By Nathele Graham
I see many signs in front of various church buildings with catchy phrases that are meant to get a person to think about things and hopefully start attending services. One sign I’ve seen says “What’s missing from ch ch? The answer is UR. Yes, that’s an attention grabber, but I have a different answer. Maybe UR missing from ch ch because the Holy Spirit is missing. I saw this in front of a denomination which has many erroneous beliefs. For instance, they think they are the only ones that will go to Heaven, they don’t believe in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and there are many other errors in their teachings. I attended this denomination for a while, and the preacher organized a weekly prayer meeting and all denominations were welcomed. He was fired. It’s important to hold Scripture as the guide to our faith. There were no denominations in the early church, and if any teachings were contrary to the teachings of Christ, you can be sure that one of the Apostles would be sure to write a letter or visit the congregation in order to fix the problem. These men took God’s truth seriously, and expected the congregations to take it seriously, too. When Paul found that the Galatians were moving away from the Gospel, and were following false doctrine, he was very upset.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6-8.
The way to avoid deception is to study Scripture. If the denomination you attend teaches anything different than what is seen in Scripture, then you need to be very, very cautious.
One thing that is troublesome in understanding Scripture is we only read translations of the original texts. There are some very good translations, but many are erroneous. The King James translation is good, but most of us don’t speak that way, and the meanings of many of the words have been changed over the centuries. Having a good grasp of ancient Greek and Hebrew helps. If you, like me, don’t speak those languages, then a Bible dictionary and a good concordance help. The above verses can be confusing if you don’t understand the meaning of the word “another”. There are two Greek words used in these verses and each has a different meaning, but they are simply translated “another”. In verse 6, Paul marveled that they had turned from the grace of Christ to “another” Gospel. The Greek word “heteros” is used. Heteros means another but different. For example, if there was a plate of various kinds of sandwiches, and I ate a tuna sandwich, then asked for a heteros sandwich, I would want a sandwich that wasn’t tuna. In verse 7, Paul says “which is not another”. Here the Greek word “allos” is used. This means another of the same kind. For instance, if I had a tuna sandwich, and asked for an allos sandwich, I would want another tuna sandwich. So, Paul took them to task for accepting a false teaching as the truth. Even if that teaching seems to come from an angel, don’t embrace it. I’m put in mind of the Mormons who claim an angel gave Joseph Smith the true gospel. Don’t be deceived. Their doctrine is not Christian teaching. Study Scripture and don’t follow false teachings.
Many congregations today are “woke”. That is definitely not the pure Gospel of Christ. They teach a very different truth. Sin isn’t considered sin, and repentance isn’t important. What does Scripture say? The Gospel is defined in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. This congregation was very “woke” and was following a different Gospel. Paul took the Gospel to Corinth, but they didn’t respect it.
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
That’s the Gospel. Christ’s love and what He did to rescue us from eternal death brought on by sin. We are saved by grace and not by works, but we show our faith by our works.
“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” – James 2:17.
James wrote this letter specifically to the Jewish believers, but all Christians need to pay attention to his words. Jesus paid the full price for our redemption, but shouldn’t we thank Him for His sacrifice by doing what we can for His glory? Yes, we should. There’s a trend today to rely on God’s grace for salvation. That’s not wrong. In fact, it’s found in Scripture. If our faith doesn’t show in our actions, the question comes up “Did you truly accept Christ?” What if Paul accepted Christ but continued in the hatred that drove him to sin? Would his missionary work have produced fruit? God called him to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, and they weren’t loved by Paul prior to his conversion. Paul was changed by Christ. What if Matthew had continued in his dishonest practice of being a tax collector while saying he was a Christian? He collected taxes, but added to the amount owed and kept the profit We can see what happened to Judas. He was not changed by Christ. Judas was a disciple, but wouldn’t allow himself to be changed. Judas betrayed Christ and committed suicide.
When Jesus was about to be arrested, He had a serious talk with His disciples. He knew the difficulties they would face after He was gone, and gave them hope.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” – John 14:16-17.
There’s that word “another” again. This time it’s allos, which means another of the same kind. So, Jesus, God incarnate, was going to be executed, but would send an allos Comforter just like Himself…God. The Trinity is real. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit The disciples heard the words, and I’m sure they didn’t fully understand.
“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you.” – John 14:25-26.
It wasn’t until many days after the resurrection, on Pentecost, that these men understood what Jesus meant.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with on accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts 2:1-4.
It was such a power that people in the street saw what was happening. Everyone was astonished and thought the disciples were drunk. It was Peter, wild and rash Peter, who stood up and gave a very non-politically correct, non-woke sermon that brought many to repentance. It wasn’t a seeker friendly sermon, and it didn’t tickle the ears of those listening. It did prick their hearts.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” – Acts 2:38-39.
That day, about 3,000 souls were saved.
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” – Acts 2:42.
They were changed. Maybe instead of seeker-friendly, new age, woke agendas, preachers need to get back to preaching Gods unchanging truth and be led by the Holy Spirit, rather than by a spirit of deception.
Deception is a big problem today. Jesus warned about not being deceived. When His disciples asked about the end of time, the first thing Jesus warned about was deception.
“And he said Take heed that ye be not deceived, for many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” – Luke 21:8.
There is a lot of deception preached from pulpits today. Making money seems to be the goal of many preachers, while the Gospel truth has gone missing. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he told him to preach God’s truth.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.:” – 2 Timothy 4:2-4.
That seems to be happening today. Sound doctrine has been replaced by watered-down teaching, and by all means, be politically correct.
So, I ask you. What’s missing from ch ch? Is it you or is it the Holy Ghost. Probably UR missing because the Holy Spirit isn’t allowed to guide the teaching.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
If you would like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries just drop me an email and let me know.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6.