1.a. Proverbs 16:18 KJV, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." From time to time people will tell me about a pastor or teacher with which they have become enamored. When I investigate this pastor I usually find that he has a haughty spirit and teaches from his own flesh. Let us not forget, there are those who can do God's work in their own flesh and not by His Holy Spirit. I praise God if one can receive God's word even if it is a fleshly man who preaches it. Isaiah 55:11 KJV, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." But there is a danger in listening to the teachings of those who preach in the flesh. These teachers are full of pride and can impart that haughty spirit to their listeners. Also, they will inevitably teach error, and because they have been trusted when parroting the word of God, their heresies will be trusted as well. Do not get too comfortable with men. Look up every thing they quote from Scripture, do not trust them. I constantly find men who claim to be quoting from Scripture, look it up, and it says nothing at all like they claim. Trust only in the Holy Ghost. John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
1.b. Here is a quick and easy test to find out if you have become enamored or smitten by a particular teacher or preacher or philosophy. Let someone denigrate him to your face. If you cannot find someone to do that, then call me or email me, give me a few minutes or a day if I am busy, and I will tell you exactly what I think with no holding back. If you take offense, then you know that you are off track and not serving the Living God. Instead, you are serving man. It never fails. I have yet to find anyone who serves up man as his idol, that does not take extreme offense when I critique this person. Why be offended? This is not a personal attack. It is a well thought out critique of the subject before us. You are offended because your focus is not on Yahoshua, instead it is on man. Hebrew 12:1-2 KJV, "1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto [Yahoshua] the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the [stake], despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
2. Three such pastors have come to my attention lately: namely; Bryan James, Duane Sheriff, and Zac Poonen. These men are not led by the Spirit of the Living God. I will explain why I say what I do and cite the evidence to prove it. My hope is that you will be able to take this teaching of discernment and apply it to all such preachers in the future and not be taken captive again.
3. I have listened to the preaching of each of these men and was immediately disturbed in my spirit by their demeanor, tonal inflections, and attitude. In other words, the Holy Spirit quickened to my spirit that these men where not God's servants and I was listening to another spirit that was in opposition to my own, but more importantly their spirit was in opposition to God. Here is what these three men have in common. Each announced during a sermon that they do not concern themselves with those who have objections to what they preach and dismiss those naysayers as unimportant, and invite people to go elsewhere if they do not like it here. These men are scorners, they want no correction, they are wise in their own eyes. Proverbs 9:8 KJV, "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee." I should say this again and bold it for your attention: Each announced during a sermon that they do not concern themselves with those who have objections to what they preach and dismiss those naysayers as unimportant. I hope you find this revelation as disturbing as I do. These men have no desire to increase their learning and understanding. Proverbs 9:9 KJV, "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." From this simple declaration by these men you can discern that they (1) do not believe what they preach; (2) they do not believe the Bible; (3) they have no love for their fellow man; and (4) each is portraying a spirit of pride. These men cannot increase in wisdom.
4. Why do I say they do not believe what they preach? If a man believes in what he preaches, he should not only be able to defend it, but he should be ready, willing, and able to defend it. There are several Scriptures that support this. I will quote one. Jude 3 KJV, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." These men are not contending for the faith. Instead, they ignore those God sent to them, to bring correction to their doctrine. Some may be sent by God and be right in their objections, and some sent themselves and may be wrong in their objections. But these three preachers do not distinguish between the two. They have openly and haughtily declared that they will ignore those who challenge their doctrines.
5. Why do I say they do not believe the Bible? The Bible commands that these men contend for the faith as shown in paragraph four above. They do not do this. Standing in a pulpit, espousing your own teachings, refusing critical input, and not being willing to engage one on one with those who disagree, is not contending for the faith. Instead, it is the sign of a cult and a spirit of control. Engaging others one on one is the most important aspect of contending for the faith. We serve a personal God who is intimately involved in our lives. He sent His only Son to die for and cleanse us of our sins. How much more personal can you get? Preaching from the pulpit is the beginning of contending for the faith, not the end of it. Matthew 28:19 KJV, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The Bible says to "go" to the "nations". It does not say to park yourself in a pulpit and consider that to be the end of the matter. Contending for the faith requires that you get your hands dirty and calloused with work from time to time.
6. Why do I say they have no love for their fellow man? If these men believed in what they preached, if these men believed the Bible, then they would know that they have the words of eternal life. If someone raises an objection to your teaching and preaching how in God's holy name can you ignore them? If you are right and the objector is wrong, then the objector is in danger of hellfire. It would be the epitome of hate to ignore such a voice. How can you love your fellow man and ignore his lost cry of desperation? Would your heart not wrench itself to the point of crying blood and tears? Would you not desire to reach out to this objector with your whole body, soul, and spirit? How can you ignore him, knowing his eternal fate? Yet these men not only ignore, but they glory in their haughtiness and aloofness. If you do not come to their lectern to feed, then you can be damned they cry. John 15:13 KJV, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Christ Yahoshua left the ninety-nine and sought out the one sheep and He said much about loving one another. John 13:34-35 KJV, "34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Romans 12:10 KJV, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." I am not feeling the love from these men. What do you feel? Do you feel the charisma? Do you feel the vain self-assuredness? Do you feel a void in you being filled by their teachings? Maybe all of these. But do you feel the love? Do you feel the love of Christ shining through? Or do you just feel the letter of the law only and not the Spirit? 2 Corinthians 3:6 KJV, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
7.a. Why do I say each is portraying a spirit of pride? A haughty declaration they have made. By this declaration they are in effect saying that they have the fountain of knowledge, not God or the Bible. They, in effect, have said, "I will not listen to those who will come against what I teach. I will not receive correction. I answer to no one. I am god." You shall know them by their fruit. These men have set themselves on a pedestal. They are untouchable. James 4:6 KJV, "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
7.b. In one instance, my wife Sandy, attended such a church. After a service, she was ministering to a troubled woman. The pastor saw it and sent his guard dogs to surround them. When that did not stop her, because she was too engrossed in helping and praying for this poor lady, they turned out the lights (as if to say, everyone go home now). When that did not work, they took the direct approach. One of the guard dogs came up to Sandy and chided her by saying, "Only the pastor ministers to people here." What? Are we not a body? Was this congregation so large that they did not know who Sandy was? If so, then they were too large already and should have broken up into several home fellowships, so every member of the body could exercise their gifts and assignments as given by our Lord and Savior. We are not called to build church castles, we are called to preach Christ and Him crucified.
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