Points to Ponder: Did God Really Say...?
Points to Ponder
Did God Really Say...?
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ, for if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it! (II Corinthians 11:3-4 NKJV)
Eve was deceived by the serpent (Genesis 3) with the introduction of a question that is easily customized to every age, generation, and situation: "Did God really say...?" Without a lot of theologizing, one could simply say that the serpent (Satan) convinced her to look at what she saw, consider what it could do for her, and trust her own reasoning. After all, we are intelligent rational beings; if it looks good and right for us, then certainly God did not really say what we first heard and read. Especially now that we have so much more education and wisdom, right? That is the "craftiness" of Satan.
Today, we have leaders among the laity and the clergy--even Sunday School teachers and bishops,--who spout the same old thing that Satan put forth as a question: "Did God Really Say...?" Did God really become a man? Does the Bible really say that Jesus Christ is God? (Yes, it does!) Was He really born of a virgin? How can that be? (Since He designed the reproduction process, certainly He can use it as He wishes. He is the Creator. (John 1; Col. 1:16-17)
Did God really say that Jesus Christ rose BODILY from the dead? Just think of what the Devil can do to the Christian Church if he can get enough of the church's leaders to write books, make speeches, and promote the idea that this fundamental, foundational doctrine of the church is not true! No one can claim to be a Christian and deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why would eleven of the twelve apostles listed in the Book of Acts give their lives up to torture, persecution, and horrible deaths to preach a lie? The fact of the BODILY resurrection of Jesus is what emboldened this rag tag band of ordinary people. Over 500 people witnessed His appearance (See I Cor. 15). The church would not, nor could not, exist if the resurrection did not happen.
"And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have (died) in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." (I Cor. 15:17-19 NKJV)
Jesus warned us, as does every New Testament writer, that false teachers, deceivers, and the well intentioned but misguided would rise up from with-in the church. Others will also challenge it from outside. That is how it has been and it is today; and as Paul said, a lot of us "may well out up with it!" (II Cor. 11:4)
Why do so many Christians put up with it? I'm convinced that many are biblically illiterate and are therefore unaware that the well educated, articulate preacher teacher, or bishops is preaching "another Jesus whom we have not preached" and a "different gospel which you have not accepted" (v.4). It is accepted now because the average Christian can not tell the difference.
It is not enough to hear a good preacher every week if the Word he/she brings is a "different gospel." It is not enough to be a faithful member of your church and /or denomination if by your association with it your mind is becoming "corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." In our complacency and dislike of change or conflict, are we supporting the work of the evil one? How can you know?
"By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Anti Christ, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." (I John 4:2-3 NKJV)
Sounds pretty serious, huh? Upon reading such things in the scripture you may be inclined to ask, "Did God really say that?"
This column, which was adapted for this issue, can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.