Today with the help of amazing technology you can scan the globe for knowledge, advice, support, and guidance on any range of topics from pet care to construction, finances to politics and every imaginable topic under the sun. For example when I asked Google the question, how to trim your pet dog, there were “about 296,000,000 results (0.59 seconds). Or when I asked the question how to build a deck there were “about 1,100,000,000 results (0.69 seconds)” and on and on the questions could go. It really is quite amazing yet with this knowledge that comes at the stroke of a key, comes with it a great need for discernment. Just because someone sounds like they have knowledge doesn’t mean they speak the truth. Just because someone gives the appearance of knowledge, does not mean they are knowledgeable. Or just because someone shows you how to build something, does not necessarily mean you can build something. This even happens for example at a building supply store. You may ask the person working a question, they give you the answer and then you have to ask whether you believe them or not. One time I was looking for a deck stain / paint for the decking around my above ground pool. They may say this stain is excellent for the decking around your pool but then after some research you will find some horrible reviews (reviews are not always accurate but gives you an idea) or some good ones but in this case what I actually found was this stain /paint I was looking at was not to be used around a pool that has chlorine even though the can actually shows it being used around a pool. When you search for something there can be a wide variance of answers you can find on a single topic. One person will tell you one thing and another will say no you have to do it this way; there way is wrong. Some people feel that because it is on the Internet or someone who appears reputable is telling you, it must be true. You may think it must be true because that particular person works at a building supply store or a person may have a 100,000 to a million or more followers but as you can plainly see from history and present day, people will follow anything, even to their deaths. As you may be aware whenever something happens in this world that is unexplainable, millions of people can be duped by conspiracy theories that have the appearance of truth but are not. Bad advice doesn’t always lead to death; it could be just financial lose, sickness, structural integrity but enough so that it could lead to more than just your stain /paint peeling do to chlorine. When it comes to eternal life you want 100% truth!
Now obviously we could spend all day talking about the Internet both good and bad. Because of the Internet, the world has become a very small place to live. We have news from around the world from the moment it happens. There are also self help gurus willing to guide you on any topic but today I will be talking about teachers and preachers teaching and preaching God’s word from around the world; at least that is what they are supposed to be doing. As this pandemic struck and churches were closed, many more have turned to the Internet for their source of spiritual teaching. These spiritual sources range from Buddhism to Christianity. Many Christians in their ignorance have bought into Eastern religions thinking they are biblical. Spirituality does not always mean Christianity. Now today my focus is obviously Christianity. History has shown us that when there are difficult times, spirituality increases. So that was easy as I just copied the last seven words of that last sentence “when there are difficult times spirituality increases” and found this report from Psychology Today Canada. “Although many of us resort to numbing our minds with drinking, shopping, or electronics, most of us also recognize the limitations of these coping tools. Other than our addictions, where can we turn when we need to find peace and solace in the face of suffering? Here are five solid candidates to rely on when the going gets tough.” The first one was faith and spirituality. The writer said, “These beliefs can be a safe harbor in a churning sea of despair, a light in the darkness. Communion with the sacred or the divine, whatever that means to each of us personally, can soothe and reassure.” So as you can see spirituality doesn’t always mean Christianity.
So lets zero in on Christianity. Today you need to know that Christianity and the church doesn’t always mean the gospel of Jesus Christ. My search resulted in “about 2,710,000,000 results (0.69 seconds).” Wikipedia states “Christianity can be taxonomically (naming and organizing things) divided into five main groups: the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism.” Wikipedia then goes on to list all the denominations and groups under those headings. “With an estimated 2.42 or 2.3 billion adherents in 2015 Christianity is the largest religious group in the world, and in 2020 there were about 2.518 billion globally. Obviously Wikipedia is not your most trustworthy source as Wikipedia itself states, “Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong.” This church illustration is really not about Wikipedia but while there can be problems with Wikipedia as a source, in this instance it does give a pretty good picture of Christianity today. Having said that this is why in this case Wikipedia is also wrong. Christianity cannot be divided into 5 groups but christianity can. Notice the little “c.” Yes spellcheck is telling me to change it but there is only one way and that is with a big “C”. Jesus said in John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going. 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” Paul said in Ephesians 4:1 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Not only did Christ give us “apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service,” He gave us these gifts so that we can do as Jesus did. 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
Now these three passages divide the church because of unbelief in God’s word. Most do not believe we can do as Jesus did, most do not believe there is one body and one Spirit and there are still Apostles and Prophets and most do not believe in all the gifts of the Spirit available to us. Sure some will say they believe but are not seeing it and they do not turn from their ways. We are not seeing the gifts poured out upon us due to our disobedience. Jesus clearly says in Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” They have concluded this lack of power is just how it is. The answer for this is given in John 14. Jesus said he would give us the Spirit of Truth. John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” So herein lies the problem; the church is not being guided in to truth, which is the reason for the division and the false teaching. What we have seen is that truth has been thrown to the ground and everyone does as they see fit. This means that God has turned His face from shining on us because of our disobedience and no longer have power from on high. We were warned not to follow other gods. Deuteronomy 8:19 “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” Paul said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
Today’s church is filled with men and women teaching other gospels. God’s people have been “thrown into confusion” and are “ infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” So why is this? Here is the answer. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” Daniel 8:11 “It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?” 14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; (don’t try to count as so many have tried and failed) then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated. 15 While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.” 17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.” 18 While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet. 19 He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.” Jesus warned us about this in Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 5 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” It is only by the grace of God that a remnant will survive this tribulation we are in. Yes I know if you Google tribulation, you will see most will say it is an event coming down the road meanwhile death and destruction is all around us and the church lies desolate.
We were warned but the church did not listen. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 3 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
This is why it is so important to understand the Old Testament. We are given a clear picture of false prophets and teachers who led the people of Israel astray just as false prophets and teachers have led the church astray. Many think a prophet is a fortune teller but a prophet speaks the word of the Lord. Jeremiah 23:28 “Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Like Israel there is only a remnant left and like Judah the remnant went into captivity. We need to understand that people in the church, like Israel love it this way. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord.” Jeremiah 4:22 “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.” Jeremiah 5:21 “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. 23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God.” 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” There will always be someone to itch your ears. Isaiah 30:9 “For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
The church has been deceived into thinking satan doesn’t have power over them. Most do not understand our enemy satan has infiltrated the church and his workers are standing behind pulpits leading the church astray by their teaching. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” If that was the last hour we have minutes left. We have been warned over and over again but because of the deception of false teaching most do not know the way, the truth and the life. Not only is there deception but Mark 7:6 “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Many who call themselves the church will hear Jesus say Matthew 25:41 “to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Most people who attend church today have no idea what they believe. Sure most will tell you about the church they attend and why they agree with their doctrinal statements if they know them but they do not ask if they are actually being taught the truth. They do not realize this next verse is even possible. 1 Kings 22:21 “Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” We have been warned to test the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “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. 2 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, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus 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.” So you may say the church I go to does acknowledge Jesus coming in the flesh yet they refuse to listen to His words. They fail to listen by adding to and subtracting from God’s word. They have rejected Jesus Himself and made themselves the messiah. They don’t like His words, so they have made the necessary more suitable modifications and call them doctrines. Most do not realize these are doctrines of demons they are following. These are not the words of Jesus. Deception doesn’t have to be completely wrong. A counterfeit bill looks very similar to the real one.
Now to make things a little complicated, many men and woman teaching and preaching are powerful and many have enormous followings. Greek and Hebrew flow from them. They write books by the hundreds. They preach with authority and are convincing to their masses. The masses think these must be men of God as scripture flows from their mouths yet most people who attend church do not know the scriptures well enough to know better. Isaiah 58:1“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.” For many preachers this verse is directed at them. Jeremiah 23:36 “But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God.” Many preachers and teachers continue down the wrong course, following and teaching in the empty ways handed down to them. 2 Kings 22:13 “ Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” Jeremiah 23:11 “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the Lord. 12 “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,” declares the Lord. 13 “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. 14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah. 16 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 19 See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Jeremiah 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 30 “Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 8:8 “How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have? From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord. 13 “ ‘I will take away their harvest, declares the Lord. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them. ’ ” Jeremiah 14:13 “But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.” Ezekiel 13:9 “My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 22:28 “Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.” Mark 13:22 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
I think you see the dangers of a false prophet but what do they look like. No they are not just charismatic / Pentecostal like the Kenneth Copelands but they are preachers and teachers everywhere teaching and preaching other gospels. Again we were warned. Acts 20:25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Jeremiah 10:21 “The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the Lord; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.” 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 7 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Corinthians 4:2 “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
Unfortunately these men and women are so convinced in their deception, they will not turn away. 2 Peter 2:17 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.” Not only is the deception massive, so is the delusion brought on by God Himself. At any time you can hear some preaching that has millions of followers and those who are following will say what a man of God, meanwhile they distort scripture and lead those astray who should be free from the hold of satan but go further into bondage. A man of God is not a savage wolf. Jesus talks about us His sheep. John 10:9 “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jeremiah gives us a different picture of lost sheep. Jeremiah 50:4 “In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten. 6 “My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. 7 Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, ‘We are not guilty, for they sinned against the Lord, their verdant pasture, the Lord, the hope of their ancestors.” As Paul said above “savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Jesus said Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
Today these savage wolves are everywhere in the church but remember they come in sheep’s clothing. They don’t go around telling you they are ferocious wolves but you know them by their fruit. Matthew 7:16 “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” This is why it is so important to be grounded in scripture not doctrines about scripture formulated by men. For example a doctrine called cessationism is a doctrine of demons of which many are grounded in but found nowhere in scripture. The people teaching these types of doctrines are leading the church astray. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.” While satan manifests signs and wonders throughout the church usually in charismatic circles, another sign is a false representation of power. Men and women who promote false gospels are powerful yet they do not have power. Many are seduced by fine sounding arguments as Paul talked about in Colossians 2:2 “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” Proverbs 26:24 “Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. (Proverbs 6:6 “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.) 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” Paul on the other hand 2 Corinthians 11:6 “I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.” Paul had said 1 Corinthians 4:19 “But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” You should not be seeking out silver-tongued orators or men who appear to be powerful but you should be testing the spirits and looking for the power of God. Always testing the spirits. Another key to seeking truth is the absence of marketing. Luke 19:45 “When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’[c]; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.” John 2:14 “In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
Scripture gives us a very clear picture of the desolation of the church. False teachers and preachers are everywhere selling their wares and leading the church astray. Jeremiah 12:7 “I will forsake my house, abandon my inheritance; I will give the one I love into the hands of her enemies. 8 My inheritance has become to me like a lion in the forest. She roars at me; therefore I hate her. 9 Has not my inheritance become to me like a speckled bird of prey that other birds of prey surround and attack? Go and gather all the wild beasts; bring them to devour. 10 Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field into a desolate wasteland. 11 It will be made a wasteland, parched and desolate before me; the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares. 12 Over all the barren heights in the desert destroyers will swarm, for the sword of the Lord will devour from one end of the land to the other; no one will be safe. 13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing. They will bear the shame of their harvest because of the Lord’s fierce anger.” Isaiah 9:13 “But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty. 14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; 15 the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. 16 Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray. 17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks folly. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.”
I realize this may sound bleak or you may not even see it. You may think your church is preaching the gospel and most likely the person behind the pulpit it telling you they are. So how do you really know? The answer is the Spirit of truth and power from on high as described in scripture. There will be repentance and seeking the way of the Lord. God promised that His remnant would always survive so we have great hope because he gave His word to David. Psalm 102:12 “But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. 13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. 14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. 15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. 17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.” Here we see the promise to David but also God turning from his remnant. Psalm 89:19 “Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a young man from among the people. 20 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. 21 My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. 22 The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him. 23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. 24 My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. 25 I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. 26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ 27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. 28 I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. 29 I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. 30 “If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, 31 if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, 32 I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; 33 but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. 34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. 35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David— 36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; 37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” 38 But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one. 39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the dust. 40 You have broken through all his walls and reduced his strongholds to ruins. 41 All who pass by have plundered him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle. 44 You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground. 45 You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame. 46 How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity! 48 Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave? 49 Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? 50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, 51 the taunts with which your enemies, Lord, have mocked, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one. 52 Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.”
We must return to God. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Because of God’s amazing grace he will always remember his promise to David. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.” We do not deserve it but Jesus said Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” The good news is even though there are so many false teachers and preachers God Himself will restore His church. Acts 15:16 “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it.” So we see this warning. Jeremiah 23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.”
Today we see false teachers and preachers proclaiming other gospels every Sunday. In the news as of late in California churches are rebelling against the government even though Romans 13 tells us not to. One pastor in California told his congregation why Romans 13 did not apply to them and then proceeded to say that God gave Him a word confirming his rebellion??? Not only does it tell us to submit but states Romans 13:1 “The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” You don’t decide where the line is that is crossed; God does that. We even have churches suing the government. They are putting their ministries in the hands of the world. Yes they may win or loose in court but they will always loose by rebelling against God. They have put their faith in the constitution and rebelled against God. Just yesterday John MacArthur declared the pandemic not real. I will leave it at that for now. Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” Job 24:22 But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.”
We have been called to turn from our wicked ways. These ways are not the ways of these false preachers and teachers. 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ Jeremiah 3:14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.” Ezekiel 11:17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ 18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
If we will repent and submit God will hear our cry. Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! 19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” 23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.”
Though the church lies in desolation like Israel we will be freed from captivity. Yes the enemy will be destroyed for doing this to Israel and the church. The destruction of Babylon will take place. Jeremiah 50:17 “Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour them was the king of Assyria; the last to crush their bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” 18 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 But I will bring Israel back to their own pasture, and they will graze on Carmel and Bashan; their appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.” Isaiah 14:1 “The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. 3 On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”
The men and women who have led the church astray will not get away with their false teaching nor will those who follow. Jeremiah 7:28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” Many who teach do not even know they are false teachers, as they have trusted in those who have gone before them. They even preach about others who are false all the while preaching doctrines of demons. So for now I leave you with this word from Ezekiel. Ezekiel 13:1 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken? 8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” 13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
If we seek the truth we will find the truth. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” There is only one way, truth and life. 1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” Make sure you have built on the rock. You don’t want to find out you are worshipping in a sandcastle. 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. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”