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The Persecuted Church


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The Apostle Peter warns 2 Pt. 2:1-3: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”

They will purposely try not to be noticed and bring division in the church by distorting and departing from the word. They will lay down truth alongside the falsehood (paraeis akousein) and secretly bring in destructive heresies. The truth they lay the Scripture next to their own false interpretations.  This is a malicious intent to deceive, arising from their being deceived first, propagating the same lie they believe.

They will deny the Lord who died for them by presenting a different view of the gospel. The focus is not on the cross for salvation. Many will follow their path to destruction. The way of truth is blasphemed because of their actions, the cause of Christ is discredited, and truth is cast down and slandered.

[#3919 pareisago (par-ice-ag'-o); from 3844 and 1521; to lead in aside, i.e. introduce surreptitiously: privily bring in. “heresies of destruction” (marked by destruction) heresy #139 hairesis-1) the act of taking, capturing: for example, storming a city 2) choosing, choice 3) that which is chosen 4) a body of men following their own tenets (sect or party) a) used of the Sadducees b) used of the Pharisees c) used of the Christians 5) dissension's arising from a diversity of opinions and aims.

Destructive 684 apoleia (ap-o'-li-a);from a presumed derivative of 622; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste. apoleia- 1) destroying, utter destruction; used of vessels 2) a perishing, ruin, destruction a) used of money b) the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell.]

There will also be false teachers among you.” false teachers can be very effective communicators, they can have a personal magnetism. They use smooth and flattering speech to bring you into their bondage, They present their teaching cleverly, very smoothly.

Its amazing that false teachers are not rejected for their distorted teachings but are actually embraced. Support is not lacking for these men, but is overwhelming. But all this does is give them confidence that they are right and puffs them up further for future revelations of the Spirit. (We have heaped up teachers for ourselves in the last days). They come to us in “sheep's clothing” and appearing harmless. We're not talking about the cults, we're talking about those who rise from within the Church and promote false doctrine. If we are not paying attention we can be deceived and turned away from our purity and devotion to Jesus Christ.

By covetousness they exploit people deceiving them. They make people want things of the world, promoting the lust of the eyes and the flesh and the pride of life. Money is always a part of their message. They justify their own worldly ways by having others do the same.

False teachers do what the devil did with the scripture when he quoted it to Jesus. They quote true things and lift them out of their context. Their is always a curve or twist in the pitch. They promise a quick fix for the emergencies of life when God works with the person slowly to get his purposes done. Discounting an intervention of a miracle from his hands, God is teaching us patience endurance and certainly godly knowledge as he walks us through this life of trials.

If one stands in front of the cross instead of behind how can Christ be glorified? How can Jesus be noticed? What we find is that this is too often what happens. All the attention is drawn to the conductor on stage, even if he is saying glory to God. With the modus operandi of miracles and wonders they are endorsed by the people as specially anointed and gifted men operating under the instruction of God.

The common denominator of signs and wonders changes the focus from the word to power activities. This lowers ones reception for the words Jesus spoke, to a fresh word for today from the anointed prophet.

The Apostles would name those who distorted the gospel, the authority of scripture, the person of Christ or morality, this would include taking advantage of the sheep.

A warning from an apostle

Apostle Paul is the author of over half the NT writings , Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:15-17, “Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”

Many so called anointed teachers downplay and even mock biblical education and academics to be used for understanding the Scriptures. This would eliminate the apostle Paul who God chose to be the main evangelist to the gentile world as his conveyer of the grace of God. God chose the most learned man of Judaism to write and communicate what we have today. He didn't lack education but was overeducated. God picked the most learned man from Judaism to write the major portion of the NT. He used what he knew under the instruction of Christ to give Christ glory.

Unlearned men and women who come in the name of the Lord, who stand in front of a sign saying Jesus is Lord deny much of what he taught. A great number of people who have been propelled into a position of leadership have world teaching ministries based upon no education, having nor qualifications to teach. Despite the accusations of Peter or John being only fisherman they were Jews who were brought up on the scriptures and probably had a handle on more than many of the educated today. In Judaism it was a way of life to memorize and understand huge portions of scripture. The reason they didn't understand much of the messiahs teaching is because their interpretations came from the Pharisees who departed from the word adding their own meanings. Have you checked out today's teachers credentials? I'm not saying everyone must go to a certain seminary but it does help, not hinder. Did they put any time in learning the culture or language of scripture, or Theology and the art of biblical interpretation. You may be shocked to find out their lack and disdain for what we are admonished by the apostles to have.

Timothy 2:15 tells us to, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We are encouraged to work hard putting the time in to studying and understanding the Word.  The phrase 'rightly dividing' in the Greek  means 'to make a straight cut, to dissect correctly. We are to ASSEMBLE TOGETHER ALL THE TEACHINGS ON SUBJECTS, THIS IS WHAT THEOLOGY IS ALL ABOUT. Paul was not only an evangelist, but a theologian as well. a Shepherd is to know theology so he is able to teach correct doctrine to the sheep.

To make a  effort to correctly understand what God has written in His Word to His people is to be honest . 1 Tim 4:6: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” 1 Tim 4:13-16: “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”

Teaching that mislead people or those whose motives were clearly questionable   were named to protect the innocent. In 3 Jn. 9-10 John the apostle names Diotrephes, “ I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.” John named him because he wouldn’t accept the teaching of the apostles. He persisted in false doctrine he wanted to be first among them, having pride he was self serving, not looking out for the people. All false teaching and the need to be recognized above others comes from pride.

False prophets

In the Old Testament they did not prophesy under Jesus’ name, but Yahweh’s name. In the New Testament it was Jesus' (Yeshua- Iesous) This clearly shows we are under a new covenant and we deal with false prophets differently, we don't stone them to have them depart from the assembly.  However we do not allow them to flourish within the assembly hoping they will get better at their prophesying. There is no such thing as a prophet learning to prophesy. Today they get 30%, 70% right, hoping to improve it to 100%. Only false prophets practice to be perfect. Yet some defend this position saying the Church is not ready. The Church has always been ready for the perfection of Gods gifts. Prophets prophesy over others and when it doesn't come to pass its blamed on the recipient for not having enough faith for it to happen. Prophesy is not from the will of man but from God. When God gave the prophecies concerning Israel as a nation, it certainly was not dependent upon their faith. There were prophecies that were conditional to avert Gods intent. Like Jonahs they were base on the reaction of the people. God's purposed to destroy them but mixed with judgment he will have mercy on some of his pronouncements. Jeremiah 18:7-10: “The instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;   IF THAT NATION, AGAINST WHOM I HAVE PRONOUNCED TURNS FROM ITS EVIL, I WILL RELENT OF THE DISASTER THAT I THOUGHT TO BRING UPON IT.  And the instant I   speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plan it; if it does evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will relent concerning   the good, with which I said I would benefit It.” Jonah 3:9-10 the king said, “Who can tell if God will turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish. “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way and God relented from the disaster.” Jonah was angry because he knew God was gracious and merciful and did not want to see these people spared.

Deut 13:1-10 tells us about prophets or those with dreams who have a sign or a wonder come to pass. Even if they get their prophecies right but have you follow another God (such as misrepresenting him). We are being tested to see if we love the Lord fully and obey his voice (his word) alone. If they represent God as a force or power that we can control or distort his nature as they do today, even if the miraculous happens we are not to heed them.

People prophesy right because their doctrine is right. Why would God speak to someone about the future when they can’t understand the scripture on what he has already spoken? Their predictions don’t come true because their teaching is wrong. So false teachers when they prophesy will become false prophets. This is exactly What the Apostle Peter states. Both were among the early Church, both are with us today.


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