Test the Counsel You Hear

Psalms 1:1-2 ESV

“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Who are the wicked? They are the ungodly. They are all those who make sin their practice, who practice wickedness (evil, malice, immorality, lying, cheating, and adultery, etc.). And many of them profess faith in Jesus Christ, but they are continuing in deliberate and habitual sin, many of them without conscience. For they are being taught a gospel which does not teach repentance and obedience to the Lord but which coddles people in their sin, instead. So, they are not those of genuine practicing faith in Jesus Christ.

They are also liars and deceivers who purposefully twist the Scriptures to make them say what they do not say in order to persuade their adherents to buy into a gospel message that does not put sin to death in the life of the sinner, but which allows sin to reign supreme. And they are those who use charm and cunning and manipulation to lead people into sin and not away from their lives of sin. And they will use all sorts of tactics and tricks and schemes to convince people to sin against God and to not be faithful.

So, just know that their counsel may sound good, and it may sound biblical, and it may sound kind and thoughtful, and even full of grace. But many people are teaching a false grace which is not the grace of God at all but a twisted and perverted grace that is free license for immorality and sensuality. For they are not teaching that the grace of God trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14).

So, please be in the practice of testing everything you hear and read and think you see coming from the writings and the words and the actions of people who are in positions of prominence and of great influence, even if they are highly respected in the Christian community. For remember that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and his servants masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness. So, they may appear righteous and good, and their words may sound good, but they may not be good at all.

But the only way you are going to know if they are telling you the truth or not is if you are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and if you are listening to Jesus, and if you are obeying him, in practice, and if you are students of the Scriptures who study them in context, and if you are diligent about testing the doctrines of men (and women) to see if what they are teaching lines up with what the Scriptures teach as a whole, and in context.

Psalms 1:3 ESV

“He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.”

So, if we are those who are being spiritually discerning with regard to the counsel and teaching of other humans, because we are testing what we hear against the Scriptures as a whole, and in context, and so we are not walking in the ways of the ungodly, but we are walking in the wisdom of God, then we will be steadfast in our walks of faith. And we will walk in holiness and in righteousness, and we will bear much fruit in keeping with repentance for God’s eternal kingdom, by the grace of God and in his power and strength.

And, when this says that in all that we do, we will prosper, this is definitely not teaching that everything is going to go great for us, with no barriers, and with no opposition at all. The New Testament teaches us that if we are following the Lord Jesus in obedience, and if we are sharing his gospel with other people, and if we are exposing the lies and calling people to repentance and to obedience, that we are going to be hated and persecuted as Jesus was hated and persecuted. And who were his fiercest opponents?

They were the children of God of the Old Covenant, and they were rulers in the temple of God, and they were the teachers of the Scriptures. And they were hounding him left and right, always trying to find a way to trip him up so that they could accuse him of wrongdoing. So, don’t be surprised if some of your greatest opposition and persecution comes from within the gatherings of the church and even from church leadership, because so much of what is being called church today are just businesses of men, and so many of them are appeasing human flesh and are not obeying God.

So, we can’t measure our success in ministry by human standards and thinking and reasoning. For if we are doing what our Lord says to do, and if we are obeying him, and if we are saying “No” to sin and “Yes” to holiness and righteousness daily, and if we are going where he sends us, and we are saying what he gives us to say, and if we are teaching or sharing with others what his word teaches on holy living and repentance and obedience, and on what constitutes God-given faith, then we are successful in the eyes of God.

Psalms 1:4-6 ESV

“The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Now, the wicked may very well be successful in the eyes of humans, and according to worldly thinking. And they may have huge followings, and even be people of good reputation and be well admired and respected in the Christian community. But if what they are teaching is false doctrine, and if they are doing so deliberately in order to deceive people, and to turn people away from genuine biblical faith in Jesus Christ in order to follow after a flesh-driven gospel of men, then they are not successful in the eyes of God.

And they will not stand in the judgment regardless of any professions of faith they have made in Jesus Christ. For the Scriptures are clear on this subject. If we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Mattew 7:21-23). So, take this to heart.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Be Thou My Vision

attr. to Dallan Forgaill
tr. by Mary E. Byrne, pub.1905
arr. by Eleanor H. Hull, 1912
Irish melody

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

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