"The gospel’s most dangerous earthly adversaries are not raving atheists who stand outside the door shouting threats and insults. They are church leaders who cultivate a gentle, friendly, pious demeanor but hack away at the foundations of faith under the guise of keeping in step with a changing world.” – Phil Johnson
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Inside the confines of Genesis 1:1, exists everything that was ever made…to include the Angelic hosts in the heavenly places. At some point between Genesis 1:1, and Genesis 3:1, Lucifer, (aka Satan) the ‘anointed Cherub that covers’, attempted to wage war against God and was expelled from heaven taking with him a third of the heavenly hosts. The first question of the bible, and presumably of all history, was the one in which Lucifer (in the bodily form of the Serpent) asks Eve on that fateful day;
Yeah, hath God said….?
And he’s been asking that same question ever since.
Since the beginning, man has constantly wrestled with two primary questions concerning our existence; a.) Where we came from, and b.) Why are we here? In regards to what men will come to accept as the truth, Lucifer has launched a three-pronged assault at separating man from God and from each other: False religions, false gospels, and false doctrines.
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Jude 1:3
Man has, in both his ignorance and rebellion, chosen to follow after falsehoods, fables, and figments of his own imagination rather than seek after God. These demonic and satanic doctrines, which were imported into the darkened hearts of men, have lead millions, perhaps billions into the gaping mouth of hell. These poor souls, (who are there now as you read this) will continue to spend an eternity in torment, separated from God, in what Jude deemed, the blackness of darkness forever.
One of the more persistent lies is one in which men say that all religions (particularly that of the Judeo-Christian faith) were really offshoots of early pagan culture. At the cradle of human civilization, mankind developed elaborate systems of worship birthing false gods and goddesses aplenty which supposedly, Moses (1500-1400BC) liberally borrowed from. Aside from the book of Job, which was written between Noah’s and Abraham’s day (circa 2300-1900BC), there were no formalized written copies’ of God’s Word that have survived antiquity. But according to Scripture, God interacted with mankind in a much more direct manner, using both angels and Personal revelation to bring mankind into fellowship. It would seem that because of these direct, divine interactions, that people who lived before Scripture was written have even less of an excuse than we do today.
Currently, we live in a day and age where an abundance of Scripture has been made available to us (translated in over two thousand languages and dialects). There is also an abundance of sound teachers, preachers, writers, and the internet, which leaves little excuse for anyone to have not heard or had an opportunity to hear a clear explanation of the Gospel at least once in their lifetime. Even though God knows how to get His message out and how to preserve His Word, still much of the world remains under the darkened shroud of false religions, which is a testament to man’s unrelenting rebellion against God.
I can think of no more important mandate that we as a corporate body of believers have in this day and age than to combat false religions, which only feed hell’s appetite by the souls of men. The Great Commission, was not just about going out to evangelize the world, but to make disciples of all nations. Disciples are not just passive-participants on Sunday mornings, nor are they simply followers. Disciples are dedicated and devoted when it comes to following Jesus Christ.
But before we can be a disciple, we must gain access to eternal life, which means we must be born-again. Christianity is not simply a ‘religion’ filled with traditions and rituals, it is a personal relationship with our Creator God. But before one can become born-again, one must come to accept two fundamental truths; a.) There is a God, and b.) We are not Him.
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4
We need to know that our salvation can’t be earned, bought, bribed, inherited, or gained through human efforts. Salvation is solely by God’s grace, through our faith (which is also a gift of God), and it is not of works, but based on God’s grace and mercy towards us. (Eph. 2) Because we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Col. 1) Salvation is based on God’s love for us, and our ability to receive this love as a gift, through faith. Because of our sinful and fallen nature, we could never measure up to God’s perfect standard of righteousness, which is why Salvation has to be a gift (not a wage earned).
In fact, the only wages we rightfully earn on our own are that of death. (Rom. 6:23) Many a conversation are based upon man’s inability to accept this simple truth...
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
-Wait a minute you say, you’re telling me that all I have to do to receive eternal life, is to believe in Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the Cross?
-That can’t be right. Don’t I have to walk an aisle, or fill out some kind of church membership card, or be baptized, or have some kind of huge emotional breakdown at the front of the altar before I can be saved?
Nope. Let me re-visit what Christ said in another way.
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
-But the preacher said that I had to do speak in tongues before I was saved…
-But the preacher said that I had to be baptized before I was saved…
-But the Priest said that I had to take the Eucharist before I could be saved...
-But the pastor said that I had to walk an aisle and make my profession before the whole church before I could be saved…
-But the guy on television said I had to give a $1,000 dollars as an act of faith before I could be saved…
Let’s set aside what men say, and go with what the Bible says. The Bible is God’s direct revelation of Himself to mankind via the Holy Spirit (who is also God). Here is what the Apostle Paul said as directed by God Himself to say;
…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
Seems pretty clear to me…and the Apostle Paul was no slouch either when it came to understanding the burdensome task religion plays in messing up the simplicity of the Gospel. Paul, formerly named Saul, was a Jewish Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin, and trained by one of the most respected and famous Rabbis of all history, Gamaliel. (Acts 5:34; 22:1-21) Saul knew the law inside and out, and was zealous in persecuting the early church. Yet, God chose him to become Paul, and was given the ministry to explain the Gospel to the Gentiles. It was given to Paul, to deliver THE Gospel by which men in this age, are saved.
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-9
So what was the Gospel that Paul preached?
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures 1 Cor. 15:1-4
That is what Paul called, ‘my Gospel’, (Rom. 2:16; 16:25, 2 Tim. 2:8) and that is the Gospel that Paul received from Christ to preach, teach, and write about. (Gal. 1:11-12) He said, if ANYONE preached ANY other gospel, it was no gospel at all, and that those people would be anathema, or accursed.
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. Jude 1:16-19
So do not be deceived by those who either ADD to, or SUBTRACT from the Gospel by which we are saved by. Many deceivers have crept into the church and muddy the waters by introducing leaven (false doctrines) that either cause confusion within Christianity, or prevent those who don’t know Christ from ever knowing Jesus Christ by turning them astray unto ANOTHER gospel. These are heretics and apostates, who make a living off of promoting ANOTHER gospel which leads to death and destruction. The prophet Hosea, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit states;
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…Hosea 4:6
Notice how Hosea does NOT say my people are destroyed for a lack of; faith, love, mercy, tenderness, social justice, equality, ecumenicalism, ritualism, prosperity, tradition, etc. It is true biblical knowledge, which comes by way of the Holy Spirit, which shepherds believers and guards them against the wolves who prey on them. People are gullible…like sheep.
Ever notice in John 10, when Jesus is talking about how His sheep hear His voice? Well, Jesus didn’t say that only Christians were sheep. He said that HIS sheep hear and know HIS voice. Translation…humans are sheep. But true Christians, belong to the Good Shepherd, and we don’t follow any other voice but His.
And to this incredible ability to be deceived, Paul warns before departing Ephesus…
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. Acts 20:27-31
Concerning the Biblical doctrines by which many false teachers have used as catalysts to creep into the church and pervert by, it was given to the Apostle Paul to make clear the mysteries thereof;
The body of Christ,
The pre-Tribulation Rapture
The blinding of Israel
The mystery of iniquity
The heavenly positions
The identification with Christ,
The Gospel of Grace.
We are instructed to study to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed by ‘rightly dividing' the Word. (2 Tim. 2:15) We are to be complete and thoroughly equipped for every ‘good work’. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) This means, not accepting someone who cherry-picks verses to fit their theology. We take in the ENTIRETY of Holy Scripture, then ‘rightly divide’ the Word to find out what applies to whom. The whole Bible was given for us, but the whole Bible was not written to us.
We must ‘rightly divide’ so that we do not confuse ourselves, and possibly lead others astray into false teachings. And the world will continue to struggle against God and His Christ, by the promulgation of false religions and false teachings that lead men into hell. But you believer, you have the truth in your hands when you hold your Holy Bible. You believer, have the Holy Spirit indwelling in you, that will lead you into all truth. (John 16:13) Hey Jude, any parting words for us?
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
Theology Adrift; by Matthew Allen
Apostasy in the Church; by Don Koenig
Apostasy in the Christian Church; by Matt Slick (CARM)