Guiding Lives Safely to Harbor
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The late Alfred B. Smith wrote in his book, “Treasury of Hymn Histories,” the story of a man whose responsibility it was to fill the oil reservoirs and light the lamps along the channel leading from Lake Erie into a large basin of water that was a safe harbor for ships during severe storms.
The man was tired and did not feel well this one night. He did not want to go out and light the lamps and fill the reservoirs with oil.
After all, not one ship had ever used the channel during a storm and it was very unlikely a ship would use the channel this night. He would probably feel better tomorrow night, he reasoned, and would go out and fill the reservoirs and light the lamps.
That night a severe storm hit the Great Lakes and a ship on Lake Erie was in great danger needing to reach the safe harbor.
The captain could see the main lighthouse clearly guiding him on the big lake, but where were the “lower lights?” Waves like mountains were tossing the ship as the captain desperately searched for the channel leading to the safe harbor. No lamps along the channel were burning.
In the darkness of night and the horrible storm, the pilot missed the channel and crashed upon the rocks. Many lives were lost in a watery grave that night.
The news of this story, and Evangelist D.L. Moody making reference to the tragedy in his sermon, led to P.P. Bliss to write the famous hymn “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.”
The writer of Hebrews wrote of a similar danger in Hebrews 2:1-4
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (NKJV)
That writer is almost desperately warning, “We must give more earnest heed” to the words of Jesus and the words of the Apostles.
These words have been confirmed as truth by the Holy Spirit and by miraculous signs and wonders. If one allows these words to “slip,” that is “to drift away,” they will sail past the harbor of safety and crash upon the rocks and the shoals.
The writer of Hebrews assures us, the words of Jesus and of the Apostles will bring “a just reward” if they are not heeded.
Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him .He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid… These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble…These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 14:24-27; 16:1, 33 NKJV).
What if the words being spoken and taught are no longer the words of Jesus?
What if words being spoken are no longer confirmed by the Holy Spirit and miraculous signs and wonders?
What if those words are the philosophy and ideology of men?
How will the people find the harbor of safety? How will they avoid the dangerous shallow waters and the rocks of destruction?
The obvious answer is they will not? They will shipwreck their life.
That is why Jude wrote these profound words to the believers.
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 3-4 NKJV).
Notice the grave concern of Jude.
1. Teachers and preachers had come among the disciples, teaching contrary to the words of Jesus. They were undetected by the leadership.
2. There is a body of truth, “the faith,” that has been given “once and for all to the saints.” It is the words of Jesus Christ.
3. The disciples and leadership needed to be reminded of the awesome responsibility placed upon the church by the Lord God to guard, protect, and proclaim the infallible and unalterable truth of the words of Jesus Christ, from one generation to the next.
A similar warning was given by the Apostle Paul to the believers in Colosse.
As ye therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:6-10 KJV).
The church in the western part of the world is facing these exact concerns about which the Apostles warned.
Men and women have become influential professors in Christian universities and seminaries, pastors in highly visible pulpits, teaching the “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
They are leading believers away from “the faith, which was once and for all delivered to the saints.”
One of these pastors has taught his congregation and pastors attending his conferences, that most Christians unfortunately point to the Bible as the foundation of their faith. He went on to teach the Bible has never been the foundation of the Christian faith.
Many of this new breed of teachers and preachers are fully committed to “Critical Social Justice” gospel not to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They teach the philosophy of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, White Supremacy, and White Privilege. They do not teach and preach that “…there is none righteous, no not one… For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10, 23).
They preach Critical Social Justice and reparations instead of redemption through the blood of the Jesus Christ.
They do not take the Word of God as the final authority. The “faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints,” which says, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of Him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythians, bond nor free: But Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:10-11 KJV).
It is after all “a white man’s religion.” They have adopted the philosophy and writings of men and women trained in Marxist ideology and made it their doctrine and theology.
Jesus Christ is the only one who can change the evil heart of a sinner to a saint. He has the perfect remedy for the injustices and wicked schemes perpetrated by men and women with demonized hearts.
Whether it is physical abuse by alcoholism; neglect and abandonment from the use of narcotics; or the demonic teachings that one race of people are superior to another race of human beings; Jesus Christ said, “Ye must be born again.”
A new person, with a new heart, filled with God’s love, mercy, and grace, is the only Gospel that sets mankind truly free.