“He who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully…”
In the Name of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen.
God would have His Word preached rightly. He would have His Word preached truthfully. Where such is taking place, there ought you to be to hear, to receive, and to believe. However, where the Word of God is not preached according to His Word, there you are not to be. There, where God’s Word is not preached in its truth and purity, the church preaches and teaches in error.
St. Paul says it this way, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
A little error mixed with the truth is a dangerous thing. Yet, how many have apathy towards any distinctions whatsoever, even in today’s church! Add a Bible verse here and a Bible verse there, and there you have what sounds to be right and true.
Many in Christendom give such an evaluation of the preaching and teaching that they hear without properly discerning whether or not the Bible is being used according to its sense, and therefore, according to its meaning. We give more attention to the preacher than to the preaching itself (and here, I mean content, not delivery, style, or anything else that can be improved upon). We give more heed to how the preacher preaches or teaches rather than what he actually says. Thus, the teacher or preacher, though he might sound orthodox, is actually heterodox, interpreting Scriptures according to his way and not according to God’s way, and therefore, preaching false doctrine and contrary to the Lord’s Word.
And many seem to care but little! The hard work of testing the words preached is becoming a lost art. Many readily will accept what they hear (and read) without giving second thought to comparing it with what God says. Thus, you have the popular books such as Heaven is for Real, The Purpose Driven Life, and Every Day a Friday, which many Christians “eat up” and claim to be Gospel, but do nothing but lead away from the truth.
But the Lord teaches differently. Concerning preachers, specifically, He says, “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” (1 Timothy 4:16).
And to those who hear, He says, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8).
Again, our Lord says, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:23-24).
Thus, keeping the Lord’s Word, His people will hear His voice, for as our Lord also says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27).
“No one likes to say that the church is in error; and yet, if the church teaches anything in addition or contrary to the Word of God, one must say that it is in error…Thus, I will not listen to the church or the fathers or the apostles unless they bring and teach the pure Word of God.” (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p66-67).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your Name be hallowed among us. Send us preachers who preach only Your divine and life saving truth. Keep us from giving in to the temptation of looking more at the preacher than to hearing what he says, and comparing that with Your Holy Word. Deliver us from succumbing to the false teachings of the evil one and give us discernment, that we ever and always abide by Your Word. Amen.
Filed under: Bible-Holy Scripture, Christian Denominations & Fellowship, Devotions, Justification & Sanctification-The Christian Faith & Good Works, Law & Gospel-Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Reviews (Books, articles, etc.), Salvation-Soteriology, Theology & Doctrine | Tagged: discernment, faithfulness, false teacher, Jeremiah, Osteen, preaching, sermon, Warren |