us for who we are; and then convicts us to stop living according to the standards of the world but rather change our ways to God’s standards.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God teaches in His Word that rightly dividing God’s truth is not a personal choice, and that adhering to His sound teachings is not optional. Yet some lax believers approach the doctrines contained in the Bible as if they were a kind of smorgasbord of truths that they can pick and choose from; they believe that that approach is quite acceptable and should be to others as well.
If God was willing to let us choose which doctrines we will keep, why did He give us His Word and then tell us that we must obey every word that comes out of the mouth of God (which is the Word of God)? The fact is, God hates the cheery picking of His truths and the misrepresentation of His Word.
We must hang on to the sound Word of Truth and never let it go. God is not a soft God; He is going to rule in great Mighty Power and His Word will be enforced throughout the earth when He comes to set up His kingdom.
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
We must study to be approved of God so that we are grounded in the whole Word of God; then we must live by it and speak it. Those who are not grounded are easily swayed by the philosophies of men and are constantly going after false teachers.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew [make] thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
That means there will be times, and especially in these very confusing times, when we must confront error and be willing to defend God’s truth when we see our brethren straying from sound doctrine. This may take the form of confrontation, as we plead with a spiritual brother or sister to repent of sinful thinking, sinful actions, or from promoting false beliefs. In fact, Christians are told to do so in God’s Word.
Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 1:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
We are to preach the Gospel message of the way of salvation, boldly teaching those who will listen all the teachings contained in God’s Word.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And those who ask us why we believe what we do, we are to give a defense for the hope that is in us. Hopefully, we will be fully equipped to be able to do so.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
We Must Speak the Truth in “Love”
The second quality of our speech is that we are to speak God’s truth in love, which does not mean that we teach a soft sentimental type of love that the world promotes; but we must speak the truth with conviction and boldness and because of the agape love that we have for others, not wanting any to perish, but wanting to give them the chance to hear the truth so that, they, too, may repent and turn to God.
And this means that we must show the fruits of God’s Spirit when speaking to others; in patience and in kindness, and in meekness, never in an obnoxious or personally offensive way.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
We are called to exhibit the attributes and character of our Lord Jesus Christ and to communicate in such a way that it honors Him and at the same time edifies [builds up] the Ekklesia, which is Christ’s body.
When speaking “the truth in love” Paul was not suggesting that we should ignore error or blindly tolerate “every wind of doctrine” or just “agree that we disagree”, or that we must seek to be unified at all costs with those that oppose the truth thinking that we show our love for those who are in error by tolerating the error. This is not godly love at all for God’s love “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (1st Corinthians. 13:6).
Our modern day world incorrectly equates “love” with tolerance of all beliefs and behavior. But being tolerant of doctrinal error or unrepentant sin is not truly loving at all but is in fact the “enabling” of others to continue in their sin. Thus, we must speak the truth because it is the most loving thing we can do.
So true godly love does not tolerate falsehoods; to truly have love for others is to try to help a brother or sister come to see their errors so as to give them a chance to turn from them and turn to God in order to be saved.
Many, even in the COG’s, have embraced this idea that love means we are to overlook our brother’s sin and if he is teaching false things (especially when it is someone who they personally approve of) that we should just accept them and should never say anything to expose what they are doing or teaching that is wrong.
God never tolerates sin or false teaching in His people, for He loves His children too much to let them destroy themselves, and others, by continuing in their sins and in their teaching of false doctrines.
Paul, Jude, Peter, and John, did not hold back when it came to exposing those who were deceiving others and teaching false doctrines. Just as certain ones are doing now, so some were teaching things that they ought not to have been teaching in the early Ekklesia.
What are some of the false doctrines that are being propagated? Traditions of men that do not offend people; doctrines that exalt men and their organizations more than God; doctrines that exalt man’s teachings over God’s clear truths; or doctrines that are a mixture of God’s truth and falsehoods.
We are to hold on to the true doctrines that we have been taught from God’s Word; not cling to the false doctrines that false teachers are teaching.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
To speak the truth in love, we are to speak the truth with boldness and firmness, but we do recognize that the truth must be presented with biblical agape love which is patient, kind, humble, selfless, and not-easily provoked.
Matthew 5 tells us that we are to be the salt of the earth and the lights of God’s ways in this world and we do by how we behave toward them even when they persecute us but also by speaking to them the truth of God.
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
And conversely, this kind of love is not quick-tempered, self-willed, arrogant, sarcastic, or needlessly quarrelsome.
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
God’s love is gentle, but at the same time it is definitely not soft on sin, error, or false teaching, but it is a sincere love that is characterized by showing compassion, empathy and it is seasoned with grace in the way it conducts itself toward others.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
In our interactions with one another, Paul’s instruction is to speak the truth in love that we may edify one another and to help strengthen each other’s faith.
And when others stray, our intent should be to show them the need to be reconciled to the truth of God. In either case, our goal should be one of edification and building up the Body and not tearing it down.
Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
When Paul instructed the brethren in Ephesians 4:15 to speak (first) the truth and (second) in love; we are to understand that these two concepts are not mutually exclusive. When we do as the Bible teaches, we seek to help men become free by teaching and upholding the truth of God and in such a manner that we exhibit God’s biblical love when doing so. In this way we can make the most of every word that we speak, write, type, text, tweet, etc. honoring Christ and edifying others by our words in whatever form we speak them.
God’s servants are to “speak the truth in love,” by which they are to teach, exhort, admonish, warn, and, yes, sometimes to correct and rebuke when necessary. Paul did all of these things powerfully and faithfully in his role as a true apostle.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in [agape] love.
Paul tells us that we are to grow in Christ and that we must not stay spiritually immature. Those who are young in the faith and still lack knowledge of God’s Word are especially vulnerable; but then there are those who have been in the faith for a long time but have become stuck, or have allowed themselves to follow after deceitful cunning teachers and have stop growing.
It is easy to become tossed about, blown here and there by teachers who appear to be godly on the surface, but are in fact cunning and they are skilled in crafty scheming, who seek to sway people from the truth and lead them down false paths and into false traditions of men, rather than teaching them the sound doctrines of God’s Word.
That is what has happened and is still happening in the various COG’s. Instead of embracing the sound doctrine as contained in the Holy Scriptures, we have become stuck in the falsehoods that have crept in over the centuries and in our recent history. Many have for a long time now, and even still, are following after certain men who have set themselves up over us and have gained control over most of the Ekklesia with their false doctrine, especially this Primacy of Peter doctrine which makes it hard for people to break free from following after such leaders.
We are to only listen to those who “speak the truth in love” and follow them ONLY as they follow Christ and His whole Word. And this speaking of truth, studying, meditating on it and applying it to our lives matures us in the faith.
God’s truth is somewhat like our keel that keeps us going in the right direction and keeps us from tipping over and then drowning in false doctrines and in the traditions of men.
By speaking the truth in all things, even when it might be painful to tell the truth, is what helps prepare the Ekklesia to become developed to the full measure of the stature of Chris; and in this way the Ekklesia [the collective body] will eventually become a mature spiritually fit bride for Christ.
Ephesians 4:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 4:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 4:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Paul goes on to give more instructions in how the brethren are to live godly lives (and not live according to the ways of unbelievers which can also include false teachers amongst us who are not godly examples for the Ekklesia) and how we are to be renewed spiritually in our minds by putting on the “new man” and therefore live a life of holiness and righteousness.
Paul concludes his instruction about this subject by saying that we are to put away lying and to speak the TRUTH to our neighbor; the word “neighbor” represents all people. Speaking the truth is what constitutes love for them: godly agape love.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Is It Wrong to Judge If There is Sin In Our Assemblies?
Brethren, many if not most of us have been taught and are still being taught that it is wrong to judge, to say anything negative, to expose those who are sinning, to speak up to defend the truth as taught in the Bible, if it is not being taught by our leaders. We are told that we are in rebellion against God if we speak out to warn others about false leaders and how they are harming and/or taking advantage of the brethren.
We have been told that if we speak out against sin in the ministry in any way, that we are like the complainers and murmurers that these verses talk about:
2 Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
We have all heard ministers and COG leaders tell the story of Korah and his rebellion in Numbers 16 and compare those who speak up for biblical truth and righteous purposes with those that went against Moses.
And we do agree that it is wrong to gossip and slander others and speak disrespectfully to those in authority, or to anyone for that matter. It is wrong to judge others in a way that is a form of condemnation or to demean others in any way; we are to always try our best to treat others with kindness and respect for their person-hood; and again we refer back to 1st Corinthians 13 that give us spiritual guidelines on how we are to treat others.
Paul instructed the brethren how we are to be subject to those who are in authority, those who are not leading us astray or when obeying them does not conflict with the laws of God.
Titus 3:3 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
We read how God hates gossiping, slandering, speaking evil of others; which is spreading lies and falsehoods. Nevertheless we are to speak the TRUTH to all; in order to bring all to sincere repentance and so save them!
Speaking the truth to all is an act of love and is showing kindness which may save many by bringing them to sincere repentance.
Proverbs 16:28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer [spreading false things in secret] separateth chief friends.
To “speak the truth in love” is not the kind of speaking that is sin in the way of gossiping and slander by spreading false tales in secret, and we are not to judge others by condemning them; but God says that we are to declare the truth openly and to judge righteously, meaning we are to judge all situations and to judge as to IF there is sin involved in those situations.
It is never wrong to judge someone’s conduct, to openly expose lies and/or sins, correct those who are sinning, or warn against false teachers and false prophets! Jesus said to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment“. (John 7:24)
We are even commanded to judge, but we are to judge in the way that God tells us to. We are to judge all things as to whether those things are in alignment with the righteousness and holiness of God; and when they are not, we are to detach ourselves from them and we are to speak out against wicked things. Isaiah tells us God’s people must speak up and seek justice for the weak and defenseless.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Solomon tells us to speak up for those who are unable to defend themselves, those who are desolate and have no one that is protecting them from destruction. (One such group in our modern times is the unborn child; those infants who are slated to be aborted through no choice of their own and the law of land does not protect them from destruction.)
We are always to do what we can to protect anyone that is in danger, whether it is physical danger or spiritual danger.
Proverbs 31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb [for those who cannot speak for themselves] in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction [for the rights of all who are left desolate and defenseless].
And in Leviticus we are told that we are to rebuke our neighbor to correct him or her. Here God is saying that if we do not rebuke our neighbor for sinning, we are actually contributing to their sin; for it may be that we become enablers if we do not do what we can in warning them to stop sinning.
Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. [We are to rebuke sin and not allow our neighbor to continue in sin uncorrected, to help him understand that he is sinning so he can repent and not continue in sin.]
If we do not openly rebuke sin, then we have become responsible for the un-rebuked sin; if we do not correct error, then we become responsible for the perpetuation of that error.
This corresponds to what God says to Ezekiel. Just like Ezekiel was a watchman appointed by God to warn, so the Ekklesia is also appointed to serve as a watchman by preaching the Gospel and by giving warning to repent and turn to God.
Ezekiel 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
3:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
3:21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
And because there have been so few in our recent history in the Ekklesia willing to speak out against sin, false doctrines, the Primacy of Peter philosophy, the traditions of men that are upheld in lieu of sound doctrine; and setting our leaders and their corporate entities above God; the scattered, divided condition of the church stays the same, and in fact is getting worse because these things are being allowed to grow like a cancer.
Many false teachings and lax obedience to the commandments of God have been brought into the Ekklesia over the years and still proliferates to this day.
The following are some Scriptures showing how the apostles spoke out and how they did not mince words when it came to exposing sin and falsehoods, naming names, warning brethren to be aware of certain men, and in some cases in bringing scathing rebuke on certain ones who were openly trying to dissuade God’s people from obeying the truth, and/or bringing in strange doctrines.
3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…
When a leading deputy wanted to hear Barnabas and Paul’s Gospel message, another man (a sorcerer) tried to turn the deputy against believing in the words of Paul.
How many of us have friends or even close family members who try to turn us against putting God first in all things and try to discourage us from living wholeheartedly in obedience to all of God’s commandments and ordinances?
Paul spoke out very sharply against this man; he held nothing back and even cursed him with blindness. This may seem very unloving and even harsh but God backed Paul up by performing the miracle that helped caused the deputy to believe.
Acts 13:7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
And we read where Peter severely rebuked Simon for his covetousness and the sin of wanting to buy with money the gifts of the Holy Spirit; this was after Simon supposedly became baptized into the faith. Peter bluntly exposed him for what he was and told him he needed to repent of having a wicked heart.
Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Paul heard the reports of evil-doing in the congregation at Corinth and quickly dealt with it so that it’s effects would not cause even more damage.
He not only protected the church from the effect the sin was having on the members of the congregation because they were condoning it; but also he openly rebuked the sinner and pronounced judgment on him.
Latter this church member did come to his senses and repented and he was welcomed back into the fellowship. If Paul had been too timid to deal with a sinning brother, the effects of this vile sin would have continued to fester amongst the members and this person would have never been given the incentive to see his sin for what it was and then have opportunity to repent.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
In the Gospels there are many examples of Jesus speaking out and He never hesitated to rebuke those who were misleading the people and sinning; and/or full of hypocrisy.
Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
When Jesus beheld the money changers making the Temple into a place of merchandise, He not only rebuked them but also drove them and their livestock out of the Temple.
He then turned over their tables and spilled out the coins. It was because He was filled with a righteous zeal for His Father and for the sanctity of God’s Holy Temple that caused Him to speak out; not only speaking out, but doing something about stopping the dishonest money changers from desecrating something that was supposed to be regarded as Holy.
John 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
We need more godly men in the Ekklesia today with this kind of zeal for the truth of God, willing to speak out against injustices and wickedness when they spot it in our assemblies.
We need servants that alert and warn us of those amongst us who say that they are our authorities and that they should be obeyed and followed rather than pointing the people to God the Father and to His Son Jesus Christ.
Please read the whole discourse in Matthew 23 of how Jesus spoke up to the hypocritical religious leaders of His day and the things that He called them.
He spoke the truth and exposed them for the corrupt leaders that they were and told them that they were “hypocrites”. He rightly stated that they were not teaching or leading those who were under their authority properly the righteousness of God; but rather by their false teachings and by their example they where making their subjects “children of hell”.
In Matthew 18, Jesus instructs believers in how they are to approach and deal with a brother who is sinning. If that brother humbly accepts accusations that are in fact true against him and then repents, that is a very good thing; but if not, then Jesus tells us what we and the assembly are to do to get sin out of the church.
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Along that same line, the Bible tells us in many places how we are to deal with sinners in similar fashion. By going to our brother and then speaking to them, we not only stop the sinning from being in our midst and from possibly corrupting others; but we are also to try to help restore the sinner to righteous living again and thereby saving him from God’s wrath.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
If we have been shown the truth in certain matters and we withhold that truth knowing that others will be harmed because of their lack of knowledge in those matters, we become at fault in contributing to the harm that is being done.
Proverbs 24:11 If thou forbear [neglect] to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; [are in danger of being slaughtered] 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, [God, who guards your life] doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
It would be like walking by our neighbor’s house and seeing billowing smoke coming out of the basement windows and then not running in to warn the owners that their house is about to burst into flames. If we neglect to tell them what we know and they burn up because they were not warned, we are held accountable to God for doing nothing.
Or it can be likened to seeing a mugger waiting in the shadows and then seeing some innocent person about to walk into that area that puts him in danger of being attacked by the mugger.
God’s people are called to become the very sons of God and we are to become righteous as God is righteous, to love as God loves, and we are also called to help our brethren attain to righteousness whenever we can.
It is not easy to take a stand and to speak out against sin, especially when it involves those we love dearly and we do not want to offend them. But to rid the Ekklesia of sin and false teachings we must do it even though we may be put down and slandered ourselves for blowing the whistle (or sounding the alarm).
In the case of cancer, in order for the body to begin the healing process, the cancer has to be eliminated, either by cutting it out or by shrinking it to nothing through strong medicine. And it can be very painful for both the ones that speak out and for the ones that receive the truth about what they are doing wrong or what they are believing that is not according to the clear teachings and the truth of the Bible.
We all know that those who do take a stand will receive backlash for doing so from those who refuse to hear the truth, who refuse to look at what has happened in the church, who do not want to be told that their leaders are wrong and that those leaders are not teaching according to sound doctrine.
So the ones that are seeing the errors for what they are often hesitate to speak up; it is only natural to not want to be ostracized and mocked for speaking the truth. Some of us have already been called names, put down, and disowned by families and friends for stepping out in faith to obey God rather than the men who say that they are our leaders.
Many just do not want to “rock the boat” but if by rocking the boat, it will get the boat back on course (at least for the few who will listen) that is a very good and loving thing to do.
We Are Our Brother’s Keeper
Long ago one of the first sons of Adam, Cain, murdered his brother Abel and then was asked by God where his brother Abel was. Cain answered back with a brazen lie that he did not know and then added insolently “am I my brother’s keeper?”
Genesis 4:9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
There is some truth to what Cain had said for we cannot control all the things that threaten the safety and well-being of others at all times; and each person is responsible for taking care of himself in most respects.
But we are our brothers’ keeper in the sense that we are not to harm them in any way or to commit violent crimes against them as Cain had done to his brother; and we are not to allow others to do harm to them if there is any way we can prevent it. We are also to do good to our neighbors and love them as we love ourselves.
This kind of being the “keeper” of our brothers and sisters is what God does require of us, especially those He has called and is training to be kings and priests in His future Kingdom.
We are in training to truly be mankind’s righteous and loving guardians and teachers, and God only wants those who truly love their fellowman enough to tell them the truth, to be the leaders and rulers over the earth when His Kingdom is established.
God does demand that we fulfill the role of being our brother’s keeper in the sense of fulfilling the royal law of love and warning others to turn from the sin that is destroying them.
The called-out people of God are called to be the keepers of their fellowman in two ways: first we are not to do anything harmful or to try to take advantage of them. This includes harming them with our tongues or words in the form of gossip and slander, which is secretly lying about others; or harm them with false teachings or verbal abuse of any kind. And second by warning them to turn from the sin that is destroying them.
1 Thessalonians 4:6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1 Corinthians 13 is Paul’s detailed description of what it means to love in the very spirit and intent of God’s law of love, and at the end of the chapter we are reminded that [agape] love is even greater than faith and hope.
Chapter 13 follows Chapter 12 where Paul explains how the body of Christ (the Ekklesia) is like the human body and is made up of many members, all of whom are important to the function and well-being of the Ekklesia and we are to care for one another.
The writers of the New Testament continually encouraged the brethren to love one another and that is what we must do; by constantly edifying each other (which includes speaking the truth) with our words and thereby building up the body of Christ. That is part of our calling.
Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
Sometimes true love must warn, admonish, reprove or exercise correction. However, the correction is always to be done in the spirit of agape love, always with the goal of reconciliation of the sinning parties with God and each other. Exposing sin and error gives all parties a chance to repent and be reconciled, and it is then that the people can grow. If sin is tolerated, there can be no growth.
Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
2 Timothy 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 3:15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Paul wrote to the brethren who were of the Thessalonian congregation, which is written for all of us, that we are to follow certain instructions for those who do exhort and admonish according to what God says to do: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15)
As fellow laborers and as believers, we are to be our brother’s keeper and show agape love toward them, in building them up and edifying them and sometimes correcting them to help them remain faithful to God’s Word and to stay on track just as Paul wrote to the Romans.
Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification
We Must Warn Others When We Perceive Deception in Our Midst
Many of you reading this are part of the history of what has happened throughout the last 50 years or so in the Ekklesia and in the WCG.
In January of 1995 all pretense came down and the very core teachings of the Sabbath and the Holy Days came tumbling down. At that time we were told by the men that we trusted to be our leaders and pastors, that those things were no longer valid and we did not have to keep them anymore.
But many other changes to the doctrines that we had been taught were being made in much more subtle ways for years previous. There had been many signs that things were happening behind the scenes and yet there was hardly anyone stepping up to the plate to warn the brethren that the church had been taken over by wolves until it became very obvious.
Because of the indoctrination of the Nicolaitan doctrine of idolizing men, we feared we were disobeying God if we even thought the men at headquarters were misleading the brethren.
We were taught that the man at the top was a modern day apostle. Many of us were deceived and got caught up with believing that the Pastor General and the ministers were right no matter what; and many of us followed them right into embracing the “new” doctrines that they brought in.
I sometimes think, if only there had been someone willing to speak the truth in love in telling us to not go after these false ministers and what they were teaching. It could have spared us from so much of the damage that occurred back in those days and prevented a lot of the things that are still happening to this day.
The stronghold effect of the Nicolaitan teaching keeps so many of the brethren in bondage to false teachings and to the corporate organizations and their leaders who are still misleading the Ekklesia to this day.
Perhaps we could have been spared a lot of pain and spiritual damage if we had only known what was going on behind the scenes during those years or could have rightly been told about the things that were being done openly; but like the emperor with no clothes, it seems that no one wants to be the first to admit the obvious and speak out on these things.
Cry Aloud and Spare Not (Isaiah 58:1)
It is AGAPE LOVE: that God’s people, those who are the followers of Jesus Christ, desire that all men will be saved (just as God the Father and His son Jesus do) and are willing to tell the brethren of their sins and that they are following the traditions of men rather than adhering to the Sound Doctrines of God’s Holy Scriptures.
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
And when we speak the truth in love we are doing God’s work here on earth, exposing error and stating what is true; and for all those who listen, we are giving them the chance to come to the true knowledge of God as well to the saving of their souls [their eternal lives]. In this way we, too, are in effect, setting captives free!
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 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; 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Who is on the Lord’s side? The time we are living is a day of decision; Let us take a stand for God’s Truth and Speak the Truth for all to hear whenever we can.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
In Proverbs, God through Solomon says that wisdom stands in the top of the high places, and at the gates of the city and she appeals to the men and women to listen to God to hear His voice and to turn in the way of wisdom, which are all the ways taught in God’s Word.
Proverbs 8:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 8:2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 8:3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
8:4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. 8:5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 8:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
8:7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
8:9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
In this life there are really only two camps: one is on the side of darkness, deception, and wickedness; the other is on the side of God and His Holy Righteous ways.
There is no compromise or complacency between the two camps, there is no middle ground. We may try to have both feet in both camps but that does not work. We are either for God or against Him. If we attempt to have it both ways, we become the enemies of God.
What camp do we want to be in? this was the question that Moses asked the people of Israel and this is the question that Christ is asking those of us who are being called to be a part of the Ekklesia today.
We are at a pivotal time in the history of mankind just before the tribulation is about to begin (perhaps within the next few years or so, only God knows) but we see the signs of the times and know we are close.
God is calling to those He has called out from the world, (from Egypt) “will you now come out from the false traditions and the errors that have become so embedded in the Ekklesia since the time of the original apostles?”
God is looking for men and women who will take a stand and speak out just as Moses did on that day of decision so many years ago when he asked “Who is on the Lord’s side”. (See Exodus 32:26)
When Jesus began to teach some hard things to His disciples, many of them refused to accept His teachings and they were offended and therefore they departed and left off from being Jesus’ disciples. (What a shame and what a lost opportunity to become pillars in the early group of believers.)
John 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
And then we have the famous words of Elijah who had King Ahab gather the false prophets of Baal and the people of Israel to Mount Carmel and then said to them:
“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” (1st Kings 18:17-21)
I believe that this question is going out to the people of God at this time before it is too late; will we follow false teachers that compromise with the laws and ordinances of God, who are deceiving the people to stay locked into the errors we have carried over from COG leaders of the past? or will we have the courage to step out and be like the sons of Levi (as it says of them in Exodus 32:26-29) and say “YES” to God when He asks us “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me” and then take a stand for what we have come to understand and proven as His truth from the Bible regardless of what the elders say or do to us?
Do we love the truth? Do we love to hear the truth and love learning about what God has to say is TRUTH from His Holy Scriptures and then live it?
Much depends upon how much we really do love the truth; our eternal destiny will be determined by whether we love God’s truth or listen to lies.
Let us love the truth, obey the truth, and speak the truth so that we and others can be saved by God our Father through His Son who ONLY is the way, the truth and the life. No man can save us or deliver us from the bondage of sin.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Do we have the courage to change when we do see errors; things that we have been taught for many years that just were not biblical?
Will we then have the courage to take a stand for the truth of the Bible, not just because of what any teacher or leader may say or because of what title he may have; but because we have earnestly studied and proven what we believe and practice… from Gods Word?
There is a growing number who have done just that and are now keeping the new moons, the biblical calendar, refusing to eat out on the Sabbath, etc.; who desire with their whole hearts to obey God rather than men who say we must obey them rather than to believe what the Bible clearly says.
We are definitely living in the latter days and we only have so much time left to return with all of our hearts, minds, and souls to learning and obeying the whole Word of God. We are admonished to help all who will listen to do so as well….by speaking the truth in [agape] love.
Have a wonderful and uplifting Sabbath everyone,