Pastor Boffey's blog

OPPOSING ONESELF (Part 3)

2Ti 2:24-25
(24) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
(25) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretian a few years ago was uncharitably reproached for his habit of speaking out of the corner of his mouth (a trait owing to a facial paralysis). His response went something like, "Better that I should speak out of one side of my mouth than be like my opponent who speaks out of both sides of his mouth." Spiritually, many Christians are regrettably like the Prime Minister's opponent, affirming and denying the very same thing or affirming two opposing things (though usually doing so unwittingly). We iterate that is not a mark of intellect to knowingly hold two diametrically opposed positions as both being true but more likely a mark of lunacy, and we concur with the Holy Spirit that indeed, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (Jam 1:8). The truth, rightly divided (2Ti 2:15) will be consistent and, when understood, will "banish to Bedlam" doctrinal self-contradictions, thus rendering in us a "sound mind" (2Ti 1:7). This world does not need Christian double-speak to conclude that Christians are of unsound minds; they conclude that anyway---even of the soundest (Joh 10:20 c/w Acts 26:24). Why justify their opinion? Interestingly the word "cretin" which denotes idiocy or mental defect is, according to some authorities, a derogatory twist on "Christian." Better that we should have a consistent doctrine and be "Chretien-ous Christians" than to affirm contradicting doctrines and be "cretinous Christians."

THE PROBLEM WITH HALLOWEEN

In our modern society, the festive occasion known as Halloween is taken for granted. It is a time of curious, rather morbid activities for children and adults alike when some of the darkest themes of a sin-burdened creation are exhumed from history's graveyard for public display and for the profit of carnal merchants who promote the entire affair. Yet, how many people (especially Bible-believers) have given honest, serious consideration to the nature of this seasonal celebration? This paper is a simple summary of the reasons why our church does not participate in Halloween customs. All Scripture quotations that follow are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and let noble readers of this article search those Scriptures diligently for themselves, as did the Bereans in Acts 17:11.

OPPOSING ONESELF (Part Two)

2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

As noted previously Paul here describes some who "oppose themselves," i.e., they are by their opposition to truth and consistency their own foe. Remember that heresy is marked by self-contradiction; the heretick by his own doctrine is "condemned of himself" (Tit 3:11). "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee..." (Luk 19:22), said Jesus. It has been sagely observed that "A" cannot be "non-A" in the same place and time, and things that are different (especially things that are opposites) cannot be the same. To hold a thing as true while simultaneously and knowingly holding the exact opposite of that thing as equally true is not indicative of openmindedness or superior intellect, it is indicative of insanity or wilful ignorance. As we consider some more examples of self-contradicting beliefs, it is with the gentle recognition that not all who affirm such beliefs do so with knowledgeable intent and, if God be pleased to do so, may He especially bless such with "repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."

OPPOSING ONESELF

2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Today's text is gleaned from the Apostle Paul's instruction to Timothy as to how a minister should conduct himself in his oversight of the house of God (c/w 1Ti 3:15). He here describes some who "oppose themselves," i.e., they are at odds with themselves morally or doctrinally, holding at the same time two or more irreconcilable propositions. This is essentially an identifying mark of a heresy, for the heretick similarly is "...subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself" (Tit 3:10-11). When someone's doctrine "meets itself coming," so to speak, that is a tip-off that the doctrine is in grave error. Such is heresy, not the truth of the Scripture which reflects the nature of the true God "...with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (Jam 1:17). Truth is not self-contradictory, but this cannot be said for many positions of professing Christians.

STICKING TOGETHER

Job 41:16-17
(16) One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
(17) They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.

Were it not for the context, the spiritually-minded might hope that today's text is a candid description from Paul's writings of the very special internal relationship that Christ intends for His churches. If one can allow the scales of leviathan (the subject of God's address here to Job) some latitude, there are some instructive applications (negative and positive) to be made from this "piercing serpent" (Isa 27:1).

We first note that leviathan-minded wicked men can be joined together, can stick together like the scales of this beast---particularly when they have a mutually profitable evil enterprise. They can be remarkably cohesive and unified when conspiring to defraud or destroy, sometimes even binding themselves together fraternally with a curse to save society from "dangerous" Christians like Paul (Acts 23:12-15). "Dangerous" Christians like Paul threaten the livelihood of the manufacturers and marketers of evil things and so sometimes fellowcraftsmen join and stick together to stir up trouble for such Christians by craftily manipulating public opinion to the craft's advantage (Acts 19:23-32). Such collusion is especially perilous when its participants are society's leaders, as the prophet Micah described: "That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up" (Mic 7:3). The cohesion and unity of leviathan-minded men who are joined one to another and who stick together could almost be admired were it not for the fact that the glue of their fellowship is greed, lust and power and that they are bound to a serpent.

WAITING FOR THE WORD (Part 2)

1Sa 13:8-14
(8) And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
(9) And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
(10) And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
(11) And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

WAITING FOR THE WORD (Part 1)

1Sa 13:8-14
(8) And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
(9) And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
(10) And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
(11) And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION

Luk.9:29-31
(29) And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
(30) And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
(31) Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

We are taken here to the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter, James and John beheld Jesus in His state of glory in His kingdom, being "eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Pe.1:16). The glorious appearance of Christ there no doubt set in sharp relief the appearance to which they were accustomed: "....no form nor comeliness, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isa.53:2), and especially when "his visage was so marred more than any man..." (Isa.52:14). Let the children of grace, the joint-heirs of glory take note: "it doth not yet appear what we shall be..." (1 Jo.3:2). This weak vessel in which we presently dwell shall be immeasurably upgraded by the now glorified Savior "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil 3:21)." "...This corruptible must put on incorruption" (1 Co.15:53). Let the artists and iconolaters take note: the "beautiful" Jesus is of the glory state, not the earthly. Vain imaginations and icons should both be cast down (Rom.1:21-23 c/w 2 Co.10:4-5). Beast-worshippers adore images (Rev.16:2 & Rev.19:20), not true saints.

HANDLING, HEARING, SEEING

1Jo.1:1-3
(1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
(3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John here emphasizes the personal interaction that the apostles had with Jesus Christ. They had heard, seen and touched the "Word of life." That Word of life was indeed "from the beginning," not just the beginning of His public ministry or the beginning of His humanity, but from the very beginning of all! He was the Word that was in the beginning with God, was God Who made all things (Joh.1:1-3), Whose "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Mic.5:2). THAT Word (John says elsewhere) "was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." (Joh.1:14). "God was manifest in the flesh..." (1 Ti.3:16). Whereas Satan (and his ministers) affirm that man becomes god (Gen.3:1-5), the opposite is true: God became a man. The Eternal Creator veiled His glory to be tabernacled in flesh, making "himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Phil 2:6-7). In that humbled form, God was handled, heard and seen by the likes of John.

AUTHORITATIVE TEACHING

Mar.1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

Two teaching styles are here contrasted. There was the authoritative approach by which Jesus Christ's ministry was characterized. Then there was the approach of the scribes which, by inference, was obviously not authoritative. It stands to reason that the Holy Spirit by these words was denouncing the Scribes' type of ministry. A gospel minister will ultimately have to decide if he is going to be a minister like the Savior or like the Scribe, a preacher who labors to please God or men. Paul wrote, "...if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal.1:10). No man can serve two masters (Mat.6:24).

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