The Goal of the Gospel: A Life And Ministry That Pleases God’s Heart

Transcription of “The Goal of the Gospel: A Life And Ministry That Pleases God’s Heart”

From May, 2009

Opening

For this study we already have a title so I hope the Lord gives the rest of it too and it is, “The Goal of the Gospel: A Life and Ministry That Pleases God’s Heart.” We’re going to talk about what the Lord considers what the goal of the Gospel is. I’m sure we have all heard a lot of opinions in our lives from many people about what it is about but I want to see and hope that God gives us light to see what He considers the gospel to be about and a ministry that truly pleases his heart.

Teaching

Some of you may know and some of you may not, there’s only one time in Jesus’ entire ministry that he says wherever the gospel is preached this must be also preached.

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Mark 14:3-9

So you see that is the scripture I am talking about and it is also in Matthew.

Wherever the Gospel is preached this account will be told with it.

Now the question is what does that exactly mean?

We all want to be faithful to preach the gospel but does that mean that we as part of preaching the gospel need to tell this story.

To be perfectly honest for a little time in my life I said, “I guess it does. Maybe we could help telling the story a little more to people.”

But then I was convicted and said, “We do have accounts of them preaching the Gospel in Acts and God blessing it and they did not share this story. And he said wherever the gospel is preached this story will also be told. But I think what he’s saying is that what happened here has to be a part of the Gospel presentation, not necessarily the exact story, but the substance of what you see here will be told wherever the gospel is preached.”

So let’s talk about what the substance of the story is. The woman comes and what does she have? She has costly oil, 300 denarii about a year’s wages, so very expensive oil. And remember, Jesus said, “This is the gospel message, wherever the gospel is preached this will be preached.”

So she has all this oil and the disciples want her to do what with it? To sell it and give it to the poor. She could have helped all those people, that has got to be the goal of the gospel. Isn’t that the goal of the gospel to help people? But Jesus actually says, No, and remember wherever the gospel is preached this will be a part of it.

Why does Jesus say No? The poor you’ll always have with you but you won’t always have me. So he says, “Go forward with it.“

This was the costliest thing she had. She poured it on his head, but Jesus says the oil goes somewhere else. In John 12 it shows that the oil is poured out on the feet. Where does Jesus say she has prepared? He says his body and then in John 12 it seems to assume that in Matthew, Mark, Luke; he shows the added details.

So she pours all of the oil on him, and again he says wherever the gospel is preached this will be preached.

The gospel is about Jesus, not about people. And I think we have perverted it and sometimes think it’s all about us. Now believe me, people will be blessed and hear me out, you know that Jesus has a heart for people so it doesn’t say God disregards people.

But the gospel is first and foremost about Jesus and pouring it all out on him. She pours all of the oil on the head of Jesus. She pours ALL of it. How in the world did it get to the body? It heaped up and flowed down to the body. I don’t know enough about anointing with oil and the Alabaster flask and such, but if she tried to put it directly on his body would it have been successful? Probably not.

Now that really happened to Jesus’ head and body but I think perhaps there is another detail to be emphasized here, who is the head of the Church? Christ, the body. I do believe this is a principle that God is showing us that when we pour it all out on the Him it overflows and the body will be ministered too.

This principle works out quite frequently with the Gospel. But I do think this is the only time you’ll ever see Jesus say that wherever the Gospel is preached this will be preached also. His emphasis is that the Gospel is all about him.

Another example is Matthew 22:34:

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And a lot of people talk about this that there are two commandments: love God and love people.

However, I think that it is taught to love God with 51% of your heart and people with the other 49%.

The general sense I get is that you only have so much heart so you do this and this. But how much of your heart do you give to God? Your soul? Your mind? So tell me this do you have an infinite eternal heart? No. So how much of your heart do you have for people? None. You’ve poured it all out on the Lord, so how do you get a heart for people? The Lord gives a supernatural heart for people. But the first part, our first responsibility is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

He is the goal and then people come and the emphasis is here.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life,”

John 5:24

So how do you pass from death into life? From hearing and believing.

There’s only two times where that expression is used in the entire bible. This tells you that in order to pass from death into life you must believe the message.

The other time it is mentioned it tells the evidence in believing in the message.

Go to 1 John 3: 14:

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”

What is the evidence that you have received the Lord? There is a supernatural love. If you do not have a supernatural love for your brothers and sisters in Christ, I would be extremely concerned.

1 John 5:2:

“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands,”

This is also a great example to add. Loving God and carrying out his commandments.

My emphasis here is this, that we should expect a supernatural love for the brethren, and if we don’t have that then we should be very concerned that we may not have the life of the Lord within us, because he gives us the love for others.

The goal of the gospel is that it is all for Jesus and that we please his heart. What does supernatural love look like compared to regular love?

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy,”

Matthew 5:43

What he shows is that there are two kinds of love.

There is a conditional love and there is an unconditional love.

The conditional love, everyone knows how to do, but who knows how to show unconditional love?

In fact, when I was in China, I shared this with a non-Christian. He asked me,” Why do I need your religion? I can love people.”

I shared this with them and he said that is impossible to love that way. And I said, “Amen, it is impossible, were on the same page. It is impossible for a man to love that way but God will give you a love that is unconditional.”

I think that is the kind of love that God gives. That God provides an unconditional love for your brethren. It’s like a parent. I can’t speak from experience but I’m sure many of you can speak on that, that yeah you might disagree with things your kid is doing but you will love them no matter what they do.

There is an unconditional love involved there.

There is a love that happens when only you come to the Lord and his life is within you. The first part is giving 100% of your heart to the Lord and he uses it to give to others.

Jesus said that there’s all this company here, how are we supposed to get all this food for them? What are they among so many? 5 loafs and 2 fish? How many can they feed? Not many. Could it feed the thousands? No.

He was able to feed everyone. It all went into the Lord’s hands, and only when it was all in his hands he distributed it out to the thousands, it’s like when the oil was poured out on the head it went to the rest of the body.

In both cases there was a breaking, as a side note. There was a breaking of the flask and of the bread. But we see the pattern again that it’s all meant to go to the Lord, people are going to be way more ministered to, if you try to go straight to the people.

The problem I see today is that so many people say that if were really do the gospel, we have to help people. How do we minister to people? How do we please people?

That is the number question I hear and that is the wrong question to ask. We need to ask how do we minister to the Lord. How do we see if the Lord’s heart is pleased? If that is answered the people part is easy, because his heart is way bigger for people than yours.

If you are a 100% in his hands you watch how fast he will be able to distribute you to the people. That is not the problem; the problem is giving 100% of yourself to the Lord.

Another example of this is in Luke 17: 1-increase our faith.

Even seven times in a day, if they come with repentance, forgive. Now, some people say, see Jesus says we don’t have to forgive unless they do this, this and this, I don’t think that’s at the heart of what he is saying. The Lord forgave me way before I repented. I think he’s saying if there’s a transaction, a reconciliation that all of a sudden there’s repentance, even seven times in a day. He is going to come to you if you keep coming back.

Increase our faith!

So how does Jesus respond to this.

“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?”

Luke 17:7

As long as you have some faith he will work in power.

“Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty”.

Luke 17:8-9

What we really need is obedience. Who are we to say that we are not going to obey the Lord? He talks about servants, plowing or tending to the sheep. The order is so important. He is talking about his servant. This is a natural question to ask, “What do you want?” Is my master pleased? Then you can eat and drink. A ministry that pleases God, a true service to God, does not come first to God and say how can I be pleased? No, instead they say how can I please you? Have you been satisfied?

The problem we’re asking most of the time is are the people satisfied? That is the wrong question; we should be asking is God’s heart satisfied.

Afterwards, there is a satisfaction that comes with that. Afterwards he says you will eat and drink. The problem is the order that comes with that.

Someone said it this way; they talked about how humanism has crept into how the gospel is preached. Humanism is people centered; the end of all things is the happiness of people. We talk about the gospel as if God is of means to people’s happiness. Is that not how we preach it? That we go and whether it’s the social justice part or even the eternal part of it, both sides we say, “Man, if you know God you will be in heaven forever.”

Is that true? Yes, it’s true but emphasizes that God can be of means to your happiness forever. We have made God a means to our happiness.

So many times we have seen the gospel is preached, and that is unholy, it is really unholy.

Like we saw at the beginning there is one place that where the gospel is preached this will be preached as well, that whole story was about serving him first and foremost that it would be all poured out on him. Instead of saying God being a means to our happiness, it should be that we are a means to God’s glory.

It is a switch of Lordships.

That some people treat God like he is our servant and we are the master. The way we pray the way we act. Instead of him being the master and us the servants. We are all guilty of this time-to-time.

We say, “I don’t understand, I’ve prayed for this and it didn’t happen, man I don’t know about this Christianity thing.”

That is not Christianity. The question is first and foremost what did God want. The point of the gospel is that he has been satisfied.

Another view on this is in Song of Song, staring with 4: 12:

“You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.”

I do think that Song of Songs is a love story about a bride betrothed to a King.

I think there are principles in here and there’s an eternal story going on, about the bride of Christ and Christ our King and the romance between the two.

I think we can see principles when we see the bride talking to the husband and the husband talking bride. There was a change where it went from her garden to his garden.

She understood, that there are all these wonderful things in my garden, fruits, and etc. If you think about it in a spiritual application, think of the fruit of the spirit.

And he says look at how beautiful and wonderful my bride is, you have all these things. And we should say, “Amen.”

The Lord has given us gifts and how much more he wants to give us. Who does this ultimately belong to? It’s his; he makes us beautiful and gives us all these things so that we can pour it out on him.

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk,”

Song of Songs 5:1

How many ‘my’s’ were there? So whom did it belong to ultimately? The husband.

It was the husband’s stuff! All of the beauty and wonder all belonged to him.

She prayed, “May it come to you, may it be given to you, come into it.”

Song of Songs 5 goes on, saying, “eat both friends and drink”. Isn’t the principle the same?

Once He is satisfied then his friends are able to be? The first order is always that the Lord be satisfied. That his heart would be pleased. The goal of the gospel, is his heart well pleased? And then when we’ve seen that, then I have no doubt that at the heart of God is us, he loves people, he will help people.

If we’re truly pleasing God then social things will happen, healing will happen, and all that stuff, because that is at his heart. But our first question must be, “Is the Lord ministered to?”

There was a place recently in Holland that was conducting a survey, and I think it’s a great ministry that they had there, but this is the question they asked me, “What do you think we can do to best minister to the community that we have here?”

My answer was, you have the wrong question. You are not going to find what you want if you ask that question. The question should be how can we minister to the Lord.

That wasn’t just that church but at many churches. And again that is at the heart of God. Wherever the gospel is preached this will be preached also, about giving it all to me, that is what is at the heart of the gospel.

One more thing, in Genesis 24:1-4 you have Abraham getting a bride for his son Isaac. Is it a historical story? Yes. But there are also principles within it. Abraham, the father, Isaac, his son, and his servant. I do think that this is a principle of how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together. What job is he giving the servant to do? To go and find a bride for my son, and get her ready. And he even gives specific charge to the servant.

What is the specific thing? From his family, part of the family on the fathers side. He goes on, he finds the bride, and “Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and left, taking with him all kinds of good things from his master,” Genesis 24:10.

The servant did not come empty handed; he had gifts in his hands. If the servant came with 10 camels and gave 9 away, there are also 9 gifts of the spirit, 9 fruit of the spirit. He has all these gifts to give and he has favor. And then,

“Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful,”

Genesis 24:15-20

He said, “God show me the wife that I am looking for that she would do these things.”

What was the first thing she had to do? Serve him. That was the first thing he was looking for in a bride. That she would take the water that she drew out of that well, and pour it back to him. And serve him with that water. Genesis 24:22-52.

The servant adorns the bride with these beautiful gifts. That she would be beautiful for her husband. She was brought back for him, and there’s a meeting all together. The whole adornment of this was not for her but for one person, the husband.

That’s what the Lord does for us, He is willing to give all these wonderful things, the gifts of the spirit, the fruit of the spirit, and everything you have is a gift from God, guess why He is giving you these things? So that God can be satisfied. That is the heart of the Gospel, that is the thing that we should all be asking the Lord with our ministry.

If you have all those crowds of people, I don’t care, if you know the Lord has not been satisfied, then you have to stop and change, because the goal of the gospel is not to please or help people. Hear me right, the people will be helped but the goal is to bless and satisfy God’s heart and that he would be ministered to and served to. And you watch how many people will be blessed and ministered to.

Man-Centered or God-Centered

All material comes from Will Metzger’s Tell The Truth:

View of Salvation

Man-Centered View of SalvationGod-Centered View of Salvation
God’s love is primary.God as Creator is primary.
Chief attribute of God: love.Holiness and love in balance.
God’s will is impotent*.God empowers the will–work of the Holy Spirit
God emphasized as friend who helps you.God is King who saves you.
Components of a man-centered gospel and a God-centered gospel

*impotent: “you can choose to accept him or not”—different than Christ calling people to Himself—God’s sovereignty over salvation… we shouldn’t give man so much credit that he thinks he’s in control.  It’s better to lift God up so that man fear Him. It’s okay to FEAR the one who can take your soul!

View of Humanity

Man-Centered View of HumanityGod-Centered View of Humanity
Man is fallen yet possesses the abilityMan is fallen and will not (cannot!) come to God or potential to choose God in his own power.
Man seeks truth but lacks the facts.No man seeks God but are at enmity with Him.
Man needs love, help, and friendshipMan needs a new nature (mind, heart, and will) which only comes from being born again. TRANSFORMATION (not REFORMATION)
Man makes mistakes, “to err is human”Man is a rebel against God who needs reconciliation
Humanity needs salvation from the consequences of sinHumanity is in bondage to sin
Humanity is sick and ignorantHumanity is dead and lost
Components of a man-centered view of humanity and a God-centered view of humanity

View of Christ

Man-Centered View of ChristGod-Centered View of Christ
Savior from selfishness, mistakes, HellSavior from sin and sinful nature
Exists for our benefitExist to gather a people together, receive the honor due his name
His death is more important than His lifeDeath and life are equally important
Emphasizes his priestly office as SaviorPriestly, prophetic and kingly role
Attitude: understanding His Lordship is an option after salvationHis Lordship is an essential part of salvation
Components of a man-centered view of Christ and a God-centered view of Christ

Response to the Gospel

Man-Centered Gospel ResponseGod-Centered Gospel Response
Invitation, just waiting to be acceptedA loving command to be obeyed
Our choice, and God respondsGod’s choice as basis for salvation, we respond
A mental assent, a decision that we makeResponding with our whole person–mind, heart, and will
Appeals are made to the desires of the sinner–The benefits are at the top of the list.Truths are driven home, re-education of conscience
You’re saved by grace and faith alone–repentance has nothing to do with itSaved by faith alone but accompanied by repentance (faith and repentance are 2 sides of coin)
Assurance of salvation from a counselorAssurance from the peace of God which enters into our soul through the work of the Holy Spirit
Components of a man-centered view of responding and a God-centered view of responding

Packet of Seeds (Original Song)

Written by Brian Holda, Jan 19, 2023

Inspired by 1 Pet. 1:23-25

Audio of “Packet of Seeds” performed by Brian Holda

Well, this is my first ever song. If you’re musically-inclined, please improve it! But still wanted to share here all the same.

Packet of Seeds (Lyrics)

VERSE 1
Atop my bookshelf sits a packet of seeds.
The life that it holds is much more than man reads.
Lonely it sits, never finding a home,
Since the soil nearby wants to be left alone.

CHORUS
Oh when will we take Your word as our seed,
To grow you a garden instead of just weeds?
Knowing your word is not meant as a show;
No, it is the seed for our eternal growth.

VERSE 2
I've looked many times at that packet of seeds.
I've wondered a lot at the beauty to be.
But I just leave it there, every time and again.
Too busy to stop and bring the seed in.

CHORUS

The Story

So this song has actually been a concept I’ve thought about for 10 years or longer. At some point my wife and I acquired an actual packet of seeds (we debate when that was haha). And somehow it got put on our bookshelf, by our Bibles.

Well, I thought about Bible passages that compare God’s Word/Scripture to “seed” (Luke 8:11; 1 Pet. 1:23; James 1:21). And it seemed a sad irony that both my Bible and the seed packet were just sitting there, neither being planted. Over time, it became a ripe metaphor (no pun intended) of how God’s word really does nothing if it’s not planted in our heart. So I’ve left the packet of seed there as a sort of prophetic reminder of this sobering warning. But I’ve been picking up the Bible and trying to let that grow in my heart.

Packet of “Alyssum” seeds next to our Bibles.

Good Night, America

A poem/song written by Brian Holda, Jan 21, 2023.

Based off 2 Kings 17:24-41

An adaption (and sung to the tune) of Good Night, Saigon by Billy Joel.

Good Night, America (Lyrics)

They said they feared God, in Northern Israel.
They found an ephod; they did the ritual.
And they knew well, his wrath burned bright,
Lest you get every single thing just right.

That's why they chose to be scared of YAHWEH.
They kept their hearts hard; He chased the lions away.
It seemed to work--all day and night.
They kept their idols without losing their lives.

They learned to mix gods, like we mix strong drink.
How could it harm us, or so they all think.
And just like us, they seemed alright.
Never realizing we're losing our lives.

We teach our children to do the same thing.
How could it harm them, just like we all think.
And so we share our wrongs as rights--
The mixture we've chosen,
Keeps our hearts all frozen,
Oh Lord won't You show us Your Light?

CHORUS
And we will all go down together
Lest we repent we will all go down together
Yes, we will all go down together...

Good Soil: The Heart That Receives God’s Word (Outline + Full-Text)

Outline

The Bible* is NOT the Words of Men, but is the WORD OF GOD

  • Compare Hebrews 3:7 with 4:7 – Quoting Psalm 95:7. Though David wrote (4:7), the words are recognized as those of the Holy Spirit (3:7)
    • Human writers wrote the Scriptures, but it is God’s Word.
  • Jesus Treats the Bible as the Authoritative Word of God
    • Matthew 19:4-5 – Jesus attributes the written Scriptures as God’s speaking (Genesis 2:24 is labeled as God’s voice, though it is text written by the author of Genesis)
    • Matthew 22:29-32 – Jesus treats Exodus 3:6,15 as if God were speaking it to his contemporaries, though the event happened roughly 1,500 years previous. 
    • John 10:35 – Jesus believes the Old Testament Scriptures were God’s words and perfect: “the Scripture cannot be broken”
    • John 14:26 – Jesus endorses the accounts that would be written about his ministry (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as coming from the Holy Spirit: “the Holy Spirit…will…bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
    • John 16:12-13 – Jesus implies endorsement of the rest of the New Testament teachings – revealed after His ministry ended – as coming from the Holy Spirit and authoritatively His words.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:13 – The message taught by the apostles (who wrote the New Testament) is the word of God, not the word of men.
  • If the Bible is the authoritative word of God, it must be the standard by which we measure truth.
    • If a teacher teaches something contrary to the word of God, his teaching is false.

Receiving God’s Word

  • Mark 4:1-20 – Parable of the Sower
    • Mark 4:13 – The message of THIS parable is foundational to Jesus’ teachings
    • Mark 4:10-12 – Jesus speaks in parables to test people’s hearts
      • He won’t reveal his words to those who have hard hearts
      • The disciples had revelation of Jesus’ word because they had hearts to seek it out (Mark 4:10)
    • 4 soils/environments = 4 kinds of hearts (see Luke 8:12)
    • 1 seed = Word of God (Luke 8:11), sown in 4 different hearts
      • 1 out of 4 were successful (25% success rate)
    • Application: If our hearts are not in the right place when we hear God’s word, it will not produce the results God desires
      • We must be willing to be corrected by the Word and correct others by the Word.
  • Matthew 7:24-27 – must hear and do
    • 2 houses: 1 successful, 1 unsuccessful
      • Both heard the word, only 1 acted on what they heard.
      • Must do what we hear with God’s Word.

*Our use of “Bible” is limited exclusively to the 66 books in the Protestant Canon of Scripture.  


Full-Text

I want to start with the basis of what I think needs to be said before we even do any Bible study. I want to show you something. Go to Hebrews Chapter 4:7. There is a certain thing that is revealed here, in this passage in Hebrews. Hebrews Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 really go together. There’s one flowing thought by the writer of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4:7, he says this: “Again He (that would be God) designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Don’t worry about the context for now, here’s all I want to show with this. Where is he quoting from? Does anyone see that in their Bible? Psalms. What Psalm? 95:7-8. Okay, got it, he’s quoting from Psalm 95:7-8. And who does he say that is speaking this Psalm? Again He designates a certain day, saying in…and Gabe said David. David speaks this Psalm. So believe me there are human writers who wrote down the Scriptures. As we are going to look at. There are 66 books and just like David wrote the Psalms. However, that’s not the end of the story. Please turn to exactly a chapter earlier Hebrews Chapter 3:7. Okay, it says, “Therefore, as David says – is that what it says? – NO! It says, “As the Holy Spirit says today if you will hear his voice.” Do you see that he is quoting from the exact same verse? The exact same verse in your Bible, it should say Psalm 95:7. In Hebrews Chapter 4 it says that David wrote it, but here who wrote it or who spoke it? The Holy Spirit spoke it. So this is where I’m coming from I guess when we quote the Scriptures. I do not think its just David writing. We talked earlier about that a little bit that some have said well this is the voices of humans that said it. Some church websites. In one sense it is the voice of David in the other sense it is the voice of the Holy Spirit.

So now, here’s the other thing I’ve heard other people say this that maybe that is just the writer of Hebrews. So now here is the other thing. I have heard people make this statement, “I don’t think this is written really inspired by God.  I don’t trust a lot of the words of the Bible, I trust some but not all, but I do trust Jesus.” So people say, they think there is a difference between trusting or not trusting these writers and trusting Jesus.” Well let me show you something. Does Jesus deal with Scriptures in this way? Well, Lets check it out. Go to Matthew Chapter 19. You have to look at this very carefully, at what He says here. This is Jesus writing. If you have a bible with red letter edition you should see the red lettering. Matthew 19:4 and 5 “And He (Jesus) answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” Okay, so let’s stop and look at what Jesus says. He who made them at the beginning, who is that? God. (And it should be capitalized in all your Bibles. It probably is.) He who made them at the beginning. Verse 5 and said for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother. So who is Jesus saying said that quote in verse 5? The creator, whoever the creator is – of course its God. It says God created and God spoke. What did He speak? “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” Where is he quoting from? Genesis 2:24. Hold your place there and go to Genesis 2:24. If you just glance at it you would miss this. Look at this Genesis chapter 2:24. And do you have quotes around that in Genesis 2:24? –NO, why not? Because this is whoever wrote Genesis wrote this. That’s what he wrote. The writer of Genesis wrote “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” Whoever it was, according to the Bible it was Moses. Moses wrote that. Do you see what Jesus says though? Moses wrote it but in Matthew 19 who does He say speaks it? Who? He does not say Moses, does he?  He says God does. God speaks what Moses wrote. You see how he treats Scripture, even though Moses wrote it, it’s still God’s word.

One more place on this before we go on. Matthew 22:29. Let’s see how Jesus treats Scripture again here. Matthew 22:29 and on…He says this: “Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of god in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Where is he quoting from? Do you see it? Jesus is quoting from Exodus 3:6. Maybe you remember the story of when God reveals himself to Moses in the burning bush? He quotes that. When did Moses write? Does anyone here know what year about approximately? About 1500 years before Christ is when Moses lived and wrote. Moses wrote it that long ago. But look at what he says in verse 31. Have you not read what was spoken way back then to those people? That’s not what he says is it. Have you not read what was spoken to who? YOU who live here 1500 years later. Spoken by Moses? By GOD!! (Not by Moses, by GOD!) You see how Jesus treats Scripture. So please don’t try to say I go with what Jesus says but I don’t go with what the Bible says because Jesus says no, what I say is, that all the Scriptures, and he makes a very clear point he says Old Testament whatever has been written has been perfect. John 10 he says that. He also says, he doesn’t stop there, he says in John 14 he says whatever I have spoken to you will come back to your remembrance because the Holy Spirit will remind you. That would be the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Holy Spirit reminds. So we were talking earlier about these scholars that said that the gospel cannot be trusted. Then Jesus cannot be trusted because he said whatever the Holy Spirit says will go. So what were showing is that Jesus spoke in John 10 saying that all the Old Testament is from God. In John 14 –he says what I speak, these gospels, the Holy Spirit will remind you. And In John 16 – you can’t bear everything I say right now and the Holy Spirit will show you even more. And guess how he revealed more? Through Paul, through John in Revelation. Through other things. Who appeared to Paul? – Jesus, and He said you’re going to have revelations and write what I show you. Who appeared to John? Jesus. So Jesus gives his testimony behind the Old and New Testament. He says all of it is true.

And the final summing up of what I’m trying to show can be best shown in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Paul is writing this. And here is what he says: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing.” So why is he so thankful to God? Because when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, so they were telling them about what the Scriptures say and you heard it from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men but as it is in truth the word of God which also effectively works in you who believe.” He makes a very clear statement. Though men wrote it is not the word of men. It’s the word of God. It’s as those Jesus himself is speaking whatever you read in the Scriptures – old and new. And how do you receive the blessing of Jesus speaking it? Look at the last part – It works effectively in you who believe. So, there is a receiving of it. I wanted to say all that because if were going to really teach the Bible and go into it and what I think God has put on my heart and the hearts of other people to really go deeper into it there has to be that common knowledge. I’m assuming and maybe, God forgive me if I’m wrong but I’m assuming that were coming with the mentality that this is not the words of men but this is truly the authority of the Scriptures, in such a way that if I speak something to you and it does not line up with something in the Word throw out what I said and correct me because it’s wrong. There is no authority in me, there is no authority in man. There is authority in the Word of God. So with that being said I hope to teach you authoritatively. Why? Not because I have some authority in me but because I hope to teach you what the scriptures truly teach correctly. Alright?

So to build on that go to Mark 4:1.“And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Okay, so he speaks in this parable. Now here is what happens. Privately, the disciples come in verse 10. But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.’

Okay, this says a lot here. That last part here especially may direct your question.

How did Jesus speak to the crowds? In parables. Why would he speak in parables? Why not make it so easy and plain and simple? Kind of like the question why is the Bible so stinking hard to understand sometimes? He has a definite reason. Look at that. His reason is in verses 11 and 12. He speaks in parables to test where people’s hearts are really at. He says, I know some people who have already rejected me in there heart. So I’m not going to reveal the truth to them because they don’t want the truth. There going to abuse the truth. It’s like giving a pearl. He says; don’t give your pearl before swine. There just going to take it and mess it up because there heart is not ready for it. He says, so I make it on purpose that I speak in parables. But who does he reveal it to? The disciples, those who come and ask him more because there hearts are ready to receive. Those who have their hearts ready to receive will receive and have clarity and understanding in the Bible and what Jesus is speaking in this parable.

Not only that, look at the first parable he teaches. The parable of the sower. Verse 13. Jesus said to them “Do you not understand this parable, how then will you understand all the parables?” According to Jesus the parable of the sower is the beginning point of understanding his message, his parables.  He says if you cannot understand this then you will not understand anything, you will not understand any of His parables. What is he teaching in this parable? How many different soils do you have first off? Four different soils, or four different environments with the soil. How many different seeds do you have that go into the soils? – ONE seed. What does the seed represent? The Word of God. Luke 8:18 says it exactly. Here we see He just says it outright Verse 14: “The sower sows the Word.” People ask, you were saying the Catholics, We have the same Bible, why do they take it and do this and do this and do this. According to the Lord himself he says you may have the same Good Word, you may have the excellent sower. You know who the first sower of this word was? Jesus himself. He is the one who sows liberally. But how many were successful? How many received it and had fruit out of four? One. So you have 25% success rate. Some people say he is wasting his seed. That’s the way of the Lord. He is liberal, He just gives gives gives gives. Even though he knows it’s going to be wasted sometimes.

Now, I bring this up on purpose. Because in these studies I do pray to the Lord that I’m delivering the Word faithfully. But even with that said we may have so many different results in lives. And He says this is the first thing that measures results. Where is your heart at? Are you willing to receive what is spoken? Even if it disagrees with something you’ve believed before, even if it disagrees with something your pastors have taught you, even if it disagrees with something your parents have taught you there whole lives, even if it disagrees with your own feelings all those things, are you willing to receive it if it’s the Word? Now if it’s not the Word am I willing to receive your correction is the next question. Okay. Either way the Word needs to be sown, the true Word and the hearts receive it.

In building on this, there is one more thing I was going to show you. Matthew Chapter 7 verse 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” It talks about two types of people. Which type of them heard the word? Which ones? Both heard the word. How many were successful. One. This time its a little better than the sower. 50 percent, the sower was 25 percent.  50 percent success rate. What did the ones who were successful do? They acted on that. They did and they did according to the Word and their foundation grew. You see what happens. The other one had a foundation and who knows how long that foundation lasted before the storm came. That foundation may have lasted for decades. That would be pretty nice to not have a storm for decades but who knows. It lasted for that long. But every single person here I can guarantee is going to have a storm that will shake your foundation. And it will reveal how much you have received of the Word, truly the Word not a tainted picture of the Word and what you have done with it and how your heart has grabbed it. So I guess in saying this to set way for building a solid sturdy house upon the Scriptures and what I want to teach God willing throughout these studies here is that there is amazing things I think but it could have completely different results. I’m gong to teach it I hope to the best of my abilities and be faithful to what God has put on my heart to you guys. But that doesn’t mean it is done. If you just receive it, or if your heart isn’t ready to receive it, it will not have the fruit that you are expecting and there will be a great disappointment in your life and in my life. Because I’ll say, “Man, Didn’t we talk about all this stuff, what happened?” So that I make the way though that you would pray and that we would pray and that we would have God search our hearts out to see if we are in the right place to receive the word. That’s where I think we need to stop today, so we have maybe a week to pray and to say is our heart ready to receive what God wants to teach in the Word?

Heart & Mind

The following Scriptures show that a change in heart (i.e. primarily a change in our will) comes BEFORE mental understanding, and that willingness to do God’s will is the first step to a change in heart.

Note: These do not show that engaging the intellect and mind is an unfruitful ministry. Paul clearly refutes this in 2 Cor. 10:5 and other passages. Instead, engaging the mind can help remove and minimize satanic obstacles, so that someone can be in a better position to believe in their heart and be justified (Rom. 10:10).  But we must always remember that the heart is the issue, not the mind.

Scriptures (in Biblical Order)

  • Judges – Samson’s hair cut first (sign of his consecration and holiness compromised, see Num. 6), then his eyes blinds (symbol of lack of revelation)
  • 1 Sam. 3 – he never heard God clearly until he was willing to be God’s servant (“Speak, for your servant is listening”)
  • Ps. 18:25-26
  • Ps. 25:9
  • Ps. 111:10
  • Prov. 1:23
  • Prov. 2:7
  • Prov. 9:10
  • Eze. 12:2
  • John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus through repentance
  • Matt. 5:8
  • Matt. 6:22-24
  • Matt. 22:37
  • Luke 5:27-32
  • Luke 13:35 – seeing Jesus is contingent on a heart attitude that welcomes God’s Messenger (Christ), and by extension, others whom God sends to tell us about Christ (N.T. writers) –  “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
  • Luke 15:31
  • John 5:37-42
  • John 7:17
  • Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8 – parable of sower
  • 2 Cor. 3:16
  • Eph. 4:18 – hard hearts cause ignorance
  • 2 Thes. 2:10-11
  • Titus 1:15
  • James 1:6 compared with James 4:8
  • James 1:21-25

Quotes

In William R. Bright’s Foreword to Josh McDowell’s, New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, he states:

During my fifty-five years of sharing the good news of the Savior with the academic world, I have met very few individuals who have honestly considered the evidence and yet deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of men…However, not all–not even the majority–of those to whom I have spoken have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord.  This is not because they were unable to believe–they were simply unwilling to believe!

For example, a brilliant but confused psychiatrist came to Arrowhead Springs for counsel.  He confessed frankly to me that he had never been willing to consider honestly the claims of Christ in his own life for fear that he would be convinced and, as a result, would have to change his way of life.

Josh McDowell’s, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 1999, p. xii

In the Introduction to the same book, Josh McDowell writes:

Michael Green cites Aldous Huxley, the atheist, who has destroyed the beliefs of many and has been hailed as a great intellect.  Huxley admits his own biases…when he says: 

I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption.  The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves….For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political. 

Josh McDowell’s, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 1999, p. xli

For more on this topic, see The Deception of Knowledge.

Israel’s Kings

Here’s how I see the kings of Israel as far as their seeking God with true worship and fear:

Kings of Judah-Israel United

  1. Saul – mixed
  2. David – good
  3. Solomon – mixed

Kings of Divided Kingdom

JudahIsrael
1. Rehoboam – bad
2. Abijam – bad
3. Asa – mixed
4. Jehoshaphat – mixed
5. Jehoram/Joram – bad
6. Ahaziah – bad
7. Athalia (mother of Ahaziah) – bad
8. Joash – mixed
9. Amaziah – mixed
10. Azariah (i.e. Uzziah) – mixed
prophets during this time: Amos
11. Jotham – mixed
prophets during this time: Micah, Hosea
12. Ahaz – bad
prophets during this time: Micah, Hosea
13. Hezekiah – good
prophets during this time: Micah, Hosea

Israel taken captive by Assyria.
1. Jeroboam – bad
2. Nadab – bad
3. Baasha – bad
4. Elah – bad
5. Zimri – bad
6a. Omri – bad
6b. Tibni – bad
7. Ahab – bad
8. Ahaziah – bad
9. Jehoram (i.e. Joram) – bad
10. Jehu – mixed
11. Jehoahaz – bad
12. Joash – bad
13. Jeroboam – bad
prophets during this time: Amos, Hosea
14. Zechariah – bad
15. Shallum – bad
16. Menahem – bad
17. Pekahiah – bad
18. Pekah – bad
19. Hoshea – bad

Israel taken captive by Assyria.
14. Manasseh – bad
15. Amon – bad
16. Josiah – good
prophets during this time: Zephaniah
17. Jehoahaz – bad
18. Eliakim (i.e. Jehoiakim) – bad
19. Jehoiachin – bad
20. Mattaniah (i.e. Zedekiah) – bad

Judah taken captive by Babylon.
Prophets afterward: Daniel, Zechariah, Haggai
Chart of Kings of Israel/Judah

Itching Ears (Original Song with Lyrics + Article)

Guest Authors: Richard Martin and Brad Holda

“Itching Ears” by Richard Martin and Brad Holda

Lyrics

Chorus
Shhhh…..
be careful little ears what you hear
be careful little ears what you hear
be careful little ears what you hear
be careful little ears what you hear
The Father up above is looking down in love so be careful little ears what you hear…
be careful little ears what you hear
be careful little ears what you hear
The Father up above is looking down in love so be careful little ears what you hear…

VERSE 1 (Richard Martin)
Fake shepherds equal spiritual drought
I’m praying you find out by the end of this song what I’m talking about
B-Rad and I we callin' 'em out
Hope to turn you around
We do it in love 'cuz we want you to sprout!
They never wanted Jesus
In the last days they want Caesar
THEY SAY “imagine dragons” to be a believer
But I say imagine JESUS Yeshua
The one that can do - uh
What he say he will, the truth yup!
So between us listen to my thesis
Spittin love cuz he frees us! (preach)
Send us your money today
houses cars money and fame
But These ain’t coming your way
Go away, deceptive snakes TD Jakes and KANYE!
False prophets love profits
Souls burn while they deposit
Kill the poor to make pop hits
Itching ears can’t accept what they don’t understand you hear?
Let me grab a 60 inch tv to help expand THE PICTURE HERE ! ! !
Itching ears follow KENNETH Copeland
Itching ears follow the Pope and
ITCHING EARS follow Joel Osteen!
Itching ears LOVE boasting…

CHORUS

VERSE 2 (Brad Holda)
Furtick, I’m sorry, Pastor Steven
Everyone stand … you only a mortal man…
Don’t tell the members that or I’ll be banned
You preaching heresy from the pulpit, can’t watch it, now I see why others mock it, we ain’t puppets.
Every move methodical thinking you unstoppable…gotta stop it bro
Elevation all about numbers
Members sit and get becoming spiritual dumber, numba
Driving hummers it’s a bummer while souls crave for hunger
It’s senseless, bringing dollars and senses
Spend a quarter million on paint, can’t forget china rain…
Drivin me insane going to the brain thinking you a genius mane, but you ain’t
Must confess it…seems refreshing but you lost sight of the mission, forgetting the hearts condition and Jesus the Great Physician
No theology… just a motivational message you see…
Dishonestly, promoting falsehood and peculiarity (preach!)
90% of your message is about me…
king Steven…preaching…moralistic therapeutic theism, now listen…
Jesus is Lamb, He’s also a Lion where’s that in the message?
The gospel that saves alive today what our souls crave becoming like James
Clutchin to the world's ways, misjudging…
Jesus ain’t bluffin, now you say I’m judging…
Must be buggin, this is nothing but lovin
I’m talkin real love, not some zimzum you fell like Rob Bell man, you messin with the wrong one…

The Article: What Does it Mean to Have “Itching Ears?”

By Richard Martin

Many Christians are likely familiar with the phrase, “itching ears.” But what exactly does that mean in the context of scripture as it relates to the modern church?

When writing to a younger minister named Timothy, Paul warns that there will be a time when the church will,

turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned aside to fables

2 Tim. 4:4

After Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we read in the New Testament about false teachers who came into the church to turn people away from the faith.

It should come as no surprise to us that from the very onset of the early church, “tares” (i.e. false Christians) were already being planted alongside the wheat (see Matt. 13:24-30).

For this reason, Paul warns young Timothy that doctrine will be perverted:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their
own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you
be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
ministry.

2 Timothy 2:3-5, NKJV

Bad Doctrine

All false teachers share one thing in common: fraudulent and destructive doctrines.

Jesus said,

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly
are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:15, ESV

Peter also warns the early church about looming apostasy (i.e. people falling away from the faith) that would stem from false teaching:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers
among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who
bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:1

Allured By Lust

But Peter goes further to explain how such deception happens:

For when they [false teachers] speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.

2 Peter 2:18

Did you catch that last part? The key words are “the lusts of the flesh.”

All sin originates from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (see 1 John 2:16).

To have itching ears means to be lured away from Christ by one or all three of these.

In other words, many believers in Jesus Christ will be led away by their lusts and attracted to false teachings because
they don’t want to hear the whole truth of God’s Word.

For example, those with itching ears don’t want to hear that God would ever hold anyone accountable for their sins and
cast unrepentant souls into hell. This example is known as the hyper-grace gospel.

Another example is the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel appeals to the lust of the flesh in promising earthly health and wealth to “Christians”, especially when you donate to a prosperity-gospel church or ministry.

You can see why Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:4-5, Luke 21:8, and Mark 13:5-6 to,

not be deceived; many will come in my name.”

The Lust of Money

The truth is that many have come in the name of Jesus Christ and have traded the true gospel–which is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone–for a false gospel that makes them money.

Sadly, this shouldn’t surprise us:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows

(1 Timothy 6:10, ESV).

Money and power are clearly the end goal of many of these false teachers.

The Lord through Peter warns:

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not

(2 Peter 2:3, KJV)

I enjoy reading various Bible translations, and I believe the KJV of 2 Peter 2:3 perfectly encapsulates one of the things I have seen in such false teachers: making and selling church merchandise.

For instance, I know of a local pastor who spent countless dollars to promote a music album, of which he was the main feature. He sold various items, including notebooks, hoodies, and his album release. The sad part was that the hoodies were sold to inner-city people, typically from the poorest neighborhoods in America, and each hoodie cost $70.

In other words, this pastor was making “merchandise of people.”

In my opinion, the most glaring sign of false preachers is how much wealth they amass and keep for themselves.

Here is a top ten list of some of the wealthiest pastors in the world (sources: Money, Inc, “The 10 Richest Pastors in the World” and “How Steven Furtick Achieved a Net Worth of $60 Million”):

  • Kenneth Copeland – Net Worth $760 Million
  • Thomas Dexter (“T.D.” Jakes) – Net Worth $150 Million
  • Ayo Oritsejafor – $120 Million
  • Emmanuel Makandiwa – $100 Million
  • Pat Robertson – $100 Million (close friends with Kenneth Copeland)
  • Steven Furtick – $60 Million
  • Chris Oyakhilome – $50 Million
  • Benny Hinn – $42 Million
  • Joel Osteen – $40 Million
  • Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye – $39 Million

One honorable mention is Creflo Dollar – $27 million. You read that last name correctly. His last name is “Dollar.” You literally cannot make this up.

Pastors who accumulate such high amounts of wealth and store it reminds me of Jesus’ parable about the rich man who stored wealth but lost his soul because he was, “not rich toward God,” (Luke 12:16-37).

These pastors also all teach and preach very concerning doctrines, including various versions of the prosperity gospel.

Sadly, these are just a few of the hundreds, if not thousands, of false preachers today.

The Lust of Power

Additionally, there have been tragically well-publicized moral failings of prominent pastors, as well. Such pastors have given into the temptation of being self-serving and their moral compromise has sadly led others astray.

A few examples include:

  • Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow Creek, who resigned in April 2018 after allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of power.
  • James MacDonald, the founding pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, was fired in February 2019 for creating a culture of fear
    and intimidation and for enabling financial mismanagement.
  • Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong East Coast, was let go in November 2020 for “moral failures,” including an
    adulterous affair, and is now accused of sexual abuse.

Stories like these bring sadness to my heart. Such leaders harm people, but most of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These examples should also cause us to examine our hearts each day.

The world we find ourselves in is a world where good is called evil, and evil is called good (Isaiah 5:20).

The result of such atrocities within the church is a lukewarm Christianity that Christ warns us about in Revelation 3:16 (ESV) when speaking directly to the Laodicean church:

So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my
mouth.


The issue here is two-sided. On the one hand, you have false preachers who satisfy itching ears by preaching only the niceties of God’s Word while obscuring the rest, but on the other hand, you have those who have itching ears who do not read God’s Word (by their own doing) and become led astray.

Why is it important for believers to discern false prophets and warn against them?

Because the Word of God instructs us to be on guard against false preachers and those who, “come in my name, saying I am Christ; and will deceive many” (Matt 24:5, KJV).

We are to examine each person so that false doctrines contrived by men do not deceive us. The central theme when looking out for false preachers is that we do not become deceived. We are to warn against and also reprove falsehood. Here are some additional scriptures to consider:

  • “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions” (1 Timothy 1:3-7, ESV).
  • “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1, ESV).
  • “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8, ESV).
  • “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve” (Romans 16:18, ESV).

The Antidote

The best thing we can do as true believers in Christ is to stay rooted and grounded in God’s Word so that we, too, are not led astray. Because, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9).

Now, suppose you read this and attend a church with a questionable doctrine – maybe your pastor is listed above OR you subscribe/follow him or his teachings. In that case, you should first go to scripture to read about God’s true character for yourself and compare that against one or all of these false preachers. The Bereans are famous for doing this in the book of Acts when Paul preached to them.

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

(Acts 17:10-11, ESV)

You’ll notice they were willing to hear new things from Paul out. They weren’t closed-minded to learning from others (even things that would have been different than what they grew up with). However, they didn’t stop there. They went on to examine the Scriptures daily to see what was true or not.

If you’re still confused or need help, contact us, and we will point you to a local church that teaches the true gospel of Jesus Christ. May God bless you and keep you all. Amen.

CHART: Holy Spirit Fruit / Holy Spirit Gifts

Indwelling Holy Spirit → FruitOutpoured Holy Spirit → Gifts
Evidence of salvation?Yes

Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 1:13-14
No

Matthew 7:22
All 9 should be manifested in every believer?Yes

Galatians 5:22-24
No – though all 9 should be manifested throughout the church

1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Fully mature from the moment you receive?No

Galatians 5:22 – “fruit” is something that grows over time; this is evident in the overwhelming emphasis on Holy Spirit fruit that should be manifested in elders (who are more mature Christians – Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17-25; Titus 1:5-9; Heb. 13:7-17; James 3:13-18; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
Yes – though the user can grow in ability to use them

Romans 12:6
How is it received?By repenting and believing the gospel

Ephesians 1:13
At God’s discretion; generally with prayer, godly desire, and laying hands

1 Corinthians 12:11
Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 14:13
1 Corinthians 14:1 (compare Acts 8:21)
Acts 8:18; 2 Timothy 1:6
Sign of maturity in Christ?Yes

See descriptions of elders; Gal. 5:22-24; 1 Cor. 12-14
No

Matt. 7:22; 1 Corinthians 13
Essential for the Church’s ministry and witness?Yes

Book of Acts; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 2:3-4; etc.
Yes

Book of Acts; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 2:3-4; etc.
Chart comparing and contrasting Holy Spirit fruit with gifts