A Serious Error of Preachers: Not Exposing Error

January 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm (Uncategorized)

We have no shortage of “evangelical” pastors and preachers who preach biblical and helpful messages. But, in modern days, one erroneous trend is increasingly found among such preachers. The error is not that they outrightly teach false doctrines, but they do not preach truth explicitly so as to uncover the widespread sinful and worldly habits in their congregations or the apostasy and compromise in the modern Christian world.

A great number of preachers of our times prefer to leave the errors and evils among their flocks untouched in their preaching. Though they preach that repentance is a necessity, they will not rebuke immodesty, carnality and materialism in their congregations. They are only concerned about giving cosmetic beauty to their preaching. Their preaching seldom goes beyond surface; it hardly touches the raw nerve of the people’s conscience.

Why don’t preachers expose error?

Popularity
Whenever a preacher stands up and preaches, he does so with the hope that his voice will be heard and that his message will be received in full by the congregants. Herein lies the danger. When people’s opinion becomes predominant in the mind of the preacher, he seeks to cater to their pleasure rather than preach the will of God in its entirety, which is expected of him. The ultimate duty of every preacher is not to please the crowd but God. The preacher who is a man-pleaser is an entertainer, not a servant of the Lord, neither a faithful minister of His Word.

Another problem of a preacher who is preoccupied with the acceptance of the people is that he will be constantly under an irresistible pressure not to apply the truth of God’s Word in a
way that would unsettle the “comfort” of the errant ones. A popularity conscious preacher will be silent even when he is aware of unrestrained sinful ways of his congregants. Such a man will rather cherish the comfortable relationship that he enjoys with the congregants than the holiness and glory of God. He feels more at ease with the abominable ways of men and
women of his congregation than with uneasiness resulting from bold rebuke of their immodest, carnal, materialistic ways. So he develops a style of preaching which appears to be biblical and yet without full, appropriate and necessary application of God’s Word into the lives of his hearers.

Pragmatism
Pragmatism is the mindset and principle which engages those who pursue fame and recognition. It is the notion that meaning or worth is determined by practical consequences.
Where pragmatism reigns, only visibly productive ideas and practices are pursued. All else, even biblical principles, are considered secondary. Pragmatism pushes aside holiness, faithfulness and the fear of God from its primacy in preaching and replaces it with bigger crowds, human appeasement, more money, more glamour, etc.

In so far as preachers, and their preaching, ministry and life are concerned, the present pragmatism of modern Christianity is at odds with Scripture. It is leading preachers away from being admonishers of sin and false doctrines to being their accommodators. The pragmatism’s road to popularity is too often paved with deception and lined with vagueness. The sign posts on such a highway to acceptance are always indistinct. Pragmatic pastors are leading their flocks into puddles of sin and devil’s pastures. This has become an acceptable way of life for those on the way to the top of the ladder of success in the business of entertainment. The world thinks little of using improper manoeuvres to gain its goals. A vast number of people have obviously determined that morality is no longer a needed asset in the social, political and spiritual fields. Immodesty and immoral lives are quietly overlooked.

Smooth-sounding professionalism of pastoral preaching largely turns a blind eye to apostasy and compromise. More and more preachers and churches are toning down and paring down their messages. Once in a while, this will be hinted at, but it will not be dealt with in a plain manner.

None of these should surprise us. The Spirit of God already cautioned us in His Word: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

Personal Pleasure and Gain
To offend listeners means loss of income and influence. So pragmatic ideology of modern preachers has filled many church pulpits with “dumb dogs”, who refuse to bark and alert men of the spiritual calamities that encircle them. Pragmatism has produced a breed of “greedy dogs” who rather remain silent for their own gain, even at the expense of the souls placed under their guard.

This reality of modern preachers reminds us of Paul’s words, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

The Lord also spoke of such pastors in Isaiah 56, “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant” (vv. 10-12).

As Isaiah said, one of the reasons for the silence of many pastors in the face of increasing sinfulness in their congregation is their own love for sinful pleasures, such as wine drinking, immorality and worldliness.

Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?

Exposing error is a very unpopular work. Objection is often raised even by some who are sound in the faith – regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. But from every Scriptural standpoint, it is most worthwhile. Proverbs 24:25, affirms, “But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.” A wise pastor will rebuke the sins of his congregation, and a wise congregation will gladly receive it with submission and obedience for its own blessing.

When a godly pastor or elder or a brother or a sister points out your errors, you ought to be thankful rather than resentful. Psalm 141:5 says, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.” You should not go against the loving act of the one who rebukes you. Neither should you smear his or her good intention with false accusations and with your own false self-exaltation. The Scripture says such angry responses belong to the scornful and the foolish ones. “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8).

God’s Word says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Proverbs 27:5). And the next verse reiterates, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” It is the duty of every loving pastor to rebuke and correct his flock, even if it would cause some form of emotional hurt to the offender. If rebuke is necessitated by sin or a doctrinal error, then godly love demands the intense rebuke of it. Unfortunately, today, rebuke is much rather the neglected duty of love. (I do not advocate harsh treatment of an errant brother – cf. Galatians 6:1- 2; though I fully agree that a church should take biblical disciplinary actions against unrepentant men and women in its congregation – cf. Matthew 18:15-20.)

At this juncture, I would like to bring to my readers’ attention the words of a famous godly preacher of yesteryears, A. H. Ironside (1876–1951), “Error is like leaven of which we read, ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’ Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.”

I end this article with the advice of the Apostle Paul to all preachers, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). He advised Titus concerning some malicious men, who infiltrated the church, “whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:11-13).

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Prospering for God’s Glory (A Sermon Preached during Watch Night Service)

January 2, 2007 at 6:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Prospering for God’s Glory
Selected Passages

Introduction

·         God’s people should always aspire to excel for His glory both in spiritual and mundane life. ·         Such is my prayer for each and everyone of you.

o        3 John 2Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. ·         But we are not to seek physical prosperity without prospering spiritually.o        Psalm 30:6-12And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication. . . . .Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

o        Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

Prosper in Spiritual Matters

1. Prosper in the knowledge of God and excel in good decision making that are spiritually wholesome and pleasing to God.

·         Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

·         Romans 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law.

·         Philippians 1:9-10And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

 ·         Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

2. Prosper in godly love – to God and brethren.

  • Philippians 1:9-10And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment

3. Prosper in God’s Work

  • 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Prosper in Physical Matters

1. Wealth through godly and diligent ways

·         God’s wisdom says, “Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness” (Proverbs 8:18). Only the wealth that is obtained according to God’s wisdom shall be a blessing. Proverbs 13:7 reminds us, “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” We are not to be desperate make money in any manner. If godliness would require us to be poor, then let us accept it, because it will lees to the riches that God would grant us. 1 Timothy 6:10 reminds us that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

 ·         But if our godly pursuit and diligence would lead us to wealth, we should in no wise be hesitant to receive it and use it generously for God’s glory. Everything we obtain, even by hard work, is of the Lord. Proverbs 10:22 reminds us, “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”

·         God expects us to be hardworking; so His Word warns us in Proverbs 10:4 that “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”

 ·         We must earn as much as we can through honest and righteous labour. Proverbs 13:11 tells us that “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” We should not dream about being wealthy by any means. There is no lasting and meaningful pleasure in making money through deception, violence, etc. Let us work hard. Let our shirts stink with our sweat. Through honesty and labour let us seek the wealth that God send to us.

 2. Then let us be rich in charity

·        as Paul instructed the Coritnhian believers in 1 Corinthians 16:2 – “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Essentials for Godly Prosperity

1. Confess your sins

·         Proverbs 28:13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
There is no reason why God should prosper a man whose heart is set on sins. God does not give grace that we may continue to sin. His mercy is given that we may sin and prosper in the ways of the Lord. Sin will be an hindrance to our blessings. So examine yourself and repent from besetting sins.

2. Pray earnestly

·         Nehemiah 1:11O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

·         Like Nehemiah, we must pray earnestly before we set out to undertake any project at all. We must seek God’s permission, guidance and provisions before we set out to do our business.

·         No prayer, no provision! No prayer, no prosperity!

3. Count the worldly glory nothing but loss

·         Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

4. Labour in the Lord

·         1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. The key to abounding in the work of the Lord is “labour.” It denotes to toil or hard work irregardless of difficulties and trouble (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:8).

5. Have Strong Faith in the Lord

·         Nehemiah 2:20a Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build . . . Note the Nehemiah’s faith and confidence – “The God of heaven, he will prosper us.” Whenever we attempt something in accordance to His will, we must neither be anxious nor be fearful.

6. Keep Yourselves from the Ungodly

·         Nehemiah 2:20bbut ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in
Jerusalem.

·         Psalm 1:1-2Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Conclusion

When the Lord prospers us, let us humbly praise Him

·         Psalm 118:25-29Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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Gethsemane B-P Church Camp 2006: A Fortaste of Heaven

December 3, 2006 at 7:40 am (Uncategorized)

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