9/25/04 (Note the date on this weekly letter) Reprint: 4/24/10
How can we tell that someone who professes to be a Christian is either in trouble spiritually or is not overcoming by yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said: “By their fruit you shall know them.” Everyone makes mistakes! That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about character traits that distinguish the heart – the inner most thoughts and motives.
One simple test for us all is: Can we be corrected without hostility and retribution toward others? Do we blame others when we get caught with our hand in the cookie jar [of sin]? Can we admit an error when we make one without holding contempt for someone else or take out our anger upon another?
Ancient Israel told Samuel they wanted a king when he passed on from being judge. God read the intent of their hearts and told Samuel Israel did not want Him to rule over them. They had rejected God’s rule, not Samuel’s.
God requires humility, not pride and arrogance. If we make a mistake and are called down for it, what is our reaction? Is it one of deep sorrow? Or do we take our vengeance out on someone? Humility would say: “I’m sorry” without hard feelings. The moment may hurt because of our error being exposed, but we should come to realize that errors are to be corrected in our lives. If we cannot be corrected, there is a spiritual problem, usually consisting of pride, being stiff-necked, self willed, or arrogant.
Notice what is inspired: “You have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin.
“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, MY SON, DESPISE NOT YOU THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED OF HIM:
“FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.
“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?
“But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards [without a spiritual father], and not sons.
“… but he [God the Father chastens us] for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
“Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness UNTO THEM WHICH ARE EXERCISED THEREBY.
“Wherefore LIFT UP the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
“And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:4-13).
God loves us all. Sometimes we make mistakes, and He must correct us. He corrects in several different ways according to what needs to be done. He may correct by allowing you to see a scripture that convicts you of a wrong in your life. He may correct by a statement within a sermon or sermonette or the whole message. He may correct by a circumstance that seemingly just happened, but it was allowed to come across your path to “wake” you up.
God cried out to Israel with statements such as, “I sent you no rain, but you returned not.” He loves us because we are His children, but He may allow a circumstance where we think our world is caving in upon us. WHY? We weren’t listening to His other methods of correction, so He had to be more demonstrative just to get our attention.
Then it may come down to the ministry approaching an individual because of a sin, mistake, improper conduct or whatever – especially the introduction of heresies. If the church is to remain faithful, it is the minister’s job to combat heresies. If the person introducing the heresies will not be corrected, the church needs to know to avoid that person. “For there MUST BE also heresies among you, [WHY? WHY? WHY?] that they which are approved may be made manifest [known] among you” (I Corinthians 11:19).
God will allow the true believers, to distinguish between themselves and others, by the untruths that are called heresies brought in by them. Then it is up to the faithful ministers and brethren to stand shoulder to shoulder to uphold the truth against the heretic. If the person introducing heresies repents and stops spreading the falsehoods, we can welcome him/her as one of us. However, if the person involved bows his/her back, grits his/her teeth, and will not stop spreading the lies, we as a church have every right to call them by name from the pulpit to warn the whole church concerning those persons. Promoting heresies is a sin. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (I Timothy 5:20). “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition REJECT; Knowing that he that is such is SUBVERTED AND SINS, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:10-11).
When someone continues on his/her soapbox of heresies, after a few admonitions to stop, the Bible says to take action to prevent the heresies from taking root in the unsuspecting. There are two ministers in our church: 1) Myself, whom God called to promote this ministry; 2) Richard Goff, who always defers to me if some thing is unclear. He can assist you. God and we love you!