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The Character of a Con Artist, Part 2 - Titus 1:10-14

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Steven Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2020 1:00 am

The Character of a Con Artist, Part 2 - Titus 1:10-14

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Steven Davey

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April 29, 2020 1:00 am

There have always been wolves in sheep's clothing in the Church--from the time of the Apostles until now. In James' day the wolves were Jewish leaders who misguided diverse congregations into thinking salvation had to be earned. Who are the wolves in our day and age? What false gospels are prevalent in our 21st century churches? In this message Stephen unveils a few of them.

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As to results of being conned two things are happening here. Number one families are being turned upside down. He writes further.

These false teachers are upsetting whole families turning every thing upside out the word upsetting the same word used of Jesus Christ to turned over the tables and be upset that Matthew 21 turned upside down so you can only imagine what is referring to with the conflict and the anger and the emotion of the frustration these churches on the island of Crete of these false teachers have literally turned members of your family.

Very upsetting to the family dynamics. It causes conflict.

Often times, people who believe false teaching want to convince you that their right and so when false teachers promote false doctrine. Paul says there are literally turning families upside down today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davey is going to explore more of the effects of false teaching and the character behind false teachers in this lesson that he's calling the character of a con artist stay with us in his powerful little expos entitled priceless Christianity. If you like to do a little further study on the subject. He dresses Titus, but also the he addresses can sever Christianity with with harsh words of Michael Horton, an evangelical believer got his doctorate from Oxford University and teaches at Westminster seminary in California. I have just about everything that is written, he he thinks so critically, he says, and explains the Christ list. Christianity does not mean that false religion or false spirituality is missing words like Jesus and the Lord and Savior. What he says is that that those terms are taken out of the context of Scripture. The contexts of sin and rebellion and a divine rescue in heaven and hell.

He writes Jesus in contemporary evangelical false teaching is been baptized into the church is turned Jesus into a therapist into a body into a significant other good model a political Messiah, they may attack on the gospel at the end of a sermon, but that's only for evangelical window dressing. I've seen it happen.

He he in fact extensively evaluated his book the content of messages objectively parsing them down by popular speakers and authors like Joel O'Steen, TD Jakes and Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, others they may wrap up their sermons by asking people to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior which makes them sound all the more biblical but a savior of what the Lord all over what save from where these questions are unanswered. Unless you're talking about being saved from an unfulfilling job being redeemed from oppression or sickness or low self-esteem. So again the Bible is a resource for terminology and advice, but it isn't the source of meaning or exposition is an interesting illustration and in it and it might tweak your thinking at first but follow me carefully.

Through this he says no and he said when when my wife and I had triplets. We needed advice we can only imagine and and all of our vice didn't come from Christians. In fact, he says I got great advice from my barber and his wife and he makes the interesting point that you don't need the Bible in order didn't know that your child needs regular sleep patterns and how to get them on it, or for that matter. The secret of a good marriage is talking to each other or or the divorce can be devastating for children or that if you don't rule over your credit card, your credit card will rule over you, Chris. The Bible gives us a lot of wisdom on subjects like these, but there are plenty of non-Christians who actually do a better job at giving out and following advice then Christian that I believe religion your neighbor it might be a better financial manager than you, their children, maybe sleeping six hours through the night, which is in favor makes this point someone can lose weight, stop smoking, improve one's marriage and become a nicer person without Jesus, there a lot of people to do it.

So if Christianity is nothing more than ethical advice on how to live a really good and clean and happy and you sleep well at night life to become a better person with a more positive attitude to live the best life possible now. Who are we to say that our religion is the only true religion when there are real other religions with the same doctrines the same golden rule and their people are becoming better people because of that. So if religion is basically ethics. If you reduce Christianity down to just good advice. If you get anywhere. It just will blend in with the culture of religion are teaching may sound relevant. It may seem to connect but it actually gets lost in the marketplace of ethical ideologies in the world looks at us and says why would you think yours is the only one. So who are we, than to say that Christianity is the only true religion, especially when the kind of Christianity now pedaled by so many false teachers is nothing more than good advice and moral platitudes and creative principles is the point.

What distinguishes Christianity at its heart is not necessarily its moral code, although it ought impact, but it's truth about a creator who was rejected and denied by those he created in his image and he then stooped to reconcile them to himself through his son by faith in Christ alone to Christianity at its heart, which makes it unique is the gospel in Jesus Christ as the crucified toning Lamb of God for sinners, slaying, and even now the soon coming King, for whom we wait. That's the good news. The con artist gives you something you think you want, but then you realize a really unsatisfied thing about it of money makes you happy than the happiest people on the planet ought to be the wealthiest people right you know that isn't true if good health made you satisfied and sick people would have no joy and personal trainers and bodybuilders would be the happiest people on the but you know that is true either a con artist gives you what you want and that's part of the danger that stuff. We think that really is what life is all about were easy marks.

But in the end, the rented premises. If an angel were to show up and give us one wish. I wonder how many of us would fit evangelical culture and asked that one wish, whatever that may be temporary and and and not be like Solomon the only man ever to have been given a one wish opportunity for from God ask for something deeper like wisdom budget. Enjoy the story receive as best we can.

Angel came to a married couple and me were given one wish they were in their mid 60s, mid 60s, the Angels I look up and allowed to grant each of you one wish ladies first. Norma said all my husband would never do this for me so I get to where should I just always wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise. I love tickets for my husband and I to go first class all the way and the angel said sure she was holding to first class tickets and elected her husband said okay, your turn.

He looked down at his wife, grinned and said well I like to go on a cruise with a woman 30 years younger than me. The angel said okay. He was 96.

You worry me. I thought you missed it, you know I'm going in one of the reasons we are one of the reasons there'll always be a market for spiritual con artists is because we do pander after the shortcuts in those easy roads to spiritual maturity and and yeah I guess we ought to be happy and we ought to be healthy and and surely as children of God will be wealthy.

The truth is these false teachers are promising something they can't produce because the word of God doesn't promise it until until we are glorified in his presence now as we suffer and long for the redemption of our bodies and in the redemption his creation itself groans. We long for his company.

Truth is people got everything these empty talkers promise. Why would we ever want to go to heaven would be climactic in an issue of the Christian Post.

They ran an article recently with this headline and caught my attention. Why Muslims are converting to Christianity. See this on CBS but he ought to know in our ministry is now in the Middle East in Arabic and in the fruit of ministry not not ours per se, but just the ministry of the gospel in that area is bringing about incredible fruit gives an article why Muslims are converting to Christianity. We review some of the reasons among the leading reasons were these as they read the Bible. They are convicted by its true. They are attracted by the concept of God's unconditional love through Jesus Christ. They can never be certain of their forgiveness from sin as Christians can to catch those words convicted true sin.

Forgiveness three words the false teachers never want to mention conviction. Sin truth, forgiveness because of that they promise things they can even produce anyway. So Paul tells Titus. Here's the description for shepherds. They need to be alerted to the need to protect the flock from in the church itself needs to be alerted and trained and disciplined to think critically and here are the characteristics of con artists spiritually wonder known for their unaccountable personalities.

Number two, they are known for their empty promises and number three. They are known as deceptive promoters.

As Paul writes further in verse 10 there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision element here literally out of the circumcision I was there supposed they are supposedly converts from among the Jewish people and they better the church and they've never really left their past their bringing in the baggage of Old Testament law ritual ceremony much of the book of acts is going to attempt to deal with the issue of Jewish and Gentile believers reaching doctoral consensus based on the gospel of the new covenant, and abide with his brand-new organism called church. Nobody in the Old Testament ever conceived of these Jewish false teachers, especially those among the Jewish or the circumcision to be gentle, false teachers as well but but they wanted Gentiles become Jews in order to become Christian, yet often the gates of the temple, so to speak, to become a believer. So they demanded Gentiles be circumcised. Gentiles adhered to the Sabbath, they abstain from eating nonkosher meat. They keep the Mosaic law. They bow to rabbinical teachings.

Basically these false teachers wanted to turn Christianity and just one more Jewish sect. Paul will spend to be read as letters you'll know he spends most of his life battling these Judaizers they they dogged his footsteps. They subverted his converts. They attacked his apostleship. They challenge his authority. They undermine this teaching.

They they distorted his gospel to put it simply, here's what they're doing the teaching that the gospel is insufficient for faith and they were teaching the grace was not satisfying for life.

In other words, Jesus isn't enough to keep all these rules in order to earn heaven was the false teaching core. Paul was not going to take this sitting down.

I mean that this this this little fireman rose tells Titus verse 11, a very strong words they must be silencing those that they got to be silenced, silencing them for silence literally means to muzzle to cover over the mouth.

The present tense indicates this is continuous action which lets you know that an elder Shepherd believer in the body is never really off duty and watching for and being alerted to false teaching. Your never really two paces past.

It Titus, Paul says these false teachers need to be caught. They need to be exposed. They need to be silenced and not by literally gagging them but silencing them by delivering the truth and the truth silences them the truth protects the flock goes back to the qualification of an elder where he must be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict and would you notice what they're doing to the flock. Take a look at what they're doing. Paul gives us two results of being kind to things are happening here. Number one families are being turned upside down.

He writes further. These false teachers are upsetting whole families are turning everything upside out the word upsetting is the same word used of Jesus Christ to turned over the tables in the temple he upset them. Matthew 21.

Everything is turned upside down so you can only imagine what he's referring to. With the conflict and the anger and the emotion of the frustration these churches on the island of Crete is these false teachers have literally turned everything over. I may have shared with you before I can remember, but I traveled after several years ago I came to preach in several churches. Not long after one particular so-called prophet by the name and then he handed delivered a weeklong conference in an arena nearby. During his week of meetings.

He announced that Jesus said, personally told him that he would be appearing on stage with him one night that week. I can remember it was it was Tuesday or Thursday. But on that particular night. Then he suddenly looked over over off the stage and he began to get very excited acting as if he was seeing Jesus and, and, with all kinds of little gyrations. Then he said that the mob thousands of people.

Did you see did you see people fainting. I was having lunch.

A month later in Kenya with two church leaders who serve the secretaries over to evangelical denominations and they told me that so many of their churches are frustrated now and confused in their churches that are even splitting for splitting over those who believed Jesus appeared in those who don't believe Jesus appeared those who believe this man was a prophet. Those who believe he told something that never really happened. Families turned upside down false teaching about Jesus and the false teacher who claim to have direct communication with Jesus now dividing the church of the factions is happening on the island of Crete. Perhaps not the same way with the same message but the same result that only were families being turned upside down. The second result of being conned was that the personal bank accounts of the teachers were filling up. Paul writes in verse 11, they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of what sorted game the preposition for the sake of indicates that this is the goal of their activity. This is why they're doing what they're doing now they're not necessarily admit that Paul pulls the mask off and says a really after your money here to feed the flock they want to fleece the flock only add to that thought because Paul uses the word here for sorted game that can mean money, but Paul also uses that word a couple of other times in his pastoral epistles for nonfinancial advantages like prestige and power and influence. So these false teachers are really more interested in what they can get out of people what they can invest in people and is release the money that I've heard them say you think they can defend their lifestyles by saying that since they preach prosperity. They love all should live prosperous and I guess people just nod their head and say I guess that's right. And they keep sending in the little seat gives never ceases to amaze me with false teachers get out of the Bible and with her followers.

Never question number of the more prominent false teachers, many of them have 30 minute programs on cable. Sometimes on Sunday nights. I'm so wired wide awake so excited about the day was happened I can't sleep.

I go upstairs and turn on the cable channel I watch one after another. That's where human illustrations just just watching. It occurs to me that if you eliminated everything from their programs having to do with wealth and health, prosperity, prophet of God, all you'd end up with is the opening music in the closing credits. Everything in between is false. Promotion ultimately promoting themselves for the sake of gain. Teachers are not driven to build up believers. They are driven to fill up their pockets. Nothing more than spiritual con artists so expose them in silence them, at least for the sake of the flock over which God has entrusted you as elders and Shepherd for their spiritual well-being. After spending Thanksgiving with her family in Seattle, Washington family of four began the long journey back to San Francisco.

Parents names were James and Katie and they had two daughters, ages four and seven months, traveled south on Interstate 5 until late into the evening.

They intended to exit onto Highway 42 and spend the night in a lodge, but the Mr. turn instead of backtracking, they decided to follow a map that seemed to show a shortcut to the coast. They didn't notice the fine print warning that this particular road might be close during winter months.

That winter after encountering on Highway 42 drifts too high to drive through the turned off onto a spur Road that seem to indicate that would get them to their destination. According to one area resident interview later. He said that was a tragic decision. He said once you get off the main road lost after struggling for 15 miles along that unpaved road their station wagon became stuck in the drifting snow rather than attempting to backtrack on foot. The family decided to remain with the car and hope to be rescued. They remained there for one week. This article said running the car intermittently for heat rationing their small amount of food. Once the car ran out of gas. They burn magazines and wet wood.

Eventually the tires on their card, trying to keep warm enough James. The father eventually decided to hike back for help thinking that he was about 4 miles from the nearest town was actually 15 miles away, a search party eventually rescued his wife and two children, James never made it out alive. You know when I read a story like that.

I immediately think of the flock traveling on a road leading home and false teachers standing on the roadside selling imitation maps not pointing at the fine print promising shortcuts to the coast saying you know there's no need to struggle through long Valley Asian antibody with a narrow mountaintop to you follow our way. It's easier it's it's better it's happier. It's healthier and it's faster, you have all your wishes come true dear flock don't be con be careful.

Here's the startling warning from Paul Dobie, conned by Christians who come in the name of Jesus.

Listen saying Jesus is part of their skin, saying that wanted you right now asking to be your Lord is part of their scam their deceptive promoters of truths that don't match up with the word of God.

They offer empty shallow temporary promises core content of their teaching and they are unaccountable to anybody. Don't become stay the course. May we be a flock of believers willing to avoid the advertisements for all the shortcuts but be willing to travel long way home. No matter how difficult they got also give us shepherds and how to reason that are willing to teach correctly. Titus go find men who were willing to wear the mantle of the true teacher promisingly what God promises, speaking only God has spoken defined the mantle of the true shepherd.

That's what our society need more than ever true shepherds who will lead God's people. In truth, I'm so glad you joined us today here on wisdom for the heart are Bible teacher is Stephen Davey, the founding pastor of colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina. If the ministry of wisdom for the heart is a blessing to you. It would encourage us to hear about it. I'll share with you a couple of notes we received recently. One listener said I listen to wisdom for the heart.

My local radio station.

I use the manuscripts that you provide when I'm teaching in a nursing home ministry on part of and then Robert from Florida said I'm currently unemployed and fighting through stage IV cancer listening to the wisdom broadcast has been a daily source of strength. I pray for the Lord's protection over Dr. Davey as he preaches the truth of God's word. Thanks for sharing that Robert will be praying for you as you face your cancer treatments and also that the Lord will make it possible for you to be employed and thank you for praying for us.

Stephen often reminds us that our ministry is empowered by the prayers of our listeners and so were grateful for that. If you'd like to send Stephen a note. Our email address is info@wisdomonline.org in the first note that I read the listener referred to the free transcripts that we make available on our website. The complete archive of Stephen's 30+ years of Bible teaching is available on that website. The audio of Stephen's teaching, and a printed manuscript of every lesson is available there free of charge. You'll find that if you go to wisdom online.org is also more information about our ministry all through that website.

That's wisdom online.org if you've not yet received a copy of our new magazine heart to heart. Give us a call today at 86 648 Bible. That's 866-482-4253. Ask how you can get a copy of heart to heart magazine and join us tomorrow for more wisdom for the heart


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