Christianity was completely shocked this week by the emergence of the videos and pictures of people eating grass. It is alleged that their pastor had told them that it is how to get closer to God. Wether indeed their pastor told them that or not, I don’t know but, what I do know is that, they did eat grass.
Yes, this might have shocked us but, equally shocking, there are other “pastors or prophets or apostles” who give people water, oil or other things, claiming that they have prayed for them and those things will either heal them, give them jobs, promotions at work, healthy marriages, breakthroughs in life and God knows what else. These people make a lot of money selling these things to desperate and obviously people without enough or correct information as to how God works. These people are false pastors, teachers, etc.
I will not name names because it is not my business to judge those outside the church but that is for God to do. I regard these false pastors, preachers, etc, as outside the church since what they are doing is outside scripture. So, I will let them be. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 (ESVST)
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “ Purge the evil person from among you.”
However, what I will do is to try and empart knowledge to my fellow brothers, sisters and countrymen and women so that by having this knowledge, they may themselves discern what is of God and what is not. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 (ESVST)
Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
1. Who are these false pastors, prophets, preachers, etc?
Let’s ask Jesus himself to tell us.
Matthew 7:15-20 (ESVST)
15 “ Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep ‘s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
First of all we find Jesus at the mount giving his famous sermon which we came to know as the sermon at the mount. We don’t know which mountain it was that Jesus was preaching from, hence just the mount. Jesus is in Galillee not long after he called his disciples. He saw the people gathering and he decided to go up the mountain and started preaching. This preaching starts in Matthews 5:1. For our message, we will join the preaching in the middle in Matthew 7:15-20.
Jesus starts by saying, beware of false prophets. The word beware in Greek also means take heed, take note, always be on guard of false prophets. False prophets are those that claim to be speaking for God when they do not. Jeremiah 14:14 (ESVST)
And the Lord said to me:“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.
These are people who simply have no God in them, they are not representing God, they are not interested in the word of God, they misinterprete the word of God to suit their own desires. They will come in as sheeps but they are truly wolves. Jesus says they will pretend to be ” man of god ” but they will actually be that of the devil. They will pretend to be good guys but being actually very evil. Peter agrees with Jesus and takes the point even further.
2 Peter 2:1-3 (ESVST)
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
Peter says, these people will bring destructive heresies. The word destructive in Greek also means damnable and the word “Heresies” means self- designed religious lies that lead to division and faction. So, what Peter is the saying is that, these people will bring damnable self designed religious lies that only leads to division and factions within the church. These people deny the master who bought them. Now Peter here in my view is referring to Jesus who had to pay a ransom with his life so that we can be free. So, in a way Jesus bought us from death. By denying Jesus they bring upon themselves swift destruction. By destruction, this refers to eternal judgment and condemnation to hell.
Sadly, Peter says many people will follow these people. May will follow their sensuality and because people follow them, and because of them, THE WAY OF THE TRUTH WILL BE BLASPHEMED. The word sensuality means in Greek also uncontrolled lust. This word is mostly associated with sexual desire. The word blaspheme in Greek, means also to speak evil of. So, what Peter is saying is people will follow these false teachers, pastors, etc, and because of these, what we know to be the truth in terms of what the word of God is saying, will be spoken evil of and people will no longer want to listen to it. People will accept what used to be immoral as moral and what used to be moral, to be immoral.
Galatians 5:19-21 (ESVST)
Now the works of the flesh are evident:sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How many of the things mentioned in the above verse are acceptable these days? I posted an article I read in Charisma about a pastor who was called controversial simple because he said if you are not a Christian, you are going to hell. This statement was never and should never be a controversial statement but, today it is.
Peter says in their greed or in the name of greediness or because of greed, they will exploit people with false words. The word greed in Greek also means fraudulency or extortion. Pretty much, these people will defraud you of your money because they are greedy and not content as Hebrews 13:5 says. Hebrews 13:5 (ESVST)
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Because they want more and more money, they will do anything including defrauding people in the name of God to get what they want.
Peter ends by saying, their condemnation and destruction is not idle or asleep, meaning that their day of judgement will come and will come swiftly.
2. How do I identify false teachers, pastors, etc?
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Jesus says that we will recognize these false teachers, preachers, pastors, etc, we will recognize these people by their fruits. Jesus then explains to us what he means by this statement. He says, can a thorn bush tree produce grapes? Can figs be produced by a thistle? What Jesus means is that you cannot get a grape from a thorn bush or a fig from a thistle. A thistle is a thorny plant. Jesus continues to say therefore a healthy tree, meaning also good tree in Greek, bears good fruit and a diseased tree, meaning a corrupt tree also in Greek, bears bad fruit. Good tree, good fruit, corrupt tree, bad fruit. Jesus says these cannot happen in any other way. A corrupt tree will never bear good fruit. A good tree will never bear bad fruits.
But, what is Jesus talking about when he talks about fruits and trees?
The tree here represents people and the fruits represent the works that they do or don’t do, including what they say or don’t say. Jesus is simple saying, if a person claims to be of God, you will see that he is telling the truth by his works. His works should be consistent with a person who has been truly saved. How do you know if a person is truly saved, that person’s conduct, works and what he says must be in line with what the word of God is saying. If that person truly lives by the Holy Spirit the person will have
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESVST)
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.
Therefore, we have heard what Jesus and Peter said about this now, it is left up to you.
Romans 12:2 (ESVST)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
You will have to renew your own mind and by that Paul means, you have to acquire the knowledge of the word of God. You have to read and understand scripture yourself and were your mind differs with scripture, your mind must change to align with the scripture and not the other way round.
2 Peter 1:3 (ESVST)
Confirm Your Calling and Election
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
As Peter says, God’s divine power has granted us all things pertaining to life and godliness, THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM who called us to his own glory and excellence. It is only when we have the knowledge can our minds be renewed, and the knowledge is in the scriptures. Only if you make time to read the word of God, will the Holy Spirit give you the wisdom to understand it and guide you into practicing what you read. Only when you read and understand the word of God will you be able to know what is the will of God and what is acceptable to him and what is not. If you are going to continue to rely on someone else to read the scriptures for you, then you will not be in a position to defend yourself against false teachers, preachers, pastors, etc. Have you ever wondered why in most churches, if not all, you are not allowed to ask the pastor questions while he preaches?
Why do is say you need to read the scriptures or the word of God, because 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESVST)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
So by reading scripture, you are allowing the Holy Spirit through the scriptures to teach you, reprimand you, correct you and teach you so that you can be equipped for every good work in God’s glory and in the name of our Lord Jesus.
My brothers and sisters and country men and women, please take not only my word but, take also Peter’s word when he says 2 Peter 1:5-9 (NLTse)
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self- control, and self- control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
Also take note of what Jesus is saying
Matthew 7:21-23 (ESVST)
21 “ Not everyone who says to me, ‘ Lord, Lord, ’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘ Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? ’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. ’
You will only know what the will of God is, only if you read the word of God or Sciptures yourself and allowing the Holy Spirit to work within you. Remember, the only thing that God wants from you is this
John 6:28-29 (NLTse)
They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you:Believe in the one he has sent.”
John 3:16 (ESVST)
For God So Loved the World
16 “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Father, there is still so much I want to say about this,may these words find fertile hearts of those that will be reading this. Help them to understand and give them the strength to move away from evil and those that represent it. Show them the light. In Jesus name, Amen.