John 8:31-32 So, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Freedom comes from knowing the truth, and that comes from abiding in relationship with the truth of His written word. It does not come from abiding in the teachings of men, the sermons of men, the doctrines of men, the interpretations of men, the latest revelations of our favorite bible teachers, or any other way that seems right to man. (Proverbs 14:12) This only comes from personal, intimate relationship with the Father and constant exposure to the His written word.
Listening to other teachers is important, but this should be a supplement to our own personal pursuit of God through His written word. Through reading, study, and meditation on the Bible for ourselves, we consume the unleavened bread of Christ, the pure living word. If we primarily listen to others teach about the Bible and read very little ourselves, its like taking vitamins and supplements and eating almost no real food. This is not healthy.
We MUST pursue Him through His word for ourselves.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
The time isn’t coming folks, the time is NOW!
We have become the church with the itchy ears. Consider this; There are over 200 Christian denominations in the U.S.A. alone and we are all arrogant enough to believe we have it right. The lack of humility is mind boggling.
It is very easy to slip into an itchy eared mindset. All we have to do is pick all the scriptures, teachers and doctrines that makes us happy, and gravitate toward those while neglecting the ones that challenge us and demand change. How do I know? I have been guilty more than most I think.
Consider this; It only takes a slow reader approximately 90 hours to read the Bible from cover to cover, and yet few Christians have ever read the entire Bible, even leaders in the Church that have been saved for decades. Furthermore, it only takes about 75 hours to listen to the Bible by audio recording. Currently we have resources available like Biblegateway that we can read, or listen to God’s word in almost any translation we choose and in multiple languages as well.
This reveals how little we read the word, how little we esteem the word, and much we trust in the opinions of men and allow them to spoon-feed us their opinions. We are in a very dangerous season in the history of the Church. The end of this age is upon us and we don’t have a clue who we are, what we believe. or why we believe it.
I know there are men and women of God that have not fallen into this deception, but I would venture to say that they are very few. It is time that these few stand up and begin to lead others into a relationship with the Father that births a hunger and desire for the manifestation of the kingdom of God and the truth of His word.
The Parable of Revealed Light
Luke 8:16-18 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
Most of us are familiar with the first part of this parable, but verse 18 has the word “Therefore” that ties hiding the light that is in us with how, and what we hear. When we are constantly exposed to wrong doctrine, the result is that strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing increase, (we get more added) and our light gets progressively hidden. (what we seem to have is taken away) No one intentionally does this, it comes from the deception of the enemy and catering to selfish desires.
We must all ask ourselves this question; What is the primary way that I learn about God and His word? Through the teachings of other believers, (leavened bread) or through reading and listening to the Bible for ourselves? (unleavened bread)
Only by the sharpness of the living word can we rightly discern and divide truth. If we avoid the portions of God’s word that cuts, pierces, prunes and separates, we quickly slip into error and deception. Our light gets hidden and our witness to the world becomes diminished.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Many would say, “It is hard to read the Bible, I don’t understand it.” I would say to those people, “walking and talking was hard too, until we learned how to do it. Now it comes natural.” Our pastors, or favorite teachers cannot walk or talk for us. Neither can they feed us anything more than leavened bread. We need the unleavened bread, and the sincere milk of God’s word. and we need to learn to feed ourselves.
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Notice that Peter said, “as new born babes?” He isn’t pointing out baby Christians, he is saying that our hunger and desire for the word of God should be like an infant that cries for the life giving milk every few hours. Mature and immature Christians alike.
Ask yourself, “what am I hungry for? Am I hungry for God’s holy word, or for the latest preaching and teaching from my favorite ministers?” They are not even close to being the same.
Matthew 23:9-10 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
That may seem to be a contradiction since the Lord Jesus himself gave us teachers in the form of the “five-fold ministry gifts” mentioned in Ephesians 4, but it is not. All of the five-fold ministry gifts have one purpose, to equip the saints for the work of ministry. All five teach and equip in different ways, but those teachings must be filtered through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and our personal relationship with God and His written word.
1 John 2:26-27 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
The Lord showed me recently that if we abide in wrong doctrine, even out of ignorance, we partner with the adversary, building strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing in our own hearts and minds. We actually assist the enemy in his plan of deception by building the strongholds that bind us. Unfortunately, its an evil deception that most of us fall for at one time or another.
These strongholds are not just reinforced belief systems, they are encampments in our own minds that the enemy hides behind. As we speak about, and act on the things we believe we reveal to Satan the best strategies to keep us in our deception. One of the ways he does this is to keep us running in the same circle of believers and despising the beliefs of other denominations. Denominational divisions were never God’s plan, and now they are an effective tool that the enemy uses against us.
To be truly free, we must be very selective about what we are hearing and what are we beholding, who we are listening to, and how much we are doing it. Without the filter of our own personal relationship with God and His word, we lack the ability to properly discern sound doctrine. Truth becomes obscured with the leaven of religious doctrine that appeases the carnal mind and satisfies our selfish desires. Self is the very thing we need to be freed from and freedom from self will not come until we die to it by renewing our minds to the holiness of God’s word.
Again, are we really abiding in His word or just reading the latest books and listening to the latest sermons? Do we really desire the sincere milk of the word, or do we lust for the leaven of a self serving gospel that doesn’t challenge us or strengthen us for trials and testing?
Our itchy ears, and the lust for leavened bread binds us and blinds us from truth. There is a reason the apostle James wrote, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment..” (James 3:1)
Let us abide in His word, seek Him when no one is looking, cultivate a hunger for the sincere milk of God’s word and become everything the blood of Christ has paid for us to be.
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