“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” Ephesians 5:6-7
These verses today may be short to read, but they are filled with wonderful wisdom for learning more about how to live a life that is faithful to God and in communion with our fellow believers. So, let’s get started with the first verse.
The word “deceive” in verse 6, when translated from its original Greek with the proper tense, means to “continuously cheat”. And, likewise “empty words” can be translated to represent “void of truth”, while the phrase “sons of disobedience” is equivalent to meaning “people who do not obey truth or dispense truth”. So, what the entire verse can be re-written to say is: Don’t let people keep cheating you with the lies they are telling you, these people who neither obey the truth God nor speak in the truth of the gospel are already doomed to suffer God’s wrath because of the things they do.
The second verse is then very straightforward advice for any believer who finds themselves caught in the above situation. Then “do not be partakers” or in other words, “do not participate in the plans they make”. It almost seems silly for me to say that we should not do these things because it makes common sense for a believer not to get messed up with people who do not follow God’s truth, but it is not silly to mention because it happens every day. We need to be on our guard at all times, looking out for where we may be trapped by false teachers or other wayward Christians.
So, how does our duck story relate to these passages? For our duck, she needs to learn that every time she hears about a new catchy, gimmicky, or easier way for following the Big Daddy duck, she needs to evaluate it against the truth she has already learned from him. And if she is still not sure what to believe, she needs to check in with her Big Daddy Duck and ask his advice on how to proceed. She needs to be alert of the strategies these disobedient ducks use to lure pond ducks out of the pond into some very enticing puddles. And then, she needs to be ready to make her defense and stand her ground in the pond.
For each of us we need to do the very same thing in our lives. We need to be focused on truth so much that we know from the instant we see a lie that it is a lie. Henry Blackaby, the author of Experiencing God, often times refers to this practice as giving something the plumbline test. If you have ever used a plumbline while wall papering or trying to hang something straight you know that it helps to determine the straightest path for your project. In the same way, the bible and our relationship with God, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit are the plumbline for a Christian. It is important we use these things when we need to make a choice and determine whether or not it will keep us on the straight and narrow path of God. The sad truth is, without the plumbline and yielding to our own nature, we are destined to start veering off in a skewed direction.
Maybe this illustration will help you remember this concept. There is a story told about how the Canadian Mounties are trained to detect counterfeit currency – they do not study lots of counterfeit bills to get good at detecting the errors in the bill. No, instead they study the real currency so well that whenever they do encounter a bill they need to evaluate, they know if they are looking at the true currency. We as Christians should know God and His truth so well and be so focused in the same way the Mounties are on their currency, that we too could evaluate a situation and know without a doubt whether what we are seeing is true to God’s character or not.
If you have not thought much about false religions or false teachers who try to lure believers from a true faith, here are a few to keep your eyes open to and your plumbline ready for:
The Emergent church which has a founding basis of doing away with all of the traditions of the church. From a conceptual view it seems good to not let tradition bog down church progress, but if you line this type of philosophy up with the bible it does not meet the plumbline test.
The feel good Christian churches that focus on the blessings of the faith but fails to preach the cross that Jesus asks us all pick up and carry as followers His followers. It does not meet the plumbline test.
Christian Yoga where the words spoken may be words you hear in church but the poses and imagery are all based around worshiping conduits for Hindu gods to enter the person who is carrying out the practice. It does not meet the plumbline test.
Christian psychology that is not Christian in nature, but rather led by a psychologist who professes to be a Christian yet yields no fruit of the Spirit in his life. Additionally he uses traditional psychological methodologies with the name “Jesus” stuffed into the mix. It does not meet the plumbline test.
The origins of homeopathy and the methodologies for how the agents are used in specific treatments come from the Hindu religion. It does not meet the plumbline test.
Well, if anything I have probably given you a lot of information to ponder and maybe some of it you don’t agree with me on. If you are skeptical about any of the things I have talked about then please do some researching for yourself – it is always wise to dig into things and make a statement become a reality through proof.