By Nathan Jones
What worldly fables lead us away from the truth of Jesus Christ?
This question was put to me recently by Doug Harris from Britain's apologetics television program "Simply the Truth." In this first episode of Doug's new show "End Times Truth," he sought along with me and other guests to define what the Last Days are and how we should live in them. The following is an excerpt of that program.
Doug Harris: First Timothy 4:7 in the King James reads, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness." We are told here concerning worldly fables not to take any notice of them, because if we take notice of these worldly fables we are going to be led away from the truth.
Nathan, when looking through the lens of the end times, what do you think some of those worldly fables are that can actually not only lead us away from the truth, but possibly lead us into fear since we would no longer then be holding firmly on to the Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross?
Nathan Jones: I love the NIV84's translation which calls these worldly fables "godless myths and old wives tales." Think back while growing up about the old wives tales you were told. For example, like when a bell rings an angel receives his wings. Or, if you grow ivy on your house you are protected from witchcraft and evil. Or, if you put a picture up in your house of an elephant it will bring you luck, but only if that picture is facing an open door. These beliefs are crazy! The people who have come up with them are very animistic in their view of nature, meaning that we have to ward off the spirits of demons. Animistic beliefs are godless. Those are not Christian teachings and are actually satanic in origin. We as Christians need to stay away from demonic beliefs like those.
Doug, there are three main deceptions today that are leading people away from Jesus Christ and their salvation and hope.
1. The first is the false teaching that all paths lead to God.
Jesus in John 14:6 emphatically declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." Clearly Jesus said faith in Him as the Son of God and Savior is the one and only way to get to Heaven. Instead, there are authors like Paul Young who wrote The Shack, along with others, who offer multiple options to be saved. This non-biblical teaching is called Universalism. It's the idea that there are many ways to reach the Father based on our works and our own personal system, but again that's definitely not truth. Only faith in Jesus Christ who did the ultimate work on the cross is the one and only way to get to Heaven.
2. The second deceptive false teaching is a big one, and that's works-based salvation.
Works-based salvation is the idea that we don't need Jesus to get to Heaven. We can just work our own way and do enough good deeds to get to God. But, according to the Bible, that method is clearly not true. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast."
What are works for then? Ephesians 2:10 tells us, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared for us in advance to do." In other words, we aren't created to have to do work to get salvation, rather once we are saved then we naturally do good works. People seem to get that vital difference confused. No, Jesus did the only required work on the cross, so there is no such thing according to the Bible of a works-based salvation.
3. One of the greatest deceptions of this time goes along with what Peter said in 2 Peter 3 about scoffers who say that Jesus isn't really returning.
The general idea behind this deception is that time is just going to keep on marching on and God's never going to return. Jesus isn't going to finally institute justice and law by His earthly kingdom. These are the people from 2 Peter 3:3-7 who we are warned about — "in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'" The chapter goes on to teach us that eventually there will be a day of destruction for these ungodly men. Today we are seeing a general rejection both in the secular world and a good part of the Church that really doesn't believe that Jesus is returning. And yet, Jesus promised He's going to return, and He will return.
Doug Harris: Great as ever, Nathan! I really appreciate your input. You underline the fact that there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
Let's sum up today's conversation. What's important to remember is that there are lots of myths and there's lots of "facts" that we've got to check out before we give them any credibility.
Back in 1 Timothy 4, I want to underline three truths. First of all, the Spirit explicitly (that's the only time that Greek word is used in the whole of the New Testament; explicit meaning expressively and outspokenly by and from God), says what is in 1 Timothy 4 is from God and not from man, and because of Who the Source is, it will happen.
The second truth I want to underline is this — that we need to be careful that we are not listening to deceivers. We are not to be listening (the root of that word is roving like an imposter), to those who mislead us. There are many people out there who want to bring false doctrines in who in reality are the enemies of Christ. They are not always absolutely up front about it, so they bring their deception in very subtly. Therefore, we need to nourish ourselves on the Word of God.
Finally, the third truth is that we must have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales. Do not listen to unconfirmed conspiracy theories. Discern everything through the Word of God. Whatever your belief of the end times is, let us insure that we are being constantly being nourished on the words of faith and of sound doctrine. Spend more time on the truth, on the reality, than on the issues that are negative and are taking us away from God's eternal teachings.
End times truth whatever else is this: God is in control. Never forget that. Trust and walk with the Lord and always be ready for what He is going to do.
In the fourth and final part of this interview on End Times Truth, the entire program will be made available to watch.