San Diego Clairemont Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Developing a loving relationship with Christ and our community

A Word to The Little Flock Part Twenty Five

Dear Follow Believers:

These are indeed very trying times. We are in the end times, and that’s undeniable. Our Master warned us repeatedly, about the vital importance of not being taken in by false Christs, false prophets. So how are we to receive those who come forward? This will be a balanced study so we will consider first of all how we need to be open to those who come forward as God’s servants and give them a fair chance.

“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:1-2 KJV)
PERMANEZCA el amor fraternal. No olvidéis la hospitalidad, porque por ésta algunos, sin saberlo, hospedaron ángeles. (Hebreos 13:1-2 SRV)
Hospitality was a very important quality Christians were to demonstrate in Bible times.

“For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth. I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.” (3 John 1:3-11 NKJV)
Ciertamente me gocé mucho cuando vinieron los hermanos y dieron testimonio de tu verdad, así como tú andas en la verdad. No tengo yo mayor gozo que éste, el oir que mis hijos andan en la verdad. Amado, fielmente haces todo lo que haces para con los hermanos, y con los extranjeros, Los cuales han dado testimonio de tu amor en presencia de la iglesia: á los cuales si ayudares como conviene según Dios, harás bien. Porque ellos partieron por amor de su nombre, no tomando nada de los Gentiles. Nosotros, pues, debemos recibir á los tales, para que seamos cooperadores á la verdad. Yo he escrito á la iglesia: mas Diótrefes, que ama tener el primado entre ellos, no nos recibe. Por esta causa, si yo viniere, recordaré las obras que hace parlando con palabras maliciosas contra nosotros; y no contento con estas cosas, no recibe á los hermanos, y prohibe á los que los quieren recibir, y los echa de la iglesia. Amado, no sigas lo que es malo, sino lo que es bueno. El que hace bien es de Dios: mas el que hace mal, no ha visto á Dios. (3 Juan 1:3-11 SRV)

Diotrephes showed no hospitality to the missionaries sent to the area. In fact he would disfellowship anyone who did. His name is based on two Latin words, Dios and trephō, meaning nourished by Zeus, suggesting a very pagan background. The problem was that he was nourished by a very poisonous, aggressive passion to be in charge. Diotrephes was too busy fighting theological battles and criticizing his opponents to get on with the main business of life. Diotrephes is not accused of burning Bibles, but of “gossiping maliciously about us” and not accepting our missionaries.
Hospitality was always such a vital part of the Christian Church’s ethic. In the spirit of Gaius, John Wesley taught those who would serve the cause of Methodism, “Do all you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, and as long as you can.”
Given that all that John said in his third epistle, we find a shocking statement in his second epistle.
“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:10-11 NKJV)
Si alguno viene á vosotros, y no trae esta doctrina, no lo recibáis en casa, ni le digáis: ¡bienvenido! Porque el que le dice bienvenido, comunica con sus malas obras. (2 Juan 1:10-11 SRV)

These are strong words from John, “the Apostle of Love”. He is telling us that we should not even say “goodbye,” which means “God be with you.” to these people. The Bible is very clear that Christians should be hospitable, (Romans 12:13; 1Timothy 3:2; 5:3-10; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2; 1Peter 4:8-10), but clearly not to false teachers!
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17 NKJV)
Y os ruego hermanos, que miréis los que causan disensiones y escándalos contra la doctrina que vosotros habéis aprendido; y apartaos de ellos. (Romanos 16:17 SRV)

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9 NKJV)
Mas aun si nosotros ó un ángel del cielo os anunciare otro evangelio del que os hemos anunciado, sea anatema. Como antes hemos dicho, también ahora decimos otra vez: Si alguno os anunciare otro evangelio del que habéis recibido, sea anatema. (Gálatas 1:8-9 SRV)
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV)
ESTO también sepas, que en los postreros días vendrán tiempos peligrosos: Que habrá hombres amadores de sí mismos, avaros, vanagloriosos, soberbios, detractores, desobedientes á los padres, ingratos, sin santidad, Sin afecto, desleales, calumniadores, destemplados, crueles, aborrecedores de lo bueno, Traidores, arrebatados, hinchados, amadores de los deleites más que de Dios; Teniendo apariencia de piedad, mas habiendo negado la eficacia de ella: y á éstos evita. (2 Timoteo 3:1-5 SRV)

“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” (Titus 3:9-11 NKJV)
Mas las cuestiones necias, y genealogías, y contenciones, y debates acerca de la ley, evita; porque son sin provecho y vanas. Rehusa hombre hereje, después de una y otra amonestación; Estando cierto que el tal es trastornado, y peca, siendo condenado de su propio juicio. (Tito 3:9-11 SRV)

Irenaeus c. 180 wrote of how Polycarp once met the archheretic Marcion, and when Marcion asked, “Dost thou know me?” he replied, “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.” And Irenaeus adds, “Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even a verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth”.
Today’s heresy may well become tomorrow’s orthodoxy. John’s warning was targeting false teachers. It may seem harsh, but some relatives might be of such questionable character as to be a threat to the well-being of our children. Such relatives must be kept at bay. Parents must balance their concern for their relatives with their responsibility for their children.

Around the year 150 AD a church document surfaced called the Didache.  It certainly does not carry the inspiration of the Word of God, but it is nevertheless interesting to read what was going on in the Early Church.
Whosoever, therefore, cometh and teacheth you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not; but if he teach so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do. Let every apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goeth away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodgeth; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet that speaketh in the Spirit ye shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one that speaketh in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who ordereth a meal in the Spirit eateth not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; and every prophet who teacheth the truth, if he do not what he teacheth, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself doeth, shall not be judged among you, for with God he hath his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever saith in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, ye shall not listen to him; but if he saith to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.”
“But let every one that cometh in the name of the Lord be received, and afterward ye shall prove and know him; for ye shall have understanding right and left. If he who cometh is a wayfarer, assist him as far as ye are able; but he shall not remain with you, except for two or three days, if need be. But if he willeth to abide with you, being an artisan, let him work and eat; but if he hath no trade, according to your understanding see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he willeth not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that ye keep aloof from such.”

In modern times, the world has known its charlatans:
Charles Ponzi, for whom the “Ponzi scheme” is named, a scam that relies on a “pyramid” of “investors” who contribute money to a fraudulent program. Bernard Madoff, an American stockbroker who ran the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors out of $18 billion.

“We are authorized to hold in the same estimation as did the beloved disciple those who claim to abide in Christ while living in transgression of God's law. There exist in these last days evils similar to those that threatened the prosperity of the early church; and the teachings of the apostle John on these points should be carefully heeded. "You must have charity," is the cry heard everywhere especially from those who profess sanctification. But true charity is too pure to cover an unconfessed sin. While we are to love the souls for whom Christ died, we are to make no compromise with evil. We are not to unite with the rebellious and call this charity. God requires His people in this age of the world to stand for the right as unflinchingly as did John in opposition to soul-destroying errors.”  {AA 554}
A. Kuen, Introduction au Nouveau Testament - Les Épîtres Générales, 351.
“Where should the Christians lodge when they arrived in a city to do missionary work? ‘The comfort of the modern hotel or even a village inn, were unknown.’ (Findlay). ‘Besides this, the inns of antiquity were right next to houses of ill-repute.’ (J. Stott, 84 pp. 197-198).”

A Buddhist lectured to a gathering in his temple on the Buddhist teaching of the wheel of reincarnation. He warned against wanton killings, for in the next life the person who had killed a dog, a pig, or a cow would be reborn as such animals. Among the audience, a scholar named Xu Wenwu stood up and asked, “If that is so, then the best thing for a man to do now is to kill men, for in the next life he will again come as a man.” This sure shows a flaw in Buddhist teachings.

The monk Tetzel said: “I have saved more souls by my indulgences than the apostle (St. Peter) by his sermons. Whatever crime one may have committed (naming an outrage upon the person of the Virgin Mary), let him pay well, and he will receive pardon. Likewise the sins which you may be disposed to commit in future may be atoned for beforehand.”

The Ministry Magazine, October 2014, tells us that in 1872 the Review & Herald had an article warning our members about “scam artists. Several supposed ministers duped early believers”.

We have all heard about Gregory Rasputin, the “Mad Monk of Russia” who managed to get a strong hold on the royal family of his day. Some believe the corrupting power he exerted was a contributing factor in the takeover of communism. By currying the favor of the court he was able to influence many decisions within the palace itself.
The czar of Russia and his wife had a child who was born with a dreaded blood disease. It caused much pain and often threatened to bring death to the young prince. In such times of extremity, when the doctors could do no more, Rasputin was called upon to perform his “miracles.” Although unexplainable, it appeared that remarkable healings did occur whenever he was brought in. The “Mad Monk” took advantage of these occasions to gain power for himself. He told them their son would not die if they listened to his counsel. As a result, the Russian government felt the influence of this wicked man. Sad to say, the entire world has indirectly suffered the consequences of one person using his energies for evil purposes.

Fakes Abounding
Flushed with success over the recent high-court reversal of his conviction for violating the California Education Code in granting diploma-mill doctoral degrees, Kirby Hensley has gone on to dedicate the First Church of Universal Life of Berkeley, California. Hensley claims he had freely dispensed 2.5 million ordination certificates (including those requested “for dogs, cats, raccoons, and leopards”) and, for a fee of $20 each, 20,000 D.D. degrees in the past eleven years.
“By virtue of powers which we have invented,” the baroque lettering proclaimed, the trustees of San Francisco’s Millard Fillmore Institute were delighted to confer on any applicant a variety titles all that was needed was $10. A Latin motto made the point clear: Ad populum phaleras, ego te intus et in cut novi! (Loose translation: “You may think you’re hot stuff, but we know you, buster.”)

Here’s a story that I sadly know about personally. Larry and Lucky Parker’s delusion began Aug. 19, 1973, the Sunday when evangelist Daniel Padilla came to services at the First Assembly of God Church in Barstow. The church’s pastor, Gary Nash, told his congregation that Padilla had been hospitalized with “a painful spine condition,” but, thanks to the power of prayer, had been healed by God. Padilla then took up the theme, inviting “anyone who needs a miracle in their life, especially healing of the body” to step forward and receive his prayers. The Parkers briefly debated whether to let their severely diabetic son step forward. After all, Wesley had been prayed for so often, to no avail, that his hopes were waning. Still, the boy was willing to try once more.
The boy was told he was cured and that he must walk by faith believing it. So he no longer took his insulin and died. Then all kinds of reporters were present at the funeral because Padilla announced that Wesley would be resurrected. That didn’t happen. How tragic! All of this should have never happened. Let’s not be gullible!

“Christ and His church are inseparable. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to lead out and to bear the responsibilities connected with His work and with the advancement and spread of the truth is to reject the means which God has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. To pass these by and think your light must come through no other channel than directly from God places you in a position where you are liable to deception and to be overthrown.” {3T 418}  

May we all be ready when the Master calls.
Pastor Richard Parent

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