Daily Scripture ReadingPsalm 107

Verse of the Day – Hebrews 11:37
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented —

Devotional Thoughts
Hebrews 11 is widely proclaimed by preachers and theologians from many different backgrounds and denominations as a spectacular collection and record of those are to be identified and remembered for their faith. So in order to leave no doubt about this, these people are hereos and role models for us – they are the faithful.

Now I want to show you in very plain and simple terms what the Bible says about those throughout church history who have been examples of mature, deep, and abiding faith. The Holy Spirit declares to us in inspired, inerrant, and infallible words that those who “obtained a good testimony by faith” were the same ones who were put on trial, mocked, scourged, chained, imprisoned, destitute, afflicted, and tormented. Why am I making this point?

Because there is a false gospel out there, presenting a false christ and a false hope and a false faith and we need to call it what it is – it is damning! This false gospel sounds nice and pretty. It looks good on the television. It smiles with big white teeth. It looks professional. Those who preach this gospel (and their spouses) try to look like celebrities. They exude signs of worldy success. They doom their listeners to everlasting damnation. Why? What false gospel is this?

It is a gospel that tells a person that if they just trust in Jesus and pray a prayer and give their money to God via their ministry then they will not have any trouble, suffering, sickness, distress, or problems. They preach that if you will just have faith then all your problems will go away. They preach that if your problems do not go away, then you must not have enough faith.

Wait a minute. The Bible says that those who have faith of the highest caliber are often suffering, are destitute, are afflicted, and are tormented. Throughout the Scriptures we learn that most of the prophets, apostles, early church leaders, missionaries, and even Christ Himself would simply not be considered good Christian people by those who paint a picture of faith as a cure all for all difficulty. They would be rejected as their faith is obviously, by Word-Faith standards, too weak and too pitiful.

The fact is that the leaders of this movement are teaching the doctrines of demons. They are full of lies. They smile at us and placate us and lull us into a false assurance that if unhindered, will lead straight to hell. Harsh words? You bet. Why should be be soft and easy on those who prey on men’s souls and make their living misleading the masses?

In the Scripture and throughout history we see where faithful believers are stoned (Zechariah, Stephen, Paul), sawn in two (Isaiah), tempted and tried (Joseph, David, Peter), slain with the sword (Uriah), They wandered around with no home, poorly clothed, destitute, afflicted, and tormented. This is surely not the picture one gains reading many of the best selling books lining the shelves in our “Christian” bookstores. Oh, no. That picture focuses the eye firmly upon self and makes an idol out of fleshly desires. What we want is the chief concern – never mind what God commands.

This one verse today debunks every false teacher and every ministry that preaches a self help prosperity gospel. It really is that simple to refute them and their heresy. Does this sound like a rant? Perhaps it is. It is a burning in my bones that the church today cares more about looks and status than truth and holiness. It is a concern that many are being mislead while those who claim to want truth in reality have itching ears, cannot abide sound doctrine, and run after the latest fad as if the fate of their eternal soul rested upon knowing what the latest celebrity preacher has to say about anything.

Those preachers and theologians who abide these false teachers and toy with their bad theology as if it were something to be pondered and examined in order to pick out the good and leave the bad are playing with hellfire and teetering on the brink of deception and destruction. There are too many good books to read instead of wasting our time trying to drudge through a pit of spiritual poison in order to find one or two crumbs that might faintly resemble the truth.

The faithful we read about in Scripture knew that God was with them through suffering. The “faithful” today are taught how to get and stay out of suffering by the use of superstitious mantras disguised as prayers and best selling fiction masquerading as truth.

The church has been granted the great and precious gift and privilege of suffering for Christ’s sake, and sadly we are being taught to view that honor as something to be scorned, avoided, and detested.

Why are we ashamed to suffer?

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Watchman Profile: Word Faith
Rick Warren examined by Tim Challies

Discerning Reader Reviews of:
A Generous Orthodoxy
The Purpose Driven Life
Your Best Life Now
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

Bible Reading For Further Study
Matthew 23
2 Peter 2

Recommended Songs for Worship
Take Time to Be Holy
Whiter than Snow