Many of us have been confused, while searching for the truth, in our
spiritual walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, by fallacies that have crept
into the churches. Fallacies such as "do not judge", "all born again Christians
speak in tongues", "I was baptised as a child".
No-one can dispute the fact that these red-herrings have been placed
there by Satan, the father of liars.
What is not generally known is that the apostle Paul faced the same problems
with recently converted pagan-worshippers a mere fifty years after the
death and resurrection of our Lord. This can be determined by studying
the content of his various letters to the churches.
In all his letters he identifies who it is that is writing to them and
then greets them, after which he deals with the matter in hand:
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ,
and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren
which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be
to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
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. As we said before,
so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you
than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the
truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified
among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the
works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having
begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered
so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which
are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be
to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according
to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the
children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in
times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh
and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made
us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That
in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in
his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift
of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy
of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness,
with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in
Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from
the Lord Jesus Christ.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort
of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil
ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of
one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife
or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on
the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion
as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and
things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore,
my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our
brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are
at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying
always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the
love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid
up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth
of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world;
and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day
ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For
though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying
and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye
in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye
have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any
man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of
men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in
him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are
circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the
body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with
him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith
of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being
dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened
together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the
handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,
and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having
spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing
over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or
in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping
of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed
up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body
by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth
with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the
rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject
to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish
with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things
have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting
of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
When we come to Thessalonians we can see a difference:
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians
which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord
(1 Thessalonians 1:1)
Paul says " in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ".
We know from our studies of the Blood Covenant that these are covenantal
terms; meaning that Paul recognises that the people in this church are
in Covenant with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
How does he know?
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word
in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples
to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the
word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place
your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any
thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had
unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true
God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead,
even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith,
lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings
of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always,
desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
(1 Thessalonians 3:5-6)
In his second letter, Paul repeats the covenantal greeting:
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
(2 Thessalonians 1:1)
and then goes on to warn them that they can expect tribulation from Satan
when they are obedient:
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because
that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you
all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the
churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and
tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous
judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for
which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to
recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled
rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his
mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the
glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and
to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you
was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that
our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the
good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye
in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)
Also he tells them to slow down - not to expect the Lord's return too soon:
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in
mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as
from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by
any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling
away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who
opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is
worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself
that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told
you these things?
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-5)
What is the moral of this story?
True believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are recognised by how closely
they walk with Him.
The Thessalonians were expecting the Blessed Return at any moment, they
had their eyes on Jesus. Have you? Have I?
What do you do when you see a professing Christian sinning? You show them
their sin Biblically not so. If they turn from their sin you have saved
a soul from death, also, their blood is not on your hands no matter their
And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD
came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the
house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning
from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest
him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to
save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but
his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and
he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die
in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous
man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I
lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given
him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath
done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous
sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned;
also thou hast delivered thy soul.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and
not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how
ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour
and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you
to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that
if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are
some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren,
be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle,
note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet
count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
(2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought,
but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth
not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine
of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto
you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house,
neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker
of his evil deeds.
(2 John 1:8-11)