Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Vision (2.27.14): Avoiding False Persuasion
Note: Here are the notes from the conclusion to last Sunday’s sermon on Galatians 5:7-12:
“This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you” (Galatians 5:8).
Did the Judaizers who infiltrated the Galatian churches really believe that circumcision would save you (cf. Acts 15:1)? Didn’t they believe in Jesus? Didn’t they just want to be zealous in keeping God’s law as they understood it? Yes, there might have been something good about their zeal for obedience, but on the whole it was wrong. They mixed truth with error, and so made the whole of their belief structure wrong. They thought they had it right, but they were wrong. All false religions and all false cults believe with great sincerity and most often with great fervor that they hold the truth. But this does not mean they are right.
Under the influence of the Judaizers, the Galatians had adopted a false persuasion. It did not come from God.
Now, as I noted last week, the problem in the modern church is no longer circumcision. But we still do battle with works righteousness. This may take many forms. Our “circumcision” is anything we think we must add to the cross work of Christ to really be saved.
Conservative Christians are particularly prone to get into these types of traps. How do we shake ourselves loose from false persuasions?
1. We should practice discernment, making use of all the resources God has given to us. These resources include first and foremost Scripture, along with meditation, prayer, and the church (especially her elders and teachers, including the written works of godly men of the past and confessions of faith). Consider the words of the apostle John:
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2. We should take time. We should not make hasty decisions. There are few decisions in life that cannot be helped by taking adequate time to make them. There is a logical fallacy called “the fallacy of exigency” which says you’ve got to hurry up and make a decision because time is running out. Politicians and lawyers use this fallacy to bring about decisions before folk have time to think through all the ramifications of their actions. Consider, however, the wisdom of Solomon:
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
3. We should strive to be stable and consistent, rather than erratic and inconsistent. We should not be like a Christian butterfly flittering and fluttering from one conviction or practice to another and never settling anywhere for long. We are not to be double minded, as James said:
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
As Paul puts it in Romans 14:5 when addressing disputable practices: “Let every man be persuaded in his own mind.”
Friends, let us avoid the pitfalls of false persuasions that the Galatians fell into. Most importantly, let us look to Christ and to him alone for our salvation.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle