The words given on the front page of this site, our charge, although written by three different people and personalities, separated in time by almost a thousand years, ring with not only the truth of Gods guiding hand, but a sure indictment of the condition of the professing church. Indeed, the words speak not only of what we "churchy" people were like back then, but more directly to what we are like today.
Friends, this book is not being written for the purpose of hurting anyone, or chastisement, or castigation. Those things are the sole domain and right of our Lord and Savior. The book is being written, though, for the purpose of exhorting each and every professing Christian to "examine yourself...", and determine whether we "...be in the faith..." as God intends. While many of the false teachings of today are examined in the light of Scripture, and a statement made as to its truth or falsity, judgement is not intended. Indeed, "judge nothing before the last day", but do "examine fruit". Are you in the midst of one of the teachings examined? If so, I pray that you will examine the teaching more deeply in the light of Gods Word, and having satisfied yourself as to where it leads, renounce it, and return "to your first love"...Jesus Christ. Most especially, though, RECOGNIZE where the teachings come from, the seriousness of continuing in them, repent of the "sin which does so easily beset us", and FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH against the wiles, slings and arrows of the devil. Don't believe in the devil? I'm sorry you don't, for he is as real as God is, and as dedicated to your destruction as Jesus is to your salvation. This world is but a passing moment, real to our senses for only a short time, but the real world that lasts for eternity is one which we cannot now see, peopled with demons and angels doing constant battle...and that battle affects us. God has given to us His Word, and His Spirit, for the purpose of fighting a battle in this world. What will you do with it?
First and foremost, we should consider what Paul wrote to Timothy concerning study. "Study to show yourself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth". I am convinced that when Paul wrote these words, he was thinking of how he made a living as he went about. Paul was a tentmaker, and I'm not talking little pup tents, or 1 or 2 man tents, or even big camping tents. In Paul's day, a tent was literally a house, and some even consisted of several "rooms". Essentially then, Paul was a house builder. When Paul set out to make a tent, it was absolutely necessary for him to CUT OUT THE PIECES CORRECTLY, each being of the proper size, and with the proper angles. If he didn't, then the pieces would not fit together properly, resulting in a house that was crooked, or leaned, or wouldn't stand up to high winds. So also is such proper "division" necessary with the Word of God. When we take a portion of the Word, and do not "rightly divide" it, then it WILL NOT FIT PROPERLY WITH THE REST OF THE WORD. Yet today, just as in the past, we Christians continue with our "cut and paste" method of interpreting God, His Word, and His will. Most of the time, we prefer to let someone else do our thinking, reading, or studying for us, and then tell us what God is saying or meaning. If it sounds scriptural, or contains enough references to scripture, the Holy Spirit, or "God Said" then we just accept it, swallowing HOOK LINE AND SINKER. Result? A "church" that does not act like one, "church people" that are more wrapped up in themselves and how they look than in the condition of the world, "church religion" that is no better or worse than what existed when Jesus was crucified, and a world that is rapidly sliding into hell while the devil laughs at the deception, chaos and confusion that he has created.
Deception is the name of the game for old "slewfoot" as one televangelist likes to call him. Since the very beginning satan has used the Word of God to confuse, deceive, and lead astray the people of God. Through the years, he has gotten better at his methods of lying and deceiving. Paul wrote in 2Cor.11:3, "but I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ". Paul, with these few words, packed in a whole book of meaning about satan. First, that he is a beguiler, or one who deceives, and he does it in a subtle manner. This guy, friends, is smoooooth. He baits his hook so that the hook can't usually be seen, and he makes it look, smell, taste, or sound good. Second, we see the inference that he uses complexities in his guile, because Paul clearly emphasized the SIMPLICITY of Christ. As we will later see, many of the "deeper things of God" propounded by some of todays teachers and "prophets" are very complex and crooked paths that DO corrupt the simplicity of Christ. Last, we see that the devil will use ANY MEANS at his disposal to draw people away from the Truth of Jesus Christ.
Many people don't believe that satan exists, or is real in any concrete way. If you are one of these, then may the Lord have mercy on you, because even that is a devilish deception. Certainly there is no need to worry about or concern yourself with something or someone who does not exist. Many others believe that satan exists, but that he is concentrating his efforts on corrupting the unsaved world. I donšt think he really cares too much about them. After all, they are already lost! Satan does have a worry though, and that worry is about a CHURCH FULL OF DEDICATED, GOD BELIEVING, SPIRIT LED, SCRIPTURE KNOWING, READY TO DO BATTLE CHRISTIANS standing firmly on the Rock of Jesus! Against such people, the gates of hell SHALL NOT PREVAIL!! But, if satan can cause disagreement, hatred, envy, and false doctrine within the church, then the church becomes useless as a means of preaching the everlasting gospel, and being the light unto the gentiles that it was meant to be. So tell me, friend, where is satan spending most of his time? Against who is he expending most of his energy and wiles?
Open your eyes, friends. The war is all around us, and wishing it weren't so will not make it go away. Even refusing to acknowledge its existence makes it more hellish every day. Worst of all, doing nothing about it won't keep you safe. Satan is unrelenting in his attack against individuals, the church, and the world, and you really have NO CHOICE in the matter. You can stand there like a sitting duck, being the proverbial "bump on a log" and get your head knocked off, or you can "gird up your loins", put on the armor that God has provided you with, and GET AFTER IT!
The choice is yours.