Suffering for Sloth

by | Feb 1, 2010

Joseph Herrin (02-01-2010)

One thing that provokes me is when Christians fail to exert themselves to study a matter carefully to discern truth from error. I was speaking to a brother in Christ on this topic yesterday, and I found myself speaking with much emotion. I related to him the deep concern I had for Christians who manifest a spirit of apathy, laziness, or great carelessness when they are confronted with some doctrine or teaching that they should be examining with the greatest care.

As I reflected on this topic, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Christians at Corinth who were acting as little children, rather than as mature saints. These believers were being led astray by many false teachers. They were following men into carnal behavior and false doctrines without considering carefully what they were doing. The church at Corinth was not testing those who aspired to teach and rule over them, nor were they examining every wind of doctrine as they were commanded to do. I can sense the emotion in Paul as he wrote the following:

II Corinthians 11:20
For you bear with anyone if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of you, if he exalts himself, if he hits you in the face.

If it were possible to shake a person and wake them up; to alter their behavior from one of carelessness to great caution and diligence, by means of a physical or verbal barrage, I would certainly consider employing such methods. But men are not led to spiritual maturity through such methods (Nehemiah might disagree. See Nehemiah 13:25).

In my burden for the remnant of God’s people, I have found myself entreating Yahweh in prayer. I have oftentimes expressed the frustration I feel in recognizing my powerless to open blind eyes or unstop deaf ears. I have confessed the vanity I feel at trying to lead some biased, carnal, undisciplined, argumentative, childish saints of God to a knowledge of the truth.

In my weakness I have cried out to God to be merciful to His people and to establish them in truth and righteousness. I have implored Him to do whatever is necessary to convert the slothful into diligent workmen, to make the careless into men and women of patience and discipline, and to cause those who are apathetic to become studious scholars of His word, laboring to rightly divide the word of truth.

Yahweh has shown me that He has been preparing me through many wilderness experiences that I might serve as a guide to a larger number of His people that must now pass through their own wilderness. He has often used the pattern of Moses to speak to me of this calling. Moses experienced forty years in the wilderness in order to humble him, and then he was called to lead God’s people through forty years in the wilderness that they might also be humbled before God.

The Scriptures declare that Moses was the meekest man upon the face of the earth. Yet, this humble man was often “waxing hot” in his anger at the stubborn, churlish, childish, and fleshly behavior of those he was entrusted to shepherd. At times, his frustration was so great that he would cry out, “God, why have you saddled me with the burden of this people? They are too much for me to bear with.” As I read the account of Moses’ leadership of the people of God, I can sense the acute futility he often experienced as he sought to lead a people to godly behavior, but they were unwilling.

Brothers and sisters, I confess to you that I often experience a similar burden. At times a load of frustration would crush me with thoughts of the vanity and foolishness of preaching. I have on occasion questioned the value of carrying on. An utter sense of helplessness at times settles upon my mind, and I realize that I cannot deliver anyone from error in their belief if they are unwilling to act as spiritual men and women.

Perhaps the saints that cause me the most distress are those who simply will not bestir themselves to examine a matter carefully. Many saints write to me telling me of some truth they learned by reading the teachings of some minister on the Internet, some author of a book, or some man or woman whose seminar they attended. I could name some of these ministers and teachers and many of you would instantly recognize their names. Many people follow their teachings, adopting them as their own, and in doing so many are being led astray into deception.

As I read the writings from which believers I correspond with have obtained their doctrinal positions, I am at times appalled at what I read. I wonder, “Do not the people of God test anything? Are they so lazy and apathetic, or naive, or blind that they will swallow anything and everything without any discernment? Do not the people of God study anymore? Have God’s children forsaken the mandate to ‘examine all things carefully’?”

The people of God stand in great peril at this hour. There are many false teachers and false prophets among them.

Mark 13:22-23
For false christs (anointed ones) and false prophets will rise… to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

Matthew 7:15
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Mark 13:6-7
Many will come in My name… and will mislead many.

I John 2:26
These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

II John 7
For many deceivers have gone out into the world…

II Peter 2:1
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies…

The apostle Paul further warns the people of God that Satan will not come to them through men who wear a sign on their chest saying, “I am of Satan. I have come to deceive you.” Quite the contrary. These men will appear as apostles of righteousness.

II Corinthians 11:13-15
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.

Let me tell you plainly, some of the men who are putting forth the most destructive heresies in this hour are men that are well regarded among those who correspond with me. Some of these men are regarded as “servants of righteousness” and “apostles of Christ.” Do not the Scriptures tell us that this would be the case?

Hear my heart, people. It is not my desire to contend with any man, nor to become the gatekeeper of God’s remnant, telling them who they should listen to and who they should avoid. What I do earnestly desire is that the people of God would TEST ALL THINGS CAREFULLY! If the people of God did so, they would quickly find out for themselves who the men and women are who are teaching truth, and who are teaching error.

What burdens my heart is that I see very little evidence that the people of God are fulfilling the apostolic mandate to EXAMINE ALL THINGS.

Luke 12:57
And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?

Acts 17:11
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

I Thessalonians 5:20-21
Do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…

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

Revelation 2:2
I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false…

Brothers and sisters, this injunction to test all things applies to those things I teach as well as to all other teachers. I earnestly desire that those who read my writings would do so with a Bible in hand and an ear attentive to the voice of the Spirit. I would be delighted to know that the saints were looking up every Scripture to see if it is properly employed, and testing every argument to see whether it is sound. My heart would be full of joy to know that the people of God are fulfilling the instruction of the apostle Paul to Timothy.

II Timothy 2:15
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
[Amplified Bible]

Consider for a moment the strategy that Satan will employ against the remnant of God’s people in the coming hour, and you will understand how important this issue is.

Revelation 12:15
And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.

The strategy of the enemy of God’s people who must shortly go into the wilderness is described here. Satan, that great serpent of old, will attempt to sweep the people of God away to destruction with a flood of words. Where will these words come from? They will come from all around, from a multitude of sources. The saints will be flooded with words from the government, from the media, from family members and friends, from ministers in the churches, and even from some who are considered shepherds of God’s remnant.

How will the people of God stand in such a day if they are unaccustomed to examining all things carefully? How will they keep from being swept away to destruction if they do not with diligence test every teaching, every admonition, every word of instruction and counsel? I tell you, they will not stand. Many will receive great harm, and suffer grievous loss, because they have forsaken the requirement laid upon them by Christ and the apostles to put all things and all men to the test.

Christ has told me that He would have me to labor to see that none of those whom the Father has given to Him who are appointed to salvation should be lost. This should be the desire of all true shepherds of Christ. Does a shepherd care nothing if a sheep from his flock strays, or is attacked and devoured by a wild animal?

Knowing that there is peril all around, it is my desire to warn the sheep to be alert and on their guard. There are poisoned springs that are unsafe to drink from, and there are polluted pastures that will make the sheep sick. Be discerning. Test the waters. Examine the pastures, before you settle down to feast yourself on what is before you. Ruminate upon all things. Hold to that which is good and cast away that which is unprofitable.

Hebrews 13:9
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefitted.

I am observing many of the people of God being “carried away by varied and strange teachings.” How will such ones stand in the coming hour of darkness? If you do not discern the things you imbibe now, what expectation do you have that you will do so later? Will God grant you instantaneous discernment at that hour when you have failed to discipline yourself to study carefully all matters now?

Habits are formed over time, and caution and careful study are habits that must be developed. If you are careless now, will you not be influenced by a habit of carelessness in coming days. Will you not suffer harm because you have neglected the opportunity afforded you in an hour of calm to become a studious scholar of the word of God?

The days are near when many a Christian will deeply regret the missed opportunities they had to become firmly grounded in the Scriptures. Many will lament that they failed to avail themselves of the hours they could have been feeding upon the Word of God. The wasted hours in front of the television, or pursuing endless entertainment and pleasure will indeed prove very costly.

Amos 6:1
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion…

People of God, ease the burden of my heart. Begin the practice of careful study of all things you hear proclaimed from those who serve as your teachers. When I was in my early teenage years I began developing habits of careful study of the word of God. I obtained a copy of Strong’s Concordance, and I spent hundreds of hours pouring over words and their meanings. I spent hour upon hour from the time of my youth doing topical studies with the resources I had available to me, a few Bible versions, Strong’s Concordance, and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

Study of the word of God is made much easier today. Many more resources are available than I had as a youth. Today I have over a dozen translations available to me on my computer, as well as the Interlinear Hebrew and Greek Scriptures that I might see the original words that have been translated into English. Although I use a software program that I have paid for and upgraded for about 15 years (PCStudy Bible), there are similar resources that are absolutely free. E-Sword is a free Bible Study tool that has a multitude of translations and study resources available with it.

http://www.e-sword.net/

Do not stop with testing things in the Scriptures, however. When someone sends you a report of something that has happened, or they cite a resource outside the Bible, verify the information yourself. See if the things stated are true. Do your own research. Examine the sources people are using to see if they are reliable.

We live in an hour of great deception and it is at out our own peril that we fail to heed the words of Christ.

Matthew 10:16
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

To my grief, I have recognized that too many of God’s people are following the pattern of the carnal believers in the church of Corinth.

II Corinthians 11:20
For you bear with anyone if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of you, if he exalts himself, if he hits you in the face.

Let me exhort you with one closing admonition from Paul.

I Corinthians 14:20
Brethren, do not be children in your thinking…

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    I was moved to research the following…

    In Hebrew The meaning of the name Joseph is: May Jehovah add/give increase.
    http://www.babyhold.com/list/Hebrew_Baby_Names/Joseph/details/

    The surname of HERRIN was of two fold origin. It was a baptismal name 'the son of Haring' an early font name in use in the 12th century. It was also an occupational name for a seller of fish.
    http://www.4crests.com/herrin-coat-of-arms.html

    The name HERRIN is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It was originally a name for someone who worked as a person who made a living by catching or selling herring.
    http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/herrin-family-crest.htm

    The meaning of surname HERRIN is – one who lived at or near the sign of the heron.
    http://www.winslowtree.com/tree/find.php?mylastname=HERRIN

    The Physiologus describes the heron as a contented bird which does not run hither and thither after game. Christians were advised to emulate its feeding habits rather than chasing after false doctrines to feed their hungry souls. During medieval times, herons were thought to fly above the clouds to avoid getting rained on. This supposed habit led them to become symbols of the righteous who avoided the storms of this world by placing their hopes and treasures in heaven.
    http://users.netnitco.net/~legend01/heron.htm

    Matthew 4
    18And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

    19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

    20And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

    21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

    22And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

    Dear Mr. Joseph Herrin, you have been called to be a fisher of men. I pray that God might increase your wisdom according to His will that you might be able to continue to serve Him. Thank you for the many insightful posts that have caused me to think and change. May God bless you and keep you. Stand!

    Reply

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