Do YOU REALLY know Him?
Dear Pastor: (Or teacher, author, you tube preacher, or other leadership – not trying to single out pastors or make anyone not treat their own pastor with gentleness. This is only in regards to the pastors who accuse people of not really being saved based on their works)
“How thoroughly do you relate to the truth that Christ died for you while you were ‘without strength’ and while you were ‘still a sinner?’ Does the truth of this tremendous demonstration of God’s personal love for you move you as it should? If you are not personally moved by it perhaps there is a problem in your relationship with Him.*
When I couldn’t sleep last night, I was reading in 2 Corinthians 6, regarding the marks of the Ministry, and I wondered, “how many of us make sure our pastor is commended by their doctrine with integrity, or sound speech that cannot be condemned”? (Titus 2) How often do we see pastors question people’s salvation?
It kind of made me smile, as I thought on all the puffed up, blow-hard, hot-air filled, radical or relevant, passion and purpose seeking, in-your-face, tailored shirt (or Christian sloganed tee), hipster brand, tight-jean wearing, grizzled-faced, buff pastors out there, who pace their podiums and subtly (or not so subtly) accuse believers of not really being saved. I better not leave out the women, there are some tough women (one I can think of) who preaches she does not sin. Or the affable t.v. star she sometimes appears with who I understand has not sinned for 30 years. (see here)
Or on the flip-side, we have others who appear humble, sincere, soft-spoken, (and they may be), but this does not make what they are speaking truth, prove all things (1 Thess 5:21). I do not suggest that we should not be VERY sure that what we share is the FULL gospel, the truth of His Word. But is that what they are doing, sharing the whole counsel? Please ask yourself (by checking the Scriptures) have they added or taken away from God’s Word?
(And by the way, just because they fit the above profile, obviously doesn’t make them unsound. I can think of several distinguished looking, suit and tie wearing, conservative wolves out there. Not suggesting that if a pastor wears a nice pair of jeans, or has a “cool” haircut that it makes him unsound.)
MARKS OF A SOUND MINISTRY
Please note the extraordinary list below, that maybe these ‘ministers’ might peruse.
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. 2 Cor 6:3-10
These intellectuals preach and preach of what YOU should or should not do, (mostly with their own wisdom of words and twisted passages). Frequently, they use a list of buzz words and catch phrases such as desperate, authentic, radical, passionate, brokenness, genuine, heart, abandonment, etc., or they name drop either their favorite theologian or popular pastor or writer. They suddenly have you comparing yourselves to others, even though you may not realize you are doing that.
Ask yourselves, Is it their words that are compelling you to have certain feelings, or is it His Word that is doing the work in you? Is it the music in the background? Or the powerful graphics? Or even their use of Matt 7:21-23 to fruit inspect believers (rather than rightly applying it to false teachers?
Pastor, how about explaining why one might not be His child (by not believing the correct gospel) and telling them HOW to be saved. This passage in Matthew 7 is a classic irony regarding these types of accusers of the brethren. They often accuse of the very thing they miss in themselves. These people were justifying themselves by their works not by HIS WORK. They did not do the will of the Father-see Jn 6:38-40 to see if you can find the will of the Father. Jesus said He never KNEW them (Jn 10:14), and they were unrighteous or workers of lawlessness (Rom 10:4-Christ is our righteousness).
Is your pastor truly concerned you may not have understood and believed, or is he fear mongering? Ask yourself, in that test he gives for whether you are saved or not, does he lay out the gospel seen in 1 Cor 15? Does he do like Philip did with the Eunuch in Acts 8 and ask “do you really believe with all of your heart?” Does he ask if you have believed God’s testimony of His Son to save you (1 John 5:9-13) in order to know you are saved?
I am reminded of what H.A. Ironside once did with a woman in his congregation who did not have assurance of her salvation. In frustration after days of laying out Scripture on the gospel, he told her to pursue salvation in someone else, in some other way, to just cover all her bases — she was incensed! She exclaimed to him that there was salvation in NO other person but Jesus Christ and she would NEVER look elsewhere…Isn’t that a better test? Have you really believed the gospel? Have you understood His grace? Do you believe there is nothing you can do except believe/receive His free gift? Isn’t that actually the only remedy for someone who is unsaved?
They may have you taking ‘tests’ on their site to see if you are TRULY SAVED. That could be helpful if the ONLY litmus test was was whether you really understood and believed the GOSPEL. And they actually understood it and preached it themselves. And in reverse, maybe you should do some proving of your pastor and his ministry. Hold him accountable. A good pastor will welcome that (assuming you are doing it with truth and love).
If you find yourself in a public disagreement with them, be prepared in the Word and prayer. You may find them unkind and very condescending, commending themselves in things such as; 1)how many years they have been a believer 2) how much education or which degrees they may have (while asking you if you do) 3) how many times they have read through the Bible 4) or which books they own 5) church history that they know 6) theologians they have read 7) how large their library is, etc. (lots more I could add, but I’m sure some of you have experienced it). That’s on a good day anyways…And their followers seem to be just as good (sometimes better) at cutting you to shreds.
And if you are an honest person in evaluating yourself, you will realize you don’t (and couldn’t possibly) measure up to their standards. And if you do not ponder that this is possibly what is happening with you and your favorite guy, you may end up becoming just like the one you “really love” because after all, he says he “speaks truth”.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thess 5:21
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
DO THEY PREACH OF GOD’S LOVE?
Is the only time your pastor mentions His Great love, is when he is chiding the ‘easy believism group’ or the ‘greasy grace’ believers? (How dare they use that term by the way concerning His Grace)? Why does it work on some of us when they do that?
I think it’s because we can all relate to the idea of those who say they’re Christians but sure don’t seem to be with their words and deeds. Or they do not preach the entire gospel. But again, how are we saved? Think about it, seriously… How often does He preach of Christ’s great love for you? Or is it fear, fear, and more fear?
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
Does he remind you of THIS great truth, or gloss over it like it’s old hat?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Is it the LOVE of Christ that compels you to live right? Or fear?
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Cor 5:14-15
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Rom 2:4
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
Let me ask you…
What percentage of their list of “to do’s” do you think will be acceptable to God? You may start comparing yourself to others regarding your “walk”, not realizing in doing that, you are puffed up. You may even strive to meet this pastor’s list of standards, (proving whether you are REALLY saved), instead of relying on Christ’s righteousness, and drawing near to Him in order to be completed by the Spirit vs. the flesh. You may begin to trust your feelings, efforts or accomplishments vs. His finished work on your behalf. Do you wisely believe God’s testimony of His Son, or trust in your good works, feelings, behavior? (1 Jn 5:9-13)
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 2 Cor 10:12-13
YES! We SHOULD maintain good works!
Titus 3:8 is clear, unfortunately, we do not always, this is why many epistles were written.
Good works are beneficial to not only our own lives, but to others, and to the harvest. He wants us to grow in goodness, mature in Him, be a testimony of His work in us. So we can walk worthy, abound in His knowledge, and be ‘meet for the Master’s work’. We fail, but we need to draw close to Him in His Word and prayer — He will help. There are many reasons to maintain good works. We do not want to malign His good name. It is beneficial to all if we do.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10
REMEMBERING HIS EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith +virtue; and to virtue +knowledge; And to knowledge +temperance; and to temperance +patience; and to patience +godliness; And to godliness +brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness +charity<3. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 2 Pet 1:4-9
REMEMBERING WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US, WE SHOULD WANT TO DO GOOD WORKS…
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14
IT AFFECTS OTHERS…
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Titus 3:8
WALK WORTHY BECAUSE OF ALL HE HAS DONE…
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Col 1:9-10
SO YOU WILL BE FRUITFUL…
And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. Titus 3:14
KEEP OTHERS FROM SPEAKING EVIL ABOUT YOU (OR THE LORD)…
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Tit 2:6-8
GIVE TO OTHERS…
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work 2 Cor 9:7-8
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Eph 4:28
WORKS WILL NOT CONTRIBUTE IN ANY WAY, BEFORE or AFTER — TO OUR SALVATION.
(That includes the good work of turning from sin)
SO PASTOR, TREAD CAREFULLY WHEN YOU ARE TELLING ANYONE WHAT ‘TO DO’ OTHER THAN BELIEVE ON HIM TO BE SAVED.
But to him who does not work BUT believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Rom 4:5 (Faith is NOT a work)
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? — just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Gal 3:5-6 (see also Gen 15:6; Rom 4:9; Rom 4:22; Rom 11:6)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
DO THEY CONDEMN YOU OR POINT YOU TO CHRIST IF THEY DOUBT YOUR SALVATION?
THE HOLY SPIRIT SHOULD BE CONVICTING THE NON-BELIEVER THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD ABOUT THE SIN OF UNBELIEF. WE DO NOT JUDGE THE WORLD.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:17-18
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:7-11
For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. 1 Cor 5:12-13a
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom 10:14-17
And what truth do they really speak in that book or video?
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 1 Cor 4:6-7
Why is it that they feel they need to instruct you with their books vs. THE BOOK? (Books have their place, but not when they contradict His Word)
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
Some even get the title of the ‘intellectual preacher’ or the ‘scholarly pastor’, (after all, they have a Bible with their name or initial splashed across the front), and their proselytes follow right behind them, using all their favorite theological ten-cent words (sometimes accompanied with some very harsh language, mocking behavior, unkindness, rudeness, or downright hateful speech). Is this how we labor in the harvest?
At the very least, I’ve seen the condescending attitudes, along with patting each other on the back in these unkind sparring with others. They make sure they let them know (with a superior and smug tone), that they just have not arrived yet at seeing the truth. They accuse others of not having understanding, or reached their level of spiritual maturity. If that fails, they often will accuse you of not being saved or not having the Spirit.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Matt 23:15
I do understand we cannot know motives, but it is not always too difficult to recognize a Diotrephes who does not receive the brethren but loves having the preeminence, using prating and malicious words, and forbids and keeps others out of the church (3 Jn 1:9-10).
Some words that they use to argue, can be words or terms we may or may not have understood (if we were not brought up Reformed, or Pentecostal or schooled in a seminary). For example, I had no idea TULIP wasn’t just a flower from Holland. Even if you are familiar with them all, don’t you at times long for just plain speech? I do…
Is your teacher/pastor using the Word, or long, complicated words that you need to look up online? Does he frequently quote others for his lessons? Do you feel like you need to scramble to take a class of ‘church history’. Or does he humbly, patiently teach the Word in meekness?
It’s as if you hear a new word or term almost every day, but none are found in the Word. So are they ‘really’ necessary as they claim? Maybe if you are a seminary student needing to pass certain religion classes, but what about as we just discuss Scripture? If they use these words, they should be ‘apt to teach’ as 2 Tim 2 instructs. Patient and gentle, instructing in meekness.
You probably know what I am speaking of on Facebook, blogs, etc., as we seen these words/terms thrown around every day….
Exegesis or exegetical, eisegete or eisegesis, hermeneutics, antinomianism, Arminianism, Calvinism, Wesleyanism, eschatology, apologetics, epistemological…etc.
I’m not going to go on with a long list — it could go on forever, but I believe you all know what I am saying. Even though many may know these words, (and they may have their place), some others who have not attended a seminary (or taken the time to look them up), do not. So they should be used sparingly, and with patient explanation.
Similarly to medical terms, they have a time for their use. But we can see at times doctors tend to not know how to explain things in layman’s terms. And people’s heads swim in a pool of medical lingo. Same thing we see in the “Christian world”. Are these people just forgetting to speak plainly (2 Cor 11:6-7; 2 Cor 3:12), or is it by design they speak this way to their flock? Do they humbly make sure everyone understands?
Does your favorite pastor REALLY make MANIFEST the truth? Does he behave as YOUR bondservant for Jesus’ sake? Feed you? Or does he lord it over you? Is he an example?
Several passages come to mind:
Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech. 2 Corinthians 3:12
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:1-6
For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. 2 Cor 2:17
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 1 Pet 5:1-3
I understand this verse below applies to languages, but the final result is still applicable here. Is everyone understanding what they are saying? Is that their intent, or does it just puff them up in other’s eyes?
For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 1 Cor 14:8-9
Are you REALLY saved they ask over and over?
They go on and on about whether you are REALLY saved, or if you are a false convert, or whether your REALLY are His, etc. etc. Then they bring up fruits. They continually misuse Matthew 7, (the passage on the false prophets), to encourage others to fruit inspect believers and question their salvation.
Let me ask you:
Are they REALLY ministers?
How many of THEM are REALLY saved?
How many of them REALLY know Him?
Do THEY preach the gospel, or do they preach another? Have they corrupted minds from the simplicity that is in Christ? Could you be contributing if you have not searched the Scriptures to see if these things are so?
PASTOR, ARE YOU YOURSELF A FALSE CONVERT?
We know how often we hear that term (false convert) from famous t.v. or internet pastors, (many with mega churches, others just a dime a dozen — new pastors accusing every week). I marvel they don’t gently and INSTANTLY tell you that if you have not BELIEVED in the gospel you are not His. They do not give you the reasoning that you have not TRUSTED in His work alone. They do not meekly instruct you with aptness and patience. Instead, they go on with a long laundry list of the things YOU have not DONE…. these are works friends… works…
How do they know if THEY are saved? I remember Paul Washer’s wife’s testimony; that she was never saved, she says she was one of those false converts her husband stands daily preaching about. But I never heard a clear message of how she became saved by believing the gospel, understanding it was HIS cross, what HE did that we are saved by… tragic. I wonder myself if she believed and then her assurance got beat into the ground over all those years of messages of condemnation? I sure pray so vs. the alternative of not being a believer and thinking she is now by his false and confusing gospel. I remember Paul Washer saying he went over and over and over the message of the gospel over a few days with a dying man, and the man read John 3:16 over again, and he said, “I’m saved”. Paul Washer asked him seriously, “How do you KNOW you are saved?” The man asked Washer, “Have you never read John 3:16?” That is an excellent example of how badly these men have had their minds corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (or they have never believed the simple gospel).
I’D LIKE TO ASK THEM THE SAME.
PASTOR, HAVE YOU NEVER READ JOHN 3:16?
PROVE ALL THINGS: Do these ‘pastors’ line up with the Word regarding their ministry? Are they rightly dividing God’s Word, or are they one of those evil men and imposters the Word warns us about?
People tend to look at the first part of 2 Timothy 3, where it speaks of perilous times, and they don’t notice that it’s not just those that boast, love money, or are unholy, but let’s look more carefully at what is spoken of.
They have a form of godliness but deny the power. What power are they denying? (I believe it’s the truth of the gospel, for it is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. It is the Spirit who baptizes us into the body, whereby there is any power, the power is of God, not of us. Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor 1:17-18; 2 Cor 4:7; 1 Cor 12:13; Rom 8:9)
Where is their sound or pure doctrine? Their pattern of good works to follow? Their reverence? Integrity? Their love? Their patience or longsuffering? Their persecution for Christ’s sake? (Yes, many will, (when their doctrine is questioned), count that as being persecuted.)
Have you had conversations with some of these people or their followers?
They can appear very nice, sincere, humble, that is UNTIL…you disagree with what they are teaching. Have you noticed if you disagree, even in patiently laying out the Word, no matter how sound your speech may be, SUDDENLY, they are unloving, slanderers, unforgiving, brutal even?
I had a FB conversation with a pastor people like to call ‘brash’. He jokingly even called himself a ‘railer’. This pastor called me a liar and called Christ’s swift judgment down upon me (or himself he said, whomever the liar proved to be). I asked for God’s mercy for him, as I knew I was not the one lying and shook my head at his lack of compassion. I had no desire to see Christ’s swift judgment to fall upon him. I marveled at what he probably felt was a rightful “imprecatory” prayer.
Do they serve you, or do they lord it over you?
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Pet 5:1-6
Do they speak with this demeanor presented below?
Are they determined to let you know about Christ and Him crucified? What He did? Or is it about your narrow road of works they are continually discussing? (and wrongly so, as Jesus is that narrow way). Or are you one of those fortunate few with a pastor that is committed to the word of reconciliation? (2 Cor 5:19)
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Cor 2:1-5
Is it all about what THEY are doing? How radical (or restless) they can be? How passionate, or what a devoted disciple they are? How committed, submitted, surrendered or abandoned they are? (As they tell you that you must do/be the same in order to REALLY be saved.) Do you see that they REALLY only glory in the Lord? Point to the Lord? Lead people to the Lord? Do they teach people, or are they coaching them on how to be relevant? Or worse, do you find yourself accused, without really even being clear on what it is you are accused of? (Did they lay out the Word and let it convict you?) Are you mocked or reviled for using the Word to answer them?
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Cor 1:26-31
Jesus warned us…
So did every inspired writer of the Word.
MANY DECEIVERS. MANY will be deceived. MANY will point their finger at you, instead of to Christ. They will focus on works, instead of His work or encourage His work in you by helping you get sanctified in the truth (Jn 17:17). They accuse rather than feed the sheep (Jn 21:15-17).
Yet others are selling their newest book, cranking out several in a year (Ecc 12:12), or even have a Bible named after them. Others, the flock is herding in to dress and mimic their pastor with the hippest new shirt, jewelry or even tattoo (that is their choice, and has nothing to do with salvation, one way or another, just an observation).
Are they really taking heed to the flock and shepherding their churches? Certainly there should be church discipline (1 Cor 5 & 6), but is this what they are doing? Are they naming a specific serious sin that the person/people do not mourn, and continue in? Are they preaching the whole counsel, and commending you to His Word or theirs? Some are your buddy, your cool pastor, your friend, and on the other end of the spectrum we see those who seem to be an assistant to the accuser of the brethren.
“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:25-32
Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. 1 Tim 4:12-16
There are many voices out there. What do we do?
We must prove all things (1 Thess 5:21), test the spirits (1 John 4:1), search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), pray for each thing (Pr 3:5-6, 1 Thess 5:17). Ask yourselves, did you really check to see if what they said lined up with the Word? Or did you let feelings, friends, popularity, dictate whether what you heard stirred you? And you declared it truth or sound? Are you taking heed to His Word? (Ps 119:9)
Will we not all be held accountable and judged by His Word in the end? Let’s be careful what we share, and make sure we have done our own proving, and if not, that we have warned others to do so. Let’s keep studying to show ourselves approved unto Him so that we can rightly divide His Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15) and so that we can discern between good and evil (Heb 5:12-14).
Ask yourself, if your pastor feels someone is unsaved, does he follow Scripture and not condemn the unsaved, not judge those who are without, but does he walk in wisdom towards those who are unsaved (Col 4:5-6)? Does he use the ONLY REMEDY there is for those who are unsaved? (HINT: It is not to preach with clever, sanctimonious words. It is not to condemn. It is not to pace and yell, with their finger pointed to their audience, accusing them of being unsaved.)
PREACH THE GOSPEL IF THEY ARE UNSAVED
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Rom 1:16-17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Cor 1:17-18
If your pastor feels the ‘converts’ aren’t exhibiting good behavior, the TEST is what they profess with their mouths to believe. Then their job is to wash people’s feet with the Word of God, that is, IF, they really love Him, they will feed His sheep. Jesus prayed for us to be sanctified by the truth. Pastors; preach the Word!
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word…
*”Fishing for Men”; Richard A. Seymour, Pg 53