Archive for the ‘works based’ Category

See also:

I do not see any reason for an altar call.

The seeker-sensitive gospel is a false gospel.

It’s time we start calling  a spade a spade

The blunt truth about the gospel and the false god of purpose

Straddling the fence

Proverbs 14:12 (NASB)
12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

The blunt truth:

  • The gospel of the purpose driven movement is another gospel.
  • The gospel of the emergent church is another gospel.
  • The gospel of the seeker-sensitive church is another gospel.

How to detect another gospel:

  • If your Jesus allows you to come to Him with one hand firmly grasping onto the world and the other hand reaching toward Him, this is a false Christ.
  • If your Jesus is a life coach who accepts all your faults because there are no perfect people, then your Jesus is false.
  • If your Jesus is one who gives a life change as evidence of salvation, then you are worshiping a false Christ. (The false life change gospel. See my comment)
  • If your Jesus does not demand repentance from sin, then your Jesus is false.
  • If your Jesus says that other ways lead to Heaven because God is love, then your Jesus is false.

The true Gospel rests upon the finished work of the Lord because it is His salvation to freely give us by His grace. God, in His mercy and grace, draws us (John 6:44, John 6:65 ) to repentance (Matthew 4:17, Mark 6:12, Luke 13:3, Acts 3:19, Ephesians 4:17-24, Galatians 5:16, Romans 12:1-9 )  by the preaching of the Word (Romans 10:8-17). We cannot do anything to merit salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10), and we cannot choose to seek God (Romans 3:10-12). The truth is we are vile, Hell-deserving sinners who can do nothing to merit God’s salvation. It is only by God’s grace that we are saved.

Matthew 7:13-23 (NASB)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Seeker-sensitive Purpose Driven Church for the Carnal Nature of Mankind

Where the life change gospel breaks down

Deeds not creeds: Faith without works

Only the Holy Spirit can convict mankind to salvation by the preaching of the Gospel

Christian Entertainment: An Evangelical Heresy (A.W. Tozer)

Acts 7:58-59 (NASB)
58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

Here is the life change that took place because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

  • A father and mother lost a son because of the Gospel.
  • People lost a dear friend because of the Gospel.
  • Stephen’s life was put to an end because of “making the name of Jesus famous.

The false gospel of life change fails when events out of our control devastate our lives. This life change gospel cannot comfort those who made a confession but received no positive life change. This false gospel is built upon what you can get out of Christ now.  The true Gospel teaches us to say,”Glory be to God!” no matter what the circumstances. The life change gospel cannot handle cancer, sickness, financial woes, death of a loved one, divorce, adultery, or most other major negative circumstances that occur during our lives. Those who buy into this lie often find themselves in misery because the expected life change did not happen the way it was marketed to them by their relevant life coaches.

Joel Osteen is yet another example of how a false teacher can prey upon mankind’s burning desire for religion. Thousands upon thousands of people flock to churches that appeal to their religious wants and fill their hearts with the hope that is found in humanity. This hope in self is very powerful because most of humanity strives to be good people and to do the best they can. Some who attend these graveyards called churches are drawn by the lure of riches and wealth, some are drawn by the promise of physical healing, and others are drawn because they want to do good. It’s not hard to build a church upon the needs of the people by appealing to their culture, their wants, and by building up their hope in their own good works.

I could start a church with a goal to be relevant and non-offensive to the un-churched. I could design this church to cater to the un-churched and create an atmosphere full of energy and good works. I could encourage all my people to volunteer to do the work of the church. I could create a church that is warm and welcoming where no perfect people are allowed, thus proclaiming that we all sin and taking away our right to judge our brother/sisters. I could preach sermons designed to uplift the people’s needs and perform series designed to help people with real life needs. I could have cool modern music with an awesome worship experience to pump-up the service by creating an emotionally charged atmosphere where I can convince my people to say “Jesus” and “I accept Jesus in my heart!” By doing this, I could have a huge church in 3 to 5 years, raking in millions per year. Once I start racking in millions per year, I could put heavy emphasis on token good works programs around Christmas, New Year, etc… all in order to get my church known around the community. I could then pattern the church as a business to make money and keep the church profits increasing. In the end, I could easily be a millionaire in less then 10 years without the community thinking too much about it because of all the good works my church does. By doing this, I am appealing to the religious nature of mankind and mankind’s desire for religion. I would be using culture, music, relevant sermons, people’s willingness to volunteer, and my talents to lure people to this new church. I would project my vision to the people and be like a cheerleader always encouraging them to volunteer and tithe because God is working at my church. In the end, I would have a church full of carnal Christians, Christians who will never mature because I would not be feeding them, and false confessions because repentance is not taught. My church would be no different than the world around it with the exception of the name of Jesus being proclaimed, and my back door would be as wide open as my front door due to the nature of how these types of churches work. The world would look upon my work as successful and praise all the good works because lives are being changed by my work.

In the above example, what is missing is the true Gospel being preached and allowing the Holy Spirit to do His job by drawing sinners to Himself thus convicting them of their sin. I would never follow the pattern I listed in this blog because it is not the way God told us to grow the Kingdom of God. I had rather preach/teach the Word of God in truth and love by preaching the whole council of God and depend on God to honor the preaching of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit. The Gospel is enough, and it will always be enough to spread the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for all of us. I had rather work a full-time job along side of preaching while struggling to pay the bills rather than to build a church upon what God said is sin. My Lord Jesus Christ was poor, and who am I to think that I am better than my Lord? My Lord promised to provide all my needs; therefore I rely upon Him to care for me.

I know some of you might be offended by this post, but I stand by my words. God is not in the business of popular consent because God only wants us to obey Him. In the Bible God told us not to marvel if the world hates us John 15:18-20. The Gospel is hostile to the world because the Gospel tells mankind how incapable man is to save himself. It is because of the hostility mankind has toward God that we must preach the Gospel and depend on the Holy Spirit to convict sinners. We cannot save anyone, and we cannot lead people to Christ unless the Holy Spirit is working within them. No matter how much emphasis we put on worship, reaching them by culture, music, bake sales, youth camps, playgrounds, bingo, good works, etc… the only thing that leads people to Jesus is the preaching of the Gospel.

We should do good works and help those in need. I’m not disputing this because we are commanded to help those in need. We are commanded to preach the Word to the children of God and to prepare them to take the Gospel out to the world. The church is a place for the saved to grow in grace in order to mature as followers of Christ. The church is also for whoever will come in to hear the preaching, but the church should not cater just to the un-churched. It is the responsibility of the pastor to equip the church by the preaching of the Bible to prepare them for life’s trials, to uplift them, to admonish them in love, and to prepare them to go out and witness to the world. By doing this we depend on the Holy Spirit to do His job as we strive to follow the commandments the Lord has given us in His Word.

I believe in simply following the Bible’s outline for building and growing a church. We as Christians can have fun, laugh, worship, enjoy the service, and desire to be at church. My concern is how so many times modern churches fall prey to the numbers game while depending on themselves to draw people in by appealing to culture. Christianity in itself is a culture that never changes and has not changed for thousands of years. Jesus said that we are like a city lit upon a hill for the world to see Matthew 5:13-15. The world is in darkness, and we cannot appeal to them by using darkness to lure them to the light. If we set our hearts to sell out 100% and follow what God told us to do, then we will be the light for the world to see because we are at peace. Our lives will reveal the new creation that Christ has performed within us to those without Christ, thus showing them the power of the Gospel. It’s not about us; it’s about Jesus, and glory should be given solely to Him.

I know this is a lot. It may seem like a rant, but this was on my heart. It breaks my heart to see the name of Christ smeared and abuse by these greedy, self-serving, non-caring hired hands. Apostasy and false teachings can only exist in the church when the Word of God is ignored. In America we need to wake up and see these greedy hirelings, false teachers, and false prophets for what they are: servants of self and slaves to the father of lies. If this cancer is allowed into the church, it will only grow to destroy the church from the inside out. A sure way to destroy any church is to allow false teachers like Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Rob Bell, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Jay Bakker, and Joel Osteen in the door.

1 aI solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to bjudge the living and the dead, and by His cappearing and His kingdom:

2   preach athe word; be ready in season and out of season; breprove, rebuke, exhort, with 1great cpatience and instruction.

3   For athe time will come when they will not endure bsound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

4   and awill turn away their ears from the truth and bwill turn aside to myths.

5   But you, abe sober in all things, bendure hardship, do the work of an cevangelist, fulfill your dministry.

6 For I am already being apoured out as a drink offering, and the time of bmy departure has come.

7   aI have fought the good fight, I have finished bthe course, I have kept cthe faith;

8    in the future there ais laid up for me bthe crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on cthat day; and not only to me, but also to dall who have loved His eappearing. [1]


a1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 2:14

bActs 10:42

c2 Thess 2:8; 2 Tim 1:10; 4:8

aGal 6:6; Col 4:3; 1 Thess 1:6

b1 Tim 5:20; Titus 1:13; 2:15

1Lit all

c2 Tim 3:10

a2 Tim 3:1

b1 Tim 1:10; 2 Tim 1:13

a2 Thess 2:11; Titus 1:14

b1 Tim 1:4

a1 Pet 1:13

b2 Tim 1:8

cActs 21:8

dEph 4:12; Col 4:17

aPhil 2:17

bPhil 1:23; 2 Pet 1:14

a1 Cor 9:25f; Phil 1:30; 1 Tim 1:18; 6:12

bActs 20:24; 1 Cor 9:24

c2 Tim 3:10

aCol 1:5; 1 Pet 1:4

b1 Cor 9:25; 2 Tim 2:5; James 1:12

c2 Tim 1:12

dPhil 3:11

e2 Tim 4:1

[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (2 Ti 4:1-8). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

On one of the blogs I read the subject came up about a local emergent church that places great emphasis on the number of confessions in Christ. This church uses the numbers game as proof that God approves of their church and evidence they are following Jesus. While we praise God for these confessions, some concerns were raised about possible false professions due to the liberal nature of this church. This church uses some very questionable antics by the pastor and staff which prompted me to be concerned about people buying into the church’s relevant “culture” vs. responding to God’s call to repentance. It’s not wise for any church to be overly concerned with numbers. It’s even more dangerous to use confession numbers as a poll to see if God is working in a church or not. This type of action can lead to problems like pride and arrogance. This error can grow into believing that if church “A” has more confessions than church “B” then God must be blessing “A” more than “B”. In other words, church “A” is excellent and pleasing to God. Church “B” is smaller; therefore church “B” must be doing something wrong in the eyes of God.

I do not advocate confronting people who profess Jesus Christ just because we have some disagreements with their church. As ambassadors for Jesus, it’s our job to fortify their faith by simply sharing Jesus in truth and love. What do I mean? Did I not just type that we should not confront or heckle them? Yes, I did. What I mean is we are to share with them our faith, God’s grace, and how we love Jesus because He first loved us. We share our repentance from sin, we define repentance in our walk as Christians, and how Jesus saved us by Grace. We should clearly define salvation in a manner that is both sound in the Scriptures and uplifting to Jesus by allowing the Holy Spirit to do His job in His time.

In the Bible we see this disturbing and frightening account by Jesus:

Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB)
7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness .’

This is where the numbers game breaks down and has problems. If a church bases salvation on simply saying “Jesus,” repeating a prayer, and doing the works of the church then this frightening event described by Jesus Christ becomes very real. These people did wonderful works in Jesus’ name only to have Jesus say that He never knew them! In our human mind we are thinking, “This just does not seem right! How could they know about Jesus but not be saved? They did great things in the name of Jesus! They worshiped Jesus and did miracles in His name! These people knew Jesus, but Jesus did not know them? Why?” The answer is they never repented and accepted Jesus. It’s very clear in this passage that not everyone who says, “Jesus” is saved.

When we base serving/worshiping Jesus upon the numbers game, we are only hurting the church in the long run. The result of some confessions may be simply buying into a church culture, a youth program, a children’s program, peer pressure, entertainment, relevance, excellent music & worship, following a parent’s example, volunteering in the church, etc… anything other than the drawing of the Holy Spirit to repentance and salvation. It’s in this type of environment where the church culture might be drawing people to repeat the name Jesus vs. the Holy Spirit drawing people to Him. Can people truly be saved in this type of environment I described? Absolutely yes.

So what should we do? How can we know if everyone who professes Jesus is saved? The short answer is we will never know. We should continue to preach the Gospel and clearly define salvation as the Lord’s. We should make a great effort to define sin as sin, and explain the word “repent.” We should explain repentance from sin and how we once walked in sin. We explain that God laid a foundation for our new life. This foundation is in Him and not in the love of the world. We should always preach the whole council of God regardless the number of lost people coming to our church.

If I had a church of 15 people and if 10 of those people confessed Jesus Christ as Lord, I praise God and take their word for it! If my church never grew another soul beyond all 15 of my people professing Jesus, I would continue to preach the Gospel, salvation, repentance, and knowing that you are saved by grace. I would not consider this doubting their confessions, but rather fortifying their faith and walk with Jesus. I consider it helping them when they are in need, haunted by their past, tempted by their flesh, tempted by the world, and encouraging repentance when they sin. It’s a building block of assurance and teaching them about the Holy Spirit who lives within us. It’s not an attack or down play on their confession.

I have an 11 year old son who confessed Jesus. I praise God for his confessing Jesus Christ as his Lord . I take my own advice and try to encourage him in his faith by explaining repentance and salvation to him. I do not want to make him doubt his confession. I want to strengthen him in Grace. I want him to read his Bible, pray, and strive to follow Jesus. I want him to be confident in his faith and know how and why he is saved. I do not want to only focus on telling him about salvation because I want him to mature as a Christian, having confidence in Christ. I know he will experience hardships and may even doubt his salvation, but I want to plant the Word in his heart so that when doubts come the Grace of God takes control, giving him peace. This is not hindering him but leading him in walking with Jesus by example.

I’m not asking for an inquisition or any other type of legalistic manner of watching people’s actions to determine salvation. For those of you who want to do that, may I suggest you read about Lot in Genesis 19:6-8 in the OT, and then look in 2 Peter 2:6-8. God said Lot was “righteous,” meaning he was a saved man! When we see our brother/sisters in sin we should not question their confession. We should do the following:

1. Pray for them in private.
2. Encourage them in public.
3. Rebuke them in love and compassion.
4. Refrain from gossipping about them to others.
5. Lead them by example.
6. Always point them back to God’s grace by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Churches that do not preach repentance from sin after salvation are doing new Christians a disservice because the lack of teaching leads to carnality. Carnal Christians are weak Christians who are held captive by the lust of the world. This is where I believe many (not all) false professions are born and why we see in Matthew 7 Jesus saying,”I never knew you.” A child of God has convictions about sin because the Holy Spirit lives within him. I fear the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” may hold true because we try to do God’s job instead of simply doing what God told us to do. We try to add “culture” to God’s Word when God’s Word is enough.

I’m not just picking on this emergent church. I know this problem is in every type of church. Regardless of the type of church there maybe some false professions. I fully understand that legalism is just as deadly a venom as what I have discussed in this blog about the numbers game. Following strict man-made rules such as dress codes, men not wearing earrings, only using the KJV, repeating creeds, not drinking wine, not working on Sunday, etc… can and do lead to false professions as well. In the future I will discuss legalism and how it’s harmful to the church. I’m just writing about how I personally deal with these issues and expressing my concerns with the numbers game as a means to measure God’s approval.