I have a long history going back 40+ years of experience in what we call Christianity. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have never denied the Lord. There are people who I went to elementary school, Jr. high school and high school with, which can attest to the fact that I witnessed to other kids about Jesus Christ many times. I had no problem making a fool out of myself and being rejected by others from my youth until now; seven children and five grandchildren later. I am not saying that I haven’t sinned in my life, I committed sins that I am not proud of, but I never denied the Lord despite the false teachings and many different doctrines I have been exposed to, and experienced the fruit of over the last 40+ years.
But there came a time in which there was a major pivot in my life, a water shed season, at the time I didn’t even believe that I could survive it, I thought I would surely die. During this season the Lord gave me certain, sure, solid foundational truth. During this season I would literally tremble as I read the scriptures as the Holy Spirit brought these things to life and establish me in these truths. I am sure those who despise my image shriek when I say this, but my great treasure that I value is the fear of God, the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. There are many people who might read what I have got to say and feel condemned or challenged, their image is different than mine, their judgement is different than mine, we are not alike, we have different things that trouble us, that concern us.
Perhaps the best place to start is to look a little closer at the essence, the foundation of what is Christ, in order to understand the things that really matter. As the scripture say, “Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth, The Life”, so to know Jesus Christ is to know Thy Way, The Truth and The Life!
As anyone can see today, everyone does what is right in their own eyes; we are a society that is deluged with information, and at the same time we are a society void of understanding and wisdom. The Prophet Isaiah spoke to this condition;
(Isa 29:13-14) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
It’s like we are in the times of the Judges where we all do what is right in our own eyes and there is no King over us. (Jdg 17:6) In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. In our day it is like a whirlwind from the Lord, one person says the Spirit of God is saying this and another person says, “no, the Spirit of God is saying something different”. The scriptures tell us that it would be this way right before the day of the Lord.
(Isa 41:15-17) Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I believe what we are facing today is a spiritual whirlwind from the Lord. The Lord is judging his people, separating the sheep from the goats, but even his sheep will not go unpunished. I pray all time and ask the Lord to make my way straight, now is not the time for self-esteem, now is not the time for one to care so much about feelings and now is not the time for one to take for granted the precious grace of God, the precious gift of God, being saved by faith, having our way made straight. Certainly you must know that NO ONE can escape the judgement of God, he is all powerful, he is everywhere at once, he never gets tired, he never is lacking any capability. The Lord Jesus is Lord over making your way straight and he is Lord over making your way crooked, the Lord alone is judge.
(Heb 10:29-31) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
In my life, I have seen many of men stand up to teach the children of God doctrine. The first question that comes to my mind, and this is a question that must be answered by the mouth of the man who is teaching others, “Why should we hear you?” Don’t you think that is a fair question? The Lord has instructed me many times through the scriptures how to carefully judge a man; “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” – “every man shall be judged by the very words that come out of their mouth”. When I hear and take note of the words a man utters, I am not looking for a speech mistake, I am not looking for a Freudian slip, I am not vexed with an evil imagination to twist the words of others, NO these words are so obvious, if you can’t hear them, it’s just because you don’t want to hear them!
When a man or woman stands up to teach the people of God, I allow them to answer the question, “Why should we hear you?” And believe me when I say that EVERYONE who stands to teach the people of God DOES give an answer to this most important question. Unfortunately the most common answer given today from the mouths of those who teach others is:
“(2Ti 2:15) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I believe this scripture is one of the most misused scriptures in the bible, keep in mind that this letter was written by Paul the Apostle to Timothy, his son in the faith. Certainly you don’t think that Paul was instructing Timothy to study to get approved of God? Timothy was already clearly approved of God, but the scripture instead instructs Timothy to study to show others that he already was approved by God, that’s a big difference and it’s a very important distinction!
So what about the image of the teachers who’s reason to the question, “Why should we hear you?” is “Study to show thyself approved”, is that the image of Christ or Anti-Christ?
WHAT ABOUT THE IMAGE?
The image of these teachers are worldly, they receive the praise and adoration of men by performance and accomplishment. They must reinforce their image by proving their dedication and achievement of higher learning. They get to the pinnacle of their field in the exact same way and by the same means that the academics of the world do, they value the praise of men, while ignoring the validation and praise that can come from God alone. I have got no problem with Dr. Ben Carson calling himself “Doctor”, it’s clear that in the medical field Doctors are needed to provide a service that can only be provided by dedication and much learning, but when Dr. John MacArthur gives himself that title, a lie is being told, an image is being glorified that is not of Christ, and that my friend is idolatry!
People like John MacArthur and their worldly ilk would lead you to believe that understanding scriptures is just a matter of proper study, or proper “Hermeneutics”, of course big words, wonderful speeches, proper grooming habits and care to appearances are all the driving force. Perfectly choreographed meetings, public debates, acceptance from the world all seem to validate the claims of these merchants of Christendom. Hermeneutics is a term invented by 15th century philosophers, I wonder what Christians did the 1500 years before to find Thy Way, The Truth, and The Life? And today with all of our thousands of denominations in Christendom, all arriving at a different conclusions on doctrine, all claiming their hermenuetics superior, yet strangely enough, WE ARE NOT SAVED, Still divided as ever!
(1Co 2:1-5) And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
You see how that the image of Paul the Apostle and folks like Dr. John MacArthur are different, Paul want you to be grounded in and have your confidence in the power of God, JMA wants you to be grounded in and have your confidence in hermenuetics, in his smarts and hard study. Read the scriptures about the image of Jesus Christ – it was an image despised of men, the religious elites crucified Jesus because of his image, yet the elites of our time to not rely on the power of God, but rely on the wisdom of the world.
Finally let me just say, it should be obvious to you that the only sure Word, the only guarantee of truth must be found and based in the power of God. It is only the power of God, the grace of God and by faith in the true God by which we stand. There are many images of men today who are in contrast to the image of Jesus Christ, but they lack the power of God, they lack a sure Word. Any ministry that does not result in the power of God being glorified, is a ministry that is Anti-Christ, it raises men up who’s image is contrary to Christ. The message is this – “Christ in YOU the hope of Glory” – that means it’s not about the talents and glory of John MacArthur or just name your favorite minister – But it is about Jesus Christ becoming alive in you and transforming you into HIS image and thus the glory of the Lord is seen in YOU – Christ in YOU the hope of glory. Stop idolizing men who have NO sure Word, but rather serve the Lord who is able to complete that work in you and make your way Straight, because wisdom and knowledge begins with the fear of God – it’s the fear of God that is our great treasure.
So the reason you should hear me is NOT study to show thy self approved, but Christ in Me the Hope of Glory – that would be his glory, not mine!