Secondly we see that false teaching often downplays the requirements God has instituted. Actually most times they simply ignore them but if confronted you see language like Osteen utilizes here. Remember that the condition for the commanded blessings was keeping all 613 Mosaic Laws. Joel cannot sell that though so he changes it to "honoring God with our lives" and doing our best to keep Him in first place." Yeah that really sums up the 613 Mosaic Laws. Honoring God with our lives is purposefully vague and since Joel never offers any functional definition he leaves it up to his listeners to decide what that looks like in their lives. For some it may be praying to patron saints and for others it might be living with someone you are sleeping with but reading your bible every day. Just gimmee that blessing! The second caveat is equally nebulous. As long as we try our best? Seriously? Hey I know I am not supposed to keep on sinning but hey I tried my best! Gimme that blessing!
The third facet of a false teaching is the over-focusing on a word that was not the actual point God was making. This is often the result of proof texting, which is when preachers decide what they want to preach about and then scour the Bible for any verses that contain the magic word they are looking for. Joel wanted to preach on God commanding blessings over us and Deuteronomy 28:8 contains the word commanded. More often than not false teachers use verse two because it says the blessings will "overtake" you but Joel was looking for "commanded." This now becomes the focus of the sermon. To finality of the word command. How because of this word there are no ifs, ands or buts. The word command here however is not the point. It is merely a descriptive used. By overly focusing on it, Joel distracts people from what God is actually saying.
Lastly, false teaching will always point you away from the real Christ, real Gospel, and thus real salvation. My pastor is fond of saying that every sermon should be able to come back to the cross or it is not worth preaching. The entire Bible is the story of Jesus and Deuteronomy 28 brilliantly shows this. Even at the end of the Torah, after Moses had gone through the Mosaic Law, this chapter is ultimately about Jesus. The Bible says we either gather people to Christ or scatter them away. Joel Osteen's twisting of this chapter in order to sell promises God never made, guarantees to scatter people away from Jesus Christ when he could have used this chapter to point people to Calvary. Foreshadow the coming of Jesus Christ to fulfill the law. But that doesn't sell well. Showing people their sin, which is what the law does, is not very marketable. So false teachers like Joel Osteen take a verse and chapter about the law and turn it into a winning lottery ticket for commanded blessings. How truly sad for those deceived under his teachings.
Beloved, only the true Gospel has to power of God unto the salvation of man. The false gospels that are poisoning the body of Christ today cannot save them. Their false jesus that commands blessings and rewards sin does not exist. False teaching might encourage people. It may even help them temporally and temporarily. For everyone helped or encouraged temporarily, there are those who will be evicted in two weeks. Pleading the blood to no end. Binding imaginary demons without authority. Compounding sin on top of other sins and praying God blesses it. Do not believe for a second that there are no victims from false teachers. They litter the landscape of modern churchianity. Wandering around aimlessly, either hurt to the point that they blame a God they never knew for things He never promised or blaming themselves for not having enough faith to bring to pass the commanded blessings of God. Thinking they are saved when they never knew Him. They are the true victims of false teaching and they will pay an eternal price.
There are no ifs, ands or buts about that.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- June 16, 2017