False Prophets and True

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)

In the apostolic period, two main gifts of the Spirit were those of the apostle and prophet. In fact, the church itself was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). One function of these men was to receive and transmit God’s revelation to His people—first verbally, then eventually written in permanent form in the New Testament. “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:5).

The apostle Paul revealed also that such prophecies would cease once they were no longer needed. “When that which is perfect [or ‘complete’] is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10). Clearly in the context, this refers to the complete revelation of God. When the last book of the Bible was transmitted to the church by the last living apostle, the Lord warned us neither to “add unto” nor to “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” (Revelation 22:18-19).

But many false prophets have indeed “gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1), just as Jesus warned, and they have “deceived many.” One of them, a self-asserted seventh-century “prophet” from Arabia, received certain “revelations” from a “god” that were vastly different from those of the God of the Bible, and his followers now number over a billion.

There have been others, before and since, and the Lord Jesus warned us always to “beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15). The basic criterion by which to test any alleged prophecy, ancient or modern, is whether or not it fully conforms to the written Word of God, the Bible. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). HMM

From The Institute For  Creation Research

Thinking Theology: A Q&A with Dr. John MacArthur, Day 13

Today’s reading is drawn from Luke 10:25.

If we are to love our neighbor, who is our neighbor?

The lawyer who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life in Luke 10:25 knew the commandments well enough. But when he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” we are told that he was “wanting to justify himself” (v. 29). It revealed the man’s self-righteous character, as well as his desire to test Christ.

The prevailing opinion among scribes and Pharisees was that one’s neighbors were the righteous alone. According to them, the wicked—including rank sinners (such as tax collectors and prostitutes), Gentiles, and especially Samaritans—were to be hated because they were the enemies of God. They cited Psalm 139:21, 22 to justify their position. As that passage suggests, hatred of evil is the natural corollary of loving righteousness. But the truly righteous person’s “hatred” for sinners is not a malevolent enmity. It is a righteous abhorrence of all that is base and corrupt—not a spiteful, personal loathing of individuals. Godly hatred is marked by a brokenhearted grieving over the condition of the sinner. And as Jesus taught here and elsewhere (6:27–36; Matt. 5:44–48), it is also tempered by a genuine love. The Pharisees had elevated hostility toward the wicked to the status of a virtue, in effect nullifying the second Great Commandment. Jesus’ answer to this lawyer demolished the Pharisaical excuse for hating one’s enemies.

Contrasting the Levite, a religious person who assisted the priests in the work of the temple, with a despised Samaritan, who rescued the wounded person, Jesus reversed the lawyer’s original question (v. 29). The lawyer assumed it was up to others to prove themselves neighbor to him. Jesus’ reply makes it clear that each has a responsibility to be a neighbor—especially to those who are in need.

Bible Gateway

The Pilgrim’s Path: Devotions for Life’s Journey, Day 7

Today’s reading is drawn from Mark 3:29-30.

Addressing Questions: Unseen Realities

Some people read this statement about an “unforgivable sin” and panic. They think, “What if I’ve already committed this sin without knowing it? Am I beyond hope?” But the context shows us the only unforgivable sin: rejecting Christ in an ultimate and irrevocable manner.

The religious leaders here linked Jesus’ miraculous powers with Satan. They viewed Jesus with such contempt that they explained away his miracles by saying the devil was behind them. These men rejected the only One who could forgive them. In effect, they called God Satan. There is no remedy for such an irrational hatred of Jesus and such an upside-down view of the Holy Spirit’s power.

If you’re worried that you may have committed the unforgivable sin in the past, take heart. The fact that you’re concerned shows that you haven’t committed it. Your sins are fully forgivable if you’ll just come to Christ and receive the free gift of his salvation.
Bible Gateway

Pursuing Authentic Christian Leadership, Day 13

Bible Gateway

Today’s reading draws from Titus 3:8-9.

Fearless Failure

Our having positions of influence means more opportunity to do good. But it also means that the costs are higher for failure.

No one likes to fail, especially leaders, whose failures produce magnified consequences. Our errors of judgment, and our failure of nerve or vision, affect not just ourselves but also our followers and our cause. Clearly failure is nothing to take lightly.

Yet as ski instructors frequently tell their novice students, “If you don’t fall now and then, you’re probably not pushing yourself enough.” Failure is the inevitable companion of a large vision.

No one can take on a significant and difficult challenge without stumbling a few times. The important thing is how we respond. The goal is not a fail-safe record but a pattern of increasing effectiveness. – Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley