The Wrong MessageBro. David Chancellor
11/26/2006 6:00 PM
This he spake, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when Peter had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
People were affected by what Jesus spoke. Something Jesus said here was taken the wrong way. We want to hear the right message and to give the right message. We don’t want people to go away with the wrong conclusion.
Jesus’ message to Peter was, "Follow me." Some walked away from this exchange thinking, "John is going to live forever." They got the wrong message. The message was, "Follow me, and don’t worry about John." They walked away with a completely wrong message.
We don’t want people to walk away with the wrong message. The message of the Sabbath was one where sanctification is our rest. We don’t observe a Sunday Sabbath, but we don’t want people to think it’s ok to leave off thinking about and worshipping God on Sunday. Some people view Sunday as another day for business. People still need to be in church on Sunday. There may be times when work is unavoidable on Sunday, but we want people to think about their souls. We don’t want people to get the wrong message.
When we listen to a message, we don’t want to come away with the wrong message. We want to get from it what is good for our souls. We don’t want to twist the message.
2 Peter 3:14-16
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Some people view God’s mercy as a lack of vengeance. If we see someone who is going along in the life of sin, we need to see that they aren’t getting by. God is being merciful. Don’t take away the wrong message.
Paul had tried to help people deal with and overcome what they faced in their day. Some twisted what he said. We want to take what God gives and come away with a right understanding of what God wants us to do.
And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law, As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
This talks about Paul at Jerusalem. It presents an interesting challenge. The elders were glad to see Paul because they had a problem. In Jerusalem, the law of Moses was also the law of the land. The Gentiles weren’t compelled to keep the law. A story was being spread that Paul was teaching a message that he wasn’t teaching. That message was that Paul was teaching the Jews not to keep the law, and that he was saying if you kept the law, then you were wicked and evil. Paul was teaching that the law was nailed to the cross and wasn’t binding to the Gentile.
When we teach that the law is nailed to the cross, we’re not teaching, "you can do your own thing." We’re teaching that God brought a higher standard, and we don’t have to go to the old law for guidance. Instead we look to the Spirit of God for guidance. Paul wasn’t anti-law; he was pro-Christ. People took away the wrong message, and there was still a riot. If people hold to the old law in their lives, there isn’t sin in that if they are looking to Christ for their salvation and not trying to find salvation in holding to the old law. We just try to get the message across the way God intended.
God’s law is highest, but don’t walk away thinking you can disobey the law of the land. God wants us to function down here wherever it is humanly possible. The message of personal responsibility should bring carefulness, not give you the freedom to do whatever you please. Personal responsibility doesn’t remove your need for submission and carefulness. We don’t want to go away with the wrong message and hinder the cause of Christ.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators; Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioners; with such an one no not to eat.
Paul wrote to them, "Don’t eat with sinners," but then he clarified the message. He was concerned about those who claimed to be saints, but were doing sinful things. We want to be respectful to all and show them God’s love, but we don’t want people to think their sin is alright. It can be difficult to know sometimes how to treat people. We don’t want them to think sin is ok, but we don’t want to take over punishment for it in God’s stead. We want people to know God loves them without allowing them to think sin is ok. Some people might think kindness equals acceptance or approval. We need to be kind to everyone, and make sure that we’re right with God. We can reach our hand in fellowship to those whose lives support their testimony. We can do this without being ecumenical. The old time brothers viewed all those who demonstrated the life of Christ as a brother in Christ. Not everything that claims to be a Christian is a brother, though. If the life has wickedness, don’t call that one brother. We don’t want to be sectarian in our thinking – that only those who are with us and agree with every point are saved. There are some who are saved, but haven’t reached the same level of understanding. We still need to show love.
2 Corinthians 2:3-9, 12-17
And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
We want our words and our actions to convey the right thing. We don’t want souls to draw the wrong conclusion. We bring the knowledge of Christ everywhere we go. We want people to see Christ in us. People may see different things depending on where they’re at. The sinner sees a message of death. The Christian sees a message of life.
We don’t want to twist the word of God to get a point across. We don’t want people to go away with the wrong message. We want them to get the right message. It may take several times for people to get the message right. The Spirit of God can work on people to help them get the message straight.
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
We need to do a lot of praying. We want to get the message across like we ought to. We can ask God to get the message across like we ought to. We need to be careful in our lives because every person we’re around is a soul we influence. Be much in prayer. We don’t want the world to get the wrong message.