Lucia's Blog: "BUT BY THEIR WORKS THEY DENY HIM"
Google Logo
Image Caption goes here.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"BUT BY THEIR WORKS THEY DENY HIM"

"They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."  
Titus 1:16


When the demon possessed declared the Truth concerning Jesus, He would have none of it.  Likewise, when the hypocritical Pharisees offered praise to God, Jesus openly rejected them.  You and I must be very careful that in our zeal to defend the Truth, we not fall into the condemnation of denying Him by our works. Please carefully consider the following study of this critical issue.

We are going to be centered on those who zealously claim to "know" God.  Those who claim to have faith in God, who "accept and approve" of obeying His commandments.  Those who profess (confess) that Jesus is their Lord.  Those who "marvel" at what He said and did. Nevertheless, their sinful works are not in harmony with what they profess (confess) to be.  All this is meaningless when it is not put into practice.  Their works or actions deny God.  Sadly, many claim to be followers of Christ but show themselves to be otherwise with their deeds.  In the end, if we profess to be God´s children and do not put our faith and calling into practice, our faith is dead since it has no works. 

There were among the Jews false teachers who would openly and zealously claim to know and honor God of whom the apostle Paul speaks in verse 10 of Titus 1.  The Gnostics would make the same claim.  Both, the Jews and the Gnostics would pretend to know God but would contradict that claim by their daily practice, their everyday living (their works).  They denied God when they chose to reject godliness, righteousness, and all Truth.  They preferred to live in the desires of their flesh, elevating them above the apostolic doctrine.  In  I Timothy 5:8 we see that they had denied the faith by their works.  Likewise, in II Timothy 3:5 they had denied its power. The problem is that when one confesses or professes his faith without putting it into practice, it is "hypocrisy."  

Consider two typical instances of hypocrisy among those who claim to know and honor God.

1.   Those who teach the Truth on any given subject but then apply it differently in their lives. They do not live according to what they are teaching.  They are still living in darkness and breaking God's Law with their sinful practices.  They are more like stumbling blocks than good examples.  They are blind guides who are blindly leading others into error.  They forget that faith without works is DEAD.   
"Prescribe and teach these things.  Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.  Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.  Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.  Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you."  I Timothy 4:11-16.
By the way, I Timothy 4:11-16 applies to both young and old.

"But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?  You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?  For 'name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,' just as it is written.'"  Romans 2:17-24

2.   Those who profess to be followers of Christ, but base everything they do on a majority vote, tradition or what feels good to them, teaching the false doctrines of men.  This is "hypocrisy." Sadly, they call themselves one thing, but do not adhere to all the laws set by the Only and True Head of the church, Christ (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 3:17).


KNOWING GOD

"They profess (confess) that they know God." 

So, my question is:  What does it mean to know God?  Consider the following answers:

For one to know God, one must seek and rely upon the revealed Word of God (I Corinthians 2:9-13. Romans 10:17 and II Timothy 2:15).  God's ultimate plan or intent is for man to "seek" Him,
"And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."  Acts 17:27.

This "seeking" and later the "encounter" are illustrated as follows:
  • God is looking for true worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23).
  • When one is willingly "seeking" the kingdom of God and His righteousness (justice), this encounter will naturally and inevitably occur (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:7).
  • The Word of God, the Bible, calls such an encounter "to turn,"  "to convert."  In other words, "conversion." (Acts 26:18).  "To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me."
  • No one can "turn" (convert) to God if he does not willingly want to do it.  When one loves darkness rather than light; loves lawlessness rather than righteousness, one cannot come to the Light and the Truth. (John 3:19-21; John 5:39-40; John 7:17; Matthew 23:37).
"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."  John 3:19-21
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."  Matthew 23:27
  • To "turn" to God (convert) from lawlessness to righteousness with a sincere and repentant heart is not just an accident.  To convert means to turn from and turn to.  That is to turn from sin to a fellowship (communion) with God.  
  • This is a true heart who chooses willingly to "turn" to the Light, to God from wickedness.  It is the process in which man converts his heart of sin to God.  
  • It is the "spin" of the old life of sin to a new life in Christ.
  • Conversion takes place in the mind of man, whereas forgiveness takes place in the mind of God.
  • After conversion, man obeys the gospel of Christ and God in heaven forgives man.  Isn't it marvelous!
  • But, man must grow in the knowledge of God through His Word, right after conversion.
  • That is, this new convert or new Christian must strive to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, worthy of His calling; pleasing His Lord in all the aspects of his life; bearing good fruit; and finally growing in the Word of God (the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10).

To "know" (Greek "ginosko") signifies "to be taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand," or "to understand completely."   In the NT ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person "knowing" and the object known; in this respect, what is "known" is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of the relationship.  For example, especially of God's "knowledge," 1 Cor 8:3, "if any man love God, the same is known of Him;" Gal. 4:9, "to be known of God." Here, the "knowing" suggests approval and bears the meaning "to be approved."  

Hence, to know God is to "approve," and to be known is to be approved (Psalm 1:6; I Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9; Rom. 8:29; 2 Tim. 2:19; Jn. 10:14).  Notice what Jesus said, 

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."  John 17:3

WORKS THAT DENY GOD

"But by their works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." 

As Christians, we like to believe that we would never deny our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Somehow, we find ourselves wondering if we would truly be able to keep our confession before men in some circumstances.  The question is:  
  1. Would we deny Jesus in such circumstances?  
  2. Would we remain faithful to our faith or confession?  
The fact is that man often has, throughout the course of history, denied Jesus for a variety of reasons. 

This being said, let us consider the many ways we deny our Lord Jesus.  From the Scriptures, we know and believe that our denial will cause Christ to deny us also.  Let us make sure that we are not doing that since we cannot afford to neglect our salvation.  

"For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" Hebrews 2:11-4.  

Let us examine several of they many ways that we deny Jesus using the Scriptures.  Let us also examine our hearts.  If we find that we are guilty of any form of denial, let us repent and confess while there is still hope.  It is never too late when the heart is humble to heed the Truths of God.   Lest we forget what our Lord Jesus said, 

"Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 10:32-33.

I.   LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
  •  Have Never Heard or Read.
Purposeful Ignorance:  Sadly for some, ignorance of God’s will is purposeful.  Why?  Simply, because they do not want to know Him.  To know Him implies and demands responsibility and they don't want that.  But denying our responsibility does not remove it.  For some, it is feigned ignorance. They, of course, know Jesus but pretend not to know Him as if in some way that will justify them in their disobedience and exempt them from the consequences.  

Lack of Interest:  Others lack knowledge because of their lack of interest and thus deny Him.  Some are content to simply follow "the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath." (Ephesians 2:2-3).  These refuse to acknowledge even God.  They just don't care!  

  • Do Not Know The True Jesus.
Taught the Wrong Jesus:  There are those who are taught the wrong Jesus.  When Jesus walked among men, He met those whose concept of who He was, the Christ, was distorted by those who had taught them the Law.  It was evident to them that Jesus did not meet the profile of the man they were expecting to be the Christ.  Therefore, they rejected Him.  Notice what Jesus said to them,

"Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life."  John 5:39-40.

They rejected Jesus because they did not know the Scriptures.   Instead of the Scriptures, they received the traditions and prejudices that were passed down to them by their ancestors. Unfortunately, this false teaching about Jesus still continues to the point that many believe they are following Jesus when in fact, they are following the doctrines of men.  They are deceitful doctrines that are cleverly disguised whose purpose is to lead many into error rather than to the teachings of Jesus.  This Jesus they teach in their churches is a Jesus that does not condemn sin, never points out error, is all-embracing of others no matter what they believe in.  He is a political figure rather than a divine one, one who cares more about how good everyone feels about themselves rather than saving them from eternal damnation.  In a few words, some would deny the true Jesus because they just refuse to agree with His teachings and would rather believe and agree with their false teachers.  They purposefully have made up a different Jesus, who fits their preferences.

An Alternative Jesus:  Some men would deny Jesus because of their carnal view of Jesus and His Lordship rejecting at all cost the true Jesus of the Bible.  This is mostly seen when sin or error is pointed out even with enough Bible to undergird the disapproval.  They love to say, "the Jesus I know would never say that!"  Of course, they would say that because they refuse to know and obey the true Jesus of the Bible!

  • The Consequences of Denying Jesus and His Lordship.
They Will Face Judgment:  Sadly, they have falsely believed they were following the true Jesus of the Scriptures.  When Jesus finished His Sermon on the Mount, He said, 

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  Matthew 7:21-23

You see, these people wrongly thought they were following and obeying the true Jesus of the Bible, when, in fact, they were not.  I wonder how many will be standing before the Great Judge in that day in the same condition?  

Confession Will Be Made:  This will indeed be a true confession that all others are false and that He alone is the True One.  For those who have followed the false doctrines of men, false teachers, those who have followed the Jesus they have made up in their minds, it will sadly be too late!  Why? Because they willingly refused to recognize Him as the true Jesus of Scriptures and instead chose to accept the false Jesus.  It is then, in the Final Judgment that God has intended,

"That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Philippians 2:10-11

II.  STUBBORN DISBELIEF  
"But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, 'I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.'  Jesus said to him, 'You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest tore his robes and said, 'He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?' They answered, 'He deserves death.'"  Matthew 26:63-66 

  • Notwithstanding the Evidence.  

God's Testimony About Him:  Some just deny or reject Jesus by rejecting the evidence given.  The One, Who testifies and presents the evidence "never lies,"  (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18).  The Truth is that no one can deny the reality of Jesus since the One, God, Who testified that it is true, is a reliable witness.   Yet, some still insist on denying Jesus based on a faulty charge, saying that the testimony is not credible and in so doing make God a liar.

"The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son."  I John 5:10.

What they don't seem to realize is that by their denial of God's Testimony, they are calling God a liar, He Who cannot lie.  These simply deny Jesus by claiming that the Bible is not a credible source of Truth, but merely a collection of myths and stories made up by mortal and fallible men.  They reject God's Testimony out of prejudice.

Substantial Evidence:  Take notice that many who heard and saw Jesus' indisputable miracles and who were witnesses to these, still rejected Him even though they had plenty of evidence to convince them. It was not because of a lack of evidence but merely because of their stubborn disbelief.  Although we were not first-hand witnesses, we have the credible testimony of those who walked with Jesus. Those who were eyewitnesses of their testimony.  Those who recorded the miracles of Jesus, giving us abundant evidence to believe.  John wrote,
"Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:30-31.

Some may go as far as to state there is not enough evidence when asked if they believe in Jesus. They refuse to acknowledge Jesus' Lordship and whether or not He was the Son of God.  When, in fact, there is plenty of evidence from Scripture.  The problem is they do not want to consider the evidence provided by our Father in heaven.
  • A Hardened Heart.
A Determination to Not Want to Believe:  So many times when man denies Jesus it is not because of a lack of evidence but rather because of a hardened, stiffened heart.  They harden their heart to all the evidence given in the Bible refusing to accept the Truth even when is staring them in their face. They must heed the example of the Bereans who when they heard Paul, they from a sincere and hungry heart searched the Scriptures to learn and "receive the Truth with all eagerness."  (Acts 17:11).  They accepted the Truth with a humble heart.  Whereas, those who willingly deny our Lord and Savior have a stiffened heart emptied of love and yearning for the Truth, rejecting at all cost God's Testimony and all the enormous evidence.  Why?  Because they refuse to confess and submit to Him as Lord of lords and King of kings.  It is sad that so many just refuse to believe!

A Rejection of God:  Ultimately, it is all about rejecting God since they have a yearning and reason not to believe Him and His Truth.  This brings to mind the case of the Egyptian Pharaoh who refused to believe that our God is real and more powerful than the false gods of that land even when he contemplated the plagues that severely destroyed his country (Exodus  7-12).  Pharaoh persisted in denying and rejecting God.  

Another example is when God pleaded with His people, the Israelites, to return to Him after a significant number of demonstrations of His mighty power.  Yet, they stubbornly refused to return to Him, "Thus says the Lord, 'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.'" (Jeremiah 6:16).  They refused to repent of their sins and turn to God because they had hardened their heart, rejecting God's Ways.  It was not because they didn't see or know God's almighty power. 

Today, we have some who would go so far as to attack God's character, having the audacity to ask why there is evil and suffering in this world.  They dare to lay it at His feet, expressing their distaste or disapproval of God.  They dare to defy God for allowing injustice to happen in this world.  This rejection of God's Ways is but a diversion from the real motive for their denial:  They refuse submission to God and confession of the Truth which demands that they live according to God's standards, ordinances, leaving behind their sinful ways.  Though they seldom admit it.  They have explicitly rejected God's standards, choosing the path of unrighteousness.

  • The Consequences of a Hardened Heart. 
Condemnation:  Although man chooses to deny Jesus, it still does not change reality.  It means that he is not free to live his life as he pleases without consequences.  The Word of God is crystal clear when it speaks of the wrath of God by saying, "Rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus."  (2 Thess. 1:8).  God warns us that punishment will follow those who purposely refuse to obey the glorious gospel of our Lord and Savior.  It surely implies that the Lord IS and that those who refuse to believe or obey will SUFFER.  Denial of  His Son, because of a hardened or stubborn heart is not absolute freedom but rather a dreadful punishment.

God's Wrath:  Although many appeared to be followers of Christ in the first century, they stubbornly refused to bow to God's Ways.  These men would condemn the unrighteous deeds of others while they were doing the same.  They were hypocrites who would stubbornly refuse to repent and submit to God's authority.  Evidently, they believed they would escape the wrath of God, His judgment.  But Paul reminded them by asking, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will render to each person according to his deeds:  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation."  (Romans 2:4-8).

You see denial because of unbelief will never excuse us from judgment.  It will only bring God's wrath upon us!


III.  BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF MEN

  • Fear of Persecution.
Physical Harm or Death:  As I mentioned earlier, some denied Jesus because they feared men. There are countries where Christians live under the threat of physical harm and even death for seeking God, worshiping Him and confessing His Son.  Some governments openly oppose God's Ways, persecuting those who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and King. It is nothing new at all!   Why do you suppose Peter denied Jesus three times? (Matt. 26:69-75).  Because of the fear of physical harm.  Maybe because he saw how Jesus was being punished and was afraid.  Who knows? We are not told.  The point is that men today will still deny or not confess Jesus for fear of men even when Jesus has warned us.  "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."  (Matt. 10:28).  Whom should we fear, men or God?  

Loss of Material Riches:  There are others who deny or confess Jesus because of their fear of losing all material goods.  Some refuse to confess their faith in Jesus because of their fear of losing their jobs, job promotions, more money and so on. In Hebrews 10:34 we have an example of Christians who perhaps faced this kind of fear since they had already suffered the loss of all their material possessions.  Yet, they were willing to give up all the blessings in Christ, going back to the Old Law, thus denying Jesus.  "For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."  (Hebrews 10:34-36).

  • Seeking the Praise, Approval of Men:  
Whereas Jesus walked among men, performing many miracles as well as teaching about the kingdom of heaven many believed in Him but for fear of men they denied Him.  This is what Johns says, "Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."  (John 12:42-43).  Even after 2,000 years, this hasn't changed!

The Scientific Community:  This is distinctly seen in the scientific community since they are in control of everything that is taught in our schools' textbooks and curriculum.  They dare to silence those who would question the so-called "theory of evolution."  Many, afraid of the consequences of being ostracized just will not ask any questions, or give a defense of their faith, refusing to confess their faith in God or His Son.  When asked if they believe in Jesus or if they are Christians, they will just avoid answering for fear of being mocked or ridiculed.

Peer Pressure:  Evidently, this is a significant problem among our youth who often refuse to confess their faith in Jesus because of the fear of being excluded from their group of friends, classmates, and teachers.  They are afraid of being ridiculed by all of them.  Sadly, this fear of being ridiculed or excluded continues when they go to college, even to a greater degree.  The same could be applied to work especially in the areas of politics, medicine, law and professional sports.  

Perish the thought that we should follow the crowd to do evil!  "You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice."  (Exodus 23:2).  Let us be courageous to stand against the crowds who would pressure us to deny our faith in Jesus!

  • The Consequences of Seeking the  Approval of Men.
One Can Never Be a Faithful Servant of Jesus:  The Judaizing teachers demanded that the Gentile brethren had to be circumcised to be saved (Acts 15:1-2).   When Paul saw this problem, he confronted the Jewish brethren and rebuked them for abandoning the true gospel of Christ for a distorted one.  Paul reminded them that what he had taught them was not of men, nor did he seek to please men or seek their approval.  Paul said to these Galatian brethren, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."  (Gal. 1:10).  Not only did these Judaizing teachers impose circumcision on the Gentiles but they also imposed other Old Testament laws along with human laws of asceticism (in regard to food, drink, feasts, new moon or Sabbath, worship of angels, visions, etc.)  (Colossians 2:16-23; I Tim. 4:1-3).

We as followers of Christ cannot seek to please men and be pleasing to God at the same time.  We cannot be a "double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."  We cannot seek to be friends with the world because that makes us enemies of God (James 4:4).

Christ Will Not confess us in the Day of Judgment:  When we deny or refuse to confess Jesus as our Lord before men because of fear of them and the loss of their approval, we cannot expect on the final day that Jesus will stand up and confess us before our Father in heaven.  He will just deny us the same way we did Him here on earth. (Matt. 10:32-33).


IV.  BY OUR UNGODLY LIVING

  • Words Voided by Our Works.
"Sunday-Morning Christians."  Many claim to be Christians and yet seem to be practicing their Christianity only on Sunday mornings.   They want to appear to be devout, God-fearing and holy, but only during Sunday morning worship.  They live by a different standard the rest of the week, thus denying Jesus.  They deny Jesus by their actions (works) and by their silent and dead faith.  "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead."  (James 2:26)

Hypocrisy:  What is Hypocrisy?    It is defined as "simulation; a feigning to be what one is not; or dissimulation, a concealment of one's real character or motives.  More generally, hypocrisy is simulation, or the assuming of a false appearance of virtue or religion; a deceitful show of a good character, in morals or religion; a counterfeiting of religion."

So, who are the hypocrites?  They are those who will profess or claim to know and honor Jesus our Lord but deny Him by their actions, works.  They violate His Word or Law, binding their carnal doctrines (Mark 7:1-9). Jesus said that such men, "For they preach, but do not practice." (Matt. 23:3).  The godly and faithful are disgusted and discouraged when they see these men who claim, confessing to be followers of Christ and behave in such a way.  These hypocrites make it harder for the faithful ones since they are conscious they would have to work harder to overcome the false perception of the world that all Christians are hypocrites.  What these false Christians (hypocrites) don't acknowledge is that the world looks at them to justify their unbelief based on such hypocrisy:  "If that is what it means to be a Christian, he is no better than I am!"  These men (hypocrites) are but a stumbling block to both Christians and non-Christians.  These hypocrites would surely confess Jesus but act in an ungodly way, invalidating their claim!   These are the ones who promote, tolerate and practice every form of ungodly  or immoral living as if the Christian could live as one in the world.  Some would go so far as to have and participate in rock bands and many other worldly entertainments. They might go to nightclubs to drink and dance.

  • They Practice and Teach Error in Christ's Name.

Denying Jesus our Lord and Savior as Head:  Many among us claim to be followers of Christ but in word only.  Why?  Because often these men follow the creeds of false teachers, their own carnal ideas of what they choose to believe as right, claiming all the time that what they do is "in the name of Jesus, with His authority."  When, in fact, they are not!   They deny Jesus Christ whenever they arbitrarily choose to obey a particular part of His will and ignore the rest, whatever they think suits them.   They openly deny our Lord Jesus His legitimate right and position as Head of the church and, therefore, they reject His Lordship.  There is a danger with serious consequences when man follows the erroneous doctrines of men rather than the pure and unchanged Word of God.  By doing these things, we deny Jesus as Lord and King.  As those who profess to be followers of Christ, we are to be in complete submission to Him, acknowledging Him as the only HEAD (Ephesians 5:24).

Denying Christ the Glory and Honor:  All glory and honor are to be directed at Him since God has established Jesus as head of the church, having the preeminence alone.  "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."  (Colossians 1:18).  Therefore, we must also accept it as God has ordained it.  The apostle Paul admonished the church at Ephesus by saying,
"Unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen."  (Ephesians 3:21).  

My question is: Who gets the glory and the honor when Christians do things their way and not according to God's Word?  Whenever we ignore Christ's Law and begin to do things our way, the one we are determined to follow, we deny Christ the glory that is rightfully His.  We deny His Lordship and rule.  Today, we have men who ignore Christ's Law changing the way God is worshiped, changing the doctrines established in the written Word, changing and ignoring many commands so as to require no longer obedience to them.  They insist on saying that what they do is according to God's Word and "in His name,"  when, in fact, it is not!  It is indeed nothing more than selfish arrogance and insolence.

Consider the brief list of those who have denied Jesus as the Head over His church, teaching error in His name, sadly causing divisions in the Lord's church:

  1. The Judaizing teachers who demanded that the Gentile brethren become Jews to be saved. (Acts 15:1-2)
  2. Those who imposed human precepts regarding food and asceticism. (Col. 2:20; I Tim. 4:1-3)
  3. Those who affirmed that Christ had not come in the flesh from God (I John 4:1-3) and that Jesus was not the same Christ, the Son of God. (I John 5:20)
  4. Those today who have abandoned the Bible emphasis on the gospel of the Lord that saves, focusing more on the social gospel and the gospel of prosperity.
  5. The centralization of churches under a sponsoring church eldership and the creation of human institutions to carry out the work assigned to the local church. 
  6. Those who eloquently defend the Truth of the gospel, but show themselves immoral in their personal and private lives.
  7. Those who insist on teaching error about marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
  8. Those who impose their scruples on others, insisting that the civil government must approve a marriage for a man and woman to be truly married as if marriage depended only on the dictates of the state.
  9. Those who deny the deity of Christ, teaching that Jesus Christ was not God, that Jesus stopped being God when He lived on earth or that He simply did not use His divine attributes.
  10. Those who teach theistic evolution, affirming that the days of creation were long geological ages, even millions of years.
  11. Those who encourage, tolerate and practice an ungodly way of living as if Christians were allowed to live like the world.  Some even encourage social drinking, ballroom dancing, smoking, fornication (if you love each other), adultery (divorce for the cause of looking at pornography and then remarriage).
  12. Toleration of immorality and false doctrines mentioned earlier with the purpose of keeping an anti-biblical "unity in diversity."

  • The Consequences of Ungodly Living (Hypocrisy, Teaching, and Practicing Error)
God's Name is Blasphemed:  The apostle Paul condemned the Jewish Christians who rightly condemned the unrighteousness of the Gentiles but were doing the same thing they condemned.  Paul sharply condemned them, the Christian Jews, by saying,

"But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—  you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.'''  (Romans 2:17-24).  

Are we learning from these brethren's past mistakes?  What are you doing?

We Will Be Judged (Condemned):  There exists only one reality, and that is that one day we all will have to stand before the most righteous Judge of all time, before the judgment seat of He Who is worthy to receive all due honor and glory, Christ our Lord and Savior.  Each man will "appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil."  (II Cor. 5:10).  Therefore, now is the time to recognize that "good" is determined by God alone, not by us!  We cannot say we have done "good" and have been faithful servants if what we have done has not been according to Him and His Word.  Let this sink deep in our heart!  


CONCLUSION

Our faith is shown through our words and deeds.  Otherwise, our faith is a dead faith (Hebrews 11; James 2:14-26).  If we take heed to Jesus' teachings, putting them into practice, we will know by their fruits who the false teachers are (Matthew 7:15-20).  Our actions void our words; therefore we must be careful and diligent how we walk.  If we claim to abide in Him, we ought to walk in the same way Jesus walked (I John 2:6). If we confess His name, we ought to obey Him in everything (Luke 6:46).  

Our Lord Jesus often spoke of those who confess Him with their mouth, but in the way the lived, their works denied Him (Matthew 23:1-5).  He also spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees which was hypocrisy (Luke 12:1-9).  He concluded His teaching by telling His disciples to confess Him before men:  "And I say unto you, Every one who shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:  but he that denieth me in the presence of men shall be denied in the presence of the angels of God."  (Luke 12:8-10).  Jesus also warned us to not practice our righteousness to be seen by men (Matthew 6:1-6).  This makes us hypocrites, and thus we will lose our reward in heaven.

Our Lord is disgusted by those who confess His name, claiming to Know Him but disobey Him in word and deed (works).  "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  (Matthew 7:21).  Punishment surely will come (Revelation 21:8).  They are abominable and disobedient.  The word "bdeluktos" - "abominable" means "detestable."  The word "abominable" has been applied to those who completely deny the existence of God (Psalm 14:1).  Hence, hypocrisy is just as bad as denying the existence of God.  The word "apeith├ęs"- "disobedient" means "impersuasible, not compliant, disobedient, contumacious."  (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).  

I sincerely hope that we all as Christians are striving to show our faith by our works that we may not be condemned for being hypocrites.  Although we were disobedient to God (rebellious) before we obeyed the gospel, we must never be afterward (Titus 3:3).  As those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, obedient, we must live an excellent and honorable life before all those who are still living in disobedience and darkness.  

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation."  (I Peter 2:9-12).

We must be faithful until our last breath that we may receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).  The punishment of the disobedient is crystal clear in the Bible.

"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."  (II Thess. 1:8-9).

We know very well from the Scriptures that Christians must not have any fellowship with sin (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 Jn. 9) and that we cannot separate man from his works (Romans 16:17-18).  Sadly, some "Christians" who claim not to agree with the one who teaches or advocates error, paradoxically, still maintain fellowship and partake of the unfruitful works of darkness instead of reproving them with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:10-11).  

Jesus will indeed deny us on that final day of judgment.  Paul said, "if we deny him, he also will deny us."  Nobody can deny the doctrine of Christ and then profess to be in "good' standing with Him, since "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."  (2 John 9).  We must not separate Christ from His doctrine.  Let us take heed!

Therefore, let us know God through His Son, Who died on the cruel cross for our sins.  Let us also keep all His commandments.  Let us teach all men how to know God.  "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."  (Hebrews 8:11).  Let us always confess our faith in Him, both in word and deed, making sure of our fellowship with Him.  If for any reason you are not living according to His will, bringing shame upon Him, why not confess and repent to be right with Him and not lose your hope of salvation.

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."  (Colossians 3:17).

May we all strive to live as God's true workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for "good works."  May we never deny Him by our sinful works or actions but rather sow to the Spirit that we may reap eternal life. May we show those who live in darkness our "works of righteousness" that they may glorify our Father in heaven.  

Are you confessing our Lord with your mouth, but denying Him with your works?  Why not become doers of the Word in order to be found as obedient and faithful servants that we might proclaim His excellencies?  


Luci