Thought for the Week - 2nd FebruaryPastor Gareth Watkins
The son of a great preacher was due to visit Wales this year and preach to what would have been thousands in an international conference centre. I was informed last night that it had been cancelled.
To me, there is a lot more in that than just a cancelled trip. It was a statement that the preacher is not welcome in the cities because of the views he holds, the views we hold, the views that are truth as the bible teaches. The truth in what is right and what is wrong, what is sin and what it means to upright before God.
It makes you think about what we are doing here, because if you can’t say what God is doing in your life, and what God has done by way of sin; not what you or I think, but the biblical teaching that any sin is contravening God’s word, then by contravening God’s word you come outside of the blessing. If you come outside of the blessing, you end up not in heaven where God is. You’ve got to know that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. If He’s not saying the truth, then your salvation becomes nothing. Where is it going for you to have a faith in Christ, and for me to have a faith in Christ? Will I be able to preach the truth that is in the bible, freely and honestly in times to come?
The days are coming where things are polarised. It says in the bible that sin will become worse and the righteous will become more righteous. How can you not teach truth in your church? If you start watering down the word of God, then you start changing the truth of God into lie. That is what the new testament says. If you change the truth of God, you make it into something that is a lie, and there is are warnings in the bible against these things, as written in the verses below.
‘’35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be’’.
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.’’
‘’1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.’’
It says ‘’ In latter times some will depart from the faith’’… Our times are latter times. Do we have that happening in our church here? I would say yes. Some have departed from the faith in this church, some have departed from their faith in Christ and amongst us is this happening.
‘’Giving heed to deceiving spirits’’… What is a deceiving spirit? It is somebody that could be coming alongside you in a church, through the internet, through your friends who may seek to water down scripture to suit their own lives and desire. This can cause us to depart from our faith through deceiving teachings. You have to know the truth; it is truth that sets you free. It is not watered-down scripture that changes lives, it is the truth of God that changes a life. In those days ‘’give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons’’… do we have people listening to the doctrines of demons in churches, in this church? I would say yes, we do.
We must watch that we ourselves don’t become deceived by what is called the doctrines of demons. It can come through well-dressed people, through educated people, through leaders and counsellors, church leaders and through all sorts of vehicles. You hear people say ‘’live by grace’’, you’re saved once therefore it doesn’t matter what you do ever again. I can’t grasp that because I am continually in need of a Saviour to save me from my sin. If I’ve sinned, I need that sin forgiven. I can’t say I was forgiven, saved, and God’s grace covers me for all my sin now and future, because I am still sinning. In a sense you could say that grace has saved me and kept me to this point, but if I am still sinning, I still need a Saviour. I am not free to do what I like, I can walk away, I can lose my saltiness, a branch can lose its sap and bear no fruit and it can be burnt. That is what the bible says. We must hold our salvation very carefully before God because we can lose the place we are in, and we can lose the life we have got in God. Those who are grace minded can say ‘’grace is sufficient for you’’ and yes, it is to a point, but God gave us a conscience to know right from wrong.
Sometimes I have to stop in my tracks and ask, am I listening to the doctrines of demons? The bible says some will speak lies in hypocrisy, and sometimes you can hear church leaders speaking on the radio of things that are not the truth that is written. These to me are lies of hypocrisy.
‘’Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron’’… I can’t say I know I have done wrong, then carry on doing it. I can’t say that there is no consequence, or that there is no feeling in wrongdoing, because there is. To say in my emotions and conscience that there is no consequence of wrongdoing, is to sear it with a hot iron. I have to acknowledge to God that I’ve done wrong. God has given us the ability to know right from wrong. He has given us a conscience. He has given us the knowledge, and when we know we have done wrong in His sight, He has given us Jesus Christ to set us free. There is wrong, and only God can deal with it. God wants us to turn from our wicked ways and to give us life in Him, and He provides a way for us to do that through Christ.
‘’Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.’’
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’’
There is a new life to come, because God does not want you to die and in Christ you can be free. But we are in this sinful world, of people that will not accept the word sin. What is sin? We can read what sin is in the book of Romans.
‘’18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness’’
‘’suppress the truth in unrighteousness’’…Are we not living in a time where truth is suppressed? Where truth in God’s word is suppressed to make sin acceptable? Further on in this passage we read about the types of sin in this world, the types of sin we are guilty of, and the types of sin the world rises against to make acceptable. These are the truths of what God says sin is, what is right and what is wrong.
Romans 1: 23-24
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
Romans 1: 28-32
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Can you see your sin there? Do you know the righteous judgement of God or do you deny it? Are you one that will say not only do we do those things, but we approve those that practice them? We have to come to Christ and say Lord these are my sins written in your word, and I am guilty. I need a Saviour and I need forgiveness. The day we stop saying that as Christians, and when we can’t say what sin is as defined in scripture, is a sad day. Because Christ’s death would have become inconsequential to us.
We were deserving of death but for the love of God, who sent His Son into the world to forgive us so that we could be freed from the bondage of sin. We need to come to God acknowledging our sins, asking for forgiveness and believing in Christs ability to forgive.
A sinners Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner,
I ask you for your forgiveness.
I believe you died for my sins,
I believe you rose from the dead.
I trust you; I follow you as my Lord and my Saviour.
Guide my life Lord Jesus and help me to do Your will.
In Jesus Name,