Tag Archives: false teaching

Redefining “Seeker Sensitive” ~ Jeremiah 28:9-40

“The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the LORD. ~ Jeremiah 23:28

I carry a burden for the American church-at-large. Many churches today proclaim they are “seeker sensitive” – an honorable mission on the surface, but in reality a mission that too often results in a message tailor-made for a people who want nothing to do with a sovereign God. My burden for the American church is cast in the mold of false and watered-down teachings.

Dilution-grenadine

As I read Jeremiah, there can be no question as to how God feels about sin. But I also see a repeated theme that talks about those who prophesy falsely – those who claim to speak for God when they do not. In doing so, they mislead His people. God’s anger is stoked against them as well:

“For both prophet and priest are polluted; Even in My house I have found their wickedness,” declares the LORD. “Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, They will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it; For I will bring calamity upon them, The year of their punishment,” declares the LORD. “Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.” (Jeremiah 28:11-14)

Today, many churches refuse to discuss sin or God’s anger with sin. They don’t talk about God’s sovereignty over His creation, of which we are an integral part. Yes, they talk about forgiveness and love – but forgiveness from what? If one who does not know God shows up Sunday morning, what does she hear? Does she hear about her sin, her need for redemption, and the redemption our sovereign God offers only through Jesus Christ? Or is she told that she should seek to live her best life now because God wants her to feel happy, fulfilled, and pleased with herself? Is the unbeliever introduced to the sovereign Lord of Creation who wants so badly to be in relationship with His people, even though we sin in every way imaginable, that He sent His Son to save us from the eternal damnation we rightfully deserve? Or is he introduced to a casual, fun-loving god who is only out to make new friends as he grants our wishes for happiness and prosperity?

Without a full understanding of our sovereign God, and absent a complete understanding of how our sin positions us before God, a discussion of forgiveness is meaningless. When the church changes the message to appease the crowd, the unbeliever may walk away feeling darn good about himself and thinking all is well when, in reality, he is unprepared to face his holy and righteous judge. As the passage above says, “…they (those communicating false teachings) strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness” (verse 14). When the church conducts itself in this manner, it is not serving God and God is not pleased.

English: 4 days of Evangelism Training in Sout...

English: 4 days of Evangelism Training in Southern California provided by LivingWaters Ministry. Obeying the great commission of Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone” Mark 16:15 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The primary purpose of the church is to offer worship to God while equipping believers to go out into the world and witness to the Gospel as Jesus commanded. The church was not intended to be a religious Field of Dreams (“If you build it, they will come”). Want to be truly “seeker sensitive”? The first step is to be honest. Help the unbeliever understand who God is – His awesome power, His sovereignty, and His love. Speak in love, not Pharisaical condemnation. Talk about the fact that we are all sinners, deserving of God’s wrath and eternal punishment. Once they understand that, share the sweet fruit of the Gospel and trust the Holy Spirit to grant the gift of faith. The Truth will set them free; anything less than God’s Truth only serves to tighten the binds of sin.

Ponder this: I take great comfort in the fact that God is completely sovereign over His creation. I treasure the fact that His Word is eternally true; I can build my life upon it with confidence, knowing that my destination for eternity is set through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who don’t yet know Him deserve to know the truth. Are you ready to share it? Is your church sharing it?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, You have placed this burden on my heart for a reason. Help me to respond to You according to Your will. I lift up Your church and all who preach, teach, worship and learn there. Expose false teachings, Lord, and cause a holy reawakening to take place based on Your Word and Your Word alone. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Finding Comfort in God’s Sovereignty ~ Jeremiah 18:1-20:18

But if I say, “I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. ~ Jeremiah 20:9

God’s sovereignty is a touchy subject in the modern church. Many preachers these days don’t preach about it, and many believers don’t like to hear about it. That puzzles me, as I take great comfort in it.

In this passage, God directs Jeremiah to visit a potter and watch him work. As the potter forms his object, it becomes misshapen so the potter punches it down, destroys it, and begins again. The potter has complete control over that which he creates, and he shapes and reshapes it until it becomes exactly what he intends. God then directs Jeremiah to take a completed pot outside the city gates and smash it before the people, telling them that this is what God will do to Judah and Jerusalem for their disobedience.

For prophesying these things, Jeremiah is beaten and placed in a stockade overnight. After his release, he cries out to God in despair for the persecution he has endured for bringing God’s words to the people. But even through his despair, Jeremiah offers praises to God, knowing of course that God’s will is perfect.

Members of some modern-day churches might interpret my speaking of God’s wrath as a lack of “peace in Jesus”. They feel that way because they are not being taught the entirety of God’s truth. God, as preached in some churches, is our buddy. He’s not angry; He’s just a bit disappointed. He wants us to be happy and prosperous. He would never send anybody to Hell, and He has provided many ways to salvation; Jesus is just one of them. Blasphemy indeed! But sadly, I know many members of Christian churches who believe these things.

Here is the irony: I have peace in Jesus because I understand and appreciate God’s sovereignty over His creation, the righteousness of His wrath and the fact that it applies to me because of my sins. When I consider the love God has for me, that He sent His Son to take my punishment, I am awestruck. I don’t deserve it, but He did it anyway. Through Jesus, and only through Jesus, our Sovereign God has forgiven me and spared me of the eternal consequences I deserve. That, my friend, is the message of the Gospel. For the nonbeliever to come to Christ, we must make him aware of his need for Christ. We must share the whole truth.

Indeed, Christians are persecuted around the world for sharing God’s truth. Facing such persecution is sometimes extremely difficult. Let us lift these faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer as we seek to follow their example – boldly and honestly proclaiming God’s truths to a world that seems to be increasingly turning away from Him.

Ponder this: Does your church preach and teach the entirety of God’s truth? Are you equipped to share it?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, today I lift up Your church and all who share Your Gospel. Give me boldness to speak Your truth faithfully out of love for my fellow man. Let your Church be a beacon of truth in a land ensconced in darkness. Guard and protect me, and use me as You will to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, AMEN.

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