"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -Galatians 4:16
Young preachers are often surprised to learn that not everyone who claims to be a Christian wants to hear exactly what God says. These young men study and preach their hearts out, only to find that there is a negative reaction to their message. This negative reaction isn't confined to just the young preachers.
Pastors often get the blame for things they never did. Pastors are often blamed for wicked motivations in their preaching when it is the Holy Ghost that led them to preach on a certain topic or mention a particular thing that hits home with some who are not what they ought to be with the Lord. Pastors are often blamed for letting the family down when the parents refused to be faithful to God's house or to live at home what was preached from the pulpit.
On the other hand, pastors are also blamed for people's negative responses to the things that they do! This verse falls into this category.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the churches of the region of Galatia to correct the doctrinal error that had infiltrated their churches after his initial departure. This doctrinal error is still in existence in our world today, and expresses itself in two ways: 1) those who claim that something must be added to the completed work of Christ to obtain salvation, and 2) those who claim that something must be added to the completed work of Christ to maintain salvation. Both of these ideologies are wrong, but they cover most of what calls itself "Christian" today.
Paul, as was his way, was direct and to the point. He did not pull any punches. On the other hand, Paul was not unloving toward these believers who made up the membership of the churches of Galatia. He systematically proves that there are false "gospels" and false "brethren." He goes on to reiterate the truth that the Gospel is received by faith, rather than by any sort of works.
Paul also knew people. He knew them generally, according to their culture or sect. But, he also knew these believers from Galatia individually and personally. He knew what would be the reaction of those who had been persuaded of the correctness of these Judaizers (those who taught that the Law was a required addition to Christ's finished work to either obtain or maintain salvation). They would immediately react to Paul's epistle by framing him as an enemy of the people. But, it was this same Paul who had initially brought the truth of the Gospel to these people. The Judaizers had not put in an appearance when these people were lost. They only showed up after the fact, to divert these converts from the truth! It was Paul who had laboured, prayed, and wept over their lost condition until they had come to Christ as their only hope of salvation! Yet, it was this very Paul that was being cast as the bad guy!
Paul knew that this would be the response of some, and he addressed them by asking if he had become their enemy. Certainly, he had become the enemy of these Judaizers, because he was questioning their salvation; he was questioning their doctrine; he was questioning their truthfulness. Honestly, Paul should have been questioning all of these things, and so should the believers of Galatia.
Paul then revealed the only reason why these Judaizers would set Paul up as an enemy of the people: because he had told them the truth. The truth would expose the error of the Judaizer. The truth would open the eyes of the yielded believer, and cause him to run from the error being taught by these questionable men. The truth would set these believers free from the bandage into which these Judaizers sought to place them!
This brings us back to where we began. Many make out the Pastor to be an enemy of the people of his church or his community because what he teaches and preaches does not align with how they live and what they think to be true. However, if that Pastor is preaching the Word of God as it is to people as they are, we must realize that he is doing nothing more than telling them the truth!
If you have a Pastor who faithfully tells you the truth from the Word of God, you should never make him your enemy. He is trying to help you! He is trying to open your eyes to a greater truth that you are not seeing! He is often trying to warn you to avoid an error that will harm you, your family, and your church!
Instead of making an enemy of your Pastor, you ought to thank God for the Pastor that He has given to you and your church! You ought to let your Pastor know that you are thankful for him and for his faithfulness to tell you the truth. You ought to encourage your Pastor to continue to tell you the truth, even though you may not agree with him.
If you have been guilty of making an enemy of your Pastor, you ought to go to him and ask his forgiveness for your wrongdoing. Do not excuse yourself by saying, "He knows that comes with the job." The hurt that he and his family feel when you make him an enemy can be overwhelming, and a sincere, humble apology will go a long way toward healing the hurt you have caused. Do not excuse yourself by saying, "But that happened years ago." The hurt you cause can linger on for many years, even causing discouragement and a desire to quit.
Yes, preachers and pastors realize that not everyone will enjoy their preaching, especially when it opposes their "pet" doctrine or ungodly lifestyle. However, the faithful man of God will continue to tell the truth from the Word of God, even if everyone makes him their enemy!
By Jerry Jackson
Many times Pastors will lament from the pulpit the lack of young men surrendering to the call of full-time ministry. It truly does seem like we are seeing less young men give themselves totally to the call of God, and many who do “surrender” to the call of God have too many stipulations to be fully used of God (full-time salary, housing provided, a great benefits package, etc.).
I believe that we have many young men surrendering to the call of God for all the wrong reasons, but, thankfully, not all young men fall into this category. Some young men watch their Pastors stand each church service and proclaim the Word of God, and think to themselves, “I want to be like that: I want to be able to stand in front of people and tell them what to do!” Of course, the man of God realizes that he is NOT telling people what to do when he preaches; he is simply relating the message of God with all the fervour and compassion that God has instilled in his heart. Still, young men often do not discern this reality and see the Pastor as the man “in charge” of everyone who walks in the church doors.
When we focus on the character of those young men to whom God is extending a call into His service, there is one word that should rise to the top of the list: faithfulness.
The Biblical illustration of this is seen in the lives of Saul and Barnabas. They were faithfully serving the Lord in the church at Antioch before God called them to leave home and venture out into the “regions beyond.”
Yet, we have come to a time where faithfulness is almost an afterthought. Some Pastors are so thrilled to have someone talk about surrendering to enter the ministry that they do not care what is the character of that young man. Other Pastors have the opinion that the Lord will teach faithfulness at some future point. Neither of these thought patterns has been a help to the work of the Lord! On the one hand, the pride and prestige of the Pastor are built up, while on the other hand, young men are put into the work of the Lord who have yet to learn how to serve the Lord in the easy times and the difficult times.
Recently, a young man decided that he wanted to be a missionary. Apparently, he made this decision while at winter camp. He spoke at length to the camp speaker about this decision. When he got home, he made no mention of this decision to his Pastor, but he did circulate the idea of his decision to a few people in the church. This behaviour was manipulative, trying to use the back door to get recognition for his decision.
This same young man did nothing to begin to prepare himself for a life of service as a missionary. The church of which he was a member had an active Bible Institute, where he could have received an adequate Bible training, yet he declined to take advantage of this opportunity. He had grown up in a preacher's home and felt that he already knew all there is to learn from the Scripture. This prideful attitude would not serve him well if he actually entered into the ministry.
Also, this young man had been given one task in the church, yet had failed to follow through with that task. He had asked the Pastor for a job in the church when he first joined the church, and the Pastor had assigned him the task of passing out visitor cards to every first-time visitor. This is not a difficult task, yet he balked at fulfilling this task. There were times when a visitor would enter the church, and he would flatly refuse to take a visitor card to that visitor.
This lack of faithfulness (a refusal to communicate with his Pastor, a failure to be teachable, and a failure to fulfill even the smallest task assigned to him) calls into question the supposed call of God on this young man's life.
A missionary must learn to communicate with his Pastor. This is one of the manners by which he is accountable to his sending church. If a church member cannot communicate with his Pastor when they are together in the same place, he will never learn to do so when far away on a foreign field.
Beyond the Pastor of his sending church, a missionary must also communicate with his supporting churches. These churches may number anywhere from 10-100, yet each church deserves to hear about the work that God is doing on the missionary’s field of service. If a missionary won’t communicate with his own Pastor, it is unlikely that he will communicate with any other church, unless he has an ulterior motive.
A missionary must always be teachable. No believer in Christ has “arrived” when it comes to the Scripture and every believer must continue to search the Scripture and grow in the Lord. Beyond this general truth, a missionary must always be teachable, as he learns how to deal with people of a different culture and language. That aspect of missionary life is an aspect of constant learning.
A missionary must be faithful in fulfilling the smallest of tasks. When initially planting a church, the missionary is responsible for every aspect of setting up for services and tearing down afterward, as well as passing out every visitor card. He must take responsibility for the finances of the mission work, and plan every detail of any activities. He must also be faithful to evangelize the lost in his area of service.
It is true that we need more young men to answer God's call into the ministry. It is also true that we need more young men to learn to be faithful in their church before they begin to claim that God is calling them into further areas of service.
It is imperative for Pastors to look for faithfulness among the young men of their church, and if that faithfulness is missing, the claimed call of those young men should be suspect. It is also imperative for Pastors to promote faithfulness among all their members, for that is the plan of God for His churches.
Is The New King James Version As Good As The King James Version (1611)?
By Jerry Jackson
The King James Bible (Authorized Version) has been used of God for over 400 years. While other Bibles may have been around, they were not popularly used by anyone. However, in these past two hundred years, Satan has sustained a dreadful, focused attack upon the Word of God, both in Hebrew and Greek and in the English. Satan knows that if he can only deprive the believer of the Word of God, he will be helpless to ward off Satan’s attacks. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do (Psalm 11:3)?” “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17)…"
We are certainly aware of these things and have stood against the RV, RSV, ASV, NIV, and the countless number of other lookalikes on the market today. But I am seeing a trend to look kindly upon the New King James Version, as a mere update of the “old faithful” Authorized Version. Churches are still standing for the Authorized Version on paper and in the pulpit, but individual members are guilty of reading from and even carrying to church the New King James Version. This is dangerous ground! If the individual members do not stand strong for the truth, the church as a whole will not stand for long. This is like a large tree, whose roots have been damaged by someone digging all around them. The tree may look good and healthy for a time, but eventually, the faulty roots will tell as the tree dries up and begins to rot.
Wait a minute! Isn’t the New King James Version (NKJV) just as good as the King James Version (AV)? Are there really any major differences, outside of the updated language? After very little study, the answer comes as a resounding “YES!” There are major differences between the NKJV and the AV. These differences should be enough for every individual to ditch any copied of the NKJV that he may have at his house.
In a brief summary, here are some of the changes that have been made by the NKJV.
The NKJV Confuses More Than It Clarifies
The following section comes from an article found on the following website: http://www.av1611.org/nkjv.html
“Among the first changes that greets the reader of the NKJV is the removal of the much maligned ‘thee, thou and ye’. The Preface to the NKJV states, ‘. . .thee, thou, and ye are replaced by the simple you. . . These pronouns are no longer part of our language.’ But ‘thee, thou and ye’ were ‘NO LONGER part of the language’ during 1611 either. (just read the intro to the 1611 King James, there are no ‘thee', ‘thou’ and ‘ye’). In fact, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, says of ye: ‘used from the earliest of times to the late 13th century. . .’ (p.2648) And yet the 1611 King James was published 400 years later in the 17th century!
“So why are they there?
"The Greek and Hebrew language contain a different word for the second person singular and the second person plural pronouns. Today we use the one-word ‘you’ for both the singular and plural. But because the translators of the 1611 King James Bible desired an accurate, word-for-word translation of the Hebrew and Greek text - they could NOT use the one-word ‘you’ throughout! If it begins with ’t’ (thou, thy, thine) it's SINGULAR, but if it begins with ‘y’ (ye) it's PLURAL. Ads for the NKJV call it ‘the Accurate One’, and yet the 1611 King James, by using ‘thee’, ‘thou’, ‘ye’, is far more accurate!
“By the way, if the ‘thee’s’ and ‘thou’s' are ‘. . .no longer part of our language' - why aren't the NKJV translators rushing to make our hymnbooks ‘much clearer’? ‘How Great Thou Art’ to ‘How Great You Are’, or ‘Come Thou Fount’ to ‘Come You Fount’. Doesn’t sound right, does it? Isn’t it amazing that they wouldn’t dare ‘correct' our hymns - and yet, without the slightest hesitation, they’ll ‘correct’ the word of God!”
The NKJV Changes The Meaning Of Many Verses
We should not be afraid to study this subject for God has commanded us to study, hasn’t He? If you are using the NKJV, God has NOT commanded you to study. 2 Timothy 2:15, in the AV, say, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In the NKJV, this same verse says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” “Study” and “be diligent” are not the same thing at all. This undermines the doctrine of personal responsibility for our walk with God and our knowledge of His Word.
The translators of the NKJV should have been fearful of corrupting the Word of God, don’t you think? “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17a)…" The translators of the NKJV didn't fear the corruption of the Word of God because that warning doesn’t exist in the NKJV! “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God…" The word “corrupt” means "to alter, to mar, to infect". The word “peddle” means "to sell illicitly, to hawk, to distribute." These two words do not mean the same thing, even giving the benefit of the doubt! This undermines the need for doctrinal purity because it only condemns the “peddling” of the word of God, not the “corruption” of the word of God!
The AV tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” This verse teaches us to avoid anything that might even look wrong, especially to those who are lost. The NKJV says, “Abstain from every form of evil.” The meaning of this verse is totally lost in the NKJV. This undermines the doctrine of personal holiness, which God expects from every truly born again person.
We have given three examples to show how the NKJV changes the meaning of many verses in the AV. We will not take the time to show more, but the Bible does tell us that these three examples should be enough to show us the error of using the NKJV. “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established (2 Corinthians 13:1 [AV]).”
The NKJV Reverses The Meaning Of Many Verses
The introduction to the 1979 edition of the NKJV tells us that, “A special feature of the New King James Bible is its conformity to the thought-flow of the 1611 version. The reader discovers that the sequence and identity of words, phrases, and clauses of the new edition, while much clearer, are so close to the traditional that there is remarkable ease in listening to the public reading of either edition while following along with the other.” So, each and every verse of the NKJV should have the exact same meaning as that found in the AV for this to be true. Let’s check and see if this is the case.
AV: “...who hold the truth in unrighteousness…"
NKJV: “...who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…"
AV: “...Who changed the truth of God into a lie…"
NKJV: “...who exchanged the truth of God for a lie…"
1 Timothy 6:5
AV: “...supposing that gain is godliness…"
NKJV: “...who suppose that godliness is a means of gain…"
Once again, we have three witnesses to the truth that the NKJV reverses the meaning of many verses in God's Word. Is this really the kind of “bible” that we should want to read and use in our personal Bible reading? NO!
The NKJV Weakens Major Bible Doctrines
Even if we could stomach the changes already discussed, we come to the breaking point at the major doctrines of the Bible. If, as we have been told, the NKJV is only an update of the AV, we should be able to find no difference in the doctrinal teaching of the NKJV. However, that is not the case.
The Deity of Christ
AV: “All things were made by him…"
NKJV: “All things were made through Him…"
AV: “...by him all things consist.”
NKJV: “...in Him all things consist.”
AV: “...hath glorified his Son Jesus…"
NKJV: “…glorified His Servant Jesus…"
AV: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
NKJV: “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
1 Corinthians 1:18
AV: “...unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
NKJV: “...to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
2 Corinthians 2:15
AV: “...in them that are saved…"
NKJV: “...among those who are being saved…"
How many major Bible doctrines have to be belittled or denied before we finally get the idea that the NKJV is not merely an updated AV? The NKJV is nothing more than another perversion of the truths of God's Word. The only difference being that the NKJV is much more cleverly masked as a “Bible” than are the other myriads of “translations” on the market today.
Beware of the NKJV! It is not God’s Word, and it will do you harm! If you own one, do not give it away to someone else. Get rid of it!
Let us be true to the Word of God, by identifying it (AV), by reading it, and by living it!