I Tell You The Truth

Posted by on Nov 5, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

November 5, 2006

Sunday Morning

“I Tell You The Truth”

Scripture Text: Galatians 4:12-20

Introduction:

 

A.   As we have learned from our study of Paul’s letter to the Galatian believers, the problems that had arisen in the Galatian churches were the result of false teachers.

1. This should be no surprise because Jesus Himself warned His disciples about false teachers.

2. For example, in Mat. 7:15, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

 

B.   There are at least two things that we can learn about false teachers from our Lord’s warning.

1. First of all, we can learn that false teachers always disguise themselves and in doing so try to conceal their true identity.

2. Notice again what Jesus said, He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing.”

3. They are not sheep, but wolves, however, they disguise themselves as sheep, hoping to conceal their true identity.

4. Turn with me, for just a moment, to 2 Cor. 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;”

5. Twice in this passage Paul tells us that false teachers transform themselves (disguise themselves) as “apostles” or “ministers of righteousness.”

6. Why do they disguise themselves?

7. Because if they told people up front what (who) they really are, no one would listen to them.

8. (Illus.- Can you imagine someone knocking on your door and saying, “Hello. I am a false teacher and if you will let me, I will deceive you into believing a lie that will destroy your life, and possibly even condemn your soul to hell.” For some reason, I can’t imagine that, can you?)

 

C.   Not only do false teachers always disguise themselves, but according to Jesus, they also devour their victims.

1. Notice again what Jesus said, He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

2. The word “ravening” means “devouring.”

3. (Illus.- Imagine, if you can, a pack of hungry wolves who have just taken down a young deer. Imagine them tearing and ripping apart the flesh of that helpless animal with their sharp teeth as they devour their prey.)

4. This is exactly what false teachers do, only in a spiritual sense, they tear and rip apart the souls of their helpless victims, as they devour their prey.

5. And so, we learn at least two things about false teachers from the warning that Jesus gave.

6. First of all, they always disguise themselves ( “in sheep’s clothing”).

7. Secondly, they devour their prey (“ravening wolves”).

 

D.   This was certainly true of the false teachers who had infiltrated the Galatian churches and led many of those young believers astray.

1. In our text, this morning, Paul takes aim at these false teachers, and from what he said about them, we can learn at least three more characteristics of false teachers.

2. First of all, we can learn that false teachers are…

 

I.       Takers.

 

A.   Did you realize that there are basically two kinds of people in the world today.

1. First of all, there are what I call “givers.”

2. Who are “givers”?

3. Givers are people who’s lives are characterized, for the most part, by giving.

4. They are people who think more about the needs of others than they do about their own needs.

5. They are people who dedicate their lives to serving others, rather than serving themselves.

6. While some “givers” undoubtedly have the spiritual gift that is referred to in Rom. 12:8 as the gift of “giving,” you don’t have to possess that gift to be a giver.

7. All believers in Christ should be “givers.” (Amen?)

 

B.   The apostle Paul was definitely a “giver.”

1. From the time he was saved on the road to Damascus, his life and ministry were characterized by giving.

2. Notice again Vrs. 12-15, “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”

3. This is not the only time that Paul made reference to being afflicted with some kind of physical infirmity.

4. In 2 Cor. 12:7 he referred to this infirmity as his “thorn in the flesh.”

5. In that same chapter, Paul tells us how he asked God on three different occasions to remove that thorn, and three times God told him, “No.”

6. What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”?

7. No one knows for sure, but many Bible students believe that it had something to do with his eyes.

8. They believe that partly because of what Paul said in the latter part of Vrs. 15 of our text, “…for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”

9. The point is, whatever Paul’s infirmity was, he could have very easily had the attitude that because of his infirmity, people should…

-serve him,

-take care of him,

-tend to his needs.

10.   But Paul didn’t have that kind of an attitude.

11.   In spite of his physical infirmity, he devoted his life to ministering to the needs of others.

12.   Why? Because he was a giver!

13.   And so, some people are givers.

 

C.   Secondly, there are those people who are what I call “takers.”

1. Who are “takers”?

2. They are just the opposite of “givers.”

3. They are people who’s lives are characterized by taking.

4. They are people who care far more about their own needs than they do the needs of others.

5. They are people who dedicate their lives to serving themselves, rather than serving others.

6. They definitely don’t have the gift of giving, because they are basically very selfish people.

 

D.   False teachers are definitely “takers.”

1. I like the way that Paul described false teachers in Phil. 3:18-19, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly.”

2. What did Paul mean when he said that their god is their belly?

3. He simply meant that they worship their own appetites.

4. Their purpose for living is not to serve God and others, but rather to satisfy their own selfish appetites.

5. They are takers and not givers.

 

E.   What did the false teachers who had crept into the Galatian churches take from their unsuspecting victims?

1. The most valuable thing they took was their “liberty.”

2. They took their “liberty” and gave them “slavery” in return.

3. Not a very good exchange, if you ask me.

4. And so, first of all, false teachers are takers.

 

F.    Notice, also, that false teachers are…

 

II.      Liars.

 

A.   Did you notice the question that Paul asked these Galatian believers in Vrs. 16 of our text, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

1. While Paul didn’t come right out and call these false teachers liars, he certainly implied it here.

2. It’s like Paul was saying, “I don’t understand you Galatians. False teachers tell you lies, and you embrace them as your friends. I tell you the truth, and you treat me like your enemy. Am I your enemy, simply because I tell you the truth?”

3. One of the characteristics that all false teachers share is that they are all liars.

 

B.   Do you know why false teachers are liars?

1. It is because the devil is a liar, and false teachers work for him. (In other words, they are his emissaries.)

2. Do you remember what Jesus said about the devil in John 8:44?

3. Jesus was talking to a group of unsaved Jews.

 

4. He said to these unsaved Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

 

C.   Even if Jesus didn’t tell us that the devil is a liar, we know he is because of what he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

1. Do you remember what he told Eve in the garden?

2. God had already told Adam that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that they would die.

3. Then the devil comes along later and tells Eve, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)

4. Was that a lie?

5. Listen, not only was that a lie, but no greater lie has ever been told than the lie that the devil told Eve in the garden on that day.

6. And so, from the very beginning, the devil has proven himself to be a liar.

 

D.   That’s why false teachers are liars, because the devil is a liar and they work for him (they are his emissaries).

1. Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying.

2. False teachers are clever enough to know that if they mix a certain amount of truth in with their lies, they will have much more success.

3. This is what makes them so dangerous.

4. They use just enough of the truth to lure their victims in, and once the bait is taken, they spring the trap.

5. (Illus.- I remember the first time I watched John Hagee on television. At that time, I knew nothing about him. The first few times I watched him, I thought to myself, “This guy is right on!” Not only did I like what he was saying, but I liked the way he was saying it. But then one day while I was watching his program, right out of the blue he said something that revealed to me his true colors. I don’t even remember exactly what it was he said, but I remember thinking to myself, “This guy is not what he appears to be on the surface. This guy is a false teacher.” You know, false teachers like John Hagee are very dangerous because they use just enough of the truth to lure their victims in, and once the bait is taken, they spring the trap.)

6. But any way you look at it, false teachers are liars.

 

E.   Notice, finally, that false teachers are…

 

III.    Users.

 

A.   Notice again what Paul said about the false teachers who were causing so many problems in the Galatian churches, in Vrs. 17 of our text, “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.”

1. Now what was Paul saying here?

2. He was simply saying, “These false teachers are making a really big fuss over you, however, their motives are not genuine. They really don’t care about you. All they care about is using you to get what they want.”

3. That’s the way all false teachers are.

4. They really don’t care about their victims, all they care about is using them to get what they want, whether it be money or fame or pleasure, or something else.

 

B.   Turn with me to 2 Pet. 2:1-3, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:”

1. Notice again Vrs. 3, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:”

2. In other words, “They will lie to you and use you in order to satisfy their greed.”

3. That’s what the phrase “make merchandise of you” means, it means “to use you,” or perhaps we should say “to abuse you.”

4. False teachers are both users and abusers.

 

C.   Paul, on the other hand, was anything but a user.

1. Instead of using people to get what he wanted, he used himself (poured out his life) to help and meet the needs of others.

2. On at least one occasion, when he was ministering in the city of Corinth, he willingly forfeited his right to be compensated financially, just so that his motives would not be misinterpreted. (1 Cor. 9:1-14)

3. He didn’t want anything to hinder his ministry among the Corinthians.

4. False teachers would never make that kind of sacrifice.

5. They are takers, not givers.

6. They are users, not ministers.

 

D.   False teachers are not the only ones who are users.

1. (Illus.- As you know, election day is just around the corner. As I have watched some of the many political ads on TV during the past couple of weeks, it has become clear to me that many of those running for office are nothing but users. Oh, they say that they want to be our [public] servants, but the truth is, all they want to do is use us [beginning with our vote] to get what they want. Some of them want money, others want power, others want prestige, but they all want something, and they don’t care who they use, or abuse, in order to get it. Now to be fair, this is not true of all political candidates, but it is true of many of them.)

2. And so, false teachers are not the only users in this world.

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned about false teachers?

1. First of all, we learned that they are takers (not givers).

2. Secondly, we learned that they are liars (not truth tellers).

3. Finally, we learned that they are users (not ministers).

4. When we consider these characteristics of false teachers, we should not be surprised by Paul’s admonition found in Rom. 16:17, where he said, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

5. Or John’s admonition found in 2 John 1:10, where he said, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:”

 

B.   Let me ask you a personal question.

1. Are you a taker or a giver?

2. Is your life characterized mostly by taking or giving?

3. Before you answer that question, let me remind you of the words of our Lord Jesus Himself, where He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)