Daily Devotion for November 8, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This beautiful rendition was recorded by Tink German, an amateur musician!
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
We have endured no end of ridicule from the arrogant, of contempt from the proud.
1 Timothy 1:3-7
Opposition to False Teachers -- Gnosticism
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
Notes on the Scripture
There are many reasons people pervert the Gospel and teach nonsense, or even evil. Sometimes they just want something new. Sometimes they want to convince people of some doctrine in order to make money. Sometimes they want others to think they have special knowledge, or special powers.
The primary perversion of the Gospel Paul opposes in today's passage is Gnosticism. "Gnostic" actually describes several different religions that people invented in the centuries after Christ's death and resurrection. It is still around today. I don't know why people believe this nonsense, but they do. I suspect some of it might have to do with disgust at the hypocrisy of earthly churches. Some people reject the Gospel because they react strongly to an individual who has God in his mouth but Satan in his heart. They fail to see that it is the person, not the Word, which is hypocritical. Others have a need to feel important, and the secret knowledge claimed by the various Gnostic sects meets this need.
One of the biggest red flags, in life as well as in religion, is a person who claims to have special or secret knowledge. Quack medical gurus and fraudulent investment schemes use this as much as false religious prophets. The worst of them add a claim that their knowledge has been somehow suppressed by powerful people. If you get a sales pitch from anyone who claims to have special or secret knowledge, run the other way!
Many of the Gnostic sects claim that their writings are secret or special books written by Christ or by some person who lived and witnessed Christ's life. They share certain characteristics, and it is these shared characteristics that cause them to be grouped together as "gnostic". They claim that matter is evil and spirit is good, and that God, who is spirit, cannot be involved in molding matter. Because this causes insurmountable problems with the Bible, they say that there are various levels where spirit and matter are combined. The God of the Old Testament, called YHWH or Jehovah or simply "Father", is one of these levels of being that lie between spirit and matter. Jesus is another such intermediate level; most gnostics place Christ higher than God the Father. Christ could not, however, be divine, because he had flesh.
As you may have guessed by now, all of the Gnostic sects claim to have secret knowledge known only to special persons. Basically, you need to learn a set of passwords to rise through the various spheres of holiness and find salvation.
Some heresies are basically harmless. Throughout the ages, there have been a lot of nit-picking philosophical or theological points that have little or nothing to do with actual salvation though the great and powerful grace of Jesus Christ. But Gnosticism is not Christianity at all. By denying that one is saved by faith in Christ, as the revealed son of God, Gnosticism points the way to hell.
You don't need to know a secret to be saved. God has given all people the opportunity of salvation by proclaiming his Word openly and widely, so that all people might know it and be saved.