Five Doctrines from HELL
Let us begin with an important question - "What are the worst and most damaging doctrines in the Western church today?" I believe that the most damaging doctrines are the ones that actually steal people's Salvation by lies and deception and afterwards wrap them in a false cocoon of comfort and assurance of a salvation they don’t have, having religion but not the life of Christ.
There are five major doctrines that do this that I want to deal with. There is nothing worse than giving false comfort and hope to people who are in danger, especially when it is their eternal life that is at stake. It is the worst crime imaginable and the worst thing any preacher could do - and yet preachers do it every week across the Western world. There will be many a lost soul in hell looking for the false preacher who lied to them and caused them to end up there. False preachers will be the most popular people in hell, or should I say rather, unpopular and it will be those they lied to that will be there cursing them and accusing them for eternity, which will make their damnation all the worse. As those one led to Christ will be a part of their blessing and reward in eternity with Christ, so these who were lied to and deceived will be a part of the judgment of those who led them astray for their own personal gain and fame.
Imagine if a building was on fire, but instead of crying out and warning the people, you went and comforted them and assured them they were OK and that they would not be hurt but survive, leading them wrongly - even while the smoke curled up from beneath and the fire was about to devoir them. Wouldn't it be your fault if those people believed you and died needlessly because they followed you, when they could have escaped had they know the right way to take to get to safety?
Such is the situation today in many churches, and God will hold accountable those who lull the sheep falsely with soothing lies and deceptions that give them a false hope. I tell you - this is a matter of life and death. And God's judgment is coming against all who prove to be such hirelings that preach messages to "tickle the ears" rather than lead men and women to true faith and repentance that results in genuine salvation. Today men are afraid to offend anyone by telling them that the need to repent of their sins telling them that all good men go to heaven and many other flesh soothing lies.
This message is NOT an exhaustive or extensive dealing with any of these doctrines, but only enough to try and show the problem with them and cause others to think and question these doctrines and begin to search the scriptures for truth, without the man-made filters that we have been given and taught to have in our faith for so many years.
The 5 DOCTRINES from HELL:
(1) “THE SINNERS PRAYER”
All you have to do to be eternally saved is to repeat this sinners prayer or just "Ask Jesus into your Heart" or “just believe Jesus died for your sins and make a profession of faith in Him and you will be eternally saved”. The fact of the matter is that NOBODY in the Bible ever ‘asked Jesus into their heart’ or ‘gave their heart to the Lord' or ‘made a profession of faith in Christ’ to become a Christian. There is not one instance of this ever happening. There are no people in the Book of Acts repeating a "Sinner's prayer" to get saved. There is nothing even close to resembling this doctrine. This doctrine simply does not exist in the Bible.
I am giving this as a second part of this doctrine, rather than a separate one, but there is also no scripture or verse in the Bible to tell us that when you make this ‘profession of faith in Christ’, or ‘ask Him into your heart’ or whatever, even confess your sins, that all your sins, past, present and future are all immediately and completely forgiven. I have had many say that they don’t have to confess or ask forgiveness of sins they commit since they made their profession of faith because all sin, including future sins were forgiven at that time and they don’t need to make another confession of sin for that one was sufficient for all sin throughout their life. That is not Biblical doctrine but heresy that is causing people to live in and with unconfessed sin!
Take just this one passage that is spoken to believers, who have already come to Christ and been redeemed and not to unbelievers. 1
John 1:6-19“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” The word ‘sins’ is plural and specific not a one time general confession for all sin will do. That is not confession and repentance. You will not turn from a sin that you have not faced, been convicted of and repented of. Then walking in repentance becomes a lifestyle, a part of this life we live by faith and obedience to Christ.
So where are you standing if you don’t believe you have to confess the sins you committed since you made your “profession of faith and asked forgiveness of sin in general terms?” Incomplete confession and repentance leads to incomplete sanctification and incomplete salvation. Repentance comes because God first convicts us of our sin by the Holy Spirit, then when we confess He grants our repentance. It is not our choice or something we do and it all up to us as if God has no part. He is the author and finisher of our faith and this process of salvation, not us.
Jesus said of the Holy Spirit in
John 16:8, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Word reprove here means to convict, convince, rebuke, reprove, admonish of sin, your sin, God’s righteousness and His judgment upon sin. In John chapter 8, the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman taken in adultery and said, “Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” It was a sham to tempt the Lord so they could accuse Him. Jesus replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” The scripture tells us in verse 9, “when they heart it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.” Notice it was the older men who first admitted to themselves that they were also guilty of sin before God and really no better then this woman and had no right to judge and condemn her to death.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure (if, perhaps, whether or not God) will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” If God doesn’t grant repentance they are locked into their present state of bondage to sin. These are people who are in a snare or trap of Satan, meaning they are fastened by a noose, as a bird taken by a fowler or a soldier captured alive in battle. It is only when God grants repentance that your bondage to that sin is broken and you are set free. Why do you think so many people “repent” of a particular sin again and again and keep going back to it and never stop their sinning? God has not granted them repentance and removed them from Satan’s bondage.
This is for those who are walking in the light, in fellowship with Jesus, who have been cleansed by His blood and it says that if we continue to walk in the light and in fellowship, the blood of Jesus “cleanseth” meaning continually cleanses us from sin as we meet the conditions, the “if’s”. Then he reminds us that “If” we confess our sins He will forgive us. If all our sins were already forgiven when we first came to Jesus, then there is no need for asking for forgiveness in the future when we sin if we have already been forgiven. And that is the way many “believers” in Christ think. They think that they don’t have to keep asking forgiveness, to continually keep confessing their current sin because they already confessed their sin once and were already forgiven of all their sins, even future ones they have not committed yet. That is not a godly doctrine, but one out of hell to deceive and keep people walking in sin, presumptuously and that is a great sin according to God’s Word.
Psalm 19:13 “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” We need to understand how serious God takes presumptuous sins, or the attitude that I need not worry or repent of my sin because God doesn’t see my sin anymore since I professed Christ, He just sees the blood because I am already forgiven even before I sin. It is a presumption that you can get by with your sin and that God isn’t noticing or looking at your sins committed anymore. But what does God have to say about it? Numbers 15:30-31 “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” The only way to be forgiven and be free of any sin, is to repent of that sin. There is no scripture that says that asking forgiveness for sin is a once in a lifetime act, but an attitude of walking in repentance and forgiveness such that whenever we sin and realize that our sin breaks our fellowship and communion with God that we repent so that our fellowship can we restored and we can be in right relationship with Him.
So what did people do in the book of Acts to be saved from their sin? Well, according to scripture, every time they wanted to become a Christian (to be saved), they believed and deeply repented of their sin; they were baptized in water, and also baptized in the Holy Spirit. These three things were always done straight away - and were regarded as essential to salvation and not just "optional extras". We are short-changing the entire church today with a doctrine that simply cannot be found in or supported by New Testament Scripture. Many of our doctrines today are new doctrines only believed by the modern “Western” church and not “Christians” in other countries. Merely “asking Jesus into your life” is totally unscriptural. It is time to go back to getting people saved the Bible way, God’s way, which is the only true and real salvation! Everything else is merely empty religious activity that has replaced truth that leads to true salvation with that which is nothing more than man-made religion.
Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” First they were convicted of their sin and then they repented and then were baptized and then received the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:12-17 “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the
.” kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost
Acts 19:1-6 “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto
John's baptism. Then said Paul,.” John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied
Without Repentance there is no salvation for Salvation without repentance is NO salvation at all. And repentance is not a one time act, but a part of the Christian lifestyle. It is an attitude, not a one time act. We repent of our past sins when we come to Christ for salvation, but then we walk in repentance, which means we ask for forgiveness whenever we sin and we also forgive others who sin against us. Why? Because unforgiveness toward others is a sin and if we are not willing to forgive others then we are not truly repentant of our sin and realizing the truth about our own sin and our own need for forgiveness. If one is claiming faith in Christ and not forgiving others, but holding grudges, bitterness and unforgiveness, then they are not walking in repentance, are in sin and need of repentance and if they do not repent, eventually they will loose their salvation. The time will come when the Holy Spirit will give them a choice and one last chance to repent and stop their sin and if they do not repent, then the Holy Spirit will leave them and they will be lost, as the prodigal son who choose to walk away from the Father. It is a choice you make, to follow Jesus, daily. Luke 9:23 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
When you first believed upon Him and came to Him for salvation, you did not cease to be a free moral agent with the power to choose whom you would serve and yet that is the way that many act and think. Yet not entirely, they believe they are free to choose, just that their choices, no matter what, have no affect on their salvation because they believe there is nothing they can do to loose it. They believe that once you receive the gift, it is yours no matter what and don’t consider that a gift can be given back, returned. And many turn back to the world from their faith and cease to follow Jesus and walk in faith in Him and scripture tells us “the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38).
Many begin to follow Jesus or at least hear the truth about Him, but don’t continue on with Him as we see in many scriptures, as the story of the sower and the seed in Luke chapter 8, which tells us of four types of hearts. The first three types of hearts hear the word, two of those three put their faith in Jesus but don’t continue with Him because of persecution or love of the world and only the fourth heart, one that is fertile soil for the Word that is received bears fruit unto salvation and is saved in the end. Luke 8:13-15 tells us of the three that believed and received the Word of God which they heard. “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” We have to keep, continue in the Word which we heard and believed when we first professed Christ. Jesus said, “…but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” Matthew 10:22. I could give a hundred scriptures to support this, but there is no space here for such. It shouldn’t take such to believe what God has said that is “plain English”.
What the church is doing with this doctrine of the “sinner’s prayer or confession” is replacing Truth with something CONVENIENT, COMFORTABLE and EASY. I call it easy, greasy grace. They say, “Just say this little prayer” and then everything will be alright and you will be saved and have your ticket punched to get to heaven. They don’t use those words but that is the implication, you will be saved and on your way to heaven and forever a child of God no matter what. There is no mention of DEEP REPENTANCE at all. There is a total lack of any real TRANSFORMATION into a “NEW CREATURE” in Christ because there was no real turning from sin to faith and obedience that God demands. This is not salvation at all.
Those who teach such false doctrine are robbing people blind in the name of comfort and convenience. How typical of the Western world. We have invented a lukewarm “salvation experience” to go with our lukewarm church so that everyone feels comfortable in our church, in their sin with only a religious cloak for their sin. A salvation without cost or commitment, all for a simple “profession of faith” that is not salvation, but only deception that is deceiving people so they can make merchandise of them because its all about numbers and money and not true salvation in this man-made religion which is a false salvation.
Ezekiel 33:11-20 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of
.” Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways
True Salvation comes because we repent of living a life independently of God in of rebellion against the authority of God and His Word over our lives. True salvation is coming to the
kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:11 “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Notice, God must minister to you, bring you into His kingdom, it is nothing something you do on your own, by your own doing or choosing and it is into His kingdom, meaning under His lordship, the authority of the king. He is first Lord and then Savior, not savior and then Lord.
(2) “ONCE SAVED - ALWAYS SAVED”
Now, having got people falsely “saved” without being repentant and sorrowful for their sin, we create another ear-tickling wonder to make sure that they (spiritually) sleep on contentedly in the pews. While emphasizing ‘tithing’ and attending church (-in that order) the main thing now is to keep them warm and happy - convinced of their “eternal security” and giving their money to the church organization.
And so we deceptively lull them with a doctrine saying that if they once got “saved” (ie. prayed the ‘little sinners’ prayer’) - even if it was 20 years ago, then it is "IMPOSSIBLE" for them to lose their salvation, even if they commit suicide (because all sin they might commit has already been forgiven them without need of repentance so though they die as a murderer, playing god, its still okay or so they tell the family left behind). No holiness needed! No repentance or change of lifestyle needed. Of course, we have to rely on the fact that they do not read their Bibles - lest they find out that such a doctrine is a complete fabrication.
Thus, we conveniently leave out of our preaching such Scriptures as: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23). Hmmm. “Unconditional Eternal security”, anyone?
And of course, we must also leave out parables such as “The Five Foolish Virgins” because it contains this verse: “And cast ye the unprofitable (useless, worthless) servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30). Notice that both of the above Scriptures are speaking of people who think they are ‘saved’ but who end up in hell. -And Jesus said there will be “many” like this.
And then there are dozens of other Scriptures such as, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12) and “Those who do such things shall NOT inherit the
” (1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:21) and “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14) etc, etc. So many Scriptures have to be ignored if we are to preach this cheap modern man-made “Once Saved - Always Saved” doctrine. kingdom of God,
But notice again how well this teaching suits our comfortable, convenient Western mindset. It is ear-tickling by the truckload, to appease and please the fleshly minded who want a religion that promises them everything and costs them nothing. Candy- coated and syrupy-sweet back patting. Can't it be said that this is going to great lengths to make a proselyte to our man-made religion while making them a “two-fold more a child of hell” (Matthew 23:15) than they were before? At least before they were deceived into thinking they were saved when they were in reality only made converts to a man-made religion it would have been much easier for them to hear and receive the truth and come to true salvation. But now they think they are saved, so they see no need and reject the truth that would save them, being satisfied with their deception and slaves to it. And thus this scripture becomes true for them; “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). It is no different than any darkness that calls itself light, whether the false man-made religion of Islam, or Mormonism or any other that binds men in darkness, while calling it the true light and way to God and eternal life. Please note that NO false religion tells the truth or admits what they are, but all profess to be the true light and the way to life. That is why we need the true light of Christ Jesus that brings light into our life and dispels the darkness and deception that bound us to darkness and death. 1 Corinthains 4:3-4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
(3) The CHEAP “No Cost” RAPTURE Theory.
Now this is a dangerous one to bring up! But I am concerned not so much with the timing of the Rapture here - but rather with the cheapness of it. Do I believe in a ‘Rapture’? -Yes, I do believe in a great “catching away” (as the Bible describes it). But again, we have so degraded it in the West that it just becomes one more source of false comfort and cheap grace. This time to escape to heaven without a scratch before any persecution or tribulation begins. Once again - so easy and convenient and ear tickling!
We are led to believe that our rich, fat-cat Western Christians with their false salvation and their no need for holiness doctrines will one day be flying in their jet airplanes and ‘Woosh!’ - suddenly they will be gone. -‘Raptured’. Just in time to escape any bad things happening on the earth.
There are entire industries and multi-million-dollar ministries built on this whole assumption. The “no cost” Rapture theory. How wonderfully it tickles Western ears! How we rush to buy the latest Best-seller that promotes and tells us of this version of the end times and gives comfort to our flesh!
But wait a minute. Wasn't it Jesus (talking about the ‘time of the end’) who told his disciples, “All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.”? (Matthew 24:8-9). How is it then, that we are taught a ‘Rapture’ theory today in which we are “caught up” without any major tribulation or persecution? Jesus; in the above passage clearly tells his disciples - His true followers - that they MUST expect great tribulation and persecution before the end, not an easy escape without having to experience any tribulation.
It is very obvious from all the New Testament writings that Christians must go through persecution, sufferings and tribulations - and that this will get much worse in the end-times. There is never a hint that we should expect to be ‘Raptured’ without going through this. But again, the Western doctrine preaches comfort, safety and convenience - a kind of “cheap way out”.
Why is this such a serious issue? A people who have been told again and again that God will “rescue” them before the real trouble starts are the most ill-prepared people to face real tribulation or persecution. The people who are most prepared are those who have looked the danger in the eye, and prepared their hearts to go through it believing God will care for them and deliver them. With our false comfort we are doing the worst job in the world of preparing our people for what is to come. And in reality, to some degree this particular doctrine has already been put into question by the event of 9/11 and the natural disasters of 2004-5 in different parts of the world, including the
. Many have and already are facing great tribulation in their lives with tremendous disasters causing loss of loved ones, jobs, homes, even churches and much more. United States
In other parts of the world many Christians are being physically persecuted, jailed, beaten and even killed for their faith in Christ and that is not in just one or two countries, but many from most Arab nations, China, Indonesia and others where there is no freedom of religion, at least not to be a Christian and many countries are passing non-conversion laws to make it illegal for anyone to be converted from whatever they are, Hinduism to Islam, to Christianity. It is a crime both for the one who is giving them the gospel and for the one who believes and accepts the gospel, who can now we persecuted and even killed for having become a Christian. So to whom or what part of the world does this easy escapism doctrine apply? Who gets the benefit of such an escape from reality, a just in time escape from trial and tribulation, just some special ones in the Western world who believe this doctrine? Have some who believed this doctrine already faced such horrible disasters and circumstances to bring this doctrine into question?
(4) You Can Do It.
The Champion within you. Believe in yourself. This is nothing more than positive thinking and human psychology that adds up to a pat on the back, motivational thinking wrapped into a religious covering and is not equal to the truth or the Word of God, but contrary to the truth of the Word of God.
In our day we have plenty of motivational speakers both on the worldly scene and in the church, positive mental attitude seminars also at work and in churches, full of meetings with people who whip others into an emotional frenzy with glib-tongued speakers that leave out the reality and truth that spiritual success and victorious living by the Word of God comes with a price and by sacrifice and not so simple as a positive confession. Some of it is nothing more than glorified Norman Vincent Peale Positive thinking teaching. The people don’t understand that serving Christ takes sacrifice.
But today many people shop for a church that pats them on the back and makes them comfortable as they are, requiring no sacrifice, even no real change in life. They want to hear smooth words that bless them no matter what. They love to be told, you can make it, you can be successful, you can do it, the power is within you, the ability is within you, you can do anything you believe you can and you can have anything you desire enough sells easily and draws the crowds who desire an easy way to heaven, easy way to blessings, without real sacrifice because anything requiring sacrifice is not popular, just like controversy.
So many preachers today stay away from the really controversial, don’t speak of sin and the need for real repentance and turning from living for self and turning your life over to Christ, to allow Him to truly be Lord and Master is not popular. Preaching that you have to turn away from anything that is not pure, holy and godly and live a separated, sanctified life to please the Lord is not popular.
But in our society today, most don’t want to hear of personal cost (not speaking of money) or sacrifice and repentance, but to be told they are loved and accepted like they are and God is pleased with them and they can have His best of this world and heaven too with no strings attached. They don’t want to hear the words of Jesus in Luke 9:23-25; “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Mark 8:36 makes it more clear, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The problem is that if you don’t deny self as Jesus said we must, then we will worship self. There are only those two possibilities, either you deny self or worship self. Either you deny your self will and right to choose and be master of your life or you turn it over to Jesus and let Him become Lord and master of your life and let Him choose for you. The heart of natural men love self and it is had to deny self without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to work within you and enable you to do so. Phileo love, the kind that Peter said he had for Jesus in John 21:15-17 will always defend and promote self. That is why Peter failed when he was tested and denied Christ three times. Jesus doesn’t want Phileo love. He asked Peter if he loved Him, ‘agapao’. At least Peter was honest in his reply. But after the cross and Pentecost, then Peter would have that agapao love of God and not just the love of a friend.
But today most don’t want to hear and apply the words of Paul in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The basis and key of the true Christian life in Christ is that we cease living for self and live for Jesus. The problem is summed up in the words of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Because our natural fleshly thinking is wrong and contrary to the things of God and the Spirit, we have to be “… transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Motivational gurus like Joel Osteen, Tony Robbins and preachers like Rick Warren and his purpose driven life are selling a message of false hope with a core message of which YOU are the center and you can do it. All this is like a slap in the face of God. We forget that Jesus said, “… for without me ye can do nothing!” (John 15:5). The passage tells us even more as we look at Verses 4-6, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:4-6). In the bigger context it has to do with relationship, not Sunday go to church religion for a religious cloak and covering to appease our conscience.
The Word of God says in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” But the problem is, they take out the “Through Christ” and tell people they can do it because it is within them and that is a lie from hell. It is the world’s lie. It is the lie of self-sufficiency and ability and self-confidence. It is the same lie that Satan used to deceive Eve, it is the lie of the new age movement, it is the lie of humanism and human psychology.
The world’s greatest book on success and how to be successful in every area of you life is the Bible. There is no other book like it. If you want to understand how to be successful in your home and marriage, it’s in the Bible. If you want to know how to life a victorious overcoming Christian life, it’s in the Bible. If you want to know how to be successful in the world, in your business or profession, read your Bible. If you want to know how to raise children, don’t read Dr. Spoke, read your Bible. The Bible is the only book in the world that answers all the most important and troubling questions of life, as (1) Where did I come from, (2) Why am I here, (3) What is my purpose in life and (4) Where am I going? If you have a question about life and success in life, it is in the Bible. You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on motivational books, instruction books, how to books, tapes and how to be successful seminars, how to get along with people, how to have a blessed marriage or whatever. All you need is your Bible for the answer. All the answers to the most important questions and issues of life are in the Word of God. You creator wrote an owners manual. He understands and knows you and mankind better than you or anyone else and He knows what will work and what won’t. Yet it seems even Christians go last to the Word and would rather take a short cut to buy and listen to what someone else says about God’s Word or about a particular issue in life, rather than going to the giver of life for their answer.
Please understand me and don’t misunderstand. Today we have an abundance of preachers who preach psychology and are nothing more than motivational speakers, with only one small difference between them and those of the world, like Tony Robbins. They use some scriptures out of the Bible, but they fail to tell the whole gospel, the whole truth. They cannot say what Paul said in Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
Everyone wants to hear how to be successful in life, everyone wants to make plenty of money and have a great career or business and have a wonderful marriage and parent without trouble or trials, how to have peace, joy, happiness and the abundance and the full blessings they hear about in the Word of God. However, they are not being told the cost, the price it takes to get those blessings of God. They are not told that with every promise of God there is a condition for receiving it and that they don’t come with “no strings attached”. They leave out the most important detail which is that you must die to self and surrender your life to the Lordship of Christ to be willing to hear and obey Him and keep His commandments.
They don’t preach Hebrews 5:9 that Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” which is not all who go to church on Sunday. Or John 14:14 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” How about 1 John 2:15-17 “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. For 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.”
Today covetousness is brought into the church and put under a religious covering to “sanctify” it and make it seem acceptable and even godly because it appeals to the flesh and fleshly people who love the world and the things of the world. People are told to give money in order to get more in return, so their motivation to give is not love or compassion for others, love of God and appreciation for His blessings, or even to store up treasure in heaven or anything other than to get more; or simply it is an appeal to the greed instinct within the natural unregenerate man who is walking in his flesh and not according to the spirit. The are doing what Paul spoke against in 1 Thessalonians 2:5 “For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness;” and they forget to mention that God said that covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5) or to not let covetousness once be named among the people of God (Ephesians 5:3) or the admonition of Hebrews 13:5 to “Let your conversation (character, manner of life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.”
That is unheard of in preaching of today, contentment with what you have with verses like Philippians 4:11 “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” To go with the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25, 32-33 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on… (For after all these things do the Gentiles [those who are not in covenant with God] seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the
.” Jesus told us to not worry about or seek things, but Him and His kingdom and He would add the things we have need of. I could say much more about this with many verses but the words of Jesus should always be enough to be the final word on any issue. kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you
Not to mention the other side of the giving coin and that giving to get is against the Word of God because Jesus said Matthew 6:3 “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:” which means you don’t broadcast or do your giving publicly or for recognitioin of men and in Luke 14:12-14 He said; “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Yet we are not taught sacrifice and helping others and compassion for the needy, not really. What about the teaching that says we are all brothers and that how those who have gave to meet the needs of those who had not as in 2 Corinthians 8:12-15 “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.”
You see we have to die to self, to the self life, to selfishness and the self-will daily to follow Jesus. Luke 9:23 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” The first requirement to follow Jesus is to deny self, the self will. Why? Because you can’t follow Jesus until you take up your cross, which is where your will and the will of God come into conflict and so you must die to your own will to take up and do His will. That why it is your cross. Because it is something your flesh doesn’t want to do. This is Jesus in the
Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” It wasn’t the will of the man Jesus to drink the cup, but Jesus set aside His will and human desires to accept the will of the Father. If He had not, we could not be saved. We must understand that coming to Christ means coming to the Cross and coming to the Cross is death, death to our self will, our old life of doing things our way and living without considering Him or His desires or will for our lives, by living our lives as a song of the world declares, “I did it my way.” That is the way to destruction and hell. True Christianity is about surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus and ceasing to live for self. And because that doesn’t bring crowds and money, it is being abandoned by most today.
It is only when we die to self, die to our flesh and fallen nature that we can “walk in the spirit” and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Romans 8:1, 5-8 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit… For 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. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
They key to victorious Christian living is daily dying to self and the self will and the pleasures and lusts of the flesh. This is why so many live in constant turmoil without the peace of God and the blessing of God they desire upon their life. And so people who are supposed to be believing Christians commit fornication, adultery, gamble, drink, get into drugs, pornography, lying, theft and many other things, all the things that they were supposed to leave behind when they came to Christ. If you don’t die to self, you will never walk victorious in the spirit. The real problem stems from the fact that most professing, church going “believers” have never been born again because they have never come to true and full repentance of sin and turning away from their rebellious independent life apart from God, to “serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). They said a “sinner’s prayer” they had a man led religious profession of faith and were told they were saved, but they were never changed.
When you come to true repentance and salvation, then everything changes because God said; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). If your life hasn’t totally changed and become new and the old wants and desires of your flesh passed away, then something is wrong with your salvation. Some were once set free and delivered of their past sinful life, but then after a period backslid and went back to their old sin and were again taken in bondage. Therefore they now need to be delivered and set free once again and brought back to the liberty that is in Christ and the freedom that comes from being truly IN-Christ.
Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” Where is Jesus seated? According to the testimony of the Father, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet,” (Ephesians 1:20-22). That is where we are supposed to be if we are in Christ, seated with Him in heavenly place, far above the powers of hell. Then we will have the same power Jesus gave his disciples in Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
One of the most important principles of scripture that is totally left out of most modern please the people, tickle their ears, pat them on the back psychobabble teaching is the leaving out of the requirements that are attached to every promise of God. All of the benefits of the Word of God are available for His people, but there is a price to pay, a cost and that is a life of obedience, a life surrendered, yielded to the Lord. This takes a daily choice, a daily act of your will to lay aside your will and do that which is the will of God and follow and obey Him. No one can force you and God won’t, for it is your free will choice each day, whether or not you will follow and do His will or your own, whether you will walk in the spirit or in your flesh. Will you consciously choose to die to self today and surrender your life to Christ, to walk in the “spirit” and not your flesh? That is the price of having His best in your life and in eternity.
Don’t waste your time nor your money buying and listening to motivational speakers and feel good no-gospel preachers who tell you that you can do it all yourself, that it is all within you and that there is no sacrifice involved. “The Champion in You” and their teachings are nothing more than positive thinking and New Age philosophy. The Key to a victorious Christian life is not what you can do for yourself, not what is within you, not in your ability, not what you confess, but the reality of Christ living and working in your life by the power of the Holy Spirit because you surrender your life to Him and allow Him to live in and through you.
For now, your life is no longer your own, but His. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” You belong to Him, you are His purchased possession. Your giving your life to Him is giving Him that which belongs to Him. Salvation is a divine exchange program. You give Him what you are and have and He gives you what He is. You give Him your life and He gives you His life. You give Him your weaknesses and sin and He gives you His strength and forgiveness. It all begins to take place in your life because you make a daily conscious decision to follow Jesus this day. Salvation didn’t come cheap for Jesus and though it is a gift that you can’t earn or deserve or be worthy of, it will cost you something to accept and walk in. There is no free ride and no salvation without strings attached. It requires your obedience to Him. That is your part.
Look at when God made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:1-3 “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him,” Notice, you walk perfect before me, speaking of the attitude of his heart and intent of his heart, not that he would be perfect and without failure, and I will make my covenant with you. God is a God of covenant and that is why we have the Old Covenant and New Covenant or Testament. One based on the death and blood of animals and the other upon the death and blood of Jesus. That is why it is a Testament as in last will and testament. We come into the last will and testament of Jesus and become partakers of it based upon our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf.
(5) The real prosperity Gospel.
How many times have you turned on Christian television and heard a message on “prosperity?” On the screen was a man or woman wearing thousands of dollars worth of clothes, tens of thousands more in jewelry, speaking from a million dollar set or a multi-million dollar building. Their message was about prosperity and how God wants you to have a mansion, drive new luxury automobiles, wear the finest clothes, eat the most sumptuous food, vacation in far-off lands. They tell you from God's Word that you are the “head and not the tail,” “the lender not the borrower,” that “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” “all the gold and silver belongs to Him,” and the “wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous.” And yes those are all pieces of scripture, but they are misusing them and preaching a message that is not balanced but one to cause you to want more, something you don’t have and believe that the way to get it is to give more to them. That is what it is really all about.
As you sit there watching, you start to get into their message. They tell you that you are the child of a King and you deserve to live like royalty. Their powerful words encourage you to believe that God will provide you with all of the riches this world has to offer. They tell you that the only thing keeping you from enjoying great prosperity is your faith and your need to sow some seed faith by planting some money into their ministry. You simply need greater faith and then they explain to you how to attain greater faith. You see, according to these prosperity teachers your faith is tied directly to your bank account and how much you are willing to give to them! (Where do you think their prosperity comes from and what enables them to live like kings in wealth and opulence while many who give to them have nothing and are in debt?) They even have the audacity to ask people to give what they don’t have with their credit card, and then the poor people end up paying interest on top of their gift. But God never asked any man for something he didn’t already have in his hand. God won’t ask for what you don’t have. If you have to borrow it, it isn’t yours and you don’t have it to give.
You are then challenged to show how great your faith is by the amount of money you are willing to send to them. Though it is never said in words, it is clearly insinuated that the bigger the check you write or amount you charge on your credit card, the greater your faith is and the greater will be your blessings. The verse in the Bible that these prosperity teachers routinely pervert is Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Bottom line, even though they never actually say it, they make it very clear that the more you want from God, the more you have to give to them. This false prosperity Gospel is based on their greed and your greed and not really on your faith at all.
The flourishing of the prosperity Gospel in the past 30 years has coincided with the wealth and excesses of our culture, especially here in the
. It has played right into the trap of this world that measures success in dollars and cents. It parallels the mindset of Michael Douglas' character Gordon Gekko in the late 80's film "Wall Street" when he proclaimed “greed is good.” Sadly, like in how we dress, our music, how we view the issues of our day, instead of the church influencing the world, we have allowed the world to influence the church, especially in regard to this whole issue of prosperity. United States
I'll give you the perfect example. How do we judge a successful church? There is only one criteria we use, the number of people who show up for service. How do we judge a successful ministry? How many people work there, how big and modern are their buildings, do they have more than one corporate jet, how much money do they raise? We have allowed the world to influence the church instead of the church influencing the world! God doesn't judge a successful church by the size of their buildings or the number of people who attend or the money they take in. God judges a successful church by their dedication and service to Him! God doesn't judge a successful ministry by the value of their assets. God judges a successful ministry by their faithfulness to the work He has called them to and the lives they are impacting for His Kingdom, not bringing to their own man-made kingdom. Tthat is not His doing and making!
Then there are those who have gone completely in the other direction and say that to be a true follower of Christ you have to live in poverty are equally as wrong. There is no place in the Bible that supports this false notion that you have to live in poverty to be a real follower of Jesus. There is nothing wrong with having a nice home, nice cars, nice clothes, eating good food, going on nice vacations. Money is not evil, but covetousness and the LOVE OF MONEY is evil. God has richly blessed many of His people with great material possessions and wealth since the beginning. It has been many of these people God has so richly blessed that have been responsible for much of the work of the Kingdom getting done! God blessed Joseph of Arimithea to be able to give his tomb to Jesus. God blessed those who gave to support Paul's missionary trips. Many who God has blessed with great wealth and resources have been faithful to use their blessings to further His work!
But the real prosperity Gospel is not about money or possessions, it is about our relationship with Jesus Christ! The wealth of the child of God is NOT in the things of this temporal world that will one day pass away, it is in our eternal relationship we have with the Lord! The real prosperity Gospel is about what we have in Jesus and will have in eternity, not what we have in the bank here and now that will burn and perish! For a detailed study on “True Biblical Prosperity” I have a two part study on the subject.
Ever wonder why you don't see these prosperity teachers on ABC or major network affiliates? Simple! Only a few would watch meaning nobody would give them money or buy their books and tapes. Ever wonder why they don't preach their prosperity message in
India, Africa, or other parts of the world? Same reason! Their message doesn't work on people who have nothing to give them. That is why it is a false gospel. Our prosperity is NOT measured in our earthly treasures but in our faith in God and love for Him and what we have stored up in heaven. The Bible is very clear that our wealth is not in the temporal things of this world but in the eternal things of God! True prosperity is overcoming every obstacle in this life and living and overcoming life and having the blessing of God upon us (not just our finances).
Do you want to tell me that a person who loves Jesus, follows Christ daily, serves Him faithfully, yet lives in a small apartment in
Siberia and has no material possessions is poor because they have no faith? The reality is God is blessing that person 100 times greater than He is blessing someone who is saved and has all this world can offer in terms of material possessions, but is not fully surrendered or living their life for Him. Do you want to tell me God is not richly blessing someone who lives in Dallas, Texas who has a small 2 bedroom home, a mortgage, a 13-year-old car with 120,000 miles on it, basically living paycheck to paycheck but loves Jesus, is in the Word and prays daily, part of a local fellowship, serving the Lord in different ways, and honors Christ each day in how they live?
As you can see, what we have set up in the Western church is an entire system of FALSE ASSURANCE. First, we falsely assure people that they are “born again” when they are not. Then we falsely assure them that it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for them to lose their salvation - no matter what they do. Then we falsely assure them that they will escape all end-time tribulation and persecution with an ultra-convenient ‘Rapture’. We top all that off with motivational preaching and the prosperity message and give them everything needed for a great deception and falling away from truth.
We have it all sewn up! It is a kind-of “cradle to the grave” system of false salvation. A whole set-up devoted to convincing Hell-bound people that they are going to Heaven by the “cheap and easy” route. Like the Fast Food outlets that we have invented in the West, it is all about ‘Instant Gratification’. It is the cozy, warm and comfortable way. No holiness needed. Just like going through a McDonalds drive-through. “Do you want fries with that ‘happy meal’, sir?”
Every one of these lies is perfectly suited to our Western mindset. That is why they have been so successful. But that does not stop them being LIES. Nor does it stop them from sending multitudes to Hell.
We in the West have become devotees of a kind-of “no pain” religion. Sadly, that religion no longer resembles true Christianity. Let us REPENT of ALL such doctrines before it is too late and turn back to the truth that can truly save and prepare us for heaven.
When you are convicted of sin, it is then God gives you the grace to repent. Repentance is a gift from God and it comes with conviction and when you are convicted, you should run to God and repent. God can use someone who repents.
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