Deviation from the teachings of God’s word plagued the first–century church, since few had access to the New Testament text.“God’s solid foundation remains standing,” Paul wrote in AD 64.
Orally it had survived the first thirty years. Most of the recorded documents for keeping the church true had been written by this time.
Paul described the foundation in this manner: “You are . . . fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:19–-20).
The task of the apostles and prophets was to lay the foundational teachings and then record them through inspiration for all the ages.
The foundational task was complete in the first century. Now evangelists, teachers, and preachers explain, exhort, and apply what was delivered to us by the first–century apostles and prophets. False teaching causes others to deviate from this foundation.
God’s seal of ownership is on the body of true believers: “The Lord knows those who are His.” Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you’” (Matt 7:21–-22).
The issue is not whether we think we know Him but whether He knows us. Jesus later said, “My sheep hear My voice [His word], and I know them, and they follow Me . . . and I give eternal life to them” (Jn 10:27–-28). Does He know you listen to every word He says?
The second seal on the church is evident through personal sanctification: “Everyone who confesses [names] the name of the Lord must turn away [abstain] from evil.” True believers respect the commands and instructions given by the true apostles and prophets and turn away any teacher or thought that deviates from them. Are you afraid to disobey Scripture? This is the healthy “fear of the Lord.”
“Dear Lord, as we build our knowledge You gave us in Your word, we will have the ability to ‘turn away from’ evil. Thank You for Your word, which gives me all I need to be successful in living my life for Your purposes.”
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