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Identifying False Teaching in Christian Bookstores

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Wolves in the Pulpit

Dr. Tom Pennington, of Countryside Bible Church, in Southlake, TX, features his expository sermons here.  From that collection, a particular 3-part series  is showcased at The Berean Library entitled, “Wolves in the Pulpit,” from Matt 7:15-20.  Links are part 1, part 2 and part 3.  Part three contains a list of 10 ways how to fall prey to false teachers (minute marker 42:55).  Many of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” seen below, have authored books, including bestsellers, sold in Christian bookstores.  Beware!  

February 4, 2014, Janet Mefferd talked with Pastor Pennington on this specific series in a summarized fashion.  Excellent!

This is a very significant topic in the church as sheep are prone to stray and be misled.  Dr. Pennington is one such knowledgeable and discerning undershepherd who teaches us from God’s Word how to identify false teachers to beware of so as not to be misled as Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and Jude warned (Titus 1:9).

Ultimately, a false teacher cannot mislead a true sheep.  Praise the Lord!  The Shepherd will bring His sheep unto Himself.  However, sheep can be temporarily misled if they are new believers who do not have knowledge and discernment from God’s Word.  This happened to me twice, before and after conversion.  The first time I was misled by the Catholic religion.  The second time I was misled, it happened after being a fairly new convert in the church.  The church growth/seeker-sensitive, prosperity false gospel peddled by false teachers in the church,  ”wolves in sheep’s clothing,” led me to a dangerous false pasture where I barely grew as a Christian nor produced much fruit for God.  Here’s the scary part.  I thought I was growing and serving the Lord in a pleasing way.  However, I would learn by God’s grace-filled correction from His Word that it was not as such.

Another “target” that Dr. Pennington highlights that false teachers prey on are the ones “who want to hear they can have a relationship with the Lord and yet live anyway they wish.”  As in, false teachers tickling itchy ears for people’s felt-needs and  self-centered living, giving license to sin, rather than preaching with an emphasis on Christ and His gospel to repent and live an obedient, holy life, by God’s grace, for the love and glory of God and for the love and interests of others.  Another “target,” or easy prey, of false teachers are those who sick and poor.

Dr. Pennington takes us back to Balaam as the earliest example of a false prophet, in Numbers, to the New Testament teachings and warnings concerning false teachers. He points us to three main markers seen in the character and conduct, content and converts of false teachers that will be identified in their fruit.

~Some Highlights from Dr. Pennington’s Series:

I.  Look at Their Fruit

Mt 7:20:  ”So then you will know them by their fruits.”  Look at the fruit!   Look at the total of his character/conduct, content and converts.

A.  Examine Their Character and Conduct

False Teachers Will Demonstrate:

1.  Motivated by Greed (Balaam in Numbers & 2 Pt 2:15; Micah 3:5,11; Matt 23:25; Mark 12:40; Lk 16:14; 1 Tim 6:5; 2 Pt 2:3,14-15; Jude 11);

2.  Sensuality and Sexual Sin (Jer 23:14; Rom 16:18; Jude 4, 17; 2 Pt 2:10, 13-14, 18);

3.  Arrogance (2 Tim 3:4; 2 Pt 2:10, 18; Jude 8, 16)

 B.  Examine the Content of the Teaching Against the Scripture (Lk 6:43-45; Dt 13; Acts 17:11; 2 Cor 4:2; 1 Jn 4:6).  1 Jn 4:1-21 Guide:  Does it exalt Christ   and His gospel?  Does it promote true holiness and likeness of Christ?  Does it promote God’s Word?   Does his teaching promote love for God and others?

 C.  Examine Their  Converts (Lk 6:40; 2 Pt 2:2; Rev 2:20).  Do they act in godliness or licentiousness?

II.  Dr. Pennington’s Examples of False Teachers and Their Bad Fruit Doctrine: (go to minute marker 36:18 of Part 3)

A.  Pope Francis & the entire Roman Catholic System:  because it teaches a false works-based gospel;

B.  Cults (like Morrmanism and Jehovah’s Witnesses):  because they have a false God than the biblical God and a different Jesus and a different gospel;

C.  Church of Christ (COC)/Galatian Heresy:  adding baptismal regeneration to salvation that is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (though many have left this heresy in COC, many remain);

D. Post-modern (Emergent) Teachers:  like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell who undermine cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith;

E. Faith Healers and All Who Preach the Prosperity Gospel (list is very long, primary ones listed):  Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Jan Crouch and her late husband Paul Crouch, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Jesse Duplantis, Robert Tilton, Eddie Long, Todd Bentley, Fred Price, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, etc.  Spectrum ranges from the TBN gaudy-type to the intelligent, hip, smooth, edgy-type;

F. Beware Parents:  Christian colleges where in religion class teachers systematically tear down the faith once delivered to the saints.  *My note here:  we have seen this first hand with ecumenism at a local Christian school grades K-12.

III.  Judgment of False Teachers:  Mt 7:19-20; 2 Pt 2:2-6,9-10; Jude 13-15.

A.  Examples of God’s Judgment in Scripture:

1.  God did not spare the angels of disobedience;

2.  The Great Flood;

3.  Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.

Why does God allow false teachers?  Answer:  1 Cor 11:19.  God allows false teachers because He is removing the chaff.  Allowed by God to test hearts.  True believers stick!

Conclusion:

Be a good Berean!  (Acts 17:11)

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy!  To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time, today and forever!  Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)

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Fal$e Teacher$

The Berean Library features Shai Linne’s excellent, rich in sound doctrine, rap-expose entitled, “Fal$e Teacher$.” Linne’s work is done specifically in regard to Word-Faith heresy in love for our Triune God, the truth of His Word, His people and those sheep being mislead by ear-tickling false teaching, including the fal$e teacher$ themselves.  That they may come to repentance by God’s grace, Word and Spirit. The Bible tells us this is the proper motivation for anyone, including The Berean Library®,  who wishes to warn others about “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Mt 22:36-39; Jn 17:17; Jude 3; Eph 4:15; Acts 20:27-31; 2 Pt 3:9; 1 Tim 6:9-10; Mt 7:15; Titus 1: 10-13; 2 Pt 2:1-3).

Since the 1906 Azusa Street Revival of Los Angeles, led by William Seymour, the movement of modern Charismatic Word-Faith/Prosperity fal$e teacher$ has exploded and extends around the globe. A few other popular proponents include Joseph Prince (Singapore), Brian Houston/Hillsong (Australia) and Nicky Gumbel (UK), etc.

There are many other false gospels, counterfeits to the gospel of Christ, to beware of, beloved.

“Use your discernment, let the Bible lead ya!” ~”Fal$e Teacher$,” Shai Linne

See Also: Phil Johnson’s Blog at Grace to You–song lyrics included
The Cripplegate Blog

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The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson (Bad Fruit)

  Biblical Resources:

Book Review from Beginning and End Blog Reveals the Abomination of Witchcraft and the Prosperity Gospel in The Circle Maker

From Worldview Weekend, Brannon Howse and Chris Rosebrough Review The Circle Maker

  Endorsements:

“Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker will have you praying circles around any situation you are facing.” -Craig Groeschel

“Honi the circle maker is a longtime legendary figure, and Mark Batterson is well on his way.  You will love the freshness of this approach to prayer.”   -John Ortberg

 ”Mark Batterson is a master storyteller.  His stories illustrate important biblical truths that convict me in my heart.” -Ruth Graham

From the Velvet Brick Blog, Nancy Leigh DeMoss & True Women’s Conference ’12 Endorse and Utilize Batterson’s Teachings

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Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala (Bad Fruit)

Biblical Resources:

Dr. Gary Gilley’s Review ~Excerpt, ”It contains false winds and strange fires.”

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Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance by Bob Buford (Bad Fruit)

 

 Biblical Resources:

A Christmas newsletter began going ga-ga over this book in that it “caused them to analyze, reassess and reaffirm their purpose in life” and “to develop a personal mission statement for the years to come.”  After reading this positive recommendation for Buford, I was compelled to do some research.  Just as we saw a raving promotion for this book in our personal mail, Dr. Gilley doesn’t miss to mention its numerous “great read” recommendations, in all its editions, for the believer in the Christian community.

Dr. Gary Gilley’s Overview 

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Have Heart ~Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth by Steve and Sarah Berger (Bad Fruit)

Biblical Resources:

Herescope’s Review, by Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Marcia Montenegro’s Review:  “Have Caution with Have Heart

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The Final Quest by Rick Joyner (Bad Fruit)

Biblical Resources:

Let Us Reason’s Review

SO4J-TV & Video Productions False Visits to Heaven or Hell

See Also:  Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (Bad Fruit)

Excerpt:  ”As always, the problems with these stories is that they undermine the sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture while also being contrary to Scripture. One way this is so is the mere attempt to cite and write about such an ‘episode.’ In 2 Cor 12:1-10, Paul’s humble account was written in third person in obedience to God; to not brag or “be credited with more” while remaining controlled in the Spirit to not boast. Paul stated that even if he did boast he would not be a fool, for it really happened, as recorded in and for the Holy Spirit-inspired, authoritative writings of the Bible. Paul wrote of his experience that he “did not know if it was in the body or out of the body,” but that nonetheless, it assuredly happened, again as written in the Word of God. Later on, in the 2 Cor 12 passage, he was given a “thorn in the flesh” for further humbling purposes by the Lord, to keep him from “exalting” himself. The lesson from Paul’s thorn is that God’s grace is sufficient! We are to be content in our weaknesses and sufferings for Christ, which indicate that “Christ dwells in us.” For when we are weak then He is strong. Praise the Lord!

Not only was Paul’s overall humble description of his account to heaven true as found in the Bible, and therefore “not foolish,” but also that his visit was “inexpressible.” Meaning that it was not for this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who wrote 13, or possibly 14 books, of the 27 New Testament books, to be permitted to share it beyond a godly restraint. It was not to be revealed with detail or pridefulness.

[Updated (10-27-11) with further admonishment to reject the tale in this book, and all others like it, as truth]  Beware of trusting anyone who is claiming to have new revelation of truth from God. God has authored a closed Canon of Scripture. The Bible is His complete, authoritative, binding, infallible, inerrant, divine, sufficient, supreme and plenary revelation. And since the time it was closed (Jude 3), the 66 books of the Bible is how God speaks to us and allows us to experience the study and knowledge of Him (Eph 5:15-17; Col 1:9, 2 Tim 2:15). We are to turn to His Word, look to Him and trust Him for all truth (Jn 17:17), not anyone or anything or any experience that is contrary to His Book. The last revelation of Christ was given by God to another apostle, John, in the book of Revelation.

Consider, also, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, from Luke 16:19-31, as another admonishment for Sola Scriptura, as well as what is not allowed by God. The rich man, who died and went to Hades, asked Abraham to send Lazarus, who died and went heaven, to warn the rich man’s family about how real the torment, God’s wrath, is and to repent. Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets (the Old Testament); let them hear them… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets (another emphasis for Scripture, back-to-back), they will not be persuaded even if someone comes back from the dead.” (emphasis and parenthesis mine)

Further, after His resurrection from the dead, while on the road to Emmaus, Christ employed Sola Scriptura, not His experience, again with those who were being “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken…. Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (emphasis mine) Later their eyes were opened and they recognized Him while He was breaking and blessing the bread. Reflecting back while walking on the road with Jesus, they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:13-32) What a profound illustration is “hearts burning within us” when one is hearing God’s truth and yet not understanding it or accepting it.

Paul said to be “imitators of me,” in 1 Cor 4:16 and again in 1 Cor 11:1 because he, himself, is an imitator of Christ. May we carry out this command as well for Christ’s sake, in every area of our lives, by the grace and truth of God, for His glory.”

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Heaven ~Close Encounters of the God Kind by Jesse Duplantis (Bad Fruit)

Biblical Resources:

SO4J-TV & Video Productions False Visits to Heaven or Hell

See Also:  Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (Bad Fruit)

Excerpt:  ”As always, the problems with these stories is that they undermine the sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture while also being contrary to Scripture. One way this is so is the mere attempt to cite and write about such an ‘episode.’ In 2 Cor 12:1-10, Paul’s humble account was written in third person in obedience to God; to not brag or “be credited with more” while remaining controlled in the Spirit to not boast. Paul stated that even if he did boast he would not be a fool, for it really happened, as recorded in and for the Holy Spirit-inspired, authoritative writings of the Bible. Paul wrote of his experience that he “did not know if it was in the body or out of the body,” but that nonetheless, it assuredly happened, again as written in the Word of God. Later on, in the 2 Cor 12 passage, he was given a “thorn in the flesh” for further humbling purposes by the Lord, to keep him from “exalting” himself. The lesson from Paul’s thorn is that God’s grace is sufficient! We are to be content in our weaknesses and sufferings for Christ, which indicate that “Christ dwells in us.” For when we are weak then He is strong. Praise the Lord!

Not only was Paul’s overall humble description of his account to heaven true as found in the Bible, and therefore “not foolish,” but also that his visit was “inexpressible.” Meaning that it was not for this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who wrote 13, or possibly 14 books, of the 27 New Testament books, to be permitted to share it beyond a godly restraint. It was not to be revealed with detail or pridefulness.

[Updated (10-27-11) with further admonishment to reject the tale in this book, and all others like it, as truth]  Beware of trusting anyone who is claiming to have new revelation of truth from God. God has authored a closed Canon of Scripture. The Bible is His complete, authoritative, binding, infallible, inerrant, divine, sufficient, supreme and plenary revelation. And since the time it was closed (Jude 3), the 66 books of the Bible is how God speaks to us and allows us to experience the study and knowledge of Him (Eph 5:15-17; Col 1:9, 2 Tim 2:15). We are to turn to His Word, look to Him and trust Him for all truth (Jn 17:17), not anyone or anything or any experience that is contrary to His Book. The last revelation of Christ was given by God to another apostle, John, in the book of Revelation.

Consider, also, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, from Luke 16:19-31, as another admonishment for Sola Scriptura, as well as what is not allowed by God. The rich man, who died and went to Hades, asked Abraham to send Lazarus, who died and went heaven, to warn the rich man’s family about how real the torment, God’s wrath, is and to repent. Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets (the Old Testament); let them hear them… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets (another emphasis for Scripture, back-to-back), they will not be persuaded even if someone comes back from the dead.” (emphasis and parenthesis mine)

Further, after His resurrection from the dead, while on the road to Emmaus, Christ employed Sola Scriptura, not His experience, again with those who were being “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken…. Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (emphasis mine) Later their eyes were opened and they recognized Him while He was breaking and blessing the bread. Reflecting back while walking on the road with Jesus, they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:13-32) What a profound illustration is “hearts burning within us” when one is hearing God’s truth and yet not understanding it or accepting it.

Paul said to be “imitators of me,” in 1 Cor 4:16 and again in 1 Cor 11:1 because he, himself, is an imitator of Christ. May we carry out this command as well for Christ’s sake, in every area of our lives, by the grace and truth of God, for His glory.”

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Heaven Is So Real by Choo Thomas (Bad Fruit)

Biblical Resources:

Let Us Reason’s Review

More on Choo Thomas’ False Teachings by Let Us Reason 

SO4J-TV & Video Productions False Visits to Heaven or Hell

See Also:  Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (Bad Fruit)

Excerpt:  ”As always, the problems with these stories is that they undermine the sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture while also being contrary to Scripture. One way this is so is the mere attempt to cite and write about such an ‘episode.’ In 2 Cor 12:1-10, Paul’s humble account was written in third person in obedience to God; to not brag or “be credited with more” while remaining controlled in the Spirit to not boast. Paul stated that even if he did boast he would not be a fool, for it really happened, as recorded in and for the Holy Spirit-inspired, authoritative writings of the Bible. Paul wrote of his experience that he “did not know if it was in the body or out of the body,” but that nonetheless, it assuredly happened, again as written in the Word of God. Later on, in the 2 Cor 12 passage, he was given a “thorn in the flesh” for further humbling purposes by the Lord, to keep him from “exalting” himself. The lesson from Paul’s thorn is that God’s grace is sufficient! We are to be content in our weaknesses and sufferings for Christ, which indicate that “Christ dwells in us.” For when we are weak then He is strong. Praise the Lord!

Not only was Paul’s overall humble description of his account to heaven true as found in the Bible, and therefore “not foolish,” but also that his visit was “inexpressible.” Meaning that it was not for this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who wrote 13, or possibly 14 books, of the 27 New Testament books, to be permitted to share it beyond a godly restraint. It was not to be revealed with detail or pridefulness.

[Updated (10-27-11) with further admonishment to reject the tale in this book, and all others like it, as truth]  Beware of trusting anyone who is claiming to have new revelation of truth from God. God has authored a closed Canon of Scripture. The Bible is His complete, authoritative, binding, infallible, inerrant, divine, sufficient, supreme and plenary revelation. And since the time it was closed (Jude 3), the 66 books of the Bible is how God speaks to us and allows us to experience the study and knowledge of Him (Eph 5:15-17; Col 1:9, 2 Tim 2:15). We are to turn to His Word, look to Him and trust Him for all truth (Jn 17:17), not anyone or anything or any experience that is contrary to His Book. The last revelation of Christ was given by God to another apostle, John, in the book of Revelation.

Consider, also, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, from Luke 16:19-31, as another admonishment for Sola Scriptura, as well as what is not allowed by God. The rich man, who died and went to Hades, asked Abraham to send Lazarus, who died and went heaven, to warn the rich man’s family about how real the torment, God’s wrath, is and to repent. Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets (the Old Testament); let them hear them… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets (another emphasis for Scripture, back-to-back), they will not be persuaded even if someone comes back from the dead.” (emphasis and parenthesis mine)

Further, after His resurrection from the dead, while on the road to Emmaus, Christ employed Sola Scriptura, not His experience, again with those who were being “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken…. Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (emphasis mine) Later their eyes were opened and they recognized Him while He was breaking and blessing the bread. Reflecting back while walking on the road with Jesus, they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:13-32) What a profound illustration is “hearts burning within us” when one is hearing God’s truth and yet not understanding it or accepting it.

Paul said to be “imitators of me,” in 1 Cor 4:16 and again in 1 Cor 11:1 because he, himself, is an imitator of Christ. May we carry out this command as well for Christ’s sake, in every area of our lives, by the grace and truth of God, for His glory.” ~(excerpt) Karla Tadler


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I Went to Hell by Kenneth Hagin (Bad Fruit)

Biblical Resources:

SO4J-TV & Video Productions False Visits to Heaven or Hell

See Also:  Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (Bad Fruit)

Excerpt:  ”As always, the problems with these stories is that they undermine the sufficiency and supremacy of Scripture while also being contrary to Scripture. One way this is so is the mere attempt to cite and write about such an ‘episode.’ In 2 Cor 12:1-10, Paul’s humble account was written in third person in obedience to God; to not brag or “be credited with more” while remaining controlled in the Spirit to not boast. Paul stated that even if he did boast he would not be a fool, for it really happened, as recorded in and for the Holy Spirit-inspired, authoritative writings of the Bible. Paul wrote of his experience that he “did not know if it was in the body or out of the body,” but that nonetheless, it assuredly happened, again as written in the Word of God. Later on, in the 2 Cor 12 passage, he was given a “thorn in the flesh” for further humbling purposes by the Lord, to keep him from “exalting” himself. The lesson from Paul’s thorn is that God’s grace is sufficient! We are to be content in our weaknesses and sufferings for Christ, which indicate that “Christ dwells in us.” For when we are weak then He is strong. Praise the Lord!

Not only was Paul’s overall humble description of his account to heaven true as found in the Bible, and therefore “not foolish,” but also that his visit was “inexpressible.” Meaning that it was not for this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who wrote 13, or possibly 14 books, of the 27 New Testament books, to be permitted to share it beyond a godly restraint. It was not to be revealed with detail or pridefulness.

[Updated (10-27-11) with further admonishment to reject the tale in this book, and all others like it, as truth]  Beware of trusting anyone who is claiming to have new revelation of truth from God. God has authored a closed Canon of Scripture. The Bible is His complete, authoritative, binding, infallible, inerrant, divine, sufficient, supreme and plenary revelation. And since the time it was closed (Jude 3), the 66 books of the Bible is how God speaks to us and allows us to experience the study and knowledge of Him (Eph 5:15-17; Col 1:9, 2 Tim 2:15). We are to turn to His Word, look to Him and trust Him for all truth (Jn 17:17), not anyone or anything or any experience that is contrary to His Book. The last revelation of Christ was given by God to another apostle, John, in the book of Revelation.

Consider, also, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, from Luke 16:19-31, as another admonishment for Sola Scriptura, as well as what is not allowed by God. The rich man, who died and went to Hades, asked Abraham to send Lazarus, who died and went heaven, to warn the rich man’s family about how real the torment, God’s wrath, is and to repent. Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets (the Old Testament); let them hear them… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets (another emphasis for Scripture, back-to-back), they will not be persuaded even if someone comes back from the dead.” (emphasis and parenthesis mine)

Further, after His resurrection from the dead, while on the road to Emmaus, Christ employed Sola Scriptura, not His experience, again with those who were being “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken…. Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (emphasis mine) Later their eyes were opened and they recognized Him while He was breaking and blessing the bread. Reflecting back while walking on the road with Jesus, they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:13-32) What a profound illustration is “hearts burning within us” when one is hearing God’s truth and yet not understanding it or accepting it.

Paul said to be “imitators of me,” in 1 Cor 4:16 and again in 1 Cor 11:1 because he, himself, is an imitator of Christ. May we carry out this command as well for Christ’s sake, in every area of our lives, by the grace and truth of God, for His glory.”

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