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This article is from Earthquake Resurrection

Episcopalian Bishops Apologize for Proselytizing Hindus

 

The march of the eastern mystery religions of demons into America continues.This time the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued a statement of apology to the Hindu religious community for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert them.Episcopalians hold an Indian Rite Mass with Hindus and apologize for past religious discrimination.
In a service at “St. John’s Cathedral” in downtown Los Angeles, a Hindu nun blew into a conch shell three times, calling the gatherers to worship.Check out this quote by the Episcopal leaders:

“I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of
our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve. In this
spirit, and in order to take another step in building trust between our
two great religious traditions, I offer a sincere apology to the Hindu
religious community.”

This sickening mixture of apostate Christianity and Hinduism also included the following:
  • All were invited to Holy Communion, after the Episcopal celebrant elevated a tray of consecrated Indian bread, and deacons raised wine-filled chalices.
  • Christians and Hindus lined up for communion, but since Orthodox Hindus shun alcohol, they consumed only the bread. During the service, the two faiths also blended practices during the handling of an icon of Jesus.
  • Kneeling before an icon of Jesus at the altar while the icon was anointed with sandalwood paste by the Episcopalians.
  • A flowered garland was placed on it and a lamp was lighted, a sign of Christ, the light in the darkness.
  • Both Hindu and Christian texts were read.

What must the Lord Jesus Christ be thinking as he sits at the right hand of God? What an incredible lack of discernment. It is unfathomable how anyone who has read the Word of God can behave in this way. Lord, have mercy on them that they overcome their deception and serve the true living God.

Okay next view this video also from ER- it is only about 1 minute.

Hindu Temple Invades Sugarland, Texas

Kingdom and Dominion – What the Bible Teaches

This is a great article from:

 Light For the Last Days

  When I first became a Christian in 1970 my interest in world events caused me to study the subject of Bible prophecy. From this study I came to a conclusion which was both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. The bad news was that the present world system is on a highway to destruction. The good news was that Jesus is coming back again. From my reading of the news and the Bible I understood that the present world system would end with the rule of Antichrist and a time of great tribulation on the earth; the final conflict would centre on Israel as the nations challenge the Jewish peoples right to settle in their Biblical homeland; this war would bring mankind to the brink of destruction, only to be prevented by the return of the Messiah Jesus, who would then judge the world and begin his 1000 year reign from Jerusalem in which there would be peace and the knowledge of the Lord worldwide (Isaiah 2, 11, Zechariah 14, Revelation 20).After arriving at this view from my own reading of the Bible I discovered it was known as the pre-millennial view of scripture (i.e. Jesus returns before – pre – the establishment of his millennial – 1000 year – rule). As it made sense to me of the Bible and the state of the world I thought it was generally agreed by Bible believing Christians.

I realised this was not the case when I became involved with a fellowship connected with the Restoration movement. Here was a new viewpoint, rejecting the eschatology of disaster (i.e. that the end of this age would come with a disaster), and seeing the church go out in a blaze of glory, having demonstrated the power of Jesus Christ over Satan in a great end time revival which would sweep the earth in preparation for the Lords return. This is the post-millennial view (i.e. that Jesus returns after – post – the millennial kingdom has been established by the triumph of the church).

In September 1983 one of the leaders of the Restoration movement, Bryn Jones, recorded a vision he had of this great revival taking place with the following results:

  1. Ordinary Christians would be equipped with supernatural powers, laying hands on the sick with extraordinary miracles taking place in public places. Poverty would be abolished among them as multitudes turn to the Lord and have their material needs met through his provision.
  2. The powers of darkness would be overthrown – governments and religious systems based on principles opposed to the Bible would be shaken as the Church emerges in power and glory.
  3. All nations would reach out to God as the Church is established as the mountain of the Lords house, the highest of nations. Heads of governments in despair at their own failure to solve the problems of humanity will turn to the revived church asking them to teach us the ways of God.
  4. Following this great revival the Lord will return for his glorious church and wind up history.

The fellowship we were involved with looked at a commitment course for members to follow containing this teaching. One paragraph read:

It is Gods purpose that His glory should cover the earth, that this world which has been so scarred by sin and Satan should once more show forth the beauty of God. The way He will do this is through His Church … The rule of God as King is exercised through his people and it means that we must take spiritual authority over the forces of darkness now to bring to pass the will of God in the world. We are described in Revelation 5.10 as a Kingdom of priests to our God who reign on the earth. God wants us to reign now! … All this means we have a glorious world-wide vision for the Lords people, an exciting revolutionary programme of world dominion for our God.o Laying a Foundation by John Houghton and Richard Haydon-Knowell.

I could not accept that in this present age the Church is going to be involved in any kind of world dominion and questioned this whole theology. I soon found myself out of favour and considered to be in rebellion against authority and before long our family left the fellowship and began a period in which we found ourselves increasingly out of step with things being said by influential leaders of the church. We also discovered that our view of the end times was under attack from almost all wings of the church.

The attack on the pre-millennial view came with a great deal of hostile material about Israel. Christians who believe the restoration of Israel is a fulfilment of prophecy were accused of accepting Israeli supremacy and terrorism as part of the fulfilment of Gods promises. (Restoration magazine May / June 1991). One entire edition of this magazine was devoted to attacking Israel politically and spiritually. It contained some of the most biased material I have read anywhere on the subject and I wrote a reply to it which is available on request.

As I worked on this subject I realised that the rejection of Israel as a fulfilment of prophecy is needed by those putting forward this view because they wish to apply the prophecies which speak of the physical restoration of Israel in the last days (e.g. Isaiah 2.1-4, Ezekiel 36-37, Jeremiah 30-1, Zechariah 12-14) to the spiritual restoration of the church. According to this view the Church is now to be the inheritor and ruler of the world, not the Lord Jesus reigning through Israel during the Millennium. According to this view Jesus cannot return before the Church attains full maturity and dominion over all, and those who deny this are holding up the victory and return of Christ.

Many calls to prepare for the great revival of the end times have gone out:

We believe its Gods will that the righteous should reign on this earth, and were seeing people preparing themselves to be lawyers, doctors, generals, admirals, presidents, and congressmen. The righteous will rule and the people will rejoice.o John Giminez, New Wine Magazine January 1986.

A new order is emerging in purity and power – the kingdom of God. The people of God, united in love and submission to Jesus Christ, will fill the earth as they take the kingdom and as all nations are brought beneath the feet of King Jesus.o David Mansell in Restoration January 1991.

In order to bring this about prophecies are given of imminent revival, calls to unity across denominational barriers, regardless of doctrine, and marches take place in our cities claiming them for Jesus. As one who has become rather an outsider to all this activity I have to ask, Where is the revival?

The government, control of mass media, education, law and order seem to be increasingly in the hands of forces which are anti-christian. Communism may have fallen in the Soviet Union but it is being replaced by chaos and new forms of wickedness, many of which are imported from the West, not by governments looking to the Lord for direction. Most of the people in our society mock at or totally ignore our marches, prophecies and campaigns.

Many Restoration leaders have had to admit that prophecies they gave of imminent triumph have proved false, although they rarely abandon the wrong doctrine they are teaching or cease to be considered leaders after giving false prophecies.

Nothing that has happened over the past 23 years that I have been a Christian has caused me to question the basic pre-millennial view of prophecy: that world conditions will get worse before Jesus returns, that there will be lawlessness, wars and a great increase in human wickedness, together with a falling away from the truths of the Bible affecting most of professing Christendom.

There will be great opportunities for evangelism and the Gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth, but the aim of this is to save people from the wrath to come when God will judge this present evil world and separate those who have eternal life through repentance and faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord from those who go to eternal hell because they have rejected Gods offer of salvation. Israel will remain the centre of world attention until Jesus returns, Gods timepiece showing us that the Day of the Lord is drawing near. In preparation for this we must repent and believe the Good News that Jesus the Messiah has come once to save us from our sins and that soon he will return in power and glory to judge all mankind according to our response to the Gospel.

A Testimony from Elise

Over the last ten years I began to realize that I had developed some psychic powers. Mainly, I could feel some spirits and see auras. Even though I was a baptized Catholic I was never made aware that all psychic power came from the dark side. In the Catholic Church there is prophecy and healing but it comes from God through Jesus only. If you go to your local psychic center – you will not find God or Jesus there. The spirits of light that are advertised in those places or from psychics or so-called ‘light workers’ are from the dark side. If you want to know if someone is from the dark side or not just ask them this question: “Do you accept Jesus Christ into your heart, mind and soul as your one and only true Lord and Savior?” If they can’t answer it or they say no, run. Run like the wind. The place I went to had pictures of Jesus on flyers and posters here and there for endorsements. I fell for it. Whether they knew it or not – Jesus does not endorse occult practices. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” John 10:1 The occult is the “some other way.”

It all started when I decided to have a tarot card reading by a guy who told me he could see my aura and said that I “desperately needed one.” The advice he gave me was nothing relevant at all. He was a fake but fooled me for a time. They’re all fakes really because the occult knowledge doesn’t come from humans. How could it? It comes directly from the negative spirits these psychics have deliberately or inadvertently invited into themselves, sharing their eyes and senses. That’s why everywhere in the Bible mysticism and sorcery are condemned because they come from evil and can control you to the point of destruction and murder.

This joker told me I had an alien implant in my aura. He was fooled too because he claimed to have all these degrees in psychic matters but belonged to a ‘church’ which he felt justified him and ‘his’ powers. But it gave me enough creeps to ignorantly look through a state psychic directory not knowing yet that I should have just prayed to forget this idiot and his claims. So anyway, I came to find out that one can get an aura cleansing. How new-age! And what a nice way to get it out, I thought, so I had one. Came out feeling just wonderful. Looking back, I can definitely see now that I had a spirit transferred into me from the woman who did it. Unknowingly? Everything looked and felt different. I thought it was me but it was the spirit in me sharing itself as something wonderful. I always wanted to be a healer and I thought wow! I can be a psychic healer and really help people. The Bible says devils can come to you as an angel of light. Then it will reveal itself in the end, which it/they did to me.

So I signed up for a healers’ class a month later, still with this spirit in me, making me feel wonderful and different. I can now see the disguise it used. Meanwhile, I had started meditating daily and had some very strange dizzying sensations and slight hallucinations of things moving and bending while I said my preliminary prayers to God and Jesus. Later, I came to realize these were demonic spirits in me rejecting and reacting to my prayers. I had another aura cleansing a couple weeks later but not for these – I was still worried about that danged implant which was a lie given through the reader. In this one, I could actually see the aura bubbles of entities all around me ‘walking’ towards me. These were evil spirits entering my aura and the lady didn’t even know it, I would hope.

So my class happened on a Saturday. During the class we were told that we all could call on healing masters ‘out there’ that would channel this wonderful healing energy from the universe. What we were really calling on were demons masquerading as healing light spirits. Now I know all healing only comes through Jesus. All else is a fraud or at best, temporary. When I gave permission for one to use my hands, it did more than that. I felt a whole energy enter my body enough to rock me slightly so I had to make sure I had my balance. Now I had many in me – at least. We four students practiced on each other. Who knows what spiritually transmitted ‘diseases’ were being shared. The following Tuesday after coming out of a meditation, I had a very dark feeling come over me. The next day I had to call in sick to work because I was hearing voices in my head. Thoughts that I knew did not come from my own mind. Just like when you think “oh I need milk” there were thoughts I ‘heard’ but I knew I did not think them. They were mocking me and taunting me. After a few hours, I knew I needed to go see a priest. This was a highly spiritual matter and I needed to go ‘home.’ Back to my Church. Back to Jesus.

Later that morning, I sat there with the priest and told him some things. He said he knew of another priest who was an exorcist. Thank goodness. I don’t know what I would have done, possibly committed suicide because of these voices. So the next day I went to see this priest in his Church. He told me why I never should have left the Church and why I should come back. (By the way, I’m back.) I sat there in the front pew with him and a woman who was a member of his parish who stood behind me. The priest read a page in Latin over me holding the Crucifix. He also made the cross on my forehead with Holy oil and he had a Bible in his hand. At some point my hands went up and were frozen into a cursed position. I was aware of the demons in my head wanting to come out. One by one – about fifty to seventy five came screaming at the top of my lungs out of me over the next three and a half hours, all in different but similar ways. This was a deliverance from evil. They call it a deliverance. Jesus, Mother Mary and Archangel Michael were there fighting along with me and the priest. I remember a few specifically totaling about a minute’s worth. The rest my mind has erased. But Holy water, Holy oil, the Bible and the Crucifix were all placed on me causing me to arch my back and contort and then they would horribly scream out of me.

Unfortunately, this deliverance was interrupted and I still had one left in me that stayed for a couple weeks. I went through some very dark times with it. I tried to expel it myself and it finally was removed from me in a very peaceful way. I was at home and said a very sincere loving rosary. I looked out over the land in front of me and was thinking how beautiful it was and how much I loved God. I was leaned back gently in my chair and my head was turned slightly and I could feel it leave me. It was gone. It was removed by something I could feel was heavenly and very loving. It was just an incredibly peaceful feeling as if I was being floated on a cloud.

This episode left me weak for several weeks at first and a few came back to bother me. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuked them, bound them, commanded them to leave never to return and cast them to the feet of Jesus Christ. Then I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. I am stronger now and sense when they approach and I do this again. I know that I am a spiritual warrior now. We all are. This will happen to all Christians and non-Christians alike. You have to know when you need to fight. But only with Jesus Christ can you cast them away.

For those of you who do not believe in Jesus, just open your heart. It’s a simple gesture you can do even when no one is looking. He is there and He loves you. And he WILL protect you and save you from evil for eternity – because it is out there. That is His promise. Then, you will know why you need Him and for many more reasons too that you will find. He may not come on a dime or within the second you ask but he will come to you if you sincerely want Him to. He will make Himself known to you if your heart is open. He will not force his love on you but will give it freely and lovingly if you ask. That is why we are given a free choice. Choose Him. Read the New Testament – that’s Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Gospel all the way through Revelations. Then so read through Revelations and watch the signs of the times – He will come again. And in remembrance of Him I go to Church every Sunday and eat the Holy bread and drink the Holy wine. As He said, “DO this, in remembrance of me.” The Bible is online too. Repent and be baptized!

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From a great site The Great Apostasy you can now order  Christian books, music and movies.

 This is from “Eds” site.

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Believe it or not, I now have a full Christian bookstore online, complete with a secure shopping cart and seperate categories (run in conjunction with Amazon).

The offerings on the new bookstore site are fairly limited at this point … but they’ve been hand-selected so you shouldn’t find too much apostasy running around there (although some of the automatic recommendations that might show up in the sidebar from Amazon aren’t necessarily items I would’ve personally recommended).  As with all things, use your own discernment.

Most books are sold at a discount (sometimes as much as 30-70% off the cover price) … plus, you’ll qualify for free shipping with a total purchase of over $25.  That can make shopping here even less expensive than ordering through your local Christian bookstore.  -)

To visit my brand new online Christian bookstore, go to:  Believers’ Books, Bibles, Music, Movies and More 

–”Ed” and family

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False Teachers, False Teachings, & Non-Christian Cults 

Not too long ago it was pretty simple to expose false teachers and non-Christian Cults, but today this task has taken a much deeper level and quite frankly it is becoming more difficult. See, non-Christian Cults such as Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Moonies, and others are for the most part known about today, but there are many within our so-called Christian Churches today that many Christians are not aware of. It is a sad thing to say this, but many of us who are a part of the body of Christ have been deceived from teachers within more so than those outside of the Church.

What is the Big Deal? There are people who simple say: “why are you judging people, who are you to point a finger, just let people be, it really does not matter what people believe as long as they believe in Jesus.” The Bible does speak of not judging another person in the sense of being like the religious Pharisees who lorded over people and were hypocrites.

(Matthew 7) Jesus in Matthew 7 and the other accounts of the same sermon in the Gospels was speaking to the crowds on the issues of how people were be looked down upon in a way of disrespect and contempt, and this we are not to do. However, looking at other places on what Jesus and the apostles taught on Biblical judgment consider the following.”He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:18 NASB)

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”(John 7:24 NASB)

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB)

“in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB)

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NASB)

“to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:15 NASB)

“12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12-13 NASB)

These are just a few Scriptures that speak of the issues of judgment to come and if you don’t like it, well, then you just don’t like the truth of God’s Word. The Bible warns about false teachers and prophets who claim to be of God, and it is very Biblical to be on your guard against being deceived, even from those among us.

“13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:13-15 NASB)”

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)”

28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for 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. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31 NASB) ”

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”(2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NASB)

“6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:6-9 NASB)

Be Careful of False Teachers in Sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately when it comes to exposing false teachers it is not an issue of feel good mentality but rather on the issues of concern for the body of Christ. Let it be known that it is the purpose of this information and it is important to examines things for yourself. Non Christian Cults are more obvious in certain areas where they have false teachings, but when it comes to those who are supposedly of the Christian faith it is more difficult.

Tommy Tenney is a very common teacher within Christian bookstores and among Churches. However many Christians are not aware of Tommy Tenney’s Church background and affiliation with the UPCI, commonly known as the Oneness Pentecostal movement. Oneness Pentecostals deny the doctrine of the Trinity and teach another theological spin of who God is known as Modalism.

 Now according to the sources Tommy Tenney broke off from the UPCI but nothing has ever been stated on his part in rejecting the Oneness teachings on who God is and accepting the true doctrine of the Biblical Trinity. Along with that Tommy Tenney has connections with the charismatic chaos known as the Toronto Blessing movement. Tommy Tenney is Biblically teaching false things concerning the identity of God, the working of the Holy Spirit, and he endorses false teachers among the Faith Movement and Toronto Blessing. For more in depth information check out http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/ttenney.html & http://www.letusreason.org/Poptea10.htm &

Joyce Meyer? What does Joyce Meyer teach that is so bad? Is Joyce Meyer a false teacher? Is Joyce Meyer a Christian? Why should anyone be concerned? Joyce Meyers does not have all the same false teachings as those in the Faith Movement, but she does have some teachings that are the same with various Faith teachers. Examine this information for yourself and line up the Biblical gospel to the gospel that Joyce Meyer teaches, check out http://www.afcministry.com/Joyce_Meyers.htm

Bishop Thomas D. Jakes is a very popular preacher and writer. The purpose of this examination is to provide people with information concerning T. D. Jakes beliefs & teachings on the Trinity doctrine, his affiliation with the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI, Oneness Pentecostals), and other issues of concern. Our intent is not to be judgmental but to be open to the truth and test all things in light of the Scriptures. The concern is, Is Bishop T. D. Jakes a true or false teacher of God, and What is the evidence? Check out http://www.afcministry.com/T_D_Jakes_Examined.htm

Kenneth Copeland is a popular faith movement teacher. Many say do not attack Kenneth Copeland. I wish to say that I am not attacking at all, but I am sharing information that is needed for the body of Christ to know concerning what Kenneth Copeland Ministries teaches concerning what took place at the cross and what Jesus went through for atonement. I ask all those who read this to be open enough to look at this carefully and decide for yourself whether or not Kenneth Copeland is true or false doctrines on the message of the cross and salvation. For more information check out http://www.afcministry.com/Kenneth_Copeland.htm

Benny Hinn is known by being on TV and his crusades around the world. Is Benny Hinn a true teacher? Is Benny Hinn a false teacher? Is Benny Hinn a false prophet? Is he a true prophet? The following will be actual statements and quotes from Benny Hinn’s teachings on what he believes concerning certain topics and you examine for yourselves whether Benny Hinn is of God or not. For more information check out http://www.afcministry.com/Benny_Hinn.htm

Do not be Deceived! False teachers hide behind things like don’t touch God’s anointed, do not judge, and it is our Biblical Christian duty to expose those who are misleading people with false teachings on who God is, the Gospel message, and the working of the Holy Spirit. Non Christian Cults such as the Mormon Church (Mormons), Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc, all have false teachings on the identity of God, the Gospel, and if you are looking for information on them visit our other sections, and we welcome your questions or comments.

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“How to Try the Spirits” is from Tozer’s book, “Man, The Dwelling Place of God”, and I found it to be even more relevant today than when it was written.  There are 7 sections dealing with how to test spiritual experiences by asking “How has it  affected my attitude toward and my relation to:”

  1. God
  2. Christ
  3. The Holy Scriptures
  4. Self
  5. Other Christians
  6. The World
  7. Sin

 

How to Try the Spirits

THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.

Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.

Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

From this it is plain not only that there shall be false spirits abroad, endangering our Christian lives, but that they may be identified and known for what they are. And of course once we become aware of their identity and learn their tricks their power to harm us is gone. “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” (Prov. 1:17)

It is my intention to set forth here a method by which we may test the spirits and prove all things religious and moral that come to us or are brought or offered to us by anyone. And while dealing with these matters we should keep in mind that not all religious vagaries are the work of Satan. The human mind is capable of plenty of mischief without any help from the devil. Some persons have a positive genius for getting confused, and will mistake illusion for reality in broad daylight with the Bible open before them. Peter had such in mind when he wrote, “Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 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” (II Pet. 3:15, 16).

It is unlikely that the confirmed apostles of confusion will read what is written here or that they would profit much if they did; but there are many sensible Christians who have been led astray but are humble enough to admit their mistakes and are now ready to return unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. These may be rescued from false paths. More important still, there are undoubtedly large numbers of persons who have not left the true way but who want a rule by which they can test everything and by which they may prove the quality of Christian teaching and experience as they come in contact with them day after day throughout their busy lives. For such as these I make available here a little secret by which I have tested my own spiritual experiences and religious impulses for many years.

Briefly stated the test is this: This new doctrine, this new religious habit, this new view of truth, this new spiritual experience how has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to God, Christ, the Holy Scriptures, self, other Christians, the world and sin. By this sevenfold test we may prove everything religious and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not. By the fruit of the tree we know the kind of tree it is. So we have but to ask about any doctrine or experience, What is this doing to me? and we know immediately whether it is from above or from below.

1) One vital test of all religious experience is how it affects our relation to God, our concept of God and our attitude toward Him. God being who He is must always be the supreme arbiter of all things religious. The universe came into existence as a medium through which the Creator might show forth His perfections to all moral and intellectual beings: “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (Isa. 42:8) . “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

The health and balance of the universe require that in all things God should be magnified. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” God acts only for His glory and whatever comes from Him must be to His own high honor. Any doctrine, any experience that serves to magnify Him is likely to be inspired by Him. Conversely, anything that veils His glory or makes Him appear less wonderful is sure to be of the flesh or the devil.

The heart of man is like a musical instrument and may be played upon by the Holy Spirit, by an evil spirit or by the spirit of man himself. Religious emotions are very much the same, no matter who the player may be. Many enjoyable feelings may be aroused within the soul by low or even idolatrous worship. The nun who kneels “breathless with adoration” before an image of the Virgin is having a genuine religious experience. She feels love, awe and reverence, all enjoyable emotions, as certainly as if she were adoring God. The mystical experiences of Hindus and Sufis cannot be brushed aside as mere pretense. Neither dare we dismiss the high religious flights of spiritists and other occultists as imagination. These may have and sometimes do have genuine encounters with something or someone beyond themselves. In the same manner Christians are sometimes led into emotional experiences that are beyond their power to comprehend. I have met such and they have inquired eagerly whether or not their experience was of God.

The big test is, What has this done to my relationship to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? If this new view of truth-this new encounter with spiritual things-has made me love God more, if it has magnified Him in my eyes, if it has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude that I have not wandered astray into the pleasant but dangerous and forbidden paths of error.

2. The next test is: How has this new experience affected my attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ? Whatever place present-day religion may give to Christ, God gives Him top place in earth and in heaven. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” spoke the voice of God from heaven concerning our Lord Jesus. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, declared: “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Again Peter said of Him, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) . The whole book of Hebrews is devoted to the idea that Christ is above all others. He is shown to be above Aaron and Moses, and even the angels are called to fall down and worship Him. Paul says that He is the image of the invisible God, that in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that in all things He must have the preeminence. But time would fail me to tell of the glory accorded Him by prophets, patriarchs, apostles, saints, elders, psalmists, kings and seraphim. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. He is our hope, our life, our all and all, now and forevermore.

All this being true, it is clear that He must stand at the center of all true doctrine, all acceptable practice and all genuine Christian experience. Anything that makes Him less than God has declared Him to be is delusion pure and simple and must be rejected, no matter how delightful or how satisfying it may for the time seem to be.

Christless Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done in Christ’s name is false to Christ in that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simplehearted listeners. This giveaway is that Christ is not central: He is not all and in all.

Again, there are psychic experiences that thrill the seeker and lead him to believe that he has indeed met the Lord and been carried to the third heaven; but the true nature of the phenomenon is discovered later when the face of Christ begins to fade from the victim’s consciousness and he comes to depend more and more upon emotional jags as a proof of his spirituality.

If on the other hand the new experience tends to make Christ indispensable, if it takes our interest off our feeling and places it in Christ, we are on the right track. Whatever makes Christ dear to us is pretty sure to be from God.

3. Another revealing test of the soundness of religious experience is, How does it affect my attitude toward the Holy Scriptures? Did this new experience, this new view of truth, spring out of the Word of God itself or was it the result of some stimulus that lay outside the Bible? Tender-hearted Christians often become victims of strong psychological pressure applied intentionally or innocently by someone’s personal testimony, or by a colorful story told by a fervent preacher who may speak with prophetic finality but who has not checked his story with the facts nor tested the soundness of his conclusions by the Word of God.

Whatever originates outside the Scriptures should for that very reason be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them. If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. “To the word and to the testimony” must always be the last and final proof.

Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with a lot of caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Over the last half-century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among the truths that were to be revealed in the last days. To be sure, say the advocates of this latter-daylight theory, Augustine did not know, Luther did not, John Knox, Wesley, Finney and Spurgeon did not understand this; but greater light has now shined upon God’s people and we of these last days have the advantage of fuller revelation. We should not question the new doctrine nor draw back from this advanced experience. The Lord is getting His Bride ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We should all yield to this new movement of the Spirit. So they tell us.

The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite. Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning. Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence. You cannot help him and he surely cannot help you.

Granted, however, that the Scriptures may not always be clear and that there are differences of interpretation among equally sincere men, this test will furnish all the proof needed of anything religious, viz., What does it do to my love for and appreciation of the Scriptures?

While true power lies not in the letter of the text but in the Spirit that inspired it, we should never underestimate the value of the letter. The text of truth has the same relation to truth as the honeycomb has to honey. One serves as a receptacle for the other. But there the analogy ends. The honey can be removed from the comb, but the Spirit of truth cannot and does not operate apart from the letter of the Holy Scriptures.

For this reason a growing acquaintance with the Holy Spirit will always mean an increasing love for the Bible. The Scriptures are in print what Christ is in person. The inspired Word is like a faithful portrait of Christ. But again the figure breaks down. Christ is in the Bible as no one can be in a mere portrait, for the Bible is a book of holy ideas and the eternal Word of the Father can and does dwell in the thought He has Himself inspired. Thoughts are things, and the thoughts of the Holy Scriptures form a lofty temple for the dwelling place of God.

From this it follows naturally that a true lover of God will be also a lover of His Word. Anything that comes to us from the God of the Word will deepen our love for the Word of God. This follows logically, but we have confirmation by a witness vastly more trustworthy than logic, viz., the concerted testimony of a great army of witnesses living and dead. These declare with one voice that their love for the Scriptures intensified as their faith mounted and their obedience became consistent and joyous.

If the new doctrine, the influence of that new teacher, the new emotional experience fills my heart with an avid hunger to meditate in the Scriptures day and night. I have every reason to believe that God has spoken to my soul and that my experience is genuine. Conversely, if my love for the Scriptures has cooled even a little, if my eagerness to eat and drink of the inspired Word has abated by as much as one degree, I should humbly admit that I have missed God’s signal somewhere and frankly backtrack until I find the true way once more.

4. Again, we can prove the quality of religious experience by its effect on the self-life.

The Holy Spirit and the fallen human self are diametrically opposed to each other. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17). “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit . . . . Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8: 5, 7).

Before the Spirit of God can work creatively in our hearts He must condemn and slay the “flesh” within us; that is, He must have our full consent to displace our natural self with the Person of Christ. This displacement is carefully explained in Romans 6, 7,and 8. When the seeking Christian has gone through the crucifying experience described in chapters 6 and 7 he enters into the broad, free regions of chapter 8. There self is dethroned and Christ is enthroned forever.

In the light of this it is not hard to see why the Christian’s attitude toward self is such an excellent test of the validity of his religious experiences. Most of the great masters of the deeper life, such as Fenelon. Molinos, John of the Cross, Madame Guyon and a host, of others, have warned against pseudoreligious experiences that provide much carnal enjoyment but feel the flesh and puff up the heart with self-love.

A good rule is this: If this experience has served to humble me and make me little and vile in my own eyes it is of God; but if it has given me a feeling of self-satisfaction it is false and should be dismissed as emanating from self or the devil. Nothing that comes from God will minister to my pride or self-congratulation. If I am tempted to be complacent and to feel superior because I have had a remarkable vision or an advanced spiritual experience, I should go at once to my knees and repent of the whole thing. I have fallen a victim to the enemy.

5. Our relation to and our attitude toward our fellow Christians is another accurate test of religious experience.

Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable spiritual encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding. He may be honestly convinced that his experience is superior, that he is now in an advanced state of grace, and that the hoi polloi in the church where he attends are but a mixed multitude and he alone a true son of Israel. He may struggle to be patient with these religious worldlings, but his soft language and condescending smile reveal his true opinion of them-and of himself. This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts. The brother has had a remarkable experience; he has received some wonderful light on the Scriptures; he has entered into a joyous land unknown to him before. And it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm. It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh. His new spirituality has made him less charitable.

The Lady Julian tells us in her quaint English how true Christian grace affects our attitude toward others: “For of all things the beholding and loving of the Maker maketh the soul to seem less in his own sight, and most filleth him with reverent dread and true meekness; with plenty of charity to his fellow Christians.” Any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may safely be written off as spurious.

The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (I John 3:18, 19). Again he says, “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” (I John 4:7, 8).

As we grow in grace we grow in love toward all God’s people. “Every one that loveth him that begot loveth him also that is begotten of him” (I John 5:1) . This means simply that if we love God we will love His children. All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians.

Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in person or in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. And conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

6. Another certain test of the source of religious experience is this: Note how it affects our relation to and our attitude toward the world.

By “the world” I do not mean, of course, the beautiful order of nature which God has created for the enjoyment of mankind. Neither do I mean the world of lost men in the sense used by our Lord when He said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16, 17). Certainly any true touch of God in the soul will deepen our appreciation of the beauties of nature and intensify our love for the lost. I refer here to something else altogether.

Let an apostle say it for us: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:16, 17) .

This is the world by which we may test the spirits. It is the world of carnal enjoyments, of godless pleasures, of the pursuit of earthly riches and reputation and sinful happiness. It carries on without Christ, following the counsel of the ungodly and being animated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2: 2) . Its religion is a form of godliness, without power, which has a name to live but is dead. It is, in short, unregenerate human society romping on its way to hell, the exact opposite of the true Church of God, which is a society of regenerate souls going soberly but joyfully on their way to heaven.

Any real work of God in our heart will tend to unfit us for the world’s fellowship. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:140. It may be stated unequivocally that any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil and this regardless of how much purring its leaders may do about “accepting Christ” or “letting God run your business.”

7. The last test of the genuineness of Christian experience is what it does to our attitude toward sin.

The operations of grace within the heart of a believing man will turn that heart away from sin and toward holiness. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:11-13) .

I do not see how it could be plainer. The same grace that saves teaches that saved man inwardly, and its teaching is both negative and positive. Negatively it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Positively it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly right in this present world.

The man of honest heart will find no difficulty here. He has but to check his own bent to discover whether he is concerned about sin in his life more or less since the supposed work of grace was done. Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul. Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine. “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psa. 5: 4, 5).

Jesus warned, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect.” These words describe our day too well to be coincidental. In the hope that the “elect” may profit by them I have set forth these tests. The result is in the hand of God.

A Review Of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”
By David Cloud
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The book “The Purpose Drive Life” by Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in southern California has sold more than 18 million copies and has wielded a vast influence.

Bruce Ryskamp, president of Zondervan, said, “The Purpose Driven Life is more than a bestseller; it’s become a movement.”

Over 12,000 churches from all 50 states in America and 19 countries have participated in Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose, which is drawn from the book. Over 60,000 pastors subscribe to Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox. He has provided materials and teaching to Christians in more than 117 countries on all seven continents.

Richard Bennett observes, “The movement is becoming a global empire.”

Rick Warren has been called “America’s pastor,” and it is for good reason. He is so shallow in his teaching, so positive in his approach, so slighting of repentance, so neglecting of unpopular doctrines such as hell and judgment, so tolerant of heresies, so enthusiastic of rock music, so soft-spoken on that nasty subject of worldliness, that apostate America can’t help but love him.

All of these characteristics are reflected in his best-selling book.

A FOUNDATIONAL ERROR IN WARREN’S BOOK IS THE EXTREME SHALLOWNESS AND INSUFFICIENCY OF HIS GOSPEL.

In chapter 7, “The Reason for Everything,” Warren explains to his readers how they can become a Christian.

“If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. … First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Second, receive. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. … Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” (The Purpose Driven Life, pp. 58, 59).

This is one of the most superficial “gospels” I have ever seen. There is nothing here that would offend or convict the Pope or a Mormon. It’s not the gospel that was preached in the book of Acts or Romans.

For one thing, there is no clear dealing with the sin issue. Warren’s book is intended for wide distribution in society at large, and it is not enough in such a context merely to mention the word sin. The average person in North America will admit that he is not perfect and that he is a “sinner” in some sense, but he also thinks of himself as

a pretty good person. When he thinks of himself as a sinner, he does not mean what the Bible means, that he was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin (Psa. 51:5), that his heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9) and full of evil (Ecc. 9:3), that he is unrighteous and unprofitable (Rom. 3:10-11), that in his flesh dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18), and that his very righteousness is as filthy rags before a holy God (Isa. 64:6). Warren’s incredibly shallow approach allows any person who will admit that he is a sinner in any sense to pray a prayer and then think of himself as a genuine Christian, even though he might continue to deny what the Bible says about sin.

There are many other things we could expose in Warren’s gospel. There is nothing about God’s holiness and justice. There is no clear teaching on what Jesus did on the cross. There is nothing about the blood. He invites the reader to “believe on Jesus.” What Jesus? People today believe in all sorts of false christs, but Warren does not warn them of this nor does he take the time to identify the true Jesus of the Bible in any clear fashion and to distinguish Him from false ones. Just a vague “believe on Jesus” and presto you are ready to heaven.

And Warren completely ignores repentance. There is not a hint here that the sinner must repent of his sin and idolatry. This is not the gospel that Paul preached. Paul summarized his message as follows: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Warren says that he believes in the Great Commission and he mentions it in passing in The Purpose Driven Life, but he ignores repentance which is a part of the Great Commission. Christ gave the Great Commission in Luke 24:44-48 and He commanded that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” Paul boldly preached repentance to the philosophers and idolaters in Athens, and if he were alive today he would certainly preach repentance to the idolaters in America! Paul said that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30), and we can be sure that God hasn’t changed His mind.

WARREN TEACHES A SELF-ESTEEM THEOLOGY UNDER THE GUISE OF WORSHIP AND SERVICE

Though Warren professes that his teaching does not exalt man but rather exalts God and he claims that he does not teach a self help program, in reality he teaches nothing less than a Robert Schuller-style Self-Esteem theology.

Notice the following statements:

“The moment you were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. … It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep you for eternity, what great significance could you have? … Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship …You may be gifted at mechanics or mathematics or music or a thousand other skills. All these abilities can bring a smile to God’s face. …. You only bring him enjoyment by being you.  Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. … God also gains pleasure in watching you enjoy his creation. … When you are sleeping, God gazes at you with love, because you were his idea.  He loves you as if you were the only person on earth” (pp. 61, 64, 74, 75).

Here worship is turned on its head by making it as much about me as about God. I am so loveable and so important and so desirable to God that whatever I do brings God pleasure and therefore is worship. Wonderful me! The self-esteem theology is more about celebrating self than dying to self, even when it talks of dying to self! Warren says that if I reject any part of myself I am denying God’s sovereignty.

What about sin and what it has done to “myself”?

Consider another statement from Warren’s popular book:

“If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross, saying, ‘I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you'” (p. 79).

Thus the cross is sanctified by the self-esteem theology so that it is about me and how the Lord couldn’t live without me. Wonderful me!

Consider another statement:

“God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering to him brings freedom, not bondage. When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is … not a boss, but a brother…” (p. 79).

The self-esteem God is dedicated to liberating me. He is not a boss! There’s nothing to fear. He’s just a Big Buddy, a Powerful Pal.

Warren quotes from Olympic runner Eric Liddell. “To give up running would be to hold him in contempt.”

Thus to deny what I am gifted at and what I like to do is to deny God. Isn’t it clever how that Warren has identified self will with God’s will so that they have become one and the same?

In fact, things I am gifted for and enjoy oftentimes come into conflict with God’s perfect will. God oftentimes calls upon an individual to give up even legitimate things for which he or she is highly gifted and qualified. Many men have given up such things when God called them to be a preacher or a missionary. Peter, James, and John gave up fishing. In the 1980s I met a Chinese man in Singapore who was a brilliant chess champion. God had saved him and called him to preach and he was preparing himself in a Bible College. He told me how that for awhile he had written a column on chess for a newspaper for extra income toward his Bible training, but he discovered that it was not possible to keep the chess moves out of his mind when he was trying to study Scripture so he gave it up entirely, though he was highly gifted at it and enjoyed it. That is true dying to self.

Note the following quotes from chapters 30 and 31 of The Purpose Driven Life which deal with finding my place in God’s will:

“Listening to your heart. The Bible uses the term heart to describe the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections you have. Your heart represents the source of all your motivations–what you love to do and what you are about most. … Don’t ignore your interests. Consider how they might be used for God’s glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things. … How do you know when you are serving God from your heart? The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you are doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you or challenge you or check up on you. … The second characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness. Whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. … Figure out what you love to do–what God gave you a heart to do–and then do it for his glory. … What I’m able to do, God wants me to do” (pp. 237, 238, 239, 243).

Note that Warren does not warn his readers that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). What a gross, inexcusable omission! While it is true that you can trust your desires to some small extent when you are a mature Christian who is delighting in God and immersed in His Word and obeying Him (Psa. 37:4), how many of the readers of The Purpose Drive Life are in that condition? A great many of the millions of readers are doubtless complete unbelievers or nominal Christians or novices or carnal, and to teach them that what they love to do is God’s will is frightful heresy. Many are professional sports fanatics, for example. Others are rock & roll fanatics. Others are fanatics about modern fashion trends. Are they fanatic about such things because that is the way that God made them? No, they are fanatic about such things because they are conformed to the world and walk in the way of sinners (Psa. 1:1; Rom. 12:2).

There are many things that professing Christians are gifted for and effective at that are NOT God’s will!

Again we see that when Rick Warren’s theology is examined carefully it is about self fulfillment, but it is presented under the guise of worshipping and serving God.

Warren builds his self-esteem theology upon strange versions of the Bible. Consider an example:

“The Bible says, ‘Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.’ God said, ‘This guy brings me pleasure. He makes me smile” (The Purpose Driven Life, p. 69).

Warren is quoting Genesis 6:8 in the Living Bible. In fact, this verse should say, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” It has nothing to do with God getting pleasure from Noah. It has everything to do with Noah getting favor from the Lord! The Living Bible perverts this verse, turning it upon its very head. Nonetheless, since it fits Rick Warren’s theology he grabs hold of it and pretends that it is Scripture.

Consider another example of how Warren builds his self-esteem theology upon inaccurate versions of Scripture.

“The Bible says, ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self'” (p. 19).

Here Warren quotes Matthew 16:25 in The Message. Actually, the verse should say, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

There is not a hint here about self help or finding your true self. The verse is not teaching about finding your self but about finding your life. What Warren quotes as Scripture is actually a prefabrication by Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message.

The Message also takes away the Lord’s solemn warning that whosoever will find his life shall lose it. This fits in perfectly with Warren’s unscriptural positivism.

WARREN SLIGHTS OVER HELL AND JUDGMENT AND THE FEAR OF GOD

The Lord Jesus Christ preached on hell frequently. There are nearly 100 references in Scripture to fearing the Lord, and God’s judgment is a never-ending theme of Scripture.

But when it comes to Rick Warren, he does not mention God’s judgment, never urges his listeners to fear the Lord, and he makes only one passing reference to hell. This is on page 37, and in the same section he quotes C.S. Lewis twice. Lewis believed that hell is a mere metaphor and a state of mind: “And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind–is, in the end, Hell” (Lewis, The Great Divorce, p. 65).

Not only did the Lord Jesus Christ preach much on hell, but he preached it hot and furious.

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).

There is no a hint of this kind of preaching in Rick Warren’s woefully inadequate ministry.

If ever there were an hour in which the people of this world need to hear hell and judgment and the fear of God preached fiery hot and powerfully plain it is this present unbelieving, mocking, blasphemous, pleasure mad, self-loving, self-content, self-righteous age, but the popular preachers won’t touch it. Too negative. Too damaging to self-esteem. Too dogmatic and intolerant. Too likely to offend and cut into the size of my audience.

WARREN PROMOTES EVERY STRANGE BIBLE VERSION

In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren uses 15 different Bible versions, including two Roman Catholic ones (The New American Bible and the New Jerusalem Bible). His favorites are the “dynamic equivalency” versions such as the Living Bible, the New Living Bible, Today’s English Version, the Contemporary English Version, and The Message. The latter seems to be his most favorite.

As a result, it is often impossible to know exactly what Scripture he is quoting because it is so strangely paraphrased and wildly inaccurate.

On page 70 Warren quotes Hebrews 11:7 from The Message.

“By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told … As a result, Noah became intimate with God.”

In the dependable King James Bible this verse says:

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

We can see that The Message adds to and takes away from the Word of God in an amazing manner. It adds the bit about Noah building a ship in the middle of dry land. It omits the fact that Noah was moved with fear. It changes “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” to “became intimate with God.”

On page 20 Warren quotes 1 Corinthians 2:7 from The Message:

“God’s wisdom … goes deep into the interior of his purposes … It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest–what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us.”

In the King James Bible this says:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”

It is obvious that The Message is not a translation in any sense of the word; it is a presumption. It is not God’s thoughts but man’s. It is almost childish, not because it is simple but because it is ridiculous.

Warren claims to have quoted more than 1,000 Scriptures in The Purpose Driven Life, but most of the quotations are similar to the previous examples and have no right to be called Scripture.

When I visited a service at Saddleback Church in 2003, I observed that only a few people were carrying Bibles into the auditorium. The reason became clear when I saw the multiplicity of versions that were used in the preaching. It would be impossible to follow along in one’s Bible. The result is that the people do not bring their own Bibles and do not therefore carefully test the preaching. How could they, when any biblical statement they would attempt to examine has dozens of contradictory variations?

WARREN SLIGHTS SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM

The Purpose Driven Life has a page and a half dealing with baptism, but there is not a word about the mode, which is one of the most important aspects. He leaves the reader with the impression that pouring, sprinkling, or immersion is equally acceptable. Obviously it would offend many readers if he were to present a truly Scriptural position on baptism as a burial in water, but what else would a true Bible believer and a true Baptist do?

WARREN CLAIMS THAT GOD LOVES ALL KINDS OF MUSIC

In chapter 8 of The Purpose Driven Life, Warren becomes a prophet, saying:

“God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all–fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! … Christians often disagree over the style of music used in worship, passionately defending their preferred style as the most biblical or God-honoring. But there is no biblical style! … God likes variety and enjoys it all. There is no such thing as ‘Christian’ music; there are only Christian lyrics. It is the words that make a song sacred, not the tune. There are no spiritual tunes” (pp. 65, 66).

This idea that music itself is neutral and that any music can be used in the service of the Lord has opened the door for the world to come into the churches as few other things.

Though the Bible nowhere says nor even hints that God loves all kinds of music, we are to believe that he does because Rick Warren says so. His only evidence for this outrageous statement is his reasoning that since God “invented it all” he must like it all. But where is the evidence that God invented all music? Are you telling me that the devil and sinful men are not involved in the field of music? That is a ridiculous thought, seeing that the devil is called “the god of this world” and music is one of the most powerful influences among men. Sinful men have used music since Cain’s children built the first society apart from God and made musical instruments to satisfy their carnal pleasures (Genesis 4:16-21).

Styles of music are not neutral. Rock musicians have testified that they play their particular style of rhythm for the very reason that it is lascivious. Frank Zappa said: “Rock music is sex. The big beat matches the body’s rhythms” (Life, June 28, 1968). Gene Simmons says, “That’s what rock is all about–sex with a 100 megaton bomb, the beat!” (Entertainment Tonight, ABC, Dec. 10, 1987). John Oates said, “Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex” (Circus, Jan. 31, 1976). Patty Labelle said, “Rock and roll was something that’s hardcore, rough and wild and sweaty and wet and just loose” (Rock Facts, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Ohio). And punk rock manager Malcolm McLaren agreed, saying, “Rock ‘n’ roll is pagan and primitive, and very jungle, and that’s how it should be!” (Rock, August 1983).

Note that they are not talking merely about rock music’s lyrics and associations but also its RHYTHM! These men and women of the world believe there is such a thing as a sexy rhythmic pattern. Rapper Missy Elliot’s album, “Miss E … So Addictive,” was described by as “a seductive cocktail of quirky rhythms and hypnotic beats.”

Why do these secular rockers describe their heavily syncopated rock rhythms as sexy, primitive, seductive, rough, hardcore, naughty, loose, wild, and hypnotic? They are testifying the very opposite of Rick Warren’s philosophy; they are saying that music is not neutral and that the heavy rock & roll backbeat that can be heard on any Sunday at Saddleback Church is sensual and licentious and that is exactly why they love it.

As for the idea that there is no biblical style of music, I could not disagree more fervently. The Bible tells us exactly what type of music to sing in our churches, as follows: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Spiritual songs are not the same as unspiritual or sensual or worldly, hymns are not the same as rock music, melody is not the same as raucous repetition. Spiritual is something that is set apart from the world unto a holy God; different in character than the things of the world. The Bible gives Plain instruction about the Christian’s affiliation with worldly things, and any music that draws the child of God into fellowship with the world is to be rejected (James 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15-16). The Bible forbids the Christian to be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2). Yet the Contemporary Christian Music that Rick Warren uses in his church is nothing if not conformed to the world’s musical styles.

WARREN PROMOTES AN UNSCRIPTURAL JUDGE NOT PHILOSOPHY

The Purpose Driven Life contains extensive documentation of Rick Warren’s dangerous and unscriptural “judge not” ecumenical philosophy.

On page 164, Warren says, “God warns us over and over not to criticize, compare, or judge each other. … Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen: I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride, I set myself to be judged by God, and I harm the fellowship of the church.”

In typical New Evangelical fashion Warren makes no distinction between judging hypocritically (which is forbidden in Matthew 7) or judging on the basis of personal preference in matters not taught in Scripture (which is forbidden in Romans 14) and judging on the basis of the Bible (which is required by God).

The child of God has an obligation to judge everything by God’s Word. The believers at Corinth were rebuked because they were careless in this regard and were tolerant of false teachers (2 Cor. 11:1-4). The Bereans, on the other hand, were commended because they carefully tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). The Bible says “he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Cor. 2:15) and Jesus taught that we should “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). We are to judge preaching (1 Cor. 14:29) and sin in the churches (1 Cor. 5). We are to try the spirits (1 John 4:1).

To test preachers and their message carefully by God’s Word is not a matter of pride, but of wisdom and spirituality and obedience.

On page 34 of The Purpose Driven Life, Warren says: “God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him?”

If this is true, why does the Bible say so very much about doctrine and why did the apostles call for doctrinal purity on every hand? Paul instructed Timothy to allow “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). That is the very strictest stance on doctrinal purity, and it is precisely the stance we find throughout the apostolic writings. Rick Warren has a lot to answer for, because millions of people are basing their lives upon his teaching rather than upon the pure Word of God.

If God is unconcerned about doctrine, why did the apostles spend so much time warning about false doctrines and doctrines of devils? See, for example, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Galatians 1:6-12; Philippians 3:18-21; Colossians 2:8; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2; Jude 3-23.

Rick Warren requires his church members to sign a covenant promising to protect the unity of the church (The Purpose Driven Life, p. 167). This is a dangerous and unscriptural covenant. The child of God is not instructed to submit to a church or to its leaders blindly and at any cost. We are commanded to “prove all things” (1 Thess. 5:21), and all things means all things. The Bereans are exalted because they “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). No preacher or church is above being tested by God’s Word. The Bible says, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (1 Cor. 14:29). Preaching is to be carefully judged by God’s Word. The pastor has God-given authority (Heb. 13:17), but it is not unquestionable authority and it is not his own authority; he is not a shepherd over his own flock; he is an undershepherd over God’s and he will give an account to the Great Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:1-4). The pastor’s authority is not in his own word; it is in God’s Word (Heb. 13:7); and if he strays from the Word of God he has no authority over God’s people and he should not be followed. Blind loyalty to a church is Popery and it is a gross heresy.

Warren even claims that “conflict is usually a sign that the focus has shifted to less important things” (p. 162).

If this were true, then the apostles and preachers in the early churches were side tracked much of the time, because they were frequently involved in doctrinal conflicts. Paul was involved in such conflicts almost continually. Many of his epistles contain lengthy sections in which he takes a stand against false teachers. In his epistles to his fellow preacher Timothy, Paul repeatedly warned about false teachers by name (1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 1:15; 2:17-18; 4:12, 14).

WARREN PROMOTES HERETICS

In keeping with his unscriptural judge not philosophy, Warren uncritically quotes from a wide variety of theological heretics, especially Roman Catholics such as Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence (Carmelite monk), John Main (Benedictine monk who believes that Christ “is not limited to Jesus of Nazareth, but remains among us in the monastic leaders, the sick, the guest, the poor”), Madame Guyon (a Roman Catholic who taught that prayer is not from the mind and does not involve thinking), John of the Cross (a pantheist who believed the mountains and forests are God).

Warren does not warn his readers that these are dangerous false teachers who held to a false gospel.

Mother Teresa and Henri Nouwen, who are quoted at least four times in The Purpose Driven Life, were universalists who believed that men can be saved apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ. When Mother Teresa died, her longtime friend and biographer Naveen Chawla said that he once asked her bluntly, “Do you convert?” She replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him” (“Mother Teresa Touched other Faiths,” Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997). Henri Nouwen said, “Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey).

Why does Rick Warren continually and non-critically promote heretics? The Bible asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

WARREN‘S SHALLOW ENCAPSULATIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT FAITH

On every hand Rick Warren presents his own shallow encapsulations as the true essence of biblical Christianity. For example, in chapter 39 he lists “God’s five purposes for your life.” They are (1) Love God with all your heart, (2) Love your neighbor as yourself, (3) Go and make disciples, (4) Baptize them into [a church], and (5) Teach them to do all things.

There is nothing in these “five purposes” about holiness, contending for the faith, separation from the world, separation from false teaching, reproving sin and error, and many other things that are emphasized in the New Testament Scriptures. Obviously Warren’s five purposes for life are not the sum total of God’s.

My friends, we don’t need some misguided man’s abbreviated form of Christianity; we need the “whole counsel of God” as found in the Scriptures (Acts 20:27). The Bible as a whole, not a few select parts thereof, is the sole and sufficient authority for faith and practice. The Lord Jesus Christ instructed the churches to teach “all things” rather than a few things (Mat. 28:19-20).

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Secrets of the Kingdom of God and the End Times.

In the Parable of the Sower we learn about the four different soils which represent the condition of our heart, which in turn determines if there is a bounty, or famine from God’s word.

Using the four soils as an example, only one person out of four, will respond to the Gospel and produce fruit.  This is discouraging that only 1 of 4 people may respond when we share the gospel with them, but…we also find out that it isn’t up to us to change or convert anyone, but it is their response that convicts them. If we do our part, the rest is up to God and that person to respond. So…one out of four isn’t bad…is it? When we look at our world today, this is actually encouraging.

So, what secret of the kingdom of heaven, is Jesus trying to explain to the disciples in the case of the weeds.

Matthew 13:24   “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28. ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. ‘The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29. ‘No’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”‘ (NIV)

In Jesus’ day this very thing would occur.  An angry farmer would sow weeds in another mans field. There were strict laws made to prevent this from happening.

So what was a farmer to do when he discovered that there were weeds, (probably darnel which looks like wheat until it begins to mature)growing along side his wheat?

Here is how Jesus explains the parable.

37. He answered. “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38. The field is the world, the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39. and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (NIV)

While studying this passage I was amazed at how much we are told about the end-times. The field is the world, so this passage is not about different types of Christians, it is about unbelievers who are professing to be Christians that are among us. In what we consider to be the church, (the wheat), there will be counterfeit Christians, (the weeds). They will be among us and we will not be able to always discern the difference.  An example of this would be Judas among the other disciples. They had no idea of what was in the heart of Judas Iscariot. Think about how much time they had spent together. They traveled, slept, ate, and preached as a group. Yet…they had no clue.

Jesus said pulling up the weeds may also pull up the wheat, so to let them grow together. The time will come at the end of the world that God will separate the weeds from the wheat.  The judgment for the weeds cannot be misunderstood. They will be thrown into the fiery furnace.

What can this teach us? We cannot judge another persons heart, and we are not to. This will be the job of the angels at the end of the world. In the meantime we will have to abide among the unbelievers who profess to love and follow Christ.  So God’s kingdom has counterfeit Christians and real Christians. While we cannot judge another’s heart, we do have to be alert to the false teaching from those INSIDE the church.  Those who truly walk with the Lord have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit while those professing to know Christ, but do not, are counterfeit.

This is further expressed in the parables about the Mustard Seed and the Yeast.

These two parables are not explained by Jesus. I believe this is so because there is more than one interpretation for each. For the purpose of this study we will  focus on the counterfeit aspect of the kingdom. These verses are from the KJV.

The Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32. Which is indeed the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

I have heard a positive interpretation of this parable that says that the tree is the spreading of the gospel to all the nations, and that the church will become a powerful influence in the world (field). The Bible does say that the gospel will be heard by all before the end comes, and this will happen, but let’s look at another interpretation.

This tiny mustard seed naturally grows to the size of a garden herb plant. In this scenario the plant becomes a huge tree of unnatural proportion. This plant is inflated beyond its normal size. It is so large that birds lodge in the branches. A bird that “lodges” has taken this to be its home. This tree represents an inflated kingdom of heaven. What is it inflated with? All throughout the Bible we are warned of false teachings. Many of these false teachings are full of prosperity, inspiration and feel-good messages. One can see how the kingdom of heaven may be artificially expanded with unconverted Christians.

Could the mega-churches of today be part of this apostate kingdom of heaven with  birds nesting in its branches. The birds from the previous Parable of the Sower depicted the birds as evil. These birds came and devoured the Word of God. Now we have “birds of the air” residing in this kingdom. These birds also symbolize evil. Many of the sermons in the churches are lacking in truth of the Word. The Bible is no longer taught. The birds have come and devoured the seed, The Word.

What about those who are in the process of establishing the five-fold apostolic ministries of prophet and apostles? They are determined to build a kingdom here on earth so that Jesus can return to claim His church, the spotless bride. They say the billion soul revival is just around the corner. There is a problem with this, which will be addressed a bit later. Those deeply involved in Kingdom Now theology are creating an extensive  network that will connect to a world-wide spirituality which will ultimately invite the world ruler to step in. 

The Yeast (Leaven)

Matthew 13:33. Another parable spake he unto them: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Three measures of meal was a common offering in biblical times. In this instance we have a woman hiding yeast in the meal until the whole portion was leavened. The yeast was mixed throughout the flour. We know what happens to dough once yeast is added. It inflates and grows easily to double its original size. The yeast changes the entire texture of the dough. Now in those days yeast was added the same way one keeps a starter of sourdough bread on hand today.  It is kneaded in till it is completely infiltrated into the whole loaf.

So what does this mean?  Yeast is always spoken of in the Bible as an evil influence. Yeast was forbidden in ceremonies (Exodus12:15) and we are told “Take heed and beware of leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16: 6.

So Jesus is telling us about the inflation of the kingdom of God and of its unnatual, bloated,  puffed-up expansion.  The cause? Evil. We have the birds of the air in the tree and the yeast in the dough infiltrating the church before Christ returns.

This kingdom of Christians (the true church) will  have counterfeit Christians among us. The Bible predicts a falling away from the faith. II Thessalonians 2:3 says “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.”

So… this inflated kingdom He speaks of will not a righteous, holy, god-fearing kingdom. In fact, this kingdom  will be laced with sinful false teachings that will entice believers AWAY from the truth preparing the world for the son of perdition, the AntiChrist. II Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”

When Jesus Christ returns this will end the kingdom of heaven as He speaks of it in these parables. This kingdom of heaven on earth will be misinterpreted by those wanting to advance God’s cause for their own desires. These parables prophesy what God’s kingdom sadly will look like before His return. We have already been told the blind will not understand, but to the disciples the mystery is opened to them. As disciples today, we should see what is happening in our churches, see the mangled doctrine, because we have been forewarned over and over again in the New Testament.

Can you see how the three parables, The Sower, The Weeds and the Yeast, build upon each other? The first parable is explained, with us learning that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven will be understood by disciples but not the world. The world does not comprehend or care, that faith will depart from the earth…not multiply. The gospel will be spread to the ends of the earth but the takers will be few. The seed will not take root. The birds who eat the seed, Jesus explains as the “wicked one”.  Along with the wheat, weeds will grow in the field (world), and live side by side. The mustard seed, the tiniest of seeds, grows into a huge monstrous tree with birds (evil ones) nesting in it. The bread (the kingdom) is also expanded unnaturally by the  hidden yeast (evil). 

Satan himself is introducing false ideas, false gods, and false religion into all of society.  This is nothing new, but can’t you see the change in the church? At first little by little, lies are introduced and the congregations like the lies. But why is it that they cannot see the deception? THEY DON’T WANT TO. People don’t have time to read their Bible, or have time for prayer.

The kingdom of God on earth will be populated by mostly counterfeits by the time Jesus returns. My take on this is that the church will be  totally infiltrated and those who will not accept this new spirituality introduced by the birds, will have to go underground. Why do i believe this? It is happening today.

Now what about the billion soul revival? This is not biblical because of Luke 18:8.  “…when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” In fact, about the end-times, Jesus says in Matthew 24:9 “..and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”  What about Matthew 7: 14? “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  This verse was recently cited to a dominionist who said this was being “nit-picky”.  Today Bible believing Christians are being ridiculed and sneered at, being called uneducated and unenlightened. The derision is rampant.

Weeds & Yeast 

The secrets of the Parables are not secret to those who walk the narrow path, who have committed their life to the Lord, and who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Those who hold to the truths of the Word of God will not be deceived by the hypocrisy and false teachings of the weeds  and their rebellious words inflated by the yeast.

Please….examine yourself and the commitment you have or haven’t made to the Lord Jesus Christ. The future for the weeds is less than promising, indeed. The church, the true believers, are the kingdom of heaven today. The perfect kingdom we still wait for…after the physical return of Jesus Christ.

So take heart, brothers and sisters in Christ. Luke tell us in 21:28,  “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”

“Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

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It is with great interest that I read about those who are building the kingdom of heaven here on earth.  There are many struggling to find peace and unify this world into what they think is God’s kingdom using extra-biblical revelation. Of course, God’s perfect kingdom is not of this world but apparently that is beside the point.

While studying Matthew, it startled me to realize the secrets that are revealed about the kingdom of heaven in chapter 13. Of the seven parables in this chapter, there are only two parables that Jesus himself explains. The Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds.

Each parable starts “the kingdom of heaven is liketh”, except the parable of the sower, which has the phrase,”Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”

What is it about these two parables that Jesus explained outright to us, that is so important.

First I should note that  parables were used because those who were sincere in wanting to understand the truth, those who were truly seeking Jesus, understood.  Those who did not understand were merely listening to stories, their hardened hearts not seeing or hearing. But those who were sensitive to the words were convicted.  Those who wanted to know more would inquire further.

The Parable of the Sower. Many of us are familiar with this parable.

Matthew 13:3-9

3. “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold a sower went forth to sow; 4. And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5. Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up and choked them: 8. But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty fold, some thirtyfold. 9. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

It was at this point that the disciples asked why Jesus spoke in parables. He said, 11. “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but them it is not given.”

So why were the mysteries revealed to the disciples but not to the others?

Matthew 11:25 “At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

Matthew 13:17 “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things ye hear, and have not heard them.”

I Cor 2:10,14 “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God…The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

The truths that Jesus was speaking of, was foolishness to those who did not have the spirit of God and so instead reveals his truths to those who are childlike when they come to Him. Jesus had just preached the Beatitudes on the Sermon on the Mount as to what our “attitudes” as children of God were to be, and yet the people would not believe.

 Matthew 13:12-13  “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

We must take the full counsel of God.  Those who interpret scripture to their liking or warp its message by taking it out of context… have no light in them. If you are looking for understanding and knowledge in the bible you will find it, but if you are closed to the truth…the truth you do have….will be taken from you.  What a huge implication this is.  If you turn your back on the Word of God, any understanding you have….will be removed. What light you have received….will taken from you.

This would like be receiving multiple warnings from your power company. After rejecting them over and over again by ignoring the bills, the plug will eventually be pulled. The power will be turned off. Likewise if you continually reject the complete teachings of the word of God, what little light you may have….God will turn out.

How careful we must be… to read the bible from front to back to ensure the understanding of his Word.

Jesus then says that this fulfills a prophecy in Isaiah 6:9-10.  “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart. and convert, and be healed.”

God told Isaiah to go and preach to a people who wouldn’t respond, so that their guilt would be certain. As Trapp wrote, Isaiah would “Preach them to hell.” What preacher could be satisfied with a ministry that made the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes? Isaiah might not be satisfied with it. The people might not be satisfied with it. But God would be satisfied with it.  This shows what the word of God can accomplish when it is received with open eyes, ears, and heart. It brings understanding to our heart, it makes us return, and it brings healing to our lives. If you are under the word of God and these things aren’t happening to you, ask God to work with your eyes, ears, and heart! (David Guzik)

Matthew 13:15 “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Jesus was telling the disciples that what was true of the Israelites was also true of this crowd. Isn’t this true of people today? We do not want to hear anything that may convict of us our sinful lives, so we close our eyes to the truth. We do not want to admit that our pathways are wrong or that we may have believed a lie so we continue to put our hands over our ears and sing a song to drown out the voice of God in our wicked hearts. What an eternal fatal decision.

Matthew 13:17 “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired  to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things, which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

So why have these prophets and righteous men seen not and heard not? I looked at Strongs Concordance [G1937] desire. Here is the meaning.

1) to turn upon a thing

2) to have a desire for, long for, to desire

3) to lust after, covet

a) of those who seek things forbidden

Desire, covet, lust, things forbidden! Now this is beginning to make some sense. 

Jude 19 “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”

It is at this point that Jesus explains the parable.

Matthew 13:19 “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.”

We can easily picture a trodden path. The soil is hard here and the Word of God bounces off. A man’s heart is hard in the same manner. He hears the Word but he doesn’t want act on it. The seed does not penetrate. The birds come and eat the seed before it has time to soften man’s heart.

We know this as the parable of the sower of the seed, but upon closer look it is truly about the condition of the soil. The seed is always the same. Let’s look at the next soil.

Matthew 13:20-21 “The one who who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the Word and at once receives it with joy. But since it has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.”

This seed fell on rocky places and maybe found a bit of soil between the rocks. Here it sprouts quickly but when the conditions get dry or hot, the sprout withers. There is no root or foundation to sustain it.  This is how it is when we hear God’s Word and start to go to church, but this soon becomes inconvenient or people start to criticize our faith so we fall away when times get tough. 

Matthew 13:22 “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the Word, but the worries of this life and deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”

Isn’t it just like life to become full of pastime pleasures. Shopping, boating, golfing, tennis, movie theaters, plays, etc. When the truth of Word of God becomes second to lifes whims and riches, it becomes choked among the thorns. We forget about the treasure we had in our heart, and instead long for the treasures made of wood, silver, and gold. Our other gods.

Matthew 13:23 “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

So the description of the soil is the condition of man’s heart when he hears the gospel. It may be any part of God’s word at anytime of ones life.

What four soils best describes your heart right now? 

1. It is hard-trodden, rejecting any truth that may ask you to change your ways?

2. How about rocky? Does God’s Word reach down deep to your very soul or are the roots of God’s Word shallow and ready to wilt in the heat?

3. Is your soil congested with thorns which crowd out God’s Word so that it cannot flourish?

4. Is your ground fertile? Do you welcome the seed of God’s Word into your heart and let it grow to maturity?

This fertile ground is now broken into 3 more categories.  A thirty-fold Christian may be who believes but can be lukewarm at times. A sixty-fold Christian may be someone who lives for the Lord but does not surrender entirely. But a hundred-fold Christian would be one who has commited fully to the Lord in all ways.

So it is not the seed or the sower who does not produce. It is the condition of the soil that tells the story of what one can expect when the seed is planted into it. Different soils produce different reactions. Only one of the four soils will produce fruit. What fruit have you produced for God? Is your Christian life thriving because of obedience to the Word? Do you read and study the Bible daily to ensure that you are on the right path?

The worker is not to blame. The sower has done his job by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next: The Parable of the Weeds – Counterfeit Christians

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