1Ti 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.
Objection to preaching end times
People often object to a minister talking about the end times as this makes them feel uneasy about where they are heading.
- Ø We far more prefer to have people encourage us, to tell us how to achieve our full potential
- Ø They want to have their ears tickled
- Ø Help us to find ways to start earning and increasing our income by 30%
- Ø Improve our marriage, help us find an easy solution to getting our children to listen to us without needing to spend time with them.
2Timothy 4: 3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work
Paul’s warning to the Ephesians
In his farewell address to the elders of Ephesus, Paul forewarns them that after his departure grievous wolves shall enter in among them, not sparing the flock, and that from amongst themselves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
We have all heard about the Prosperity Gospel being preached
Not so long ago Rev Joyce Meyers was in the news. This is what one of the critics of her ministry said. “For far too long; these so-called ministers have robbed from the poor in order to become rich. They have taken advantage of people in vulnerable and desperate situations only to fund their extravagant and extremely comfortable lifestyle”.
Joyce Meyers purchased a $23,000 toilet and Benny Hinn spends tens of thousands on “recuperation” at exotic resorts between crusades. How many hungry mouths in Africa could have been fed for a year with that much money?
We are guided by the Holy Spirit
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
To be guided by the Holy Spirit we have to do a number of things
- Ø Allow the Holy Spirit to guide us by asking him to do his work in us.
- Ø You will have to listen to him in two different ways, through allowing him to explain the scripture to us, and
- Ø To allow him to influence our lives enough so that we start living the scripture and become true followers of Jesus.
How can we test who is a true or false prophet?
Mat 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
Fruits of the Spirit
Look out for the things the Bible calls Fruits of the Spirit. Are the people teaching in your church displaying signs that they are full of the Fruits?
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
There are three things we should do when we discover false teachings in our churches
- Ø Word of God – our foundation everything is benchmarked and tested against this, to use business terminology. What does the Bible say about that subject? Don’t be lazy; it’s your responsibility as much as it’s mine.
- Ø Prayer – in constant communication with God. Tell him if this bothers you.
- Ø Speak out – Not keeping quite about it but pointing out these things to brethren regardless of how uncomfortable this may be. Nourished on Words of Jesus (Sound doctrine) which has to be taught and does not come easily. You can do this yourself through your personal Bible study.
Spiritual exercise is even more difficult than physical exercise because there is sin and evil in the world as well as sin dwelling in us.
Satan does not want us to engage in any form of discipline, especially spiritual. Just try to pray, and see how long you last. If you are quite determined, you may make it a few minutes.
Pastors’ prayer life
In fact, a study was done with reference to the prayer habits of ministers, which showed they spent an average two minutes in prayer daily. Prayer is a struggle, because the enemy does not want us to pray. And reading the word of God is almost just as bad.
How do you and I discipline ourselves today?
1Co 9:24 – 27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Living not dead God – Saviour of all who believe in him
Many people today live their lives as if there is no God, as if he is not watching us and nobody knows what is in our hearts.
Can you just imagine if we could see all the angels watching us as we go about our daily lives?
For we would:
- Ø Talk differently to our friends
- Ø Think differently when making decisions about how we are going to live our lives
- Ø Treat our brothers and sisters differently, treat them in the same way that we would like to be treated.
1Ti 4:10 For it is for this we labour and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of believers.
This is where our teaching allegiance rests
1Ti 4:11 Prescribe and teach these things.
How do we decide on who and what should be taught in our Churches today?
1Ti 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.
- Ø Don’t allow others to look down on you (eg because of youthfulness or any other unrelated issue that is not part of the Biblical Doctrine). Remember how David was chosen over his brothers? Here is an example of a little guy who was not considered important and who was sent out to be Shepherd whilst his big brothers were sent out to fight for God.
- Ø Talk the Gospel – don’t worry about what others will say, – stick to your gospel guns.
- Ø In Love – what is the point in being right when your guns blazing are hurting and killing the faith of your vulnerable brothers
- Ø In Faith – what God has promised He will deliver; we can trust Him; He is not a liar.
- Ø In Purity – how many times have you said that it was great to hear but it’s a shame that he/she does not live according to what they say.
- Ø Be an Example – let everything we do show that we practise what we preach
- Ø Public reading of Scripture (not additional elements that can pollute the message). Sometimes after hearing some people preach I go home feeling that it would be better if we had just read the Bible that morning and nothing else.
- Ø Don’t ignore your spiritual gift(s) – if we used our gifts we would not need to worry about the results. When Jesus asks us on the day we finally see him face to face what have you done with the gifts I have given you, we will be able to say this is what I have done, Lord; I have served you faithfully.
On keeping quiet – don’t
If you are by any chance thinking how can I get rid of this urge within me to share this burden and if you feel that you need to speak out, then check out what Jeremiah is saying in chapter 20 of his Book.
Jeremiah 20:7 O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me. 8 For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the LORD has resulted In reproach and derision all day long. 9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.
So this is my call to anyone reading this who is seeing himself / herself as a man / woman of God. If you attend church and are unhappy about what is being preached from the pulpit, it may be God is working in you. Equip yourself and don’t give up but get ready to fight the good fight.
Defend the Word