True Prosperity

 

 

It’s hard to be content in a world filled with new stuff and non-stop advertising. In fact, it’s a constant struggle for me to not be greedy and covetous.  I see the newest shoes, or car, or book, and discontent rises up in me. I see it and I want it. It doesn’t matter that I have 20 pairs of good shoes sitting in my closet (I know that’s small for some of us but I have really worked on getting to less). I see the ad, and I covet. It’s one thing to need new shoes – really need them because your old ones are wearing out. It’s quite another to collect dozens of pairs just because you want them. By the way, you can take out the word “shoes” and put in just about any other thing that you happen to love to own.

In the news recently, there is a story about a televangelist who “needs” $54 million dollars to buy a new jet. Seriously! He already has a jet – and it’s not worn out! He manages to put all kinds of spiritual sounding reasons to his request that you fund his covetousness. But when you examine his reasoning, it is clear that greed is the root of his desire for bigger, better and more.

Sadly, many people are deceived by these kinds of people. We are warned about them over and over again in Scripture. But, these so called “preachers” don’t preach the whole counsel of God’s Word. They only attach a verse here and there that seems to support their claim that you need to send them money. Peter warned us about these people. He says “and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep”. 2 Peter 2:3.

In 2 Peter 2:2, he says of the false prophets that will arise (and have), that many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. When people are deceived by these false teachers, not only are they exploited, but even worse, the gospel is blasphemed. If you don’t think the unbelieving world is guffawing over this one, think again. These greedy teachers are ultimately blasphemers.  The entire book of Jude lays out for us the lifestyle of these ungodly people who pervert the grace of God into sensuality.

The gospel is good news. The good news is not that we are supposed to be healthy and wealthy. The good news is that we, who are sinners, separated from God, lost, hopeless and helpless can be saved to live a life that truly glorifies our God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are loved by Him. We are kept by Him. We have freedom from the power of sin now and eternal joy away from the presence of sin awaits us. Now that is good news!

So don’t sell the gospel for a prosperity message. Seek the truth of God’s Word to protect yourself from the deception that is rampant. True prosperity is found only in Christ. And it has nothing to do with how much money you have, how healthy you are or how many jets you own!

These People are Creepy!

A Simple Faith

These people are creepy!

 One of the most difficult things I’ve learned as a follower of Christ is to discern truth from almost truth. It’s hard, because I always want to believe the best of people. I want to think that it was just a mistake, or they just got a little off track. This tends to be true of women in general. We are willing to accept almost truth because we deal with things too emotionally at times. I don’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you that your favorite female teacher is teaching false doctrine. But I really don’t want to see you led astray by her almost truth. So here we go.

The book of Jude shows us the urgency of dealing with lies and falsehoods in the church. Jude’s approach is remarkable because instead of describing the false doctrine that must be contended with, he shows how to identify the lifestyle of the false teachers who creep into the church. That’s what Jude 4 says – that certain men have crept in unnoticed. And in our day, certain women have also crept in.  It’s one of my biggest concerns. How do we identify the false teacher so we can protect ourselves from falling into their snares?

In an earlier post, I showed that one of their favorite tactics is too imply that you are missing out and they have the secret to the powerful truths.  When you hear words like secret, powerful, mystery, etc, be watchful!

 Here’s how Jude says these false teachers live and behave:

  1. They are ungodly –Jude 4
  2. They turn grace into license to sin.
  3. They deny Christ – oh be sure – they give lip service to Him but by their lifestyle they deny Him.
  4. They defile the flesh. Jude 8
  5. They reject authority. Ever heard a teacher say “touch not God’s anointed” when confronted with their sin? Red flag there!
  6. They revile angelic majesties.
  7. They tack a Bible verse on here and there, but much of what they “preach” is about their dreams and visions. They rely on their dreams rather than on the Word of God. They will give lip service to God’s Word, taking a verse here and there out of context but the focus is their dream or vision or supposed conversation with God. Or my favorite – their little trip to heaven.
  8. They walk the way of Cain by creating new and ingenious forms of worship. Exactly as Cain did when he refused to worship and sacrifice as God had instructed but made his own new way which God judged him for. Many of today’s churches have abandoned the Biblical practices of worship to try to draw in the crowds, keep them comfortable and most importantly, not offend anyone. And believe me, the goats are easily offended.
  9. They rush headlong into error for the sake of gain like Balaam. Balaam accepted a large amount of money to entice Israel into compromise that would lead the nation into idolatry and immorality. These false teachers today are willing to teach any error that tickles the ears of the hearer in order to get money. Just as Balaam pretended to speak for God, these persons use God as an excuse to get money out of gullible people who follow them. “Send in your seed faith dollars…” “If you don’t send in 3 million by Friday, God’s going to kill me…” “I must have this multi-million dollar jet for God” and on it goes.
  10. Jude 16 tells us that they are grumblers, fault finders, arrogant, flatterers.
  11. Jude 19 says that they cause divisions and are worldly minded. Seems to me that if you have a gold plated toilet seat paid for by the poor people who send you their hard earned money, that is the epitome of worldly minded.

This is just a partial list of the lifestyle of the creepers. They creep into the church, they are destructive heretics who sound good but ultimately deny our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. They live for greedy gain, fame, notoriety, and power. Do not be deceived by them.

This list is long and compelling. If you want to dig in deeper, and be sure you are better equipped to identify the creepers, consider joining my online study of Jude that starts on June 7, 2018. For more information and how to sign up click here.

 https://belovedtruth.com/event/jude-contend-for-the-faith-online-bible-study/

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 3: 11 that we are to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life and work with our hands…

Keep it simple and pure. Study God’s Word, pray, worship with the saints, honor those who faithfully preach and teach the truth. Train yourself diligently to distinguish between truth and almost truth.