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DOES JESUS CARE WHETHER I ATTEND CHURCH? [Excerpts]

If you identify yourself as a Christian, then I assume it really matters to you whether or not Jesus wants you to attend church. After all, He is your King….not just your advisor….or your buddy….but your Lord….and your God. Right?
We live in a day where many professing believers are being tempted to ditch the whole “church thing.” In some cases, it’s because they had a bad experience in a church. That is understandable….because it happens. Just as divorce takes place in marriages, pain is also experienced in certain church situations. So what’s the solution? Should you dump church…or instead, get connected to one where you will grow?
Here is what the New Testament church did from its very inception. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42) If you don’t realize how badly you need each one of those things, then you don’t understand the New Testament….and you don’t understand spiritual growth.
Some people who leave a church never end up in another church….they remain spiritually homeless. And many of them quickly begin to lose whatever spiritual vitality they had been experiencing.

We can all tell ourselves “it won’t happen to me,” but that is often not how it plays out. When Christians attempt to remain strong in the Lord outside of His family gatherings, it usually doesn’t work. That’s because Jesus instituted His church for many important reasons, and not one of us is smarter than Jesus.

And so “yes,” Jesus cares deeply about whether or not His followers attend church. But it’s not just a matter of “attending church.” It’s really about belonging to a fellowship of believers….where you are fed….and you grow….and you serve….and you are encouraged….and you encourage others….and you pray with each other….and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together….and you experience God’s power and grace.
What’s that? You thought the church was there primarily to meet your needs? Well who did you think was going to help do that? It takes people to care for other people. It takes you to be a blessing to others. Have you come to understand yet how important your place is in the family?
Some Christians “young in the Lord” still have a “consumer mentality” about church, “What’s in it for me?” But just watch…as you grow in the Lord, you will begin to concentrate on…”Who can I bless? Who can I serve? What gifts has the Lord given me to help others know Him and grow in Him?”

Have you reached that point yet in your walk with Christ, or do you still just tend to think that the church is primarily there to meet your needs? That’s the life of a child…and while we thank the Lord for children, we also recognize that children need to grow into mature adults. It’s that way in the family….and it’s that way in the Lord’s church.

Source

http://www.christianpost.com/news/does-jesus-care-whether-i-attend-church-89527/

By Kim Olsen

Oh how often I hear….God is Love…Do not judge others.

In the “judge not” passage in Matthew 7, Jesus instructs us not to judge hypocritically. “Take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” As chapter 7 continues we are further  instructed to judge or determine who is a dog (v.6) a false prophet (v.15) and fruit (v.16). Those who are wise will heed these words and will put them into practice (v.24).

The Bible repeatedly instructs the Christian to examine teachings and to watch for false prophets, IN THE CHURCH. If this warning is not heeded in these last days, then you are on dangerous ground. We are to be wise as serpents because the wolves in sheep’s clothing are ravaging the church. Yet there are those who think this wisdom is hateful and unloving and then trot out the judge not verse out of context.

Now God is indeed love and we are to love others in return. This is a given, the greatest commandment all Christians understand.

But let me ask this…..How much do we love God? The following verses tell us that to love God we must follow His commands set forth in the Bible. If we love God we will obey His Word. That is why we are to study, memorize and learn scripture from cover to cover. Front to back. OT to NT. When we know what God teaches in His Word, only then we can recognize lies when we hear them. Armed with the truth we can compare teachings against the Word just like the Bereans in Acts. We need to warn others of false teachings so they too can obey God’s Word.

If we love God, we will obey His commands. To know His commands we must read and study our Bibles daily. Then we should share this good news with others.

Deuteronomy 11:13

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today–to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul–

Joshua 22:5

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Nehemiah 1:5

Then I said: “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,

Psalms 119:88

Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.

Psalms 119:167

I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.

Daniel 9:4

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,

John 14:15

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

John 14:23

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:24

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

John 15:10

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

1 John 5:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

God loves us and to love Him in return is to obey and follow Him. He loves us, but He is returning as a judge at the second coming. He is coming in wrath.

Revelation 6:17

For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

God’s commands are found all throughout His Word. Do you know them all? Or do you just pick a few of your favorite and easy to follow commandments? Like Nehemiah said, God “keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands.”

See also:

https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/what-the-bible-says-about-judging-contender-ministries/

Experiencing God – Part 2 – Anton Bosch

One of the many problems with the notion of “experiencing God” is that it is man-centered. In other words, God is there for our pleasure, so we can have goose-bumps and liver-shivers. This presupposes that the purpose for a relationship with God is that He may bless us by, amongst other things, giving us pleasurable feelings. So, according to this philosophy we know that we have been in God’s presence because we had a warm, fuzzy experience and some wonderful feelings. Most of these experiences are spoken of in extremely positive terms and are described as wonderful, uplifting, calming, exciting, thrilling or moving. Once-again these ideas are contrary to all teaching in the Bible. This is because we have built up a whole tradition of what it is to experience God, which has no touch with reality or God’s Word.

It may be helpful to examine the “experiences” of a few men who did “meet” with God as recorded in the Scriptures. The first man who met with God, apart from Adam who hid himself, was Moses. “And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6) At the end of his meeting with God, this well educated and eloquent man said: “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Jacob met with God and was left a broken man (Gen 32:31).

Job had a conversation with God and his response to was: “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes: (Job 42:5). Later Isaiah had a vision of God and he cried: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). The angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s parents and they said: “We shall surely die, because we have seen God” (Judges 13:22). Daniel tells of his vision of God: “when I saw this great vision… no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8). Habakkuk heard God speak and said: “O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid… my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself” (Habakkuk 3:2,16).

In the New Testament the first man to “see” the glorified Lord was Saul who was struck to the ground and was blinded by the meeting (Acts 9:4,8). Three of the disciples heard God’s “voice” on the mount of transfiguration and “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid” (Matthew 17:6). John, who lay on the Lord’s bosom saw a vision of the ascended Lord said: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17).

There is not a single account in the whole of Scripture of anyone who had an encounter with God and spoke of the experience as being, cool, wonderful, uplifting, exciting or thrilling. Every one of them spoke of terror and the awesomeness of a living God. None were left with warm fuzzy feelings, goose bumps, chills or a wonderful peace. Every person who ever had a real meeting with the real God was left broken, humbled, quaking and with a deep sense of their sinfulness and unworthiness. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if your experience with God left you thrilled and excited that you experienced something other than God.

Here is another test. If the person comes away from the “experience” and they cannot stop speaking of how wonderful it was and what they felt and what they experienced, they have most certainly not met with God. Those who truly touched the hem of His garment do not come away speaking of the wonderful feelings and how exciting it was. If, and when, they do talk it will be about the goodness, kindness and grace of a glorious God who drew near to a pitiful sinner. Every man who met with God in the Bible was left with a deep awareness of God’s glory and holiness and of their own unworthiness.

As for those who boast, write books and grant interviews about their experience with God have most certainly not met with God. The closer we get to Him, the more broken and humbled it will leave us. It just cannot be any other way. How can a sinful, albeit redeemed man see, hear or be touched by the King of the Universe and be left with anything but self-loathing and adoration for such a gracious and merciful God?

Indeed any meeting with God has to leave us radically and permanently changed. Moses’ face shone, Paul was no longer the ambitious, self-righteous hater of the believers but became one whose very life was poured out as a sacrifice for the church he persecuted. Quiet frankly, I am sick of people who claim to have had some experience with God and who continue in their lying, deceitful, destructive and self-centered ways. Any true meeting with God has to result in real and fundamental changes. These changes are enduring and not a shallow veneer of holiness and piety. Neither are they the feeble results at self-reform. Every one of the men mentioned above was never the same after their encounters. Their speech, goals, lifestyle and attitudes were all dramatically changed – often in a way that was beyond human comprehension. Those who “experience God” during Sunday morning worship or a 5 minute stint at the altar, complete with a couple of tears and who emerge simply to continue with their gossip around the Sunday lunch table can indeed claim to have “been there, done that, bought the T shirt” but they cannot claim to have met with God.

These pseudo experiences are right from the pit of hell for one simple reason: They are a placebo that prevents millions of sincere souls from hungering and thirsting for the real thing.

Yes, God still touches frail humans. Yes, He still speaks and still reveals Himself, but the true revelation of God is infinitely more than a circus act, or a ride on an emotional roller-coaster, or a variety show. A confrontation with God is truly transformative.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Cor 3:18

Read Part one here:
https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=409

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One of the most humbling and important books I am presently reading is War on the Saints.  This book has forced me to take an even closer look at testing the deceiving spirits that are ever-present in this world. 

One very important previous lesson that I have learned is that as my faith in the Lord grows so does the attacks from the enemy.  Every time I learn a spiritual truth from the Lord, Satan pounds back with discouragement, fear or temptation. When the Lord called me into the discernment ministry, I was filled with excitement at His calling…but I also was at first worried about the opposition I would face.  When the Lord called me to teach Bible study, I was willing but afraid at my lack of experience.  The enemy whispered to me…You can’t do this….This is too hard…This takes up too much time…

I only share this because the deceiving spirits are very determined to undermine our walk with the Lord in these end-times.  But with the help of the Lord and the other teachers who are forever encouraging me with their training…I trust the Lord will equip me with all I need to do his His will….and He has.  What a wonderful God we have!

Not only do we have to face the evil strategies Satan throws at us personally, we have to determine whether or not our spiritual leaders have been deceived themselves.  All throughout the Bible we are warned of false teachers who will attempt to lead us astray.  Some of these teachers will be deceived by the seducing spirits and may truly believe they are in the truth. But they are themselves deceived by giving into greed, seeking honor, and enticed by the spotlight that surrounds them. Others are truly wolves in sheep’s clothing. They know the truth, yet bury it deep into their conscience so that the truth no longer sears them. Both are dangerous and will mislead the masses into the kingdom Satan is building here on earth.

“There are many deceived ones among the most able teachers today because they do not recognize that an army of teaching spirits have come forth to deceive the people of God and that the special peril of the earnest section of the professing Church lies in the supernatural realm, from whence the deceiving spirits with “teachings” are whispering their lies to all who are “spiritual,” i.e., open to spiritual things. These “teaching spirits” with “doctrines” will make a special effort to deceive those who have to transmit doctrine and seek to mingle their teachings with truth so as to get them accepted. Every believer must test all teachers today for himself, by the Word of God and by their attitude to the atoning cross of Christ and other fundamental truths of the Gospel, and not be misled into testing “teaching” by the character of the teacher. Good men can be deceived, and Satan needs good men to float his lies inder the guise of truth.” [1] emphasis mine

So one has to ask…Self, do I know the Word of God thoroughly enough to recognize a false teaching? Self, when a teacher gives scripture do I check to see if it is given in context with the passage? Self, do I support a false teacher and mislead others because of this lack of knowledge?  Self….am I deceived?  What tough and humbling questions these can be. 

How we hate to admit that we are vulnerable to deception. But we must!

The man is deceived if he is a hearer but not a doer of the Word of God ( James 1:22).

He is deceived if he says he has no sin ( 1 John 1:8).

He is deceived when he thinks himself to be “something” when he is nothing (Gal. 6:3).

He is deceived when he thinks himself to be wise with the wisdom of this world (1 Cor. 3:18).

He is deceived by seeming to be religious when an unbridled tongue reveals his true condition (James 1:26).

He is deceived if he thinks he can sow and not reap what he sows (Gal. 6:7).

He is deceived if he thinks the unrighteous willl inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9).

He is deceived if he thinks that contact with sin will not have its effect upon him (1 Cor. 15:33). [2]

Doubt is actually a tool that can be used to question the experiences in our spiritual life.  It is this doubt that leads us to question the spirits and to see if they are from God or Satan. Too often we quickly snuff out the light we would receive by turning our back to the fear of discovering a truth we have ignored. We are clearly instructed to test the spirits in 1 John 4:1-3.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Next in 1 Timothy 4:1-2

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

Teaching deceptions will abound. Verses from the Bible will be plucked and regrouped to create false theologies. Words will be twisted from their historical meanings to create “new”, “fresh”, teachings. I was taught not long ago to read the Bible from beginning to end. When done…read it again in this way. There are no “secret teachings.”

“All genuine ‘truth’ is in harmony with the only channel of revealed truth in the world–the written Word of God. On the other hand, all teachings originating from deceiving spirits:

1. Weaken the authority of the Scriptures;

2. Distort the teaching in the Scriptures;

3. Add to the Scriptures the thoughts of men; or

4. Put the Scriptures entirely aside.

The ultimate object of the forces of falsehood is to hide, distort, misuse or put aside the revelation of God concerning the cross of Calvary, where Satan was overthrown by the God-Man and where freedom was obtained for all his captives.

Countless concepts and beliefs which are opposed to the truth of God are injected into the minds of ‘Christians’ by teaching spirits, rendering them ineffective in the warfare with sin and Satan and subject to the power of evil spirits. All new insights and systems of beliefs should be therefore tested by the truth of God revealed in the Scripture, not merely by texts or portions of the Word but by the principles of truth revealed in the Word. Since Satan will endorse his teachings by ‘signs and wonders’, ‘fire from heaven’ and other supernatural signs are no proof of a teaching being from God…” [3] emphasis mine

The end-times will be filled with spiritual deceptions that will deceive many. Signs and wonders, supernatural manifestations, prophetic visions, prophetic words, inner voices, physical manifestations (jerking, shaking, falling, undulating, head wagging, slaying) will all have to questioned by the discerner. Do not let your doubts go unchecked by searing them with a hot iron or by simply dismissing them. If you do this you will open yourself up to deception. You will not be able to discern the lies of Satan. 

You may want to pray something like this.

Lord, show me the truth even though I may not want to hear it. Close any doors that I have allowed to be opened that deceives my heart and mind. If I have believed any of Satan’s deceptions… immediately remove them from my life.   Amen

“War on the Saints” by Jesse Penn-Lewis  

[1] pg. 29

[2] pg. 22

[3] pp. 32-33

A Review Of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”
By David Cloud
David_Cloud.jpg

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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Behold, I am writing anew, through scribes on Earth who are willing to listen to me again with new ears, in the light of the present crises on Planet Earth.

The second purpose of these writings is to call for the completion of the good news concerning the transformation of the world.

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May the Divine Love and Light and Power of the One God be now manifest within your hearts and minds. May this Light and Love and Power lead you to seek That which dwells always in your heart’s centre. Find That, and make It manifest.

Man is on the threshold of a new understanding of his role on planet Earth.

He is near men now. He cannot be denied. His love now saturates the planet and brings change to the fore.

Many and varied have been these signals to men that something momentous and wonderful is afoot on Earth.

All religious groups  await and expect their chosen divine revelation and read the signs as confirmation of their faith

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Revelation unites you directly with God.

When revelation of your oneness comes, it will be known and fully understood.

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Therefore in the new world order, spirituality will supercede theology; living experience will take place of theological acceptances.

It is a work of loving synthesis and will emphasis the unity and fellowship of the spirit. This group is, in a pronounced sense, a channel for the activities of the Christ, the world teacher.  

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Do the above quotes sound like something from the churches who consider themselves on the “cutting edge”? 

There are many who believe that they are hearing from God, and that there will be a “new thing” that is going to happen. We are to anticipate the “fresh moves” of God.  A revival is going to occur that is going to be unprecedented in the history of the church. Churches are emerging, churches are doing spiritual warfare, they are relying on visions and inner voices to guide them through this new paradigm shift that is going to happen. The way the church is promoting change is through this “paradigm shift”, to change from one thought process to another.

If you hear an inner voice that begins to change how you feel about the Bible, or that leads you away from scripture, flee from it. Repent if you have opened yourself to deception. Test the spirits. Those who do not do this, do not love the truth. They prefer to believe that they have been given some special knowledge, available only to an “elite” and this only serves to feed one’s pride. This pride in special knowledge can be traced back to Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.

One has to determine whether the voice one hears is from God or if it is a deceiving spirit.  In Johanna Michaelson’s book “The Beautiful Side of Evil” she relates how she was deceived by a spirit calling itself “Jesus Christ”.  When she tested this evil spirit it failed and the spirit disappeared from her life. How was this spirit initially contacted? By meditation and contemplation. Brian Flynn, a former new age medium,  verifies the contact of evil spirits posing as positives entities in his book “Running Against the Wind”.

The Truth:   The Bible contains many warnings about deception. The Church Growth Movement has been employing the methodologies of Second-order Change for at least three decades now, getting more sophisticated as time goes on. Much of this paradigm shifting towards Church “transformation” is done by methods of deception and coercion. Pastors and leaders are being trained in these methods. But people in the pew have little knowledge or expertise. All they know is that the music is changing, worship styles are different, or that new programs, curriculums, ideas and projects are being introduced in a manner which is compulsory. “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” parishioners are told.  (1)

FROM  Reinventing Jesus Christ  – The New Gospel  by Warren Smith

Sadly the Bible records that many in the church will fall away (2 Thessalonians 2:3). They will follow the “broad” way of the world rather than the “narrow way” of Jesus Christ. ( Matthew 24:3-5). But few will believe that most of the world could be so deceived about the “positive” alternative future they think they are creating with their spiritually compromised dreams, prayers, visualizations, contemplations and meditations. The Bible records, that when it comes to the end times, most of the world and much of what calls itself the church will be unprepared for what unfolds.

Below are the authors of the quotes. They are New Age “Ascended Masters” (fallen angels) using mankind as a channel for deception. 

The first set of quotes are from Barbara Marx Hubbard’s “Christ”. She is a well-known New Ager who “crossed-over”  when she started to hear an “inner voice”.  Her inner voice says, “The church is the body of believers who are conscious of being me” (2)

The second set of quotes are from Maitreya “the Christ” channeled by Benjamin Creme. This is what Maitreya says about Jesus: “Jesus of Nazareth and the Christ are not one and the same person. This is one of the most difficult claims for many Christians to accept in connection with Maitreya, the World Teacher, and it therefore needs some further explanation.”(3)

The third set of quotes are from Helen Schucman a non-christian Jewish woman who took dictation from an inner voice and wrote “A Course in Miracles” . This inner voice told Helen, “Is he (Jesus) the Christ? O yes, along with you. His little life on earth was not enough to teach the mighty lesson that he learned for all of you.” (2)

The fourth set of quotes is from Alice A. Bailey who channeled teachings from her “spirit guide”.  Lucis Trust was established in 1922 as Lucifer Trust by Alice Bailey as the publishing company to disseminate the books of Bailey and Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. Bailey changed the name to Lucis Trust, because Lucifer Trust revealed the true nature of the New Age Movement too clearly. (4)

(1) http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/02/first-second-order-paradigm-change.html

(2) http://reinventingjesuschrist.com/

(3) http://www.shareintl.org/maitreya/messages/message_1.htm

(4) http://reinventingjesuschrist.com/

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What an interesting study….

Matthew 12:38-39

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you. He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

The Pharisees brought Jesus a demon-possessed man who was blind and could not speak.  Jesus healed this man. The people were amazed at this and wondered if Jesus was the Son of David, which meant that he would be the one that God had sent to deliver them. This agitated the Pharisees and so accused Jesus of using the power of Satan rather than the power of God. Jesus knew their thoughts. Jesus answered in three ways.  First, why would Satan use demons to defeat his own demons. Second, Jews had cast out demons and they did not question them, and third, Jesus was driving out the demons by the Spirit of God. They had made a terrible accusation that the work of the Holy Spirit was done by Satan. To deny the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Jesus as Christ and the promised Savior is not forgivable.

The words that the Pharisees spoke showed the evil in their hearts, and they were told that men will be judged for their careless words. Jesus warned that on the Day of Judgment our words will either acquit us or condemn us because they express the condition of our heart.  The mouth is the overflow of our attitude.

Even though the Pharisees saw and heard, they did not want to believe. Jesus has power and authority over everything and is greater than Satan. The Pharisees had seen Jesus’ miracles and heard the evidence that Jesus was Lord. Yet they ask:

38 “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”

39 He answered ” A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign. But none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.

40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Are we a wicked and unfaithful generation asking for a miraculous sign? Are we not content with walking in faith anymore? Do we need the experience of signs and wonders to fulfill a need of power in us? 

The simplicity and and complexity of this one single thought! Jesus is the miraculous sign and wonder, till He returns to earth.  What else is there to ask for? To ask for more than Jesus is unbelief. If ones receives anything beyond the Holy Spirit, He is deceiving himself.

Because of Jonah, Nineveh initially repented and God shows a remarkable display of compassion. Yet, Nineveh eventually was totally destroyed for her oppression, idolatry and wickedness. 

Nahum 1:14…I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave for you are vile.

Matthew 12:43 says When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  44 Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.  

The Jews had rid themselves of idols,  but they never replaced their idol worship with the worship of Jesus Christ.

If you have believed and then become unfaithful to the Lord by worshiping other idols, whether it be power, money, authority, or worship of another spirit,  evil may return 7-fold and completely destroy you.

The Pharisees had seen the miracles that Jesus performed and they had heard the evidence that Jesus is Lord, yet they refused to believe. “We want to see a miraculous sign.”

Jesus promised the wicked sign-seekers that the only sign they would get would be the Sign of Jonah. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a whale before being coughed up onto the land.   Jesus spent three days and three night in the tomb before he was resurrected.  Those listening to Jonah repented. Jesus is greater than Jonah, so the wicked sign-seekers should repent.

Are we a wicked generation asking for signs and wonders?  Do we need more than the written word? Jesus, is all the sign we need, but a wicked generation, asks for “more…more..Lord…more”. Jesus then goes on to say what will happen to those who repent but do not follow Him. Evil will return 7-fold. If you ask for a miraculous sign you may get one, but it may not come from the Holy One.

Jesus is THE sign and He is the miracle. He is all we need. To ask for more…is wicked. So if you are thinking of going down that road, you are going the wrong way.

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After being called divisive and judgmental I decided it would be a wise thing to read scripture and pray about these issues.

My study group is in Matthew right now and what passage did we talk about?  Judging Others. Matthew 7: 1-6. How timely!

First though, let’s take a look at society today.  It seems that “tolerance” is the word of the day, and that all are seeking love, peace and unity. Yes, these are fine things up to a point. My breaking point is when those yearning for love and tolerance begin to change the gospel. My breaking point is when a pastor stands on the pulpit and tells me Revelation is no longer relevant.

Judge Not. Does this mean that a Christian cannot express views or opinions? No, it does not. Does “judge not”, mean that  Christians should allow all false doctine to go unchallenged.  Absolutely not. But…we are not to judge another’s character, and we are not to condemn another. Jesus tell us that when we see a speck in our brother’s eye, to first remove the plank from our own eye. But notice He does not stop at the plank in our own eye. We have to admit our own sin and bias first, then through God’s vision, not our own, we can then proceed. Only God can judge a man’s heart. To say that one can, is indeed self-righteous. However, we are still to use discernment between what is true and false and Jesus warns of false doctine and prophets in Matthew 7, as we continue on in this chapter.

Matthew 7:13-14

What is it that we are hearing today? There are many roads to God.  Jesus warned that we are not to follow the crowd.  The crowd is headed for the wide gate and the roads to this gate are many.  Jesus tell us “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Only a few? Yes, it says only a few…This is so opposite of what we are hearing from the Latter Rain folks.  They say that there is going to be harvest of a billion souls for Christ in the end times. What? A billion? The Bible doesn’t say this. Is a billion a few?  Can you see that we have to discern the truth by what the Word of God says?  Do you think what I just proposed is divisive? It is.  It divides the truth from the lies.

 Matthew 7:15

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you as in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

Jeremiah 6:14

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace, they say, when there is no peace”

Jesus is warning us against deceptions and delusions here. Not all who profess to be Christians are truly so. Jesus states that many so-called prophets are false in God’s sight.

Does Satan appear to us with a pitchfork and with flames leaping from his mouth?  No. He appears mild as a sheep, within the church, speaking calm words. False prophets minimize the sin of the people by applying a soothing balm and avoiding issues like the Wrath of God on Judgment Day.

Matthew 7:22-23

“Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Many in the church today profess knowledge of the scripture, say biblical phrases and do works, but the Lord says some are evildoers. This really is a frightening scenerio.  How do we tell the difference from a false prophet and a true prophet?  We cannot see men’s heart like God can.  This is one reason why we cannot judge someone. So what do we do? We abstain from following the words of men.  We must study God’s word on our own and pray that truth and discernment will be given us. Also we are told to discern their fruit. So be a fruit inspector. It is biblical.

False prophets, false teachers and their followers, do not want others to use discernment…they do not want their words scrutinized. Even my words should be scrutinized and compared to the Word of God.  I don’t mind. I welcome it. I am also learning and praying for the Lord to teach and instruct me in His ways.

Matthew 7:24

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” 

Matthew 7:26

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

This is not the entire passage but it is known as the scripture that tells us to build on the rock of Jesus Christ.  While this is very true what is overlooked is “what” Jesus is telling us to put into practice.  Jesus is definitely our foundation but He is telling us that after hearing His words we must put them into practice.  What good is the Word of God if we do not learn it, and hold it dear to our hearts? So what is our instruction?

Judge not.

Remove your sin or bias first before helping others. 

Do not follow men for they may walk the broad path to the wide gate which leads to destruction.

Beware of false prophets wearing sheeps clothing.

Watch those who appear righteous, they may be evildoers.

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Those who put these words into practice will protect themselves from destruction and deception.

Discernment is necessary in these times to recognize false teachings, apostasy, and spiritual conterfeits. We need the gifts of discernment and wisdom in these times of deception, so pray and ask the Lord for them. Committment is also needed to continuously study the Word of God and remain in prayer.

Those of us who create blogs and websites about apostasy, apologetics, heresies, discernment, or deception do so out of alarm of what we are seeing in our churches. We also do it because we love the Lord Jesus Christ. When I came back to the Lord and started going to church again, I was shocked to find out how much times had changed. Christian yoga, labryinths inside the churches, eastern meditation, no more need to bring your Bible, 10 minute sermons, quick services as to not interfere with the football game, Harry Potter books, and  messages of inspiration but never conviction or sin. It was conviction of my sin that brought me back to the Lord. When the realization hit that time was short before the return of the Lord, I knew that I would fall short and was headed for destruction.

I have heard and read so much about counterfeit spirituality lately that my head spins.  There is a false spirit being introduced into the church. It a spirit spouting love..peace..unity…light. Satan comes as a light. This same light comes from meditation. If you are experiencing joy and never any conviction of your sin, you should wonder why.

Do you possess the “attitudes of the Beatitudes”?  Do you recognize how poor in spirit we truly are? Do you mourn over your sin? Do you literally hunger and thirst for righteouness, asking Jesus to expose your sin to yourself for correction? Are you merciful to others? Are you pure in heart, seeking only the Lord and not material things? Do you promote peace as it depends on you? Are you being persecuted for Christ’s sake? These are the attributes of Gods children.

If you truly are filled with the Holy Spirit then you will no longer tolerate sin in your life.  When you read the Word of God then you will be convicted of your sin, which causes repentence.  Then you will have the freedom that is in Christ.

So am I being divisive? I want to continue to divide deception and the truth.  Am I judging others? I hope to be testing the fruit or the result of what one believes.  If you feel that I am judging you personally, please forgive me. I only want to discern the truth and I wish this for others.  God will be your judge not me.  The Day of Wrath is coming. Are you ready?

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