“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees…Then they understood how that He bade them to not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”. Matthew 16:6, 12
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1st Timothy 4:1 KJV
“You have made the word of God of no effect through your traditions.” Mark 7:13
Glory to God…I feel like a little Christian in a spiritual-truth store; and not a little kid in a candy store. In other words, I feel like God is opening up my eyes more and more to His truths that are recorded in His Book. And this week has been no exception.
Before we get into this week’s teaching, I would like to share something I’ve been thinking about the last few days. When Paul, Peter, James, John, and the other New Testament writers wrote the New Testament, they did not mince words. They did not hold back. They told it just like it was. They knew that there were young ones in the churches that they wrote to.
I mean, John even wrote to “little children” and “young men.” If you look at 1 John 2:12-14, you will notice three different age groups that He addresses. Some would argue and say that John always addressed his readers as “little children,” and to this I would say that this is not the case whatsoever. Just a careful reading of his five letters will prove this. No, in this particular case he is addressing “little children” and “young men.”
I’m going somewhere with this, so please bear with me. Please remember that God actually wrote the New Testament. So then we can further say that God did not mince any words when He wrote His Bible. God told it like it was. And He knew that “little children” (young Christians) would be reading His strong statements.
But yet God addresses His letters to the “Saints which are in Rome” – “Unto the Church which is at Corinth” – “Unto the Churches of Galatia” – “To the saints which are at Ephesus” – etc., etc. And the Lord Jesus addresses His seven letters to “the angel of the church of…” Knowing that the “angel” of each church would share its individual letter with the Christians who were a part of that geographical assembly of believers.
I realize that there may be some young Christians reading this article after it’s posted online (for the most part though, almost all of the people on our subscriber list are ministers and mature Christians). But knowing that younger Christians will read this (and they do, for I get their emails), should we weaken the message or make it more palatable for the ones who are still struggling in certain areas? I do not see any of the New Testament writers doing this. I do not see the Lord Jesus doing this in any of His speaking or in any of His teachings. In one place His disciples even said to Him, “Lord, do you realize that what You said really offended them?”
On the contrary, I personally see something totally different when I read the New Testament. I see God making statements that are so bold, convicting, and confrontational, that the only person who wouldn’t see these truths are the ones not reading their Bibles. Take this one for instance (this is just one of many, many more): Jesus is talking to His disciples (the 11 apostles…because if you will read John 13:27-30, you will notice that Judas went out into the night, and so he was no longer with the 11) in John 16:1, and He says this to them, “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.”
So, all the things that He has said to them from Chapter 13:31 (because that verse reads, “Therefore, when he [Judas] was gone out, Jesus said…”) all the way through to John 15:27 was so that they might not “fall away.” Now some would say that these are the 11, and they won’t fall away. Well what about Judas then? He was an apostle. He was one of the 12. And he fell away from the faith. Demas forsook Paul, and fell away from the faith. Many others listed in the New Testament fell away from the faith.
And here in this John 16:1 verse he is telling them that He has just shared all this with them so that they would not fall away. Another translation says, “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.” Why would He say this to them if it wasn’t possible for them to fall away or to abandon their faith?
So then, why aren’t more people proclaiming the truth of absolute holiness…and the truth that a once-serious Christian can fall away from the faith? I think it’s because many are afraid of stepping on toes or hurting someone’s feelings, when they should be worrying about the precious eternal souls of men. I’ll say it again as I said in a different article: Jesus had more to say about hell, the wrath of God, and His judgment, than He had to say about the grace of God, heaven, and all those other nice things combined.
And I think another reason that more are not disseminating these truths is because of tradition. American Christians are polarized and captivated by an easy gospel that demands nothing of them. When you start to minister to people about the law of God and His commandments, people will leave and not give money anymore. But if you don’t step on their toes (really their consciences) and lead them on into thinking that they’re ok and that God loves them just the way they are, then they’ll give millions. But the moment you touch the conscience of a person with the truth that they are personally responsible for their own sin(s) and their own eternal destination, then this is where it ends – this is the deal-breaker so-to-speak.
John wrote in 1st John that those who are of us will hear us, and those who aren’t, won’t. Very simple. You should try this on other Christian’s and see what happens…you might just be surprised. The excuses for sin(s) that I hear from other ministers would blow your mind!
In having breakfast with Mark Young yesterday, he said something very powerful. He said, “The doctrine of repentance will not choke anyone. It is neither milk nor meat.” It is a doctrine of the whole Bible. The first thing (the very first thing) John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed at the beginning of their ministries was repentance. A person MUST repent of their sins. The very last thing recorded of the Lord’s ministry to the Church, as recorded in Revelation, is what? Repentance. Look at what He tells six of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3. The things that choke people are the things like deeper truths that a person is not ready to walk in yet. Example: I’m not going to teach a Baptist about the baptism in the Holy Spirit without first knowing where he is spiritually and whether he can take the teaching right now in his life. I’m not going to teach a new believer about the breaking of the inner man until he first learns the lessons about the breaking of the outer man.
The gospel according to Jesus is a paradox. In one sense it is a gospel of peace for the brokenhearted, the bruised, the lost, the orphan and the widow, etc. But in another sense He said in Matthew 10:34-38, “Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worth of Me. And he that does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
So then, you have to be very careful at what you listen to…and WHO you listen to. A lot of it sounds good and biblical…but it’s from the minds of men, and the roots of it extend all the way to hell. Dear reader, if the root is infected, then the whole tree and its fruit are infected. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not knowing the difference between RIGHT and Wrong – it is knowing the difference between RIGHT and ALMOST RIGHT.”
So be very careful of the leaven of the modern day preachers and teachers that say it’s all gonna’ be okay, and that you’re gonna’ be okay. Because unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees (the religious ones), then Jesus said you would not enter into the kingdom of God.