Praise the Lord.
Chasing down trends has become a trend in itself. People sit and wait for the newest thing they can introduce to their church for church improvement or the real reason- for church growth. Growing attendance and growing spiritually are two different matters. Super-size is in and it is beneath the notice of today’s Mega leaders if you do not have this kind of attendance. So they desire more and follow the one who wanders from its nest. Like birds, they chirp whatever is said and follow the bird droppings of big bird.
The followers parrot whatever their teacher has said, never understanding that they are submitting to him instead of Jesus. For Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). People are following men and their words over Jesus and His Word.
The world is convinced the devil is imaginary and is a mythical creature, who wears a red suit. In the same manner a good portion of the Christian church has been convinced to accept anyone who is successful, that wears an expensive suit behind the pulpit as teaching the truth about God. To the listeners of these teachers it has become more offensive to question what they are saying than it is for spreading heresy. If someone accuses their teacher of saying something wrong, they are pre conditioned to act like Pavlov’s dogs and attack them, labeling them with every derogatory term or word in the book.
We are to be listening to the content, we do not have our eyes on the messenger. Is it Biblical teaching or is it from man. It happened to Israel- Ezek 22:27-28 “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. “Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD had not spoken.” We are told to be aware of men rising among us to lead us astray by speaking perverse things. Paul warned the Ephesian church specifically about this (Acts 20:29). Perverse is the Greek word diastrepho-1) to distort, to turn aside to oppose, to plot against the saving purposes and plans of God. 2) to turn aside from the right path, to pervert, to corrupt.
On the other hand he commended a certain group of people above all the others, the Bereans (Acts 17). They searched the Scriptures daily- not just once in a while or not at all. Unfortunately, the emphasis today is on “not at all.”
Like a bad cold, their followers ears are stuffed with the teachers words and cannot hear anything spoken to the contrary, even the pure word. They have become mentally challenged on the truth, rationalizing that because they speak in tongues they are filled with the Spirit and anyone who disagrees with their teacher is not. They label anyone who disagrees with them a Pharisee, they quickly become disrespectful, intolerant to any of the facts. All one needs to do is ask- is this a Biblical teaching found in the Bible, can it be proven to be the correct interpretation? Once they are willing to examine it thoroughly they usually come to a different conclusion. But the inquiry of teaching becomes the roadblock to knowing truth.
The main contention between the Pharisees and Jesus were all the extra Biblical laws they were practicing as God’s law. It was their added revelations to Moses that they enforced upon people to obey which got Jesus very angry. The Pharisees wanted him to obey the elder’s laws- their laws (Mk.7 the tradition of the fathers). Jesus would not submit to them at all.
Jesus defended the people against the false teachers of his day. He stood in the gap for them. He corrected them by teaching them what is right and true, often right in front of the false teachers. And when necessary he got in their religious faces. It cost Him His life, though He was going to lay it down for sinful man; that would include them.
The religious leaders had all the money (it says they loved money) they had a monopoly on power and because of this they had great influence on the religious population. Sound familiar? If they were here today (and they are) they would make sure they stand out on the TV. They would make sure everyone sees them pray in public, their giving would be made known, and they would exert their authority and make disciples of themselves. They would enforce their position by making sure the people side with them. They would connive the people to give them money to support their work, using false promises to ingratiate themselves with their audience. Not much has changed only the names and means. All of these qualities were found in the religious sect of Jesus’ day.
Till next week,
Elder Dr. Robert L. Harrison