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Painting With Broad Strokes


 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21

I enjoy painting in oils and watercolor, but ever since God called me into doing research and writing the results, I have been unable to find the time to embark on a painting.

I started thinking about what makes a good painting. It's the details. That does not mean details in structure or form only, but the details in shades, color and depth and much more. Many artists begin by using a larger brush and a broad stroke. Later the detailing is often done with smaller brushes and more precise strokes.

Very often people approve a painting by whether it is pleasing to their eye. They are captivated by the main object and often do not notice the details. Anyone involved in wildlife art knows that the details in the painting go far beyond the animal depicted. If you enter a competition, the judges are biologists and an array of professionals that can determine if the shape of a grass, or color is accurate. They determine if the foliage is right for where the animal roams, or if it is accurate for the season. In other words, you could paint the most incredible portrait of a lion and fail completely by not upholding the details of his surroundings. It literally becomes an exercise in futility. 

How often do we see the broad strokes of truth painted by those who seem to be of God? How often do people get caught up with the image of the "artist" and never look beyond the title of the picture or main theme he paints? People often get caught up in "name brand artists" and believe them to be the "Rembrandts of scripture". The other side is that some believe themselves to be "master artists", believing that what they paint as truth is without flaw or defect.

In both instances people willingly believe that the picture that is painted of truth, is indeed truth.

However, what has often become the rule is that while the broad stroke is based on truth, closer examination often reveals sordid details in the strokes of the finer brush. Things that will upon examination fail under close scrutiny. Since there is only one Master Artist, why would we feel it necessary to hang on to copies of truth that may even be exposed as being counterfeit? How can we say we trust God and yet depend on mans opinions and wisdom as the final proof or authority for an issue?

God has been teaching me to not look so much at what the main statements are from a person, but what they say around those statements. Even the most ungodly person can quote scripture and use it to advantage. If it is surrounded with statements that promote, exude or expound scriptural error or ungodliness, is truth really being put forward, or is scriptural truth being used to promote error?

How are we to know truth and error? How do we judge and what do we do if we see "sordid" details? Who can be deceived by these "artists" and why? These are just some of the questions that run through my mind.

The word of God has never failed to provide answers to those who fervently seek. It can be counted on to provide Gods views, wisdom, reprimands and comfort. It is truth. We are expected to seek it for answers, above what any man might say. Failure to read it can cause us to fall.

Mark 12:24 "And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?"

John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

Luke 4:4 "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

Christ is revealed to us through the scriptures, as are the doctrines we are to uphold.  

John 5:39 "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Luke 24:27 "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

Psalm 40:8 "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."

Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

We are to depend on God to teach us through Scripture and give us what we need to grow in knowledge of Him. Wisdom and understanding come from God. Dependence on God is what keeps us from falling into deception.

Proverbs 2:6-13 "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of His saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;"

Luke 24:45 "...Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures."

Proverbs 3:5-7 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil."

1 Peter 2:6 " Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded."

Proverbs 6:23 "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life."

Psalm 119:104,105 "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Hebrews 4:12 " For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 

We are not to trust in man, but depend on God for insight and discernment, and weigh everything others say to the word of God, so that we are not deceived. Learning what is in the scriptures and trusting God is what will keep a light unto our path so we do not stumble or fall.

Psalm 40:4 "Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."

Acts 17:11 "...in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

2 Timothy 3:14-17 "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

2 Peter 3:16 "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

2 Peter 3:17 "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."

2 Peter 1:19-21 "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

2 Peter 2:1-3 "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; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."

Also: 2 Peter 1:1-12

Psalm 19: 7-11 "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping them there is great reward."

Psalm 1:1,2 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

 Who can be deceived?

Any person who accepts Christ can be deceived. Those that have never received Him are already held captive by deception and sin. If we were unable to be deceived, even though we have Christ in us, then many scriptures would appear to be in vain. I could never believe that. When God takes the time to give a warning, then it is probably something that we had better take very seriously to heart.

Colossians 2:6-9 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

Colossians 2:18 "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,"

2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition:"

It was recently suggested that because Eve was deceived, men were put in authority over women. The implication was that men couldn't be deceived, at least not in the same way or perhaps, as easily as women.

I was contemplating all of that while working on this article. Because men are upheld as being the ones to be spiritual leaders in many churches, does that mean they are not being deceived, but rather, just rebellious or disobedient when they enter into questionable activities or beliefs?

It was interesting that one of the first passages impressed on my heart was Mark 13:3-6.

"And as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

Here we have Christ telling the disciples--the very ones who stood and saw, and were later martyred for Him --He is telling them and warning them, to pay attention and listen to what he had to say because they can be deceived. In other words Peter could even be deceived. To suggest that being deceived is an "Eve" thing, or more of a woman thing, is a deception in and of itself. Not only are the people that agree with that thinking in deception, but they are also promoting deceptive thinking.

Matthew 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

There are many that have a "form of godliness", but when they speak and paint their pictures of "truth", something happens. When a person scrutinizes the "fine strokes" it is apparent they are not of God and/or have strayed from obedience to all of Gods' word.

Galatians 3:22 "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."

James 1:26 "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is in vain."

Matthew 15:10-14 "And He called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But He answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

Over and over we see a test of a person's godliness being brought down to what comes out of their mouths. Is it gentle, meek, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit? Does the person come across with true love for others or do they show ridicule, contempt and even hatred towards other brethren or those that may not be of God. We have a responsibility to expose error, but that does not give us license to abuse others.

Even the brother that has been admonished and rebuked, and even "marked" is not to be treated as an enemy.

2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

Galatians 5:15,16 "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Psalm 39:1 "I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me."

Jude 3 "Beloved, 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."

Too often it seems that people are exposing others as being in error and forgetting the Biblical statements about dealing with these very issues.

Galatians 6:1-3 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one anothers burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."

James 5:19,20 "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."

We must test everything according to what the word of God says.

1 John 4:1-3 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And 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."

1 John 4:6-8 "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

2 John 6-11 "And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For 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. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever 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. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

Romans 16:17,18 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good works and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."

God says that whoever loves Him and keeps His commandments is His. One of the greatest indicators is whether we love one another. How we deal with one another when put to the test, is usually a true reflection of whether that love and obedience to Christ is present. That is not to say that each of us does not stumble and make mistakes. God allows for that in that we are to seek forgiveness and forgive others.

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

John 14:21 "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

John 15:10-12 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

Matthew 5:44-46 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?"

1 John 4:20-21 "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."

We are to hate sin, but not the sinner. I think I will always take to heart what a Scottish preacher said during a weekend workshop. He was speaking of those that have fallen into error and those that have never known Christ.

He said, "There go I, but for the grace of God."

My prayer is that we will all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and that we will truly be a reflection of Him, no matter what the circumstances. I pray that whatever picture we are compelled to "paint", that it will be a true reflection of what the "Master" portrays in His word.

All scripture quotes from the Authorized King James Bible

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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