Don’t be lead astray!

November 3, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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2Co 11:1-6  I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.

 

By just this passage alone, we can see Paul’s concern for those who were part of the churches that he started. He was concerned that those new believers would be lead astray from their devotion to Christ and the truth that He represents. He specifically mentions being deceived, as Eve was (Gen. 3:1-13). He was concerned that they were hearing a false gospel, the real one being perverted by the Judaizers so much that it was truly a different gospel. The main purpose for his warning is the fact that he knew what would happen to them if they did stray from the true gospel.

 

If Paul were alive today, I believe that he be more concerned about those in the church today than he was when he wrote the passage above. Back in Paul’s day, the main detractors of Christianity were the Judaizers, who tried to get Christians to continue keeping the law, and the Gnostics who said that it was impossible to know God and to have absolute knowledge about anything. Over the last 100 years, the gospel of Christ has been changed, diluted, and perverted by a number of people. Some of them have done so to deliberately lead new or naïve believers astray. Without the true gospel, they have nothing to stand on in times of persecution or tribulation and they fall away from the faith. In a large number of American churches, a gospel other than the one that Paul preached is being proclaimed. The congregations of these churches are being taught to chase things other than God. They chase the lust of the flesh (homosexuality, adultery, fornication), the lust of the eyes (greed, covetousness), and the boastful pride of life (self-righteousness, works-righteousness).

 

They are also following other “Gods”. They follow strange doctrines (prosperity, God is love and nothing else, the perpetual virginity of Mary), myths (Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, evolution, New Age), and spout endless genealogies (Judaism, “the men in my family have been Baptist preachers for a hundred years). The pastors that are “leading” them are making them comfortable and tickling their ears, telling them what they want to hear and inoculating them against sin.

 

But, how are Christians supposed to combat these things? To deal with persecution, you have to know what Jesus said. You have to know that He said that it was going to come. You have to realize that there are people who are dying and going to hell who need to hear the truth of the gospel. To fight the different gospels being preached today, the first thing to do (again) is to know the truth of scripture. Jesus tells us in John 8:32,36 that we are to continue in His Word if we are to be His disciples. What I’m going to say next is probably going to upset a few people but that’s part of it. If you are going to be a true disciple of Christ, you have to check everything against scripture, no matter who says it or how well respected they are. You have to truly study scripture. You have to know what God said, how He said it, and the context in which it was spoken. We have to be willing to read scripture and change our lives to conform to it instead of the reverse. We also have to be alert. The false gospels that are being preached today (prosperity gospel, social gospel, feel good gospel, etc.) are subtle gospels that can easily deceive even those who have been “in church” for years if those people are not careful. To fight against the idols and chasing of other things, we have to repent. We have to put God first and put Him before anything or anyone else. There is only God, His Son, and His Spirit as they are presented in scripture. To fight being comfortable and having our ears tickled, we’re going to have to be honest. If you are sitting in church Sunday after Sunday (or whenever you go) and you never come to the point where you are convicted about some of the things in your life, either you’re perfect (you’re not) or you’re not hearing the gospel. If you go to church and you never hear about sin, judgment, and hell then something is wrong. If you’re pastor/preacher is always giving topical sermons or doing sermons series on the Beatles, then you are not getting the gospel the way that you need it.

 

There are other things that I think that we need to do as well. One thing is that we need to stop running the church as an entertainment business. We are not in the body of Christ to turn around and entertain anyone. We are in the body of Christ because of the grace of our Lord and His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection three days later. We are supposed to be telling others the truth so that they can escape eternity in hell. Another thing that I think the church needs to do is to start disciplining its members. Sadly, this would greatly reduce the number of people in the church drastically. I truly feel that many pastors are not pastoring but just standing up in front on Sunday for accolades or attention or because they feel that it is their “calling” or “duty”. If you don’t care enough about the people in your local church to discipline them if they are living in sin, then you need to reconsider whether or not you’re a pastor. One final thing that we as the body of Christ need to be doing is calling heresy what it is. We need to recognize heretics and call them what they are. If they are preaching a false gospel and leading others astray, they are heretics. This includes ideas like Modalism (which is something that TD Jakes believes), the prosperity gospel (being preached by people like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, and Benny Hinn), and the social gospel (which is espoused by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek). None of these beliefs are hermeneutically sound. They all present different gospels and different Christs than those found in the bible.

 

If we are truly going to change America and every other country in the world, then we, as the church and as Jesus’ representatives, need to present and live the truth in front of others. We cannot live our own truth and expect others to see Christ…

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