Posts Tagged ‘understanding’

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

It takes skill to discover what others really think. What wise men think could help you succeed. What fools think could cost you dearly. Only a man of understanding will have the ability and patience to extract personal and secret plans and opinions out of others.

The simile here compares a deep well, where the water lies well below the surface of the ground. In order to obtain the water, significant ingenuity and labor must be put forth to reach so far down and bring the water to the surface. Only the creative and diligent will identify the means and put forth the effort. Most will look elsewhere for easier water.

There are reasons it takes similar skill to draw counsel out of others. First, they may fear letting their opinions be known. Second, they may by godliness and graciousness be modest men, and though gifted, reticent and slow to speak and discuss. Third, they may be planning sinful things, and to admit their thoughts would be to condemn themselves.

There is a positive and negative side to this proverb’s lesson. The positive application is your benefit or need to extract prudent and practical advice from wise counselors for your safety or success. The negative application is your need to discover dangerous plans lurking in the hearts or minds of those that could harm others, themselves, or you.

Good counsel from a multitude of wise advisors is necessary for your success – this is one of the most important rules of wisdom, which Solomon often repeated (Pr 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20; 20:18; 24:6). It is a very precious thing – like good cologne rejoicing the heart – to get hearty counsel from a friend (Pr 27:9; 24:26; 15:23; 25:11-12).

But obtaining such counsel may be difficult, for true wise men are also godly and sober, not willing to speak until asked properly for the right reasons (Pr 10:19; 15:2,28; 17:27; 29:11). There are also shallow wells and foaming fountains, but they are to be compared to the cackling noise of fools pouring out only folly (Pr 15:28; 29:11,20; Eccl 10:12-14).

If the wise counselor is fearful (it could be for many reasons), you should respectfully assure him that you appreciate any advice he might give, that you will use it discreetly, and that there are no strings attached and no liability or obligation on his part. You should be very cautious to criticize his advice. Let him advise you, not the other way around.

If the wise counselor is modest (it could be either appropriately or excessively), you should remind him that you need him, that he has the years, experience, or reputation for wisdom, and that you are obeying Solomon’s wisdom to ask him. You should provide sufficient background to assist his analysis and thank him well for anything he offers.

A man of understanding will know how to take the elementary advice of the previous two paragraphs and leverage it into a successful interview with either kind of wise counselor – the fearful or the modest. With both counselors, you must be open enough yourself to prove your sincerity. By practicing godly character and holding humble respect for knowledgeable men, you will learn how to draw much pure water from deep wells.

Consider Abigail’s wisdom dealing with her foolish husband and wise David. Her timing, use of gifts, great humility, gentle approach, and prudent conclusions drew water deep from David’s heart to a great victory that day (and a marriage in ten days!). Consider also how the queen of Sheba approached King Solomon to learn his wisdom (I Kgs 10:1-7).

Those in authority must discover the other kind of counsel – the plans of fools or wicked men that they keep hidden for fear of punishment (Pr 25:2; 29:19; Deut 13:12-15; I Cor 1:10-13). This is the work of fathers, masters, husbands, rulers, and pastors. They must create security, plan a wise approach, and explore with wise questions to prime the pump.

Parent, do you often communicate with your children to learn their hearts and minds about the things concerning them most? Do you have the understanding taught in this proverb to draw out their inner fears and thoughts? Can you combine love, knowledge, and authority, in that order, to open your children’s hearts and help them (Pr 23:26)?

Better yet, child, do you go to the well of counsel in your house and get the advice and help you need to succeed? While you may think you know something at 16 or 26, you are in serious need of counsel. Do you know how to draw out sincere and loving instruction from your parents? This is the lesson. Open up to them, and learn from them today.

The Christian God is like no other. His counsel is not hidden away with the ancients, nor buried in endless verbal traditions, nor disguised in obscure hieroglyphics, nor reserved for some priesthood, nor chanted nonsensically in Arabic or Latin. What is needful for you is plainly written in the Bible (Deut 29:29; Ps 19:7-11; 119:128; II Tim 3:16-17).

Jesus Christ is called Counselor for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Him (Is 9:6; Col 2:3). Do you know Him? Do you love Him? He said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). And, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 8:9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge

Some say, “The Bible is too difficult!” Others say, “The Bible contradicts itself!” Many conclude, “Anything can be taught from the Bible. It is impossible to know the truth for sure.” The devil laughs with evil satisfaction at such absurd remarks. But Lady Wisdom teaches that the words of wisdom are plain and right – to those with understanding and knowledge! If you have a problem with the Bible, you have the problem, not the Bible!

Solomon used personification in the eighth chapter of Proverbs. The feminine pronouns refer to Lady Wisdom, a woman representing wisdom in Solomon’s appeal for men to reject ignorance and folly and embrace understanding and knowledge. The proverb at hand is part of her introduction, as she claims to speak excellent and right things (Pr 8:6), truth (Pr 8:7), and righteous words that are not at all contradictory or corrupt (Pr 8:8).

A little understanding and knowledge, from fearing the Lord and trembling before His word, will open the Bible to you (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Ps 25:14; Is 66:2; Luke 8:18). The words become plain and right, when you study the Bible humbly by its rules of interpretation. If you approach it arrogantly or critically, it is designed to confuse and destroy you (Ezek 14:1-11; I Cor 1:19-20; 2:13-15; II Thess 2:9-12; II Tim 2:15; II Pet 3:16).

The Bible is plain and right, if you are born again (John 3:3; Rom 3:11), are enlightened by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:17-18), fear God (Pr 15:33), delight in the Lord (Neh 8:6-8; Ps 37:4), obey what you learn (John 7:17), pray for wisdom (Ps 119:18; Jas 1:5), work for it (2:1-9; 18:1; I Tim 4:13-15), will take correction (Pr 26:12; I Cor 3:18-19), have a godly motive (Ps 119:11; Luke 10:38-42), and use God-given teachers (Mal 2:7; Acts 8:30-31).

The Bible, God’s book of wisdom, reveals secrets of the universe that greatly affect human existence, but most men have no use for it. The Bible is closed to them (I Cor 2:6-15; II Cor 4:3-4). God reveals these things only to His children (Matt 11:25-27). They have no regard for intelligence, education, or the opinions of any or all men. They believe every word of God to be absolute truth, and they despise any other ideas (Ps 119:128).

Consider an example. Solomon wrote corporal punishment is the only way to rightly train children (Pr 13:24; 19:18; 20:30; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 26:3; 29:15). But PTA and PETA mothers, drunk with the drivel of Drs. Spock, Seuss, and Dobson, reject the Bible as a primitive manual for insensitive monsters that knew nothing about loving children. They say the Bible is impossible to understand, immorally cruel to children, or needs a gentler application for today’s society; but corporal punishment is plain and right to God’s saints.

Consider another example. Moses and Solomon wrote that capital punishment is the only way to treat murderers (Pr 28:17; Gen 9:6; Ex 21:12-14; Lev 24:17). But Mother Theresa, the ACLU, and others without consciences or justice, actually pity murderers more than their victims. Hard to believe? It is true. They write the Bible off as outdated laws for a violent society, but God’s saints know it has divine wisdom for civil authority. Capital punishment is as obvious to them as putting down a rabid dog after it eats an infant.

Consider another example. Moses recorded earth’s origin by writing, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen 1:1). But Charles Darwin and other hallucinating educators, in a profane plot to rid the world of a creator God and His rules for living, contrived an impossible pipedream that chaotic gases exploded to form the universe, primordial slime became reproducing salamanders, who chose to become monkeys, one of which was Charles’ mother. Believers and their children laugh at this false science, which no man has or can observe, define, or duplicate (I Tim 6:20-21).

Consider another example, “This is my body,” from I Corinthians 11:24. Catholics presumed Jesus taught cannibalism and meant the words literally, so they invented transubstantiation – the cracker turns into His body, blood, soul, and divinity – though the cracker is still present to human senses and any kind of analysis. Their Bible-rejecting religion idolizes this blasphemous caricature of the Lord’s Supper, forgetting that Jesus also said, “I am the door,” and, “I am the vine,” among numerous other metaphors!

Lutherans, knowing full well the bread still existed (because they could still touch it, taste it, smell it, and see it), invented consubstantiation – the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus coexist with the bread in their version of the Mass. Presbyterians, also superstitious sacramentalists coming from Rome, invented the notion that Jesus is really, truly, and spiritually in the bread, though not present in body, blood, soul, or divinity.

The children of God, with just a little understanding and knowledge, know that Jesus spoke metaphorically, just as you do when holding up a picture of your mother and saying, “This is my mother.” You only mean that the piece of Kodak paper represents your mother. Jesus gave a simple memorial supper to His true followers. There is no sacrifice offered again in any way, shape, or form. The Supper is only to remember Him by using bread and wine to represent and signify His torn body and shed blood. It is not a sacrament, and it does not involve the altering of any substance, at all, in any way.

Reader, the Bible is the only true book on earth. It alone has the words of wisdom from heaven, which Solomon sought to tell you about through Lady Wisdom in this proverb. If you embrace her, she will bless you; if you reject her, you must love death (Pr 8:35-36). But this wonderful book can do you no good, unless you acquire the understanding and knowledge that opens its treasures. Humble yourself before the great God, repent of your pride and sins, and beg Him for wisdom. He will make the words plain and right to you.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 10:13 – Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.

Your degree of folly or wisdom is known by your speech. A man with understanding has wise speech that helps others; a man without understanding speaks foolishly and benefits no one. You cannot hide your character for long. You cannot deceive others forever. You will be exposed (Pr 26:26; Eccl 5:3; 10:3). And if your speech indicates you are a fool, the best treatment for you in the wisdom of God is a good beating (Pr 18:6; 26:3).

Notice the proverb closely. The first clause identifies a man with understanding as one who speaks wisely. The second clause gives the instruction to beat the man who does not have understanding. The parallelism of the proverb teaches two principal lessons: (1) your speech proves whether you have understanding or not, and (2) corporal punishment is appropriate for those who speak foolishly and forwardly. The ellipsis – missing words – at the end of the second clause, “and speaks foolishly,” is understood by the first clause.

God and Solomon gave you precious wisdom. Here is advice for life on how to measure the hearts of men and also how to treat them. Good men with wise hearts convey knowledge, godly counsel, and sound wisdom; and they do it in a gracious and loving way. Fools with profane hearts babble about their opinions and little problems in life; they complain about most everything; and they do it in an odious and irritating manner.

What precious wisdom! Wicked persons love to say, “You do not know my heart. I am a good person. I have understanding.” But these are lying excuses to justify their ungodly speech and/or actions. One of the chief lessons of Proverbs is to identify character by speech (Pr 10:19,21,32; 12:13; 14:3,7; 15:7; 16:2; 17:7,27-28; 18:7; Eccl 10:12). The Lord Jesus Christ also emphasized this definite connection (Matt 12:33-37).

Reader! Does your speech prove you a fool or a wise man? It is easy to tell. Can you justify your speech from the Bible? Do you have more friends than you can manage? Do others hold you in high esteem? Do others often seek your advice? If you can answer all four questions positively, you are a wise man. If several of the questions get negative answers, you are a fool! Confess your folly to God. Beg Him for help to control your lips.

Reader! Do others consider you gracious or odious, kind or cutting, helpful or hurtful, cheerful or critical, sober or sarcastic, loving or laughing, judicious or jesting? Honest answers to these contrasts reveal your character. Humble yourself before God. Cut your words in half. Cut your volume in half. Do not speak without something important to say. Study before you speak. Be gracious and positive, always! Praise someone, now!

Your degree of worldliness or spirituality is also known by your speech. It is easy to be an enemy of Jesus Christ – all you have to do is care about the things of this world (Matt 6:24; Phil 3:18-19; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17). How can you spot an enemy of Jesus Christ? Listen. They talk about jobs or business, health, politics, or current events. Though you listen carefully, you never hear Christ praised, doctrine exalted, or fervent thanksgiving.

Furthermore, your degree of love or hatred for others is revealed by your words. If you love other saints, which is the greatest evidence of eternal life, you will always be saying good things to them, for them, and about them. The person who is often guilty of backbiting, complaining, slandering, talebearing, or whispering is not only a fool, but also a child of the devil (John 8:44; I Cor 3:3; Titus 3:3; Jas 3:14-18; I John 3:1-19).

Corporal punishment is the best treatment of a person with a foolish tongue (Pr 26:3). If that person is your child, then you can train him in the way he should go with the rod and reproof (Pr 22:6; 29:15). If it is a prospective spouse, end the relationship! If it is a friend, you can easily find new and better friends (Pr 9:6; 13:20; 14:7). Choose wise men with wise speech for your companions, for they will make you better (Pr 22:11; Ps 119:63).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 9:4”Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment.

Simple men have two options. They can accept Lady Wisdom’s sincere invitation for wisdom and a blessed life, or they can fall for a whore’s lying seduction for death and hell. With a very powerful comparison, King Solomon set out the choice of life and death for his children, nation, and you. Listen carefully! Every man shall bear his own burden!

Consider carefully to see the precious comparison. Two women are after your soul. Both are beautiful. The beauty of one is timeless; that of the other very short. One speaks the truth; the other lies from beginning to end. Both are pleasant, but the pleasure of one is for a very short season, and the pleasure of the other is for eternity. Two women call you.

“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding,” one says to you, “Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding” (Pr 9:4-6). This is the beautiful and noble Lady Wisdom, who has been described and speaking since Proverbs 8:1.

“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding,” another woman says to you, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Pr 9:16-17). This is the lustful and fatally dangerous whore, Lady Folly, who is described and speaking in Proverbs 9:13-18. Do not let this wicked woman seduce you.

This foolish woman, this strange woman, this whore, is also beautiful, and she also calls you. She wants simple men and those that lack understanding to destroy them, for they know “not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell” (Pr 9:18). A wise man is too difficult for her to seduce, for he knows her wiles cover bitter pain.

At her table you are looking at the rapidly decaying features of a malicious liar, who is planning to take advantage of your simplicity for her own gain. Her flattering words are the anesthesia for your soul; her kisses are the kiss of death. Hell is where you are headed in this world and in the world to come if you stay with her one more minute. Run away!

Lady Wisdom is much more beautiful and has prepared a beautiful house, fully furnished, for your perpetual prosperity and comfort (Pr 9:1-5). Her guests are luxuriously entertained and provided for to the eternal benefit of their souls. See the comments on Pr 9:1 and Pr 9:2. Your simplicity does not offend her; she wants to help you gain wisdom!

She has prepared a feast for you, if you will simply take her gracious invitation. She offers you life, and that an abundant life, if you will let her feed you the feast of knowledge and understanding. At this table the simple can become wise and successful. The only thing necessary for admittance is your simplicity. If you lack wisdom and want to gain it, she will be your most willing host. Do not reject her offer. Accept it at once!

These are not merely two literal women here, but a personification of the choices every man or woman must make in life. Will you seek and learn heavenly wisdom to avoid the foolishness of this world that will painfully destroy you? Or will you weakly let a whorish world take you down the seductive path to dysfunctional living, death, and hell?

Simple men can learn wisdom and understanding with Lady Wisdom, who wants to serve and help men needing knowledge. They can become wise by filling their lives with God’s precious Word, sound Bible preaching, godly music, and the Lord’s people. To learn from Lady Wisdom, they must shun this world’s ideas, music, entertainment, and friends.

But simple men can also be destroyed by the strange woman, who will take advantage of their ignorance for her selfish ends. The simple are too ignorant to know her friendship is the way to death and hell. But the attentive reader is now informed and should ponder what house he has entered. Do not be deceived, her pleasure is only for a moment.

All men by nature are simple and lacking understanding. All men face this choice. Will you be wise or foolish? Will you remain faithful to your wife or choose another? Will you seek to correct your foolishness or allow it to take you down to hell? Do you desire wisdom and prudence, or folly and pleasure, to be your companions through life?

Christian reader, to which woman do you turn for religion? Do you seek a simple church of Jesus Christ where a banquet of grace, truth, and fellowship is spread for sinners? Or do you fall for the seductive advances of the harlot church with her gaudy appeal, false doctrine, worldly popularity, and entertaining fables? Remember, her pleasure lasts only a short season, and then comes the death and hell she hides behind her sensual pretenses.

Look instead for that chaste virgin of a pure church meeting in apostolic simplicity and preaching the hard, unvarnished truth of God’s inspired and preserved words. If you are not being convicted on a regular basis and growing in wisdom and understanding, it is likely that you have missed the apostolic church and are in a carnal and compromising church of these perilous times. Let every reader take heed. Life or death is the result.

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 

Bottom line up front (BLUF) Wisdom begins with knowing God. He gives insight into living because he created life. To know God is not just to know the facts about him, but stand in awe of him and have a relationship with him. Do you really want to be wise? Get to know God better and better.

Fools say, “There is no God” (Ps 14:1; 53:1). They are hopelessly insane as they face life and its perplexities before meeting the Judge of the universe for their eternal sentencing. Belief in the existence of God and reverently desiring to please Him is the absolute prerequisite and foundation for wisdom. Knowing there is a holy God with eternal power and Godhead is the greatest necessity for true understanding. Choose them both today!

All men reason from chosen assumptions. Consider it well. Wise men reason from faith that Jehovah exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). Since Scripture is easily proven to be a divine revelation of truth and wisdom, they include this necessary source document for knowledge and understanding. Within the Scriptures are perfect answers for every dilemma, question, or problem (II Tim 3:16-17). Wise men, beginning with the fear of the LORD, approach life soberly and successfully.

The fool reasons from his own existence and the thoughts of his biased and depraved imagination. His opinions are peer-approved between human sentiment and self-justification. He has no absolutes or limits to restrain his hallucinations. His own heart is his god, and he worships his own feelings. He may call it science – evolution and psychology are examples – but it is only vain babbling to rid the universe of a sovereign God and the moral restraints He has imposed on His creatures (I Tim 6:20). He will read anything but the Bible, adoring profane German philosophers over inspired prophets.

Which of these two classes of men is reasonable? To enter life as a helpless, nursing, messing infant and think that your thoughts twenty years later are noble, sound, and wise is the epitome of insanity. To admit the universe has an infinitely wise Creator, Who has the right and wisdom to direct man’s life is the only sensible view. Scripture plainly declares that men without faith are unreasonable (Ps 14:1; 53:1; II Thess 3:2). Amen!

God has revealed Himself to men, but they have rejected Him, so He has justly given them over to reprobate minds, which pervert everything from the identity of God to the sexual use of the body (Rom 1:18-32). They are profanely perverse, but they have no wisdom or understanding to even recognize their depravity. They have a lie in their right hand, but they cannot deliver themselves (Is 44:20). They cannot even begin to be wise.

These educated but imbecilic nuts want us to believe they can tell us about planets 5,000 light years away but could not find Osama bin Laden for ten years on this miniscule earth that is 70% water; that a buffalo rib from 1845 is a giant woodpecker’s leg from 50 trillion B.C.; that a liberal arts college education makes a person wise; that sodomy is normal; that labor unions benefit companies and country; that the Bible is an outdated collection of fables by religious nuts; that capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime; that Nicole Brown Simpson got a fair trial; that apartheid is wrong but Indian reservations are right; that spanking children is abuse; that rap is music; that Picasso was an artist; that two men having intercourse is gay; that the Flood is a myth but the big bang is fact; that an 18-year-old child in the public daycare should have an equal vote with a property-owning, 60-year-old business owner; that a jury of peers provides intelligent judgment; that Muslims are peace-loving people; that Hinduism is a respectable religion; that animals have rights but husbands do not; that Freud was sane; that two lesbians are acceptable parents; that freedom of speech includes pornographic caricatures of the president; that asking political opinions of actresses is intelligent; that a national debt approaching the nation’s GNP is wise economics; that bestiality is wrong for its harm to animals; that separation of church and state forbids attorney generals from praying; that the Beatles loved peace; that Miley Cyrus is a role model for girls; that Harry Potter novels are valuable but I and II Samuel are violent; that the Bible is not an allowable source document but Darwin’s Species is; that the greatest love of all is love of self; among many other examples of ludicrous, insane thinking.

Reader, humble yourself before your Creator, now. Confess every thought as being the selfish hallucination of a depraved and rebellious sinner. Beg Him for mercy and truth. Promise to adore and obey Him forever. Read His word with total faith and submission. Cancel your newspaper subscription. Love sound Bible preaching. Prove all things by the word of God, hold fast that which is good (Ps 119:128; Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21).

Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 1:5 Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance

Solomon wrote Proverbs for the young and simple (Pr 1:4). But he also wrote it for the mature and wise, that they might gain greater learning to understand and apply the words of this book (Pr 1:5). Therefore, there is great value to study these proverbs and their interpretations in order to attain to wise counsels. If you will be wise, here is the way!

Proverbs are the dark sayings of the wise, and they need interpretation (Pr 1:6). But the effort is well worth it, for the reward is obtaining greater learning and wise counsel. By understanding Solomon’s proverbs and their interpretations in this book, and learning the words of the wise and their dark sayings, you will attain to wise counsels. Men will come to you for help in intricate matters, for you will have acquired wisdom and understanding.

What is the rule for increasing learning and attaining unto wise counsels? Hearing! Even wise and understanding men must stop thinking and talking in order to listen instead to become wiser. Your age or wisdom does not matter. To learn more and attain to the counsels of the wise, you must hear instruction from others. Humble yourself before this inspired collection of proverbs and get learning and wise counsel. It is your choice.

Wisdom is acquired by the ears, not the mouth. You have two ears, but one mouth. You should be swift to hear and slow to speak (Jas 1:19). However, foolish man would rather speak, for he wants to show others his wisdom. But a wise man will close his mouth and open his ears, so that he might hear the instruction of his teachers and gain wisdom.

Listening is hard for the young and simple, because they are foolish and impatient. Children are self-deceived to think they know more than parents. Without experience or understanding, they want to teach their elders. But older men also have a problem with listening, for they think too highly of their experience. It takes only a quick look at this book of Proverbs, or a small dose of the problems among men, to reveal their ignorance.

Great men understand the times and know what ought to be done (I Chron 12:32). They discern changing circumstances and the response to them that pleases God and men. How do they come to this illustrious position from the confusion and ignorance they inherited at birth? They listen and learn from their primary teachers – parents and pastors.

The blessed God inspired the Bible, which is full of wisdom for life and eternity. And He also sent parents and pastors to teach the Bible to willing hearers (Deut 6:4-9; Eph 6:4; Mal 2:7; Eph 4:11-14). Your part is left! Will you listen like Israel to Ezra, Cornelius to Peter, and the noble Bereans to Paul (Neh 8:1-12; Acts 10:33; 17:11)? It is your choice.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 21:16 A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.

There is only one way to live. If you wander from that way, you give up a life of joy and peace for a living death of misery and trouble. You can die more than one way. Sinners around you are functionally dead without the abundant life God planned for His children.

There is only one way to serve and worship the true God. If you wander from that strict way, you give up a church with spiritual life for one that is a lifeless carcass, no matter how much noise they create with amplifiers and light with strobes. You, as the dog and sow, have returned to the vomit and mire of human opinion and practice (II Pet 2:21-22).

The only way to live is the straight and narrow way that leads to life (Matt 7:13-14). It is not exciting to your lusts. It is not popular to the world. But it is right, and it rejoices the holy desires of a saved spirit. It is the way surveyed by the wisdom of Scripture and paved with the solid rock of God’s sayings. Any other way is a slippery slope to hell.

If you build the house of your life on the Bible’s teachings, you will have a life that easily stands amid the storms that batter others. It is the way of understanding. But if you build on the sands of human opinion, the storms will wash your house away (Matt 7:24-27). Heresies will blow in and show you never had a godly foundation (I Cor 11:19). You will never stand against the storm of God’s holy and just wrath in the Day of Judgment.

Of course, no man chooses to wander into the swamp named Death. He changes the name of the swamp to Right Way or My Way. He presumes his directions are better. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes (Pr 16:2,25; 21:2). To stay in the way of understanding, you must hate your opinions and love God’s precepts instead (Ps 119:128; II Cor 10:5).

Abram took his nephew Lot from pagan Chaldea to the land of Canaan. Lot saw firsthand the wonderful relationship between God and his uncle. But he moved his family toward wicked Sodom, and he ended up ruined in a cave with his two daughters pregnant with his children (Gen 13:12-13; 19:30-38). These five were the congregation of the dead!

The only way to serve and worship God is by the Bible. Men have tried everything from burning their children alive to worshipping crows, dogs, and bugs (II Kgs 17:17; Rom 1:23). All of it is repulsive and disgusting dung, no matter how sincere the blinded pagan doing it. If it is not according to Scripture, it is not good enough, no matter the character or conduct or popularity of the worshipper (Gen 4:3-5; Num 20:7-13; I Chr 15:13).

Of course, no church chooses to wander into a swamp named Death. They change the name of the swamp to Right Way, Our Way, or New Way. They presume they are more pleasing to God than the old way of doing things. They call it contemporary and casual and exciting worship. They want to improve on the Bible and help the Lord. Their thoughts and motives stink. God demands they seek for the old paths (Jer 6:16; Jude 1:3).

The church at Corinth thought spiritual gifts would cover their errors (I Cor 1:4-9). They allowed internal strife, preacher cliques, self-glorification, fornication, lawsuits, easy divorces, abuses of liberty, no giving, association with pagans, short hair on women, long hair on men, contentions, abuse of communion, pride in gifts, little real love, speaking in tongues, women preachers, rejection of the resurrection, and little care of the poor.

Many of these are common errors in many churches today. But God judged this apostolic church by striking its church members weak, sick, and dead (I Cor 11:30). And Paul unloaded on them with his first epistle, which Christians have read for near 2000 years. This was easily the worst church in the New Testament and nothing to glory about.

Never had a church made more noise for Jesus than the church at Corinth. Never had a church been more confident the Holy Spirit was working among them. Never had a church presented the gospel louder. And they were right. But the big and fatal danger was that their Jesus, spirit, and gospel could be the wrong ones, for the ministers urging them on were actually working for the devil as lying false teachers (II Cor 11:1-4,13-15).

The church at Rome that Paul commended in his epistle to them became the Great Whore of the Revelation, filled with every foul spirit and unclean and hateful bird (Rom 1:8; Rev 17:3-6; 18:1-8). It astonished John greatly. How did it happen? How could an apostolic church become the bloodthirsty, fornicating antichrist church and brothel of Rome?

They left the precepts of Scripture for the opinions of the so-called church fathers. She started down a road to the swamp that now includes every abomination known to man. What does God say to any saints left in her or her daughter churches? “Come out of her, my people” (Rev 18:4). They should leave the congregation of the dead to find the abundant spiritual life of righteousness and truth in a local church of Jesus Christ.

What happened? How did it get started? Did the pastor seek prestige because his church was in the empire’s capital city? Did calling himself a priest comfort pagans? Did the title Pontifex Maximus make Caesar-worshipping Romans happy? Did a trial infant baptism comfort some mothers? Did pretending the bread was the literal body and blood of Christ increase attendance at communion? Did praying to Mary one Sunday morning bring tears to a few mothers’ eyes? Did a beautiful statue bring craftsmen as members? Did asking the women to confess to their priest bring voyeuristic pleasure? Did keeping the pagan holidays of Rome with Christian names bring in even more pagans? Did sprinkling for baptism save some embarrassment when he forgot to fill the baptistery? Did an organ bring the musically inclined? What happened? They compromised themselves to death.

The wanderer ends up in the swamp of Death by a single, wrong, first step. All sin starts with just one wrong thought. All heresy is by incremental compromise. All cults begin with one lie. All false arguments begin with one lying premise. Dear reader, where have you taken one or more steps from the right way? Repent! Where has your church compromised one precept of Scripture? Repent! For it is the only way back on the right way. If you do not correct it, you are lost. Off one degree of angle in the beginning may only be inches of error, but the farther you travel that false line, it becomes miles of error!

Only Scripture can make the man of God, a pastor, perfect in every good work (II Tim 3:16-17). All the inventions today are without truth (II Tim 3:7), for men have left sound doctrine for fables (II Tim 4:3-4). They have left off loving God to love the pleasures of life (II Tim 3:4). They have a form of godliness by meeting on Sundays, but they have no clue of His jealous authority (II Tim 3:5) and demanded reverence (Heb 12:28-29). These loud, obnoxious, arrogant so-called Christians fulfill Paul’s warning of perilous times!

These churches are congregations of the dead, no matter how many fill their complexes to foam out their shame with Christian rap. The church at Ephesus had many things to commend it, but they had lost their first love and were about to lose the Spirit, which would leave them a dead carcass (Rev 2:1-5; 3:1; Jas 2:26). These modern mega-churches never had the good things Ephesus did, so they are deader and longer so!

The new way they have found is the way to dead religion, no matter how lively it appears. The high they obtain from their ear-crushing rock-n-roll, jump-up-and-shout services does not last. They are joyless shells chasing carnal pleasures; they do not even know the God of the Bible. God measures by doctrine, practice, and purity; they measure by decibels, popularity, and pleasure. They went out from apostolic Christianity, because they were never truly part of it (I John 2:19), and the unregenerate fill their membership.

If a man leaves the way of Christ’s wholesome sayings at all, he does not know what he is talking about. He knows nothing at all (I Tim 6:3-5; Is 8:20). What are all wise persons to do with either a wandering man or a wandering church? Get away from him or it! Read II Timothy 3:5 for the words, “from such turn away.” Read I Timothy 6:5 for the words, “from such withdraw thyself.” They are living among the tombs. Get away from them.

They have good words and fair speeches to deceive the simple, but they are mere belly worshippers (Rom 16:18). How can you know? If they do anything contrary to the teaching of the New Testament (Rom 16:17). What should you do about them? Mark and avoid them (Rom 16:17). God’s few true saints must stand fast and hold the traditions taught by the apostles (II Thess 2:15; Jude 1:3). This is the way of understanding.

Ah, faithful reader, should you gloat pompously that you have the truth and are secure in the way of understanding? God forbid. Your brother Paul would tell you not to be high-minded, but rather to fear (Rom 11:20). He would tell you to fear lest you should come short of God’s promises as well (Heb 4:1). He would tell you that too much confidence in yourself will bring your own failure and fall (I Cor 10:12). Humble yourself before God.

The whole world has wandered out of the way of understanding since the Garden of Eden, and they shall congregate with the hordes in hell for an eternal death. While God made man upright and good, he has sought out many inventions to corrupt God’s ways (Eccl 7:29). Almighty God destroyed them all with a flood in Noah’s time, and it will be with unquenchable fire and fervent heat the next time (II Pet 3:1-14; II Thess 1:7-9).

America has wandered out of the way of godliness, righteousness, and justice into the fatal swamp of abortion, child rebellion, divorce for any cause, euthanasia, evolution, labor unions, prohibition of prayer, prohibition of the Ten Commandments, sodomy, wicked entertainment, and witchcraft. The death knell is sounding, unless the nation repents, and God has mercy to forgive America for her many and heinous sins.

Many so-called Christians are finding comfort and assurance in their exploding mega-churches, where the light shows, loud music, crowd manipulation, large numbers, social activities, community projects, volunteer ministries, and rock-star pastors tell them all is well. They have no more basis for their confidence than Judas Iscariot. These who have wandered out of the way of understanding will appeal to all their religious activity and numbers, but the Lord Jesus Christ will declare that He never knew them (Matt 7:21-23).

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is the only way back to the Father. Cast yourself upon His mercy today! There is another congregation in heaven. It is the congregation of the living. It has a membership no man can number. It has countless angels serving it. It is the mega-church of Almighty God! It is the bride and kingdom of Jesus Christ. All the saints are there. Will you join them by falling before the Lord Jesus Christ in humble obedience to follow His strait and narrow way?

You need to find a local church of Jesus Christ that follows the Bible’s rules for New Testament doctrine, practice, worship, and private lifestyle without compromise or invention of any kind. There are only a few of these churches, and they will be few in membership compared to the worldly monstrosities of carnal Christianity now sweeping the religious world. But you will be in close union to those martyrs and others that kept the commandments of God and stayed in the way of understanding (Rev 12:17; 14:12).