Separation From Spoilers
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the second epistle of John. We have been bringing you a series of messages on Simple Questions Often Asked, and have been dealing with the question, “What is a separated life?” We discovered that the Bible deals with the subject of separation not primarily in relation to things, but rather in relation to areas of separation.

We discovered, for example, in II Corinthians, chapter 6, that in certain instances God demands separation on the part of Christians from sinners and sinful things. We learned by examining I Corinthians, chapter 5, that in certain instances, God demands separation from saints—that is, other Christians. The third area of separation, for the sake of alliteration and because of the brevity of time, we have entitled Separation from Spoilers, Separation from sinners and sinful things, separation from saints, and now separation from spoilers.

Motive of Spoilers

We have used the designation spoilers because the Bible speaks of false prophets, false teachers, deceivers, evil workers, antichrists, all who have the one prime object in mind to spoil the faith of believers, to spoil the work of God, to cheat men out of what God has for them. These individuals we have called spoilers , and we are going to discuss what the Bible has to say about the necessity of separation from such people.

Stand Concerning Birth of Christ

Since we came to the city of Abilene in 1939, and as we have ministered the Word of God all these years, we have taken a stand from which, by the grace of God, we have not moved one single inch, and that is that people who take their stand on the Word of God must not have any association with people who deny the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. In II John you will see the reason for this message and the reason for the stand which, by God's grace, we have taken all these years:

II John:

7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

If we are to understand the subject before us, I think it would be wise for us to know something about the evil deeds to which the Spirit of God refers in the last statement of verse 11. What are the evil deeds of the spoilers? Turn with me, please, to Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 16, and notice one thing which he says about the evil deeds of the spoilers:

Romans 16:

18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Deeds of the Spoilers

Notice the word deceive. That is the first of three words which we are going to use to describe the deeds of the spoiler. They deceive the simple. They deceive simple Christians who are not well grounded in the Word of God. I would point out to you that the word deceive is a translation of the Greek word exapatao, which means “to deceive fully and completely,” and which has a secondary meaning that is significant to my mind and that is expressed by the word cheat . These spoilers deceive fully those who are not well grounded in the Word of God, and in deceiving them, they cheat them out of what is rightfully theirs as a heritage from the Word of God.

Turn, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 11, and notice the manner in which these spoilers deceive those who are not well grounded in God's Word. The Apostle speaks of this group of people and says in verse 13:

II Corinthians 11:

13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Deceiving the Simple

Notice the words deceitful workers —the word deceitful particularly. I suggest to you that this is the translation of the root word dolos , which really means “a snare.” We are told that these individuals who deceive the simple literally lay a snare for them. A snare is something that you do not know is there until you are caught in it, and then it is too late to do anything about it. These deceitful workers provide a snare by infiltrating churches which have long been known for their decided stand on the virgin birth of Christ. Clothing themselves as angels of light, they stand behind a pulpit and ensnare believers by letting them think that the pulpit itself determines the kind of man who stands behind it. We want to suggest to you that just because a man stands behind a pulpit is no reason you can depend on everything that he says. These individuals do ensnare the simple.

When you have time, turn to II Peter, chapter 2, and notice especially verse 14, where you will find that these same individuals beguile unstable souls. If you pursue the word beguile to its origin, you will find that literally it means “to catch something with bait.” These individuals about whom I speak put out just enough bait to catch the simple and the unstable souls.

I would like to suggest to you that one of the things that it is wise for you to keep in mind is to evaluate a man's message, not so much on the basis of what he says, but on the basis of what he does not say. There are enough good things to say that a man can keep people ensnared for long periods of time without ever actually letting them know where he stands on the vital truth before us—the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dividing the Church

Turn, please, to the book of Romans, chapter 16, as I give you another word which describes the deeds of the spoilers:

Romans 16:

17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Notice the word divisions . This is the second word. These spoilers not only deceive, but they divide. They cause divisions by teaching that which is not true to God's Word, and the sad thing is that the divisions for which they are responsible do not work a hardship on them. They work a hardship on the individuals who are determined by God's grace to stand by the fundamentals of the faith. The individuals who by God's grace are determined to stand by the fundamentals of the faith quite often have to leave places which they have built with their own money and their own prayers and their own tears, and to worship in places that are hardly adequate. They can no longer be a part of that which has caused the division in their midst. I might emphasize that such divisions are increasing as the days go by. People find it impossible to stay within churches which their parents have loved, which they themselves have found a blessing to their own hearts because men clothing themselves as angels of light stand behind the pulpit and cause divisions by departing from the faith.

Denying the Lord

That leads me to the last word that I want to use to describe the deeds of the spoilers. Turn with me to the second epistle of Peter, chapter 2, and notice how Peter describes these very people:

II Peter 2:

1But 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.

Notice the phrase, “even denying the Lord that bought them.” The word deny is a translation of the Greek word arneomai , which literally means “to reject”—to reject the very Christ who died for them. If you will turn to II John, you will notice that the Spirit of God becomes even more specific in relation to the denial by saying in verse 7:

II John:

7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

What this passage of Scripture is emphasizing is that the basic deed, the basic evil deed of the spoilers from which all other things stem, is their denial that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, their denial of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, their denial of the incarnation of the Son of God. These are the spoilers who are creating the problem in the day in which we live.

Duty of the Spiritual

Pass on with me in your thinking to another point as I suggest to you that to understand this area of separation, it will be necessary for us not only to understand the deeds of the spoilers, but to understand the duty of the spiritual. I use the word spiritual for the sake of alliteration, and I use it as describing every Christian. What is the duty of every believer who is walking at the direction of the Holy Spirit? Not all believers walk at the direction of the Holy Spirit, but God expects us as believers to walk at his direction. What is the duty of the spiritual in relation to the spoilers? Let me give you three words to fix these things in your memory.

Be Alert

The first is the word alert. You remember reading in Romans, chapter 16, verse 17:

Romans 16:

17…mark them which cause divisions and offences [among you]

The suggestion is to be on your guard. Be alert, for these things are going to happen. If you will turn back to I John, chapter 4, you will see a very practical way to be on the alert. This is the duty of every believer:

I John 4:

1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Be on the alert. Try the spirits. Just because a man stands behind the pulpit and talks about the Holy Spirit and even uses the name of Jesus Christ and talks about the Bible does not necessarily mean that he is true to God and to His Word. It is your responsibility to try to say to your preacher, “What do you believe about the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ?” In these days of hypocrisy, it may be necessary for you to be careful how you ask that question. If you are talking to a person well versed in theological terms, you are going to have to say, “What do you believe about the unique deity of the Lord Jesus Christ?” If you say to a person well versed in theological terms, you are going to have to say to him, “What do you believe about the deity of Christ?”, you may get an answer in the affirmative, but it may not be what you are expecting. If you continue in discussion with him, he will tell you that he believes that you are somewhat deity yourself, that you are a son of God. But if you say to him, “What do you believe about the unique deity of Jesus Christ?”, if he is a spoiler, he will hoot at the idea.

He will tell you that the individual named Jesus Christ was offspring to an illegitimate liaison between Mary and a Roman soldier, and this was a good way to cover up a nasty tale. Put them to the test. Be on the alert, and as the Scripture says, try the spirits. I would like to suggest to you that the word try is not as simple as I have made it seem. It is the translation of dokimazo , the Greek word which describes what the metallurgist does if he wants to ascertain the purity of metal. He puts certain acids on it to determine its nature, and it is not a pleasant process for the metal. You need to be alert.

Prepare to Defend the Faith

The second word is apology . I am using the word in the theological sense. I am not using it in the way that many of us use it. Many of us go about apologizing because we know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. You ought never to do that. You ought to be willing to stand up flatfooted at any time, at any place, and freely give a testimony to your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When liberalism first began—it did not begin until the 19th century—the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ had always faced it. They faced it in the day in which the Bible was written, else these things would not be here. A group of men, determined that they were going to stand for the faith, wrote a series of articles which are referred to as Apologetics. In seminary, part of the time you give to study is given to the study of Apologetics. Those are matchless defenses of the faith of men of other years, and I am using this word apology in that sense. Not only must the spiritual be on the alert, but they must be prepared to defend the faith. Turn, please, to the epistle of Jude and notice particularly verse 3:

Jude:

3Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Notice particularly the phrase, “earnestly contend for the faith.” “Earnestly contend” is the translation of one Greek word which describes intense activity into which all the fervor of the individual is put. As a matter of fact, it describes a real battle for the faith. Phillips catches the meaning of that word when he translates the phrase, “contend earnestly for the faith.” The New English Bible catches the sense of the original word when it translates it, “join the struggle in defense of the faith.”

I know that a lot of unlovely people have been contending, and I know that a lot of unlovely things have been said, but I cannot quite find it in my heart to take a stand with the people who say, “I believe in contending without being contentious.” Most of those individuals mean that they don't want to get into the thick of the battle; they would rather someone else would do it for them. The Scripture puts upon you and upon me as spiritual individuals the responsibility of being alert, of being apologetic.

Avoid the Spoilers

The third word is avoid . Avoid these spoilers of the faith. You will recall Romans, chapter 16, verse 17:

Romans 16:

17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

There are no ifs and ands about that statement. In the original text, it is a definite command. The word avoid is the translation of the Greek word ekklino , which means “to go out of the way to keep from having anything to do with them.” There is no room for playing footsy with men who deny the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is utterly and thoroughly condemned.

Notice II John, verse 10, again as a specific in relation to avoiding spoilers.

II John:

10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

This doctrine, interpreted in the light of the context, is the doctrine of the virgin birth. You are instructed that if an individual comes your way who does not believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not to invite him into your home nor are you to bid him Godspeed when he leaves. This verse has posed a problem to many sincere people, and they have often asked, “What about an unsaved person? Am I not to invite an unsaved person into my house? Am I not to bid him Godspeed?”

Two things you need to keep in mind. One is that the people we are talking about are not unsaved, untaught people. They are people who have been taught the truth concerning the virgin birth and have rejected it. They have said, “We will have none of it.” The other thing that you need to keep in mind, and it is the thing which I think John had in mind, is that in the days in which this was written, churches were meeting in homes. This verse of Scripture is not a warning about hospitality unwisely offered; it is a warning that when groups gather together in homes for worship, a traveling preacher who comes along who denies the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ should not be invited into the home nor even blessed when he leaves the home.

These individuals have changed their names down through the years. When John wrote this, they were known as Gnostics . Now they are known as liberalism . Some of them are known as neo-orthodoxists. Whatever the name, the crucial test is their belief in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, I would say to you that you and I should avoid these individuals, not so far as hospitality is concerned, but as far as what we call religious activities are concerned because if we do not, we are going to face a very serious thing.

Danger of the Sympathizer

That is the last point I want to leave with you. We talked about the deeds of the spoilers and the duty of the spiritual, and I want to think with you now about the danger of the sympathizer. I am using that word not only for the sake of alliteration, but because it is a word that has become familiar by its usage. I don't know how many folk will say, “I am not a Communist, but they are not so bad,” or, “They have some good points,” and before long they become Communist sympathizers. I often hear Christians say, “Oh well, he doesn't believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, but he says a lot of good things and he does a lot of good things,” and before long that individual becomes a sympathizer with the spoiler. That is what I mean by the word sympathizer , and I want you to notice two dangers which all sympathizers face. Look at II John, chapter 1, verse 8:

II John:

8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

I suggest to you that the sympathizer is in danger of losing out in time and in eternity. The sympathizer is in danger of losing the ground that has already been gained. Look at verse 8 again:

II John:

8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought,…

Some translations have the word we and some have the word ye because there is a difference in the manuscript. What John is saying to these folk is to be careful that sympathizing with these spoilers does not undo all the work which he has labored and bestowed upon them. Or, if you want to use the other manuscript, “Look to yourselves that you don't lose all the ground that you have gained in spiritual things.” Mark what I tell you: The man who stays in a liberal church, regardless of the excuse he gives for doing so, is going to lose out sooner or later. He is going to lose the things which he has wrought, and if you read the rest of the verse, he is going to suffer loss in eternity. No, not the loss of his soul because the destiny of his soul, by God's grace, is eternally settled, but he is certainly going to lose his reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ; he will not obtain a full reward. He will not be able to use all his faculties to the fullest extent if he plays footsy with men who do not believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Danger of Encouraging Spoilers

One other danger. Look at verse 11 of this chapter and notice a word:

II John:

11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

If you encourage, for that is the meaning of the word, bidding Godspeed , if you encourage in any way whatsoever the man who denies the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you become a partaker of his evil deeds. To emphasize that this is not a small thing, it might be wise to remember that the New English Bible emphasizes the seriousness of it by translating this verse, “If you encourage in any way a man who does not believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, you become an accomplice in his wicked deeds.”

Conclusion

Face it, Friends. God demands separation in the area of the spoiler. He demands that men separate themselves from preachers and institutions which do not believe in the virgin birth of Christ. Every man has the responsibility to do that if he is going to follow on to know the Lord.


Home Contact Us Bible Studies Books King James
Abilene Bible Church Living Bible Studies
Dr. Daiqing Yuan Tim Temple Dr. Joe Temple
Some icons on this site used courtesy FatCow Web Hosting

www.livingbiblestudies.org