Also related to sound doctrine, we see the verses from Acts 17, where Paul visited Berea. The Bereans were more noble because they not only received the Word with eagerness - but they checked it against Scripture to make sure what they were being taught was accurate. In the church today we have far too much pastor worship. I love my pastor but he did not die for me. We worship Christ. My pastor always points me back to Christ. That is one of the things that makes him a great pastor. Today in the pews we have some of the eagerness regarding receiving the Word but no Berean spirit to actually check if it is accurate. That is why false doctrine is spreading so fast throughout the body. I saw Joel Osteen recently at Yankee stadium declare that the Bible says we are to declare that which is not as though it were. Sounded great and fit nicely with his overall heretical word faith message but there was only one problem:
as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. - Romans 4: 17 (ESV)
What Osteen stated was simply untrue. This verse he was referring to cannot be clearer. It is GOD who calls what is not as though it were - not us! May seem subtle and harmless except for those who eagerly bought it and now believe something that is untrue. It does not just end there. Osteen does this all the time. So does Joseph Prince, and nearly every false teacher there is. We must cultivate the Berean spirit within us and stop being so gullible for men who seek to make merchandise of His Word.
The final two sets of key verses deal more specifically with false prophecies - which is also rampant in the church today and defended by a chorus of judge not! The Thessalonians verses spell out for us what the will of God is for our life. We are not to despise prophecy but in order to get there we must first test everything! Only then, after careful discernment and using God's Word as our plumb line, can we hold fast to what is good. Beloved there are more spirits than the Holy Spirit in our realm of spiritual warfare. We fight against rulers of the dark realms and principalities. As the 1John verses teach us, many false prophets are in the world and we must test the spirits to see if they are indeed from God. This year I was witness to a weekend visitation of a false prophet to a local church. For three nights I observed a mangling of the Word of God along with witchcraft passed off as "prophecy" and the people ate it up. There was no way I was going to allow him to lay hands on me. It was obvious there was no involvement of the Holy Spirit, which meant he was operating in different spirits. Worldly spirits. These are spirits under the dominion of Satan. The Bible says we are to have nothing to do with the works of darkness but rather expose them. It seems like the church has dove off the theological cliff in pursuit of spiritual experiences not realizing that not every spiritual experience is from the Holy Spirit. We must test, discern, and hold onto what is good. What is of God.
So, judge not? Ehh...not so fast. This Christianism is abusing a set of Scriptures that actually teaches the opposite. Don't lose sight of that. Jesus is teaching in those verses that we ARE to judge, only after ensuring we are not being hypocritical. We ARE to help our brother or sister with the speck in their eye. Like we saw in the last devotional, this is done with a loving spirit, not a critical spirit. Jesus said they would know us by our love. How can we say we love someone when we think helping them with something that separates them from God is "judgment?" How is it love to say nothing to someone who we know is sitting under false teaching? Teaching that could damage their walk or even lead them astray from God? Or even worse, teaching that could lead them to falsely believe they are saved when they really are not? How is that love? It is not. It is simply cruelty wrapped up in a sentence fragment; whose full context teaches the exact opposite. Christ demands more from us than that.
Reverend Anthony Wade - July 7, 2014