PTB33b: In Preaching thru the Bible in one year, Mark is an Appendix.

Introduction to Mark as a Bible Appendix

On Facebook in the preaching thru the Bible in one year there have been complaints from fellow preachers that it is impossible.  No way, they say can you do justice to the content of the Bible in one year.  Well, first of all those preachers have not taken the time to see The Outline of the Bible based on the OT quotes in the NT, secondily like in volume 1 of LCC and the 11 Tables of such they have not taken the time to notice the inserts, and then as looked at today in Mark as an APPENDIX TO THE BIBLE, we see a methodology of thoroughly teaching and preaching thru the Bible in one year that they neither know or in their hunt and peek system of preaching and teaching do not come close to the All Scripture Method and Movement.

You will find in the original outline of the Bible, quicks weep by quotes, and in the Preaching thru the Bible in one year, that the Gospel of Mark is utilized as an Appendix.  Why?  Because Mark is a condensed summary of the Life and Teachings of Jesus, and always in every sermon or teaching, we want to remember and get back to the Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, the sweetest name we know, that is back to the Life and Teachings of Jesus.

I.  SOME MORE SOUNDS and Peacemaking.

SOME MORE SOUNDS…is a continuation of SOME SOUNDS OF SOUND FAITH which tries to stop the trend, at least for a few people, of II Timothy 4:1-4,

 “The Time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but out of their own desires shall they heap up teachers having itching ears, turn away from the truth, and be turned into fables.”

1.  The goal of SOME MORE SOUNDS is to extend the influence of Christ and to prevent the Falling Away.

2.  The second goal of SOME MORE SOUNDS…FROM John Mark is to promote the grand theme that “God is the great Maker of History”, the title of volume 1a of the LEARN CHRIST FROM THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS commentaries.

(1).  God makes history with the Bible.  The Bible tells that God makes history.  According to the Apostle James, “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning {of time}….”

(2).  God makes history with the Bible by making the history of the Bible.  The approximately 40 Prophets and Apostles God chose to write books of the Bible over a period of approximately one thousand years were carefully chosen in their historical context, running from the Prophets Job and Moses in the writing of the Old Testament to the Apostles Paul and John in the writing of the New Testament.   Old Testament quotes in the New Testament provide internal proof in the Bible itself of God‛s plan and control in the writing of the Bible. John Mark records 16 of those quotes, and SOME MORE SOUNDS…is organized around those 16 Old Testament quotes.

(3).  God makes sure that you will get the proper interpretation of the Bible by providing in the Bible not only the quotes from the Old and New Testament, but also by providing in the Bible itself the proper interpretation of the quotes.   We have only begun to appreciate what the Apostle Pete meant when he wrote, “no Scripture is of any private interpretation, but Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  God wrote it and God interpreted it properly, all in one book of two testaments.

a. These Holy men of God, prophets in the Old Testament and Apostles in the New Testament, were carefully chosen by God at specific intervals of history and moved by God the Holy Spirit to write consistently with the mind and heart of God.

b.  God assured that what the Prophets wrote would be consistent with what the Apostles wrote, and both consistent with what Jesus brought to earth of the teachings of God.  John Mark with his record of the teachings, character, and works of Jesus is a short 16-chapter example of that working of God in history. We might call this the “authorized interpretation”, the opposite of “private interpretation” which is forbidden by the Bible.

In this day and time when the number one excuse for neglect of the Bible is “there are so many interpretations”, it should be comforting to comprehend that God not only gave the “Scripture” but also in the same Bible, the proper interpretation. This was more of God‛s planning as the Great Maker of History to counter what He knew would be the Satan-given-excuse to the world for not living by “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”, as Jesus said, as well as living by bread, at which we are far more adept.

Peacemaking.

In this age of the Falling Away, just before the Second Coming of Christand as a precursor to the Second Coming of Christ, the meaning of “Blessed are the peacemakers…” has been stolen like the real meaning even of Christian and of so many other words in the Bible. The world, Satan, and teachers of “itching ears” {II Timothy 4:4}, with skillful exercise of the techniques of “isogesis” {the reading of meaning into the Bible as contrasted to “exegesis” which is the faithful reading out of the original meaning}, use the word in an “of this world” sense to apply to any politician who seeks to promote peace in the nations of the world, independent of any faith in Christ.

Peace and real peacemaking is only with Christ as the mediator according to the Word of God in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2.  This applies to peace between man and man and to peace between God and men.  Christ must be at the center of peacemaking efforts between man and man and between God and man.

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”  (Ephesians 2:14-18)

If we are to truly extend the influence of Christ, the true Biblical employment of a peacemaker, then Christ must be personally involved, and the extensive “how” of this issue is the story of this book.  John Mark, the author on the human side of the Gospel of Mark, extended the influence of Christ when under the inspiration of the Spirit of God when he wrote about the life and teachings of Christ. Of course, above all Mark extended the influence of Christ in faithful recordings about the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. It is the death of Christ, with faith in that death as a substitute atonement for our sins, that provides salvation for the world, and for us in particular; it is the resurrection of Christ which provides an example of life after death and provides the foundation for the hope {reasonable expectation} of eternal salvation; and it is the Ascension to the right hand of God the Father which provides both assurance of the forgiveness of sins {“He ever lives to make intercession for our sins”} and more assurance of eternal life as He promised that in the future we would be where He is.

“Young John Mark did all that!” one might say. Well, yes, and so did Matthew, and Dr. Luke, and the Apostle John.  So also did the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans, sometimes called “The Gospel according to Paul”. {I would remind you that “Gospel” always assumes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, although not always expressed in the Bible as such; and in such cases where the reference is to “the gospel of the kingdom”, it is decidedly the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  {Some things belong more to Jesus than to God like the kingdom, the only real Church, the Assembly of the Firstborn written in heaven, and the Judgeship to separate the living from the dead, and general Lordship; but they have been ordained to Jesus Christ by God and will be turned over to God at the end. First, all things are placed at the feet of Jesus, subject to Him; and then all things will be delivered to God the Father, in order that all glory will belong to God.}

However, there are in the nature of inspiration and the whole history of the writing of the 66 books of the Bible, unique characteristics of the personality of John Mark and in the research and development of the Gospel of Mark. {See F.F. Bruce on THE BOOKS AND THE PARCHMENTS.} For one thing John Mark, unlike most of the New Testament writers, was not an Apostle. He was an eyewitness of much of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.  Most conservative Bible commentators agree that it was John Mark, with an unnamed reference to himself in the tradition of the Apostle John doing the same in the Gospel of John as the writer, who as a young man about twelve years of age fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane when the arrestors of Jesus grabbed the scant clothing that he hastily threw on the way to following Jesus and the Apostles to the Garden.

It is very possible that the Last Supper just before the evening excursion in the Garden was held at the home of John Mark‛s mother. John Mark‛s mother was the sister of Barnabas, the famous missionary with the Apostle Paul, and one sometimes called an apostle in the book of Acts; although not the twelfth apostle selected by the other Apostles after Judas fell by transgression. There is a lot of evidence of human personality in Acts: Barnabas had pre-eminence in the first church as he sought out and promoted the new convert Saul, then Barnabas and Saul brought John Mark back from Jerusalem to Antioch with them {Acts 12:25} and then took him on the first missionary journey, but Mark deserted the mission at Pamphylia, “not going to the work” as we read in Acts 15:28; and then on the second missionary journey when Paul objected to taking Mark, there is a personality conflict between Paul and Barnabas, Barnabas taking John Mark with him, Paul taking Silas. The record does not tell us more than “the contention was sharp between Paul and Silas.”

We can only speculate as to why John Mark turned back at Pamphylia. It was important to Paul, but Barnabas either wanted to give John Mark another chance or Barnabas consider insignificant the desertion at Pamphylia.  Do you look for the problem at Perga in Pamphylia {Acts 13:13}? Did John Mark simply return to Jerusalem because he was homesick, or did he wish to confer with Simon Peter, who in his epistle calls him “my son”?  Whatever, Paul took it seriously as an indication of John Mark‛s lack of dedication; but we also know that when later in prison in Rome, Paul asked for John Mark saying that he was “profitable to me for the ministry”.  Paul did give John Mark another chance; and I think, from speculations based on the internal evidence of various scriptures, that it was a chance equal to almost the one given by Paul to Dr. Luke.  There is much evidence that Paul was chosen to be the Chief Editor of the New Testament–that was his prime ministry and the one he had in mind when he noted John Mark as profitable to that end–so when Paul requested Timothy to come before winter, bringing the books and parchments with him, two of those manuscripts were for Dr. Luke to write Luke and Acts, and one of the manuscripts was for John Mark to use in the writing of the Gospel of Mark.

You can tell that John Mark made a marvelous recovery in the eyes of the Apostle Paul, likewise in the esteem of the Church of First Century Christianity. Above all, and what is most important, John Mark proved a person interest in extending the influence of the life and teachings of Jesus; He showed extremely strong convictions on Jesus; He illustrated his willingness to be used by the Spirit of God in the writing of the shortest of the four Gospels. This personal recovery by John Mark, the opposite of the challenge of our generation of the Falling Away, is a co-emphasis with the influence of Christ in this presentation. Is it as dramatic as what happened in the life of Demas, personified when Paul wrote, “Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world?  I don‛t know, but it seems very similar.  We hope that Demas also had a marvelous recovery in being rescued from his love of this present world, no doubt a similar experience to what happened to John Mark; but even more importantly in all these cases and others in the Bible, we can see hope for rescue of victims of the Falling Away.

You know, loving “this present world” does not sound so serious, but it really is.  Many might say, “well, they are young…wait until they grow up”; and indeed it no doubt worked in the case of John Mark, but perhaps not in the case of Demas, certainly not in the case of all of the children of Israel in the wilderness except for Caleb and Joshua. Love of this present world will not mix with the love of God. Mammon is the things of this world which man himself has created, and the Bible represents the bread God has given man, every word of which proceeds out of the mouth of God.  Christ is the teachings that He received from God and delivered in the Sermon on the Mount, by the way recorded in Mark as well as the other Gospels, in there Christ demands, and God demands, that a definite choice for priority be made for God and God‛s righteousness over the mammon of man.

It is not an either/or as to whether mammon and bread of life will both exist in human life:  it is a matter of which will have the priority–mammon of God–to the extent of servitude. Christ is talking about motivation. What is your primary motivation?  To seek the mammon of men like a house, and land, and degrees, and career, and position, and even wealth or pleasure? Or to diligently seek after the Bible and the words of the Bible as every word that proceeds out of mouth of God, and to seek first after the kingdom of God and after God‛s righteousness?

II.  Threads or Sounds of Doctrine and Authority in Mark.

There are certain threads or sounds that repeat often in the Gospel of Mark. One such sound is that of DOCTRINE and AUTHORITY. {There are others that you will expect to see in a study of the 16 chapters of Mark:  the teachings of Jesus on certain subject matters as the Falling Away, the teachings of Jesus on love of this world versus love of mammon, the teaching and preaching of Jesus on the Gospel, the miracles of Jesus, the death and resurrection of Jesus; and so on.  It is hoped to limit to the study to eight of these and stay focused on them throughout Mark. This is not a attempted commentary on Mark.  Many good commentaries on Mark already exist.}  

God plays with the wisdom of the world and of the university scholars as He chooses to save those through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe (“When in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe…”);

(4) The wisdom of this world of the universities and books (except a select few) are foolishness with God, and not many mighty or noble or wise are called to a proper spiritual understanding; and (5) It is necessary to face up to the fact that true Bible faith in Christ is a minority endeavor as “many are called but few are chosen”, and “broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go that way” while “narrow is the way that leads to eternal life” and few there are that take that way of life. It is the simple difference between the majority and the minority that we are talking about.

This applies to the United States also. You can hardly make a legitimate case that this majority and minority thing of the Bible applies to the whole world apart from the United States. Even as it applied also to Israel, the originally chosen nation of God, in the days of Christ, it also applies to the currently chosen nation of God, the United States, during this age of the fullness of the Gentiles. What we have in the United States, to use the words of some of the American Studies scholars, is an AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC FAITH.  It can be summarized as spoken by former Prime Minister of Israel Begin, “You Americans are born Christians just as Jews are born Jews.”  Neither is true, but it takes a close study of that part of the Word of God called the book of Romans, by the Apostle Paul and the Spirit of God, to understand it.  That will be explained in the third chapter, “God‛s Watershed of History: Choice of a Beloved and Foolish Nation”. Suffice it to say for now as Paul, “not every Jew is born of Israel”, nor is every child of God born of Israel, and there is a spiritual Israel.  In other words, until the fullness of the Gentiles age is complete, there will be more children of God from among the Gentiles, the United States leading the way, than from among the physical nation of Israel.

{Enjoy it while you can.}

Second to the proper attitude, it is necessary to work hard to understand the Bible.  Jesus uses the words “asking”, “seeking”, and “knocking”.  Another way to say it is that those who search after the truth from the Bible are the ones most likely to find the truth. One of the so-called “beatitudes” describes the way God will bless those who seek the truth of the Bible, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Many like to talk about this as happiness or the beatitudes.  No, it is the blessings of God; and if God Himself blesses you beyond that of the sun and rain, beyond that of the majority on the earth, it is indeed a blessing.  God can and will bless you by understanding of every word that proceeds out of His mouth if you will develop the right attitude and put out effort in knowing the truth.  We live among many who desire the instant spiritual blessings of salvation and special insight; however there is never and has never been a quick and easy way. Many point to the salvation of Paul on the road to Damascus as an example of instantaneous salvation; but there would not have been a salvation experience of the road except for the extended time of that preceded it in which “he kicked against the pricks”.  And still his salvation was not complete as indicated by the physical blindness {a sign of incomplete spiritual insight}, until Ananias assisted him with more truth from the Ascended Christ. Even so Paul was not yet ready to preach. He must spend time in the Arabian Desert with the Ascended Christ, and then go back to Tarsus to reread the Old Testament in the light of what Christ had taught him.

Paul teaches about the yearn in Hebrews for the sound doctrine of the Word of God as the equivalent motivation of a newborn baby desiring to have milk.  All know of that yelling and screaming and crying of the baby for milk, and the person who yearns with that intensity after every word from the mouth of God as recorded in the Word of God will be rewarded in like manner as a mother cares for her child.  Someone besides Jacob must wrestle with the angel for a spiritual blessing, and that someone is the person, having established a proper attitude, who seeks to know the truth of God and Christ, the truth of the Word of God which is divine in origin, absolute in authority, sufficient in message, and high fidelity in communication.

There is far more to the little book of Mark that we can reach in this series of messages; however since it is a pivotal book of the whole Bible which will be explained now, it is hoped that a life-time interest can be generated in the book of Mark that will be both an inspiration and a source of sustenance during a life that is lived more than by bread alone, a life that is lived by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. You can start your spiritual pilgrimage of life, or sustain it, no better place than with Mark and in particular with the teachings of Jesus in Mark.

Why do I call the Gospel of Mark pivotal in the Bible?  For several reasons: (1) Even A. T. Robertson in his famous HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS using the Gospel of Mark to outline all of the other four of the Gospels; (2) If you have read any of the LEARN CHRIST commentaries, especially on the life and letters of Paul or on the Old Testament according to the New Testament, you are familiar with how God selected Paul to be the Chief Editor of the New Testament; and further how Paul after his conversion and time with the Ascended Christ in Saudi Arabia, while in what is sometimes called the seven silent years at Tarsus, re-read all the Old Testament writing a parchment of all the Old Testament quotes to be included in the New Testament (Paul himself wrote 14 of the 27 New Testament books and sponsored 3 others through Dr. Luke and John Mark); (3) When Paul left with John Mark a manuscript of those carefully chosen quotes for an Old Testament life of Jesus, he also gave to John Mark the testimony of Simon Peter which he recorded on another parchment (Paul life a manuscript with Dr. Luke with the testimony of James); (4) A careful study of all these Old Testament quotes in the four gospels show the book of Mark with a careful choice of quotes to be a sort of Appendix to the Gospels. In short, in the Gospel of Mark you have a condensed summary of the four gospels, of the Gospel according to Peter and Paul, and a condensed summary of the Gospel of the ages according to the Old Testament. Yet it is simple, straightforward, and a story of action with terse teachings of Jesus! That is worth a lifetime of becoming acquainted with. (If you just happen to remember me and these words of encouragement, that will be another pleasant memory.)  Furthermore I would suggest memorizing the model prayer from Jesus of Mark 11 as both an example and a guideline for daily prayers.  These daily prayers are a vital part of the living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

III.  WHAT IS SOUND DOCTRINE?

1.  What is Sound Doctrine?  Since doctrine is another word for teachings,and of course for Bible believers the teachings of Jesus and of God, which are the same, then sound doctrine is also sound teachings from God Himself and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus made it clear often during His three years ministry on earth that His teachings or doctrines were not His own but belonged to God His Father, and furthermore that whatever God taught Him to say is exactly what He taught on this earth. Parenthetically, it should be stated at this point that sound faith is a subset of sound doctrine. Even as sound doctrine includes all that comes from God and Jesus and all that can be known as truth about God and Jesus and their teachings, even so sound faith is a subset in that it is both beliefs and a process of confidence in that sound doctrine.  {This will be discussed more thoroughly from the Bible in the chapter on FAITH.}

2.  What is Sound Doctrine?  Sound doctrine is synonymous with “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (verse 3) of the book of Jude. It was delivered once for all by Jesus and the Apostles who recorded what He said in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; it was recorded once for all in the books written by the Apostles and Prophets; it has been sealed once for all in the history of the Christ faith in the book of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament, by the assembly of the Firstborn and their leaders as they have crystallized as the Holy Bible this book.

You see right here at this point at least half of the confusion is eliminated as on how to distinguish between sound doctrine and all the beliefs that clamor for recognition. At least half of all of the religions and denominations did not subscribe to the Bible as the Word of God, and therefore do not subscribe to this as the only sufficient source of sound doctrine.  Then you can eliminate another one-fourth of so-called Christian denominations and religions who do not believe as stated in Jude 3, that the sound faith and doctrine was once for all delivered to the saints. They believe in the evolution of sound doctrine; they believe that they like the Prophets and Apostles of old are the recipients of special revelations from God.  At the extreme of this spectrum are the Mormons who have replaced the single Bible of the faith once delivered with four Bibles, and also subscribe to constant new revelation from the Heads of the LDS churches.  To express it in the words of the Doctrine and the Covenants any time the Head Prophet of the Mormon church speaks, it is Word of God.  {Later, I will discuss how this places two curses from the Holy Bible itself on the head of the Latter-Day Saints.}

And at the other end of the spectrum of the group who do not see sound doctrine and sound faith as “once for all delivered” are those people and groups who see knowledge of truth from God as sort of an evolution that comes as we learn more and as we acquire more scientific knowledge.  As an example, and this is very subtle, is the religious person who will take God‛s name in vain as excusable as if the words no longer apply, “the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” as taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Or the person that somehow sees God and His Word as outdated because this new generation is so much smarter than the last generation that lived.  J.B. Phillips expressed it years ago when he wrote the book, YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL.  People did not believe that God understood radar or the modified Bohr Theory of the atom.  Today people do not believe that God understands computers and genetics and information technology. You see we confuse some older Christ believers and what they understand with the God of this universe who understands and knows all things; and further who created the minds who can probe and invent these things and the fundamentals laws of the universe that make the understanding of these technical matters possible.

3. What is Sound Doctrine? It is doctrine that comes from God through the work and will of the Holy Spirit of God.   Here, I must quote from the Word of God itself as found in II Timothy 3:16,17:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”  

You see it came from God is a gift from God for the profit of humanity in order that humanity may come to know the way that God wants us to live {that is the instruction, another word for teachings, and “instruction in righteousness” another way to correct our behavior and beliefs.} As far as Scripture coming more specifically from the work on earth of God the Holy Spirit, we turn to the teachings of Jesus as recorded in John 14-16 where Jesus taught saying, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)

4.  What is Sound Doctrine?  It also helps to shift out the wheat from the chaff of sound doctrine to know not only the origin of sound doctrine as from God through the Spirit but that it must have come through an approved apostle or prophet.  How do we know who has been approved?  Once again it is from the Bible itself which tells of how Jesus chose both apostles and prophets.  If you believe about the Apostle Peter, then you believe that the Apostle Paul wrote Scriptures as much the Word of God as those of the Old Testament Prophets because Peter states that in his books, and so on epistle after epistle in the Bible the approximately 7 writing Apostles of the New Testament confirm each other.

5. What is Sound Doctrine? It is the doctrine or teachings, or faith taught by the Holy Spirit of God Himself.  Refer again to John 16:13 above, “the Spirit of truth…will guide you into all truth.” Isn‛t just a little bit of conviction and certainty like this from the Bible, from the teachings of Jesus Himself, from the book written by the Apostle John, and that has come to be believed by the great cloud of witnesses of the Christ faith that have gone before {Hebrews 11 and 12} worth a lot more than the tendency to wallow in he mud puddle of uncertainly and doubt of looking at all the teachings and beliefs in the world. (Underlying all sound doctrine and the efforts to know and do sound doctrine is the fundamental belief based on the teachings of Jesus that the majority are wrong and the minority is right, and this applies in the United States as in all countries of the world.)

6.  What is Sound Doctrine?   It is life related–can not be learned apart from the way life is lived–in that it must proceed from a deep-seated yearning to know the truth, with the confidence that the truth is more likely to be learned when it is passionately sought; can not be learned apart from a desire to know the will of God; and can not be learned unless equal life priority is given to “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” to the life priority of making a living.

IV.  Some Obstacles to Learning Sound Doctrine?

1. Pastor James, the pastor of the first church ever, in Jerusalem immediately after the life of Christ, and the half-brother of Jesus, had a lot to say in the little book of James about truth, doctrine, and what causes obstacles to sound doctrines in churches. It is very practical because Pastor James is dealing with the problems in a very real church, the First. First of all the Apostle James says that the wars and battles over sound doctrine in local churches (and denominations) come from individual desires for pleasure and status. Once again, I must quote from the Word of God:

“Where do wars and fights come from among you?  Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust (for control, for recognition, for power, etc.) and do not have.  You murder (that includes anger and fighting) and covet (desire to have and be what someone else in the church has and is) and cannot obtain.  You fight (in your home church) and war (in the denomination).  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”  (James 4:1-3)

Wow!  It never can be said any better than that and never will be said any better than that.  Don‛t look for some deep meaning that causes the splits in churches and the warfare in the Southern Baptist Convention, it comes out of wars and battles for pleasure. Crude, but true!

2. Another obstacle to sound doctrine in individual lives, in beliefs, and in the practices of churches is the lack of wisdom.  Contrary to the old wives tale “that if the majority of the church votes to do something, it is right” is the teaching of Pastor James in the Word of God that where there is no real prayer there is no real wisdom from God and from above, and further where in any church there is “self-seeking” and “confusion” that is the sure sign that the wisdom from above has never come.

3.  Another obstacle to sound doctrine is the “doctrines of devils”.  Do the devils, alias the fallen angels and Satan, really have doctrine?  Oh yes, and that doctrine is subtle and often so close to the truth of Jesus that it is difficult to shift out from the truth.  Recall the way Satan tempted Jesus Himself in order to divert Jesus from the real will of God.  First of all, he quoted Scripture. Do not be deceived, every quote of Scripture is not on the side of Jesus.  In fact, it is very possible that Satan–especially in this time of intolerance toward sound doctrine–has as many people who quote Scripture as Jesus: the big difference being in the way they implement and interpret and apply the Scripture.  For example, Satan tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13) on three fronts with unsound doctrine from Scripture: first, the temptation or obstacle from Satan was to live by bread instead of by the will of God; second, the obstacle from Satan was to worship Satan and to get the whole world rather than worship God; and third, the obstacle was to tempt God by leading Himself into futile tests of God Himself, a very common practice today in very popular churches.

4.  The obstacle of seducing spirits.  Along with the warnings of the Bible about doctrines of devils is also the warning of seducing spirits.  Once again to quote from the Bible, the Word of God:

 “Now the Spirit expresslysays that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods, which God crated to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”  (I Timothy 4:1-3)

This was expressly told to Paul by the Holy Spirit of God.  It is an inevitable prediction, called a prophesy, of what will take place in history: in fact is an accepted burden of proof of this book on THE SOUND OF A SOUND FAITH that has already happened, the time of intolerance toward sound doctrine.  It is generally referred to by Bible scholars as the Great Apostasy.  The only reason I do not like that phrase as it seems like something to happen way out in the future instead of now!

The short and simple of the meaning is: that is the doctrines of devils that come to you, and which must inevitable come as long as there is a Satan and other devils, if those doctrines of devils do not present obstacles to your sound faith and sound doctrine, then the seducing or deceiving spirts can get you.  The bad thing about a bad spirit is that it can be clothed in clothing that is very deceptive, say for example black clothing or sheep‛s clothing.

The last obstacle to be mentioned to sound doctrine is the most serious obstacle to most Protestant, non-Mormon believers: it is the wall of intolerant doctrine built up in churches and denominations by itching ears teachers, preachers, and people that protects them from the sound of sound doctrine. When the Bible says in II Timothy 4:3,4, about the time of intolerance toward sound doctrine and mentions how those of itching ears will “HEAP” to themselves teachers of itching ears, the “heaping” has the implication of extensive effort to protect against sound doctrine.  For example the effort that the divorced in churches go to, who have not confessed divorce as adultery when there is remarriage, the effort they go to protect themselves from hearing the true words of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus on the matter.  The “heaping” is like building up a vast wall of protection against sound doctrine. It reminds of what some of the New Jersey ladies who lost husbands in 9/11 were quoted as saying about the Bush administration, “they have built up around the White House a wall of secrecy.”  Well, the wall of intolerance toward sound doctrine is a wall for comfort, a wall built by itching ears.

V.  The Silence on the Falling Away is a Message.

I am amazed at the lack of Bible teaching and preaching of a doctrine as fundamental and as important as is THE FALLING AWAY.  The Falling Away, bar none is the challenge of this generation. While I would not expect secular educators and the newsmen and newsmakers of the world to mention the Falling Away, I would expect churches, evangelists, Bible teachers, and preachers on television to be talking about it.  It is an amazing phenomenon of our time that while bible teachers and preachers talk about the end time events, they are not talking about the Falling Away, which according to the Bible, must happen before the end times; and which according the Bible is a sign of the coming end time. You can not have any last time events without first the Falling Away.

Why Is your favorite Bible teacher or preacher not talking about the Falling Away?   Following are some possible explanations as to why your favorite Bible teacher or preacher is not talking about the Falling Away. It is not popular to talk about the Falling Away.  It is short of like the subject of “death”: it is not a very popular subject for discussion, or even thought.

Church members, Bible totters, and others think that if they don‛t talk abut it, perhaps it will go away.  Can you not see the incongruous stance of looking for the Second Coming of Christ by overlooking the precursors to the Second Coming of Christ which according to the Bible in II Thessalonians is four-fold: (1) An inevitable increase in sin or lawlessness in the whole world; (2) The withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from the earth scene; (3) The appearance of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who is a very human incarnation of Satan; and (4) The Falling Away from God, Christ, and the Bible on the part of church members. Now, although part of the Bible; you can see that it is not popular.  This is a place that the fundamentalists who are really traditionalists in that they preach the same sermon today as delivered by their grandfathers and great grandfathers who were not in the Falling Away. How can they remain traditionalists and popular and preach the inevitability of the Falling Away before the Second Coming?

Second, not talking about the Falling Away is itself a sign of the Falling Away.  If during the Falling Away, the most outstanding characteristic of the Falling away is a lack of sound doctrine, then you would not expect from the popular Bible teachers and preachers, the preaching and teaching of the Falling Away.  Thus, what we have is within itself a proof of the Falling Away. The sad fact of the “will not endure sound doctrine” of the Bible is more a matter of what is left out of the messages than what is included.  What you do not hear from popular Bible teachers is what you do need to hear. What are you hearing?  Look at two recent best sellers which are telling you that if you want to attract a large number of people into a large, attractive building and called it a “church”, then you have to do one of three possible things:  (1) Preach and teach a unity and peace, not from sound doctrine or from the inherent unity which the Holy Spirit provides, but rather do so my making church members subscribe to a church covenant which prohibits any disagreements among members, doctrinal or otherwise, that would disturb the fellowship (yes, this is where Saddleback Church and Shadow Mountain have made a significant contribution to the Falling Away); (2) Preach and teach along with a lot of pleasant stories and smiles of good public relations the living of a good life now by way of the Gospel of Prosperity and the corollary of success (yes, this is what Joel Osteen is doing); or (3) Preach and teach the extra-ordinary life as a woman of faith where things are not things but are “resources” of the woman of faith (well, you know who these ladies are). You see you are already horrified because you recognize that to say these things in criticism of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and the Women of Faith is unpopular; because those Bible teachers and preachers are very popular, even into the thousands and tens of thousands.

That brings us to the third point of why you do not hear preaching and teaching about the Falling Away: it would be self-defeating for any preacher and teacher of the Falling Away, who bottom line is really an advocate of the falling away, to preach against the very movement of which they are a part. You would not find tens of thousands in that vast congregation listening to Joel Osteen encourage you in the Gospel of Prosperity if they preached about the Falling Away. You would not find thousands in Saddleback Church and tens of thousands wanting to duplicate their rapid church growth based on a false doctrine about peace and unity, if Rich Warren preached about the Falling Away. You would not see women by the thousands flock to hear women of faith, if they recognized the promotion of cares of this world, the deceitfulness of things, and other things as part of the Falling Away.

Fourthly, the bottom line is this:  these so-called Bible preachers and teachers—any you will notice that you hear far more other stories than stories of the Bible than you do Bible itself (it is called talking about the Bible rather than talking Bible)—are part of the “itching ears” heaping up of false Bible teachers and preachers that Jesus also predicted would be part of the Falling Away. I wish that we could separate the heaping up of teachers with itching ears from the false teachers and preachers; and perhaps, we can in that the itching ears teachers just want to give church members and others what they want.  The itching ears teachers are smart enough to recognize what people want to hear because of what people really believe down deep in their lives, and that it what you are going to hear from them.  During the Falling Away, that is what will increase the attendance from victims of the Falling Away; this is what will grow large mega-churches; and this is what will allow the sign of success as if it were really a work of God.  Paul and Jesus explained to us the motivation of false Bible teachers and preachers: (1) They are in the ministry for money, greed, and self-profit; (2) Their goal is to make disciples after themselves thus promoting their own fame and effectively scattering away the flock from the influence of the local church; (3) The Gospel of Prosperity and Success has some sincere believers who have come not to see the distinction between the faith of the Bible and the American Democratic Faith. Somewhere along the line in the name of success in church work, they depart from the sound faith of the Bible, themselves not realizing when and how it happened! You would have to put these in the category of those who have their conscience seared with a hot iron.  They can fleece the flock, even overthrow the faith of some as Paul talks about in II Timothy, and never flinch an eyelid.

https://www.amazon.com/Jerry-Vaughan-McMichael/e/B07LB2B11Y?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

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