Doctrine #11: Gnostics

Three men agreed to help an older woman move out of her apartment because her rent became too expensive. She couldn't afford a moving service, and all the men said it would be great to help her. The first man packed items in boxes, moved furniture, and loaded the moving van. The second man paced around the apartment and spoke on his cell phone, but didn't lift a finger. The third man packed some boxes, unpacked others, and tried to convince the woman it was better to stay in her apartment than move. The third man also said God would take care of the money, and if God wanted her to move God's fire would burn down the apartment. What do you think about each of these men?

The first man had a Right Say and a Right Do (Wisdom and Understanding)
The second man had a Right Say and no Do (Hypocrite)
The third man had a Wrong Do with a Wrong Say (Gnostic)

Today, we learn about the third man...

Gnosticism claims to have a deeper understanding, but the actions contradict the Word of God. In order to rationalize the Wrong Do, gnostics state they have a special revelation directly from God that supersedes the previous written and spoken words of God and cannot be questioned and/or understood. They state a new Wrong Say that is consistent with their Wrong Do. This sin is just as damning as hypocrisy.

Question: Do you believe there is any area in your life where you rationalize wrong actions?

Next Doctrine: Doctrine #12

Table of Contents

If you need it, here is the support from God's Word...

"1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks:
2 I know thy works, and thy toil and patience, and that thou canst not bear evil men, and didst try them that call themselves apostles, and they are not, and didst find them false;
3 and thou hast patience and didst bear for my name's sake, and hast not grown weary.
4 But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.
5 Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God." (Revelation 2:1-7)

(Irenaeus, who was a church leader who lived about fifty years after the Book of Revelation was written, described Nicolaitans as living lives of "unrestrained indulgence". In his work "Against Heresies", he showed they were Gnostics. Ireneus stated Gnostics made any fixed definition of faith impossible and their morality was at the whim of the individual. This first church described in the Book of Revelation tested false men and also hated the works of the Nicolaitans. Many people believe the seven churches consecutively described the church ages that occurred after Christ's death. This would mean the earliest church was aware of Gnostics and rightly confronted them. Here is the description of the third church.)

"12 and to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These things saith he that hath the sharp two-edged sword:
13 I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner.
16 Repent therefore; or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it." (Revelation 2:12-17)

(This church not only held to the teachings of the Nicolaitans, they also held to the teaching of Balaam. This teaching was specifically described and it matched Ireneus' explanation: A Wrong Do stated with a Wrong SAY because it opposed the Word of God. Notice, this word to the church was given by Christ, the One who has the sharp two-edged sword, which we saw is the RHEMA of God. Jesus will war with WORDS!)

"6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel;
7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.
9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema." (Galatians 1:6-9)

(Paul warned about "other gospels" that were not from God. Mormons claim an angel from God brought a special revelation that was different than the Bible. Paul said it doesn't matter if an angel said this. Believing in another gospel leads to loss of salvation. "Anathema" meant a person or thing doomed to destruction. Paul said it twice. This was very clear!)

"7 For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward.
9 Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting:
11 for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works." (II John 1:7-11)

(John stated believing in these other gospels was antichrist which meant against Christ. Jesus was the WORD.)

"21 Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves.
23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror:
24 for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing.
26 If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man's religion is vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." (James 1:21-27)

(James stated we need to do the word of God in order to save our souls. Doing something different than the word of God leads to loss of salvation. A Wrong DO with a Right or Wrong SAY! "Pure religion" is an action.)

"15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

(Jesus stated doing His commandments proves we love Him. Your actions prove what you believe!)

"31 Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
32 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.
33 Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit.
34 Ye offspring of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36 And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." (Matthew 12:31-37)

(In this passage, "word" and "words" related to logos, except for verse 36 when it was rhema. The word "speak" in this passage was related to rhema. We saw in Doctrine #7: Wisdom that rhema was a spoken word that had no prior history. It was spoken as if from the source. When we speak rhema, we are the source. Jesus stated in this passage that the only sin that is not forgiven is when a person speaks rhema against the Holy Spirit. Basically, when a person is the source of a new doctrine against the Holy Spirit. In this passage, the Pharisees saw the healings and miracles Jesus did by the Holy Spirit and credited them to the enemy. This was an example of speaking against the Holy Spirit. Notice, if a person mistakenly spoke against the Holy Spirit as an effect of reading from the Bible, they would be speaking logos, not rhema. If the person cited Bible passages (written word/graphe) to support their understanding (logos) then they can still be corrected. However, speaking rhema wrongly is Gnosticism and is not forgiven when it is directed against the Holy Spirit.)

"1 Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. These things teach and exhort.
3 If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain." (I Timothy 6:1-5)

(We saw this passage in Doctrine #2 and Doctrine #6. Now we see that Paul spoke against Doctrine being blasphemed, good Doctrine being attributed to the enemy and the enemy's doctrine being embraced. This passage stated that if ANY man teaches a different doctrine that can be identified by a lack of sound words, words that aren't defined or defined differently than God's word, that person is in pride and knows nothing.)

Has anyone said to you that you are too young to understand or that you can't understand at all? Has anyone told you we can't know or aren't supposed to know God? Did they also speak for God or teach you about God?

Have you ever heard anyone say, "The mysteries of God are too great and awesome for us to understand!"? In the next Doctrine, we will learn about what the Bible said about the mystery!

There were so many passages and chapters towards the end of the Bible that specifically dealt with this issue, I wanted to offer some of the more important ones to those readers who are scripture junkies.

(This is 2 Timothy 3 in its entirety. The purpose of this chapter is to warn us about the circumstances of the last days, which will specifically involve people who are always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth by intentionally leading other people away with a doctrine different than God's Word.)

"1 But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
5 holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power therefore. From these also turn away.
6 For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts,
7 ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 And even as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth. Men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further. For their folly shall be evident unto all men, as theirs also came to be.
10 But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,
11 persecutions, sufferings. What things befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.
15 And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.
17 That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

(We've covered part of this passage from Titus 1 in Doctrine #8. The purpose of Paul's letter was to tell Titus how the church leadership ought to be organized so that the people weren't taken off course by a different doctrine. Here was the first chapter from Paul's letter to Titus.)

"1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal;
3 but in his own seasons manifested his word in the message, wherewith I was intrusted according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
4 to Titus, my true child after a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;
6 if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children that believe, who are not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For the bishop must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;
8 but given to hospitality, as lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled;
9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers.
10 For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision,
11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle gluttons.
13 This testimony is true. For which cause reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
14 not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.
15 To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
16 They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:1-16)

(Again, one of the latest epistles that was written (2 Peter) focused on not being taken off course by those teaching false doctrine. The majority of what Peter wrote was in 2 Peter 2 and it served as a perfect summary to this Doctrine. Here was the entire chapter that specifically focused on Gnostics.)

"1 But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose sentence now from of old lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not.
4 For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should live ungodly;
7 and delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked
8 (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their lawless deeds):
9 the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment;
10 but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities:
11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, bring not a railing judgment against them before the Lord.
12 But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,
13 suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing; men that count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceivings while they feast with you;
14 having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; enticing unstedfast souls; having a heart exercised in covetousness; children of cursing;
15 forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing;
16 but he was rebuked for his own transgression: a dumb ass spake with man's voice and stayed the madness of the prophet.
17 These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved.
18 For, uttering great swelling words of vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those who are just escaping from them that live in error;
19 promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage.
20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first.
21 For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:1-22)