May 7th, 2012

Be careful whom you listen to! Galatians 5:7-9

Galatians 5:7–8

You were doing so well until someone talked you out of obeying the truth. This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.

We must always be careful who we listen to. Over the years my wife and I have spent countless hours correcting strange beliefs held by immature Christians.

Note carefully, I do not see any hint here that Paul is calling these people heathens. What he is saying is that the result of their teaching has had a drastic effect on the lives of the Galatians.

What is a heretic?

Dictionary.com says that a heretic is:

a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.

Is Paul saying these Jews are heretics?

We were watching a man on the TV last night. He has a huge reputation in the worldwide church at the moment—and a huge church. This is the second time I’ve heard him preach. He never talks about Jesus, but warm fuzzy social and psychological things. He doesn’t work for me, but I’d never recommend him to a hurting person.

Another preacher we’ve seen a lot of lately really only talks about money and prosperity. He also never talks about Jesus or walking in the Spirit. His focus is in following spiritual principles to get money for the kingdom (and yourself).

Are these two men heretics? Probably not, but I certainly am careful and usually turn them off. They are not edifying to me.

Galatians 5:9

This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. [NLT]

We need to be careful about allowing little things to enter and take over our faith. In the years I have been walking with the Lord there have been many of these little things that grew out of all proportion. The headship/submission group in the late 1970s turned some church leadership into dictatorial overlords. The name it and claim it group slipped into blab it and grab it methods of self aggrandizement. The healing power of laughter became a rigid worship style.

All of these things have truth in them, but were taken too far. It will do you good to remember Paul’s little definition of Christian maturity in Ephesians.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. [Ephesians 4:14 NLT]

The key is bible study and filling your mind with scripture. You also need to find mature leaders and trusted Christian friends who are more mature than you are.

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