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Stay With The Word!

John Collins01/13/2013At the end of Paul's letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4, Paul was writing not just to Timothy, but to the future generations of Christians that were to come.  Paul gave this one solid warning: stay with the Word.

Paul said that in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, he gave us this charge:  "Be ready."  Christ will judge both the living and the dead when he returns for His kingdom.  

Paul's only instruction was this:  Preach the Word.  He said that we need to be ready not just "in season," when we think the time is ready, but also "out of season," when we have became comfortable in our way of life and do not expect the coming of Christ.  

His words of insight were tremendous, almost as if Paul could gaze far into the future and see the world that we live in today.  He said that the time is coming when people would not listen to sound teaching.  These people would turn away from Truth, preferring to wander off into myths.

Over the past few hundred years, we've seen many false prophets and false teachers rise.  Each one telling of their spiritual experiences which we later learn to be fictional myths, and spreading doctrines that fit with a few verses scraped from the Bible but not the entire continuity of the Word of God.  Each one of them wanders from the Truth.

William Branham was no exception.  Most of his stories had a small thread of truth woven through a large blanket of fiction.  We've all been captured by his childhood stories of being left fatherless with his siblings in Kentucky, not knowing that Branham moved to Indiana with his father at the age of three.  Or how his faith-healing ministry miraculously started in 1947 after an angel visitation, not knowing that his healing ministry was in full swing earlier than 1945.  We've heard time and again how George Lacy, head of the FBI sent a photograph of a 'halo' to Washington, DC as evidence of the supernatural, and were lured into the deception not knowing that Lacy was not employed by the FBI and the photograph was sent to be copyrighted for monetary gain.  We've heard how Branham stood under seven angels to give him 'divine revelation', and how their exit into the heavens left a cloud behind that science could not explain.  None of us were aware that Branham was not in the state where this event occurred, and that the investigation was abandoned because the cloud was explainable.

Paul knew this day would come, and that people would abandon truth for fiction.  He said the time was coming when people with "itching ears" would abandon sound doctrine to listen to lying teachers.  These teachers would speak lies to suit their own passions, and would drag the people with them as they wandered off into myths.

Paul stressed his charge: be ready.  Paul said to be sober minded.  We are to endure suffering, so that we ourselves do the work of an evangelist.  We are not to wander off into these myths, instead we are to fulfill our ministry as an evangelist.  

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Are we ready?  Are we following a false prophet who spread myths that cannot be confirmed?  Have we followed a false teacher into his own passions without verifying the fictional stories that he told?  When we stand against it, are we ready to endure the suffering that will come as we watch our friends and family turn away from us to follow a lying prophet?  Are we doing the work of an evangelist?  If we are, are we telling about a false prophet, or are we telling about the Word of God?