“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
I am not sure if you have taken notice of the little note I have in the right-hand column which states: “I also admit I am not perfect and what I have to say is not perfect wisdom, so please do not hesitate to look up what I have written, to question it, and it make it your own.” I have always felt need to state this fact because at times I know without intention some people look to what I have written as inerrant truth, but the reality is only the bible itself is inerrant and all else that is written in relation to the bible and the truths contained in it are inspirational – some by the Holy Spirit and some not.
In coming to Berea and in opening up the connections between the Jewish writings and the fulfillment of them through Jesus, Paul encountered a group of people who “received the word with all readiness and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) These new believers were not going to let the words of some man who was speaking what they wanted to hear be the basis for their faith. No, instead they went back to the word of God, to the writings of the prophets which had endured and had always been their foundation for truth in amidst a world at that time with many people who were claiming to know about the coming savior of the Jews. These words were their plumbline helping them to line up everything they heard with the truth they knew to be substantiated.
Today we find our religious climate a bit different than in the days of Paul. People are not looking for a savior in a person, but rather they are looking for a savior in a philosophy. People listen to sermons and conference speakers, read religious books and magazines, and follow a variety of Christian groups or individuals on social networking sites or blogs. With all of these options for spiritual input it seems that whatever you are looking for you can find, even if it is not based on truth.
Hear what Paul had to say to Timothy in regards to this same subject:
“For the time will come where they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
I wanted to give you a better idea of what these verses really meant and so I looked up the Greek meanings of a few key words. And if you have been following my blog for a while you know I will wrap them all up in my own expanded version of the verses above at the end of the definitions. I would encourage you to do the same especially today as this is the very core of the truth I am addressing in this blog:
- “endure” is a word picture meaning to hold one self up against, as leaning on a wall
- “sound” means to be exact, and in this instance it particularly refers to defined words of God as it stands affirmed by itself in truth and righteousness
- “doctrine” is the same thing as a particular teaching, here it refers to the teaching of Lord
- “desires” here is a longing for something that is forbidden
- “itching ears” a term used in the bible to refer to the receptacle of someone who is wanting to impress others with his/her words and who says things that those people want to hear. These people in a way are just looking for someone who will speak in a way that makes them feel good about their situation and who are really not concerned with how much what they hear is based on truth. In this instance in the Greek this expression is given a continuous/repetitive tense and therefore refers to people who keep looking and keep searching for more and more teachings which appease them and what they want to believe is truth.
- “heap” is a piling up or amassing of some thing. As in reference to the above definition of “itching ears” and it having a continuous nature one would only come to assume that as the false teachings were sought out that they would pile up, one on top of another, just confirming the lies the individual was believing and moving their beliefs further and further from the truth they were burying under all the garbage they were taking in as truth
- “turned aside” is an expression meaning to turn ones back on something else to pursue another thing. Here the back is turned on the truth of God and turned towards “fables”
- “fables” are just factious stories and in reality anything that is not based on the truth of God is just an act of fiction – a story made up to entertain the head and the soul and draw them away from the convicting reality of truth and the righteousness of God and His sovereign teaching
So, here is my expanded version of 1 Timothy 4:3-4:
“The time is coming [possibly already here for us] when people will not base their faith convictions on the exact teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, but rather they will follow their own wayward longings and look for teachers who will say they things they want to hear and which they want to believe as true; and in doing so they will turn their backs to God and His word and instead be content with factious stories that make them feel good and entertain their minds and hearts.”
I don't know about you, but I unfortunately encounter way too many of these people who often say to me that what I write about and what I speak on are too harsh. But I know when I speak anything regarding a biblical teaching I am accountable before God for every life that is either turned towards Him or turned away from Him because of what I have said. I take that responsibility very seriously and I will not change my tune to appease the likes of man. God alone I must answer too and therefore when I write I write in the fear of the Lord.
The catalyst of my subject today was an email send on a Yahoo group I belong to. A young mother in wanting to bring a different perspective to a topic the moms were discussing shared a teaching she had heard “on a CD”. In essence all of the teaching that CD contained, and she conveyed in her email, were completely factious, actually a fable to be exact, which she said made her feel better about the situation being discussed and in which she hoped would bring an encouraging edge to the topic at hand.
We need to be so very careful about what we chose to accept as truth in this informational age we live in. In everything we hear and read we need to be discerning and listen to the Spirit of God as to what is really true according to His inerrant word. A good adage to live by as stated by Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians is, “Test all things; hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) And I have to add, throw away all that is bad and keep yourself from ever contemplating on it being noteworthy or a basis for your beliefs.
God's truth is the only truth no matter how good it makes you feel. God is good and in what He says we need to hold fast to those truths because one day all we will have left to stand on is the truth we have lived out in faith – the rest will be washed away in the face of Truth Himself.