Monday, March 12, 2007

Beware of Creeps!

At the end of this week I have the privilege of attending the 2007 Ligonier National Conference in Orlando. The theme for this year is "Contending for the Truth". In preparation I read Jude this morning and was once again sobered by verses 3 and 4-

Jude 1:3-4 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

What do you think of Jude's statement "certain people have crept in unnoticed"? Does it make you look around the church on Sunday? Does it make you feel like the disciples when Jesus alerted them to a traitor in their midst at the Last Supper? To describe someone as "creeping in" shows their sinister intents. It also reveals their sneakiness. If they creep in, chances are, you won't know they're among you until they're already doing their polluting work.

The picture of "creeping in" reminds me of something:

Shari and I were engaged to be married two months after my college graduation. Shari went back to Kansas, I went to western New York to work for two months before moving to Wichita. This meant Shari had to find us an apartment. Not having a job yet, I told her to get the cheapest place she could find. She looked at a couple different places then called be back- it’s between The Cedar Lake Apartments and the Oliver Square Apartments. She started telling me the various differences between the two places, I hurried her through the explanations and asked her the price. She said one was $295 per month, the other was $265, of course, I told her, take the one for $265. She did as I asked. I moved in after driving 1100 miles with all I owned in an 83 Dodge Omni. Shari had already cleaned the place thoroughly. The place was spotless. For the first month or so, as I lived there alone, I thought it to be just the perfect first apartment. We were married on July 31 and Shari moved in. Shortly after moving in I remember seeing something running straight up the wall from across the room. I had seen spiders in New York, but this wasn’t a spider. A few mornings later I remember turning on the light in the kitchen and saw something or things scatter over the counter and out of sight. One day, we were eating dinner and something caught my eye. As I looked at our microwave the digital readout was obscured, almost like it was blinking with an irregular blink. As I got closer I saw that a cockroach had crawled in to our microwave and was actually in the digital readout! As the weeks progressed Shari and I realized that we were being overtaken by cockroaches. You’d see them on the walls, coming out of the VCR, scurrying about the toaster. On the stove top. When you would open the cupboard to get a dish, you would see cockroaches scurry off the plate you were just about to eat off. Shari had not seen them growing up in her home and neither had I. If you know my wife, cleanliness is not a problem. Where were these nasty creatures coming from? As we complained to the management it was explained to us that shortly before we came our apartment was treated. We were one apartment of 6 on our side of the building. No matter how clean you keep the place, cockroaches from other apartments with different standards of cleanliness would eventually migrate through the walls and in to your apartment. They would creep in. If you saw one, you could be sure there were 100 more creeping around about you! We were literally run out of that apartment and in to a different one. The little creeps had crept in unnoticed and taken over.

Jude's words still hold true for us today. We must be aware of false teachers creeping in to the church and leading the brethren astray. It's not always outright denial of the gospel but rather subtle shifts in focus that lead astray. A church could look "evangelical" but be taken over by false teaching overrun by creeps. I'm not pointing fingers, I should be subject to such scrutiny as well. If my words do not align with the Scriptures, beware- I might be a creep.


Frontier Forest said...

The apostasy spoken of in Jude, should be a stark reminder for all who would dare call themselves evangelicals. Among other descriptions, a true evangelical is one who will boldly and openly testifies to the virtues of, “standing for truth!”.. A great statement in itself. But what is truth?…. And truth in what?
When selfish men and women get their hands on religion, one of the first things they often do is to turn their thinking towards self-seeking instruments, finding new and creative ways to corrupt and control others.
Many of these same so called
“evangelicals” tout “truth,” but willingly open any dark-door, gnawing for answers to the worlds “creep” questions. Truth espoused by liberal pastors, means “truth” is always subjective. Thus, leaving the weak or ignorant to answer with words already influenced and controlled. And on the other hand, “truth” advocated at many a seminary has left the once “on-fire” young zealot to question its very meaning.
And we must acknowledge, the heresy of many “evangelical” preachers that stand firm for truth, preaching the Word of Truth, but then live a lie that completely “creeps” and contradicts their every self-absorbed, flesh-controlled thought, word and deed?

Reading Pastor Tony’s timely blog takes me immediately to Paul’s stern, furiously rebuking reminder to the zealous religious leaders in the Church of Galatia. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting HIM who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another, only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed!!… For am I seeking favor of men or of God? Or am I striving to please men? … For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel that was preached by me is not according to man.” (Galatians 6-11)

No unexposed “creeps” where Paul was pasturing! Tall words that lead us to this clean and didactic conclusion! “Sanctify them in truth; THY WORD is truth”! (John 17:17)

Kampfgruppe Hoppa said...

As usual Pastor T's spot on. I know this because I, like the Bereans (I think I'm related through marriage or something), check his facts out in light of Scripture. Also, the Barbarians at the gates were able to get inside the walls because the folks gave them the keys. In otherwords, Rome collapsed from within. By-the-by, my Frau and I usually make the annual Ligonier conference. This year Uncle Sam wouldn't give me the time off to attend. He has got to sort out His priorities!!! Anyway, I just pre-ordered the conference DVDs. Next best thing.