Devotional - The Seven Woes For The Church Today- Part One

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. - Matthew 23: 1-12 (ESV)

    The 23rd Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew is entirely devoted to warnings, or woes, that Jesus proclaims against the scribes and Pharisees of His day. The scribes were those that possessed a deep understanding of the laws that governed in the days of Jesus. They were usually responsible for drafting legal documents in relation to those laws. The Pharisees were the dominant religious-political group of the day. They relied primarily upon oral tradition in addition to the written law. Combined they represented the religiosity of the day. They were the mega-churches. If there was cable television, they would own TBN. They were more concerned with the letter of their traditions than the true spirit of the God they claimed to serve. Jesus came along to upset their apple cart. He came along to remind people who God was in comparison to the man made religion they had become enamored with. If we fast forward to today, we see He is still doing this in our midst. For every televangelist shaking people down for money there is Jesus and His Word to over turn the tables the snake oil salesmen have set up in the house of God. For every self proclaimed pastor willing to compromise the Gospel for the sake of seeking and earthly purpose, there is Christ at our right hand, ready to show us the true way to the Father. So we begin a series today examining the seven woes Jesus spoke regarding the Pharisees and Scribes. The seven woes He is still speaking to the church today about our own man made religiosity.

    Before getting into the specific warnings, Jesus introduces the topic with some general observations about this brood of vipers. So we could recognize if we find ourselves being led by people with such compromises being evident. Things we should be wary of. Things we should be on the lookout for. The first thing we should be wary of is hypocrisy. That these people will practice different than they preach. That sometimes what we hear may be correct but that we must go beyond that to see if their behavior matches what they profess to believe. The notion of "do what I say and not what I do" is not a Christian principle.

    Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,And honor Me with their lips,But their heart is far from Me.And in vain they worship Me,Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ - Matthew 15: 7-9 (NKJV)

    Not surprisingly, Jesus is referring to the scribes and Pharisees here as well. Notice the differentiation of honoring God with our lips and our hearts. With our words and with our deeds. Jesus constantly taught against hypocrisy. I watched a pastor once tell a congregation that if someone had an issue with someone else in the church that they needed to leave. As bad as that comment was, two weeks later he preached on the parable of the 99 and 1! When preaching becomes an academic exercise and not driven by the Holy Spirit we remove the conviction we so desperately need. Notice also here that doctrine gets twisted. This is a key sign that we need to get out. When the commandments created by man become the doctrines taught from the pulpit - it is time to leave. Beloved, there is no scriptural support for seeker friendly doctrine. There is no scriptural support for purpose driven doctrine. There is no scriptural support for cheap grace or earthly prosperity. There simply isn't. Sure, you can take a verse here or there and rip it out of context to suit the point you want to make but that does not make it doctrine. You can lie and claim some fanciful nonsense like money is the number one subject in the Bible but at the end of the day you are merely speaking out of both sides of your mouth. These things are not new beloved. We see them active today and Jesus spoke to us about them 2000 years ago:

    Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. - Luke 16: 14-15 (NKJV)

    You can take out the word Pharisee and insert "mega church pastors" or TBN Televangelists" and the statement remains accurate. Lovers of money, preaching money, seeking money, valuing money - loving money. Highly esteemed. They have the best time slots for their television shows. They drive the best cars and apologize to no one. They have their own private planes to "better spread the gospel." They preach crassness and vulgarity from the pulpit and have no respect for the altar of God. They measure success horizontally and with earthly metrics instead of vertically with Godly understanding. They preach what they do not adhere to themselves. They preach kindness but treat people who disagree with them on the slightest minutia as being somehow outside the Body of Christ. They preach forgiveness but use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. They preach the supremacy of Christ but they are the hero of every story. Something just does not quite add up because we see the hypocrisy and we know deep down we should come out from among them.

    Continuing on in this introduction from Jesus we see that they tie up heavy burdens for people but do nothing to help them carry them. They preach at people. They use the Bible as a blunt instrument instead of a two edged sword. They seek to do the job of the Holy Spirit instead of doing the job of a pastor. There is very little "shepherding" going on. As we see the rise of the mega church we see more and more people who call themselves pastors who do not know any of the sheep God has entrusted to them personally. The Bible says we are to bear one another's burdens but we are being taught by example the opposite. Somewhere along the line the management of a church fell under the worldly vision of a business model. The pastor became the CEO. The sheep became consumers. The Gospel became a product to sell. There is so much unscriptural about that I am not sure where to begin! When a pastor becomes a CEO he ceases to shepherd the flock he has been given, despite Biblical instruction to the contrary:

    The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. - 1Peter 5: 1-4 (NKJV)

    Within the business model of church the sheep become consumers and we lose sight of the fact that they are lost. With the consumer mentality we think it is not a big deal if they shop around. We fall into the trap of forgetting that tomorrow is promised to no one and that one week we see them might be their only chance to hear the Gospel that could save their soul. Last year Rick Warren advised pastors to not preach a Gospel centric message on Easter because you want "to give your visitors a reason to come back." Despite being a completely asinine idea, it shows the heart of the problem of turning the church into a business and convincing people their purpose is somehow outside of Christ. Man made wisdom infiltrates our thinking. The Gospel is not a product to be sold because when it is cheapened as such, we start to devise schemes to market it. We take out the parts we think might offend people despite the fact that the Gospel is supposed to offend and the parts that we remove are the parts that actually lead to salvation. We put the Gospel in the discount bin and tell people it won't cost them anything when in reality it will cost them everything. We are called as a pastor to shepherd. Not to be a CEO. Not to be a businessman. Not to cast vision. If you want a vision - read your Bible. Let me make it real simple - preach the Gospel. Remember, we do not have the words of eternal life in us:

    From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” - John 6: 66-69 (NKJV)

    Any vision we cast is doomed to fall short of the mark Jesus has already set. Only He has the words of eternal life. Therefore all we need to do is preach them.

    The next thing to be wary of is leaders who do everything for show. To be seen by man. One of the more obvious problems in modern churches is this sense of style over substance. Flash over substance. We see pastors trying desperately to fit into the culture they should be trying to lead people away from. I have heard mega church pastors proclaim their desire to have their church be relevant to the community it sits in and that is simply a lie from the pit of hell. We are not supposed to be relevant beloved. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to offer the world something different. They do not need to see a pastor in skinny jeans, a leather jacket, and a faux-hawk haircut. They need to hear the Gospel. Likewise, the church should not be a production. It is not a show. It is not entertainment. Unfortunately however, we see churches pay the best voices (saved or unsaved), to sing the most contemporary worship songs (Biblical or not). Only the finest trained musicians are allowed. The pastors of old with a shepherds heart have been replaced with motivational speakers designed to amaze us with their great oratory. In ancient days the Greek societies loved great oratory. It was what was celebrated. When the Apostle Paul came to town however it was never about his speechcraft but rather his message:

    And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1Corinthians 2: 1-2 (NKJV)

    The modern church needs to come back to the simplicity of the Gospel message - Jesus Christ and Him crucified! The final point for today deals with humility and titles. It seems today you cannot walk a block without tripping over an apostle or a prophet. People who are just dying to tell you how spiritual they are based on their title. Or people who got their ministerial credentials out of a cereal box. One day they are part of the laity and the next they are "Reverend" without so much as a class in theology or an understanding of sound doctrine. I have seen where you can buy your apostleship for $50 on the Internet - complete with your own crest and business cards! The International Coalition of Apostles charges $450 per year to allow you to lie to the church and call yourself a title that only Jesus bestowed upon people. While this might just be considered sublime, the ridiculous comes when we see all the wannabe prophets out there in the church today. Celebrated by the church today. Promoted by the church today. "Prophecies" filled with puppy-dogs and rainbows. Open heavens and unlimited blessings. Everything our itching ears want to hear. None of the warnings or judgments the prophets of old brought to the people of God.

    But they are out there in droves. Prophets and prophetesses. Apostles and even "Psalmists." Titles they have not earned, do not understand, and use for personal gain. Moronic prophets predicting who will win the Super Bowl and still getting it wrong. Some churches have fallen so far into blasphemy they operate schools to teach the gifts of the Spirit. No one bats an eye. No one stands up and says what sayeth the Lord anymore. If you do it is you that are branded as sowing discord even though the Bible is clear that it is false doctrine that actually causes the disunity in the church. There will literally be millions of people on judgment day who will be saying "Lord Lord" because they thought they were following God when they were not. They thought they were building the eternal kingdom when they were really building a church building. People who looked the other way in the face of heresy. Who bowed down to false apostles and fake prophets. Who saw the warnings from Jesus in Scripture and did nothing with them. Let us discern today and take heed of what Jesus Himself has warned us about.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - April 2, 2014
  2. OH my...... The World is doomed by the mega churches.......... Who would have guessed?

    You can't teach the world, by putting something else down.

    Also, just for your information............ The Baptist have the largest churches by far. google it.

    I suppose they are doomed also... amazing.

    Keep trying, I believe one day you will get there. So much more to teach about than cry like a school girl about what someone else is doing you don't like.

    Teach faith or something helpful, something someone can get victory with.
  3. 1) The world is doomed anyway, not sure what the point of that comment was.

    2) I am not trying to teach the world. I am dividing the Word to show those under deception that they need to come out from among them, you know, as the Bible says we are to do.

    3) If you read this and only came away with "mega churches" then you need to re-read it.

    4) Michael, I know you are not this stupid. You know full well that this is not an exercise in complaining about things "I don't like." It is about showing what is not in line with Scripture. Fully sourced and Bible verses supporting it.

    5) Teaching people what the Bible says doesn't help them get victory? Really? C'mon.

    This is not a game to me. The eternal destination of the souls of men hang in the balance and you keep trying to muddy the waters. Be careful brother. We all will be held to account. Just do me a favor. If you do not intend to be an honest broker in this conversation, just ignore the rest of the series, because there are seven woes still to exposit. Jesus Himself gave us these. They should matter to you.

  4. If this is not a Game to you, then let me explain how this Works........................... I am reading along, sounds very good then "BAM" I see you put down my favorite TV station....... TBS or whatever it's called.

    I shut you down, and everything I read from that point does not register.

    That is how peoples minds Work Anthony.

    Way back I was following this Guy, read a couple great books about the authority of the bible, I felt i was really learning a lot. Then I read something he said about Kenneth Copeland calling him a false prophet. Not only that, but the people under him are deceived.

    Now i was not very mature yet in the Word.

    Now it's not a matter of right or wrong. Because of my maturity level (Which you find most are not very mature believers) I went with Kenneth Copeland because the guy also said I was deceived even though I read two of his books that I felt helped me.

    That is what happens here. You mention someone that someone else hears, they shut down. Then everything they did get from you gets forgotten.

    It does no good preaching what we call truth if it's not received. Reading some of your Articles you mention people I never heard of, now why would I want to go thinking bad about someone i never heard of?

    Like one guy running his mouth........ I told them the truth bless God. They got mad and left, but at least I am not to blame. ya, way to go, you helped lots there.

    Like this marriage issue I am dealing with. I got a Word and the Lord told me this girl is to leave her husband, it won't work but also tell her not to get offended and make sure to know offense is coming.

    Now this was before everything went down, so i just told her the Lord said watch being offended. I never mentioned the Husband part at all. She would not receive it anyway.

    months later she has left him, and last night I told her everything the Lord told me and it all fit and helped her.
    Had I told her before, she would have thought i was crazy.

    Your assumption that people even know who these mega churches are is crazy. Most can't even relate and I being a Word of Faith person did not even know some of the folks you brought up.

    Your not doing anyone any Good if you put down who they might listen to, and bring up things they don't even understand. Stick to the Word. You and I might know what Blab it a Grab it means, I promise many don't and you pass by those you could have helped.

    Be helpful, if they don't receive, then truth does not matter.
  5. Here is the thing then brother. TBN is a horrific station that does not serve the Lord. It is filled with the best false prophets and teachers of the day. I understand now why you seem to like some poor theology.

    Now wait a minute...realize that this is my opinion, which I fully back up with Scripture. My hope would be that you realize through the conviction of the Holy Spirit what God is trying to say to you. But at worst, you simply have a different opinion. It might be interesting to sort through that and see if our iron sharpens each other or whether we just simply agree to disagree. My job is to present the Gospel, not convince you of it.

    But the other major point here is this. You are not shutting me down Michael. You are shutting God down (no, I am not saying I am God, lol). He may still have something to show you or say to you. Unless you think I am a false teacher, in which case, you should stay away anyway.

    Same thing goes with the Copeland example. My job is to point out the heresy so that people would not sit under deception. If I know Pastor A is a false teacher who does not present the Gospel of Jesus Christ then I know that the vast majority of people who sit under him are not actually saved but are deceived into thinking they are. That matters to me. My job is not to coddle them and tell them everything is going to be ok because their life might be required of them that night. I present the Gospel, and expose the falseness. At that point brother it is up to them. If they want to deify man and worship their favorite celebrity pastor that is their business but they cannot stand before Christ and say they were not warned. My sincere hope and prayer is that they see the Bible as being more important than who they "like."

    For the record, Copeland is a false teacher.

    As for the people you never heard of... I don't want you to feel bad about them. I want you to do your own research. Be your own Berean. See if what I am saying is true and make your own conclusions. Do you see the pattern though in our disagreements? My only concern is the Gospel, not protecting man or someone's feelings. You constantly are concerned about man. Just saying.

    If someone gets mad that is still on them. My hope is the seed is planted and someone else waters it, and God provides the increase through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Also, I try very hard to not personalize anything. I do not say that Pastor A smells funny or is a malicious so and so. I try to stick to what they teach. I can live with the fact that maybe they are simply mistaken.

    Once again, you need to re read this. It is not written to warn about mega churches but about churches that do not preach the Gospel, regardless of their size. The examples I use might be from mega churches because those are the people that most will know. My concern however is local churches. The example I gave about the pastor who said leave and then preached on the 99 and 1 was a local church example.

    Lastly, you simply do not understand the purpose here. I am not putting anyone down. I am correcting their teaching. The Bible tells us to do that. If people are sitting under such teaching, I hope they can learn to discern better. I receive emails all the time from people thanking me for being willing to take a stand for Biblical truth and not compromise.

    You see a mega church and I see 45,000 people who on the last day will say Lord Lord only to find out they never served Him. That burdens me brother. I cannot look at them and not care what happens to them. I cannot look at them and pretend I do not see them.

    Be well.
  6. If someone gets mad, it's on them, you planted the seed. I suppose that means we can behave anyway as long as we find some scriptures. There are words in season and out of season. If you offend not in Word or deed your a perfect man. Seeds don't get planted in the heart of offense, that is stony ground. So you honk off those that listen to the preachers and you rally those that are already singing with you.

    That helps nobody.

    those E-mails come from those that already believe like you do. You will get it someday.
  7. #7 anthony wade, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
    sorry for the double post
  8. again you draw conclusions of me I never said nor came close to intimating.

    The Gospel offends. That is what the Bible says. If I see you are having an affair and I point out to you what the Bible says, it may offend you but that is still what we are called to do. The message has to be seasoned of course but at the end of the day it still needs to be delivered. No where in my writing do I mock, deride, or even vaguely come down upon those that might be sitting under deception. You may say I am not easy on the false teacher but I am not called to be easy with those performing the works of darkness. I am called to expose them. Jesus did not speak easily to the false teachers of His day who were leading people astray. He called them whitewashed tombs. He pronounced seven woes against them. Many who would not want to hear the truth cried out - "crucify Him!"

    If we both see someone led by false teaching and I point it out to them and you do not - who has "honked them off?"

    As for the emails, I know the difference between people who were already in agreement and those who had their eyes opened. The difference is always whether someone truly wants what God wants. Who says they will not compromise the Word of God. Your notion that I only preach to the choir is simply unsupported.

    This is how I see our sides in this conversation now:

    Me: "hey you know that Kenneth Copeland is a false teacher and false prophet

    You: "Don't offend me, I like him. I watch him"

    Me: "No seriously, here are all of his ridiculous prophecies over the years and here are some of the false beliefs he teaches. Here are the Scriptures proving he is false. Here are the Scriptures about what we are supposed to do."

    You: "Stop offending me. I told you I like to watch him."

    Me: "Aren't you at least concerned that you are watching something completely unbiblical?"

    You: "To be honest, once you said he was false, I tuned you out."

    Me: "But what about the Word of God?"

    You: "Stop offending me. You are only preaching to the choir."

    Our allegiance has to be to God not man.

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