We are approaching the beginning of another new year, and I don't know where the last one went! All those things I was going to get done this year, well, many were never started, and many more were never finished. I want to use this lesson to both close out the holiday season, and to move back into our series on the Tabernacle. At first glance, this lesson will not seem to have much to do with the Tabernacle and its service, but hang in there and the connection will be made later.

Just a couple of years ago at this time, people were not looking forward to the turn of the year. There was such hype and untruth concerning the change to the year 2000, that even those who didn't believe the hype and untruth were, none the less, apprehensive about the change over. Many made elaborate provisions, both for food and survival in order to prepare for all those things that some were saying, the Bible said was coming, which, of course, the Bible didn't. Many made statements and gave detailed teaching about the coming of the new millennium. They claimed that their false teachings were from the Bible. When all the time, those teachings were, at best, from the depths of their own confused and sometimes demented minds, and at worst, those things were doctrines of demons.

When those things, predicted by the perverters of the Word of God, did not come to pass, some just blew it off as though they were not false teachers or destroyers of the Word of God. Others, simply said that it was a mistake of timing. After all, they said, the real change of the millennium did not come at the year 2000, but would come at the year 2001. Some hedged their bets by still more false teaching, saying that, The calendar is off, therefore, we can't tell if these horrid things will take place at the first of the year 2001 or sometime later in the year. Well, both 2000 and 2001 have come, and are just about things of the past. Yet, these perversions of God's truth have not taken place.

I'm interested to see what false explanations will be given next. It would be nice to hear, "I'm sorry. I was dead wrong." However, don't expect such an admission, at least not from very many. Instead, for the most part, these who have so callously perverted God's truth, will either ignore the past, or will compound their lies with other lies in order to cover-up the first ones. Sad to say, the followers of these perverters of the Word of God, will continue to follow, or will look for some other spectacular phony baloney to follow, because most Christians aren't looking for the truth. They are looking for some instant fix to all problems whether family, physical, social, spiritual, etc.

I was asked sometime ago, if I was going to speak concerning the coming of the real new millennium, meaning the year 2001. I told them, to wait until the end of the year. Well, the end of the year is upon us. Also, after the start of the year 2000, and many so called Bible teachers had pie on their face big-time, I was ask, "Is it was really such a big-deal if someone taught all those false things about the turn of the millennium? After all, it was just a little mistake." I answered that individual's question, and said that at an appropriate time, I would address it publicly. Being mistaken is less of a big-deal, if the person making the mistake was truly trying to study and present the truth of the Word of God.

As humans, it is very possible to draw a wrong conclusion from the study of the Word of God, especially when not all the information is compared and harmonized. When such errors happen in honest study, a true teacher of the Word of God will readily admit their mistake, present the adjusted facts, and make appropriate changes in their own lives. Even with such admissions and appropriate changes, that person has still perverted the Word of God, and more than likely, through that perversion, has led others away from the truth of the Word of God.

So the simple answer is, Yes, the teaching of false truth as Biblical is a Big- Deal!    

In today's lesson, I would like to examine some of the whys that make such types of false teaching a big deal. Then I would like to move on to looking forward to a new year. As usual, we don't have time to do a complete study of either, but I hope we will see enough to give us a good start.

Proverbs 2:10-15 When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11 discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, 12 to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, 13 from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; 15 whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths;

In the Old Testament, several different Hebrew words are used for perverse or to pervert. However, all of those words contain the same essence of thought. So for this study, I will combine those words and treat then as one.

perverse or pervert = (Hebrew) to stretch or spread out of shape; to bend away from; to distort; to change.

From the standpoint of the misuse of Biblical truth: A perverse person would be one who stretches the truth until it is no longer in the original shape as given by the Holy Spirit through inspiration. A perverse person would be one who bends the truth just enough so as to move away from the original, thereby changing its meaning or distorting its truth. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 2, and other places that wisdom, knowledge and understanding are given by God to protect us from the person who speaks perverse things. For this protection to be ours, wisdom must enter our hearts, and knowledge must be pleasant to our soul. When we allow perverse things to be pleasant to our soul, we, like those who gave the perverse information, will leave the path of uprightness, rejoice in evil and will delight in perversity.

You would think that after the total collapse of the perverse things regarding Y2K, 
Believers would think twice before seeking and following some other perverse teaching.  

However, many Believers have demonstrated the fact that they are just waiting to, and in a sense wanting to be deceived by perverse teaching.

The Bible teaches, and experience confirms that when a person willingly follows a perverse teaching, without repenting from it, they are very likely to fall for almost any strange perverse religious hoax that comes along. It is frightening to realize that some, possibly even the majority of Christians are living in this gullible state. This willing gullible state of the Christian herd is demonstrated in so many ways, such as the pell-mell clamor for the Prayer of Jabez. The prayer of Jabez is Scripture, and is therefore good for reproof, correction and instruction (2 Timothy 3:16). However, a Believer would do much better to study and use the prayer Christ in John 17, or what is commonly called the Lord's prayer recorded in the Gospels.

The church Post Office Box is filled each month with all kinds of religious trash, and some good stuff. This pile of stuff is so large that I very seldom look through every piece of mail. Instead, I sort the mail right by the trash can, and keep only what I know I want. However, over the past few months, I have spot checked the piles and piles of religious junk mail, just to see the trends of the religious hucksters. Out of the many I threw away, I'll call your attention to three.

One was titled (as near as I can recall), How to Eat Biblically and Grow Godly Instead of Carnal and Fat. A large title for a small book. In all fairness to the promoters of this trash, they used a different word for Carnal, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was, but it meant the same thing.

In the bundle of Biblical lies and other falsehoods were statements to the effect that:

I guess the authors never read the Biblical part about Adam and Eve eating in the Garden, and it caused both spiritual and physical death. Oh, well! That's just a small omission. Another allegation was:

I guess the authors never realized that everyone over 21 (except two) died in the wilderness. Just another little omission, but not a big deal, ya know? One of the benefits claimed by this material, I found fascinating:

I couldn't find the word magnetoelastic in the dictionary. The closest I came to it was:

magnetoelasticity = (Webster) the effect of elastic strain upon the magnetization of a ferromagnetic elastic material, as when the magnetization of a steel spring varies as it vibrates.

You know, I think I'm going to stay away from all that stuff. Both of the recommended eating habits resulted in death. The arrangement for getting in proper alignment causes my spring to vary and vibrate. I don't know, but it doesn't sound good to me. Of course you needed to hurry and order, because supplies were limited, and there were already 500,000 in circulation. On the other hand, they could have been lying about the circulation and supply, just like they were lying about all the rest. There was one hitch in this whole thing. They contended that there is no way the average person could understand this information from the Bible, alone.

Only the author could see this information in the Bible.     

His ability came from a near death experience in which God gave him special wisdom and power. You know, it makes a guy wonder if maybe the author never really recovered from the near death experience. Folks, this type of perversion went on and on. I only read the first couple pieces in a pile that was close to 2" thick. Well, it was at least 1" thick. Evangelistically speaking, it was 2" thick. OK? This is the type of trash that you would expect in the grocery store tabloids, not something masquerading as Biblical and spiritual truth. The only good I could see from that pile of lies was that it might bring a smile to your face, here at the end of the year.

However, there are many, many Christians 
who are swallowing this stuff (and worse) hook-line-'n-sinker.    

Just a couple of other titles that came across my desk, these past few months. CORRECTION -- These things never made it to my desk. They only made it to the counter of the Post Office, and then directly to the trash. Another title was God's Way to Perfect Health. Boy, it is sure too bad that this guy lived so long after the Apostle Paul and Timothy died. They both could have profited from this revealing information. Paul could have used it so he wouldn't have had his "thorn in the flesh". If Paul could have gotten his hands on this book, he would have been in perfect health, and then Dr. Luke could have stayed home and read this book to all of his other patients, so they could have had perfect health, also. If Timothy would have called the 1-800 number, he could have rid himself of his stomach problems. Sometimes, God's timing is really bad, right?

If God could have just worked it out so this guy had lived before Christ, Christ could have passed out the book, instead of healing all those people. Then, He could have pocketed the profit, and had enough to pay His taxes instead of having to go fishing. I hope you know I jest in all of this, except that this type of garbage is a total discredit to our Savior and His Word.

Another title went like this: The Prayer of Jabez Propelled Me to Riches Enough Already! We could go on and on and on. Even the titles reveal the fraud to those who have allowed wisdom into their lives. This debauchery is rampant, and Christians are buying it - in more ways that one.

Proverbs 2:10-15 When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11 discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, 12 to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, 13 from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; 15 whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths;

Let's see just a little of what God thinks of this type of stuff, which will increase in the 2002, because Christians will buy it, and there are people who want to make a profit from so called godliness.

I realize that we are not under the Law, we are under grace, and what Holy Spirit authored in Deuteronomy does not directly apply to us. However, the principle that is given here, and the hatred of God for such practices has never changed. The method for humans to deal with such God hated things may have changed, BUT not God's hatred for those things.

Deuteronomy 13:1-11 "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 "and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you comes to pass, saying, 'Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them,' 3 "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 "You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 "But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. 6 "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 "of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 "you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 "but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 "And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 "So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.
2 Timothy 2:15-17 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,

One of my prayers for my people of MBF is that we will not be caught in the snare of this wickedness. These things will not produce spiritual living, but they will continually increase ungodliness in the lives of those who listen. When you think of ungodliness don't just think of robbing banks and killing people, those certainly are ungodly. Please realize that anything that is not God like is ungodly.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day have become a contrast in contradictions. On the one hand there is reveling, drunkenness and murders by the DWI'S. While at the opposite side, there are those who spend the time in somber reflection, and the making of religious vows. Some see the new year as a new clean slate, and opportunities unlimited. While others see only a life that is out of control, and full of despair for the future. In reality New Year's Day is of no greater significance than any other day of the year. Yet, it seems to be true, the world over, that a new year should include a fresh start and a corrected course from the year just past.

In some cultures, that New Beginning starts, not in the dead of winter, but as spring begins to show its renewal, or as fall strips the earth of its foliage. Other cultures have their year begin as a remembrance of some great event in their history. The Bible does not discourage this type of readjusted renewal. One of the greatest historical New Year's celebrations is recorded in Genesis. This particular New Year's celebration had the participation of every human on earth. Even New York can't boast of such a universal gathering.

Genesis 8:13-19 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried. 15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 "Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. 17 "Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth." 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

The people of the earth had forgotten God, and had become totally consumed with just living. They had become preoccupied with marrying, having kids, running to school functions and dance lessons. They had become overly-busy with little league, orthodontists, work and social gatherings.

These things had so possessed their lives 
that God was pushed to second place and finally to "no place" at all.    

God was pushed clear out of their lives because of these important things that just had to be done.

Matthew 24:37-39 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Once God was replaced with these important things of kids and living, they soon became profane.

profane = (NT) permitted to be trodden + accessible, that which lacks all relationship or affinity to God.

In the case of the Divine things and actions, they were allowed to slip from the place of importance to the status of a threshold, only to be stepped over in accessing that which was on the opposite side - the things of life.

profane = (OT) to wound, pierce or bore; break; play the flute. may be used of:
Being profane is just one step away from being ungodly and immoral.    
Genesis 6:5-8 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Not long after that intimate fellowship of man and God in the Garden of Eden, mankind viewed the glory and blessing of God as common, or even incidental to the business of living a successful life in society. You know money, fun, status and wining ballgames, etc.

The next step downward from simply being profane was total internal wickedness.

Every thought of these people was only evil continually. That slide downward was so rapid that, in only a few generations from the hand of the Creator, man had become so wicked that he had no time or desire to include God in any of his plans. It is so easy to fall in this satanic trap and teach our children to follow in our steps, and our children will further hone our profane actions, as their own.

All it takes, is to let the divine things slip from their high and holy place, to just common place, that's profane. You know, it's more important to be at a ball game than church. It's all right to stay up late on the night before church, but you must be in bed the night before school and the list of profane things goes on and on.

Such actions are just one step from making the things of the world  
most important, and the things of God of  No importance.

I see these things happen often, and I shutter with fear. I hear people say, "I am sorry. I can't come to this church event or that youth function, because I've obligated myself to this sports activity." What do you mean, you've obligated yourself to a sports activity? I thought you had previously obligated yourself to God first, and then to the church. No! Baseball, football, basketball, dance lesson, etc. have replaced God and the Church as First Place, in the lives of most. By the way, most of these activities are fine in their place, but when they replace God as first, then they become wrong.

I wonder what year Christians will have guts enough to say, "Yes, I will play with you, if I can first fulfill my obligation to God and the church?" I doubt if that will ever happen, at least not for very many, because our love for the things of the world is far greater than our Love for God. When that happens, we are only one step from "every intent of the thoughts of our heart being only evil continually". No, this low state may not happen in your own personal life, but it more than likely will happen in your children or their children's lives.

We stand in holy indignation when we see God taken from our schools and our political process, but why don't we have just a little tinge of guilt when we see God dismissed from our home, our lives and our social activities by our own actions? We foolishly say, "Sorry God, I have a previous obligation. Therefore, You and Your work will have to move aside while I fiddle with the devil's crowd. Someone else will have to do your work for now. But once my obligation to the world is fulfilled, I will be back and see if I have any time left for You. God, you know that while I am out playing with the world, I have to let my family obligation slip, and all the things around the house that need to be done, I have to put them on hold, so I can play! When I get through with my fun and games, I will have to attend to those things of the family first and then, God, You're next on the list."

Do I hear, "Well, that's really not what I mean."

I am sure the folks in Noah's day didn't mean it that way either. They intended to put their creator first, just like we intend to, but that eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage takes so much time and is so important.

Godsimply became the threshold for Noah's society
to move from point A to point B.
How important is God in your life?
How important is the church in your life?    
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Some might say, "God is the most important thing in my life!". Talk is cheap! Actions prove the point.

Christ said in Matthew that you can't serve two masters at once. If you try to serve two masters, you will fall in love with one and hate the other. That is what happened on Noah's day. It will happen in your life also, unless you put Christ first, and keep Him in that position.

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Noah wanted that new beginning, and he was willing to pay the price. God asked for Noah's undivided devotion. God did not ask Noah to do and live like the world around him, so the world could see that Noah could play better than the world. After all, once the world could see that Noah did things of world better than the world, then like magic, he would be able to share his faith with his fans. Instead God said in effect, "Let me give you a real challenge. Live like no other has ever lived, do something that no other has ever done! In so doing, you will save yourself, your family and you will be a witness to the world around you."

Hebrews 11:6-7 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Noah took the stand. Noah was committed to the work, and he followed through. I am sure there were times he thought, "Why Me? Those other people are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. They don't have to put up with this headache of an Ark. I have all this stuff to do; wood to gather, wood to cut, timbers to put in place, all this tar to make, and at night, I have to study the blue prints. Why can't I be like the other people? All I want is a little fun, and a little down time. I don't like being different, these people think I am strange."

But Noah never stopped. He never listened to the pleas for social reform. I am sure some came to him with, "Just think of how much good you could do in the community, if you weren't spending so much time working for God." Others possibly said, "With the qualities you have and with your talents, you could have some real influence over a lot of people, if only you would join in with this community project instead of wasting all that time just doing what God said." Have you ever thought what would have happened if Noah had stopped the work on the ark for six months while he tried to better his community (goodness knows it needed it)? He and his family would have been lost and you and I would not even be around. God's work is important, despite the satanic suggestions that other things are more important.

Yes, on "...the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth". That New Year's day would not have been, had there not been a man and his family, who were really committed to the task at hand.

You will be committed to something, God's work or... 

If 2002 is to be a year in which this church makes an impact on a world around us and on a world to come, we will need some Noahs and some Noah's wives who will say, "This work is important! Important enough that I will put God number one over everything else. I will be available for service, no matter what that service might be." There were eight people doing the work of the ark. There weren't too many who had that high and holy position of "the teller of what everyone should do". They all had to be "the doers of what needed to be done!" If there was a job to be done, they all had to do it. Even if it was cutting the wood, shaping the wood, spreading pitch, or cleaning up the mess afterwards. What position they held was not important. What was important, was getting the job got done, on time and within budget. That was what was important, or all else would have been lost. They all had to be servants, not for self-glory, but for God and God alone. They had better please God instead of the crowd, because only God and the animals would be around to give the compliments later.

2002  is almost here    

God's directives for this earth will go on. Will you be a spectator in stands of the world, or will you be an active participant in carrying out God's directive?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!