The Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood and Peter and the Wolf – Lessons for the Church.
What Has the Church Built for Itself?
The Three Little Pigs: Worldly, Cultic and Authentic
The only thing these three had in common, was that they were brothers; each holding vastly different views of God's Word. Being brothers, they still enjoyed each other's company … most of the time … as long as they didn't argue about religious things. When Authentic decided to move out into the country, his brothers promptly decided to follow: they knew Authentic could always be counted on should any real trouble arise. In the beginning, all three set out to build themselves a home. Both Worldly and Cultic soon found that it was a lot work to build a house and could not understand why Authentic would labor so hard to build a substantial home of stone. They reasoned among themselves; there must be an easier way to build a house without so much work; ergo:
Worldly decided upon straw; it had a good insulating factor, the material was cheap and readily available and the best part, it would quick and easy.
Cultic opted for sticks: a little sturdier than straw and would take more effort to construct … but not much. The materials were just as available as straw and would be almost as quick to build as Worldly's house. What these two houses had in common was that there was no foundation laid.
Authentic knew that for his house to stand, he needed a firm foundation to support the weight of the stone walls. His brothers finished their homes before his foundation was even fully laid. Day in and day out, he labored to build his home as his brothers enjoyed their new life in the country. They almost begged him to stop for a while, long enough to enjoy himself along with them. He was determined to complete his house before he would even consider thinking about enjoying himself. When the walls were finished and roof in place; he began to relax somewhat, knowing there was always going to be more work to keep the house in good repair, solid and safe.
You know the rest of the story as the brothers had to flee to Authentic's house for safety from the Wolf. Whether they make it to Authentic's house or not; who knows, but there is an important moral to this tale.
The worldly are shallow at best and heap to themselves teachers that will tickle their ears; tell them what they want to hear. They taste the good life of being around other like believers who think the path to heaven is easy. Sadly, when troubles do come they are not prepared. They can become disillusioned, fall away to never return or maybe in the future, the Light just may come on.
The cultic love a rigid set of rules, guidelines set down by those in the know; it is the opposite end of the pendulum from the worldly. They must become very dogmatic if they are to continue within a cult, for they truly have the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Break just one of a cult's biggie tenets; it is the highway for you and no hope of heaven, so they say. There is still hope for those who eventually eschew the cultic life but only the grace of God can prevail.
Authentic believers know that it is our life this side of heaven to learn to grow in the amazing peace that surpasses understanding, no matter what life may bring them. They are the teachable and discover that God is always present; even more so in times of great distress. They know that their house requires constant upkeep. The Word calls us 'living stones': being built together into a holy temple in the Lord. We are the refuge in this world for those whom God would draw to His own.
The Wolves Seemingly Are Always Present, Ready to Pounce.
Little Red Riding Hood - A Discerner
The wolves of this world have an air about them that they are deeply religious; as the Word states …'having a form of godliness' but lacking the power of a changed life in Christ.
In the tale of Red, she had an intimate relationship with her grandmother and knew that something was not quite right when she walked in on the wolf in disguise. As in the tale of the pigs, you know the rest of the story and that a moral is coming.
Churches are filled today with people that are clueless as to what they should be looking for in a fellowship of believers. When one is truly born again, though it may take a while, God will lead them to come out from among them when they realize that something is truly amiss. These deceivers, these wolves are very good at camouflaging their true character. They will come across as friendly, eloquent, charismatic with a very appealing soundbite theology; knowing what their hearers want to hear. Others come across as very authoritarian, super self-confident and have a well-designed system of belief with works to ensure one's salvation. The worldly like the charismatic; the cultic love the dogmatic. Life seems so much simpler … until persecution should come. For many, it will be too late for the Wolf has done his dastardly deed.
As far as Red is concerned, the wolf could never have pulled it off as she knew too much. The greatest defense for the born-again is to work tirelessly to know God's Word as much as is possible. That includes sitting under solid teaching that is centered around the Word alone … Sola Scriptura. If one is lazy or a new believer they will be easy to deceive at first, BUT as a Child of the King, He will lead His own to the Truth. Remember, a shepherding teacher is a gift to the Church not the churches.
Peter and the Wolf - We Cannot Go It Alone.
Peter and His Intrepid Band - a Duck, a Cat and a Bird.
We live in an age when the Church, the real believers, have suddenly become the villain; the 'wolf' so to speak as the world sees us. We are God's light illuminating the sins of the world and they would love nothing more than to see us disappear and be left to their own devices. Peter and his friends are a great example of the make up of God's Church; the foolish, the weak and the nothings of this world to bring to nothing the things of this world. Peter and his friends' hearts were set to do that which was right; to eliminate a dangerous threat to their and their neighbors' well being. They were taking on a seemingly impossible task; a young boy and three small animals against a very large and dangerous predator.
We have the privilege of never being alone as our Lord is ever with us, but never the less He has designed His Church to need one another. As Hebrews 10:24 states, 'let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works' and knowing that we are living stones (1 Peter 2:5) being 'fitly framed together' as a temple (Ephesians 2:21); we are never to go it on our own. If one should declare that all they need is Jesus to accomplish a great deed; that is arrogance, an act of foolishness and destined to fail. We need Jesus, BUT He wants us to need each other, for where two or more are gathered, He is there. To go it alone is a dangerous thing and if a child of the King, He will help to avert a total disaster, but there is going to be a lesson learned … the hard way.
Peter had the sense not to go it alone but they were not prepared for the coming battle with the evil one. Disaster was avoided when the hunters appeared at the last moment to dispatch the beast: they came prepared. Good counsel dispels arrogance, rids us of our highly esteemed self-confidence and places our trust in our God alone. This is one of the biggest failures of today's churches; few finding true need for Christian growth with other like minded believers. They have become social clubs, loosely based around church attendance and making the keeping of the 'status quo' their primary objective in life. All the clamoring to re-open the churches has NOTHING to do with the Word or our mission; it has everything to do with going back to 'the way it was'.
And In Conclusion
The Lesson to be Learned!
Paul in his letters to Timothy and Titus, his young proteges, encouraged them to warn those to whom they were overseers. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 4:1-9; 2 Timothy 3:1-9 and Titus 1:10-14 To both these men Paul gave them the antidote to heresy: SOUND DOCTRINE, only found in Sola Scriptura. Pulpits, books, seminars, websites and the like are proliferated with story tellers, topical book-based teaching, entertainers and the well fed and lazy when it comes to being expositors of the Word.
The righteous must learn to become diligent in order to recognize heresy and love the Word to the death. Those false shepherds, the lazy and the heretics have much in common: they far outnumber the diligent, they love the attention their position affords them, they have little concern for the evils of this world that assail the Church and they are in line for a great fall. All the king's horses and the king's men will be of no use to them in that day when they hear those dreaded words from our Lord …'I NEVER KNEW YOU'.