Selective Mercy

Selective Mercy
Robert Wurtz II

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 NKJV)

“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”” (John 8:3–5 NKJV)

The scribes and Pharisees, according to Stephen in Acts 7:51, always resisted the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the influence of the Holy Spirit was absent from their life except where He “goaded” them as He did Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:5). The Pharisees were not spiritual people. One must have the Holy Spirit in order to be spiritual. The scribes and Pharisees moved in the realm of the flesh. So it should not surprise us that they were basically unmerciful people. At least, they showed selective mercy. Saul, the ultimate Pharisee (Acts 26:4, Galatians 1:14), went as far as to have Christians killed believing he was doing God a service. Prior to his change he was a very unmerciful and violent man. 

Pericope Adulterae 

There is no evil quiet so wicked as that which is performed under the guise of doing right. The scribes and Pharisees pretended to be “righteous” while dragging and humiliating a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus. Their hypocrisy was soon discovered as each one was made to face their conscience after the Lord spoke the famous words, “He who is without sin let him first cast a stone at her.” Even these callous Pharisees had sense enough to know not to stone the woman after being reminded of the many terrible sins they themselves had committed. 

What is more striking in these verses is that these hypocrites failed to humiliate the man too. It is my experience that hypocrites often blame the woman first — though this has not been God’s pattern as evidenced in the Garden of Eden or with David and Bathsheba. Nevertheless, these experts in the law disregarded these plain facts and exercised their selective mercy upon the person of their choice. Was he a friend of theirs? Was he one of the men’s son or brother? Or did they let him off simply because they believed that men were superior to women? God only knows. It’s very hard to be consistent in your theology and righteous in its application when prejudice and familiarity are in play. 

What Do You Say?

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. His life was the prime expression of the fruit of the Spirit listed in the final verses of Galatians 5. He had no sin — therefore He was the only person worthy of stoning that woman. He did not. He simply said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
(John 8:11b NKJV) These are two essential things. Paul moves to the matter of fallen believers in Galatians 6:1 when he writes, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness (…).” Notice who are qualified to restore, the spiritual people. That is, the people who exude the fruit of the Spirit. People who have fallen in sin need spiritual people around them and not carnal folks like the scribes and Pharisees. 

Carnal people will think up all kinds of reasons not to restore a person. Again, they move in selective mercy so they would restore family, friends, peers, etc. What about the outcast? What about a person they dislike? What about their rival? Carnal professors of Christ will destroy those people and do it in the name of being righteous, protecting the innocent, keeping the standard, or any other excuse. The carnal just can’t find it in themselves to let certain people up. They will restore their friends and family; but they will expose and humiliate everyone else. 

The carnal believer will “throw the first stone” knowing they have done similar things. It does not matter to them. Their sins, their friends sins, and their families sins are all “under the blood” (forgiven). They get hostile if you bring their sins up. However, they don’t mind dragging up other peoples’ past to expose and humiliate them. I have personally known of so-called Christians calling pastors to expose people in their congregations who were trying to move on with their life. All the while they fear that someone would make that call and expose their past. Amazing! But it is happening. Some have slipped into relationships and dropped bits of information breaking up engagements (or attempted to). They wont let certain people get past their past — but they work diligently to make sure their past is not exposed. What hypocrisy! What happens? Everyone outside their “circle of love” is subject to the carnal treatment leveled upon the woman taken in adultery. This is a terrible and diabolical evil. People who engage in these type sins are carnal enemies of the cross no matter what their title is. Scribe and Pharisee was a pretty hefty title, but it did not shield them from the reality of their evil and in the end they were exposed for their hypocrisy.  



Again, Paul says it plainly “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 NKJV) Notice the words, considering yourself. This is what spiritual people are to do when they are helping restore the fallen. They don’t ride their high-horse and act like they never sinned. They think about their own lives — what they have done in the past and where they would be had God not showed them mercy and grace. This humbles the spiritual and gives them the right spirit in which to handle fallen saints. On the other hand, the carnal scribes and Pharisees humiliated a woman and were about to stone her to death with sin riding on their own conscience. What evil! This is why hell is going to be so hot. 
   

Prepare Your Mind

Prepare Your Mind
Robert Wurtz II

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Peter is writing to Christians at a time when they are being persecuted on every hand. In fact, it was an all too familiar theme to those who lived in the first century. Believers faced extreme hostility from almost everyone. The non-believing Jews persecuted the believing Jews. The Roman authorities persecuted and killed anyone who they found refusing to call Caesar “lord.” Christians had almost no where to turn. Indeed, serving Christ came at a very high price for believers prior to Constantine. 


Life for Christians in the first century was day to day. This is why Paul suggested to the Corinthians that they consider whether they should get married or not. Persecution was so terrible that it may be best in some cases not to have a husband or wife to worry about because they were likely to be jailed, beaten, or killed. 

Peter pens this epistle into that kind of environment. He tells them three things, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end. First, we are to gird our minds. This simply means to be ready. Focus our minds on God and His kingdom. Prepare our mind with the word of God. The mind is a battle field. Second, we are to be sober. In other words, we must be very careful what we allow to influence us. The world is always trying to influence us. It is generally so subtle that it goes unnoticed. This is why one of the definitions of “intoxicate” means “to poison.” Most people are poisoned unawares. 

You will recall that Paul told the Ephesians not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit. Notice the contrast. Alcohol has the ability to influence a person just as the Holy Spirit can influence a person. Alcohol clouds the judgment; hence, a person is said to sober up. This means they return to their right minds in terms of rational decision making. Peter is telling us to be being “sober” and don’t allow our minds to be influenced by anything other than the Holy Spirit. Thirdly, Peter tells us to hope to the end. This means that in spite of what we go through, we must not lose our faith. Hope has been called “faith for the long term.” We need to hope to the end and not surrender our faith. 

The Fashioning of Ourselves

If a person actually girds up the loins of their mind, is sober, and is hoping to the end, it will have a dramatic effect on the way they live. Notice Peter makes a distinction when he says, As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conduct, manner of life, and behavior. This means that our thoughts and actions are pleasing to God. How is that? Because the person refused to fashion themselves according to the former lusts in their ignorance. The word fashion in Greek is the same word translated in Romans 12:2 when Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Do not conform to your old lustful ways. Rather, be ye holy in all manner of conversation.

Few people understand that the reason why God calls us away from this present evil world and its influenced is because it is unholy. It is sinful and tainted with Satan’s antichrist spirit. God says, “Touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you and be a Father unto you…” So the reason we are to be holy is because God is holy. If we intend to be in a relationship with Him we have to be compatible with Him. God and sin are incompatible. The enemy lies to people and minimizes the importance of holiness. Yet Hebrews tells us to follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man can see the Lord. 

The first step to preparing our mind is to simply agree with God. Not just once, but make a determination to know God’s counsel on every subject and then agree with Him. Can two people walk together unless they are agreed? What use is it to argue with God about what He says in His word? If we are serious about knowing God we have to agree with Him. Sin intoxicates the mind to make it think that it can behave contrary to God and still be OK. We have to prepare our minds regularly with God’s word, and deprive it of false and godless influences. No matter what comes our way, we must resolve to keep our focus on Christ until the very end.  

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13-16)        

Self-Inflicted Suffering and Setbacks

Self-Inflicted Suffering and Setbacks
Robert Wurtz II

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (Matthew 5:10–11 NKJV)

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 2:20 NKJV)

There is a principal in these verses that I wish to consider that deals with the difference between what I might term “general suffering” and what we will call “self-inflicted suffering.” The same can be said for setbacks; there are “general setbacks” and there are “self-inflicted setbacks.”

Matthew 5:10-11 illustrates a group of people who by inference were persecuted for their own unrighteous behavior and who had been reviled, persecuted, and spoken evil of “rightly” and perhaps “deservedly.” These were the opposite of blessed. In other words, some might say concerning the reviling and persecution that they had it coming. These people stand in contrast to the “blessed” who were reviled, persecuted, and spoken evil of falsely for the Lord’s sake.

Peter takes it another step and states, For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? If you have a “beating” coming, then it is of no credit before God. However, when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. In other words, there is a sense in which the godly response is a spiritual sacrifice to God (1 Peter 2:5). In Peter’s language, it is a “gracious thing.”

Self-Inflicted Disaster

God makes it clear that there are times when He sympathizes with our afflictions and other times when He does not. It does not mean He does not love us, it simply means that the laws of sowing and reaping are in play. God is not mocked. Nevertheless, there are people in the world who are blind to the fact that their suffering and setbacks are self-inflicted. They may even assume that God feels sorry for them in their condition. Peter tells us plainly, For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? It is no credit at all. Take your stripes and learn from them. It was your fault. You take responsibility.

Self-inflicted injuries are just that; they are self inflicted. However, bad things are happening all around the person and they blame everyone but themselves — including the Devil. They are blind to their own actions. The secular English speaking world has an idiom for this phenomena: shooting oneself in the foot. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the expression as meaning “to do or say something that causes problems for you.” Emphasis on “you.” Another idiom says that some people are, “their own worst enemy.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines this expression as meaning, “doing things yourself that prevent you from being liked or successful.” Emphasis on yourself and you.

Sometimes we are not liked or successful because we take a stand for what is right. Sometimes what we think is right is not right at all; but that doesn’t stop us from patting ourselves on the back as if we have suffered for Christ. In other words, we must distinguish between truth and our idea of truth. If a person is moving in error and suffering for it — it is still self-inflicted rather they think they are in the right or not. They end up being disliked for reasons very different than what they think they are disliked for. This is a form of self-deception. We have to be willing to allow God to show us whether or not we are being “buffeted for our own faults” (as it were) or if it is actually “for Christ’s sake” that we are suffering.


Sometimes God has to put His finger in our chest — sort of like Nathan the Prophet did David the King and exclaim, “Thou art the man!” There is no hope for a person who “blindly shoots themselves in the foot” unless they take the blinders off and employ some basic common sense to their situation. What can we do if we see that we are self-destructing? The first step is to take personal responsibility for our own actions. Stop making excuses and stop blaming other people. Don’t “pass the buck” — another idiom meaning “to pass the blame (to someone else); to give the responsibility (to someone else).” You might have heard it said,  “Don’t try to pass the buck! It’s your fault, and everybody knows it. Some people try to pass the buck whenever they can.” (ibid) When we finally realize that we are the problem we can finally get down to making needed change and seeing progress. Otherwise we just go on in a sick sort of self indulgent pity — playing the victim when in reality we victimized ourselves.

 

The Age of AntiChrist

The Age of AntiChrist
Robert Wurtz II

“And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” (1 John 4:3 NKJV)

“The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.”
(Daniel 7:24–25 NKJV)

“Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.””(Daniel 12:3–4 NKJV)

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Timothy 3:12–14 KJV)

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 14:37–38 KJV)

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11 KJV)

I generally refrain from writing or teaching about what is sometimes called eschatology or the study of end time events. The reason is simple; the topic typically degenerates into an endless round of speculations in which everyone weighs in to show their knowledge of prophecy and the conversation grinds to an abysmal and unedifying argument. So in this entry we will not be discussing who Jezebel’s husband will be in the resurrection or any other such nonsense.

What I do wish to focus on is how dreadfully those who have speculated in the past have already missed the mark in their own predictions of eschatological events. Having heard countless sermons and read many books on the end times — not one predicted the state that we are in in 2016. Their emphasis was all wrong and we are paying a terrible price for it right now. I will say it is true categorically until someone proves me wrong. I mean, who in 1975 was preaching that the day would come when men marry men and if you don’t participate when asked you can be sued and your life destroyed? Who predicted in 1957 (or even 1987 for that matter) that society would be so delusional that a grown man can walk into a women’s restroom or locker room (so long as he claims to be transgender) and stand in a stall next to an elderly woman or a 6 year old little girl? And if you don’t like it you are labeled an intolerant nut and can be fired from your job as was a former professional baseball player from ESPN last week. 

As far as I am concerned every book on prophecy written in the last 50 years needs to be taken out and burned. They missed it. It was a total waste of time and money. No need to build their sepulchers. They failed to prepare us for the times we are living. That’s what prophets are supposed to do and if a person is an expert in prophecy they should be preparing us. Rather, most of them told us for decades we would be “out of here” by now. In fact, many preachers of these eras didn’t even participate in Social Security because they believed we would be “out of here.” Well, here we are and the moral situation is getting wildly out of hand to say the least. Christians are at the point of a gun right now and most don’t even realize it. You can’t even take a stand on a matter of basic common sense such as what bathroom a person ought to use without repercussions. Are you kidding me? Who cares what is happening with Israel when my wife can’t even go to a public bathroom anymore without fear that a strange man could be lurking in the stall beside her. 

Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. (Proverbs 17:24)

It is a sad thing to consider, but if you are reading this you are still here and things are what they are. So lets put down our favorite eschatological speculator and lets pick up the Bible before it’s too late. “And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” (1 John 4:3 NKJV) John tells us that the AntiChrist is coming, but the spirit of AntiChrist is actually already in the world. This spirit rules in the hearts of the ungodly who are marching this world towards unconscionable evil that smarts the sensibilities on a daily basis. There is not a day that goes by that something morally outrageous does not happen. We are already in the realm of uncharted evil and sin. We are experiencing a moral Armageddon right this moment. The flow of society is so utterly AntiChrist that the average person seems to prefer Shariah Law to Christ’s Law. Think about that for a moment. They would rather defend people who disregard women’s rights at best and cut off the heads of infidels at worst. And  yet the Muslims get more tolerance than a born again Christian. What does that tell you? The whole of society is under the direct influence of the spirit of AntiChrist.



A Pompous Generation

It seems that at some point the AntiChrist will appear, but in the meanwhile we go on dealing daily with the spirit of AntiChrist. What is this spirit like? It is like the “He” in this verse. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.”
(Daniel 7:24–25 NKJV) The key thing in this verse that stands out against 3000 years of world history since these words were penned is…And shall intend to change times and law.” 

The powers that are leading society right now have completely re-written millennia of established human laws of conduct. We are experiencing the “de-civilization” of civilized society… and it is happening to the glorious applause of the masses. America a Christian nation? Who are we fooling? Would a Christian abort a baby at 6 month? Would a Christian promote moral decadence the likes of which have not been seen since the days of Sodom? And that is no longer a figure of speech. It is reality. We are not even a civilized nation much less a Christian nation. We may have been founded on Christian principals but we are a million miles from that today. People are doing whatever they want to do with no moral restraints whatsoever. Soon drugs will be legal in all fifty states. Mark it down. There was a time when people went to Vegas (so-called Sin City) to do their sins. Today, nearly every city in America has all the trappings of Las Vegas. 

“Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.””(Daniel 12:3–4 NKJV)

Travel and an increase in knowledge are the realities of our day. This is not a prophecy about the AntiChrist — it is a signpost to let us know the hour we are living. The Internet and the hand held device have made it possible to know almost anything within reason within a few seconds. This is so utterly unprecedented that we cannot possibly understand it unless we had lived in 1000 BC for a while and then split-screened that reality with our times. We would know that now is that time. 

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Timothy 3:12–14 KJV)

The only hope for Christians is to take their doctrine directly from the scriptures with the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is so much compromise in our times and so many false teachers that we do well to greatly limit the influence we allow modern ministers to have on our lives. 

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 14:37–38 KJV)


This verse has always been challenging. There are many people who are bent on being ignorant of God’s word. They make their doctrines independent of the clear teachings of scripture. The is additional evidence of the spirit of AntiChrist being in the land. Satan is the ultimate deceiver. He twists God’s word to say the opposite of what it means. People who are bent on evil cannot be taught the things of God. No sense in arguing with them. Shake the dust from your feet and spare yourself the vexation of observing them in their spiritually obtuse state. This is one way the spirit of AntiChrist wears out the saints. Endless arguments with people who hate God or are willfully deceived. 

When God Closes the Door

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11 KJV)

There is one eschatological fact that we can get right every time. No need for speculation. Jesus Christ will return one day and all who hear His voice will be resurrected to stand before Him in judgment. From the least to the greatest. The door to Christ will be closed forever. Everyone will be eternally ratified in the state in which they died. If you died in rebellion you will live for eternity as a rebel. If you died in faith you will be perfected into the image of Christ. Everyone has made their choice at this point. There can be no going back. 

Can you imagine that a day will come and all the great names in the history books are going to stand before God. All the Hollywood stars and politicians of our day. People, who under the influence of the spirit of Anti Christ have spoken pompous words against the Most High will bow the knee before Christ. Names like Pilate, Nero, Alexander the Great, the many pharaohs, prophets, priests and kings. What about names like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, John Wayne, and Stephen King? What about presidents such as Washington, Lincoln, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama? Stalin, Hitler, and a host of other diabolical leaders. What about the many Popes who stood in the place of Christ or Rabbis’ who usurped the authority of God alone. Where will a man like Rabbi Akiba appear who was instrumental in locking the Jews up in Rabbinical Judaism? What about Judas Iscariot. What about you and I?

What a terrible and awesome day that will be. All the false teachers who were made rich — defrauding the saints of their money, time, and attention will be cast into the Lake of Fire to burn forever and ever. All the American presidents who looked big behind the presidential seal will cower before the Lord. Most of all, Satan Himself. 

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:12–17 KJV)






  


Days of Deception

Days of Deception
Robert Wurtz II

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5 KJV)

Paul had already warned Timothy earlier in the epistle of people who would be, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (…) as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2 Timothy 3:7–8 KJV) Disobedience is almost always the cause of people “ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” Nevertheless, Paul issued a solemn charge to Timothy that he was to go on preaching the Gospel that was once and for all delivered unto the saints no matter if it were in season or out of season.

Paul inserts into this charge a prophecy about a type of people who are characterized by three things:

1. They will not endure sound doctrine; i.e., reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.
2. They will heap to themselves teachers that tickle their ears and fuel their lusts.
3. They will refuse to hear the truth, but will turn to fables (stories and myths).



This prophecy is given as a future reality as the verbs are future tense. There was a season coming in which Timothy would have to deal with these people. I suggest that these people would arise as a consequence of Paul being dead. This is akin to the warning Paul gave to the Ephesians that after his departure savage wolves would enter in — not sparing the sheep. In the absence of sound preaching, the lusts of men and women come to the fore and a band of so-called ministers rise to feed them. 

After Their Own Lusts

Markets are driven by demand. This is true in all walks of life. When demand for something dries up — the supply chain for it dries up. Flow is created by pressure; and in this case the pressure is lust. The Greek word for lust is the standard word for strong desire (epithumia). These people are not driven by God’s will or His word — but their own strong desires. Whereas the Kingdom of God is designed around God’s desires, these have traded God’s desires for their own desires. Nevertheless, they chose to remain in the churches. This creates a very serious challenge for preachers. Feed the peoples lusts; or preach for the glory of God?

Heaping to Themselves

The very fact that Paul told Timothy that people will heap teachers to themselves that tickle their ears suggests that Timothy is going to be woefully outnumbered if he carries out Paul’s charge. It suggests that even in the first century there was a serious disparity between the number of true preachers and ear ticklers. Just as in our times, compromisers are able to vote out truth by majority. In other words, majority rules. “They” are deceived into thinking that the more people agree with their lusts the more likely “they” are to be right. Add to that the false idea that popularity equals authority and you have a recipe for wholesale deception.

In our times heaping can be done on an exponential basis. The television and Christian networks are loaded with speakers who have carved their niche in meeting the lusts of men. Between hyper grace preachers and prosperity merchants the masses are made to believe they can drive a Rolls Royce into heaven laden with sin. What has happened? Simply put, they tell people what they want to hear. They almost never serve up news that would agitate their base. Therefore, their TV audience, radio listeners, and Internet mailing lists keep growing. Obviously, not all are in this category, but clearly the majority are. In Timothy’s day “they” could heap a handful of preachers to tickle their ears– today the sky is the limit with so much access to various speakers. One could feed themselves deception 24/7/365.

An Encouragement to Timothy

Paul was telling Timothy what “they” were going to do and what their speakers were going to tell them. Fables. Falsehoods. Twisted notions. All sorts of things that distract them from the truth. Typically, these notions seek to bless “they”, that is, the very people God is wanting reproved or rebuked. It means that Timothy would have to live with what Leonard Ravenhill called, “rejection.” Paul dealt with it too –even among professors of Christ. 

The time came when Timothy got up to preach and could expect a house of reluctant hearers who seemed to merely endure and tolerate his preaching; but then came the “ear tickler” and the house was full and the people anxious and attentive. He would have seen it and it would have grieved and vexed his soul. From people who taught that the resurrection had already passed, to others who promoted the damnable teachings of the Judaizers (see Galatians 1) — Paul was in a constant battle. Paul’s words would come to mind:

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Almost as if Paul shot down all the arguments from the beginning. “They” are thronging the ear tickling preachers you say? ” But watch thou in all things. I know what “they” are doing but “thou” are to watch in all things. The word for “watch” here could be translated sober. “They” may be drunk on the elixir of this world and stagger at the lusts that are heaped up, but be thou sober in all things. “They” might be doing it, but thou must not. You fill to the full your ministry and leave “they” and their speakers to God. Let them be ignorant still. No matter how insignificant you may think your contribution is — keep preaching the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 

Minding Our Own Business

Minding Our Own Business
Robert Wurtz II

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:20–22 NKJV)

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (1 Thess. 4:9-12)

John 21:22 is a rebuke that is a little tough to receive in this sensitive age. In fact, I can’t recall ever hearing this verse addressed (though I’m sure many have done it). As a child it always struck me as stern or possibly rude. I figured it probably hurt Peter’s feelings. It is the type of statement that I would try to avoid telling a person. Just being honest. It makes me uncomfortable just thinking about it. However, what if a person really needed to be told “…what is that to you? You follow Me”? It would take a good deal of courage or a very insensitive person to carry it out. Obviously the Lord Jesus courageously spoke the truth to Peter and He did it out of love.


Imagine what may have happened had the Lord not handled Peter’s curiosity the way He did. He may have made a practice of always being in peoples’ business. Even among the “chiefest apostles” that would have been inappropriate and dangerous. Peter may have made a practice of intruding into other Christian’s relationship with God — rather than encouraging them to obey the Spirit’s leading. This is a great problem in the twenty-first century. Too many Christian leaders believe they have a God-given right to intrude into areas of peoples’ lives that are between them and the Lord alone. 

Paul spoke of young widows who, unless they remarried, might “(…) learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” (1 Timothy 5:13 NKJV) This was a general concern. The verse is a vivid picture of idle tattlers and gossipers. (A.T. Robertson) People who have too much time on their hands are prone to cause all kinds of trouble. As Proverbs warns us, “where there is no tale-bearer strife ceases.” (Proverbs 26:20) Moreover, It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.” (Proverbs 20:3 KJV) 



The Greek word for idle in I Timothy 5:13 means to be “without work.” In this case they wandered around stirring up trouble. Tattlers (gossips) is from a Greek word that means “to boil up, to throw up bubbles, like blowing soap bubbles.” Busybodies means they are busy about trifles (non-issues) to the neglect of important matters. They say things to people that are not necessary to say. In effect, they are always intruding into things that they have no business being involved in. This is a very destructive habit and must be dealt with. 

 Minding Things

In the English speaking part of the world where I live the concept of “minding” something is a little strange. For example, In England the subway (tube) cars have warnings to “mind the gap” so that you don’t fall between the train and the walkway and injure your foot or worse. In the central USA we may say, “Mind your parents” or “Never mind what I said.” To say, “mind your own business!” is a stern rebuke. However, Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business…” In other words, we are to stay busy enough that we don’t have time to meddle in other peoples’ affairs that are not our business.

Paul urges an ambition to be quiet or calm, to lead a quiet life, including silence (Acts 11:18). To do your own business (Greek prassein ta idia). To have the habit of attending to our own affairs (Greek ta idia). Restless meddlesomeness is condemned here in 1 Thess. 4:9-12 and Paul alludes to again in 2 Thess. 3:11 in plainer terms. It is amazing how much wisdom people have about other people’s affairs and so little interest in their own.  (A. T. Robertson)

There is a contrast in the verse if we look closely. First, there are the people who get busy increasing more and more… laboring in what God has called them to do. These people are fruitful. They are at work doing the Lord’s will and building the kingdom of God. Second, there are people who are tearing the kingdom down as fast as the laborers can build it. They roam around from house to house stirring up trouble… destroying people with their gossip. Some even boast of how much influence they have — to destroy ministries and relationships if they take a notion. They use their gossiping as a means of blackmail and control. In other words, if you don’t dance to their drum, they will destroy you behind your back. You’re at work making a living, while the gadabouts go around destroying the works of your hands. Judging by the way the Lord Jesus responded to Peter (what is that to you? You follow Me), it makes me wonder what He would say to some of these idle tattlers and busybodies?             

It is common in secular society to have people meddling in other peoples’ affairs — but it ought not so to be in the churches of God. I recall the story of a logging company in the northwestern United States that once had a problem with productivity. It happens that work had slowed to the point that the owner came to the site to see what was going on. After a short time observing the situation he came to a sad conclusion. Speaking of the site supervisor he remarked, “He is more concerned about running off Dave than he is getting logs pulled.” The supervisor despised Dave. He was always worried about what Dave was doing — even when he was doing a decent job. In fact, it got to the point that no matter what Dave did–he could do no right. The supervisor treated him bad so long and so often that he began to hate Dave. It was no longer about work. It was “personal.” The supervisor was obsessed with “running off Dave” and in the process nearly killed the logging company.

It is a hard saying but I am glad the Lord rebuked Peter the way He did. Not because I want to see Peter put in his place, but because we needed to know that what Peter was doing was wrong. His actions were bad enough to warrant a sharp response from the Lord. If it was wrong for Peter it is wrong for every Christian or minister. He was telling Peter, “You let me worry about John; you worry about yourself.” As Paul put it… aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business. That is good advice — but more than advice. It is a directive from God.  

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