During the mock ‘trial’ of the Lord, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus a famous question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38, ESV). Pilate’s rather sarcastic query has been repeated countless times through the ages. Today, it is sometimes extremely difficult to identify truth and distinguish it from a lie. We are so accustomed to being lied to that we hardly even notice anymore. For example, I am amused that after each debate between the current crop of presidential candidates, the media runs stories that “fact check” what they’ve said. Too often what is said isn’t exactly the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No wonder we have the old joke, ‘How do you know when a politician is lying? When his (or her) lips are moving!”
Yet politicians aren’t the only ones who can’t seem to find the truth without a map. Scientists lie. Teachers lie. The media lies. Celebrities lie. Athletes lie. Even preachers lie. Some do it innocently; they just don’t know the entire truth yet. To their credit, when they are more accurately taught they stop spreading untruths. However, there are some in our society who lie, know they’re lying and don’t care. While this always wrong, it can also be dangerous, in fact, eternally dangerous. When people lie and lead others astray spiritually because they refuse to acknowledge or speak the truth, they are doing the work of Satan. Such people cannot and should not be tolerated by Christians. They need to be called out and they need to be recognized for who they really are – devils in disguise.
This Sunday morning we are going to look at a situation that Paul was dealing with in the Lord’s church at Corinth. Men had infiltrated the church there and were teaching a different Jesus, a different spirit and a different gospel than what Paul had previously taught the Corinthians. Such men were not merely misguided. They were not simply uninformed. No, these men were of the evil one. Paul wrote of them, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). Make no mistake about it…that was very strong language that the great apostle used. His point was simply this: When men are teaching doctrine opposed to the Word of God, teaching that leads people away from heaven and not toward it, then are we supposed to sit by quietly and tolerate such men? The clear answer is “Certainly not!” Such men are devils in disguise and as we will see Sunday morning, the church that Jesus built needs to be on guard against such men as much today as the church did in the 1st Century.
Sunday night we will begin a new series entitled, “Relevant Questions”. Each week we will look at a question that I have been asked in the past few weeks. These lessons will address, “Are the 10 Commandments still binding today?”; “What about the thief on the cross?”; “Wasn’t Phoebe a deacon?” and “Are there still miracles today?” These studies will be great opportunities for all of us to strengthen the foundation on which our faith is built. These would also be great opportunities for you to invite an ‘Apollos’ that you know to hear the Word of God more accurately.
Finally, let’s look at how we doing with regards to the goals the elders have set for 2016. The trend is good for January but there is room for improvement, especially for Bible class attendance. Please make a renewed effort to be a part of our Sunday morning classes!
25 baptisms: 0
10-20 new families 6
360 Sunday AM attendance 355
275 Bible class attendance: 221
8 deaf ministry attendance 1
18 sign language class 8