THE WATCHMAN

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Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.

“…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ … I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” Ezekiel 33:6-7

“Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, he will.

If others shrink from the obloquy of such a work, he will not…. He loves his fellow-men too well. They may upbraid him; they may call him a misanthropist, or a prophet of evil; they may ascribe his warnings to the worst of motives, such as pride, or arrogance, or self-esteem, or malice, or envy; but he will give no heed to these unjust insinuations.

He will prefer being thus misunderstood and maligned, to allowing men to precipitate themselves upon a ruin which they see not. Rather than that they should perish, he will allow his own good name to be spoken against. He will risk every thing, even the hatred of brethren, rather than withhold the warning. If they give no heed to it, he has, at least, saved his own soul. If they do, he has saved both his own soul and theirs.

He would rather take up the glad tidings of peace, and tell men of Him who came the first time for shame and death, and who is coming the second time for glory and dominion; but he feels as one who has a special and personal message to deliver, which cannot be postponed.

He must remember that he is a watchman; and, having seen danger pressing on, he must not hesitate to make it known. He must speak his message of forewarning and rebuke, sparing no arrows, and neither smoothing down nor hiding any form of sin, but laying his finger upon every sore, and beseeching men to turn from their ungodliness. The evils around him press upon him sadly; the coming evils are foreshadowed upon his spirit, and, therefore, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet.

Satan has many snares which need to be detected; the world has many spells and lures which must be disenchanted; religion has many guises which must be unmasked, many devious paths of inconsistency which must be pointed out, many cherished errors which must be condemned, many carnal taints which must be abhorred and shunned. All these he must protest against without fear or favour.”

Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads

Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;

I would not, if I might;

Choose Thou for me, my God,

So I shall walk aright.

— by Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

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SEPARATION FROM ERROR

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“Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it … Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin … As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once. Since then my counsel has been ‘Come out from among them.’ I have felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation from known evil … That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them.”

— C. H. Spurgeon

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

 

THE INCREASE OF FALSE DOCTRINE

Many things combine to make the present increase of false doctrine especially dangerous.

1.) There is an undeniable zeal in some teachers of error—their “earnestness” makes many people think they must be right.

2.) There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge—many think that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe to listen to.

3.) There is a general tendency to completely free and independent thinking today—many like to prove their independence of judgment by believing the newest ideas, which are nothing but novelties.

4.) There is a wide-spread desire to appear kind, loving, and open-minded—many seem half-ashamed to say that anybody can be wrong or is a false teacher.

5.) There is always a portion of half-truth taught by modern false teachers–they are always using scriptural words and phrases, but with unscriptural meaning.

6.) There is a public craving for a more sensational and entertaining worship—people are impatient with the more inward and invisible work of God within the hearts of men.

7.) There is a superficial readiness all around to believe anyone who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, forgetting that Satan often masquerades himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians:11:14).

8.) There is a wide-spread ignorance among professing Christians—every heretic who speaks well is surely believed, and anyone who doubts him is called narrow-minded and unloving.

All these are especially symptoms of our times. I challenge any honest and observant person to deny them. These tend to make the assaults of false doctrine today especially dangerous and make it even more important to say loudly, “Do not be carried away with strange doctrine!”

— J C Ryle

EXPOSING ERROR-IS IT WORTHWHILE?

Objection is often raised even by some sound in the faith regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry—namely, showing the Satanic origin and, therefore, the unsettling results of the propagation of erroneous systems which Peter, in his second epistle, so definitely refers to as “damnable heresies.”

Our Lord prophesied, “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Within our own day, how many false prophets have risen; and oh, how many are the deceived! Paul predicted, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch.” My own observation is that these “grievous wolves,” alone and in packs, are not sparing even the most favoured flocks. Undershepherds in these “perilous times” will do well to note the apostle’s warning: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” It is as important in these days as in Paul’s — in fact, it is increasingly important — to expose the many types of false teaching that, on every hand, abound more and more.

We are called upon to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” while we hold the truth in love. The faith means the whole body of revealed truth, and to contend for all of God’s truth necessitates some negative teaching. The choice is not left with us. Jude said he preferred a different, a pleasanter theme — ”Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4). Paul likewise admonishes us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph:5:11).

This does not imply harsh treatment of those entrapped by error — quite the opposite. If it be objected that exposure to error necessitates unkind reflection upon others who do not see as we do, our answer is: “It has always been the duty of every loyal servant of Christ to warn against any teaching that would make Him less precious or cast reflection upon His finished redemptive work and the all-sufficiency of His present service as our great High Priest and Advocate.”

Every system of teaching can be judged by what it sets forth as to these fundamental truths of the faith. “What think ye of Christ?” is still the true test of every creed. The Christ of the Bible is certainly not the Christ of any false “-ism.” Each of the cults has its hideous caricature of our lovely Lord.

Let us who have been redeemed at the cost of His precious blood be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” As the battle against the forces of evil waxes ever more hot, we have need for God-given valour.

There is constant temptation to compromise. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” It is always right to stand firmly for what God has revealed concerning His blessed Son’s person and work. The “father of lies” deals in half-truths and specializes in most subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus, our sole and sufficient Savior.

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.

Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls “caught in the snare of the fowler”—how many of them God only knows—it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting. (Emphasis added)

Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, who served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948.

 

 

 

 

PREACHING THE TRUTH

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“Again, men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end … It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of the truth”

– J. Gresham Machen, June 17, 1932, in London

 

UNITY IN COMPROMISE AND THEOLOGICAL ERROR

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“Diversity and division is infinitely more precious than a satanic unity. The problem God’s people are facing today: Satan wants unity in what? — in error. God would infinitely prefer division because of truth. Do you know what Jesus said in Matthew 10? He said, ‘I have come not to bring peace, not to bring unity, but to bring division, to set a son against his father, a daughter against her mother, so that people within their own households will be enemies of each other.’ That is what Jesus said he came to do … God’s smashing of satanic ecumenical unity was an incredible blessing [Genesis 11: the Tower of Babel] … The potential for satanic depravity is infinite, as long as what continues? — a unity in error — organized blasphemy. Measure this friends. Grasp it. Satan will, in his brief hour, at the end of this world, be given his opportunity to demonstrate what total unity is like in the human race, when every person will have a mark on the forehead or right hand, and will walk lockstep under incredible blasphemy …

“You say, ‘We want unity.’ Oh, really? What kind of unity? ‘We want all the churches to get together.’ Oh, really? You mean in error, in confusion, in heresy? That is, dear friends, the ecumenical movement of our hour, in which all the great denominations and all the great church leaders are becoming more and more unified. In what? — in compromise and theological error; and this is the ultimate horror.”

 — John Whitcomb Jr., Nebraska, Fall of 1984

“Again, men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end … It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of the truth”

— J. Gresham Machen, June 17, 1932, in London

TRUTH AND ERROR EXPOSED

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“Error is like leaven, of which we read, ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’ Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.

Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.”
 

— H.A. Ironside

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Ephesians 5:10-11 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Hebrews 11:23-27 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.