Wandering from the Truth – By Pastor George Lehman
*Preparation for where we are going tonight:
2 Timothy 3:16-17(NIV) – 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Proverbs 12:1(NIV) – Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
Wander: To go around without specific purpose but deliberately and consciously lose focus.
Wandering vs Drifting
Drifting: Carried away when you do not fully control the situation
Colossians 1:10 (NIV) – And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
(Wandering – It’s not a deliberate leaving, it’s a gradual going off course)
Here is the warning:
Matthew 24:12-13 (LB) Sin will be rampant* everywhere and will cool the love of many. But those enduring to the end shall be saved.
*Flourishing – Unrestrained.
It’s about: “Sheep not focused and listening to the Shepherd go astray.”
John 10:3b – “…and the sheep listen to his voice.” (Wandering silences His voice)
We cannot just pick out the “Nice” scriptures and never be challenged by the more “corrective” scriptures.
James 5:19-20 (NLT) – 19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
Notice how this warning aligns with Paul’s warning:
1 Corinthians 10:12 (Amp) – 12 Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation].
All of us live with the possibility that we too, might easily wander from the truth.
James spoke about the Person, the Path, and the Place of our potential wandering.
Notice: The Person here – is a disciple.
James addressed one “Among you” a group he called his “Brethren”
They were brothers and sisters in the Faith
2 Peter 1:4 (NIV) – Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires*. – Stuff we don’t deal with or get rid of.
*Things that cause some to wander from the Truth.
James was talking here to a group of believers about another believer.
This verse was not written to a person without Christ.
The word James is writing is really a WARNING, that it is possible for a true believer to wander from the truth.
Peter gives this stern WARNING to believers:
2 Peter 2:20-22 (LB) – 20 And when a person has escaped from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then gets tangled up with sin and becomes its slave again, he is worse off than he was before. 21 It would be better if he had never known about Christ at all than to learn of him and then afterwards turn his back on the holy commandments* that were given to him. 22 There is an old saying that “A dog comes back to what he has vomited, and a pig is washed only to come back and wallow in the mud again.” That is the way it is with those who turn again to their sin.
*The Word of Truth
James used the word “If” (Not when!) as a yellow warning light to get our attention as we approach various intersections of life, that cause us to wander. (Do not make a wrong turn.)
The person he was talking about here could be anyone of us believers.
The PATH here – is deceptive.
James said it is possible for us to “wander from the truth.” To wander means: To go astray.
Jesus used this same Greek word:
Matthew 18:12 (LB) – 12 “If a man has a hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? (It says a lot about the 99)
How did the sheep “wander of” or “go astray?”
Most times it’s not on purpose and willful disobedience. A little patch of grass here to one over there keeping his head down.
Before he realized it, he wandered away from the security and safety of the Shepherd.
A bit of compromise here, a bit of disobedience there…. Not praying, reading the word, head down and not keeping their eyes on Jesus – They wander.
Peter used this same word:
1 Peter 2:25 (LB) – 25 Like sheep you wandered away from God, but now you have returned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls who keeps you safe from all attacks.
Psalm 119:10 – “Let me not wander from your commandments.”
Wandering away from the truth can happen subtly.
The PLACE here is doctrinal (leerstellig)
Note: James was saying that our wandering is “from the Truth”
John 14:6 (NLT) – 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Jesus praying for us in:
John 17:17 (Amp) – 17 Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth.
James was warning us not to stray from the truth of God’s word.
Titus 3:10-11 (NLT) – “10If people are causing division among you, give a first and a second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11For people like that have turned away from the Truth and their own sins condemn them.”
If we don’t make a deliberate effort to stay close to the truth we will wander from it.
Galatians 6:7-8 (LB) – 7 Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows! 8 If he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death; but if he plants the good things of the Spirit, he will reap the everlasting life that the Holy Spirit gives him.
1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT) – 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (How fine is that line…)
We need to make sure we are obeying the Truth and living it.
James 5:20 (NLT) – 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
What we need to realize is the absolute importance of my life living the Truth.
Our Genuine love for God!
These are the qualities that will bring a sinner back from wandering.
We have a responsibility not just too live right ourselves but for the sake of the family of God.
Question: Have you gone astray?