Summary: How a Christian can avoid deception from the pulpit
There are indeed mockers of Jesus Christ living among us who continue to walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude tells us that they do not have the Spirit of God living in them. Unfortunately, some of these mockers have infiltrated the pulpits of our churches. The church has got to be so careful when it comes to allowing someone to come in and speak. It would be totally ludicrous for me, or anyone else, to allow someone who claims to be a minister of the Word to stand behind this pulpit without first checking them out.
By way of introduction into my message, and to show you exactly what I am talking about, listen to a few quotations from some very popular television evangelists. See if you can pick out the heresy behind what is being said. Some heresies are very noticeable. In some cases, it sounds so much like the truth that you can’t really tell.
“I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ that, and under the banner of Christianity that, has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.”
“For once a person believes he is an ’unworthy sinner,’ it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Jesus Christ.”
“I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is…The biggest one is God… I mean, He lost His top-ranking, most anointed angel; the first man He ever created; the first woman He ever created; the whole earth and all the fullness therein; a third of the angels, at least--that’s a big loss, man. . . . Now, the reason you don’t think of God as a failure is He never said He’s a failure. And you’re not a failure till you say you’re one.”
“God can’t do anything in this earth realm except what we, the body of Christ, allow Him to do. Now that statement is so--that’s so--that’s so foreign and so contrary to tradition that, like I said, if they could get their hands on me right now most evangelicals would burn me at the stake and dismember me and feed me to the crocodiles, because they’ll consider that statement to be just heresy.”
“Adam, as I said, gave it [the earth] away to the serpent, to the Devil. As a result of it, he got his behind kicked out of the garden. He went out of Eden, out of the garden. He began to wander around, and he has troubles from day one. Now God was out of the business. God was out of the earth realm. God had no more stock in this earth realm. No more. None at all. Nothing He could do. Not a thing in the world He could do. . . .The only way God could get back into this earth realm, He had to have an invitation. Ha-hah! He had to have an invitation. And so, God looked around--saw different men, saw Noah, saw different ones. He gave them a few instructions. They did what He said. So and so and so and so. But, finally, He got to a point where He had His plan ready for operation. And He saw a man named Abraham.”
“The cross Christ calls us to bear will be offered as a dream... an inspiring idea that would incarnate itself in a form of ministry that helps the self-esteem-impoverished persons to discover their self-worth through salvation and subsequent social service in our Savior’s name...”
Now, I didn’t make all these quotations up. These are actual quotes from television evangelists over the past few years. There are more, many more, but my stomach just can’t take too much of it. The sad part is that every day something similar to what I have showed you is passed along to Christians as the truth. Worse yet, it is accepted without question. Usually with thunderous applause! As Christians we have got to know how to discern the truth so we can avoid being deceived. The only way that we can do so is to continue in the word.
John 8:31,32 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Our study today will show us all how we can know God’s truth and avoid being deceived by ungodly, sensual mockers dressed as God’s messengers.
I. AVOIDING DECEPTION
JUDE 20 - 23 – But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.