Lately I have found myself very much disgusted by what a lot of the modern church has become. So many precious children of God have been sucked into new age cults and heretical teachings that are being passed off as “new movements of the Holy Spirit.” They are full of straight up demonic doctrines straight from the pit of hell. Oh yeah, a lot of these so-called “pastors” are “spirit-filled” alright, but that spirit they are filled with sure isn’t a holy one!
God has drastically changed my heart on many of these issues and in my constant plea for discernment and wisdom He has graciously answered by simply highlighting some scriptures that speak into these situations. My prayer is that sharing this will help grow you in discernment and be able to help pull fellow brothers and sisters in Christ away from false doctrines so they are living in line with the spirit of truth and not being led astray in error. I believe one of the easiest things to look at is the very clear teachings Jesus made in regards to a believer’s proper stance on earthly treasures and worldly desires:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Our amazing Lord and Savior clearly taught that we NOT to love the world or the things of the world. (1 John 2:15-17) He said that if we love these things then the love of God the Father is not in us! That’s about as clear and simple as it gets! Yet the heretical and blasphemous teachings of the prosperity gospel, the word of faith movement and the new apostolic reformation are leading countless people astray by promising them their worldly desires, ambitions and complete physical healing if they come to Jesus. Please read the previous links for more insight into why those doctrines are not only false but dangerous!
Almost every one of these greedy and deceitful men and women running these bogus ministries emphasizes the “seed-faith” teachings perpetrated by the teachings of people like Oral Roberts. “Seed-faith” or “abundant-life” teachings twist and cleverly manipulate Scriptures (most notably Malachi 3:10) around to paint the picture that if you plant a “seed” (a donation to their ministry) God will bless and multiply that back to them. If you see someone basically paint the picture that you will be blessed by giving and tell you to “stretch your faith” to give more than you can really do in order to “put a demand on heaven” or whatever popular term they use, this is a clear sign you should be very wary!
God really helped clarify this through the account titled “The Bread from Heaven” in John 6:22-40. This part of John’s Gospel comes after Jesus had multiplied the bread and fishes and fed the 5,000, then is upset and departs from them because He knew they wanted to make Him king. (John 6:15) Later that night He performs a great miracle by walking on the sea and the next day the multitude approaches Him again and are met with some strong words of admonishment from Jesus.
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” – John 6: 26-27
Jesus accuses them of coming to Him for “food which perishes” and instructs them instead to set their minds on the gift God is giving them in Himself, the bread of life, to bestow everlasting life to those who believe Him. It seems crystal clear that Jesus is correcting them for coming to Him merely for earthly treasures, in this case miraculous fish sandwiches! All too often we see people in the church viewing God as their “genie in a bottle,” and what’s worse is these people with mega-churches telling people to expect health, wealth, prosperity and abundance from Jesus so they can “live their best life now!’ What happened to enduring suffering and being steadfast in their faith during trials to produce perseverance? (James 1:2-4)
The evil being perpetrated by these supposed “men of God” today, I believe, would have been prevented had people heeded this incredible advise from one of the most notable Christian leaders of the past few centuries:
“Believers must never adjust the Bible to the age, but the age to the Bible.” – Charles Spurgeon
In a world urging us to seek popularity and fame many well-meaning preachers have strayed from the true Gospel and chosen to preach happiness over holiness. They have conformed their message to the world and are twisting Scripture to make their false-gospel give the message that people can “have their cake and eat it too.” They paint the picture that one can fulfill their spiritual needs and worldly desires and ambitions all in one shot, and it is a horrendous abomination to the true message of Jesus Christ.
Sure God can bestow blessings and prosperity to His children, but we are in error if we only come to Him for these things; to have our bellies full.
Johnny Cash said “I’ve learned there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell.”
I believe that is true, we must either choose God of choose the world. We must either be willing to forsake all of the things of this life for Jesus, or forsake Jesus for all the things of this life. While God’s children can have riches and abundance, our hope should never be in those pursuits.
“For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.” – James 1:11
Our life is but a vapor that will soon vanish. (James 4:14) Let us be vigilant and make sure our focus is in the right place and we aren’t limiting God to emotional highs and a means to fulfill our worldly desires.
“Trust no one, not even the finest saint who ever walked this earth, ignore him, if he hinders your sight of Jesus Christ.” – Oswald Chambers
In what ways might you need to change your focus of what you seek from the Lord? Do you find yourself gravitating towards ministries that promise you worldly success? Do you know someone following false teachings that might benefit from this article?