Twisted Things

Acts 20:28-32 – Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

2014-01-21 - Twisted Things (IMG_6800_CROP)Twisted tree roots at Jasmine Rocks, along Rough Trail, near Gray’s ArchRed River Gorge Geological Area, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

Today’s passage from the book of Acts is part of Paul’s admonition to the leaders in the church at Ephesus as he was preparing to depart for Jerusalem.  And, although he was speaking specifically to church “overseers” in first century Ephesus, his warning is one that Christians, leaders and laity alike, of all generations would do well to heed.

Generally most of us are aware of the lies that abound in the world outside the doors of our churches.  However, spotting the false teachings, the “twisted things,” within the walls of the church can often be a much more difficult endeavor.  In Matthew 7:15 Jesus warns of this, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  The fact that they are disguised as sheep makes them that much harder to recognize.  So what are we to do?

We need to follow Paul’s example and “commend [our leaders] to God and to the word of his grace,” that is, to pray for them and hold them accountable to the teachings found in the Bible.  Not that we should eye every pastor with suspicion, or dissect every sermon with a fileting knife, but we do need to “be alert” for false teachings coming from within our churches, both locally and globally.  Of course the only way we can do this is if we, ourselves, spend enough time studying the word so we are able to recognize something that is contrary to Scripture.

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

Be Ready In Season and Out of Season

2 Timothy 4:1-4 – I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

2014-01-17 - Be Ready In Season and Out of Season (IMG_6809)One of our favorite scenic spots to stop for lunch, somewhere off-trail along the Rough Trail. Red River Gorge Geological Area, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

Even though we do hike as often as possible in the winter, there are certainly less opportunities to get out hiking this time of year, especially with the extremely cold temperatures we have had recently, seven degrees Fahrenheit as I type this!  There are rare times that the skies are sunny and the temperatures get into the 70s, like January 12th, 2012, the day this photo was taken.  When these “out of season” beautiful days arise, you need to be ready to go if you want to take advantage of them!

Likewise as followers of Christ we need to “be ready in season and out of season” to share the gospel with those around us, as opportunities can present themselves at any time.  Part of the way we stay ready is to be committed in our private devotional life, going to God in prayer and studying his word daily; but, we also need to hear the word preached.  Left to our own devices it is easier to be led astray into false teachings.  As Christians we need the encouragement and reproof of fellow believers to properly grow in our knowledge and faith.  It is also our duty to hold each other accountable, including our leaders, by testing the things that are taught against the written word of God found in the Holy Scriptures.

We certainly live in a time where the teachings of the Christian faith are less and less endured by the world around us.  People are more and more inclined to listen to the false teachings of the secular world rather than the truths of the Bible.  “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).  As redeemed followers of Christ we have “the word of the cross,” “the power of God” on our side, therefore we have no excuse, we should always “be ready in season and out of season.”

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.