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I sat in class one Sunday and thought the pastor was kidding, then I realized he was totally serious. As he proceeded to recount how he always felt “used” by people when he does something as a favor to them, he concluded that you cannot give to people without requiring something from them, “or else they will not appreciate it from you.” I thought at the onset of this discussion, “…exactly where is that taught in scripture?” As I pondered that false doctrine, I recalled how Jesus did all that he did for me without anything required in return from me. Scripture teaches we are to mimic Christ. I glanced at other class members faces realizing for the most part they were clueless to the fact they were being deceived with false teaching here. The bigger issue was that these students had such a lack of discernment and little personal knowledge of Scripture and theology.
That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Matt 5:39-42 (KJV)
Scripture is clear that our (i.e. the Christian’s) mission in life is the Glory of God and the making of disciples. We are promised tribulation; we are promised we will be persecuted.
In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (RSV)
We are not here on this planet to “be blessed” and live in mansions and drive the most expensive cars. And if we are wronged by someone, we are to go the extra mile in blessing them, not try and find ways to get even.
False Teachers come in many forms and are very prominent these days. Consider this prophecy:
But false prophets also arose AMONG THE PEOPLE, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.
2 Peter 2:1-3 (RSV)
We live in a society permeated with false “biblical” teachings. Some of this is very obvious to even a casual student of Scripture (Joel Olstean (prosperity gospel) and Rob Bell (neo-orthodoxy), for example). Other false teachers are more subtle, like those teaching such things as this topic and those taking disputable points of scripture and forming and teaching them as absolutes of the faith.
Scripture tells us to “…test everything; hold fast what is good” 1 Thess 5:21 (RSV). So, when you encounter a teacher who is teaching something contrary to scripture, such as this pastors statement (which is an example of the most subtle forms), it is to be tested against scripture, and if it does not conform to that test, discard it. Scripture teaches that I am to be a steward of my possessions. They are not mine. If someone wants my coat, I am to give them my cloak also. If someone asks of me to go a mile with them, I am to go instead two ( wince the saying going the extra mile). If someone wishes to borrow from me, (if I am in a position to do so) I am not to turn away. Scripture does not teach that if God has blessed me to live in a mansion and have extra cars, I am to sell of my excess to those in need. No, I am to give freely to those in need.
Notice that the false teachers did not come into the congregation in 2 Peter; they arose from within their ranks. The dangers to Christianity are seldom external, most of the time the damage is done from within.
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