Standing in the Assembly of the Righteous#3. “Churches must stand up!”

Standing in the Assembly of the Righteous#3. “Churches must stand up!”

There was a high school student who wasn’t always motivated to study and did his best to come up with questions to delay the start of classes. On one occasion, as his history teacher was about to begin class the student asked, “Sir, is it true that man is doomed to repeat history?” The teacher, knowing a distraction when he saw one, said, “Yes, especially if he flunks it.”

Churches have their fair share of the distracted too. But left unchecked, the room will inevitably open up for all manner of “real troublemakers” to move in.

In the case of false teachers, churches will be confronting men skilled at filling the air with words (2Tim.2:14). And being unteachable by nature, their godless behaviour will spread through the church like a disease (2Tim.2:16-17)—if allowed!

Timothy, the preacher at the church in Ephesus, was faced with such problems. But note Paul’s priority when instructing Timothy in how to handle these false teachers:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2Tim.2:15).

One might wonder if Paul was accusing Timothy of neglecting, mishandling, or even being ashamed of God’s Word. But not at all! Paul is instead warning Timothy that that is exactly what will happen if he gives room to the false teachers.

How do we avoid the threefold trap of neglect, mishandling, or being ashamed, of the Word of God?

Paul would call us to the same degree of vigilance as he did Timothy. He would tell us to take up the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God – Eph.6:17) and to fight bravely in this war against demonic forces; to neglect to do so is to court defeat and shame. He would tell us not to give way to the endless bickering of the troublesome, because to do so is to accept their approval over God’s approval.

If churches do not stand up to false teachers, then none of us will be left Standing in the Assembly of the Righteous.

John Staiger


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