A Lady’s Wise Words about Spotting Evil

Pro 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice.

I listened to a phone message today from a lady I don’t know – I don’t even know her name. She called our church office to thank us for the domestic abuse sermon series we have online at sermonaudio.com/crc   If she reads this, many thanks for her encouragement.

One of the things she said was very wise. Having grown up being abused by evil family members, she said that she finally came to see two Scriptures in particular clarity that the Lord used to set her free. One is quoted above, Proverbs 18:5. The other was from Matthew –

Mat 10:21-22 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, (22) and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

She realized in regard to the Matthew text that a Christian may well find themselves hated intensely even by their own brother, father, and children. It occurred to her that this means the abuse she experienced from family was not her fault.

Continue reading “A Lady’s Wise Words about Spotting Evil”

There are Many False Sheep and Shepherds and we Need to Say So

John 10:1-5 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. (2) But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (5) A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

I was raised in my earliest years in Bible churches and Baptist churches. Churches where the Bible was said to be central, where sinners were called upon to repent and believe the gospel and where you underlined your Bible as the pastor preached.

And where sin was generally, but not specifically addressed.

What I mean by “generally” but not “specifically,” is that “sinners” were called upon to turn to Christ and be saved. “Sin” was preached against. And yet church members, professing Christians, who were walking in sin habitually, showing no fruit of regeneration in their lives, were never called out. In fact many of them held positions of leadership. This is why the constant infighting and divisions kept happening in those churches. Pastors would come and go, but very few people really knew why. This was the condition of the church I have pastored now for some 26 years when I first came.

The underlying assumption in such “churches” is that everyone who claims to be a Christian must be believed. In fact, as many of you know, even the most wicked domestic abuser (usually operating in secret of course), when exposed, is still assumed to be a real Christian and treated as such by the church. Woe to the victim of such an abuse if she balks at doing the same.

Jesus and the Apostles, as clearly recorded for us in Scripture, make it very plain that not all sheep are sheep. Not all shepherds are really shepherds. That is what Jesus was saying here in the tenth chapter of John. Here are His points:

  • There are counterfeit shepherds who are in fact thieves and robbers, not sent by Christ
  • Christ’s true sheep hear (recognize and obey) His voice and follow Him
  • Christ’s true sheep will not follow a false shepherd – they are able to discern that he is a counterfeit. In fact they will flee from him
  • The false shepherd’s purpose is to use the sheep to feed his own lust for self-glory. He kills and destroys rather than leading and feeding.
  • Christ the true Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep, standing against the wolf. The false shepherd, in contrast, runs away and abandons the sheep when threatened, leaving the sheep to fend for themselves.

There is reality. That is the condition of the visible church (in contrast to the IN-visible church which consists of all true Christians in heaven and on earth). The visible church has false sheep and false shepherds in it. In fact it is generally true that there are far more counterfeits than real sheep – thus the Bible calls the true church the “remnant.”

I suggest to you that these are truths that are currently out of vogue in most local churches and this is the reason that so many of Christ’s true people are being so sorely oppressed and rejected by those “churches.” That is to say, congregations are being taught for the most part that everyone in their church, with maybe a very few exceptions, are objects of God’s mercy, adopted children in His household, certain shoe-ins to heaven on the Day of Judgment. And no one must ever, ever say otherwise.

Therefore, evil abounds in the churches. Evil is people. Evil people. People who are of the darkness rather than the light. People who therefore oppose the Light lest they be revealed for what they really are.

The solution? God’s Word! This is the mission of Christ’s true pastors and people. “Preach the Word!” Paul told Timothy. His Word is light. It cleanses His body. It exposes evil and the wicked flee from it. His Word is powerful – it restores the soul of the downcast and calls those who hear to repentance and faith and life. Tweak it, even a little bit, and the lights go out, the power is unplugged, and darkness returns.

Jesus’ truth is plain. There are many false sheep. There are many false shepherds. False sheep hear the voice of the false shepherd and refuse to hear Christ’s voice. Not so His real sheep. They hear Him. They follow Him. This is His truth. And we need to proclaim it loudly and clearly.

Reject the “Politician” Pastor

Job 32:21 I will not show partiality to any man or use flattery toward any person.

Psa 5:9 For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.

Psa 36:2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.

Years ago when I was still a relatively new pastor there was a man and his wife in our church who had appeared on the scene, looking as if they were “God’s gift” to our church. I mean, they read the devotional “Our Daily Bread” EVERY morning. Their life’s energies were focused on “serving the Lord,” which they did primarily through youth and music ministries. Everyone assumed that they were the finest Christians to be found.

Over the years we found out very differently – and that would be a long story with many chapters if I were to tell it to you. But I wanted to focus specifically in this post about one particular event I experienced under the hands of these people.

They were BIG on “community involvement.” As they became leaders in our church they were right in the middle of our efforts to establish a new church in a neighboring community. And in that process they pressured me to “get active in the community” to increase our exposure. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, that kind of thing.

I didn’t. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing something like this as a pastor, but in my experience over the years all that those kinds of things do is produce “Jeff converts.” That is to say, people may come to your church and even become members, but as the time goes by, more often than not, all that you have in the end is people who are present simply because they “like the pastor.”

I took other stands as well. I would not participate in the local “ministerial” fellowship of pastors. (I have found those in every case to be dens of compromising Christ’s truth). And this is what precipitated the incident that is the main focus of this post.

This couple came to me and the husband said, “Jeff, if you are going to be a successful pastor, then you are going to have to become a better politician.”

What did he mean by that? He meant that I needed to stop taking stands on my convictions. He meant that I needed to start compromising truth. To stop offending people by being too plain-speaking with them. That way, the numbers of people coming to the new church would increase and (of course this is the excusing justification for his politics statement) “then they can hear about Jesus and be saved.”

Christ has no place for politicians in the ranks of His servants. I don’t mean by that that anyone who serves in political office is going to hell!! (One does get that impression sometimes of course). No, what I mean is that Christ calls His servants to speak truth, no matter what. To preach the uncompromised gospel which is (Romans 1) God’s power for salvation. And the preaching of that gospel includes the announcement of God’s wrath against man’s sin (Romans 1, again). Most politicians do not put the truth right out there most of the time. They speak in words that flatter. They equivocate (say one thing in words that sound like something else). In other words, they withhold truth.

In the church, this means that sinners are not called to account. They are….flattered. Their ears are tickled. And guess what? Evil ones become very comfortable in the pews, even as behind the scenes they carry out their campaign of abusing wickedness against their oppressed victims. That is to say, the politician pastor is the ally of evil. We certainly do not get the “politician pastor” model from Christ:

Mat 15:12-14 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” (13) He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. (14) Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”