Good morning Beloved Family.
What a joyous privilege we have today
to gather in the presence of God
and worship Him
My vocabulary is insufficient and
my words are inadequate to describe you
Your awesomeness, Your majesty, Your holiness
Even in my highest expressions, my words pale
You are all powerful and all loving,
You are our rock, and our redeemer
we look to You for help in times of difficulty
Your omnipotent strength and compassion
are beyond our comprehension and understanding
O gracious God
With all our hearts, soul, mind and strength, we praise You
and even that comes by Your presence in us
May the echoes of our worship
all praise that we offer up to You today
be found pleasing unto You
Lord, in Your Word, it is written that none who call
upon You, shall be turned away
O Lord we now pray, that through the power of Your Holy Spirit
those who have not yet called on Your name
will do so yet today
In Your precious and Holy name we ask and pray
Today's text in found in the book of Acts chapter 2.
"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common."
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the early church was their allegiance to the apostle’s doctrine. They believed and aggressively spread it everywhere. They were steadfast, unwavering, unswerving, unfaltering, and resolute in preaching the truth that was delivered to them.
The Apostle Paul, early in church history, warned against foreseeable truth decay.
The word “Decay” refers to slowly but surely losing the original form, quality, value, or strength.
"how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ"
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them."
Teachers of the Word, with truth decay have one goal in mind. They distort truth to get a following. Their crooked, distorted teaching eats away like cancer and spreads like gangrene. Teaching in error misses the mark, swerves from truth by avoiding it, and undermines faith. Gangrene poisons the entire body. Circulation ceases. Life stops. False doctrine is fatal to hearer!
2 Timothy 2:14-19 tells us, "Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness."
Scripture clearly affirms that God is truth, that God speaks truth, and that God cannot lie. Scripture also affirms that Satan is a liar, he is the author and father of lies and he goes around deceiving people through lies. God is truth, He reveals Himself as truth, and Satan therefore is revealed as the antithesis to God, lies.
There is a conflict on the earth between the truth of God and the lies of Satan.
The invasion of false prophets, false teachers, false apostles, false christs has been something which the people of God have endured throughout the ages.
The people of God have always been inundated with and plagued by false doctrine.
And I believe, as we draw nearer to the end of the age, the second coming of Christ, this will certainly increase, and we are witnessing that today. This cumulative steady stream of false teaching is far greater, more deceptive than it has ever been in all of human history.
Through his clever misrepresentation, Satan attempts to distort the truth, and confuse the world so that they cannot perceive the truth of God by drowning them in a sea of deceit and lies. After all, was not this the method he initially used in the Garden to deceive Eve, that which plunged the whole of the human race into sin? Satan is vehemently working to destroy the saving, sanctifying truth that God has given to us in His Word and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
"For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God."
2 Corinthians 2:15-17
These con artists, false teachers, use the Word of God as a business opportunity, a way to increase their personal gain. And essentially, whatever tends to bring the most increase in their finances also becomes their latest rave of preaching. They see the Gospel as a way to making a prosperous living. They will say exactly what the crowd of the current culture wants to hear, and in whatever way they want to hear it! Now, I am certainly am not advocating that God denies financial blessing to His faithful servants, however, I struggle to reconcile theses people to the ones giving their last all for the "cause of Christ." But these make a career out of "tickling the ears" of the hearer.
Paul sternly warned us about this in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."
Some, having itching ears, will seek out teachers who will say what they want to hear, things that will suit their liking. They are looking for a preacher to rub and scratch behind their ears or "tickle their ears." They will turn away from listening to truth.
They will refuse sound doctrine and teaching, and look for what I refer to as "warm and fuzzy."
It makes them feel good, there is no conviction, and most assuredly, no repentance! It allows them to feel good about the message while continuing in their sin.
Beloved, the effects of false teaching are at best, obscaenus, contemptible and reprehensible! It has lasting, devastating, damning and an eternal consequences. That is why the Bible calls them damnable or destructive heresies which lead men to destruction! These teachers of false doctrine, deliberately manipulate the Word of God to say what it does not!
They have corrupt filthy, polluted minds that speak of a wholesale and counterfeit faith!
Therefore, any servant of the Lord, then, must be aware of false teachers, and strive to preserve it. And any hearer of the truth must be warned about lies. That is why, in Acts 20, the apostle Paul, for three years, night and day, with tears, warned the believers in Ephesus, and the leaders in Ephesus, of those who would come from among them and from outside of them with lies.
God’s Word is pure! We must keep it pure! And we must deliver it PURE!
It therefore, becomes incumbent upon any of us who is a servant of Jesus Christ in the Church to be very much aware that we are set for the defense of the truth. We exist to deliver the truth, in order that the sinner might be saved, a lifeline to people who would otherwise be drowning in the sea of deceit, which Satan propagates.
The English highly influential theologian, C. H. Spurgeon said, "And, oh, beloved, there is one thing that I dread above all others—lest I should ever handle the Word of God so as to persuade some of you that you are saved when you are not."
Those who misrepresent the Word of God by either denying the Trinity, denying the deity of Jesus Christ, denying of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, those who deny that salvation by grace alone through faith which God has provided, counterfeit gospels, false ideas of true spirituality.
Beloved, there is certainly a myriad of people disseminating, propagating all kinds of lies all in the name of God’s truth.
I have heard of vast number of preachers, who blatantly deliver a misrepresentation of truth, a manipulation of the Scripture, essentially making nearly every word uttered deceptive and untrue!
The apostle Paul's letter to Timothy, was not only essential for Timothy, it’s essential for me to hear, for all those who minister on behalf of Christ to hear, and for all of you here today, to hear as well.
The gate is narrow, and few will find it, therefore, as faithful servants of the Lord, we must do everything we can, within the authority given to us, as undershepherds of His flock, to reach to lost and guide the misguided, that they too might receive salvation, through Christ.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Jesus was not beaten and crucified for telling the Jewish leaders, "Something good is going to happen to you today!" The prophet Jeremiah was not put into the pit for preaching, "I’m O.K., you’re O.K. We're all O.K.!" John the Baptist was not forced to preach in the wilderness and eventually beheaded because he preached, "Peace, love and light, good vibes to all, God loves you!" Daniel was not put into the lion’s den for telling people, "Positive thinking will move mountains!" And, I am quite certain, that the two prophets during the tribulation, will not be martyred for preaching, "God is in heaven, don't worry He loves you, so all is right with the world."
"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
1 Peter 5:1-8
We are called, to be servants of the Lord, to rise above the influence of ungodliness on our world, to rise above the influence of evil teaching and false doctrine, to rise above the influence of evil people, in and outside the church of Christ. We are also called to sacrificially, dedicate our lives, to set the church right. One of the greatest issues we face today, in setting it right is making sure that clear and sound doctrine is preached, based on the Word of God, the truths of God, and being sure to warn the people of our day, to avoid the insidious dangers and impacts of prideful and false teaching.
As you can imagine, truth teaching has never been popular, even among those who claim to value truth, but it does have eternal rewards. We have been given a trust, the Word and the saints of God. The phrase “handling deceitfully” as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:1-3, originally meant “to catch with bait, to ensnare, to corrupt with error.” We must take great care, never spoil the treasure given to us by God through His Word, by corrupting it or distorting it!
We must bring it forth plainly, humbly and accurately. Never aim to deceive or make a false impression. Therefore, we must where Scripture begins, stop where Scripture stops.
Avoid truth decay.
It destroys spiritual well-being and the salvation of both the student and the teacher.
There is both a positive side and negative side to Scripture. "Here's what to do and here's what not to do." And, those who are called, it is our duty, a responsibility to teach both the positives and the negatives of the truth.
This why the apostle Paul writes, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."
2 Timothy 4:1-2
Paul is continuously reminding us of the noble cause which we serve.
And this is a serious warning, a command really. We know this by the use of the verb, found in the original text, "diamarturomai", which means to solemnly attest, to testify solemnly, solemnly affirm.
He is affirming that it is even more serious, in the next phrase, "in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus," Paul is letting us know, in no uncertain terms, this is serious business!
This is intended to put fear in the heart of the hearers. That kind of command with the presence of God is given, to solemnly call us to duty with a sense of the presence of God. And over the years, I have heard some pretty terrible stories, of false teachers, profiting off the Word of God, one that immediately comes to mind, many of you may recall, is the PTL Club, which stood for "Praise the Lord" with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who in the late 70's and 80's, were certainly among some of the most famous television evangelists, they had even built a multimillion-dollar empire. Several million dollar houses, extravagant cars, luxuries that their many followers certainly did not enjoy.
If you have never heard of them, I'm sure there, even today, is no shortage of news articles, documentaries and I have even heard, as of several months ago, of a movie being made.
Much like many of the ones, I see today. I must say, I'm having difficulty finding the humility, in those today who on national and international television and before stage before a congregation, wearing a $1,400 shirt, $900 pants, and upwards of $700 - $3000 shoes. All while driving expensive, lavish cars, personal jet planes, owning several multi-million dollar homes. I could name more than a few who this applies to today. It's become a widely accepted practice today, and all with a rather "in your face" attitude. PreachersNSneakers, an Instagram account, who has in recent years caught the eyes, of many news media outlets, points out quite a number of them,
"I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed."
1 Timothy 6:13-19
The apostle Paul knew there would be truth decay. He looked in the future and saw a day when:
Errors enter the church.
People turn from truth.
They look for false teachers.
They substitute God’s Word with fables and stories.
He knew the time would come when they will not want to listen to sound doctrine. I believe, we are living in such times now! So what should the man of God do? Preach the Word. Preach it when it is convenient and inconvenient. Preach it when it is accepted and when it is rejected. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, and teach doctrine. Do not be tempted to preach the latest ear-tickler. Do it patiently, and keep doing it, whether it’s in season or not.
We must avoid being tossed to and fro driven by the winds of false doctrine. There needs to be a firm route. False teachers cause people to be like a ship on a restless sea thrown about in the wind and waves, not having an anchor.
Paul calls us to avoid the kinds of debate and "word battle", that pits divine truth against our human philosophy and makes the Bible answerable to man. Satan know that if you can just fill up a person’s head with a bunch of terminology, false theology, and human philosophy, that you can confuse him about the profound and simple truths of God’s Word
In my studies for this message, I began to think more deeply about the presence of God.
So, I tuned to the holy Scriptures. I found a number of them that had reference to the presence of God as a positive thing, a comforting reality. Genesis 27:7; Psalm 68:8; Luke 1:19; Judges 18:6 are just a few of them.
And there are times where the presence of the Lord is meant to increase our sense of comfort, there are more times when it is meant to increase our sense of accountability.
Such is the case in Genesis 3:8; Psalm 68:2; 97:5; 114:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:19, Acts 3.
Many people today take Scripture, twisting and turning it around using the Bible for some personal gain; or to fit whatever point they want to make. What a great truth we have been given, and what an incredibly blasphemous, vile, desecration of that truth. Therefore we must then take great care to avoid false teachers, because they are void of truth and yield no return.
These false teachers may claim to be advancing our thinking, expanding our minds, leading us to new truth. The harsh reality is, they are only place they are leading anyone is further into ungodliness!
When stand of on the foundational truths of God's Word, we are a building a church not made with hands. We are building the temple of the living God. Because foundation of the Church of God in Christ is firm in the sound biblical teaching.
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries