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We might wish it were otherwise, but in the world around us there are many doctrines and practices that Christ does not approve of. This week let's make it the theme of our meditations that religious error is something we must deal with. Both the Lord and His apostles predicted that some would depart from the faith -- and that those who would remain faithful must hold steadfastly to the truth. The question is not whether we will have to deal with religious error, but whether we will deal with it in a way that honors Christ.
Certainly our children will be confronted with religious ideas foreign to what we have taught them in our homes. They will want to know why other people believe as they do. They will look to us for guidance in relating to those who have erred in their teaching. It is our parental duty to teach (and show by our example) the way the Lord wants us to deal with erroneous ideas. We need to pray and study and share ideas about how to train our young to take a firm and wholesome stand for the New Testament order -- avoiding cowardice on the one hand and arrogance on the other.
A passage that is good for us to think about is 2 Tim. 2:24-26: "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will." This passage urges us to learn patience in our dealings with others, and that should be an obvious point, shouldn't it? After all, we wouldn't be where we are if it had not been for the Lord's patience with us. How could we be anything other than patient with others?
Living around "denominational Christianity" is not easy. But it can be done. We can drink deeply from the truth of God's word and be people of frequent and fervent prayer. We can have godly integrity and character, and practice the truth as well as preach it. We can, with love and true compassion, help our friends and neighbors out of the quagmire of religious error. As children of the King, we can work in the knowledge that we are doing His work in His strength. Who knows but what we have "come to the kingdom for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14)?
Monday: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Key Idea: Sometimes people are not satisfied with what God's word says.
Questions for Family Growth: What is "sound" doctrine or teaching? According to this text, what do people sometimes desire more than they desire the truth of God's word? What should we want preached by those who preach to us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:4.
Tuesday: Leviticus 10:1-7
Key Idea: God is displeased when we disregard the way He has said to worship Him.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Nadab and Abihu do that was wrong enough to call for such a severe punishment? Did God have to specifically command them not to do what they did? Does it matter to God how we choose to worship Him?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:5.
Wednesday: 1 Chronicles 13:1-14
Key Idea: We should never disobey God, even when we think we have a good reason.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Uzzah do that was wrong? What had been said in Num. 4:15? When God has said to do something in a certain way, is there ever a good reason to do it some other way? How do we sometimes rationalize departing from God's instructions?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:6.
Thursday: 2 John 4-11
Key Idea: We should stay within the boundaries of what Jesus has taught.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to "walk in the truth" and to "walk according to his commandments"? In v.9, what is the "teaching of Christ"? What happens if we go beyond the teaching of Christ?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:7.
Friday: John 4:1-26
Key Idea: We must worship God in both spirit and truth.
Questions for Family Growth: How do we worship God in "spirit"? What about worshiping in "truth"? Is either of these more important than the other? What is the only way we can know whether we are worshiping in truth?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:8,9.