Christianity Today 9

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 14:14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 23:26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Mat 15:6 And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.7 “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'” 10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”

It is quite sobering to read the verses above and then realize in a way deeper than the surface that there are many false prophets who speak according to “the deception of their own minds” and “of the deception of their own hearts.” These false prophets may use the Scriptures and be those who think that they are expositors of the Scriptures. It is not enough to read the Scriptures and use them in some way, but the Scriptures themselves are used by the false prophets to teach the deception of their own hearts and minds. True preaching is setting forth the truth of Christ and to expound the mind of Christ. When a preacher sets forth his own mind and heart, he is opposing the true God and the true Gospel. The preacher that is setting forth the deceptions of his own mind and heart is using the things of God and God Himself for the selfish and proud designs of the self. This is not preaching out of love for God, it is preaching out of love for self. This is not using self as an instrument of His glory, but instead it is using God as an instrument for the glory of self.

The Gospel is the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Christ. Regardless of whether a person is using orthodox language or not, to preach the true Gospel one must preach the glory of God in the Gospel. When a preacher is setting forth the glory of the preacher, whether in words or intent that is a false gospel and is an act of idolatry. Preachers can be proud of their orthodoxy and of their confession or creed and teach those things, but unless the glory of God is the focus and the intent of the teaching those men are preaching and teaching idolatry.

It appears that this is rampant in the modern professing “church.” It does not take a man who is obviously evil and obviously wants to mislead people to be a wolf, but instead a wolf can be a very orthodox man. A wolf can be a very nice man and even one who is concerned for the people. A wolf is a wolf because he is not preaching the glory of God as the very heart of the message. A wolf can have all the right words, but the heart is not truly there for the glory of God. The only difference between one who is preaching the glory of the Gospel of God and the one who is preaching the deception of his own heart and mind is the chief love of that person and what the heart desires. The selfish man will use orthodoxy, the Gospel, and God Himself as a way to exalt himself.

The modern day has seen a rise in entertainment and self-centeredness, but it has not seen a rise (discernible) in preachers with broken hearts who are setting out the glories of God in the face of Christ. God has been relegated to the task of helping men and fulfilling their desires. As a result of preaching that does not focus on God and His glory, men are focused on their own glory and as such they do not preach the hard things. In order to be saved men must be broken from their pride and self. Salvation is in the hands of God, not men. It is hard to preach and teach in a way where people begin to see that the Gospel saves them from themselves rather than provides a way for self to flourish. When men focus on self, it is not longer true Christianity that is flowing forth.

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