but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
An itch is irritating. It is an annoying sensation. Such has real Gospel preaching become to those who sit in churches. The real Gospel burns. The real Gospel says to deny ourselves not seek to gratify the desires of our flesh. It says to carry our own cross. It says to partake in the sufferings of Christ. It says to endure real persecution and pray for our enemies. That is why we do not tolerate sound doctrine because it itches us. Instead of enduring it, we seek someone who will scratch us and bring that carnal relief. Note what the key verses says here. They gather these false teachers around for the sole purpose of suiting their own passions. If your passion is greed and money then you will gather around you prosperity hucksters to tell you the Bible is great big pyramid scheme where you can climb to the top. If your passion is the desire to be God you will gather around you word faith preachers like Joel and Victoria who will tell you that God needs your permission to do anything. If your passion is your secret sins while pretending to still be saved then you will gather around you greasy-grace preachers like Joseph Prince who will gladly tell you to not worry about the silly laws of God! After we gather these around us we find we are scratched right where the true Gospel itches us. If anyone dares to come against it they are challenged as being unloving, sowing discord, being judgmental, or any other ridiculous charge so that they can be dismissed out mind. Meanwhile we wander farther and farther away from God into the myth we so desperately want:
and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Here is the bottom line beloved. These false teachings are myths. They are fables. They are untrue. God did not say that He needs our permission. He did not say that our amen triggers His blessings, joy, provision or healing in our lives. But we like the idea of a god we can control. We like the idea of a god who answers to us. Why? Because in that equation, we are actually god. It is the same sin Lucifer committed when he wanted to ascend to the throne of the Most High. It is the same sin Adam and Eve made by wanting to be like God. It is the sin the world holds most dear and the main reason they refuse to come to the Lord. Because they will have to give up their royalty and sovereignty for His.
So marginalize things such as the Victoria Osteen teaching from last week if you want. Make excuses for it if you like. Mind you, if this was the only misstatement the Osteen ever made we would not even be discussing it. The issue is this nonsense is what they teach week in and week out. I have heard far worse bible twisting from Joel. If you think this is not a big deal let us look lastly at how God views it:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - Romans 1: 16 (ESV)
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. - Galatians 1: 6-9 (ESV)
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. - 1Corinthians 15: 1-2 (ESV)
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' - Matthew 7: 21-23 (ESV)
Beloved, follow this progression. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can save someone. Only this Gospel is the power of God unto the salvation of men. Not the fancy preaching of a pastor. Not a ten second altar call and a two sentence sinner prayer. Only the Gospel. The Galatians verses reminds us that any deviance from the true Gospel should be met with strong opposition. The Judaizers were infiltrating the Galatian church and teaching that circumcision was needed with grace for salvation. So they were still pro-Jesus. They were still pointing people to the cross. They just added a little Jewish tradition. For that God says they should be accursed! No deviation can be allowed. You cannot distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then think you are saving anyone. You are not. The verses from 1Corinthians remind us that it is entirely possible to believe in vain. That means to be sincere and sincerely wrong. To believe in a false gospel, no matter how slight the falseness, is to believe in vain. The Matthew verses remind us of the consequences for all of this behavior. Depart from me. The Bible says you are either gathering people to Christ or scattering them away. There is no third option. We all will hear only one of two things when we stand before Christ. Well done or depart from me. There is no third possibility. Beloved, someone telling you that 2Corinthians 1:20 actually means that we need to give God permission to bring forth His promises is not some trivial matter. It will lead some people from Rome to Galatia and then through Corinth to end up before Jesus saying "Lord Lord." Make no mistake about it. He will say depart from me. That should really bother us as servants of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It really should.
Reverend Anthony Wade - January 10, 2016