Friday, February 13, 2015

THE PROCESS OF DECEPTION (pt 2)

SELF DECEPTION
James 1:22—
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
To me, this is one of the most fascinating aspects of the Scriptures.


I know all too well the verses that tell me of the power of the Word, and by themselves, one could be led to believe all that is necessary is to read the Bible.
A brief survey of those verses is as follows:
Hebrews 4:12—
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Isa 55:11—
So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
John 8:31-32—
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
These verses, by themselves, could easily be taken to mean that if you would just expose yourself to the Word of God through reading, listening to it read, or attending good preaching, then your life would be improved 100%.

I’m not denying the value of these activities. They are good insofar as they go. And, for many believers today, it would be great if they would at least do this much.

However, James adds the little extra that is hidden within Jesus’ statement about “continuing in the word.”

He says we must be DOERS of the word.

DOING implies that there is something from the Word that I can apply to my life through action. I can take action steps to make it a part of my experience.

Consider what you are hearing in your particular church. Are you hearing those things which are practical, which can be put into action?

Or, are you just hearing about pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by? Or, maybe you are hearing about those ‘other folks’ who just have it all wrong.

In other words, how do you DO the rapture? Do you go outside and practice lift-off?

How do you DO the virgin birth? How do you DO hyper-grace, ultimate reconciliation, election, or a myriad other things that so occupy the minds of believers today?

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying these things are wrong or are of no value. I am only saying that this is the majority of the preaching we hear today, and there is no way to put these things into practice in our daily living.

Most of these things become an emphasis of a particular group, and then serve only to strengthen one in their position of “having the truth” which others do not have.

Some will ask, “Aren’t we supposed to preach sound doctrine?”

Absolutely.

But those are NOT the things of sound doctrine.

Those are the things of the particular seminary where your pastor/preacher was trained.

The Bible is very clear about what constitutes “sound doctrine,” and I have just been flabbergasted by the fact that so very few even see this. Most folks, from pulpit to pew, believe that “sound doctrine” has to do with the elements of our faith, such as water baptism, the crucifixion, virgin birth, rapture, resurrection, eternal damnation, etc.—none of which you can DO.

The biblical definition of “sound doctrine” is found in 2 Timothy 2:1-10—
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (KJV)
Notice that the things “which become sound doctrine” all fall into the classification of “DOING.” There is something that can be applied to the life through these teachings.

So James tells us very plainly that if we do not put the Word we hear into practice, then we are simply deceiving ourselves. That is the beginning of a downward spiral for a believer. 

However, James is not the only voice in this arena.

Jesus spoke to His disciples at the Last Supper and said, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them" (John 13:17).

Would it be too much of a stretch to assume that if you know these things and DON’T do them, your happiness would be quite limited? Could this possibly explain some (or much) of the misery for some believers?

Or, would it be possible to suggest that sin in the believer’s life could make them unhappy? James further says, “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin”(James 4:17).

How about if we just say that much unhappiness comes simply from life not going as expected? Could you agree with that?
Jesus said that your life would fall apart if you claimed Him as Lord, but didn’t DO what He said.
Luke 6:46-49—
And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?Whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like:He is like a man which built a house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Is it not becoming increasingly clear that DOING the word is at least as important as hearing the word?

Many have focused solely on Romans 10:17, as if HEARING were all that is necessary.

Let’s return to the oft-quoted passage about “continuing in the word:”
John 8:31-32—
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
In the light of the other passages which we have considered, can you see how Jesus meant much more than simply developing a daily Bible-reading habit?

He is saying here that “truth” resides as much in the DOING as in the HEARING, for if we only hear, and do not put into practice what we hear, then we have stepped onto the path of deception.

From there it can only get worse until we wake up and realize the path we have chosen.

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