Ears to hear demand that you use methods designed to induce a listening attitude. So when I study the Bible, why do I hear things from God that do not correspond well with the doctrines taught within the church community. Normally, when a number of people study the same things independently, the majority derives roughly about the same conclusion. So why are my findings so different when I study the same scriptures as they do? Perhaps it is because I look for what is consistent throughout the bible.
The beliefs I develop trouble me for one reason, why is the outcome so radically different from other people? My beliefs and are beginning to convince me that there is something wrong with my thinking process. Because the outcome is so different, I have studied the same passages several times and took several approaches to see what develops. This may be somewhat time consuming, but I spend more time with God and find additional information to support my final conclusion.
Every teacher should know one principle, you can not force people to believe what you believe just because its true for you. Shaping the minds of other people is an art that belongs to God. A teacherís job is to present the facts related to the subject and let your studentís sort out and choose what they want to believe. That is where I stand, I present the facts and allow you to believe whatever you want.
I have become a stickler for using the same words that are found in Godís word because it keeps everyone on the same page with God. As a teacher, it is my job to bring Godís message and the use of biblical words increases my credibility when you can follow along and see where I am coming from. It creates a meeting of the mind, where everyone has the same understanding of what God has expressed.
For example, within the church community the tribulation period is a common term frequently used whenever the subject of the Second Coming is discussed. God did not discuss the ďtribulation periodĒ and the reason being the term of the ďtribulation periodĒ is not found in the bible. How do we know the ďtribulation periodĒ exists or that it is related to the Second Coming of Christ? Where is the scriptural proof? The irony of this situation is that those who believe in the tribulation period say if God said it, I believe it, but they also believe in terms that God did not express in words. For this reason I am concerned if the Christian community is we being deceived.
The spiritual war Christians are involved in do not use weapons used by human beings to wage war, but weapons of truth that quench the lies of Satan. Satan is the father of lies and who causes Christians to believe what is not true about God. On the other hand, it is impossible to please God without faith, which demands that we place our confidence and trust in him. By faith we live by the words spoken by God. All one has to do is to take his eye off Jesus and fail to exercise his trust in God to lose battles in the spiritual war.
Satan always uses deception in his ploys, such as to make Christians believe promises God did not make. God does not honor promises he did not make. Its disappointing to the sincere Christian when God does not honor the promises they thought God made. Another tactic of Satan turns Godís word into erroneous doctrines, some of which are believed and others are not. This divide and conquer tactic separates believers and divides the church so that they fight each other instead of the true enemy Ė evil.
We were all in the world at one time deceived hoping that one day God would welcome us into his rest. However, when we heard the word of truth about whoever believed in Jesus Christ would not perish, we made Jesus our Lord. If we are Christians then we must follow Christ and we must obey his commands, otherwise there would be no truth to the commitment we made with God. To establish truth of our repentance our actions must be in agreement with our commitment to God.
In the last four paragraphs the terms, erroneous doctrines, deceived, father of lies, ploys, and spiritual warfare were used to describe the tactics and weapons that Satan uses. These are weapons of persuasion used to make you believe facts and conditions relating to God that are not true. On the other hand we also spoke of the word of truth and weapons of truth that demolish pretenses and false arguments that are thrown at us everyday. We also have a shield of faith, which is our confidence in the word and person of God. Therefore the knowledge of God's word enables us to get a firm grasp on the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. And with experience we learn how to correctly handle the word of God.
God demands that his children worship him in spirit and truth. Truth is a quality of Godís character and morals that have not changed - not in the past - not in the present time - nor in the future. Because truth does not change Godís morals are an absolute code of conduct found to be true for every situation in all relationships.
Every Christian knows that Godís word is the truth not because God said so but because we have experienced the reality of his word. How we as Christianís find, develop and establish the truth is absolutely essential to our faith. Our beliefs enable us to please God and affect our ability to worship God in spirit and in truth. Anyone who lacks truth and knowledge guarantees his failure, so the prudent person weighs the outcome and possible consequences before putting any plans into action.
As Christians we must interpret the bible by considering the facts of what has been said or done within its pages. One of the most fascinating studies associated with interpreting the bible has been to understand the nature of truth. What is the truth and how do you determine the truth, but more importantly how to habitually look for truth when you study the bible?
Wait a minute, isn't God's word the truth? Well yes it is the truth. What is interesting about the truth is that truth is like a train traveling between our spiritual ears. If there are no reasons to stop or things of interest to grab your attention the train doesn't blow its whistle. But if you were looking for the truth you would stop the train and diligently search the train for the truth.
Truth is like a diamond inside a glass of ice water and unless you saw the diamond placed in the glass you wouldn't know it was there. Again truth hides in open sight where you can see it all day long, but unless you look for the truth it will remain in plain sight and go unnoticed.
Jesus said the world has eyes to see but do not see and everyone has ears to hear but do not hear. Why is it that we as men understand that the blind have eyes that cannot see and only the deaf have ears that cannot hear? On the other hand, its common knowledge that every person has eyes that see and ears that hear in this world. Jesus was not talking about the physical characteristics of man, but the spiritual side of men that cannot hear and see the truths of the spirit world. The spiritual man still needs the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know the truth because truth is spiritually discerned.
The Christian is wise to ask, does God have a method to correctly determine the truth and can I determine the truth in the same manner? Is there a relation with rewarding each man according to his deeds?
"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 17:10
Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. Romans 2:2 - God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Romans 2:6-8
How did God derive true and just judgments?
Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve." And I heard the altar respond: "Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments." Revelation 16:5-7
How did God instruct men to derive true and just judgments? In my mind there has to be a direct correlation between the method he instructed man to use and the method he himself uses. To examine Godís method lets look at the words that God said about Satan.
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. Ezekiel 28:15-18
Wickedness was found in Satan due to the methods Satan employed in trading. Because of his appearance he thought himself to be a superior person and could neglect the ways of his creator. By his many sins and dishonest trade he desecrated his sanctuaries. The outcome of Satanís dishonest trading methods and the continual practice of dishonesty that displayed the true nature of his being. The bible says,
you may be sure that your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23
Sin destroys the respect that everyone demands for himself and creates unrest between one another. Sin is the initial act of hostility that starts the war you have to fight. You reap what has been sown and you naturally sin against the person who sinned against you. Within the commotion of hostility, the very attributes of love and forgiveness are forgotten and your revenge become deeds that are placed in evidence and reserved for the Day of Judgment.
Iíve often used the illustration of your son or daughter arriving home way past the time they had gotten out of School. Where were you, you ask and to this they reply at Bobbyís house. Little did they know that in your frustration to find your child, you had called Bobbyís father and he hadnít seen your child all day.
Things did not agree with what you knew and wanted to get the story straight. Wouldnít you know it when you asked Bobbyís mom, she said your child was hungry and ate everything put before them.
Its time to ask yourself two questions. Why did you continue to ask where your child was when you were told something to the contrary that placed his answer in doubt? And why did you stop to apologize to your child when Bobbyís mom corroborated his story?
There are other illustrations for discovering the truth, for example. The people across the street know how to advise but do not live by their own advice. In addition there are people who know everything under the sun but their lives are in shambles. We know the real truth when we observe and compare inconsistent practices of other people with what they say. Its what a person does that tells the truth about their lives. When we consider how we judge our neighbors, we should also know that God is observing the way we live. These illustrations may give the reason how God can justly reward everyone according to his or her deeds.
On the other hand, I have heard more than one minister of God say that if it was said only once it still could be true. This remark sounds credible but it turns out to be a deceptive statement especially when truth is verified by an agreement of facts. If the truth is anything said once can also cause men and women to believe things that are not true. Anything said once has no credibility, no certainty or assurance that what you have heard is true. By definition truth is the conformity to fact or actuality, but finding the truth is finding an agreement with other facts on the matter.
Life is an adventure in how we learn the truth. It is no secret that society has gone to great length to place people on trial to determine the guilt or innocence of a crime they may have committed. To determine guilt or innocence, the state will appoint someone to connect the accused to the crime with related evidence. The evidence or information linking the person together with the crime determines the verdict.
One witness is not enough to have an agreement or to convict a man, but it is enough to have a ďhe said - they saidĒ condition. Two witnesses give testimony an assurance of the truth.
One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. Deuteronomy 19:15, Deuteronomy 17:6, Numbers 35:30, 2 Corinthians 13:1
A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses, is a principle commanded by God to ensure that a agreement of facts can be found. One witness tells what he knows and when the second witness agrees you have a corroboration of facts with the reliability of truth. Two or three witnesses are also used to have an agreement with truth in other situations.
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20
This will be my third visit to you. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." 2 Corinthians 13:1
Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 1 Timothy 5:19
Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Hebrews 10:28
One witness is not enough to convict a man of a crime nor is it enough to frame a biblical doctrine. The reason being Ė nothing can support, confirm, or agree with what a single witness has said. On the other hand, what happens when you have multiple witnesses agreeing with specific concept? For example, the idea below is why do we try to do everything in our own power when God can do what is impossible with man?
'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. Psalms 44:3
Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them - not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God." Hosea 1:7
It is not by strength that one prevails; 1 Samuel 2:9
"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord 1 Samuel 17:45
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
Test what you hear about God especially at church. For example, I heard the term Tribulation period when I was in second grade, now that I am retired I am still hearing the same term being used. Simply put, the bible has no reference on the tribulation period. How do we as Christians know the signs of Christís coming from Godís perspective when we base our decisions on something God did not foretell?
God made sure that men knew the truth and instructed him how to make their convictions in a prudent manner.
Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake Christís teaching. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. My words of instructions to you to attain wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight, for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, for doing what is right and just and fair, for giving prudence knowledge and discretion to the simple. Listen to my words, my son and think about what I have said. I want you to know that you live by every word of truth that comes from my mouth. Meditate on my words day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything I commanded. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
While I have combined and paraphrased a number of scriptures, these words relate the idea of a concerned father who wants the best for his children. We also know that God does not think to well of foolish people and doesnít want his children to be among them. What God wants is for you to exercise your mind making an effort to find the truth and then exercise good judgment to live by the truth.
The truth about eternal life has been made available to everyone in Godís word. However, many know the truth, but few make the effort to live by the truth. God wants his children to develop discipline and prudent lifestyle. We know that the prudent man considers what he is going to do long before does them. He takes time to think about what he is planning to do and how he can avoid certain consequences that will hinder his success. When he takes time to think the matter over he learns why things are done in certain manner and becomes aware of the consequences if he doesnít.
Finally, God does not want a surrogate relationship with you, which would be a relationship through another person. He requires an effort on your part to have a personal relationship with him. As parents we discipline our children and teach what they should have done. Then command them to think about the instructions you as their parent gave them. We are commanded by God to think on his instructions, but do we really take time to consider his instructions? God said to meditate on his word day and night, for its in meditation that you learn the answer of why. Why things are done in a certain way and what happens when you donít? The answers are in Godís word but with God's help, you have to find them. Godís word gives you a workable plan to live by and take with you wherever you go.