30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM

Clarksville church of Christ

October 31, 1999

Speaker: Richie Thetford

"Beware of False Prophets"

Good morning and once again we welcome you to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" here on WAVG radio. I'm Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ saying thank you for giving me the opportunity to come into your home this morning as we once again study together the gospel of Christ. Before I get started in today's lesson, I want to tell you how excited we are this morning to begin our gospel meeting with Oliver Murray. Our dear brother in Christ will begin a week long gospel meeting, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ beginning today through this coming Friday night. In just one hour from now, at 9:30 AM, we will have Bible class in which brother Murray will be teaching and then he will deliver his first gospel message of the week beginning at 10:30 during the worship assembly. This afternoon at 2:30 PM we will have congregational singing for approximately 45 minutes and then brother Murray will preach again. We at the Clarksville church have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Oliver Murray, looking forward to hearing him preach the gospel of Christ in simplicity and in truth. I want to encourage all of you in the listening audience this morning to come and listen to this outstanding soldier of Christ as he proclaims the truth of God's Word. If you truly desire to know What Is Truth, then you will want to come so you can find out. Who knows, this may be your last opportunity in this life to be able to avail yourself of this chance to hear the gospel, believe the gospel, and then be baptized for forgiveness of sins. In addition to today's service times, brother Murray will be preaching this week each night beginning at 7:30 PM. Won't you please come and hear the greatest news of all?

During this week long gospel meeting we will be receiving nothing but the truth of God's Word. There won't be any creed books, Manuals, or any other books used to teach what one must do in order to be saved or accepted into a particular church. Everything that we need to know in order to be saved, and to be added to the Lord's church will be taught from the only inspired book there is, the Bible. This is the book that answers the question, "What must I do to be saved?" This is the book that gives the Christian the answers in how to live their life in service to God. This is the book that gives us the deep abiding faith that we need to have in Jesus.

The message of the hour today is concerning the fact that we need to be aware of false prophets. Jesus said, ..."Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matt. 24:4-5). Friends, that is the Lord Jesus Christ talking, and I want to underline the word "many". Notice, he said, MANY shall-come and deceive. The thought suggested, and it will stand out in this discussion, is that there will be more deceivers and more people deceived than there are true preachers and true worshipers. But, turning over to 1 John 4:1, we have this from the disciple whom Jesus loved, "Beloved, believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Again, we note the word MANY. John said, MANY false prophets are gone out into the world. Now, putting the two statements together, we find there are many false prophets in the world and they are here to deceive. And this thought just naturally presents itself. If many false prophets are in the world and are here to deceive, then many will no doubt be deceived. Well friends, that is exactly the truth about the matter. Today, more than ever we can see the absolute truth in what Jesus and John stated many years ago. As it applied then, it certainly applies more than ever today. One just has to look at the many, many religions in the world today and know that somebody is not telling the truth. The fact is, most everybody (MANY), are not telling the truth!

Jesus declared, in the passage of Matthew 24:4-5, that when these deceivers should come many would be deceived. The exact quotation again is, "take heed that no man deceive you, for many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ, AND SHALL DECEIVE MANY." Previous to that time the Savior had declared that a few would find the narrow way while MANY would go in at the wide gate. Now listen to the very words of our Lord in Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

We are not surprised nor discouraged, therefore, when, while one comes to a knowledge of the truth, many espouse a false doctrine. That is just exactly the way the Lord said it would be. Moreover, the Apostle Peter has given us something along this line. He stated, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and shall bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Pet. 2:1). Thus Peter joins Jesus and John in warning against false teachers. And he declares, in the next verse, that "many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." Did you notice that word "many" again? Many people will be led astray by false teachers. And Peter, here, really gets to the bottom of a very sorry business. He said that when people would follow the pernicious ways of a false teacher, that the way of truth would be evil spoken of. The thought expressed here is this; that when a few preach the way of truth many will preach a false doctrine concerning it, and then the false teachers and the ones they deceive will speak evil of the way of truth.

Now, here is the way that thing works. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7: 21). If we have faith in the son of God, we will agree that the way of truth on entering the kingdom is to do THE WILL OF GOD. Now I would like to encourage you to open your Bible to the book of Revelation, the very last book in the Bible. Look there at chapter 22, verse 14. Pay attention now to exactly what it says, we read: "blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Now friends, I don't know where you stand religiously, but if you are honest with yourself, you just KNOW that you can' t misunderstand these passages. To enter the kingdom, we must do the will of the Father in heaven. Jesus said it, and it is the WAY OF TRUTH. And, to enter the city, or to enter into heaven itself, at last, we must DO THE COMMANDMENTS. The angel had John to declare it, in Rev. 22, therefore it is the WAY OF TRUTH. But, many false prophets are in the world and they will naturally say, "now you can enter into the kingdom without doing anything." In other words, they will deceive the people. Of course, one is deceived when he permits somebody to convince him that he doesn't have to do what the Lord said for him to do. And sure enough, once they are deceived, they begin to speak evil of the way of truth. They speak evil of doing the will of God that we may enter into the kingdom. They speak evil of doing the commandments that we may enter in through the gates into the city.

Several months ago, before I moved to this area, in looking over a local newspaper, I was attracted by a large "ad" by one of the denominational preachers in which he had announced his sermon subjects for the next day. He was going co preach on THE DAMNABLE DOCTRINE OF DOING. To say that caught my attention was an understatement. Especially in light of what I have already expressed this morning which is based solely on what I have read from the Bible. Our Lord Jesus Himself said one must do the will of God to enter into the kingdom of heaven. But to this preacher who announced his sermon title in the paper, "doing the will of God" is a damnable thing. John said "do the commandments". But John was preaching a damnable doctrine, according to this preacher. This man wasn't satisfied just to deceive the people. He wanted to speak evil of the way of truth. Peter said he would, and he did. He said it was a damnable doctrine. He was one of these "you can't do anything to be saved, and then you can't do anything to be lost" preachers. They are noted for their ability and willingness for speaking evil of the way of truth. It is simply amazing sometimes how people will speak evil of the way of truth and just as amazing to see the numbers of people that will believe all these lies. Friends, if you can't read in the Bible and cite book, chapter, and verse for what you believe and are taught, then it is not truth. You are being led astray by a false teacher.

I want to further to emphasize this speaking evil of the truth by calling attention to the subject of baptism. The Bible clearly states that one must be baptized in order to be saved. Yet many, and again I say many preachers say you don't have to be baptized to be saved. Where did they get that from? Did they get it from the Bible? They most certainly did not get it from the Bible. The Bible does not teach that man is saved short of being baptized. But at the moment I am interested in letting you know about this business of speaking evil of the way of truth. Let us forget for a few minutes this morning whether you do or don't have to be baptized in order to be saved. I want to call attention to what happens when we are baptized, and then show you how some people speak evil of it. Paul said, in Rom. 6:4, that we are "buried with our Lord in baptism" . He repeated that statement in Col. 2:12, when, speaking of Christ, he said, "we are buried with him by baptism". Now regardless of why we are baptized, regardless of whether we were baptized because we had to or didn't have to, regardless of whether baptism is essential or non-essential, regardless of whether baptism is for the remission of sins or because of remission, regardless of all of that, we know that we are buried with our Lord in baptism. Well friends, when you talk about burying the Lord, you are discussing a very serious matter. And when you talk about burying us, you are talking about a serious matter. And when you talk about burying us and the Lord and burying us WITH the Lord, that is indeed a serious thing. Whether we ever agree on WHY we are baptized, we should certainly agree that it is serious, and we should never, never speak evil of the thing. But friends, the false teachers and those who are deceived by them have said some of the ugliest things about baptism that I have ever heard from people who claim to be Christians.

I have heard of a preacher that debated a Baptist preacher concerning the subject of baptism. The Baptist preacher practiced baptism and would not receive a member into the church without baptizing him. And notwithstanding he baptized by immersion or by a burial, but he seemed to be unable to find words to express his contempt for baptism. He referred to burying by baptism as adousing in a water. He said to baptize one was to duck him in a mud puddle. He referred to baptism as getting acquainted with the minnows. Now what do you think was the matter with him? What could possibly make a man talk so ugly about a practice in which he engages himself? The fact is that both preachers agreed that the act of baptism is a burial. And even if both preachers never agreed on the design of baptism, if they never agreed as to WHY one is baptized, they do agree that one is buried with our Lord in baptism. And yet the Baptist preacher saw fit to refer to the act as a ducking in the puddle. Soused in a water God," the preacher said, concerning a thing he admitted was right. Well Peter said they would talk that way. Peter said they would speak evil of the way of truth, and sure enough it has happened and is happening every single day.

Friends, that is one of the most sacrilegious things I ever heard of. I don't see how anybody can hope to be saved in that frame of mind. What does God think of a man who would refer to being buried with His son as ducking in a mud puddle? Let's stand Paul and that preacher up beside each other and see how they look. Paul says, "We are buried with our Lord in baptism." (Rom. 6:4) This preacher says, "We are soused in a water God." Paul says, "baptized into Jesus Christ."(Rom. 6:3) This preacher says, "Ducked in a mud puddle." Paul says, "Put on Christ in baptism."(Gal. 3:27) This preacher says, "Get acquainted with the minnow in baptism." Shame on anybody that would talk that way about being buried with our Lord. I repeat, we may not agree on why we should be baptized, but we do know that our Lord is connected with it and concerned about it. We should speak with solemn and serious attitude when we refer to it We should never let bitter prejudice cause us to say things like I have just mentioned.

Baptism is essential unto salvation Anyone that tells you differently is teaching a falsely. The Bible clearly states that Baptism is essential. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:21: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Mark 16:16 says: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." May God help us to better understand his word, to know the truth, and then act upon the truth - not what the false teachers say, but what God has said!

My friends, I am calling attention to these things because I love my fellow-man. I want all to come to a knowledge of the truth. Thus I warn of danger. At the expense of popularity I must point out these things. There are a few good faithful preachers in the world, but there are many false teachers. A few have learned the truth. But many have been misled. A few always look with respect upon the Bible and all of its teachings. But many, being misled, will speak evil of the way of truth. A few look on baptism as a burial, but many look on it as a sousing in a water God.

I think it is time everyone re-examines their religious position. I believe we can get closer together if we will start out to ascertain what our differences are. And then lay aside all prejudice and prayerfully study to get at the real truth on every subject. The trouble is that we have handled the situation in a very bad way. You see most all are agreed that baptism is a burial. Most agree that all should be baptized. However there is difference in the teaching of truth and the false teacher. Truth says one must be baptized before he becomes a Christian or that he might become one. And the false teacher says one should be baptized AFTER he becomes a Christian or because he was already saved. I am trying to show you today that the Bible, God's truth, clearly states that baptism is for the remission of sins. Acts 2:38 says: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." I point out that baptism is required to wash away sins (Acts 22:16). We arise from baptism to walk a new life in Christ (Rom 6:3-6). However, the false teacher will try to get you to believe in many other variables, all of which will offer you eternal salvation.

So who do we believe? Who do we obey? Peter and the apostles stated a truth in Acts 5:29 when they said "We ought to obey God rather than men." Friends, all I can do is present the truth of what the Bible says on this program. It is now up to each one of you to take the word of God and put it into practice in your life. Your eternal destiny depends completely on the decision that you make this very hour. Will you change and obey God's truth, or will you remain in your lost condition, influenced by the false teachings and doctrines of man? Many will be lost and only a few will be saved. Where will you be in that number - among the many, or among the few? You have total control of that answer. Won't you practice truth?

This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"