Christ-like leaders are those who serve other believers as Christ did (John 13:1-17). There are Christian leaders whose human frailties are exhibited through works or teachings not fully representing Jesus or motivated by His Spirit. With these humble ministers we can be gracious and forgiving as they confess their sins to the brethren they serve. They confess to the brethren because they consider themselves one of the brethren and not a member of a separate clergy class. They have no image or career to protect, because the brethren do not worship these leaders nor give them enough money (if any at all) to make a career out of being a member of Christ's body. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, there are other leaders who claim to be Christian but are serving their father the devil, and they must be recognized and exposed and avoided.
Matthew chapter seven begins with "Judge not" in reference to finding fault with a brother before you have cleansed yourself so as to rightly judge. Then after Jesus tells them the narrow gate leads to life, He warns them.
Matthew 7:15-27 "Beware of false prophets, which come to
you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall
know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth
forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can
a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we
not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in
thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever
heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a
wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and
the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell
not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which
built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was
the fall of it."
Beware is prosecho in Greek, meaning 'to hold the mind', to pay attention to, to be cautious about, to attend to, to take heed to, or to regard.
False prophets is pseudoprophetes in Greek, meaning false inspired speaker, or religious impostor.
Wolves is lukos in Greek, meaning white wolf.
Know is epiginosko in Greek, meaning to know upon some mark, recognize or perceive.
Bringeth forth, doeth, and done are poieo in Greek, meaning to make, to do, to produce, to practice, or to perform.
Good (tree) is agathos in Greek, meaning good or benefit.
Good (fruit) is kalos in Greek, meaning beautiful, better, honest, worthy, valuable or virtuous.
Corrupt is sapros in Greek, meaning rotten, worthless or bad.
Evil is poneros in Greek, meaning hurtful, evil, grievous, malicious, or wicked.
Wonderful works is dunamis in Greek meaning powerful or mighty works.
Knew is ginosko in Greek, meaning absolutely know, be aware of, perceived, or understand.
Jesus didn't say, "Don't worry about false prophets, I'll make them easy to spot and then I'll remove them." On the contrary, Jesus commanded us to pay attention because they will seem familiar. These wolves are also white on the outside like the sheep, but their inner motives are to devour the sheep. Their inner motives will produce dishonest, worthless, or wicked character even though they might perform miracles in Jesus' name. Jesus says He never knew them; they are not apostates. They are charlatan's who have believed their own lies. They want you to depend on their words and interpretations which will lead you to destruction. Those who want a rock-solid faith must listen to and practice Jesus sayings, for He is the only Rock.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
There is a difference between religious impostors who proclaim a false gospel or usurp Christ's authority in believer's lives, and those Christians who build upon Christ out of their flesh instead of in His Spirit. With the former, the whole tree is cut down and burned in the fire; with the latter, only the works of the flesh are consumed by fire but the person is saved.
This chapter deals with leaders who either never had a relationship with God or became apostate. Non-Christian false leaders can be divided into secular (EST, humanism, communism, etc.; example Herod in Acts 12:21-23), and religious (Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, spiritualism, etc.). False leaders who were previously Christian can be divided into the morally apostate (1 John 3:4-10) and the theologically apostate (1 John 2:18-27).
As Luke made certain Theophilus had an accurate accounting of all Jesus said and did, so we too should proclaim the gospel to secular leaders, but instead, I fear believers are listening more intensely to their secular messages. Secular society hasn't progressed much beyond the three pursuits of the Greeks: power, knowledge, and beauty. Christians need to be aware of the infiltration of these "false doctrines" into the church. Some churches have experienced the sacrifice of the Holy Spirit's leading so that one or a few could be in CONTROL. Some churches pride themselves on their educational programs, but are woefully lacking in obedience to God's Word. Some churches spend millions on a beautiful building and enforce dress codes for attendees.
Today it is easy for a 'church' to be secularly successful and spiritually dead. The leaders of such 'churches' may use scripture to obtain their secular success, and may even give credit to God, but they obey the state's laws over God's. These 'churches' will quickly fold if the tax-exempt status for non-profit organizations is removed, because they are businesses first and foremost - Christian flavored clubs.
Matthew 16:11-12 "How is it that ye do not understand that
I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven
of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he
bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the
Pharisees and of the Sadducees." Beware is prosecho
in Greek, meaning 'to hold the mind', to pay attention to, to be cautious
about, to attend to, to take heed to, or to regard.
Doctrine is didache in Greek, meaning instruction or what hath been taught.
Matthew 21:31b-32 "Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."
Matthew 23:13,15 "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."
The Jewish sinners were repenting and entering God's kingdom ahead of the pious. The Pharisees and those they converted were destined for hell unless they repented and believed in Jesus as Messiah. Jesus was adamantly opposed to the unbelieving, spiritual abusers of His day, yet He still offered them hope of entering heaven if they turned to Him.
Galatians 2:4 "And that because of false brethren unawares
brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in
Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage."
False brethren is pseudadelphos in Greek, meaning spurious brother, or pretended associate.
False brethren don't want Jesus in control and will attempt to bring believers under their control, often through legalism. Paul says of them and their legalistic gospel, that they are eternally condemned (Gal. 1:6-9). He reminds the believers that they are justified by their faith in Jesus and not by observing the Law (Gal. 3).
Galatians 4:9 "But now, after that ye have known God, or
rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements,
whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"
Elements is stoicheion in Greek, meaning principle or rudiment. 'Pastors' would rather preach on the principles of the ten commandments and tithing then proclaim and practice the commands of Jesus, because the Law places people under their control through guilt, but the law of love sets them free from judgment through Christ's forgiveness.
Galatians 5:1-6 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
"If ye be circumcised", pay tithes, observe the Sabbath, wear no mixed fibers, eat only kosher, or obey any part of the Law; you are in bondage to keep all the Law, and Christ becomes ineffectual in your life. Christians aren't going to live perfectly in this life. We have placed our hope in Christ's righteousness, and live by faith in Him.
Fifty days after the Hebrew slaves ate lamb as the angel of death "passed over" them, God gave Moses the Law on Mount Sinai. God came upon the mountain in fire and smoke and spoke the Law, and the people trembled. The Jews celebrate the giving of the Law at the feast of Pentecost. The Father chose to surpass the Law that day by sending His Spirit as "tongues of fire" upon believers who then proclaimed the good news of forgiveness and freedom to the world in their languages. Relationship conquered Rules. Mercy triumphed over justice. Liberty fulfilled the Law.
Romans 8:1-2 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
There are those who have partnered with the Holy Spirit and then have severed relations from Jesus (Col. 2:18-19, Heb. 6:4-6, 1 Tim 1:19 and 2 Peter 3:17); thus making themselves apostates (divorced - apostasion). Paul even prophesies that current elders (overseers) in the church would become false leaders.
Acts 20:28-30 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
The Holy Ghost made these men overseers knowing that some would sinfully choose to become apostate and draw others into their apostasy. God never changes, but people do. Each believer is responsible for his own relationship with Jesus. Believers can not trust leaders to continually follow Jesus. We are commanded to beware and be on our guard for false teaching and bad character.
1 John 3:4-10 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
Committeth and commit are poieo in Greek, meaning to make, to do, to produce, to practice, or to perform.
Jesus told the crowds they would be able to recognize false prophets by their fruit. John points out the fruit of unrighteousness and hatred of the brethren. Does the leader of a denomination hate the members of another denomination? Though true prophets may sin occasionally, they confess and repent of their sins to other brethren. False prophets practice sin and try to hide their sins from those they wish to control. They may use many means to attempt to exclude themselves from the command to "confess sins to one another".
1 John 2:18-20 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."
These antichrists weren't "sent out" as missionaries, but left to spread their perverted gospels elsewhere (Gal. 1:6-9). Christians can adhere to all sorts of different doctrines without becoming apostate, but they become apostate when they add to or delete from the gospel as revealed in the gospels of the New Testament, and teach others to do so as well.
This is a minimal list. Evil people are constantly devising new evil schemes.
A false leader's primary concern is to lead you away from the Lord Jesus and the Word of God to himself/herself or to his/her organization. Jesus warns His followers not to be deceived by such people. There's no need for demons to possess these men because they willingly serve Satan. I believe it is possible for a Christian to be deceived into apostasy; though like the slowly boiled frog, it might be a gradual process of denying truths in order to believe lies. (See also Mark 13:5-6; Luke 21:8; 2 Tim. 3:13)
Matthew 24:4-5 "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."
Matthew 24:10-11 "And then shall many be offended, and shall
betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets
shall rise, and shall deceive many."
Offended is skandalizo in Greek; meaning to entrap, trip up, or entice.
False prophets is pseudoprophetes in Greek; meaning pretending foretellers or religious impostors.
Deceive is planao in Greek; meaning go astray, wander, seduce, mislead or to cause to roam from truth.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel;
for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is
no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of
righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
Be transformed is metaschematizo in Greek, meaning 'scheme against', to transfigure or disguise.
Some false leaders seduce others by promising success and wealth and health and power. Others mislead people, promising to lead them to Jesus but always arriving at themselves or some doctrine or cause instead. They disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness, but their works are unrighteous.
1 Timothy 1:3-4 "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus,
when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach
no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies,
which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith:
Other doctrine is heterodidaskaleo in Greek, meaning to instruct differently or altered doctrine.
Questions is zetesis in Greek, meaning a seeking, an inquiry, a debate, or a matter of controversy.
Edifying is oikonomia in Greek, meaning the management of a household affairs; oversight, administration, or stewardship of another's property.
False leaders "minister questions" and controversial matters about faith in Jesus. Godly leaders edify believers in their faith in Jesus through loving management of 'family matters'. Godly leaders do not 'own' the sheep, nor is it 'their' church, but they view themselves as stewards of God's property.
The "father of lies" continues to add to the long list of false doctrines, but the following are some of the false doctrines of New Testament time.
2 Timothy 2:16-18 "But shun profane and vain babblings: for
they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth
a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have
erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the
faith of some."
Shun is periistemi in Greek, meaning to turn oneself about for the purpose of avoiding something.
Profane is bebelos in Greek (belos is a threshold), meaning accessible (as by crossing the door-way); heathenish, or wicked.
Vain babblings is kenophonia in Greek, meaning empty sounding, or fruitless discussion.
Overthrow is anatrepo in Greek, meaning to overturn, destroy or to subvert.
Hymenaeus and Philetus had grounds upon which to base their doctrine. At Jesus' resurrection many dead saints were raised from their graves (Matthew 27:50-53). 'Proof' of their position did not make it true. Go out of your way to avoid people who don't believe in the resurrection of the dead. Don't let them enter your home; shut the door in their faces.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 "O Timothy, keep that which is committed
to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science
falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.
Grace be with thee. Amen."
Oppositions is antithesis in Greek, meaning a conflict of theories.
Science is gnosis in Greek, meaning knowledge.
Falsely so called is pseudonumos in Greek, meaning falsely-named.
It seems every few years more "scientific facts" about the earth's past are introduced by atheists into public school textbooks, because they refuse to believe in the Creator and the scientific evidence which supports the Biblical account of creation. A good salesman can 'prove' whatever he wants to sell you, so decide to only 'buy' Biblical wisdom.
1 John 4:3 "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
Unity and Christian science separate Jesus the man from Christ the spirit. Spiritualism states Jesus Christ was not divine. Jehovah Witnesses and Armstrongism state Jesus was not Jehovah God and was not raised in the flesh.
2 Peter 2:1-3 "But there were false prophets also among the
people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall
bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and
bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious
ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through
covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose
judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth
Privily is pareisago in Greek, meaning to introduce secretly or craftily.
Damnable and destruction are apoleia in Greek, meaning (physical, spiritual or eternal) ruin or loss, destruction, death, pernicious ways, or waste.
Heresies is hairesis in Greek, meaning 1) the act of taking, capturing: for example, storming a city 2) choosing, choice 3) that which is chosen 4) a body of men following their own tenets (sect or party) 5) dissension's arising from a diversity of opinions and aims.
Covetousness is pleonexia in Greek, meaning avarice, greediness, fraudulence, or extortion.
Feigned is plastos in Greek; meaning false formed or artificial.
Make merchandise is emporeuomai in Greek, meaning 1) to travel for business, to traffic, to trade 2) used of a thing, to import for sale 3) to deal in or 4) to use a person or a thing for gain.
They deny the Lord who "bought them", but they'll sell you to the highest bidder. And if you 'break' (physically, emotionally, or financially) and appear to be no longer profitable to them, they'll quickly toss you aside like old rubbish. "Many will follow their pernicious ways." They will appear successful, but Christianity will be blasphemed because of them. The world will clearly see their greed for money and rightly call them hypocrites.
Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
Both Mohammed and Joseph Smith had an angel appear to them and show them through strange writings a different gospel. Islam minimizes Jesus to a mere prophet, and Mormonism creates a different Jesus who had two wives and attained godhood in a preexistent state.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the
serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted
from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth
another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit,
which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted,
ye might well bear with him."
Should be corrupted is phtheiro in Greek, meaning waste away, shrivel or wither, to spoil (by any process), or to ruin (especially by moral influences, to deprave).
Simplicity is haplotes in Greek, meaning singleness, sincerity, mental honesty; the virtue of one who is free from pretense and hypocrisy; not self-seeking, or openness of heart manifesting itself by bountiful generosity.
Don't let anyone add to or take from your simple faith in Christ. There are different kinds of gifts and services and works which grow from relationship with Jesus. God has blessed His Body with various abilities for healthy wholeness, not to create division (1 Cor. 12). If someone has faith in the Biblical Jesus for forgiveness of their sins, then that person is a brother or sister in Christ. If they trust in some other person or teaching for their salvation, then they are not in Christ.
Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will
of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out
devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess
unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Knew is ginosko in Greek, meaning 1) to learn to know, to come to know, to get a knowledge by perception, to feel, to become known 2) to know, to understand, to perceive, to have knowledge of 3) a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman (compare Gen. 4:1).
Iniquity is anomia in Greek, meaning illegality, violation of law, or wickedness.
They preach the gospel Sunday morning, commit adultery in the afternoon, and perform miracles that night. "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:29)." Christians need to stop being duped by charisma and charismata, and scrutinize a leader's character. How a leader treats spouse and children speaks volumes about character.
Galatians 5:4-10 "Christ is become of no effect unto you,
whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For
we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For
in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision;
but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that
ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth
you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you
through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth
you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be."
Truth is aletheia in Greek, meaning reality, fact, the truth as taught in the Christian faith, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike the superstitions of the Gentiles (non-Jews) and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians.
Christians are to be characterized by faith motivated by love and obedience to the truth; not a list of commands, but a Person who has expressed Himself truly (John 14:6). The ten commandments are preceded by "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2)," and many of the Hebrews rightly obeyed their Deliverer. When God declared Himself One, He commanded the Hebrews to love Him with their whole being (Deut. 6:4-5), and Jesus added "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:28-31). In the upper room discourse, our Deliverer from the bondage of sin gave many commands; the primary one being to love one another (John 13:34), and it is capped by His prayer regarding His oneness with the Father and believers (John 17).
2 Peter 2:12 "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;"
Jude 1:8-10 "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the
flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel,
when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst
not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they
know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves."
Dominion is kuriotes in Greek, meaning mastery, rulers, or government.
Speak evil of is blasphemeo in Greek, meaning blaspheme, vilify, defame, rail on, or revile.
Dignities is doxa in Greek, meaning glory, honour, praise, or worship.
Railing is blasphemia in Greek, meaning blasphemy, evil speaking, railing, or vilification.
When it comes to battling demonic strongholds, our strength and authority is in the name of Jesus. Hurling insults upon condemned demons demonstrates a person's corruption.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that
in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their
conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding
to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving
of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is
good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For
it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."
Shall depart is aphistemi in Greek, meaning 'stand off', withdraw, remove, go away, depart, desert, fall away (become faithless), or to excite to revolt.
Giving heed is prosecho in Greek, meaning 'hold the mind towards', pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to, or have regard for.
Seducing is planos in Greek, meaning wandering, roving, misleading, leading into error, a vagabond, a "tramp", an impostor, a corrupter, or a deceiver.
Demons is daimonion in Greek, meaning a spirit inferior to God but superior to men; or evil spirits, the messengers and ministers of the devil.
Speaking lies is pseudologos in Greek, meaning 'false words', or promulgating erroneous Christian doctrine.
Forbidding is koluo in Greek, meaning to hinder, to prevent; to withhold, deny or refuse something from anyone.
The Holy Spirit distinctly told believers that there would be apostates in leadership who would forbid the natural gifts God has given to be received with thanksgiving. The way they became apostate was by attending to doctrines of demons and searing their consciences through sinful practices. They are hypocrites (actors) who deceive others with their lies.
Ephesians 5:3-7 "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or
covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither
filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient:
but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor
unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance
in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words:
for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of
disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them."
Deceive is apatao in Greek, meaning to cheat or to beguile.
I actually know of two cults who thought they were exhibiting their freedoms in Christ by swearing and cursing. I've been on denominational sports teams whose filthy language was no different from secular sports teams. Listen carefully to teachers, and have nothing to do with them if they promote sinful behavior.
Jude 1:3-4 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto
you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and
exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares,
who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning
the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God,
and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Contend is epagonizomai in Greek, meaning to struggle against or to fight for.
Crept in unawares is pareisduno in Greek, meaning to settle in alongside, or to lodge stealthily.
Condemnation is krima in Greek, meaning a decision for or against "crime"; avenge, condemned, or judgment.
Lasciviousness is aselgeia in Greek, meaning unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, or insolence.
Denying is arneomai in Greek, meaning false identity or to identify falsely; contradict, disavow, reject, abnegate, or refuse.
Christians have been lulled into the false assumption that once you join an established church, you no longer have to be wary of false teaching or false brethren. Our only place of rest is in Jesus, and while we remain on earth we must fight for our faith in the common salvation delivered only once to mankind through Jesus Christ. There is no other good news of forgiveness from sins available through anyone else. Those who bring any other gospel are condemned (Gal. 1:6-9). You can not abuse God's grace by practicing sin and expecting God to forgive you later. Those who continue to practice sin do not know Jesus (1 John 3:4-10).
Acts 4:18-20 "And they called them, and commanded them not
to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered
and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken
unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard."
Commanded is paraggello in Greek, meaning to transmit a message; to charge or declare.
As a public school teacher I knew my legal rights to teach the Bible as history or literature, and I did so; but I had to fight to do so. To maintain a 'non-profit tax status' a church or ministry signs that they will not use more than one tenth of their time or resources on political issues. Some churches are now choosing to relinquish their 'non-profit tax status' in order to speak out boldly on political/moral issues like abortion. Standing up against government is sometimes easier then standing up against false leadership in the church, but as Christians we need to do both in order to maintain the integrity of the gospel.
Colossians 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy
and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the
world, and not after Christ."
Beware is blepo in Greek, meaning to look at, behold, perceive, regard, see, or take heed.
Spoil is sulagogeo in Greek, meaning to carry off booty (to strip and rob), to carry one off as a captive (and slave), or to lead away from the truth.
Philosophy is philosophia in Greek, meaning 'love of wisdom'.
Vain is kenos in Greek, meaning empty or devoid of truth.
Deceit is apate in Greek, meaning delusion.
Tradition is paradosis in Greek, meaning transmission, or ordinance.
Rudiments is stoicheion in Greek, meaning something orderly in arrangement; element or principle.
World is kosmos in Greek, meaning orderly arrangement, decoration, or adornment.
False leaders love control and use 'orderly arrangement' to obtain and keep it. The order is brought about not by the Spirit of God in peace (1 Cor. 14:33), but according to the world's standards and the traditions of men through intimidation. False leaders love wisdom and knowledge, but rarely apply either to their actions. They create a religious delusion whereby they strip you of your dignity, your faith, and your resources.
Colossians 2:16-19 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat,
or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the
sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of
Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen,
vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which
all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit
together, increaseth with the increase of God."
Beguile you of your reward is katabrabeuo in Greek, meaning 'rule against', to decide as umpire against someone, to defraud or the prize or to deprive of salvation.
Vainly is eike in Greek, meaning idly; without reason, effect, or cause.
Puffed up is phusioo in Greek, meaning to inflate, to blow up, to cause to swell up, to make proud, or to bear oneself loftily.
Fleshly is sarx in Greek, meaning carnal.
The Old Testament laws were a shadow to lead people to the body of Christ. Jesus is our substance and reality and life. Their are legalistic leaders in the church today who want to require Christians to practice some of the Old Testament laws in order to be 'fulfilled' Christians. When faith in Christ alone is the essential of salvation, only Christ retains control of His Body; so those who wish to control you will add something to your relationship with Jesus in order for you to be in their club. Don't be deceived.
Philippians 3:2-3 "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
Philippians 3:18-19 "(For many walk, of whom I have told
you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of
the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly,
and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
Earthly is epigeios in Greek, meaning existing upon the earth, or terrestrial.
False leaders have their mind on the things of this world, not on things of heaven where Christ is seated. They judge people according to their outward religious observances (shadows), and not according to works and character produced by faith in Jesus (substance).
In their pursuit of success, many leaders fall prey to the serpent's seduction to become like God. God's standard of success (sakal in Deut. 29:9, Joshua 1:7-8, 1 Kings 2:3) is a relationship with Him based upon faith and obedience. This same word translated "prosper" and "success" is translated "wise" in Genesis 3:6 in reference to why Eve desired the forbidden fruit (she thought it would make her successful). Sadly, many American Christians have accepted society's standards of success based upon appearances and accomplishments, and motivated by lust. In contrast , Jesus has already made us perfect (successful, if you will) by giving us His righteousness and acceptance which is demonstrated by our loving relationship with Him and other believers.
If spiritual abusers can not entice you into committing real sins, they will try to control you with "sins" not found in the New Testament. These "sins" have sliding scales, and only the spiritual abusers can determine your status. As we expose these status "sins", their powerful manipulation tool of guilt will be disarmed.
Beware of the religious standards of "enough": not praying or reading the Bible enough, not having enough faith, not serving enough or well enough, not attending enough meetings, or not spending enough time with family. No one besides God can determine what is "enough" Christian duty for an individual in these matters. Only fools compare themselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12). The wise gain confidence through prayer as they establish their priorities and "enoughs" with God.
Jesus made great efforts to lift this deeply entrenched command from the prison the Jews had made of it (See Luke 6:1-10; 13:10-17; 14:1-6; and John 5:1-18; 7:21-24; and 9:13-16). For Christians, not being under the Law, it is not a sin to work or recreate on Sunday (Col. 2:16). It is not a sin to refuse to enter a church building, but it is a sin to neglect meeting together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25 note meeting is a verb not a noun).
One of the heresies of some Protestant ministers is the insistence that Christians tithe. Jews tithed, Christians give (2 Cor. 9:7) "The workman is worthy of his wages," so have a congregational meeting to determine reasonable wages and upkeep of a meeting place, and establish church member dues. If wealthier church members wish to pay the dues of those who can not, that's called Christian charity. If members wish to provide for an evangelical outreach or a missionary, or for a poorer Christian assembly, well and good. Non-members may give or not give as they see fit. This will establish clarification of job description, and result in greater accountability. It will also tend to weed out the greedy who "make merchandise of men's souls."
There are Old Testament commands to praise God with dance (Ps. 149:3 and 150:4), but none in the New Testament. There are no New Testament commands forbidding dance.
It is not a sin for a man to have long hair (komao), or for a woman to have short hair or a shaved head. Actually "hair" (thrix) is not mentioned in 1 Cor. 11. Paul is speaking of a foldable, fabric head covering (peribolaion) which kept a woman from being "carried away" (komizo) to harm, but would be a shame (atimia, "without honor") for a man to wear.
Paul desired married women to have a symbol of protection on their heads, possibly to deter would be rapists. It was a custom observed by all the churches (1 Cor. 11:16). It would be dishonorable (kataischuno) for a married woman not to wear it, because she would be making the statement that she was sexually available. The Muslims and several orthodox churches have perpetuated this Christian tradition.
Though there was no command given to the Hebrews to cover their heads or faces when they prayed, Moses may have started a tradition when he covered his face with a veil (kaluma in 2 Cor. 3:7-15) after being in God's presence. The Jews eventually developed a prayer shawl. When they became Christians, the men continued to wear their prayer shawls, and Paul discouraged this dishonoring practice since Christ is their authority and protection (Head), but he did not label it a sin. The women were to continue to wear head coverings when they prayed or prophesied in honor of their authority and protection (father or husband as head).
There are also certain commands given in the New Testament to specific people at a specific time for a specific purpose which don't apply to us: commands regarding swords (Luke 21:24; 22:36); commands to disciples of that day (Luke 5:4; 9:1-6;10:1-12); commands to people Jesus healed (Luke 5:14, 24; 17:14); commands to prospective followers (Luke 18:22; 19:5). We usually refer to such verses as historical scripture. False leaders will try to use these historical commands to manipulate people.
It is not a sin to have a low or limited number in your meeting. An off-shoot of the success-driven "growth movement" is perpetuating the lie that unless a congregation is increasing numerically, the leader must be in sin. In John 6 Jesus purposely states difficult and offensive truths in order to weed out uncommitted people from the crowd following Him. Jesus was a stumblingblock (scandalon in 1 Cor. 1:23) to the Jews. While Jesus hung on a cross, only John and a handful of women would associate themselves with Him. This ending to his brief ministry did not make Him appear successful. God is not a great CEO who is impressed with numbers; He's a King who is impressed by personal faith and obedience.
American society is weight conscious. Being "over" or "under" weight is not discussed in the Bible. The Bible only describes someone as fat when it is necessary to the understanding of the situation. We are told Eli was fat (kabad in 1 Samuel 4:18) to explain why he broke his neck when he fell off his seat. Eglon, king of Moab, was so fat (bariy' in Judges 3:17) that when Ehud thrust his sword into his belly the fat (cheleb in Judges 3:22) closed over the handle. Daniel and his friends were "fatter" (bariy' in Daniel 1:15) and of better appearance then those who ate the Babylonian king's food. Asaph refers to his envy of the prosperity of the wicked who are comfortable at death and whose "strength is firm", which could be translated "fat bellies" (Psalm 73:3-4). Their sin wasn't the fat which stems from prosperity, but the denial of God which is often linked with times of prosperity.
Providing a fit ("proper") body as a "temple of the Holy Spirit" should be taken in its context of fleeing sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18-19). Although our society recognizes anorexia nervosa and bulimia as undesirable conditions, many still tend to idolize thinness and condemn fatness. I believe it is possible to consume wine or rich food without being consumed by them, but the important thing is to eat in faith toward God and in peace with believers. God gives no command to be healthy or physically strong.
It is not a sin to be sick, even though some sicknesses stem from sin (1 Cor. 11:29-30 and James 5:13-16). Paul did not condemn Epaphroditus, Timothy, or Trophimus for being ill; nor did he miraculously heal them. Paul was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and often hungry as he obeyed God's command to proclaim the gospel.
Galatians 4:13-14 "Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus."
May we graciously receive the sick as the Galatians did, and maybe we will also hear them speak a message from God for our souls. Our mortal bodies will all perish eventually from something, so let's use them to provide rewards in heaven for our immortal bodies.
It was fitting for God to give His Son a common appearance (Isaiah 53:2). Outward form and beauty is what humans desire, not what God desires (1 Samuel 16:7). It is not a sin for a people to make themselves outwardly attractive, unless they idolize beauty. Some churches even have dress codes -- James would be outraged.
Our society believes the lie that outward attractiveness will secure a loving mate. A man seeks a woman who will honor him and be faithful to him (1 Peter 3:1-7), and you can't obtain those qualities from a beauty salon. A woman is primarily interested in a man's leadership and self-sacrificing love which puts her needs first (Eph. 5:21-33); and you can't obtain those qualities in a gym.
It's not a sin to be unpopular. God does not seek admiration and popularity from the masses; He demands love and obedience from the saved. After we are saved, we are to point others to His glory and His kingdom, not seek to establish our own. We are God's friends if we obey Him, and we are commanded to love others who obey Him. We are not to be surprised that those who hate God hate us as well (John 15:9-25).
Colossians 3:22-4:1 "Servants, obey in all things your
masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;
but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it
heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord
ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done:
and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants
that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."
Respect of persons is prosopolepsia in Greek, meaning partiality: judgment with respect to the outward circumstances of a man and not to intrinsic merits.
1 Corinthians 7:21 "Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather."
There is no sin in being an employee (servant) or an employer (master), but there are responsibilities which both are to fulfill. You can make the best of your opportunities, or be content in your current position. The important thing is to work under God's supreme authority.
Jesus said we would always have poor people with us, and we can help them whenever we please. The abolishment of poverty is not in God's plans for the earth. It is not a sin to be poor. A person's financial status does not reflect God's blessing or lack thereof. It is a sin to love money and to be greedy (1 Timothy 3:3-8 and 6:10); a sin which both rich and poor can commit. Jesus commanded us to love one another regardless of status (James 2:1-13).
Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
I believe being "slain in the spirit" is one of the "signs" false prophets and false Christs use in order to draw people to themselves and away from God. It is a sign attributed only to Jesus Christ recorded in John 18:3-7. When Jesus proclaimed "I AM" (the name of God translated YAHWEH in Hebrew) to the soldiers who were sent to arrest Him they fell backwards. It was a sign to the unsaved soldiers that Jesus had the power to deliver Himself, but was willingly giving Himself into their hands to fulfill scripture. I'm surprised they still had the courage to arrest Him after that. The phrase "slain in the Spirit" is not in scripture, and it is not a sign God commands His followers to perform. It's O.K. if people happen to swoon in God's presence, but beware of those who attribute it to themselves.
The media has already exposed several fake "faith healers" and those who use fake "words of knowledge" or "prophecy" in order to extort money from people. Remember Jesus' disciples performed signs as confirmation of His word being spoken through them (Mark 16:20), and not as a means to become rich (1 Timothy 6:3-5).
In the early 1990's a new wave of extra-biblical "signs" were experienced throughout the Church; hysterical laughter or tears, uncontrollable bouncing up and down, and animal noises such as barking or gobbling. This type of hysteria has been documented during other "revivals" in previous centuries. I think it represents sensual people desiring a personal physical experience with God without any added responsibilities. All of the signs of the Holy Spirit are controllable and are to be used to edify others in the church (1 Corinthians 14:26-33). If these people are willing to make noises, why don't they seek the gifts of prophecy or tongues? These people have had little opportunity to be "real" in church, but at least they can be "spiritual" and still express their pent-up emotions.
Though in God's presence we can laugh or cry or leap for joy, these are emotions we choose to express before the Creator of our emotions. The Church is supposed to be a place of true emotional expression: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." (Romans 12:15) If Christians so quickly run to false leaders who give them emotional release, what will happen when anti-christs perform great signs and wonders?
Acts 14:5-7 "And when there was an assault made both of the
Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully,
and to stone them, They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe,
cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there
they preached the gospel."
Assault is horme in Greek; meaning a violent impulse or onset.
Despitefully is hubrizo in Greek; meaning exercise violence, reproach, or entreat shamefully.
A proper response to violent opposition is to flee. The response of the disciples to the Jewish cities who did not welcome them, was to curse them and leave (See Luke 10:8-12). Paul often endured violence from false brethren in order to preach the gospel (2 Corinthians 11:26); he also knew those who willingly endured violence from false apostles. So many people are used to being abused by authority, that they expect God's representatives to be abusive; they would rather be abused then to responsibly relate to God personally. Abusive sects and cults have been around a long time.
2 Corinthians 11:20 "For ye suffer, if a man bring you into
bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself,
if a man smite you on the face."
Suffer is anechomai in Greek; meaning put up with, bear with, or endure.
Bring into bondage is katadouloo in Greek; meaning to enslave utterly.
Devour iskatesthio in Greek; meaning to eat up or to eat alive.
Smite is dero in Greek; meaning flay, scourge, thrash, or beat.
Christian cults often begin with unhealthy relationships in which a deceptive form of 'submission' is used to enslave people (usually to the leader through a pyramid structure of obedience). The leaders "devour" the personalities of the ones 'under' them, creating obedient automatons who will often give whatever the leaders ask in order to remain in favor. (2 Peter 2:3 refers to exploitation and making merchandise of men's souls.) Cults are notorious for being one-man shows - "if a man exalt himself", and they may degenerate into physically and sexually abusing their members.
Mark 3:24-27 "And if a kingdom be divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that
house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided,
he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man's
house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and
then he will spoil his house."
Spoil is diarpazo in Greek, meaning to seize asunder, or to plunder.
Bind is deo in Greek, meaning to tie or to fasten with chains; to put under obligation (used of the law), to forbid, to prohibit, or to declare to be illicit.
Strong man is ischuros in Greek, meaning; forcible. boisterous, mighty, powerful, or valiant.
Jesus states a universal truth that a kingdom or house divided against itself can not stand, and then applies it to Satan. But let's apply it to God's kingdom which appears to be divided into many denominations. The false leader comes into a church (house) and binds the leader(s) with his legalism, and then the legalist can seize and plunder the sheep. This is the pattern the circumcision party used in Galatia (Gal. 2:11-13).
Acts 14:1-4 "And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went
both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great
multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving
Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against
the brethren. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord,
which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and
wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided:
and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles."
Made evil affected is kakoo in Greek, meaning to oppress, to afflict, to harm, to maltreat, to embitter, to injure, to exasperate, to entreat evil, to hurt, or to vex.
Romans 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which
cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;
and avoid them."
Divisions is dichostasia in Greek; meaning disunion, dissention or sedition.
Offences are skandalon in the Greek; meaning the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick; a trap, snare; any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall; or any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin.
Avoid is ekklino in Greek; meaning to turn aside, keep aloof from, or to shun one.
Paul believed Christ was going to return quickly to establish His kingdom on earth, and to judge and to correct that which was amiss in His Church. When ten years pass without Christ's return, he tells Titus that after he's warned a divisive person twice, have nothing more to do with him (Titus 3:10).
Jude 1:16-19 "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after
their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having
men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember
ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus
Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time,
who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate
[themselves], sensual, having not the Spirit."
Complainers is mempsimoiros in Greek; meaning 'division by blame', blaming fate, querulous or discontented.
Separate is apodiorizo in Greek, meaning to disjoin, to part, to separate from another, or making divisions or separations.
They want the crowd's admiration and trust without being one of the crowd; so they blame current leadership in order to set themselves up as a new leader. This is similar to what Absalom did to David in 2 Samuel 15. Avoid them.
Titus 1:11 "Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole
houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
Filthy is aischros in Greek, meaning filthy, baseness, or dishonor.
Lucre is kerdos in Greek, meaning gain or advantage.
1 Peter 5:1-2 "The elders which are among you I exhort, who
am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a
partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which
is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;
not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;"
Filthy lucre is aischrokerdos in Greek, meaning eagerness for base gain.
Though elders should receive compensation for their labors (See 1 Timothy 5:17-18); serving God and others should be their motivation, not gaining wealth.
2 Corinthians 11:7 "Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?"
Paul probably didn't receive justified reimbursement for his labors in preaching at Corinth, because he wanted to make a distinction between himself and the false prophets who demanded payment (2 Corinthians 11:12-13).
1 Timothy 6:9-10 "But they that will be rich fall into temptation
and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in
destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil:
which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced
themselves through with many sorrows."
That will is boulomai in Greek, meaning to will deliberately, to have a purpose, to be minded; or a desire.
Destruction is olethros in Greek; meaning ruin, punishment, or death.
Perdition is apoleia in Greek; meaning ruin, loss, damnation or destruction.
Love of money is philarguria in Greek, meaning avarice.
Coveted is oregomai in Greek; meaning stretch oneself, reach after, desire, or long for.
Erred is apoplanao in Greek; meaning to lead astray, or seduce.
Jude 1:11 "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."
Avoid and disassociate from those who claim Christianity is a means to great wealth, or that their wealth proves God's blessing upon them. Remember Jesus and His disciples lived very simply. When people are motivated by greed, they might use the Bible, but their message will be devoid of truth.
Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you
in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ravening is harpax in Greek; meaning rapacious, extorting or swindling.
These men and women extort money from their followers using guilt and threats of curses. They also use deception and fraud to obtain money; performing miracles which must then be acknowledged by a 'gift of faith'.
1 Timothy 6:3-6 "If any man teach otherwise, and consent
not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to
the doctrine which is according to godliness. He is proud, knowing nothing,
but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife,
railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds,
and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such
withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. . . .
Proud is tuphoo in Greek, meaning "to envelop with smoke", or figuratively to be full of hot air or to have an inflated ego; high-minded, or lifted up with pride. Pride (Gk. huperephanos in Romans 1:28-32) is a warped desire to control others or to be "lords over" them (1 Peter 5:3).
While I was a legalist I also sought and obtained leadership positions because I 'needed' to be in control so that I could attempt to keep from getting hurt, and I also sought to follow other legalistic leaders. Rules are easy to deal with, relationships aren't. Legalism and hierarchy are two sides of the same religious coin. True friendships don't exist within a hierarchy because there's always someone above you and below you; and even amidst the congregants there are levels of giftedness and usefulness. Religions are based upon fear of rejection; relationships are based upon acceptance.
Christians are commanded to "love one another". Love is agapao in Greek and means beloved, to accept or to welcome or to entertain. In a religion, one is accepted based upon adherence to the rules and submission to the hierarchy. In Jesus' Church, one is accepted based upon one's faith in one's acceptance by Jesus through the repentance and forgiveness of one's sins. The funny thing is, in order to reach the rule-oriented legalist, you use rules to bring them into loving relationships. If you just tell them they are being "unloving" toward others, they' won't listen. You have to point out a sin they are constantly committing (practicing) which is hurting others, and use the tough love of Mat. 18 to bring them to repentance and restoration to real relationships in the body. Relationships based upon knowing Jesus and one another, not based upon knowing about Jesus and about one another.
As a legalist I took a personality test and rated 99% hostile and dominant, but no one ever told me I was committing the sin of hatred. I was often contentious and quarrelsome, but not told I was committing the sin of variance. I had one dear young sister in Christ who, not yet having been religiously indoctrinated, pointed out a fault in me, and we have remained friends for years. Children are also great for pointing out our faults - is that the real reason we often segregate them from 'church'? Why do we disobey "confess faults (sins) to one another"? Practicing sin keeps one from inheriting God's kingdom. What are we thinking when we let brethren continue in a course toward hell? Maybe secretly we don't want a relationship with that person here or in eternity, but if they repent of that sin, Jesus will change them. "The Holy Spirit will reprove the world of sin," but God commanded His children to reprove one another (Heb. 3:12-14), even if that person's in leadership. Yes, you jeopardize your fellowship with those saints when you reprove a leader of sin (because he may kick you out of the man-made group), but do you want that leader to continue making "converts twice as fit for hell" as he is making himself.
Romans 1:28-32 "And even as they did not like to retain God
in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness,
fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder,
debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful,
proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without
understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable,
unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such
things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in
them that do them."
Retain is echo in Greek, meaning to have, to hold, or to possess.
Unrighteousness is adikia in Greek; meaning "not right"; iniquity, wrong, or injustice.
Wickedness is poneria in Greek; meaning depravity, malice, evil purposes and desires.
Maliciousness is kakia in Greek; meaning malignity, ill-will, desire to injure, or trouble.
Deceit is dolos in Greek; meaning craft, deceit, guile.
Malignity is kakoetheia in Greek; meaning "bad ethics", bad character, or depraved.
Whisperers is psithuristes in Greek; meaning charmer, secret slanderer, or detractor.
Backbiters is katalalos in Greek; meaning "speaks against", a defamer, or evil speaker.
Haters of God is theostuges in Greek; meaning hateful to God, or exceptionally wicked.
Despiteful is hubristes in Greek; meaning despiteful, injurious, insolent; one who, uplifted with pride, either heaps abusive language or shameful acts upon others.
Proud is huperephanos in Greek; meaning "think or appear above", haughty, controlling, despising or treating others with contempt.
Boasters is alazon in Greek; meaning an empty pretender, or a vagrant boaster.
Inventors of evil is epheuretes in Greek; meaning "found out by", or a contriver.
Disobedient (to parents) is apeithes in Greek; meaning not persuadable, or not compliant.
Without understanding is asunetos in Greek; meaning "no prudence", or foolish.
Covenantbreakers is asunthetos in Greek; meaning "no agreement", or faithless.
Without natural affection is astorgos in Greek; meaning "no affection".
Implacable is aspondos in Greek; meaning cannot be persuaded to make peace.
Without mercy is aneleemon in Greek; meaning merciless. These false leaders knew God, but are now in the business of suppressing the truth. Their wicked character is evident, yet other wicked people seek their approval because they are in positions of authority.
2 Thessalonians 3:2 "And that we may be delivered from unreasonable
and wicked men: for all men have not faith."
Unreasonable is atopos in Greek; meaning 'out of place', improper, amiss, injurious, wicked, or harmful.
Wicked is poneros in Greek; meaning hurtful, evil, calamitous, diseased, culpable, derelict, vicious, bad, grievous, or lewd.
2 Peter 2:14-22 "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot
cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised
with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right
way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor,
who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity:
the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through
the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean
escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they
themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome,
of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the
pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end
is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them
not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known
it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened
unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit
again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
Forsaken is kataleipo in Greek, meaning to leave behind or to abandon.
To turn is hupostrepho in Greek, meaning to turn back, or to return.
After knowing salvation through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they become entangled by the cares and sins of this world again like the wheat choked by weeds. Reprobates have made a decision to reject Jesus after having intimate fellowship with Him, and they can't be saved again. They have adulterated their faith and broken their vows to Jesus, and they can not become members of the Bride again. Yet these people are in positions of authority who promise freedom, but lead others into bondage with them.
Titus 1:10-16 "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
Jesus refers to the teachers of the law in similar fashion (See Mark 12:38-40 and Luke 20:46-47).
2 Timothy 3:1-8 "This know also, that in the last days perilous
times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,
boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent,
fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded,
lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are
they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins,
led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do
these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning
Reprobate is adokimos in Greek; meaning unapproved, unacceptable, rejected, or worthless.
They profess that they know God and they have a form of godliness, but they deny God's authority in word and deed. They might know the Bible and appear highly religious, but they no longer submit to Christ as their Lord and Savior. Not all people who exhibit one or more of these characteristics are false leaders, but they should be confronted with their sins. The key word is 'reprobate'. It is the same word translated as 'rejected' in Hebrews 6:8, referring to Christians who abandon their faith - apostates.
Apostates forsake their religion; reprobates not only forsake their religion but live outlandishly wicked lives. Apostasy is when a born-again, baptized, Spirit-filled, Bible reading, spiritual gift using Christian (see Hebrews 6:4-6) forsakes his/her relationship with Jesus (akin to divorce). Apostasy is not backsliding into sin for a season, but a willful choice to abandon God.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means:
for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first,
and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"
Falling away is apostasia in Greek; meaning defection from truth or to forsake.
Hebrews 6:4-8 "For it is impossible for those who were once
enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers
of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers
of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto
repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and
put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that
cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is
dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and
briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned."
Fall away is parapipto in Greek (literally "having fallen away" with no "if" in the text); meaning to fall aside or to apostatize. This word is only used in this one verse.
Renew is anakainizo in Greek; meaning "reverse to new" or restore.
Repentance is metanoia in Greek; meaning feel compunction, or reformation.
Rejected is adokimos in Greek; meaning "unapproved", worthless, castaway, or reprobate.
Cursing is katara in Greek; meaning "cursed against".
Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach
any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let
him be accursed."
Accursed is anathema in Greek; meaning ban, excommunicate, or accused. Paul says the labor involved in restoring those who have accepted false teaching is similar to that of bringing them to initial salvation (see Gal. 4:19 and 5:4). Those who have listened to the theologically apostate teachers have hope of salvation, but the apostate teachers do not.
Jude 1:11-15 "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way
of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished
in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when
they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without
water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit,
twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out
their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of
darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of
these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among
them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and
of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Judgment is krisis in Greek, meaning a separation, a trial, a decision given concerning anything especially right or wrong, a sentence of condemnation.
It is not up to us to take vengeance on false leaders before Christ returns. Jesus and the saints will execute judgment on the false leaders, who will then have a greater judgment filled with darkness and fire.
1 Timothy 5:24 "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after."
Luke 12:41-48 "Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou
this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is that
faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household,
to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant,
whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto
you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that
servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin
to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him,
and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will
appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew
his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his
will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did
commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For
unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom
men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
Steward is oikonomos in the Greek; meaning the manager of a household to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age; an overseer; the superintendent or treasurer of the city's finances.
Servant is doulos in the Greek; meaning a slave, bondsman, or man of servile condition; or metaphorically, one who gives himself up to another's will.
Ruler is kathistemi in the Greek; meaning to ordain, to appoint, or to set one over a thing.
Portion is meros in the Greek; meaning part, portion, lot, or destiny.
Unbelievers is apistos in the Greek; meaning unfaithful, faithless, not to be trusted, perfidious; incredible, unbelieving, incredulous, or without trust.
Worthy is axios in the Greek; meaning weighing, worth as much; befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing; of one who has merited anything worthy, both in a good and a bad sense.
Jesus answers Peter's question by using the word "steward"; thus applying this, and the previous, parable to all those to whom Jesus has entrusted the care of people and possessions. In Matthew's parallel recitation of this parable it is clear that these apostate actors (hypocrites) will be sent to hell. "And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites (apistos): there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:51)." Even for those in hell, God continues to show Himself just. As a parent asks a child if the offense was "accidental" or "on purpose", if they "forgot the rules" or "willfully disobeyed the rules", and the parent adjusts the punishment accordingly; so God will adjust punishment in hell according to an abusive steward's knowledge of God's will. This parable might be incorrectly construed to imply a place of purgatory because of the different degrees of punishment, but the parable never mentions the apostates leaving.
Read Matthew 23:1-33
v2 "Pharisees sit in Moses' seat", assuming his authority, and demanding similar respect and obedience which they don't deserve.
v3 "for they say, and do not." They don't practice what they preach.
v4 They burden the people with legalism.
v5 "But all their works they do for to be seen of men." They are hypocrites.
v6 "And love . . . the chief seats in the synagogues," Some churches have unwisely adopted the policy to seat the leaders above the other members (James 2:1-4).
v7 "to be called of men, Rabbi" Run from anyone demanding to be called apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or any other title.
8-10 Jesus explains that only God is to be exalted; and we are brethren.
v11 "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
v12 "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
v13 "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" They aren't going to heaven, and they block the way of those who would.
v14 "Woe hypocrites! . . . ye shall receive the greater damnation."
v15 "Woe hypocrites! . . . ye child of hell"
v16-22 "Woe blind guides" who don't recognize it is God's presence which sanctifies the temple and the gifts offered therein.
v23-24 "Woe hypocrites!" who legalistically tithe spices (the only time Jesus mentions tithes) but omit the rest of the Law: judgment, mercy, and faith.
v25-28 "Woe hypocrites!" who put on an outward showing of righteousness without first being cleansed within.
v29-32 "Woe hypocrites!" who say you would not have killed the prophets, yet you are truly the offspring of those who did.
v33 "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Answer: they won't. Jesus was not a member of the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, yet he boldly confronted them. He is our example of how to confront hypocritical leadership in the church. Even though Jesus was sinless, they accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard by association, and of being insane and demon-possessed. If we are standing against lies with the truth, we should expect all our sins to be paraded before us as well as false accusations. We must be assured of our forgiveness and boldly confront the hypocrisy of false leaders.
John 18:19-24 "The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest."
Telling hypocrites the truth may result in physical blows. Jesus did not offer the other cheek, but demanded justification of the unwarranted act. Jesus remains cool and in control.
1 John 4:1-6 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try
the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone
out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that
confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every
spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not
of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that
it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God,
little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is
in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore
speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he
that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby
know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."
Try is dokimazo in Greek, meaning to test, to examine, to prove, to scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), to approve, or to deem worthy.
Jesus is fully God and He became fully human. There was a sect at this time which did not believe Jesus was a physical man, because they attributed sin to everything physical. We still have such cults with us. John told us not to readily believe everyone, but to examine the character and the doctrine. John clearly labeled those with this false teaching as "that of the spirit of antichrist".
Hebrews 5:12-14 "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of
the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of
strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of
righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that
are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil."
Senses is aistheterion in Greek, meaning an organ of perception.
Discern is diakrisis in Greek, meaning distinguishing, discerning, or judging.
It's time for older Christians to grow up and pray and study for themselves to find out what they believe. The Holy Spirit longs to lead us into all truth, but we have to avail ourselves and practice perceiving good and evil. Teachers should instruct new converts in foundational truths (see Hebrews 6:1-2), and help them to develop personal prayer and Bible study habits, and train them in using available Bible study aides (concordances, lexicons, atlases, dictionaries, commentaries, etc.). Instead of telling people what to believe, teachers should instruct believers in how to strengthen the faith they already possess. But even if there are no such teachers available, we are commanded to build our faith.
Jude 1:20-23 "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on
your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the
love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal
life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save
with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted
by the flesh."
Making a difference is diakrino in Greek; meaning separate thoroughly, withdraw, oppose, discriminate, hesitate, contend, make to differ, discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger or waver.
Jude tells us how to prepare ourselves to deal with false teachers and prophets: pray in tongues, which builds up your faith (1 Cor. 14:4); abide in God's love (See John 15); and look towards God's mercy (See James 2:12-13). Then with mercy we can discern those false teachers who might yet repent if we admonish them; but if they refuse, we must excommunicate them.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 "Let a man so account of us, as of the
ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it
is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
Stewards is oikonomos in Greek, meaning the manager of household affairs; metaphorically, the apostles and other Christian teachers and overseers.
Faithful is pistos in Greek, meaning trustworthy; used of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties. One that can be relied on or easily persuaded, or one who is convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead.
2 Timothy 3:13-16 "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse
and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things
which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou
hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is
in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
Assured of is pistoo in Greek, meaning to make faithful, to render trustworthy; to make firm, to establish, or to be firmly persuaded of.
To avoid deception we are to continue in the assurance of our salvation through scripture study and full knowledge of those who teach us. Timothy was trained by his mother and grandmother, but not everyone has such a wonderful heritage on which to rely, so we must scrutinize our Bible teachers.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 "For the time will come when they will not
endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from
the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things,
endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy
Watch is nepho in Greek; meaning be sober or watchful.
Endure afflictions is kakopatheo in Greek; meaning undergo hardship, suffer evil, or suffer trouble.
Make full proof of is plerophoreo in Greek; meaning fulfill or entirely accomplish.
Sharing your faith with others helps clarify your own beliefs. Your testimony reminds you of God's love and grace toward you. As a witness, just testify what you have seen God do in your life. Others' questions might get you searching through the Bible for answers.
1 Peter 5:1-5 "The elders which are among you I exhort, who
am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a
partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which
is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;
not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over
God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd
shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise,
ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject
one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud,
and giveth grace to the humble.
Feed is poimaino in Greek, meaning to tend as a shepherd.
Ensample is tupos in Greek, meaning 'type', a sampler, a stamp or model; fashion, figure, form, manner, pattern, or print.
Be subject is hupotasso in Greek, meaning to arrange under, to subordinate, to submit to one's control, or to yield to one's admonition or advice. It's a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader." In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
Though earthly shepherds must shear their sheep, spiritual shepherds are only commanded to feed and watch over the sheep, and to lead by example. When leaders are servants recognized by the body as being good overseers according to the characteristics for qualification in 1 Tim. 3, legalistic, authoritative leadership can be avoided. If a recognized leader's character later falls short of the qualifications, he should be given a 'sabbatical' of sorts to renew his spirit.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 "This is a true saying, If a man desire the
office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless,
the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality,
apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;
but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own
house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man
know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church
of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the
condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them
which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
Blameless is anepileptos in Greek, meaning not apprehended (not a convict), that cannot be laid hold of, that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure.
Vigilant is nephaleos in Greek, meaning sober, or figuratively, circumspect.
Sober is sophron in Greek, meaning of a sound mind, sane, curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, or temperate.
Good behavior is kosmios in Greek, meaning well arranged, seemly, modest.
Given to hospitality is philoxenos in Greek, meaning hospitable, generous to guests.
Apt to teach is didaktikos in Greek, meaning skillful in teaching.
Given to wine is paroinos in Greek, meaning drunken.
Striker is plektes in Greek, meaning bruiser, ready for a blow; a pugnacious, contentious, quarrelsome person.
Greedy of filthy lucre is aischrokerdes in Greek, meaning eager for base gain, or greedy for money.
Patient is epieikes in Greek, meaning suitable equitable, fair, mild, or gentle.
Not a brawler is amachos in Greek, meaning not to be withstood, not contentious.
Not covetous is aphilarguros in Greek, meaning not loving money, not avaricious.
One that ruleth is proistemi in Greek, meaning to stand before, to preside.
Well is kalos in Greek, meaning morally well, honestly, or fully.
Subjection is hupotage in Greek, meaning subordination.
Gravity is semnotes in Greek, meaning honor or purity; the characteristic of a person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty, or sanctity.
Novice is neophutos in Greek, meaning newly-planted, a new convert, a neophyte (one who has recently become a Christian).
Report is marturia in Greek, meaning a testifying, or testimony. The list continues into deacons and how servants should be tested.
Titus 1:5-9 "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou
shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in
every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of
one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a
bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon
angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a
lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able
by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
Self-willed is authades in Greek, meaning self-pleasing, or arrogant.
Soon angry is orgilos in Greek, meaning prone to anger or irascible.
A lover of good (men is inserted) is philagathos in Greek, meaning loving goodness.
Just is dikaios in Greek, meaning equitable, innocent, holy or righteous.
Holy is hosios in Greek, meaning undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, pure or pious.
Temperate is egkrates in Greek, meaning strong, robust, self-controlled.
Gainsayers is antilego in Greek, meaning to speak against or to contradict.
Not only must the leaders have impeccable character, but they must have devote faith and ability to exhort and convince those who contradict the faith.
It is not unloving to rejoice in the fact that false religious leaders, who do not repent, will experience the fullness of God's judgment and wrath in Hell. What is unloving is to not fully expose false religious leaders by name in order to protect others from joining them in Hell.
1 Corinthians 1:11 "For it hath been declared unto me of
you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are
contentions among you."
Contentions is eris in Greek, meaning a quarrel, wrangling, debate, strife, or variance.
1 Timothy 1:19-20 "Holding faith, and a good conscience;
which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom
is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they
may learn not to blaspheme."
Blaspheme is blasphemeo in Greek, meaning to speak reproachfully, to rail at, to revile, or to be evil spoken of.
2 Timothy 1:15 "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes."
2 Timothy 4:14-15 "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words."
Paul named false leaders to warn the brethren, and we should do likewise.
Romans 16:17-20 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which
cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;
and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ,
but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts
of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad
therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which
is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise
Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with
Mark is skopeo in Greek; meaning 'scope out', to take aim at, spy, regard, consider, take heed, or look at.
Offenses is skandalon in Greek; meaning "trap-stick", snare, cause to sin, occasion to fall, or stumblingblock.
Avoid is ekklino in Greek; meaning "decline", deviate, shun, or eschew.
Simple is akakos not bad, innocent, unsuspecting, or harmless.
False leaders often prey upon the innocent and unsuspecting; therefore we must become wise unto God's goodness, then we will not accept evil wrapped in religious garb. We are commanded to look out for wolves in sheep's clothing and avoid them.
2 John 7-10 "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:"
Personally, I do not allow Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses into my home, but I will refute their beliefs on the doorstep. I do not say, "God, bless you" as they leave; but instead I pray God will bring them to a knowledge of the truth, and keep them from spreading lies. But it takes greater discernment to recognize a false "brother".
1 Timothy 5:22 "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure."
In other words, don't quickly set apart someone for the Lord's service (See Acts 13:2-3), and thus become a partner of his/her sins in ministry.
1 Timothy 6:5 "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
2 Timothy 2:16-18 "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."
Since Paul discusses false teachers before and after his vessel analogy, I believe he's telling Timothy to purge God's great church of false teachers like Hymenaeus and Philetus. The church is told to turn away from such people, and by cleansing themselves of their false teachings, they will be prepared for more noble uses.
Titus 3:9-11 "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies,
and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable
and vain. A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition
reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned
Heretic is hairetikos in Greek; meaning "one who chooses", or schismatic.
Admonition is nouthesia in Greek; meaning to rebuke or warn.
Reject is paraiteomai in Greek; meaning "require beyond", shun, avoid, or refuse.
Someone espousing false doctrine gets two warnings from the leader to stop teaching it to others. A third strike and he's out.
James said that teachers will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). In Matthew 12:36 Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees, says men will be judged for every idle (non-working, ineffectual, careless) word they utter. This is preceded with warnings of speaking against the Holy Spirit.
 George MacDonald, (Compiled and edited by Michael R. Philips) Discovering the Character of God. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1989, pp. 123-124.
© 1997 L. Eve Engelbrite