Posted in false teachers, theology

The irreversible destruction of false teachers

By Elizabeth Prata

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. (Proverbs 29:1).

Gill’s Exposition explains the intriguing part about broken beyond remedy:

shall suddenly be destroyed; or “broken” (e); as a potter’s vessel is broken to pieces with an iron rod, and can never he put together again; so such persons shall be punished with everlasting destruction, which shall come upon them suddenly, when they are crying Peace to themselves notwithstanding the reproofs of God and men;

I understand that when Christians are developing and practicing discernment, it’s sometimes difficult to detect a false teacher, especially in the early days of the false teacher’s ministry or the early days of the Christian. Other people, though they suspect, find it hard to admit that their favorite teacher is false. “But they teach about Jesus!” they say. I know, it’s interesting to listen to some of the more crafty (Genesis 3:1) teachers who have such eloquence of tongue and then believe they are insincere. But remember that the antichrist is prophesied to gain the world by a smooth tongue and flattery. (Daniel 11:21). These present mini-antichrists (1 John 2:22) are almost as smooth as the prophesied Antichrist will be in the future, so it is no wonder that they are so slick in their speeches.

The main way to detect a false teacher of course is to compare what they say to the Bible (Acts 17:11).

Here is another way to detect a false teacher: how they react when they are corrected or challenged. Doctrine is utmost, but behavior is important. How does the true or the false teacher respond when posed a question, challenged in their interpretation, or rebuked for their teaching?

It’s the behavior when corrected that also proves the true vs false teacher. The god-honoring teacher cares about His word as primary importance. How crushing it is when we say or teach something in error or contrary to proper exposition! We hasten to correct, humbling ourselves to Him and the truth of His word.

Justin Peters is a true teacher but is often challenged and rebuked by some who are less discerning. He responds in charity and gentleness, with a teachable spirit when warranted. At the most, if a person challenging him is not teachable, he will ignore the words of that chattering crow and go his way, sharing the Gospel and ministering in truth.

The false teacher who rebels when teaching the word will continue to rebel when corrected in the word. As the Proverb says, he will harden his neck. Stiff necked is a synonym for stubborn. Instead of being teachable and gentle, the false teacher will entrench him or herself into stubbornness and double down on their position. This is because they are full of pride, and care not for the truth of God’s word. They SAY they care, but their behavior SHOWS they do not.

The second half of the Proverb is encouraging. I know it’s all the rage to claim love and kindness to and for false teachers, but I do not. If a teacher has abused the name of Christ, twisted His words, and persistently shown that they care only for themselves, money and fame, harming His sheep in the process, the second half of the Proverb is rallying to my soul. It motivates me to leave the judgment of this scourge of fiery ants to the Lord, and to take comfort in His timing. They WILL be broken beyond remedy. Good.

John Mason on Twitter said, (@LivingGodsTruth)

It would appear that the most popular names and teachers in Christian markets are either:
1. Conforming to the pressures of LGBTQ acceptance over the Word of God.
2. Not preaching sin at all & a promoting a false prosperity centered Christianity.
This is God ordained exposure.

I agree, and in my opinion these are examples of the Proverb. When challenged over these issues the false teachers stiffen themselves, they entrench into their stubbornness. This is a God-ordained exposure. Let us not ignore these exposures seen through their behavior, but heed the wisdom in Proverbs.

It’s OK to take comfort in the knowledge of the coming permanent and irreversible destruction of these wolves. It means that the name of Jesus will eternally remain spotless with no dung thrown on Him or on His people, ever again. What a day that will be!

tombstone broken

Posted in theology

Are you wise in your own eyes?

By Elizabeth Prata

The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. (Proverbs 28:11).

I couldn’t help but stop and ponder this. I thought of the Rich Young Ruler of Mark 10:17-27. He asked Jesus as the “Good Teacher” what must he do to be saved, who thought that he had perfectly kept the first commandments, but refused to give up his money, “for he had much property”.

The MacArthur Study Bible says that this verse contrasts the discerning poor with the rich man, who is deceived by his self-confidence. Riches are not always possessed by the unrighteous and wisdom by the poor, but more often than not, his is the case due to the blinding nature of wealth.

The Rich Young Ruler was wise in his own eyes, thinking that his property and wealth would comfort him to the end. But in the end there is only Jesus and one’s sin. Your property is gone. Your wealth is gone. There is only yo, and your soul, and the Lord of our souls, Jesus. How had one dealt with one’s sin? Repentance and seeing it thrown into the Lake of Fire? Or had one clutched tightly to one’s sin and now it AND your soul will be thrown into the Lake of Fire?

I think of a certain old man, whose entire life had been a fervent and focused accumulation of money. The money enabled him to buy things, and he delighted in having these things. He loved having them first in the neighborhood. He gloated over having the largest and the best. He loved work but he loved work because it brought him money and the money brought him things. But in the last seconds of his earthly existence he lay on a hot pavement, dying, and even as his body stilled and drained of life the next second his soul was cast into the even hotter regions of the universe, for he had many things, but no faith. Faith is the only thing that lasts, and it is the only thing that brings you to the feet of Jesus, the safest and best place in the universe.

The pursuit of things took his eyes away from God’s creation where He has revealed himself, and to the casting away of the Gospel when it was offered. Keep your eyes on Jesus, whether or not you have wealth. But if you do have wealth, don’t let self-confidence mar your vision of the only thing you need: The Gospel.

cross

Posted in theology

Praying for riches or prosperity this year? Consider this warning from Proverbs

By Elizabeth Prata

Proverbs 30:7-9 says

7Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

In reference to the first part of the verse, God hates lying, slander, gossip, all the negative things involving the tongue. Heed the many warnings of scripture about that.

In reference to the latter part of the verse… there are also many warnings about money. Judas’s sin was greed. He stole from the purse as he wanted. (John 13:29). The Rich Young Ruler forewent eternal salvation because “he had great possessions”. (Matthew 10:22).

Jesus warns twice in the same sermon how riches obscures your view of God, saying, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

It is not a sin to be rich, but having a lot of money makes it very hard to let go of the world and open one’s hands to Jesus, clinging to Him, as Proverbs verse 9a states. Alternately, poverty also puts temptation on one’s life, tempting the impoverished person to steal, as verse 9b indicates. Poverty also gives rise to discontent, jealousy, and covetousness.

Our sin nature gives us so many different paths to take, doesn’t it? Learning to be content with what we have, under any circumstances (Philippians 4:11) is a good goal for 2019. The scriptures tell us to cast all our cares on him, (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6) and to pray daily for our bread (i.e everything necessary to sustain life, Luke 11:3) so I believe it is perfectly all right to pray for provision. Learning to pray for what we need rather than what we want is the goal.

The key is to pray for sustenance, i.e., means to live as we need to live in the circumstances in which God placed us. We should find that middle ground where we aren’t hoarding wealth rather than looking to Jesus, nor so lacking we’re tempted to sin. Relying on His bountiful grace, is the true prosperity.

riches profit not verse

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Hate Week Essay #2: Wisdom hates what God hates

Yesterday at the opening of Hate week, we looked at what God hates. If God declares in His word that He hates something, it’s incumbent upon us to know what it is and to hate it too. We are made in His image, so we should love what He loves and Hate what He hates. We must obey Him and glorify Him. If we do the things He hates, we don’t obey Him, love Him, or glorify Him. Therefore, we look into these things, as unpalatable as they are.

It couldn’t be clearer in Proverbs 8:13.

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Matthew Henry explains from his Whole Commentary on the Bible, opens with saying that hating what God hates gives men good hearts. Then,

v. 13. True religion, consisting in the fear of the Lord, which is the wisdom before recommended, teaches men,

1. To hate all sin, as displeasing to God and destructive to the soul: The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, the evil way, to hate sin as sin, and therefore to hate every false way. Wherever there is an awe of God there is a dread of sin, as an evil, as only evil.

2. Particularly to hate pride and passion, those two common and dangerous sins. Conceitedness of ourselves, pride and arrogancy, are sins which Christ hates, and so do all those who have the Spirit of Christ; every one hates them in others, but we must hate them in ourselves,

The froward mouth*, peevishness towards others, God hates, because it is such an enemy to the peace of mankind, and therefore we should hate it. Be it spoken to the honour of religion that, however it is unjustly accused, it is so far from making men conceited and sour that there is nothing more directly contrary to it than pride and passion, nor which it teaches us more to detest.

*The froward mouth speaks false doctrines, and bad counsels and deceits.
*The froward mouth is the mouth that speaks perverse things

As the Geneva Study Bible says succinctly,

“So that he who does not hate evil, does not fear God.”

Kind of puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? Hate evil. This is wisdom.

prickly 2
EPrata photo
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Hate Week Essay #1: What the LORD Hates

Since it was Valentine’s Day last week, I decided to write an essay each day on the topic of Love, as it appears in the Bible. I also write about other things as they came up, so not to worry if essays on love aren’t your thing. There were other essays published too, on other topics for your perusal and hopefully edification.

Since last week was Love, why not this week, the topic of Hate?

Hate? Yes, Hate does appear in the Bible in different facets and aspects, just as Love did.

I always publish a photo along with the essay, because people are visual. But how to represent hate pictorially? I definitely did not want graphic photos of people doing hateful things. I also did not want a dark and gloomy picture every day. In the end I decided on spikes and prickly things, things that can hurt you if you stepped on them or encountered them. I made scripture pictures of gum balls (seeds from Sweet Gum tree, as below), cacti, pine cones, pine needles, etc. Spiky, prickly things. Like hate is.

This first essay during Hate Week is examining things God hates. If God hates something, isn’t it important for us to look into that so we know what He hates?

God does hate things. This is hard to understand because one of his attributes (perfections) is love. But He does hate things, sin for example, (Psalm 5:4.) Sin is the opposite of who He is, which is a Being without blemish of any kind. Sin affronts Him, angers Him.

God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 says it just that plainly. Since marriage takes two and makes them one flesh, and since it is a picture of His Son and the Bride, tearing one flesh apart and separating the picture of the Groom from the Bride is something God hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19 has other things God hates,

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

The way the Proverb begins is a method in ancient days of speaking to gain attention, an idiom. It doesn’t mean the writer is unsure of how many things God hates.

Then the numeric saying goes on to describe a man of Belial. We remember the New Testament verse from 2 Corinthians 6:15,

What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

Strong’s Concordance reminds us that the word Belial means “lord of the forest,” Beliar, a name of Satan. So the Proverb describes a man of satan, a satanic character.

The numeric saying in 6:16–19 serves as an easy-to-remember rule of thumb for evaluating character. In the modern day 6:25 applies to pornography as well as to acts of adultery. Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 237).

Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible provides more information about this man of Belial and his sins which God doth hate:

1. How a man of Belial is here described. He is a wicked man, that makes a trade of doing evil, especially with his tongue, for he walks and works his designs with a froward mouth (v. 12), by lying and perverseness, and a direct opposition to God and man. He says and does every thing,

(1.) Very artfully and with design. He has the subtlety of the serpent, and carries on his projects with a great deal of craft and management (v. 13), with his eyes, with his feet, with his fingers. He expresses his malice when he dares not speak out (so some), or, rather, thus he carries on his plot; those about him, whom he makes use of as the tools of his wickedness, understand the ill meaning of a wink of his eye, a stamp of his feet, the least motion of his fingers. He gives orders for evil-doing, and yet would not be thought to do so, but has ways of concealing what he does, so that he may not be suspected.

He is a close man, and upon the reserve; those only shall be let into the secret that would do any thing he would have them to do. He is a cunning man, and upon the trick; he has a language by himself, which an honest man is not acquainted with, nor desires to be.

(2.) Very spitefully and with ill design. It is not so much ambition or covetousness that is in his heart, as downright frowardness, malice, and ill nature. He aims not so much to enrich and advance himself as to do an ill turn to those about him. He is continually devising one mischief or other, purely for mischief-sake—a man of Belial indeed, of the devil, resembling him not only in subtlety, but in malice.

Why wouldn’t God hate that? Of course. Yet before our salvation we were all men of Belial, speaking and thinking and acting in ways that God hated. We did those things every day and thought them normal. We justified them. We cherished them. We even reveled in those very sins that God hates. Yet He saved us. God hated what we did but because He is mercy and grace and love and wanted a Bride for His Son, He saved us, electing to save our souls from eternity past before we even performed our graceless deeds of Belial.

God is indeed love.

prickly 1
EPrata photo. A Sweet Gum tree seed, known in the south as a gum ball. They hurt.
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Righteousness v. Wealth

I was saying last night at Bible Study that I live paycheck to paycheck. The relentlessness of always minding the budget and working assiduously to stretch it to the end of the month gets tiring and frustrating at times. The discussion was about contentment v. discontentment. I said I work hard to avoid being discontent with my circumstances by keeping my trust and faith and eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances. I hope I avoid discontentment, at least.

So this morning I was reading the Bible in my quiet time, and along comes this verse. It was immensely encouraging. I pray it might be to you as well, if you’re living on the thin side.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8).

Hmmm, interesting! What can it mean? Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides a succinct interpretation:

Here, 1. It is supposed that an honest good man may have but a little of the wealth of this world (all the righteous are not rich),—that a man may have but little, and yet may be honest (though poverty is a temptation to dishonesty, ch. 30:9, yet not an invincible one),—and that a man may grow rich, for a while, by fraud and oppression, may have great revenues, and those got and kept without right, may have no good title to them nor make any good use of them.

2. It is maintained that a small estate, honestly come by, which a man is content with, enjoys comfortably, serves God with cheerfully, and puts to a right use, is much better and more valuable than a great estate ill-got, and then ill-kept or ill-spent. It carries with it more inward satisfaction, a better reputation with all that are wise and good; it will last longer, and will turn to a better account in the great day, when men will be judged, not according to what they had, but what they did

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 990). Peabody: Hendrickson.

My interpretation: Righteousness reaps more contentment than do riches, because riches are from the world and righteousness is from Jesus.

Selah!

treasure

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

John Piper and his companions of fools

Who we choose to hang around with, learn from, and be yoked in fellowship with is important. You know that. But lest we attempt to diminish our personal and professional associations into mere “the verses are just a warming about possible temptation but I’m strong enough to handle it” territory, in fact, we have a biblical duty to separate from false teachers and from repeatedly disobedient brethren. (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 John 7-11, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Corinthians 5:11- source). Here is a good verse and then a commentary on the subject.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

Matthew Henry says of this Proverbs verse, Continue reading “John Piper and his companions of fools”