Devotional - The Seven Woes - Part Four - Misplaced Zeal & False Conversions

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! - Matthew 23: 15 (NKJV)

    As we continue in our exposition of the seven woes proclaimed by Christ we come to perhaps the most egregious one. Across the modern landscape of Pentecostalism, false conversion is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Everyone would rather hold hands and sing kumbya than seriously examine the end result of false doctrine. That end result has been specifically explained to us by Jesus Himself:

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ - Matthew 7: 21-23 (NKJV)

    I simply do not understand how Christians cannot be sober minded about matters of doctrine after reading these verses. Jesus is teaching us here that on the last day there will be many who will stand before Him and say "Lord Lord" only for Him to turn them back to eternal damnation because He never really knew them! Beloved, these are not unsaved people as we think of them today. These are fully churched people. These are people who felt they served God their whole life only to discover at the end they had been deceived. These are people who had plenty of religion. They knew how to dress and when to say "amen." They knew how to raise their hands and act pious. They even performed and witnessed miracles in the name of Jesus. They cast demons out! They tithed religiously, watched TBN, and maybe even performed great missions works! How is it that someone can do all of that and so deceive themselves regarding their own salvation? Because the fundamental teaching they sat under was flawed and never actually led them to Christ. Doctrine is not a dirty word beloved. Among the churched, it can be a prerequisite for salvation.

    Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NKJV).

    This is Paul imploring Timothy to guard his doctrine closely because the very salvation of his listeners was at stake! Church is not meant to be a game. It is not meant to be a social club. Our role is not dumb down the Gospel in order to "reach people" because by definition then we are reaching them with a different gospel. Only the true Gospel has the power to save people. Only Jesus Christ has the words of eternal life. The scribes and Pharisees however hated Jesus. They viewed Him as a threat to their dominance through religiosity. The Pharisees were zealous though in their pursuit of maintaining the status quo that favored them so well. The more people they could get to convert to their belief system meant more people they could take advantage of. Increasing their numbers meant increasing their power. It also allowed them to maintain the religious veneer they had set up so well. So to the untrained eye, they appeared very religious and zealous and sincere. Actively pursuing new people. Crossing the land and sea to make that one convert. Except no one bothered to consider what they were converting them to until Jesus makes this statement in today's key verse. Zealotry and sincerity become tools of Satan when they are undergirded by false doctrine. The devil doesn't care if we are sincere as long as we are sincerely wrong. At the end of the day, every single convert the Pharisees won actually became lost because they were leading them away from the only one who could truly save them. In fact, they were more lost than before because now they thought they had been found!

    But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! - Matthew 6: 23 (NLT)

    The falsely converted walk in a much deeper darkness because they have been duped into thinking it is light! Have you ever tried to have a Biblical conversation with someone who is clearly sitting under deception? How deep that darkness is! Because the sad reality is that today's apostate church is just as zealously misguided as the Pharisees of old.

    Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. - Matthew 28: 19-20 (NKJV)

    This of course is the Great Commission, given to the church by Christ Himself. The apostate church has no problem going into the four corners of the world to make that one convert. They have no problem in discipling the people they convert to their way of thinking. They have no problem holding grand baptism ceremonies; even baptizing those far too young to understand what they are doing. The reason why these things are not compromised is that they are shared points of agreement with Warren theology and the purpose driven, seeker friendly church. Where Jesus commanded this to grow the body of Christ, the purpose driven church implements it to build the individual church. Those trained on the purpose driven church model are trained differently than the Bible however. In the Bible it is God that provides the increase and He is responsible for the growth of the church:

    All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. - Acts 2: 42-47 (NLT)

    Who added to the fellowship each day? Was it the CEO pastor? Was it the board of no accountability? No - it was God. Seeker friendly theology however says that the pastor must be the CEO, cast a vision and is directly responsible for the growth of the church - all of which are dangerous heresies. When you become a CEO, you stop shepherding. If you want a vision - read your bible. As for growth, the pastor is responsible for the vertical growth of his sheep, not the horizontal growth of his building. In the parable of the talents, those that were given more first had to prove they could handle what little had been given to them.

    The more dangerous part of apostate seeker friendly churches is the destruction of sound doctrine. They have no problem with the first portions of the Great Commission but when it comes to teaching them all that Jesus had commanded the concern for the horizontal growth of the congregation outweighs the vertical growth of the individual. Let us never lose sight of what the Gospel is:

    Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures - 1Corinthians 15: 1-4 (NKJV)

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. - Romans 1: 16 (NKJV)

    Beloved, we need to read these verses carefully and understand that the way the word "gospel" is thrown around today is simply heretical. Look at what Paul says to the Church at Corinth. The Gospel, when broken down into its simplest terms, is that Jesus was crucified for our sins according to the Word of God. He was buried and rose again on the third day - defeating death itself and redeeming us for everlasting life! This is the Gospel that must be preached. This is the Gospel in which we stand. This is the Gospel by which we are saved. But we have to hold fast to what has been preached. We cannot water it down. We cannot compromise it. We cannot alter it - no matter how good our intentions might be. Because as Paul taught the believers in Rome above, the real Gospel contains the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.

    But it must be presented unspoiled. Let me quickly give two examples of modern seeker friendly, purpose driven thought. This past week a mega church pastor sent out a tweet that went viral. He was asking for suggestions for topics to preach on Easter. Seriously? Here is a novel idea - preach the Gospel! Why? Because it alone has the power to save people! Not your latest series on discovering you god-given "blesstiny." The second example might be why this young pastor is confused. Rick Warren, the father of the purpose driven movement, did an article last year for pastors; giving them advice for how to maximize the Easter visitors returning beyond the one Sunday. Notice first where the emphasis is on within the seeker friendly mindset. It is not concerned about the individual salvation of man but rather the overall growth of the individual church building. In this article, Warren advised AGAINST preaching the Gospel because you want to "give people a reason to want to come back the next week." So apparently the Gospel is not interesting enough in the purpose driven mindset but perhaps the most arrogant part of this is that you would knowingly not preach the Gospel to people you know full well may only be there for that one week. As for the others - what happens if God requires their life that week and the one chance they had to hear the truth about salvation they instead were treated to Part One of your sermon series on improving your self worth. It is spiritually criminal to know the truth about the Gospel and not present it to people who are genuinely seeking God.

    Yet that is what is happening across this country every single Sunday. The cross, the blood, sin, repentance, forgiveness, atonement, dying to self, carrying one's cross, sanctification - all are removed from the Gospel within seeker friendly churches. They just don't poll well in focus group testing. When Rick Warren was opening Saddleback church he canvassed the neighborhood to ask the unsaved people what they would want from the new church. Dear Lord - stop giving them what they want and start giving them what they need! Mark Driscoll once wrote an oped in a national newspaper supporting the Easter Bunny because he said we wanted his church to be relevant to the community it was in. Instead of dealing with the need for Jesus to be Lord in our lives He is packaged up as your best buddy. There is so much sugar added to the seeker friendly gospel that most Christians are lying in their pews in spiritual diabetic comas. The Warren models teach that our purpose lies in our service to the local church building. So we take membership classes, pick a ministry and settle into our "purpose." Not realizing of course that we never truly entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ. We never repented of our sins. Instead we bury them and hide behind the false piety of "judge not." Then we sing "Friend of God" until one day we stand before Him and He says He never knew us.

    Sobering thoughts but necessary ones. I see churches every week that are known apostates bragging about how many people "made a decision for Christ." What that means of course is they came up for the manipulated altar call, said a three sentence prayer devoid of any discussion of their sin, and were thusly declared saved - hallelujah - pass the offering plate. Give them a SHAPE application and plug em into their "purpose." The reality is they remain twice a son of hell because no one has bothered to tell them the truth. No one has told them that true prosperity is eternal, not carnal. No one has told them that the grace they think they have could never be that cheap. No one has told them that God is not friends if He is not Lord. No one has told them that you do not get the crown of glory without first taking the crown of thorns. No one has told them the Gospel. That they were born in complete and utter rebellion to God and remain so to this day. That they are a hopeless sinner who does not need a buddy - they need a Savior. That their "purpose" is to grow more in Christ each day. Denying the flesh, picking up our cross, and turning away from the world. No one has told them the Gospel.

    But woe to the one that sought them out with a false gospel. Woe to the one that crossed the land and sea to make another convert that is farther away from Jesus now than they ever were. Woe to those that have twisted, contorted, watered down, dressed up, sugar coated or otherwise felt the Gospel in and of itself - all by itself - was not sufficient for the salvation of men.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - April 7, 2014

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