23–29 November 2014.
This week’s reading comes from 2 Peter 2, but we especially want to look at verse 1: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”
We come to a difficult topic this week, and one that’s a little dangerous: namely, the existence of different ideas in the church. What makes this topic a dangerous one is our tendency to quickly condemn other people whose ideas are a little different from our own. When we come across these different ideas, we may be tempted to use texts like this one today and condemn other people as “heretics” or “false prophets”. After all, it’s easy for us to think that our own ideas are right, and that anyone who disagrees with us is on the wrong path, and therefore a dangerous “false teacher”!
But we have to be careful not to let our pride lead us astray. One thing that we know for sure is that no sinful human being can ever perfectly understand the mysteries of God’s truth. That’s why Paul reminds us (in 1 Cor. 13:12) that we see now only vaguely, but in the future, when we stand face-to-face with Christ, then we will finally understand everything clearly. But until that time comes, we need to stay humble, and keep our minds open to different voices. That’s why the bible itself is full of different ideas and understandings about God: that’s one reason why we have 4 Gospels instead of just 1. After all, the more different views we have, the better and richer our understanding of God can be.
But this is not to say that all ideas about God are equally ok. We still have a criterion for measuring and testing our ideas, and that is Jesus Christ, or as today’s text calls him: “the sovereign Lord who bought us”. The foundation of all our views, of all our understandings, and all our thinking about God must always be Jesus Christ and his Gospel. We can’t stress this enough. Jesus is always our starting point, our beginning and end, the direction we need in our life of faith. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If we lose sight of Jesus, we lose the way, and we lead ourselves into disaster. So let’s try and remember this each day: In all things, whether it is our understanding of God, of ourselves, or of our daily plans, let Jesus and his Gospel be our starting point and guide. Let’s go into the world every day ready to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds, and to love others as ourselves. Then we can be sure of always walking in the true Way of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis