Sermons

Summary: We who follow Christ are to exhibit a godly response to doctrinal drift in these later days.

“The Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” [1]

Sometimes it seems that preachers spend more time explaining away the Word than they do providing exposition of the Word! The trend can seem at times to be intensifying. Perhaps, in light of Paul’s warning, such an observation is not as farfetched as one might imagine. Perhaps it truly is correct to note that prominent “reverends” are jettisoning the Word in favour of creating a new set of scriptures to suit their own fallen tastes.

For instance, this week past, I listened to part of a sermon by the Very Rev. Gary Hall, chief ecclesiastical leader and executive officer of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. In a “sermon” designed to honour homosexual youth, this supposed cleric said, “In its wisdom, the church came to its senses and labeled both racism and sexism as sinful. And now we find ourselves at the last barrier—call that barrier homophobia, call it heterosexism. We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin. Shaming people because their gender identity doesn’t fit neatly into your sense of what it should be is a sin.” [2]

As I listened to this portion of his sermonette, my mind recalled the Word of the Lord delivered through the Court Prophet, Isaiah.

“Woe to those who call evil good

and good evil,

who put darkness for light

and light for darkness,

who put bitter for sweet

and sweet for bitter!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,

and shrewd in their own sight!”

[ISAIAH 5:20, 21]

Imagine that! Moses got it wrong! And our Judeo-Christian heritage has had it all wrong for thousands of years! The Dean of the National Cathedral would have us believe that either God has changed His mind or He got it all wrong in the first place and needed this brilliant idiot to straighten matters out! What arrogance! What chutzpah! What hubris! What insolence! What an utter lack of sophrosyne!

Responding to his “comforters,” who were anything but “comforters,” Job spoke truly of such foolishness as exhibited by faux-ministers fawning over the denizens of this dying world when he castigated these fools with biting sarcasm:

“No doubt you are the people,

and wisdom will die with you.”

[JOB 12:2]

The audacity of unbelievers parading as Christians, much less as ministers of the Almighty, leaves one breathless. Understand that people such as this fall under the opprobrium of the Apostle, who described those who stand opposed to the Faith once delivered to the saints as “False apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” [2 CORINTHIANS 11:13-14].

Nevertheless, the message this day is not about the perfidy of professed Christians, though the times are undoubtedly evil. The message focuses on the apostolic instruction to the people of God concerning their conduct during evil days. Paul has spoken of the congregation of the faithful as “the focal point and repository of the truth.” [3] Then, as we witnessed in an earlier message, [4] citing what was likely an early hymn, the Apostle stated the core of the Gospel truth. The Apostle opens this portion of his letter with the conjunction “now.” By using the word “Now,” the Apostle speaks of the conditions in which the people of God must hold and protect that truth. That becomes the message we consider as we look into the Word today.

DOCTRINAL DRIFT — “The Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

Though there are notable exceptions, transitions from righteousness to wickedness are often imperceptible. An example of such imperceptible transition may be provided by thinking of an apprentice carpenter who is told to cut lengths of wood for building a wall. He is told to cut all the wood to the same length. The man cuts the first piece of wood, carefully measuring to ensure the length is correct. Then, he picks up the piece he cut and uses it to measure the next cut. After that cut, he picks up the piece that he just cut and measures for the next cut. He continues cutting wood, always using the piece that he has just cut to measure each piece.

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