Truth For Today

RESPONDING TO FALSE PROPHETS

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
~ MATTHEW 7:15

In Jude’s brief letter to believers, the apostle firmly warns against false prophets and tells us how to respond to them. “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). Our primary response to false teaching is simply to be right with God in the first place, to make sure we are in fellowship with Him and receiving His blessing and power. Then we can “have mercy on some, who are doubting” (v. 22, NASB)—believers who doubt their faith because of false teachers need reassurance.

Another necessary response might be to “save others, snatching them out of the fire” (v. 23, NASB)— unbelievers bound for hell after hearing false teaching need to be rescued before it’s too late.

Finally, Jude tells about a third response to false prophets: “On some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (v. 23, NASB). We sometimes must confront false prophets and their followers, doing so with a special dependence on the Lord and being careful not to get contaminated by their false teachings.

Truth for Today

DISCIPLESHIP IS SERIOUS

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost.
~ LUKE 14:28

You can pay nothing to earn salvation; yet living for Christ is a serious matter of discipleship. To be a Christian means to rely on Christ’s power rather than your own and to be willing to forsake your way for His. Being a Christian can mean facing persecution, ridicule, and tribulation. Jesus forewarned the disciples, “‘If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you’” (John 15:20).

But with His warning about the cost of discipleship, the Lord promised that your heart would rejoice “‘and your joy no one will take from you’” (John 16:22). And He also told His followers to “‘be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’” (16:33). You won’t escape the difficulties of discipleship, but Jesus will enable you to handle them.

Truth for Today

THE REPENTANT LIFE

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 
~ JAMES 2:17

If you have turned away from your sins and turned toward God’s way of righteousness, you will live a changed life. The theme of 1 John is that the truly redeemed person will demonstrate a truly transformed life. “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:5–6).

Those who teach that repentance and the repentant lifestyle aren’t a necessary part of the gospel are not presenting the gospel Jesus offered. Such a gospel of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness is from the world, not God.

Truth for Today

CHILDLIKE DEPENDENCY 

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

~ MATTHEW 18:3

When speaking of genuine salvation, Jesus made an apt comparison to the characteristics of young children. To be saved, you must come to Christ with the dependent attitude and outlook of a little child: simple, helpless, trusting, unaffected, unpretentious, and unambitious. 

It’s not that children are without sin, but that they are naïve and unassuming, dependent on others and free from selfish claims to grandeur. They submit to the care of their parents and other loved ones, relying on them to meet all their needs. That’s the kind of humble and dependent attitude anyone must have who seeks to enter the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Truth For Today

BROTHERLY LOVE

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. 
~ ROMANS 12:10

Brotherly love reflects the nature of Christians. That’s why Paul doesn’t hesitate to remind believers to practice that virtue, “Concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thess. 4:9).

The true disciple of Jesus knows intuitively he should love his brothers and sisters in Christ. Because they have the same heavenly Father, love among believers is as normal as the affection between members of a family. If you are a true disciple, such love will be true of you.

Truth For Today

THE VALUE OF SELF-DISCIPLINE

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.
[1 CORINTHIANS 9 : 26]

Today’s culture is obsessed with entertainment, sports, materialism, and emotional gratification. In fact, those excessive preoccupations have become the marks of our shallow, amoral, and often immoral society. 

A century ago President Theodore Roosevelt essentially predicted those results when he said that prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich theory of life would eventually destroy America.

One sure antidote to such a lifestyle is the self-discipline evidenced in the genuine Christian life. Your spiritual guidance and power come from the Lord, but you need self-discipline if He is to work effectively through you.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). Ask God to make that true for you.

Truth For Today

RIGHTEOUS ANGER

Be angry, and do not sin. PHESIANS 4:26

You might be surprised to hear that there is such a thing as righteous anger—that is, being angry over what grieves God and hinders His causes. But we are not to be so angry that it results in sin.

Don’t be angry for your own causes. Don’t get angry when people offend you. And don’t let your anger degenerate into personal resentment, bitterness, sullenness, or moodiness. That is forbidden. The only justifiable anger defends the great, glorious, and holy nature of our God.

Anger that is selfish, passionate, undisciplined, and uncontrolled is sinful, useless, and hurtful. It must be banished from the Christian life. But the disciplined anger that seeks the righteousness of God is pure, selfless, and dynamic. We ought to be angry about the sin in the world and in the church. But we can’t let that anger degenerate into sin.