How do you know what's right?

It’s been said that two things you never talk about at dinner are religion and politics. That’s because people have strong feelings on both issues. Politics is another issue altogether but the bible says in Acts 14:33

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

 Paul says in 1 Cor. verse 10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. So why is it that there is so much disagreement among people who are supposed to be in the same mind?

People have let the world and worldly beliefs creep into their beliefs about God and how to worship Him. Things have been added or taken away from God’s word for the sake of tradition, culture, or out of misunderstanding. With all the different beliefs about God’s word, how do we know what’s right? The answer is to go to God’s word to find out. When someone says something to you about God, check it against His word. Make sure it is God’s word and that it is not taken out of context. Check not only the text that was quoted, but read the whole chapter to get an understanding of what is being talked about. The more familiar you are with His word, the easier it is to tell between right and wrong and you will be less likely to be misled.
It’s best not to believe something new or different just because someone else said it, check it out first. That’s what I do, even when I hear or read something from someone who I respect as being very knowledgeable, like Charles Stanley or even Billy Graham, I will compare it to God’s word. That’s why I will always give the bible verse when quoting the bible, so you can check out what I am saying against God’s word. Be wary of people who say “The bible says this”, or “this is in the bible”, but don’t say where. Many people will quote not the bible, but their own interpretation of the bible which may or may not be accurate, It’s best to know the difference.
The best way to do this is to read and study the bible as much as possible, not just certain passages but the whole bible front to back. Many bibles have reading plans in the back, these can be very helpful. Go by the plan, or use it as a guideline, just try to read some every day. The more you study God’s word, the easier you will recognize it. But one thing that some people disagree on is what translation you should read. Some people claim that you should only read a certain version like the King James version. There is no one correct version. There are many translations of the bible available, most of them are accurate. I would avoid bibles that are published and used only by certain churches or denominations. Whole religions have developed by changing, or adding just a couple of words. I myself own many translations of the bible. I would advise having at least one direct word for word translation like the King James, or the English Standard version which is what I use in these messages. These are a word for word translation from the Hebrew and Greek text, where others are thought for thought which translates the same message but can change the words. These translations try to interpret how it might have been said today. They are easier to read and understand, but when unsure, I like to refer to the direct translation how it was actually said. A Christian book store will have many translations and will be able to help you find one that is good for you.

The same principle goes for finding a church that’s right. Look for a church that follows the teaching of the bible. Many churches are what I call “feel good” churches, they tell people what they want to hear to make them feel good so they’ll come back. The problem is what they say may not be biblical. The first part of salvation is admitting that you’ve sinned, this is something that makes people feel uncomfortable. If a church doesn’t teach this, not wanting to make people uncomfortable, then how can they be saved. Look for a church that teaches directly from the bible, that teaches salvation is through grace alone, not through works. One that teaches that Jesus is God and that he died for your sin.
When in doubt on anything, the best answer is to go to God and God’s word. Read it, learn it and store it in your heart. Deuteronomy 11:18 says

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

When you follow this advice, learn God’s word, store it in your heart, and then refer to it when making any decision, you will be less likely to be fooled on what’s right or wrong. Always remember, the bible is all about God’s love for us and His plan for our salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Anything that adds or takes away from this is wrong.