The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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Tossed To and Fro, and Carried
By Al Stoner
 
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14; see also NASB).
 

To be “tossed” and “carried” by winds of doctrine is truly a perilous condition to be in. Myriads of typical “Bible-believing” people today are in such a dilemma. The deficiencies in their knowledge of God (cf. I Cor. 15:34), Christ, and the Scriptures, due to carelessness and spiritual laxity, make them vulnerable to satanic wiles and assaults which they are unable to resist and fend off. The Devil has cunningly orchestrated the exploits of evil religious men (cf. II Cor. 11:12-15) of, both ours, and every generation, and such are zealously seeking to make merchandise of the “souls of men” (Rev. 18:12-13). The only reason why people even lend an ear to religious merchandisers is that they themselves are not themselves “grounded and settled” in the truth (Col. 1:23), and thus are, in fact, able be “moved away from the hope of the gospel.” If men do not make it their business to culture a love of the truth, they will assuredly be moved away from the hope which only the gospel affords. 
 
The very circumstance of an inexcusably deficient understanding of God and His Word makes men susceptible to false teaching. When exposed to religious errors, such ones are often unable to personally detect the falsity of the teaching or emphasis they are hearing, because they are not thoroughly familiar with the general tenor and theme of Scripture. They do not have the spirit of the noble Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily,” to see “whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). 
 
Peter’s Word on False Teachers. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways . . .” (II Pet. 2:1-2; see chap. 2 in its entirety).
 
The typical “followers” spoken of here make themselves vulnerable to false teaching (teaching that is obviously out of the mainstream of scriptural emphasis and focus), and even to enslavement by cults, where the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ is maliciously and shamefully slandered by “liars” (I Jn. 2:22) pawning off upon men their “damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1). Let the simple beware, for today there are multitudes of “ungodly men” (Jude 4) out there in the world, who are self-proclaimed guides, professing to have all the answers, but who seek for nothing more than to hold a manipulative sway over men’s lives and pocketbooks. But such individuals very often are “blind guides” (Mt. 23:16, 24) and “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13). Those who persist in following their leading are in danger of being condemned with them (cf. Mt. 15:14).
 
There is a definite need for safety from the “cunning craftiness” and “sleight of men,” mentioned in the Ephesian text above, and it will only be found by personally knowing the truth. As the Savior declared, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (cf. Jn. 8:32). Those who know the truth perceive how that the revelation, which God has given in the Scriptures through “His holy Apostles and Prophets” (Eph. 3:5), has one central theme from start to finish, namely, the salvation of men from sin and condemnation to everlasting life, by Jesus Christ, and that, to the praise of God’s glory and grace.
 
From the very beginning it can be seen that the Scripture is either emphasizing, foreshadowing, highlighting or, at very least, distantly pointing to this theme: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (II Cor. 5:19). And, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood” (Rom. 3:23-25). These are summary declarations of what the Scripture is all about.  The entirety of Scripture is a Divine context where God may talk to men about Jesus and the salvation He is abundantly providing through Him. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). 
 
Infantilism Must Give Way to Maturity. Men must no longer be “children” (Eph. 4:14), that is, infantile or child-like in their perceptions of God’s Word and kingdom. They must comprehend, with the eyes of their understanding (cf. Eph. 1:18), that there is, in fact, a primary focus afforded to men in the Scriptures by “the mind of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:27). They must “understand with their heart” (Acts 28:27) how that the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are essentially declaring one glorious, yet multifaceted, message: namely, that of the redemption of a purchased possession (cf. Eph. 1:14), salvation from sin and condemnation (Mt. 1:21; I Tim. 1:15; Rom. 8:1), justification of life (Rom. 5:18) and from all things (Acts 13:30), by the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
And, finally, let us make abundantly clear that our purpose for saying these things is to instill in men and women a sense of the absolute necessity of their proving and examining the words of any teachers or preachers, and comparing what they are saying with the words of the Scripture. If what men are teaching is found to be according to truth, the proving will enable the hearers to rejoice all the more in what is being declared. But where there is error, whether great or small, the hearers must likewise be enabled to sort out the error and keep themselves from it. --Editor
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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).