Monday, February 24, 2014

Detecting the Counterfeits

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"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1, ESV)

I preached this past Sunday out of Matthew 7:15-20 on false prophets/teachings and how destructive they are to a follower of Christ and to a church. God used this sermon mightily in my own life regarding the influences I let slip unaware into my heart. But I left out one common and helpful illustration.

When the U.S. Treasury trains an agent to detect counterfeit money, it does not begin with the seemingly infinite amount of copies. The best place to start is by studying a genuine bill. The quality of the paper, the exact coloring, the embedded safety features, even the smell -- all qualities that when genuine distinctly mark a genuine $20 bill from a counterfeit. Granted, some counterfeiters are skilled at copying these characteristics. But, as Tim Challies pointed out here and here, once a person is well-trained in studying the real thing then the fakes stand out clearly.

The spiritual parallel becomes obvious at this point, doesn't it? Trying to track down and study all of the copies of the gospel and of biblical truths in our culture today wastes time and effort. Rather, immersing yourself in the Word of God with its clear gospel message will shore up your defenses against a false teaching. Feeling, tasting, and understanding the genuine truths of God cause the fakes to ping your radar more quickly so that you can avoid such foolishness. And as we, the church, consistently turn away from false teachings to the truth of God's Word, we will not be "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Eph 4:14). Instead we will "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) and will "stand firm in [the true grace of God]" (1 Pet 5:12)

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Purpose of This Blog

You may wonder about the usefulness of a blog. Don't worry; I have had this blog for a year without writing a word! So it obviously is not essential to faithful ministry. But God has recently stirred my heart to dabble in it a little. I hope to use it as a way to expand sermon thoughts, to address contemporary issues, or to simply mind-dump. Maybe you will engage, maybe not. But I pray that this blog will serve God's church and God's people for His glory.