|Volume 17 Number 4 April 2015||
Ernest S. Underwood
The Scriptures teach that one’s attitude as he approaches God and those things that are holy is most important. Moses was commanded to “put off thy shoes from off thy feet for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). Jesus taught the woman of Samaria that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). In both of these passages it is taught that as one approaches God he must do it with great reverence and respect. To fail or refuse to have such an attitude is to incur the holy wrath of God as did Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2).
Today, we approach God through the direction of His Word. Whether it is in becoming a Christian, worshiping God acceptably or serving God in our daily lives, if we are to do it in a way that is pleasing to Him, we must do it in accordance to His Word. To do otherwise would be to show contempt for what God has commanded us to do, and contempt for the proper attitude of heart that He demands and so justly deserves. Most of those who claim to love the Lord will agree with this statement.
In the last few years, there has arisen a segment of the brotherhood that no longer has a scriptural view of the proper attitude toward God and His Word, especially as that Word relates to one’s attitude toward false teachers. These brethren, though claiming to love the Lord, show utter contempt for Him by protecting and bidding Godspeed to false teachers. When those who truly love God carry out His specific command to “mark” and to “withdraw” from these false teachers, then these aforementioned brethren are quick to cry “bad attitude.” They themselves surely exhibit a poor attitude when they without any evidence other than their own “say-so” judge the motives of those who are obeying the commands of their Lord. How many times have we heard, “Oh, he teaches the truth, but he has a lousy attitude?” We ask this question: “Who has the improper attitude, the one who obeys the commands of God to mark and withdraw from the false teacher, or the one who in direct and purposeful violation of 2 John 9-11 bids that false teacher Godspeed?” To ask the question to rational people is to answer it.
What was Elijah’s attitude toward the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and was his attitude in harmony with God’s will (1 Kings 18:40)? What was Amos’ attitude toward Amaziah (Amos 7:16-17)? What was Jesus’ attitude toward the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees of his day (Matthew 23:13-35)? What was Paul’s attitude toward Elymas (Acts 13:10- 11)? What was the Holy Spirit’s attitude toward any false teacher (2 Peter 2:1-19)? With these biblical illustrations of the proper attitude toward false teachers before us, and we must remember that every false teacher is an enemy of God, are we now to cast them aside in favor of an attitude of compromise, fellowship and coexistence with the false teacher? Are we now to plead for a “unity-in-diversity” attitude?
My Bible still reads, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Here is the basis for true Christian fellowship, and it can be had on no less terms. Let the false teachers and those who wish to coddle them and invite them for meetings judge me in my motives as I obey the commands of God concerning those who refuse to “walk in the light.” God will be the final judge, and He has said, “For he that biddeth him Godspeed is a partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 11).
Let each one have an attitude of respect and reverence for God and His Word. When such happens, the false teacher will not have a platform (or pulpit) from which to spew his venom. Let us seek to restore the fallen brother or sister, and let us follow God’s commands to “withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6), even if that brother has in times past been a close and trusted friend. Friendship with God is more important and we can only have such friendship as we obey Him (John 15:13-14). Where do you stand in this matter? What is your attitude?
[Editor’s Note: Faithful children of God must speak the truth in love, but they still must speak the truth (Ephesians 4:15). God expects the church to police itself (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 6:1-5). Christians have a responsibility toward fellow Christians who are disorderly (2 Thessalonians 3:6; James 5:19-20) as well as toward Christians who need protection from sinful influence (1 Corinthians 5:6) or doctrinal error (Romans 16:17-18). Especially false teachers pose a grave danger, and therefore, they must be turned from their error speedily (Titus 3:10-11). If false teachers (1 John 4:1) cannot be turned from their error, they need to have the equivalent of a cowbell hung around their necks (Romans 16:17). The subject of church discipline is no less of an identifying characteristic of the church of the Bible than practicing what the Gospel teaches about conversion, Christian worship or church organization. Faithful children of God are forbidden to participate with erring Christians (1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14) and false teachers (2 John 9-11) in such a way that may be construed to overlook, accept or promote the sins of which they are guilty. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Do Not Get Cozy with the World!
Mark N. Posey
In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, Paul underscored why Christians and non-Christians cannot be partners in God’s work. He pointed out that Christians and non-Christians are worlds apart by giving five areas of contrast:
There must be no fellowship with unholy practices. “…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” A Christian has no business involving himself with unscriptural practices that are displeasing to the Lord, whether it be speeding, income tax evasion or some other unethical practice in the home, the church or the world.
There must be no fellowship with unholy pleasures. “…what communion has light with darkness?” (cf. John 3:19; Ephesians 5:11). If pleasure cannot be enjoyed in the light of God’s Word and with His approval, then it is unclean, and we must avoid it!
There must be no fellowship with unholy preachers. “…what accord has Christ with Belial?” Belial refers to Satan, but it also refers to Satan’s false preachers or prophets. The true proclaimer of God’s Word has no place compromising with those that preach and perform the works of Satan.
There must be no fellowship with unholy people. “…what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” While we live in the world and try to win the lost, we are not to be of the world, subscribing to its false philosophies and practices of infidelity. We live in the world without the world living in us!
There must be no fellowship with unholy places. “…what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” An idol is a substitute for God, and when anything takes the place that God should have in our lives, it is time to separate ourselves from it.
Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult is wrong for me, and as a Christian I must turn away from such!
Christians are so far removed from non-Christians in spiritual matters that they have no common ground, no basis for a partnership in spiritual ministry. A Christian who is yoked together with an unbeliever in the work of God is like a fox and a chicken going into the egg business together—doomed!