"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Monday, September 20, 2010

GOT TRUTH? An Examination of What Truth Is and How It Affects Us – PART TWO-b

~~By James Fire


A little review is in order:



We are now going to shift gears a bit and look at the implications of the Truth and the reason why we must stand on and for the Truth.

It was recently in my protracted thoughts that the Truth and its resultant fruit tends toward beneficence while deception and its resultant fruit tends towards detriment. Consider the lies of evolution, of Nazism, of humanism, of revisionist history and their results:

From evolution we derive a purposeless universe populated by thinking meat-sacks with no need of morals, integrity, and conscience or a sense of a God-given destiny (offered through Jesus Christ) and entirely licensed towards self-gratification.From Nazism such fruit is evident: over six million dead Jews (among many others), and with equal justification for these heinous murders and an abrogation of freedom and a confiscation of the free enterprise system.

Likewise with Communism: gulags galore with the death of hundreds of millions, Christian, Jew and others, and similarly a “legal plunder” ethic that impoverishes, depletes and negates freedom and liberty.

Humanism places man at the center of reality, and on a pinnacle of importance, glorifying and extolling his supposed virtues, and denying any moral flaw, sinful intentions, and most vehemently an Eternal God Who is the Judge of the Earth, and thus instilling in its adherents a lethal sense of pride that will incarcerate them without parole into a hard-heartedness towards God and the spiritual freedom He provides through the LORD Jesus Christ.

Note: The above belief systems are, to one degree or another predicated upon evolution, thus this false system of so-called science is foundational to much of the global lies that predominate the world today.

From revisionist history we get such fallacies and falsehoods as the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and because of the fact that nations submitted to Islam have the preponderance of petroleum in an oil cartel, they (supposedly ‘they’) hold the world hostage and cow everyone to believing such lies as the historical fact of Palestinian’s presence in the land which God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This lie also lends power to the Islamic Agenda which we have reported on just previously on TTUF.

Somehow we perceive lies in any capacity as less detrimental than they are; certainly if one person believes a lie, its destructive level resides (in the main) with themselves and those closest to them. Yet if ten people believe the same lie, the arena of destruction is increased. What about an entire city? Or a nation? Or a world?

We are reminded of that horrific foretelling in the writings of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonian church regarding those who refuse the truth and adhere to lies –

2 Thess 2:7-12
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let (hinder, restrain), until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

This “mystery of iniquity (that is, lawlessness)” was already at work at the time when Paul wrote those inspired, prophetic words; yet their working would increase with industrious intent until a tremendous apostasy takes place (departure from ‘the faith’ that is, the truth; something we ourselves are witnessing in greater degrees today) and then this “Wicked one,” the “man of sin, the son of perdition” is revealed:

2 Thess 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition
;

Take note of such words and phrases as “lying wonders”, “deceivableness”, “receive not the LOVE of the truth”, “strong delusion”, “a lie”, “believed not the truth”, “son of perdition (lawlessness – without truth there can be no such law, thus lawlessness indicates the absence of truth).

As one meditates on these passages, one requires little more evidence that the fruit of lies and deception produces such deplorably universal destruction! Perhaps with this perspective in mind we can all the more appreciate to greater degrees the precious value of the Truth!


With that in mind, we now return to a book that we here at TTUF reported on in an earlier series of articles, by John MacArthur, The TRUTH War: the following are excerpts from Ch. 3 entitled Constrained Into Conflict: Why We Must Fight For The Faith

Jude 1:3

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.


Jude, the half-brother of Jesus of Nazareth, and also the brother of James (writer of the epistle by the same name, who of course was also a half-brother of Jesus), it would seem, was about to embark on a doctrinal dissertation on “the common (or universally accepted as true) salvation” but he detoured and instead, started writing about how we “should earnestly contend for the faith”.

John MacArthur comments:

“What do you suppose happened to make Jude change the tone and substance of what he wrote? Jude doesn’t say. Perhaps before he got started writing, he received information from somewhere – a report, a letter, or an eyewitness account telling him of a threat to the spiritual well-being of this flock. Or it could simply be that the LORD supernaturally revealed something to him that prompted this change in the message . . . the glorious salvation about which Jude had planned to write was in danger of being severely compromised unless the church rose to the occasion of fighting for the gospel.”

May I say that the most efficient way of fighting FOR the gospel is in the declaration OF the Gospel “with [its] many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). The enemy could get us so distracted in defending the Gospel that we place all our energy into the endeavor; hammering away at the Truth of the Gospel, proclaiming the risen Christ, and His finished work on the cross must never leave our focus. Having done this, and proving the validity of its claims will affect the greatest work in evangelism.

MacArthur notes: “What started out as a warm, friendly attempt to offer comfort and encouragement turned out instead to be a shrill call to arms. The whole epistle is a war cry that applies to all believers of all ages. Jude urges us to join the Truth War and side with the LORD.”

Just as we, the church, are being assailed by error, heresy, subterfuge and attacks of every sort, so too was the early church. Thus as we read their writings, we can examine them for their content, and how to exploit their techniques and strategies (inspired by the very wisdom of God Himself) in overcoming the lies and deceptions of the enemy by the written Word through these various epistles.

Peter employs much of the same content as Jude does, and his epistle was written some time beforehand, so we know that the enemy’s attempt to corrupt the church was relentless. We the church can be nothing less than that! Read – 2 Peter 2:1 - 3:4; also 2 Peter 2: 1-2 and compare these with Jude vs. 4, 11-12, 17 and 18. Consider that while Jude is exclusively dealing with error and opposing it, other epistles likewise were written and refuted false doctrine and problematic heresies such as Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 2 and 3 John.

In the sub-titled section called “Stealth Apostasy” MacArthur writes:

“False teaching by deceptive spiritual terrorists infiltrating the church has always plagued the church . . . Satan’s design is to lead people who have been exposed to the gospel away from it [and] into damning error. There are always people in and around the church who have heard the truth and understood it but who have not yet embraced it and committed to it savingly [sic]. They can be led to reject it, and that is exactly what the evil one hopes to accomplish.

Also consider that the LORD Jesus Himself, in giving the parable of the sower, describes the scene of the Gospel sower as being fruitful in just one out of every four scenarios, and in the cases of the non-fruit producing seed, the reasons given have to do with the enemy (his world-system) or the individual’s own hard heartedness.

Jude employs the same sort of agricultural allegory in vs. 12:

Jude 1:12

. . . clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots
;

And upon such, the severity of God’s judgment will fall, unless these too genuinely repent from sin, and the lies they have believed; for if no repentance is forthcoming, the inevitable outcome will be as follows:

Jude 1:15-16
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage
.

“This is the very essence of apostasy: hearing the truth, knowing what it is, professing to accept it, and then finally rejecting it. Because the final disavowal of the truth occurs with full knowledge and understanding, this is a fatal apostasy from which there is no hope of recovery,” states MacArthur. “Church history is filled with examples of [Christian leaders] from the Judaizers whose false gospel confused the Galatian churches, to the many corrupt televangelists of today whose avarice, moral failures, false prophesies, phony ‘miracles’ and erroneous doctrine are a reproach to Christianity and a stumbling block to the undiscerning.”

Apostasy on the one hand is a deliberate and willful choice on the part of the individual professor of faith, and yet also, like some sort of spiritual disease, it’s communicable by means of its deceptive influences. Apostasy is a sin, and all sin wields a certain power of deception. Thus deceivers are themselves deceived (2 Tim. 2:13; also John 16:2 and an example of apostasy as documented by the scriptures themselves, found in Acts 8: 9-25, regarding Simon the Sorcerer who supposedly believed the Gospel).

The LONG WAR for TRUTH –

“. . . From that moment in the garden when the serpent brought his war against truth into the world of humanity – through the close of the Old Testament canon and beyond, right down to the present day – the campaign against truth has been unrelenting and shockingly effective.”

Time and time again Israel was warned not to depart from the living God to serve the false gods of the nations about her, and yet despite these warnings, Israel apostatized; likewise the church has been given ample warning, including the example of Israel herself and what happened to her as a result, and for all that, today we still see the church falling away from the faith! So we see that it’s not simply a dilemma in the church, but one that has existed since the dawn of man, and even prior to that, when one considers that Satan, by some means, persuaded up to one third of the angelic race to rebel against God. This is, in fact, the long war for truth, and we are living in the final battles of this tremendous struggle for the immortal souls of humanity!

Even, amazingly, during the time when Jesus walked the Earth, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, apostasy was present as many who were formerly His disciples, left Him due to their offense of the Truth He declared, and walked with Him no more (John 6:66 [It never fails to interest me that the verse that declares this departure from the LORD was referenced numerically as vs. 66 of the 6th chapter of John. One must wonder at the editor that took on the task of numbering verses, and if he intentionally managed this]).

Referring to this departure from Jesus Christ, MacArthur writes words that appropriately describe the mind set of the modern American church that desires to (in their minds) ‘redress’ the Gospel by re-dressing it in a different set of post-modern, emergent, ecumenical, deception-inspired clothes:

“Jesus’ teachings made the truth starkly clear. These people, who evidently saw the truth plainly and understood Jesus’ teaching perfectly well, turned away any way. In fact, the utter clarity of the truth was the very thing that drove them away. When they saw the truth for what it was, they simply hated it. It was too demanding, too unpopular, too inconvenient, too much of a threat to their own agenda, and too much of a rebuke to their sin. Remember, ‘men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil’ (John 3:19).”

“Many Christians today are weary of the long war over truth. They are uneasy about whether doctrinal disagreements and divisions are a blight on the spiritual unity of the church and therefore a poor testimony to the world. These and similar questions are constantly heard nowadays. ‘Isn’t it time to set aside our differences and just love one another?’ ‘Rather than battling people with whom we disagree over various points of doctrine, why not state a cordial dialogue with them and listen to their ideas?’ ‘Can’t we have a friendly conversation rather than a bitter clash?’ ‘Shouldn’t we be congenial rather than contentious?’ ‘Does the current generation really need to perpetuate the fight over beliefs and ideologies?’ ‘Or can we at last declare peace and set aside debates over doctrine?’

“Of course, there is a legitimate concern in the tone of such questions. Scripture commands us: “If it be possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18). Pursue peace with all people” (Heb. 12:14). “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Taken together, these passages make it clear that what Scripture demands of us is the polar opposite of a cantankerous attitude. No one who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit can possibly take delight in conflict. So it should be plain that the call to contend for the faith is not a license for pugnacious spirits to promote strife deliberately over insignificant matters. Even when conflict proves unavoidable, we are not t adopt a mean spirit.
“But conflict is not always avoidable . . . sometimes its even necessary to wage a ‘civil war’ within the church – especially when the enemies of the truth posing as brethren and believers are smuggling dangerous heresy in by stealth.”

WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO TO WAR –

“We thus have an urgent mandate from God Himself to do our part in the Truth War. The Holy Spirit, through the pen of Jude, is urging Christians to exercise caution, discernment, courage and the will to contend earnestly for the truth.
“Notice what we are supposed to be fighting for . . . ‘the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’
“Jude is speaking of . . . the faith as delivered from Jesus through the agency of the Holy Spirit by the apostles to the church (Acts 2:42).”

John MacArthur validly points out that the Christian faith was not invented, or created by any human agency (so sorry Emergent guys!) but delivered by God! It came by revelation, initially by Jesus Christ, and then those who He commissioned to carry on the work, namely the apostles, who themselves were inspired by the revelation of God to dictate the truth of God on parchment.
This revelation of truth came “ONCE FOR ALL” and now that canon is closed, with no other addendum's, additions, or apostatized writings!!

“That is what the Truth War is all about,” continues MacArthur. “Its not mere wrangling between competing earthly ideologies. It is not simply a campaign to refine someone’s religious creed or win denominational spitting contests. It is not a battle of wits over arcane theological debate, staged to see who is more skilled or [cleverer] in the art of argumentation (sounds like a AOL chat room for Christians!) . . . It is a very serious struggle to safeguard the heart and soul of truth itself and to unleash that truth against the powers of darkness – in hopes of rescuing the eternal souls of men and women who have been unwittingly ensnared by the trap of devilish deception.

“This is a battle we cannot wage effectively if we always try to come across to the world as merely nice, nonchalant, docile, agreeable, and fun-loving people (did you hear THAT Brian McClaren and Rob Bell [Emergent leaders]??). We must not take our cues from people who are perfectly happy to compromise the truth wherever possible ‘for harmony’s sake’. . . Christ and the apostles [never] confronted serious, soul-destroying error by building collegial relationships with false teachers. In fact we are expressly forbidden to do that:

Rom 16:17

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

See also 2 Cor. 6:14-15; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Tim. 3:5; 2 John 10-11.

In closing this chapter, MacArthur cautions the saints in a loving manner: “Jude is not suggesting (nor am I) that Christians should contend among themselves over every petty disagreement or divide into factions over every personality conflict. In fact, that is the very thing that the apostle Paul condemned in 1 Cor. 3:3-7. Divisiveness and sectarianism are terrible sins that hurt the church when major divisions are manufactured out of petty differences over trivial, doubtful, indifferent or less than vital matters (Rom. 14:1).”

May I say that we must never compromise on any doctrinal issue that would lead souls into error and would deprive them of justification in Christ Jesus, that would hinder sanctification in the life of the believer, that would steal away the Hope of the Blessed Coming again of the LORD Jesus Christ, or in any other way prove to be a detriment to the believer’s walk.

Other beliefs that are peripheral, and have no bearing on these crucial issues should never be invited by way of debating them, and separating the saints because of any resulting disagreements.

In the final installment of this article, we shall continue with The TRUTH War, as well as conduct a biblical survey on the scriptures that pertain to this most precious and glorious commodity, provided for us by our gracious, loving heavenly Father: TRUTH!

Until then, may the LORD Jesus Christ bless us all, WAY TOO MUCH!!

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