Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Gal 6:7)
6My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. (Jer 50:)
There's a legend among the Celtic people that tells of a creature called Will o' the Wisp. A wisp is a bunch of twigs or branches bundled in such a way as to form a torch. This creature goes by other names, such as Jack-o'Lantern, meaning Jack of (or who carries) a lantern.
This story, or the concept of this story, is found in many cultures besides the Celts, and the number of variations are perhaps innumerable.
Will o' the Wisp is known to carry his light in the darkness around a bog or a foreboding marsh. When people become lost or confused, Will in his friendly and helpful way assists them with his light.
5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Tim 3:)
Will promises many things to those who are lost. And of course his most alluring attraction is that he knows the way out of the darkness, out of the danger the person finds themself in. He, and he alone has the light, and the knowhow to lead the way to safety.
9But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. (Acts 8:)
Being under the spell of this bearer of light, Will leads his mesmerized victim in an endless cycle of unfulfilled hopes, or into the bog, never to be heard of or seen again.
13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; (2Cor 11:)
When a small light such as that of a candle is the only light seen in the darkness, it then appears to be much brighter than it really is. When a candle is compared to the sun, it vanishes in contrast.
Will presents himself as the only light to be had. And when following someone who holds the candle, we have to follow close in that person's footsteps or we again become lost in total darkness.
19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:)
When a person is lost, he wants to find someone with light, with some understanding. If that person so seeking light is not presentable, or wants to remain hid, he seeks someone with light, but only a small amount of light. He wants to follow the light, but he doesn't want to be exposed by the light.
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (Mat 5:)
When all other lights are hidden, or when they're too far in the distance, they serve as no use to those who are lost.
35Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. (John 12:)
In the light of day everything is clear and recognizable. Some people are unable to handle bright sunshine and have to remain indoors or in the shade where there is some protection from the sun. Even when the clouds are overhead blocking much of the sun there is still a great deal of light to be had. But when the sun sets, and the night has fallen, then we have to depend on artificial light, or we must use whatever light there happens to be in the sky.
12These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude 1:)
When the sky is full of stars, then even without the light of the moon a person can still see well enough to know where he is, or to find the way. But when clouds block the light of the stars, then it's dark indeed.
Occasionally in the darkness of the night a shooting star will wander through the skies and bring about a flash of light. However, as bright as that star may appear at the time, it soon burns itself up, and those who follow that star will suffer the same consequences as that momentary flash of light.
12And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; (Rev 13:)
In the land of make-believe there's another story concerning a man who deceived an entire town, or hamlet as the towns were called in those days. The hamlet had an infestation of rats that the townsfolk couldn't be rid of. One day a wandering minstrel called the Pied Piper ventures into this fair hamlet. This pied pipe, recognizing the problem and having in his possession the cure for their dilemma, offered to rid the town of rats, for a price, to which the citizens of fair hamlet agreed.
The Pied Piper (pied referring to the gaily colored clothing he wore) played his fife (pipe), and sure enough, as the piper predicted, all the rats of the hamlet followed the piper out of town, never to be seen or heard from again.
2For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (James 2:)
You can't judge a book by its covers, and you can't judge a pied piper by his gay clothing.
The townspeople, now rid of their rodent problem, refused to pay the piper his due.
Pied pipers, as the townsfolk discovered, are not ones to be trifled with.
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. (Mat 7:)
In retaliation for having been duped, the Pied Piper set out to play yet another tune on his fife (pipe). This time the tune he played was not to attract the rats, that were nowhere to be seen, but rather to draw all the children in the hamlet to his side.
22And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. (Luke 17:)
The children of Hamlin, for so the hamlet was named, danced their way behind the Pied Piper of Hamlin, as did the rats not long before. And as occurred with the rats, so happened to the children of the hamlet of Hamlin.
23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Rev 18:)
Men are not the only ones who have led the unwary to their doom by their wily ways. The Greeks have in their mythological plethora of legends stories about some lovely ladies that live on an island somewhere on the high seas. These damsels of water world were renown for their beautiful and seductress singing and their ability to play on their various musical instruments. With their abundant skills these maidens wooed the unsuspecting sailors to their doom as their ship fell prey to the rocks that surrounded the island inhabited by these fair maidens.
7And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. (Isaiah 47:)
11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1Cor 10:)
The most dangerous spot we can stand is on our own self-confidence. As soon as we're sure we have it all together, the bottom falls out of our plans.
The follower of Will o' the Wisp, those children of Hamlin and their parents, the sailors who went to their doom having fallen under the spell of the Sirens of the island might have very well saved their life had they known to exhibit a degree of fear concerning their prospects.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Prov 9:1)
6A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. (Mal 1:)
12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil 2:)
God has provided His creation with certain survival abilities. One of these important abilities is the instinct of fear. It's said that even a plant will draw back from the presence of heat, as do we. A flower will turn its face to the sun as the sun makes its arc across the sky.
A hero without fear is not a hero but a fool. Fear is that part of our nature that causes us to be wary, to stop and consider our prospects. A child has no fear of falling, until he plays Superman from the low-lying branch of a walnut tree and discovers his vulnerability.
Today we're taught to be free from fear, at least this is what's taught in some circles. Those without fear, those who are not adept at discerning true light from the light that radiates from the torch held by Will o' the Wisp, and that radiates form the One who brought light into the world, are destined to be led into the bog of destruction.
4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Mat 24:)
We're warned to be on our guard against those who will deceive us. Who would set out to deceive the flock that belongs to the Lord?
13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
Paul tells us by way of preparing Timothy that there will be people deceiving the flock, not only maliciously, but because they have been deceived themselves. They've followed Will o' the Wisp into the bog, and have concluded that the bog is where everyone should be. In order to be loyal to their instructions, they take up their lamp, and lead others into the bog as well.
18Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1John 2:)
There are many preaching the Word who are not part of the Word. They teach with their carnal understanding and their carnal teachings, and not from what they learn from the Spirit of God. When the Spirit is out of the preaching, then how can the sheep learn the will of God?
26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:)
25And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1John 2:)
The Spirit that is within the believer will do the teaching. How many of us trust the Spirit to teach us? How many of us seek to find a glimmer of light out there in the wilderness to tell us what we're to believe?
11These were more noble ["High in rank, well-born"] than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12Therefore many of them believed; (Acts 17:)
Those who are noble, those who are more mature in the Lord (as I take the word to mean) did not receive the Word directly from God. They received it like everyone else, through the teaching of the ones the Lord sent out to teach. Not all of us, in fact maybe no one at this time, receives the Word from God directly. But we do receive confirmation of the Word through the study of the Scriptures. If we don't check on what we receive with a "ready mind," a mind that listens, but is on the ready to question what it receives, then we can't know that what we hear is true and from God.
The more we learn, the more we question and research, the more imbedded the Word becomes in our mind and our memory: Then when we hear, or read the Word, the words will come to our mind, and we can judge at that moment if what is being said fits with what we find in the Scriptures. If we don't follow up and question what we hear, if we accept the words of the Pied Piper without question, then we're imbedding doctrine into our mind and memory, and it's this doctrine we'll stand behind, and that we will teach. We then become a servant of Will o' the Wisp.
Sprites, goblins and beautiful women are not the only ones likely to deceive us. We read:
23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Rev 18:)
20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants (Rev 2:)
There are lights in the Church, the Temple of God, who are burning what God calls "strange fire." Strange fire is the use of an incense (indicative of prayer) not processed to perfection the way God instructed it to be prepared. Jesus tells us that God is Spirit, and those who wish to worship Him must do so in Spirit and in truth (John 4:) Those who are lifting up prayer in anything other than in truth, are in danger of destruction as were the sons of Aaron who disobeyed this injunction.
When a person is in possession of strange fire, of a portion of truth which they proclaim to be the truth, and they begin to teach others what they believe, they create a body of people who believe they have the light of the Word, but are instead possessors of smoking coals of death, destined for the bog.
Women in the Bible are often a symbol of the Church. Jerusalem is referred to as the bride of Christ. The Church is known as a virgin bride waiting for her betrothed. Jerusalem was denounced by God as a harlot, as is the Church as a body today. The Church burns strange fire to the Lord, an incense that is not prescribed by God, but is instead a mixture of its own making.
13But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Mat 15:)
When we follow a blind leader, we end up in the same place as that one we select to be our leader. A person is born into the Kingdom of God blind, and they very likely haven't accepted their blindness, therefore not allowing themselves to partake of the ointment of the Word to give them new sight, an openness into the will and purposes of God. They, in their blindness, consider themselves to be the only ones who can see, and that everyone who disagrees with them is blind.
And those who follow their blind leader, follow him into the bog of further darkness.
9But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Mat 11:)
Those who go on before are called "Trailblazers." The trailblazer is one who seeks to find the correct and safest route from one place to another. They are the ones who take the bunt, the scars, caused from having to clear the way for those who follow.
In the early part of this country there was a call that went out to "go west, young man, go west." West was not an easy direction to go in those days of primitive travel. There were the deserts that had to be traversed, and the high mountains of the Rockies that must be surmounted. What was an impossibility was made possible by those who had gone on before and found the way through the impassable.
2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (John 14:)
As John prepared a way into this world of the carnal for the Man from Heaven, Jesus prepared the way for us of the world so that we might enter the Abode of God, the realm of the Heavenlies.
36Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. (John 13:)
The way into Heaven had not yet been prepared. At that time the way was not known, because it didn't exist. Today it can't be seen because of the false lights that stand in the door to understanding proclaiming themselves to be the holder of the way to truth. These false lights deny the existence of the light of the sun, and testify that the true light is darkness while they themselves are the light that must be followed (Luke 11:52).
37Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 38Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? (John 13:)
In our Spiritual ignorance we proclaim those things that are beyond our ability and our comprehension. Peter didn't know what he was saying, nor did he understand the route that had to be taken in order to follow his Master.
20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mat 19:)
There are those who desire to know the truth, who desire to know the way to Heaven, but when they hear what they must do, they turn aside and seek the words of someone who will tell them what they want to hear.
25And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:)
We read here that Jesus spoke these words to "great multitudes." Yet how many of this great multitudes were with Jesus when He took the last few steps of His journey into the Kingdom of God?
Peter said ("and so said they all") that he would even follow Jesus to the death. Peter had to learn that those words of his were vainly spoken. And so it is with our words when we take the first steps of our journey toward the Kingdom of God. We state at our baptism that we will surrender our life to the Lord, that we will follow Him wherever He may lead us, that we will devote our life to His cause.... then we walk away from the baptismal tank, not having the slightest idea what we just said, leastwise what the words mean.
32For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. (Mat 18:)
We don't know the road to where we are to be. Jesus prepared the road by going on ahead. He is the trailblazer, the one who takes the initial scars, the one who makes the preparations with the inhabitants of the land we're to pass through (principalities and powers), and it's through His example we know the road can be traveled safely to the end of the trail.
2I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (John 14:)
16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; (Mat 10:)
22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:)
11It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: (2Tim 2:)
If we try to take another route than the one the trailblazer has prepared, we will find ourself hopelessly lost in the bog of confusion and frustration. We have to remain on the heels of the one who knows the way, and not try to go it on our own.
11Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. (Eccl 10:)
God has given certain animals peculiar gifts with which to capture their prey. The cobra for instance will mesmerize its victims, causing them to remain perfectly still as they begin to devour them. We see an example of this in the human world where the serpent softened Eve's resolve to refrain from eating of the tree of knowledge in the Garden. Once Eve's resolve was passed over and her conscience was stilled regarding the fruit, the serpent was able to have his way (to lead astray).
18Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. (Acts 17:)
Those in Babylon are unable to hear the truth. What they hear from the serpent to them is logic and right. They will believe Will o' the Wisp holds light, and knows the way to safety. People with Spiritual ears will avoid darkness where those with false candles dwell, and will remain in the light.
14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17And their word will eat as doth a canker: (2Tim 2:)
When the pioneers traveled west they encountered many dangers. The first danger they had to surmount was their own lack of knowledge, and an unwillingness to follow the directions of the guide they selected to lead the way to their destination. They thought they themselves knew best what was good for them, and what they must avoid.
Another danger these brave men and women faced at the onset of their journey was that of unskillful, and even unscrupulous guides. There were those who had no intention of getting their charges to the west, but instead took their money and left the area. These who lost money were the lucky ones. There were those guides who led their flock into the wilderness, and there abandoned them to the mercy of the wild beasts, the uninhabitable land, and to the natives who wanted nothing more than to take advantage of these stranded souls.
22Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. (Mat 12:)
The false guides were ever on the ready to demean the reputation of those who were knowledgeable and honest in their dealings with their charges in order to attract the flock to their own sheepfold where they could be fleeced.
When Jesus walked this earth, He was the only light to be seen. Those who were in charge of darkness were numerous and well established as the ones who appeared to have all the light available to mankind. One bright candle in the darkness of night will not seem as bright as a thousand dim lights surrounding the true light.
Over time that one single light served as the flame to light even more candles, until the number increased to hundreds, then thousands. The false lights tried with every resource at their disposal to extinguish these lights in order that their own smoldering candle would again appear to be the light to come to.
In time the lights Jesus began became smoldering ambers as those without light overwhelmed those with the light, and caused them to fade into the darkness of obscurity. And as did the Jews of Jesus' time, the smoldering lights of this new church were careful to put out those lights that caused them to be seen for what they were.
3For 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; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)
Truth is what everyone claims to seek, and to possess, but truth is not an easy commodity to come by. Truth is not what we want to hear because truth requires something of us, something we're unwilling to perform. We want to be confident that we're destined for Heaven. And as did the pioneers of old, we've selected the one we desire to lead us to our goal. However, not everyone wants to listen to their chosen leader. We see where our Leader says that in order to obtain our goal we must follow Him on the road He has taken, and that He has prepared for us. The way takes us to the cross. We, not liking these words, change the words, and we turn our ear to someone who interprets the words to something more comfortable to our hearing.
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. (Mat 7:)
Will o' the Wisp comes along in the darkness of confusion and says the Bible has the words backwards. He tells us that what the Bible is really saying is that the way to Heaven is brightly lit and many are the ones who find it. Will says all it takes to follow Jesus is a dip in a fish pond, and by this simple act the cross can be avoided. Being in the dark concerning our road to Heaven, and seeing that Will holds his light closer to our eyes than does the True Leader of righteousness, we willingly follow Will on the route he wishes to take us.
9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:)
23All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? 25I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: (Eccl 7:)
Solomon searched for wisdom, when all the time wisdom was at his door. He had been given wisdom, just as had Adam in the Garden. What Solomon wanted was not the wisdom that comes from God, the source of true wisdom, but rather the wisdom of the world. This search for worldly wisdom cost him his soul and his kingdom. With us, our loss that comes about by seeking wisdom outside the realm of the Godly Spiritual will be even greater than the loss experienced by Solomon and Adam.
18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. (1Cor 3:)
We seek wisdom, but not the wisdom that comes from God only. We go to the bearer of the lamp, the smoking torch that waits at the edge of the bog to ask our questions, and not to the One who is the bearer of the pure light of the Word.
10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:)
We can ask the right question, but ask it of the wrong person. When we receive an answer to our question, we consider ourself to be wise, so we look no farther.
If we ask about Jesus and the Trinity, what answer do we expect to receive? Of course if we go to an authority on the subject we expect to hear the truth. Let's say we ask a pastor from a Fundamental church this question. Would we receive the same answer as we would if we were to ask, say a Oneness Pentecostal? Or an Episcopalian who believes that Jesus and Buddha are connected somehow? How about if we ask a Catholic bishop? Then again, how about a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon high priest?
The answers we would receive would be numerous and greatly diversified. Which one is correct? If we settle for one answer or another, how can we be sure the answer we now have isn't one that comes from old Willy of the bog?
21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:)
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.(1John 1:5)
Will o' the Wisp, Jack o'Lantern, the Sirens, false prophets, and others who would like to undermine our search for truth and for closeness to God are not our real problem. We can turn away from Will's smoking torch; we can close our ears to the singing of the Sirens; we can refuse to blindly accept the claims of the false prophets and search the Scriptures for ourselves. These are forces from the outside. They don't hold a candle to the drive that challenges us from the inside, from our own lusts, desires, and our seeking of our own comfort and pleasures.
9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1Cor 6:)
The Bible tells us that those who participate in the world, those who continue to embrace the actions and the lusts of the flesh will not gain access to God's domain. Will o' the Wisp tells us that if we take a dip in his bog that we can continue our old lifestyle and bypass that overly stringent and confining obligation the Bible places on us. He tells us that there are many problems with the Bible and that the Bible has errors that have been contributed by wayward scribes and others over the many centuries. Will tells us that we are a different people than the rest of the world, and that the Old Testament is nothing more than a history of the Jews, and other than a few prophesies concerning Jesus has no validity for the Child of God today.
Will has a slip of paper, or a pamphlet, or a periodical he hands out or sends to people who seek the "truth," which is much easier and more pleasing to the ear than the words in the Bible, the Word of God. He says that by reading what he presents we can better understand the will of God than by going to God and by reading the Bible for ourselves.
Yes, Will o' the Wisp does indeed have a light to offer, but his light will lead to destruction and the gnashing of teeth.
7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:)
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