Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gender Neutral Dorms?

Wow. I never would have believed it would happen. Some colleges have gone to gender neutral housing on campus (see here). Can you say "risky"? Um, yeah, I think so. All I can say is if my daughter were going to college and I found out her roommates name was "Chris" that it better be short for Christine.

Most colleges required students who don't live at home to stay in a dorm at least the first year of college. Therefore, this is simply not a good trend to have among college campuses.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil
Isaiah 5:20

Monday, March 29, 2010

Matthew 7: 24-29 A Tale of Two Hearers Part I

What does saving faith look like? I mean, is it possible to tell just by looking if someone is saved or not? Probably not entirely. However, I submit to you that in this passage which culminates this masterful sermon that is recorded in Matthew that Jesus gives us a glimpse into something we will see in saving faith—obedience. If someone claims to be a Christian but doesn’t live like Jesus called Christians to live, there is a disconnect between that person’s claim and reality. There is an even greater problem for such a person—their lack of a foundation, as we will see in these verses. However, if perhaps you’ve just stumbled upon this blog let me assure you that these verses present a clear choice that you must make. This choice will have consequences in this present life, but more importantly, in eternity.

First of all, observe with me that there is an audience of two described in this passage. Verses 24 and 26 both say “everyone who hears these words of mine”. Both these people have the same opportunity. They both get to hear the message of the gospel. The fork in the road presented in verse 13 of this chapter is set before these two hypothetical people. They, like you and I, have a choice to make. What will our response to the message of the gospel be?

We observe next the actions of these two people. Jesus says in verse 24 one of these people hears what He has to say and “acts”. The gospel call is a call to action. We have to make a decision—do we obey the truth? Do we follow where Christ leads? If He is really our Savior He will also be our Lord. In His divinely inspired, inerrant word He has given us everything we need to know to live a life pleasing to Him. When we hear His word, our response should be to act. The other character in our story, in contrast, “does not act” on the words of Christ. The passage doesn’t tell us why. We do know that the actions of these two people demonstrate radically different responses to the gospel. One man acted on what he heard while the other let the words go in one ear and out the other.

Jesus goes on to give us the analysis of these two people. The one who heard what Jesus said and acted on it is called “wise”. He made the most of his opportunity. The words of Christ showed him his need and he took advantage of the message. He put into practice what he heard and it benefited him. The one who rejected the gospel—he is called “foolish”. Here was the message that answered every question that needed an answer. He was the water of life that satisfies the thirsty soul. This person had the same opportunity and squandered it. Instead of listening to the message and making the most of the opportunity, this person elected to squander his good fortune and reject the only thing that could save him.

However, as we will read next time, these two people are further contrasted by our Lord. There are consequences for their rejection of the truth.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Evangelism Program--The 24 Method

Somehow, I don't think this would actually work, but it's doggone funny.
(HT-Nathan W. Bingham)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Matthew 7:22-23 Not So Fast, My Friend

My family and I love the movie Cars. For the three of you who haven’t seen it (smile), the movie begins with a race. The race ends with an exciting photo finish. The main characters wait for the results to be announced after the replay is reviewed. Finally, the main character, Lightning McQueen, hears the announcement that begins “For the first time in racing history…” which he finishes “…a rookie has won the Piston Cup” because he was a rookie and assumed he had won. He dashes through the curtain as the announcer finishes the announcement “…we have a three way tie.” Needless to say he was pretty embarrassed. As Jesus says in these verses, there are going to be some surprised individuals on judgment day just as Lightning McQueen was at the announcement that they, too, have lost the race.

Their failure, however, will not come from a lack of effort. First of all, they use the right language. Their proclamation appears sincere. These false brethren call Him “Lord”. They profess the same thing that you and I profess, folks, that Jesus is the Sovereign King. And they’re making this proclamation in the right setting—“that day”—the day of judgment. So we can picture in our mind’s eye this crowd of people (“many”) standing before the Lord as He prepares to judge people. That these false sheep can stand in the presence of Christ and boldly proclaim Him to be their Lord demonstrates either brazen arrogance or pathetic self deception. I’m not sure which is worse.

However, in their mind, they have a track record that proves their claim. These people have been on fire for God, at least according to themselves. They have spoken God’s word to people (“prophesy”). Furthermore, they dealt in spiritual warfare (“cast out demons”). Finally, they have displayed God’s power in visible ways (“perform many miracles”). These people have been busy—busier than your average Joe Church-goer I would wager. Then, to top it off, as they make the point of repeating three different times, they did all these things “in Your name”. In other words, they claim to have been pure in their motivations. Their activity, which was obviously very zealous, was done in His authority. What presumptive arrogance we see from these people as they stand before Almighty God.

However, the Judge of all the earth will judge rightly. Jesus says that He will pronounce their doom. Possibly, this multitude has fooled a great many people, maybe even themselves, but they won’t pull the wool over this Lamb’s eyes. First of all, Jesus denies their claim that they acted in His name. He says that He will tell them “I never knew you” meaning they had no relationship with Him. They claimed they did what they did in the name of Christ but they did not know Christ because He did not know them. Further, He will cast them out from His presence. He gives the command for them to “Depart” which is in the present tense so you could say “Depart and keep on departing”. Get as far out of my sight as you can and then keep going. These wicked people who have claimed to speak for God when in fact they did not will be rejected totally and driven from His presence. Finally, He identifies their character. These people claimed to be so active on behalf of our Savior. They claimed to be so pious and pure in their motives. However, as we see, Jesus knowing their hearts declares them to be people “who practice lawlessness”. Truth be told, they might have claimed to be serving God but they were not. These people pretended to be Christians but their act wasn’t good enough to fool the almighty Judge. In the end, they will get what is coming to them.

The saddest part of these verses is that these people truly believed they were saved. They were deluded or had deluded themselves. Activity is not proof of salvation. We should take this as a sobering reminder that we must always examine ourselves—that it is a healthy thing to evaluate our relationship with Christ. The consequences of not doing so are eternal and soul damning.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exposition of Hebrews Part 7

A friend of mine, Doug Searle over at Taking Up Space, is teaching through the book of Hebrews and posting the audio from his classes online. You can listen to part 7 of his study in two parts (here and here). You can click here for the study notes. I believe you will be greatly encouraged.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How Should We Respond to the Health Care Bill?

I think Rusell Moore provides a great perspective:

It’s not that I think Christians should be disengaged from issues of justice (God forbid!). It’s just that I wonder if we wouldn’t represent Christ and his kingdom better if we did it with a certain tranquility of Spirit, a tranquility that signals we’re not afraid of the rise and fall of temporal kingdoms and their policies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

II Peter 2:18-19 A Blind Guide Is No Guide

Jesus said of the Pharisees once that they were blind guides and that anyone who follows them would suffer because if a blind man leads another blind man they’re both going to fall into a pit. In order to lead or guide someone to do something or go somewhere, obviously, the person leading has to know the way or the procedure. If someone wanted to learn how to do taxes, they would probably not want to ask me to teach them because I have no idea how to do taxes beyond the basics. There are people today, however, just as there were in the day Jesus lived who will go to someone to hear how to live for God when that person, based on the doctrine they preach, has no clue how to live a righteous, God honoring life. These blind guides will lead them to destruction if they continue to follow them. Peter wrote about these sorts of false teachers in verses 18 and 19 of this chapter.

The false teachers, as Peter has noted, set a trap for people. These false teachers want money, prestige, and honor and they are willing to peddle the word of God or their version of the word of God to get it. Just like a skilled fisherman uses particular bait to lure particular fish, this predator looks for particular prey. Peter says these people are “those who barely escape from the ones who live in error”. Notice, they are not described as saints, redeemed, elect, or in any way that Christians are referred to in this or any epistle. They have “barely escaped” from the world. They are enjoying fellowship with “religious” folk. Perhaps they’ve given up some sinful habit or lifestyle. They are not, however, regenerated in their spirit according to the text. Now, does this mean that a real Christian cannot fall prey to a false teacher? No, I don’t think this text teaches that although it would be the exception, not the rule, for that to happen. Remember, these are people who fall prey to the bait that is on the hook of the false teachers. Perhaps they have cleaned up to some degree. They may look to be morally upright to some people. It may be that they “don’t smoke, don’t chew, and don’t run with the girls/guys that do”. But they have not responded to the biblical gospel. What, then, is the bait on this hook that these people have fallen for?

The bait is a pledge—Peter says the false teachers are “promising them freedom”. While the health and prosperity gospel did not exist in Peter’s day so that can’t be what he was talking about here, every time I read this verse that is the first thing to pop into my head. Smilin’ Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and their gang of thugs proclaim that you can have freedom from sickness and lack of money. Now, for someone who didn’t know any better, that sounds like a good deal, right? I mean, everyone wants to avoid being sick and everyone wants to have enough money to do what they want, amen? However, we know that the Bible does not teach that all believers are going to be free from sickness nor does it teach that all believers will have all the material possessions they want. In Peter’s day, though the bait was different, it was just as unbiblical.

These false teachers were constantly proclaiming freedom to these people—freedom to live as they pleased (“fleshly desires”, “sensuality”). As the old song says “Freedom? Oh freedom, well that’s just some people talking”. Brothers and sisters, you and I were never called to freedom—at least that kind of freedom. Read the first verse of this book. Peter calls himself a “servant” which is better translated “slave”. He viewed himself, and rightly so, as a walking, talking rake or shovel. He was, and you and I are, property of the King. We don’t have freedom to live as we want. As Paul writes in Romans 6:22 “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.”

In fact, these men, though they pledge to lead these people to freedom, have a huge problem. They can’t lead them to freedom because “they themselves are slaves of corruption”. They can’t lead anyone to freedom because they are blind to it. They don’t know the way to get from where they are to where they claim to be taking these people. Since they are shackled to a lump of rotting filth the only thing they can do is drag people down with them. Those who head their promise of freedom are going to be sorely disappointed when they discover there is no freedom awaiting them but bondage—a bondage that leads to destruction.

Only by becoming slaves of Christ can we find true freedom. Freedom from our sin and the eternal soul damning consequences of it comes with a price—that price is our lives. We must be crucified with Christ if we want to live. When you come to a place in your life where you’re willing to head the gospel call it won’t be the sound of freedom ringing in your ears but rather the sound of spikes being driven into your wrists as you are nailed to your cross. Won’t you pick up your cross today and follow Him who calls you?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Christian Rap Done WRONG!!!!

I have no words for how embarrased I am for this poor man. I sincerely hope he has no children as they are going to need SERIOUS therapy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Steve Camp--Foolish??

A friend of mine, Nathan W. Bingham, posted an exerpt from a interview with Steve Camp that quite frankly had me laughing about the prosperity gospel (which, of course, is no gospel at all).

I was on a famous Christian TV show several years ago before their demise. During a ‘commercial’ break, the host of the program told me if I would give $100 to his ministry the Lord would give me back $1,000… I asked him politely, “Sir, where does it say foolish written on me?” He was a bit shocked and asked me, “don’t you believe that the Lord will bless you by giving your money to our ministry?” I told him, “No I don’t.” And that furthermore he didn’t even believe such a thing. He was again a bit surprised by my response and said, “Yes I do.” I answered, “No, you don’t.” He said, “YES, I do.” I said, “NO… you don’t.” With a puzzled look on his face he frustratingly said, “Why do you keep telling me that I don’t believe this?” I said, “Simple. If you really believe this, then why don’t you give your $100 to God, He’ll give you a $1,000 back, and you’ll quite asking me for mine?” He looked at me with that dumbfounded kind of quasi pseudo-theological televangelist deer in the headlights don’t bother me with doctrine look, and replied, “I never thought of that before.” I quietly muttered, “I think that’s the problem.”

"Oh, snap!"
-Biz Markie (1989)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

II Peter 2:18 Part II-It’s A Trap!!

One of my proudest moments as a parent is when we as a family were sitting down to watch a little boob tube and I asked my children what they wanted to watch. They said without hesitation “Scooby Doo!!” Kinda brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? Ok, maybe not. But it is a show that we can all watch because it’s harmless, silly fun. Probably my favorite part is when they decide to set the trap and catch the ghost (or rather, they guy/girl wearing the disguise). Of course, what do they need to complete the trap and make the whole thing work—live bait. Shaggy and Scooby end up being volunteered with promises of dog food (as an aside, how was that something that Shaggy was motivated by? My whole life I’ve wondered that) and they dutifully get into position and the trap is set. As we read here in this verse, the targets of these false teachers are likewise baited into a trap that will seal their doom if they fall for it.

As we observed last time, these false teachers with their cotton candy style teaching use their empty words as a means to “entice” (delazo [1185]-to bait or entrap by using bait) people to follow their false teaching. As we know from reading God’s word (Romans 3, for instance) the human heart is naturally rebellious against God and His law. In our unregenerate state, we will gladly believe a lie before we will bow to the truth. Knowing this, these false teachers tell people what they want to hear. They bait the hook or put down a pile of birdseed on the road and stand on a cliff waiting to push a bolder onto their unsuspecting prey. Their motives are sinister and their methods are unscrupulous. These men, for their own selfish motives, purport to speak for God and lie through their teeth while they lead souls to hell.

The apostle Peter goes on to describe the hook they use. He says, first of all, these false teachers appeal to the “fleshly desires” of their listeners. Most people have some self discipline in regards to their wants. They know there is an appropriate time to eat, sleep, and work. However, the passions of our flesh are always present and, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5, these desires of the flesh are at odds with the desires of the spirit. While certainly asceticism or abuse of our bodies is not a sound reaction to these passions, we must remain in control—we must remind the body that we are the master, not it, and that we submit to our Master, Christ Jesus. In contrast to having mastery over these “fleshly desires”, the false teachers appeal to them.

In fact, they not only appeal to them, but they propose the same mentality that Madison Avenue has been promoting in our culture for years “Just Do It”. These false teachers appeal to the fleshly desires by “sensuality” (aseigeis [766]-literally not content). Not only do they appeal to the fleshly desires but the implication is that they appeal to the unrestrained gratification of fleshly desires or, in other words, “There is no such thing as too much of a good thing”. The promise they make, and false teachers today still make, is that you can stuff yourself to the gills with pleasure and in fact gratifying yourself is the end all be all of existence. Rather than taking up our cross and becoming slaves of Christ having been set free from sin, those who were deceived by the false teachers are promised the right to indulge their passions and live however they see fit.

As those of us who know the truth and worship Christ know, there is only One who is truly sovereign in all the universe and that is God the Father. Even Christ submitted Himself to the will of His Father for our salvation. The truth is the kind of freedom these false teachers promised is a freedom to sin. The freedom with which Christ made us free is the freedom from sin so that we became truly free to live lives holy to God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to His name!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Matthew 7:21 I’m (Not) In With The “In-Crowd”

I was talking to a friend of mine in our church youth group when we were on a mission trip one time. I asked him what his testimony was. I had just come to faith in Christ less than a year before that and I was really interested to hear how others came to faith in Christ. I remember my friend saying “Oh, I’ve been a Christians forever. My mom and dad are real strong in the Lord.” I didn’t say anything (but I should have—stupid pride) but I thought to myself “Is that really what he thinks makes him right with God—his parent’s relationship with Christ?” If that was the case, of course, he was as lost as a goose in a snow storm. I haven’t seen him in 20 years or so. I hope he did profess saving faith in Christ. If not, he will be like those who are the subject of Jesus’ pronouncement in the 21st verse of this chapter-someone who had deceived himself and will suffer the consequences.

First of all, notice with me that there are two divisions of people in this verse. There is, as Jesus paints the picture, a group of people standing and making a declaration. You can imagine a huge crowd of people and they’re all saying the same thing—“Lord, Lord”. However, within this group of people there are really two groups. Those who are really saved and know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and those who are simply saying “Lord, Lord” with no such relationship. You can’t tell by looking. You can’t even tell by listening. Jesus says “Not everyone”—in other words, there are some in the group who are not part of the group. These are the tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:27). As we look over the world and see and hear people profess faith in Christ we can’t ultimately truly know whether a profession of faith is genuine. However, Christ does know the division between those who are His and those who are not.

We also see two declarations in this verse. There are those who proclaim “Lord, Lord” with their lips and their life. The claim of faith is sincere. For them to call Christ their Lord is not just a matter of air passing over their vocal chords with their lips, tongue, and teeth coming together to form sounds. It is an expression of a heartfelt faith that has transformed their lives in a real way. In contrast, there are those (“Not everyone”) who go about saying (“says”-present tense which means this is something they are doing constantly) “Lord, Lord” but they don’t mean it. Or perhaps they think they mean it but have deceived themselves with activity, piety, or they have been deceived with a false gospel. In short, they make the declaration that Jesus is their Lord but it just “ain’t so”.

We also see two destinations that Jesus mentions—well one mentioned, the other implied. At the end of time, when God brings this universe to a close and brings in a new heaven and new earth, the redeemed from across the ages will come to live in a place so glorious, so majestic, as to defy human comprehension. We read a description in Revelation chapter 21 of the beauty of the heavenly home of those whom God has graciously saved. There will be no death, no crying, no pain, and no sin. However, “Not everyone…will enter the kingdom of heaven.” Well, if they’re not going there, what does that tell us? I mean, they’ve got to go somewhere, right? Jesus mentions heaven but the other location is implied—hell. Those who don’t go to heaven will be tormented forever in a lake of fire. Eternally conscious of their suffering, their punishment will go on throughout eternity. Although it sounds like a cheesy bumper sticker the fact is there are two destinations for eternity—smoking or non-smoking.

The key feature that those who enter heaven will have in common is their deportment (n.- the manner in which one conducts oneself). Jesus says those who enter heaven will be the one who “does the will of My Father who is in heaven”. Now, what is this “will” and how do I do it. Because, obviously, if I want to be in heaven I need to be busy doing that. Where can I go? How much should I give? If we read further in the immediate context of this verse, we see that it can’t just be religious activity. The people in the next verse, perhaps some of the very same Not Everyone’s mentioned in this verse, will be bragging about their religious activity for naught. I believe God’s will, in this case, would be best described in the passage from John 6:40—“"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." God’s will, in this case, indicates the means of salvation—saving faith in Jesus Christ. This saving faith, like a seed planted in the ground, will produce fruit (good works). But true good fruit does not come out of nowhere or nothing—it comes from a seed planted by the Master Gardener.

As we have seen thus far beginning with Jesus’ illustration of two roads, we see Jesus moving His audience to a point of decision. There really is no two ways about it. Every person must decide if they are going to follow Christ or follow anything else. As we have seen here, to choose to reject Christ or pay lip service to His Lordship is to accept dire consequences of eternal torment in hell.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

II Peter 2:18 Part I-The Fast Talking Salesman

When I was in high school, rap music was just coming into the popular consciousness. Now, most of that stuff is, as far as I’m concerned, garbage but I have found some that I like. Some of the stuff from the early to mid-eighties was pretty catchy. In fact, I remember one called “You talk to much” which was pretty simple. The whole chorus was two sentences long—“You talk to much. You never shut up.”. The rap went on to describe someone who was constantly running his mouth and not saying anything. In much the same way, Peter describes false teachers as doing the same thing. However, there is a purpose, a sinister one, to their verbosity.

First of all, observe the substance of what they say. Peter describes their words first of all as “arrogant” which, in the Greek, means inflated or puffed up. These guys are convinced that what they have to say is important and that their words have value. However, as Peter points out, they have severely overestimated the importance of what they have to say. They talk as though they are something when the fact is they’re really nothing. Further, notice these arrogant words are also words “of vanity”. Literally, they are empty. I picture this like a giant bag of cotton candy which you could eat and when you were finished realize that you haven’t eaten anything. There was color and the smell of the sugar—it was a very impressive, large bag of cotton candy. In the end, though, there was no substance. These men teach false doctrine that sounds impressive and they can draw folks to follow them. In the end, however, their words have no power because they are a big pile of nothing. There is no truth. There is no life. Their words can’t profit anyone because,, in the final analysis, they really haven’t said anything. Their words are empty.

Peter tells us, though, not only what their speech is like, but also their motive for speaking. He says these false teachers use their false doctrine to “entice”. Literally, they use their speech to trap people. They’re like used car salesman. They want power, prestige, and money and they peddle the gospel, or rather pervert the gospel, in an attempt to trap people with false doctrine. They spread a trap and lie in wait for victims. These are fast talking manipulators we see people as a consumable resource. These are the wolves in sheep’s clothing in Matthew 7. Their selfishness leads them to manipulate people for the purpose of enriching themselves through the acquisition of money, influence, or prestige. They are looking out for number one first, last, and always.

People who try to trick you into taking something worthless are, in simple words, scoundrels. That would be an apt description of these false teachers. They use slick, impressive sounding speech to persuade people to accept their soul damning doctrine. As believers, we need to be on the look out for these false teachers and oppose their doctrine when we find it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Dreaded "S" Word-A Sermon From I Corinthians

Byron Yawn, pastor of Community Bible Church, has begun preaching through the book of I Corinthians. If you'd like, you could listen to the second sermon in his series by clicking here. I am certain you will be encouraged.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Exposition of Hebrews-Part 6

Doug Searle over at Taking Up Space is teaching through the book of Hebrews and posting the audio from his classes online. Click here for audio. Click here for the class handouts.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Matthew 7:16-20 If It Walks Like A Duck…

As an auditor, I have to get 80 hours of continuing professional education every two years. Now, some of these are about as interesting as watching paint dry (Two words—GASB Updates. Trust me, it’s as boring as it sounds.) However, some of the fraud related classes I have had have been most interesting, particularly those related to interviewing. In those classes, the instructor gives examples of how to observe things to notice when a person is being deceptive. You see, you can hide some things but you can’t hide everything from someone who is willing to pay attention to what they see and hear. Jesus makes this same point related to false teachers. You can, as the saying goes, fool some of the people some of the time. However, these false teachers can’t fool God ever. By paying attention to their lives and their words, we can keep ourselves safe from false teachers and their destructive doctrine.

First of all, notice that Jesus states in verse 16 and 17 His thesis—this is the central point that He is making in these verses. He states in verse 16, first of all, the comforting fact that you and I “will know them”. In other words, if we are observant and pay attention to a man, what he says, and how he lives, we can know if what he’s saying is from God and if he is actually a true prophet by applying biblical discernment. Jesus uses the analogy between plants and their fruits to symbolize what he is talking about. Just as fruit bearing plants produce what they produce naturally, a persons words and actions are the natural outgrowth of what is on the inside of them. The fruit that is produced identifies the plant just as the teachings, words, and actions of a person identify the kind of person he really is in his heart. With this as a foundation, Jesus builds His thesis—“Every good tree bears good fruit but the bad tree bears bad fruit”. This simple, matter of fact statement reminds us as it reminded his listeners that the kind of spiritual transformation that is brought about by the Holy Spirit in the life of someone who is truly converted is something that is evident. You can tell an apple tree is an apple tree because, well, it has apples

However, someone might make the point “Well, aren’t there exceptions to every rule.” Could it be possible that a person might be falsely labeled a false prophet? Notice here, though, that Jesus doesn’t just make the statement that good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit. He states it negatively, thereby eliminating the possibility that someone could claim an exception. In verse 18, He states that it is not possible for a good tree to produce bad fruit or a bad tree to be found with good fruit hanging from its limbs. Therefore, the type of fruit produced is exclusive to the tree. This, of course, makes perfect sense given the point Jesus is making. Even if a man preaches bible exposition, taking years to go through a book, adheres to what appears to be sound biblical theology, if that man shows himself to be a false prophet through greed and a lack of integrity, the “fruit” he is producing will not have eternal benefit. It mike look like good, wholesome fruit on the outside but on the inside it will be rotten. Just as good trees are only capable of producing good fruit, bad trees can only produce bad fruit.

So, Jesus has stated in these verses not only his thesis but also the antithesis of His point. As we read verse 19 we find a terrifying picture of the torment awaiting these deceivers who lead others astray. Their doom is sure and even though it has not come today, you can be sure it will come. Jesus says the ultimate end of these bad trees that cannot produce good fruit but only produce bad fruit is that they are “thrown into the fire”. Now, sometimes in scripture fire is used to represent a purifying of something—like smelting an ore to refine it. However, that’s not what happens with wood. When you throw wood onto a fire, it is destroyed—burned up. It is reduced to ashes. These false teachers proudly stand in pulpits and mock God with their prideful words but one day they’re going to get what’s coming to them. As wood in a fire has nothing that can protect it from the flames, so these people will burn forever in a lake of fire, tormented for all eternity for their lies.

You and I can take comfort, however, that Jesus has promised in verse 20 that we “will know them by their fruits”. These men who refuse to be accountable and set themselves up as kings over their little kingdom depend on people who are willing to check their brains at the door. They prosper when people refuse to apply biblical discernment to examine them and their lives. However, Christians should apply such discernment in order to be good stewards of the faith and defend it from false teachers.