Flee These Things

Sunday, November 24, 2013, 7:55 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Living Water” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1Timothy 6:3-16 (ESV).

Different Doctrine

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Vv. 3-5

There are many different doctrines floating around these days, many of them obviously false to a Bible believing Christian, but some very subtle and smooth-sounding so as to deceive the minds of many. So, how do we know what is true and what is false? Anything that does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness is false. So, how do we know if something agrees with the teaching of Christ or with that which accords with godliness? We have to study the scriptures. Many false beliefs stem from people taking scriptures out of context to prove their theology, so we have to be students of the Word, and we have to prayerfully seek out the truth so that we are not led astray by what is false. Also, we have to obey the truth that we are given.

There is a modern movement in today’s evangelical church which I will call a “false grace” teaching, which fits with this description as to how we know if something is false. It is a half-truth gospel which presents well what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, but which does not explain what it means to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. They promise the people salvation from sins and eternal life in heaven with God if they will just “believe,” yet absent of what the Bible teaches this “belief” entails, and that occurs largely because they take scriptures out of context to make their case, and when you lose the context, you lose the meaning of what it means to believe, as well. For example, read John 3:16 in the context of the entire chapter, and you will see what I mean.

Jesus said we have to repent of our sins if we want to have eternal life with God (Lu. 13:5; cf. Ac. 3:19). Some people like to take that word repent and say it merely means to have a change of mind. While it is true that is the meaning of the word, in scriptural context it means to turn away from sin and to turn toward God in obedience and surrender to his will. Jesus also said that if we want to come after him we have to disallow our self-life and daily die to sin and self and follow him in obedience. He said if we try to hold on to our old life of sin, we will lose our lives for eternity, but if we die to our old lives of living for self and sin we will gain eternal life (See Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6). Jesus also said that if we love him we will keep (observe; honor; continue in; obey; and carry out) his word and that he and the Father will make their home with us (See John 14:23). So, if the gospel you have accepted does not teach death to sin and following Jesus Christ in obedience and surrender to his will for our lives – all in the power and strength of the Spirit within us – then it is false because it does not agree with Christ’s teachings and those of godliness.

Wandered Away

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Vv. 6-10

Godliness is reverence, respect, loyalty and devotion toward God, which comes only from God, and not from within ourselves, and is appropriated to our lives via the working of the Holy Spirit, as we cooperate with that work in surrender to God and to his will for our lives. If we truly reverence God, and we are loyal and devoted to him, then we will desire what pleases him, and we will submit to his will for our lives. Part of this submission means accepting and being content with wherever God has us. This is not speaking of complacency, though, for it is not God’s will that we should ever be content with just “status quo,” but that we should be continually growing in our faith, growing in our knowledge and understanding of who he is, and what he requires of us, and that we should be following him daily in obedience and surrender, i.e. daily walking in the Spirit.

The problem today is that “godliness” is not being taught or modeled for us much in the church and among church leadership. Also the church often gives a false idea of who God - Jesus Christ is, and so many have lost this reverential respect and honor (fear) of God. Instead, much of the church has gone the way of the world, and so many professing Christians fall into the same traps of the evil one as do those in this fallen world. They are not discerning about what they take into their minds, they make compromises with the world in order to please the flesh, and they often follow after the model of the world instead of the one set down for us by Christ and by his word. I believe this is largely due to the fact that so many Christians devote so much time to taking the world into their minds via TV, movies, secular books, the Internet, music, social networks, etc. and so little time is spent in God’s word, in prayer, in seeking God’s face and then in obeying what he teaches them.

The Remedy

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. Vv. 11-16

So, if we want to live godly lives pleasing to God, and we want to follow the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, and we want to keep from falling into temptation to sin and into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin, then we must flee all these false, misleading, harmful, and senseless things. To flee means to run away from something; to escape. One of the scriptures that comes to mind here is Hebrews 12:1 where we are instructed to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,” so we can “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” In other words, we can’t spend multiple hours a day taking in the ways of the world into our minds via the media provided to us by the world and then spend very little time in God’s word, in prayer, and in obedience to what he teaches us, and then expect to live godly lives. What goes in comes back out.

We need to run away from all that is contrary to God and the teachings of Christ and of godliness, and we need to pursue what is of God and is of his righteousness. To pursue means to chase, follow, hunt, practice, engage in, work at and carry out. This is a picture of repentance, too – fleeing, forsaking, and putting off our old lives of sin and pursuing, chasing after, practicing, engaging in and following after Christ in obedience and surrender to his will. Again, we cannot do this in our own flesh, but only in the Spirit of God as we yield our lives over to God and we choose to follow him wherever he leads us. Yet, so many people just try to ride the fence, or balance their lives between worldliness and godliness. The two don’t mix. We have to flee one and pursue the other or we are like the church in Laodicea which was neither hot nor cold but lukewarm. So, if you want victory over your sinful habits, cut out of your life whatever leads you into temptation, run away from it, and don’t play with fire. And, come to the Living Water, Jesus Christ, and let him satisfy you.

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.