More and more churches are being led into emotionalism and not Biblical Truth, and, as a result, these congregations have no spiritual power of discernment. They are willing to compromise Biblical truth for emotionalism and experience as they are taught to seek after a god who is not the God of the Bible. (Justin Pierce, The Importance Of Truth and Standing Against Apostasy)
There was a popular preacher who often called out the names of a few people in his audience during the service and described their physical problems. The evangelist claimed that God was speaking to him and giving him information about the individuals he spoke to. According to him, he had never met or spoken to prior to calling out their names. However, it was later discovered that employees of the evangelist would talk to people in the crowd before the service and gather facts about the people attending. They would give this information to the preacher’s wife. She, in turn, would talk to her husband through a tiny receiver in his ear. By this means their ministry became a financial success. (Information from James Randi, The Faith Healers)
We have all run into liars from time to time. Usually, they are harbingers of serious disappointment. It is especially disappointing when we discover we have been lied to by someone we counted on as a friend. We all want to believe that there are certain individuals in society in whom we can put our trust, such as family; friends; our heroes; teachers; doctors; government authorities; and men and women who are spiritual leaders.
Let us consider, specifically, spiritual leadership. Spiritual leadership has traditionally been a highly respected role in American history and culture. The Christian preacher or pastor’s responsibility is to make known the truth of God. However, there are people who claim this position who are liars. This should not be totally surprising since even Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light”. (2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV)
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 Peter 2:1)
Jesus warned us to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV) False prophets secretly bring destructive heresies into the church. They often deny Jesus. Because of their fleshly desires, the way of truth is blasphemed. They are covetous and manipulate people with their false words. (2 Peter 2:1-22 ESV) God did not send them nor command them nor speak to them. False prophets speak from the deceit of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14-16 ESV) “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.” (2 Peter 2:18-19 ESV) They pervert the grace of God into sensuality and teach a false Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV) Continue reading
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47 ESV)
Often, Christian leaders seek to encourage church growth by preaching messages that will be popular in our post-modern culture. Yet, the Apostle John writes:
“They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:5-6 ESV) Continue reading
“All Christian preaching should be the exposition and application of biblical texts. Our authority as preachers sent by God rises and falls with our manifest allegiance to the text of Scripture.”
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1 ESV) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)
A huge problem in the modern church is the “itching ears” disease. Many of our churches have accumulated pastors who believe that preaching is giving a talk on what you think the congregation wants to hear. These pastors know that the people in the pews want to feel good about themselves. This is why we hear of such sermon titles as “How to Command Angels,” “Secret Sources of Power,” “Dream and You Will Win the World,” and “You Can Have Your Best Life Now.” Most of these sermons contain more pop-psychology than the Gospel.
Too many preachers are basing their sermons on modern psychology and philosophy along with a couple of phrases of Scriptures. These sermons focus on the hearer and not the Glory of God. They fail to teach Christian doctrine and promote a self-conceived (unbiblical) notion of Jesus. After all, the congregation is more interested in emotionalism than sound teaching. Continue reading
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 ESV)
In the verses above, Peter urges pastors to care for God’s flock like a shepherd (1 Peter 5:2). Caring is sharing in the joys and burdens of the individual members of the congregation: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). Biblical pastoral care requires not only knowledge of the Scriptures, but also an active caring concern for the spiritual welfare of each member of the congregation. Continue reading