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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 43

Prayers of Intercession continued...

James 5:19-20, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

Although some might think this scripture passage is out of left field, and it has nothing to do with intercession, it does in point of fact reveal to us another segment of individuals we ought to be interceding for, namely those who have wandered from the truth.

No, this is not a debate on whether an individual can be in truth then wander from it, because the debate has been settled by the word of God. ‘If anyone among you wanders from the truth’, is pretty self-explanatory to me. In order to wander from somewhere, or something, one must have foremost been in close proximity, or possession of that which they wandered from.

Biblically speaking, yes, we can wander from the truth, and we are seeing more and more individuals doing just that by receiving strange teachings, extra biblical doctrines, making up their own version of god, and outright worshiping idols and false deities, all the while believing themselves to be on the straight and narrow path of faith.

If we see someone wandering from the truth, if we see someone wandering from Christ, it is our duty to turn them back, knowing that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Turning someone who has wandered from the truth back to the way of righteousness is a two pronged endeavor. First, there must be prayers of intercession brought before God on behalf of the individual in question so when they are approached their hearts might be sensitive and receptive to the truth, and second the truth spoken to them in love must be the word of God and not the ruminations or opinions of men.

When the heart is sensitive and receptive, the word of God takes root, and begins the work of restoration and renovation. Faith does come by hearing, but it does not come by hearing men’s words, but rather by hearing the word of God.

1 Timothy 6:10-12, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

I realize most of you have read this scripture passage at least a dozen times in your life, but it is worth revisiting because often times we don’t see the forest for the trees. Most of us stop with the first part of this passage, because it is a well-known and often repeated truism, that indeed, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. The verse continues however, and says ‘for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.’

‘Well, but if they strayed from the faith, it means they were never really in the faith doesn’t it?’

That is not what the Bible says! For some the circular logic of this doctrinal Catch 22 suffices, but we must remain true to the word of God and not accept something because it is easier to stomach than the truth.

The Bible clearly says that some have strayed from the faith due to their greediness, and as such pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

This presupposes two very important things: First, those who strayed from the faith were once in the faith, and second, it is possible to stray from the faith, to be tempted away into lawlessness, if we do not flee these things and pursue righteousness godliness, faith, love patience, and gentleness.

Why does this matter? It matters because many believers today have adopted this indifferent, laissez-faire attitude, wherein they believe themselves incapable of being deceived, incapable of being tempted, and incapable of straying. As such, they do not pursue righteousness and godliness, they do not fight the good fight of faith that they might lay hold on eternal life, because they don’t believe such things are required of believers.

‘I raised my hand and said the prayer, even filled out a membership card and have my tithe taken out of my checking account automatically. That’s it, all done, don’t have to worry about it anymore, my name is scrawled in the Book of Life with permanent marker.’

Sounds great, but is that what the Bible says? Does the Bible ever hint at the fact that we can live as we once lived just as long as we raised a hand during a church service? Does the Bible ever hint that we can live as the world, act as the world, speak as the world and be as the world and still get a line pass into heaven?

What Paul is saying to Timothy is something we should all take to heart, because it is a serious issue. First, Paul informs Timothy that some have strayed from the faith due to love of money, and their own greediness, then he goes on to say that you, O man of God, you, O woman of God, ought not to be like those who have strayed, but flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.

Do not be as those who have strayed, but fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life!

Intercede for those who have strayed from truth. Intercede for those who have come to believe that just because salvation is free, it means it’s cheap. Intercede for those who are at a crossroads in their walk, and after interceding for them, present them with the truth of God’s holy word.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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