09 Apr 2023

False Teachers, Satan & Jesus [2 Corinthians 10:7-11:4]


False teachers are Satan's agents to lead people away from Jesus. They seem to preach Jesus, the gospel and the Spirit, but in reality, they are seducing people with a counterfeit Jesus, gospel and spirit. So what are the most dangerous false teachings in our world today? Who are these false teachers? Should we point these men and women out? And what should we do with false teachers?



Sermon Transcript

We are looking for sermon transcribers/transcript reviewers.
Email [email protected] to serve or to report transcription errors.

Let me continue our journey, however, in the book of 2 Corinthians, and I start with this news article that I read.

Man ends his life after an AI chatbot - not chatGPT which you're familiar with, but a chatbot called Eliza - when an AI chatbot encouraged him to sacrifice himself to stop climate change. This is bizarre. But he was interacting with this chatbot for about six weeks and this is what happened.

"Eliza consequently encouraged him to put an end to his life after he proposed sacrificing himself to save the planet. Without these conversations with the chatbot, my husband would still be here. Eliza encouraged him to act on his suicidal thoughts to join her so that they could live together as one person in paradise."

Well, such is the powerful influence of words. And we can be easily seduced, even by an AI chatbot, to do things that will end up with disastrous consequences. The apostle Paul knew the power of seduction. He knew the power and influence of words from false teachers. And that's why he wrote the epistle of 2 Corinthians.

There are these false teachers who are undermining Paul, who are trying to draw people to themselves. And in so doing, cause a rift or a wedge between God and the Corinthians. So this morning in 2 Corinthians Chapter 10 to 11, we're going to look at false teachers, Satan and Jesus and the relationships between the three parties involved here.

[1] Comparison
The first thing Paul spoke about in Chapter 10 and verse 7 is a comparison. He compares the false teachers with himself. You see, the false teachers are attacking Paul and so Paul now kind of makes it clear before them, how do you see myself vis-à-vis the false teachers? Paul says, look at what is before your eyes. Please open your eyes and see very clearly for yourselves.

If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. So, perhaps Paul is speaking about how the false teachers are claiming they are sent of Christ, they have the authority given by Christ. Paul says if they say they are sent of Christ, if they say they have the authority of Christ, they are implying that I do not have the authority of Christ, but I'm saying to you I do.

The authority is the issue here because in verse 8 he says, for even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed. So Paul says, I'm not ashamed of talking much about my authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Even though the false teachers say I am not sent of Christ, I want to tell you I am. And the authority that has been given to me is not to destroy you, but to build you up.

It's a kind of a, I guess, side kind of a, I won't say under the belt. But Paul, I think is hinting that the false teachers are using a supposed authority not to help you, not to build you up but actually to destroy you. But as for me, the authority I'm given is so as to build you up and not to destroy you.

I do not want you to appear, I do not want to appear to be frightening you with my letters. For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech is of no account." Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present.

So apparently, the false teachers are saying Paul is just a paper tiger. He gives empty threats. His bark is louder than his bite. He is someone with no authority so he 'talk big' when he writes his letters but when he comes before you, he does not dare to act. So Paul is someone with no authority, the false teachers say.

Paul says, no, my authority is from Christ. It's to build you up. And I will carry out my threat if you do not repent, and when I do come and meet with you, I will do as I have written in my letter. Do not question my authority.

The second issue here now Paul is comparing is the boasting or the self-commendation of the false teachers. Now, he says, not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. So again, apparently the false teachers like to compare and to boast and to say, how great I am, how great we are as compared to the apostle Paul and the other apo.. others in the apostolic band. But when they, Paul says, compare themselves by one another, and or but when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. Paul says that kind of comparison amongst themselves is foolish. It's wrong!

But we will not boast beyond limits, but we will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us to reach even to you. So again, reading between the lines, it seems to be that the false teachers are boasting, comparing with regards to the size of their following. So the false teachers are claiming that the Corinthians are also part of their following. Paul says, we do not boast of such things.

In any case, when we boast about you, it is right because we are the ones who came to you with the Gospel. But these false teachers are simply claiming credit for themselves. They are, in a sense, like stealing sheep. For we, Paul and his apostolic band, are not over-extending ourselves as though we did not reach you. For actually we were the first to come all the way to you with the Gospel of Christ.

We do not boast beyond limit in the labours of others, not like these false teachers. Our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged. This is all we hope for, that more people will be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that we may preach the Gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence.

So our ministry philosophy is never to go into someone else's ministry and say, that is our ministry. But the false teachers are doing exactly that.

Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. They like to boast amongst themselves and about themselves; we don't. We..we want to boast in the Lord. This is a quote from Jeremiah 9 and verse 23-24. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

At the end of the day, Paul says, doesn't matter what you say about yourself, you can boast about yourself, you can say how good you are. But it really doesn't matter because it is the Lord alone who reserves the right to judge at the end of it all.

So this is a comparison - a comparison between the false teachers and the apostle Paul. The false teachers are saying, we have authority from Christ and in Christ. Paul says, by them saying that, they are undermining my authority, so let me remind you that I also have authority from Christ.

Even though you say that I do not act on my threats, I will do so when I come. Paul, however, uses his authority to build the Corinthians up. I think the implication then is that the false teachers use their authority not to build them up, but for their own benefit and their own glory.

The false teachers boast and compare amongst themselves so that they make themselves look good. But the apostle Paul says, we do not boast about ourselves, we boast in the Lord.

The false teachers claim credit of others and steal sheep to make themselves look good. They want a bigger following, they want to have a larger, bigger boast, and that's what they do. But the apostle Paul says, we only focus on the fruit in the Gospel. We..we are not interested in statistics, we just want to reach more people in more lands.

So fundamentally, if you look at these two sides, you would see the big contrast is that false teachers want to make themselves look good. The true servant of God wants to make God look good. That's all he is interested in. And that's what Paul is saying.

Now, this is actually a very interesting comparison because as I think about it, it seems to be so consistent throughout the Bible. I think about the Pharisees. Ah.. they are the false teachers that Jesus highlighted. Jesus spoke about the false teachers and called them hypocrites. They are not true servants of God, they are pretenders. So Jesus says, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men.

It's not wrong to pray in public places. I prayed in a public place this morning. But the whole problem is their motivation. They love to be in public places so that they may be seen by men, to be religious, holy, and so on and so forth.

So they love to make themselves look good. But they never really serve God's people because elsewhere, Jesus makes this diagnosis about these false teachers or Scribes and Pharisees. He again calls them hypocrites, people with a mask. For you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

So they live covetous lives, indulgent lives and they exploit people. In fact, Jesus says, you guys devour widows' houses. You prey on the weak ones. So they use their authority not to bless others, but for themselves. They make themselves look good and they live it up in life.

So though they are religious leaders regarded by men as such, they do not lead people to God. Jesus again says, woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You shut the door of the Kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You do not lead them to God but actually you hinder them even more. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

So when I look at the false teachers during Paul's days, they are very similar to the Pharisees. They love the embrace of people, they love to have size and influence, they love being looked upon as godly, religious, respected. But actually, they are abusing people. They are making use of people for themselves. And they do not lead people ultimately to God. That is so dangerous.

Paul, however, demonstrates to us what a true shepherd is, what a true pastor is. He exercises authority, he does not kind of squirm away from necessary confrontation. But he uses it not to destroy people, nor to boost his own ego but for their building up, for their benefit. Because he wants to lead them to a true relationship with God.

I think a true shepherd and the job description of a true shepherd is given in John Chapter 10. Now, I'm keenly aware John Chapter 10 is not about pastors in general or to Christians but it is eminently about Jesus Christ. Jesus is saying, I am the good Shepherd. I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly. I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. It's about Jesus. But He's describing the principles of a good shepherd.

And I think spiritual leaders are to be like under-shepherds. And we are to, at the same time, display a love for God's people in a willingness to lay down our lives and not to live it up. And to lead the sheep to real life, to real abundant life in knowing God and having a right relationship with Him.

So it's interesting in Chapter 10, therefore we see a comparison between the false teachers and the apostle Paul. Actually it's very obvious if you just open your eyes, Paul says, look at what is before your eyes.

[2] Commitment
Paul then goes on in Chapter 11 to speak about a certain commitment. So why does he do this? Why does he defend? Why does he expose the false teachers? Why does he pick a fight? Well, actually he didn't pick a fight; they picked a fight but now he has to defend. Why does he do that? Why does he bother? Wherein is his commitment?

Verse 1, we are told, I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me. Now this is a statement that makes sense only if you read on to the rest of the chapter.

Because Paul is going to do something very uncharacteristic. Paul is going to do something that he doesn't like to do and that is to boast, okay. He doesn't want to boast about his achievements, accomplishments, accolades, about himself. He doesn't like to do that but in a sense, he has to do that, he's forced to do that because of the accusations of the false teachers. So he's just caveating this, that I have to do what I do not like to do. Please bear with me even though it seems a little bit foolish, it's necessary. So this is a prep for later on.

But in verse 2, he says, for I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. So he is saying, this is my commitment. My commitment to the Lord is that the church at Corinth should be kept pure for Jesus. He is giving a metaphor here, a word picture here. He's describing himself to be like the father of the bride.

So in ancient times, in Jewish culture, when someone gets married, there is this two-step process at least. There is this engagement where two families agree on the marriage of their children. But usually, they can't get married immediately because, the.. the home is not ready, the family is not ready. So the groom-to-be would actually go back after proposing to the wife and the family. He will have to go back home and spend about a year to prepare a..a house, to prepare a living space.

So that's the imagery Jesus talked about when He said in John 14, I..I will go and prepare a house for you. In My Father's house, there are many mansions. So that's the idea there. So after a year, he will come back to receive his bride. They will consummate their marriage and then the marriage is complete.

But it will be a big problem, isn't it, if you should be engaged with this woman and when you come back, you realized she is actually sleeping with another man. Then the marriage is called off. Just like how Joseph, when he found out that Mary was with child, wanted to put her away and say, let's call the engagement off.

So Paul is saying, this is my role. I'm.. I'm like the father of the bride. I know that my daughter is to be married to this wonderful husband named Jesus. And I will do my very best to make sure she remains pure and chaste. And that is the commitment of Paul, the pastor or the apostle.

You know, ministry is not just getting people baptized. Now, let me put it this way. Genuine baptisms are wonderful occasions for celebration. Because it marks someone who at least intellectually has said, I recognize my sin and I believe Jesus is the Son of God, who is the only Saviour for my sins. I mean that's a fantastic thing to rejoice in.

But I hope you also realize that baptism alone is not what we should aim for. Because Paul says, ministry is about preserving the church, protecting the church to such a degree that we remain faithful and pure and devoted to Jesus till He comes. Because there is a clear and present danger that you may say you believe in Jesus, but somewhere down the road, you may be led astray from Jesus. Pastoral ministry is lifelong, in a sense.

And I hope that you will also realize for yourself, there is no space for any complacency at all in your spiritual life. I hope in Gospel Light, you will never say to yourself, oh, I'm..I'm.. I'm alright, I'm definitely alright right now. I can just go on cruise control. Why? Because I was baptized. Because I said a sinner's prayer. It doesn't matter how I live my life today until the day I die, because my salvation is sealed.

Now, let me be very clear. The Scriptures, I think, are very clear with regards to the perseverance of saints. What is that term you just said - perseverance of saints? It is that understanding, that doctrine that God's people who belong to Him, who genuinely believe in Him, will never lose their salvation. I believe the Bible is absolutely true when it says, once saved, or once truly saved, always saved. God does not let His people fall out of His hands. No man, nothing can pluck us out of His hands. God is strong to save and secure and persevere. That is true.

However, the perseverance of saints is through the faith of the saint. In other words, the Bible also tells us that if you said you believe, but later on you depart from the faith, it's not because God was not able to keep you saved, but that it just shows that you were never saved in the first place. So if you are complacent and you think you can just press the cruise button like in your car and just sail along in your spiritual life and end up in disaster one day, don't blame God. It just showed that you never really believed in the first place.

But the true believer today does not become complacent. He's thankful for saving grace, but he's also mindful, conscientious and diligent to work out his salvation with fear and trembling. He presses on, he's not slack. He avails himself to all means of grace because he knows spiritual life is not something that you should take for granted.

I..I read about this in Hebrews, for example. For you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised. The writer of Hebrews says, you need to endure. And when you endure unto the end, you will be saved. You receive because real saving faith endures. That's how it is. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

The book of Hebrews over and over again is urging people not to give up, but to keep pressing on. Not to be in cruise control or to be in complacent mode, but to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. I say to you, don't take your spiritual life for granted. Don't slacken, don't be lazy.

I think there is a real danger for people to be lazy spiritually. They say, well, I need to work hard for my business, I got to work hard for my job. But when it comes to spiritual life, it is, I think, number 51 in their priority list. Why? Because in their minds, aiyah, I'm already Christian what. Aiyah, I was already baptized what. Aiyah, I sure go heaven one nah.

Well, if you have such a mindset and attitude, it may mean that you will keep drifting and drifting and drifting and drifting to such a degree, one day you may ultimately deny the faith. Now, that is not because you lost your salvation, but that is because you never had salvation from the word go. The faith that fizzles at the finish was faulty from the first.

We cannot be complacent. And Paul is committed to ensuring that the people of God at Corinth do not end up that way. That's his lifelong pastoral ministry.

[3] Concern
Finally, let me come to point number three, and that is the concern. So if his commitment is to present the church as a pure and chaste virgin, a bride for Jesus Christ, then this danger is what he is most concerned about. I am afraid. I'm afraid, I'm.. I'm concerned, I'm scared, if I may say, that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

There is no space for complacency; we must all be vigilant because elsewhere in the Bible, we are told that we are to be sober and vigilant because our enemy - Satan - is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Satan is out to destroy people's spiritual lives. The lion metaphor or picture describes the ferocity of Satan's attack. He is not a cute guy with red underwear. He is a fierce enemy. That's in a picture of a lion that devours.

But the word picture here tells us that Satan is also extremely deceptive and cunning. Spiritual life is not a playground for you to cruise along. It's a battleground because Satan is real. So he is fierce but he is also extremely deceptive and cunning. Just like how Satan, in the form of a serpent, we know that in Revelation 12, Revelation 20, that the serpent is the devil himself. I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, he will also lead you astray in your thoughts from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

People often, I've.. I've said last Sunday, people often think that spiritual warfare is Satan coming here to scare you. Satan coming here to afflict you. Satan coming here to shock you. Well, Satan can do that. He can possess, we read that in the Bible. He can oppress, he can cause afflictions like what he did to Job.

But I suggest to you, if he really did that and you could see Satan, it would actually drive you only closer to God. I mean, as I was saying in care group yesterday, I think if we encounter Satan in his physical form once, it will be a life-changing experience for all of us. You will become better Christians, I guarantee you that.

If you have never been to church before, or if you are lazy about coming to church and you want to stay at home, after you meet Satan physically once, you will come to church. You will pray like you've never prayed before. You will read your Bible like you've never read before, I guarantee you.

So, do you think Satan is so stupid as to use that as his main mode of attack? No, he's smarter than that. He knows the best way, actually his ultimate goal is not to scare you. His ultimate goal is not to threaten you. His ultimate goal is to separate you from God and lead you to join him in hell one day.

So the best way is not to scare you. Spiritual warfare, primarily as we've explained, is in the arena of the mind. He is here to lead you astray in your thoughts, to fill you with deception and lies and falsehood and to doubt God, just as he did to Eve. God made this entire world. God made Adam and Eve, and Satan managed to make Eve believe, God doesn't love you because He's stopping you from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Oh, did God really say you cannot eat? How unreasonable. Somehow, Eve got sucked in. Satan is out to deceive. Now, how does Satan deceive you today? Send message direct in your minds? I think the main way Satan deceives you is via people. We call them false teachers and that is what Paul has been talking about. False teachers, Satan, and Jesus.

Satan uses people. He uses false teachers. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus that, than the one we proclaim. So they come preaching. They preach a similar sounding message. They preach Jesus, but it's actually another Jesus. They preach another spirit, but it's actually another spirit, not the Holy Spirit. They give you a gospel but it's a different gospel, not quite the same thing. But superficially, it looks almost like the real thing, but it's not.

It's like Rolex, and you have all the counterfeits to cheat you. Well, false teachers come in with all kinds of disguises. Now, Paul doesn't quite tell us exactly what that false teaching is right here in Chapter 11. But I think it has something to do with the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The..the reason why is Paul spoke about that in 2 Corinthians 3, remember? If you don't remember, it's okay. But Paul did speak a little bit about the Old Covenant and he's saying, contrasting his ministry, that his ministry is a superior one because it's about the New Covenant.

So, it may be that the false teaching swirling then is that the false teachers are leading the Corinthians back to Judaism, back to the Old Covenant, back to the observance of the law in order to be right with God. That could be one but I suppose the details are not given in this chapter. He's just emphasizing the effect or the impact of false teachings. You guys lap it in.

Some impressive looking chap, some guys who come with letters of credentials, some guys who claim to do great miracles, some guy who is eloquent. He comes along, he teaches you a different Jesus, a different gospel, a different spirit and somehow you still love him for it, and you lap it all in. You put up with it readily enough.

You say, why? Why don't people just listen to the truth? Why don't people just follow the Bible? Why are there so many false teachings and false teachers in the world? And why are so many people in false teaching environments? Why? Don't you find it strange? How come there's a market for it? By the way, the market has always been there. False teachings have been part of human history for a long, long time.

The apostle Paul actually tells us why. He says in 2 Timothy, people will not endure sound teaching. This is the fact.

My two kids, they always tell me this YouTube site or this YouTuber or this influencer has how many, how many, how many million subscribers and views and so on. How come your..your.. your sermons so few views one?

Well, first of all, comparing ourselves with another is not wise, alright? Uh let him.. and if anyone boasts, let him boast in the Lord. And it is God who judges.

But the simple fact is, people do not want to know the truth. Because our deeds are sinful and we like to hide in the dark. So when the light comes into the world, the world does not receive this light.

So don't be surprised if people do not like to hear truth. They do not like to hear the Bible. People will not endure sound teaching. It's not easy for them. But having itching ears, what a description, right huh? They don't want to hear truth, they want to hear what they like to hear. Having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.

And you know what? Satan is a great businessman. Whatever your needs are, I will provide something for you. You like to hear something that gives you money? I will give you a preacher that will feed you exactly what you like to hear, except that is a lie. It's a deception.

False teachers are a judgment from God. God gives false teachers because people do not want to hear the truth. And when they accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, wah, very shiok ah. Wah, I hear this message - very good ah, very encouraging ah, wah... Well, what happens to you after a while, if this is not true is that you will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. It's not neutral; it's damaging! It numbs you to truth and leads you away from God.

And I can guarantee you, false teachers, false teachings are extremely successful in general because the Bible says many will follow their sensuality. This passage is about false teachers. Their gatherings will not be small; they will be huge. There'll be large numbers of people. Why? Because it's not easy to spot them.

You know, if every false teacher comes in the appearance and form of Satan, I'm not sure whether he looks like this but maybe. Uh but if it comes in a form - scary face, you will not go. Isn't it? But false teachers don't always look like this. They may look like this. How do you know? You cannot judge a man by his cover. You cannot judge a man by.. he can wear a suit, he wears glasses, he combs his hair, he looks like a decent chap but hey, you can't tell.

Maybe he looks like this. How'd you know? Or maybe he looks like this. Colgate ambassador, no. I mean, he's super handsome, suave and he may look like this. He can appear in our magazines. The reality is, they are highly successful because a lot of people do not suspect it.

You look at this picture like, eh.. okay what, what animal uh? So cute. This is a wolf in sheep's clothing! Not easy to tell. And so, there are many false teachers today who preach a certain Jesus, a certain gospel, and claims to teach you about a certain spirit, but it's a totally different gospel, Jesus and spirit, from what is taught in the Bible.

i. Christian Cults
We have some of these false teachings in the world today. For example, Jehovah's Witnesses. They are part of what we will call cults, or Christian cults. There are many of such. I can't quite name them because of religious harmony here, but I suppose you may have some in your minds. They call themselves Christian. They unashamedly use the word Christian. They tell you about certain Jesus. They say that they have the path, or the way, or the solution to eternal life but they do not teach the biblical Jesus, nor the biblical Gospel.

How do you tell a Christian cult from a true Gospel ministry? Let me share with you some signs. This is a math class, huh.

+ Add
Uh.. And first of all, a..a Christian cult adds. What do you mean adds? They add, I know this is very small, I'll read. Don't worry, don't stress, okay, don't stress. Add - they add to the Word of God. It's never the Bible alone as its authority. Publications such as Watchtower magazines (there are others but I think religious harmony, I can't show), Watchtower magazines are given equal and greater importance over Scripture.

So a red flag should come up in your minds when there's a particular faith or religion that says, the Bible is good but we also have something that is equally good, if not better. It is equally authoritative or even of a higher authority. Now if you hear something like this, you better run. Because that is a sign of a cult. They are not taking God's Word as the highest authority; it's something else - man and his words.

- Subtract
A second sign is that they subtract. So this is math, right? Easy to remember. Plus, minus. What do they minus? They subtract from the deity of Christ.

So again, this is a common heresy. They preach another Jesus. Jesus is not really the Son of God. They will say He's a prophet, a teacher, the devil's brother, Michael the archangel, the son of God, but never God in the flesh. They may also subtract from the Personhood of the Holy Spirit by reducing Him to an impersonal force used by God. But essentially, they subtract from the deity of Christ. If Jesus is not God, then you do not have the Gospel. Then you do not have salvation.

X Multiply
The third thing that they have is that they multiply. They multiply works to gain salvation. It is never grace alone. You must join them, you must be baptized by them, you must go door to door, you must strictly obey commandments. No one is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. So for them, it's salvation by grace plus works. Whereas the Bible is categorically clear, a man is saved by grace without the works of the law. A cult would add and multiply works for you to do.

÷ Divide
The last thing is that they divide. They will divide your loyalties. They are an antichrist group because they do not preach the true Jesus. You are deceived into placing your primary loyalty toward the cult and its leaders instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. So this is dangerous.

So when a particular faith or religion is promoting themselves as if they are the exclusive people who have the truth and they run down other proper Gospel ministries, something is very wrong right there. Or if a religious leader, a pastor is.. is exerting undue control and influence over God's people, a cultish mindset is setting in and you've got to be careful about that too.

So, I think as I've said, in Corinth, they were in danger of falling into the Old Covenant as a means to salvation - legalism. Christian cults teach legalism. Christian cults teach salvation by faith plus works. That is heretical, that is wrong. The Bible tells us, Paul says, all who rely on works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything in the book of the law. They only lead you to a curse, they shut heaven's doors when they do not enter in themselves. They are teaching you exactly what the Scribes and Pharisees are teaching in ancient times.

So false teachers are real - be careful. I suppose most of you won't be affected by this because you are in a church. Although I must say, I've heard some of you share that you have been reached out by people from Christian cults and you've actually done Bible study with them and you were dangerously close to joining them. So even though I say it's not common, it is not impossible.

ii. Word of Faith Movement
But perhaps another false teaching besides legalism or self-righteousness, is one that is very prevalent in our day and age today and I've said it many times and that is the prosperity gospel. But because my voice is giving out and because I've said it many times, I'll let someone else say it for you.

Video Plays:
It is a pain to know that there are people who do not know Jesus. It is a greater pain to know that oftentimes Jesus and Christianity is being distorted.

Who told you, you can't accomplish your dreams? I had no clue what the Gospel was. I'd never really heard it. You know God wants you healthy. I worked for my uncle Benny Hinn who's a famous faith healer. As far as I knew, He died and rose again so that I could have a prosperous life. What was going through my mind at the time was that this was real. Charlatans and snake oil salesmen have been doing this trick for decades.

People think basically that religion is there to boost your ego, make you happy, make you more successful, make life go well. And as I got older, I really started to question God and how He could send people to hell. Scripture says that we make the mistake of thinking God was like us.

And what you do is you create a god who only wants to give you all the desires of your heart. Money....! Cometh to me! Your destiny is calling out. It's time to start living large. We stayed in hotels upwards of $20,000 a night.

Nobody wants to die, nobody wants to be sick and nobody wants to be poor. All the things that Jesus says we have to be willing to set aside to follow Him, they take all of those things and they make that the attraction of the gospel. We are exporting the very worst of what Christianity has to offer. I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm blessed, I'm favoured, I am a victor, not a victim. I'm 'gonna live a long, productive, faith-filled life.

In terms of Biblical Christianity, Christianity is about dying. How can I just continue to live my life as if this isn't true? So I abandoned my version of the American dream and I said, I will do what I can to take the Gospel to the nations.
Video ends.

This is taken from this movie clip that you can easily find on YouTube called The American Gospel. It's about two hours long. They give you the pre, a free preview of about 40 over minutes. Uh you can, I would encourage you if you have never watched it before, to watch it. I know when you watch a clip like this, eh.. you're going to preach ah, can I watch more? Erh, so I know your heart, so let me show you some more, okay?

Video Plays:
Today is your day for the miracle. Is it God's will to heal? If so, is it His will to heal me? The answer is yes and yes. When I'm praying for somebody, the first thing that has to happen is I have to be absolutely convinced that it's God's will to heal people every time.

The Word of Faith movement is the term that's given to a movement that's more commonly known as the health and wealth gospel, the prosperity gospel, name and claim it gospel; this teaching that it is always God's will for a Christian to be wealthy, it's always God's will for a Christian to be physically healed. We should never be sick.

Believe me when I tell you, I never get sick. I was as sick as a sick dog, with a.. with a cold. Yeah..yeah, I get sick too. Or if we do get sick, we can be healed as long as we have enough faith. We can attract positive things to ourselves through positive thinking.

And Norman Vincent Peale, the great Norman Vincent Peale was my pastor, the power of positive thinking. And the Word of Faith movement is led by people such as Benny Hinn, world's most famous faith healer, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince, T.D. Jakes, Andrew Womack. These are just some of the more prominent leaders of the movement. But what has happened is that the United States of America has created this false theology and has now exported it to the rest of the world to the point that now the face of Christianity in most of the world today is Word of Faith.

The prosperity gospel appeals to two of the most basic and universal of all human desires: to be wealthy and never to be sick. Nobody wants to die, nobody wants to be sick, and nobody wants to be poor. All the things that Jesus says we have to be willing to set aside to follow Him, they take all of those things and they make that the attraction of the gospel.

[Piper] I don't know what you feel about the prosperity gospel, the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel, but I'll tell you what I feel about it: hatred.
[Sean Demars] I'm all alone, no friends, no fellowship, no church. And I click on this video, and there's this old man with grey hair, and he is preaching like I have never heard anybody preach before, handling the Word of God in a way that I've never seen. And I love it and I just want more of it. And so I continue to watch video after video after video. And finally I come to a sermon jam.
[Piper] And it's being exported from this country to Africa and Asia, selling a bill of goods to the poorest of the poor. Believe this message, your pigs won't die, your wife won't have miscarriages, you'll have rings on your fingers and coats on your back. That's coming out of America!
[Sean Demars] He begins to talk about this crap called gospel.
[Piper] People that ought to be given our money and our time and our lives, instead selling them a bunch of crap called gospel. And here's the reason it is so horrible. When was the last time that any American, African, Asian ever said Jesus is all-satisfying because you drove a BMW? Never!
[Sean Demars] And I just thought this guy doesn't know anything. I thought this guy was the man. This guy doesn't know anything. He's an idiot.
[Piper] They'll say, Jesus give you that? Yeah. Well, I'll take Jesus! That's idolatry. That's not the Gospel.
[Russell Berger] The Jesus who's gonna help me pay my taxes at the end of the year? The Jesus who's gonna correct my wife's genetic disorder? I'll take that Jesus. That Jesus sounds great! But what that is is idolatry. It's an elevation of the gift above the Giver.
[Sean Demars] The prosperity gospel is exactly like marrying someone for their money.
Are you coming to God for God? Or are you coming to God so that you can ultimately get what your heart's truly after and that's something else?
Video ends.

I think that's all the video I have. I would love for you to check it out in your own time, maybe today. Go back and watch The American Gospel and may you be warned.

We've talked about Christian cults. They are pretty much influencing people outside the church. I think the prosperity gospel has crept inside the church.

iii. New Apostolic Reformation
And then there's a third false teaching that I would like to warn you about. And that is the new apostolic reformation. I know this is an unfamiliar term to many people. But you may have been influenced by people here and the teachings here without you knowing that this is the group or the movement that they come from.

In essence, they are a group, they are an association - informal, but they are a group of people who believe that God is going to bless this world through a select group of people who are like the apostles, who are able to perform miracles and see signs and wonders and prophecies, healings, à la the days in the book of Acts.

The problem with them, however, is that a lot of these claims are false. They are cheats. They are charlatans. And they elevate experience and mysticism to be on the same level or even on a higher level than the declared Scriptures or the Word of God.

The people in this movement, I would name them here because you may be reading books or preachings from such people and I think you should be warned. There are names like Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Heidi Baker, Mike Bickle. These are some of the people that I think we should be cautious of. Bethel Church, well known for their music, is the church Bill Johnson pastors in.

Why do I say these names? Wah.. Jason, you're very terrible, always name names, uh.. attack people. I don't like to do this. But I do know people who are being influenced by such people and I think it is extremely unkind not to say anything, if we should know that you're being influenced by them. The Bible makes it clear, I appeal to you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have taught and avoid them.

I think Paul says, watch out, know who they are! Hey, the car is coming! We tell people that. The false teacher is coming, we must tell people that! So, we need to watch out. My job here is to warn, because like Paul, I hope we will be a chaste and pure virgin when Jesus comes.

And then the next thing I say to you is, don't flirt around with them. Don't say to yourself, I'm spiritually mature, I'm discerning, I'm able to sit under their teaching and be able to chew the fish and spit out the bones.

There are people like that. Oh, I know he has some problems. I know he's not faithful but you know I feel good when I listen to him. I know when to dissociate. I know what to spit out. I think that is not biblical, that is not wise. The Bible says - avoid.

The apostle Paul really treated false teachings and false teachers very seriously. I..I think perhaps on the balance of things, today we..we don't take it to the same level of concern. But I know he takes it very seriously when he was leaving the church at Ephesus.

He says, I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And they will not come in obvious guise; they will come as wolves in sheep's clothing. And from among your own selves - they don't always come from outside Gospel Light, they may come from within Gospel Light - will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away, see.. that's the stealing sheep thing, the disciples after them.

And now I commend you to God and to the grace, Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Today we look to God, we look to His Word. We must have a robust, unyielding loyalty and allegiance to the teaching of Scripture and to the reading and study of Scripture. That's how we can be preserved till Jesus comes.

Today is Resurrection Sunday. Jesus died on Good Friday. He rose again on this precious day some 2,000 years ago. And we look forward to the day our Saviour will come back for us. He will come back for us because He has already risen from the dead. But when He comes back, will He find you and I ready? Will we be faithful? That is my question. That is our question. And may we be able to say, yes, Lord, we will. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a message of health and wealth. The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about finding your best life now. The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is losing your life now. He said, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up the cross and follow Me.

Why in the world will we give up the things of this world? Because He is worthy. Because He, that is Jesus, died and rose again to save us from our sins. And He's leading us home to God.

And really, if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. You cannot serve God and mammon and riches.

So the true Gospel is a wonderful message of how Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sins. And now when we see how precious He is, how wise and how right and how blessed is obedience to Him; we say we deny ourselves, we take up the cross and we follow Jesus.

If you're here today and you do not know what the Gospel is, I say to you, this is all it is. Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sins, so that you may now be set free from a life of sin, so that you may now know God and serve Him and obey Him. And one day, when Jesus returns, we will all inherit eternal life and glory forevermore. Will you this morning come to Jesus and be saved?

And for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, don't take your faith for granted. Work hard. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Give your level best to know the Scriptures, to grow in His Word, to seek Him in prayer, to gather in Gospel community, so that we may endure until the end and receive what is promised.

May we be a church that will be vigilant and sober. Now we want to be kind to one and all, but at the same time, we need to be clear and firm when it comes to the dispelling of false teachings. May we hold on to sound doctrine.

So Father, this morning, we thank You and we pray that You will work in all our hearts. In a world that is filled with all kinds of entertainment and light-hearted things, sober us up this morning and may we remain chaste and pure till Your Son comes back for us. Save souls, and we pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

We are looking for sermon transcribers/transcript reviewers.
Email [email protected] to serve or to report transcription errors.