At times I cringe through some of the messages ministered in churches today whether from the pulpit, television or Internet. It is not that we don’t understand the basic tenets or essential doctrines of Christianity necessary to live a balanced Christian life or is it?
In many churches you have new believers, middle of the road believers, and non-believers. I wonder if people leave church after the service is over feeling empty…. At times I thought I may have been wrong or too harsh. What I’ve come to realize is that the struggle is related to the call, not because I’m being judgmental. Being a pillar in the local church and someone the pastors can count upon is very important to me, yet my first commitment is to Jesus Christ!
Consider this for a minute: what if you were taught and believed and were now preaching “another” gospel and didn’t know it? Wouldn’t that be important to discover? Would Jesus approve of some of our messages? Wouldn’t you want someone to lovingly pull you aside and share with you the truth that would set you free?
That is why I writing this to speak the truth in love and encourage the Church even though the “truth hurts.” I believe God’s desire is to bring change. As a minister of the gospel, I pour my heart and soul into everything I do, and I assume you are doing the same. I am not challenging your motivation, your dedication, or your labor of love. What I hope to do is help you discover whether or not you are believing and preaching “another” gospel.
The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to, “Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (MEV) C. H Spurgeon wrote in a sermon, “Rightly dividing the word of truth” is our authorized version, but we leave it for a little to consider other renderings. Timothy was neither to mutilate, nor twist, nor torture, nor break in pieces the Word of God, nor keep on the outside of it, as those do who never touch the soul of a text, but rightly to divide it, as one taught of God to teach others. The Word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus! If he does not drive you to this—that you shall either willfully reject, or cheerfully accept Christ—he has not yet known how rightly to handle the great “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
Paul admonishes the Galatians for deserting the gospel of grace and turning to another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). These are pretty powerful words. If the Apostle Paul had to admonish the Galatians church, for turning away from the gospel message of Jesus Christ to to a different gospel, the Church today would benefit to examine its message.
The Bible also says that a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching and instead will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.… “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
Paul instructed the Corinthians “…. if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might submit to it readily enough” (2 Cor. 11:2-4)
We are each responsible to “prove things and hold fast to what is good.” In a time when so many voices are clamoring for our attention, we would be wise to be more like the Bereans. The Bereans not only received Paul’s message, they searched the Scriptures for themselves. “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 Notice they searched the Word every day!
Romans 13:11 says, “Furthermore, knowing the time, now is the moment to awake from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.”
It would behoove us as “ministers of the gospel” to discern the signs of the times as the Sons of Issachar, “those having understanding of times and what Israel should do,” (1 Chronicles 12:32) and re-examine the message we are preaching!
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.