Book: Lord, What Should I Do?

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What is our Christian duty before God when we hear false doctrines being preached? Should we submit to church leaders who, in ignorance, promote false teachings that deny Christ? Are we to remain silent while ministers and brethren alike are swept into spiritual error? What did first-century Christians do when the churches of God were confronted with error and deception?

The apostle Jude wrote to faithful Christians of his day, encouraging them to stand up against apostasy. Jude addressed his epistle to the “called saints”—all who were called by God the Father to receive salvation through Christ. His letter warns of a subtle conspiracy by false teachers working within the churches in an attempt to pervert the true teachings of the Scriptures. Jude admonishes every Christian to defend the true doctrines delivered by Jesus and taught by His apostles.

Jude’s letter deals strongly with false teachers—declaring that such teachers are not led by the Spirit of God, but are, in some cases, actually motivated by satanic powers (verse 19). He exhorts us to help our brethren who are being caught up in deception and apostasy (verses 22-23). Jude’s words clearly show that Christians have a personal responsibility to witness to their fellow brethren to save them from spiritual destruction.

The Epistle of Jude

“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to the called saints, sanctified by God the Father and kept in Jesus Christ: mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, when personally exerting all my diligence to write to you concerning the common salvation, I was compelled to write to you, exhorting you to fervently fight for the faith, which once for all time has been delivered to the saints. For certain men have stealthily crept in, those who long ago have been written about, condemning them to this judgment. They are ungodly men, who are perverting the grace of our God, turning it into licentiousness, and are personally denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

“But I myself want to remind you, though you once understood this, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, the second time destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their own original domain, but deserted their habitation, He is holding in eternal bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah—and the cities surrounding them, in the same manner as them—having given themselves over to sexual debaucheries, and having gone after different flesh, are themselves exhibited as a perpetual example of undergoing the punishment of eternal fire,

In the same way also, these dreamers of filthy dreams are defiling the flesh, and are declaring as invalid the lordship of God, and are blaspheming the divine powers. But Michael the archangel, when he was personally taking issue with the devil, disputing about the body of Moses, did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment against him, but said, ‘The Lord Himself rebuke you!’ As for these, whatever things they do not understand, they blaspheme; but whatever things they understand by instinct, as irrational brute beasts, they are corrupting themselves in these things.

Woe to them! For they have walked in the way of Cain; and for gain, they have wholly given themselves up to Balaam’s delusion, and have perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are subversive stains in your love feasts, feasting in person together with you; fearlessly they are feeding themselves. They are clouds without water, being driven by the winds; trees of late autumn, without any fruit, uprooted, twice dead; raging waves of the sea, casting up like foam their own ignominious shame; wandering stars, for whom has been reserved the blackest darkness forever!

“And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied of these, proclaiming, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His holy saints to execute judgment against all, and to convict all who are ungodly of all their works of evil ungodliness that they have impiously committed, and of all the hard things that ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’ These are complainers and critics, who are walking after their own personal lusts, while their mouths are speaking great swelling words, flattering persons for the sake of advantage.

“But you, beloved, remember the words that were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; because they said to you that in the last time there would be mockers, who would be selfishly walking according to their own ungodly lusts. These are the ones who cause division; they are [using] psychic [powers], not having the Spirit of God.

“But you, beloved, be building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, so that you keep yourselves in the love of God while you are personally awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

“Now on the one hand, show mercy to those individuals who are doubting; but on the other hand, save others with fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating even the garment that has been defiled by the flesh.

“Now to Him Who is able to keep them from falling, and to bring them into the presence of His own glory, blameless in exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be the glory and greatness, the might and authority, even now, and into all the ages of eternity. Amen.”

We Must Individually Defend the Truth

Jude’s inspired words reveal that we are individually responsible as Christians to show brethren who are being deceived by false teachers that their ways are contrary to the Scriptures. We are to plead with our brethren, that they turn from their error and repent—and withdraw from any church that does not rightly preach the Bible.

Indeed, those who truly desire to walk in the light of God’s Word can have no spiritual fellowship with those who insist on following after “costless Christianity.” God commands true believers to separate themselves from the falsehoods and sinful practices of “Babylon the Great”—false religion. In the book of Revelation we read, “Come out of her, My people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and that you do not receive of her plagues, for her sins have reached as far as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she has rendered to you; and give to her double, even according to her works. In the cup that she mixed, give her back double!” (Rev. 18:4-6.)

Those who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24) can have nothing to do with false “Christianity.” True believers cannot fellowship with those who persistently teach myths, human traditions, outright error—or those who cannot progress beyond pablum. Today, “Churchanity” has overwhelmingly become costless, carnal-friendly “Christianity”—which is false religion. If we accept such teachings and practices, we are in danger of forfeiting our eternal life!

God has made it His responsibility to bring us to salvation through Jesus, to give us His Spirit, to give us understanding, to fill us with His love, if we hunger and thirst for it. But God does not personally intervene to keep us from being exposed to false doctrines. Instead, He has given us the truth of His Word so that we may recognize and refute false doctrines. He has provided “the Spirit of the truth” to guide us and to teach us the truth of all things pertaining to eternal life through Christ. We will not be deceived by false doctrines if we are earnestly studying and seeking the truth of God’s Word with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. Although we will not understand everything perfectly, we will be growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As individual Christians, we must be grounded and built up in the Word of God in order to resist the corrupting influence of false ministers. It is our individual Christian responsibility to diligently study the Word of God in order to discern truth from error, lest we too be deceived.

In the book of Hebrews, Paul admonishes the brethren because they were lax and negligent in their personal Christian responsibility. These Christians were spiritually immature in their understanding because they had not been diligently grounding themselves in the Word of God. Paul declared, “For truly, by this time you ought to be teachers, but instead you need to have someone teach you again what are the beginning principles of the oracles of God, and have become those in need of milk, and not of solid food. For everyone who is partaking of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness because he is an infant. But solid food is for those who are fully grown [spiritually mature], who through repeated practice have had their senses trained to discern between good and evil” (Heb. 5:12-14).

It is God’s purpose to bring us to spiritual maturity, fully conforming us to the perfect character of Jesus Christ, so that we also may be born into His divine family and be His children forever. But we cannot become spiritually mature if we continue to attend dead or dying churches, feeding only on pablum—or worse, outright error.

Rather, we must earnestly seek to understand the full truth of God’s Word, that we may grow spiritually. Only then will we be able to “discern between good and evil”—and be able to recognize and refute false doctrines.

True Fellowship Is with God the Father and Jesus Christ

True Christian fellowship begins with a personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle John wrote, “That which we have seen and have heard we are reporting to you in order that you also may have fellowship with us; for the fellowship—indeed, our fellowship—is with the Father and with His own Son, Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).

We must “worship God in spirit and in truth” because God is Spirit. True spiritual fellowship is not a once-a-week event, but an ongoing relationship with God and Jesus as we seek daily to live by every word of God. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’ ” (Matt. 4:4).

Fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ cannot be granted by any church organization. Such fellowship is based on the personal covenant with God that every true believer enters into at baptism. While this intimate spiritual fellowship is God’s gift to every Christian, it is our responsibility to maintain that fellowship by continuing to walk in the light of His Word—for only then are we truly in spiritual union with God the Father and Jesus Christ.

If we continue in this true fellowship, we need have no fear. God will not forsake us as long as we remain faithful to His truth. If we defend the truth, we may have to stand alone for a while, but we will always have fellowship with the Father and Jesus Christ. When a few brethren are able to fellowship and study God’s Word together, God will be with them. Jesus has promised that wherever two or three genuine believers are gathered in His name, He will be in their midst (Matt. 18:20).

Will You be Numbered Among the Faithful?

Every true Christian is being tried and tested to see if he or she truly loves God the Father and Jesus Christ. He said, “The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him…. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. The one who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me” (John 14:21, 23-24).

Jesus has given us the true doctrines of God. If we love Him, we will remain steadfast in His teachings, knowing that we are building our lives upon the only sure foundation. Paul shows that we can only receive the gift of eternal life by building upon the foundation laid by Christ. “For no one is able to lay any other foundation besides that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble, the work of each one shall be manifested; for the day of trial will declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall prove what kind of work each one’s is. If the work that anyone has built endures, he shall receive a reward. If the work of anyone is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet as through fire” (I Cor. 3:11-15).

As Paul wrote, Christians are now being judged on how we are building upon the foundation of Christ. God will not give us an eternal reward if we are not building the true works of righteousness that will withstand the fiery trials He allows to test us.

The apostle Peter also warned that Christians will face difficult trials: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial among you which is taking place to test you, as if some strange thing were happening to you. But to the degree that you have a share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; so that, at the revelation of His glory, you also may rejoice exceedingly. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God is resting upon you; on their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

“Assuredly, let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil doer, or as an overlording busybody in other people’s lives. Yet if anyone is suffering as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but let him glorify God because of this, for the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it first begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if the righteous are saved with much difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? For this reason also, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator” (I Pet. 4:12-19).

Peter tells us not to be discouraged or disheartened by these fiery trials. We must allow nothing to persuade us to turn aside from following Jesus Christ. If we suffer because we choose to remain faithful to His teachings, we will be richly rewarded at His coming. Let us rejoice in this eternal promise!

Are you willing to follow the example of Christ by remaining faithful to the truth of God, even if it brings persecution from your closest friends and members of your own family? Are you willing to hold fast to the true teachings of the Bible, even if it means you must withdraw from fellowship with your present church organization? Is your membership in a corporate church more important than worshiping God in spirit and in truth?

Remember, the very love of God—which is based on the truth of His Word—is to be perfected in genuine Christians: “And we have known and have believed the love that God has toward us. God is love, and the one who dwells in love is dwelling in God, and God in him. By this spiritual indwelling, the love of God is perfected within us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment because even as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in the love of God; rather, perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment. And the one who fears has not been made perfect in the love of God. We love Him because He loved us first” (I John 4:16-19).