Don't Take My Word For It
Charlatans and false prophets abound everywhere. There is no lack of people who are willing to stand up and declare that they are the mouth piece of God. They vie for our attention and clamor for our money. These prophets come in all shapes and sizes, faiths and beliefs. They spin their webs of deceit to allure the inattentive and niave with promises of wealth, health, and power.
Pastor Ed this week in his sermon told us that we should set as our goal to accept only that which is genuine. That should be easy, after all we do have the bible. But everyone has a word and everyone an interpretation. "I think it says this," or "To me the passage says." In today's market place of ideas everyone's truth is relevant and acceptable. I read an article this past week about the gospel, whether we should follow Jesus' gospel or Paul's?
It is within this context this morning that I read the opening words of Colossians.
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother" Colossians 1:2
Paul not only greets his audience, but establishes his authority and the source of his authority; he is an Apostle. There are plenty of disciples, plenty of pastors and evangelists. But only a handful of people who had been given authority directly from Jesus. This authority gave weight to their words and calls us to sit up and listen carefully.
Yet, The Corinthians had questioned his authority and Paul defended it on the basis of his experience with the risen Christ. Paul had seen the lord and was directly called as an apostle to take the word of God to the Gentiles. He was an Apostle based on nothing else but the will of God.
When you are in the will of God it sustains you through struggles within and without. When you are in the will of God it doesn't matter what others say, you must complete the task you are given even to the point of death. When you are in the will of God suffering and sorrow are but light afflictions for the glory of God. But you better darn well make sure it's the will of God.
Paul didn't have the luxury of the New Testament, but through the filling of the Spirit he interpreted and applied the Old Testament, as well as the words of Jesus, with the authority of heaven. There are plenty of people who would claim the same authority today. We must be like the Barean Christians who searched the word daily so that they would not be deceived. The message of a true prophet will not contradict the revealed word of God.
Whether they are atheist like Richard Dawkins, religions like Islam, or deluded Christians like Rob Bell, we can not let our guard down, not even when Pastor Ed preaches. If we are seeking the Lord with our whole heart the Spirit will guide us into all truth, but it will always be consistent with the the revealed word of God. I'm just saying...