BOOK OF JUDE BIBLE STUDY: it’s message put in J-u-d-e
A summary for the Google Generation with specific reference to Hyper-grace controversy by Duke Jeyaraj
Madras Café has a scene in which German Sri Lankan man making plastic explosives for LTTE to blast Rajiv. Plastic explosive bombs cant be detected by metal detectors.
Book of Jude talks about a bomb that went off – an explosive Bible msg that is also attractive to read.
Before his arrest Yasin Bhatkal was one of India’s most wanted terror suspects, accused of carrying out a string of high-profile attacks.
10th fail who gave 100% to terrorism!
School Drop Out who graduated to terrorists top ranks.
29 failed bombs
Times of India report:
Mohammed Ahmed Siddibapa, aka YasinBhatkal, 30, might have been successful in staging major blasts elsewhere in the country, but when he set out to create havoc in his home state, his efforts fell flat.
Of the five bombs he had allegedly placed at Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 17, 2010, only two went off, while the rest were duds. Fifteen persons, including half-a-dozen security personnel, were injured in the low-intensity blasts hours before an IPL cricket match between the Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians.
An twin blasts at the stadium, told TOI that confusion among the three-member Indian Mujahideen (IM) team that planted the bomb, blunted the impact of the terror act. Yasin had himself hired the team.
The three men had rented a house on Gubbi Road in Tumkur, 75km from Bangalore, as early as April 1, 2010.
“Yasin recruited Farookh, Kateel who was killed in Pune jail by other inmates, and Mohammed Akhtar, all from Darbhanga in Bihar. The three men made five bombs. But Farookh, on his way to Bangalore, developed cold feet and stayed back at the City railway station, delaying planting of the bombs by at least three hours. They had arrived in the city on April 16 midnight, and by the time Yasin could trace him, it was 2am the next day,” the officer said.
Three of the five bombs got defused on their own as the wiring was done in a hurry, with the culprits in a hurry to flee. The officer said all operations carried out by Yasin were meticulous, but Farookh’s last-minute fears hampered the execution of the big plan.
Failed bomb – duds. The book of Jude teaches us to preach message that aren’t duds!
officer with the city police, who investigated the
HOW DO WE PREACH MESSAGES THAT AREN’T DUDS – THE TOPIC of Jude.
Glorious Finish – The Topic of Jude.
India’s Glorious moment:
Pak in one single match creating a mad history – Anil Kumble took 10 wickets
India invented number system. Aryabatta invented 0.
Decimal system was discovered in India in 100 BC
Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software – Forbes Mag 1987
Chess was invented in India
India is world’s largest democracy!
India is the largest English speaking nation in the World!
Several Indian laurels won the Noble prize for their endless contributions in various different fields.
Hotmail was co founded by an Indian Sabeer Bhatia. Sabeer remained in news for his flambouyant lifestyle and his love for Aishwarya Rai ! Hotmail continued to be the largest mail server till 2 years back making him one of the biggest contributors to the online Industry
Vinod Dham, an Indian inventor and Venture Capitalist, popularly known as father of the Pentium chip
With over 1200 movies made annually, bollywood is the largest Film Industry in the world. This year Bollywood completes 100 years of its successful existence ! 375 crores – 3 Idiots. Fastest to 200 is Chennai Express! Shah Rukh Khan’s family entertainer “Chennai Express” has finally exceeded the worldwide collection record of Aamir Khan’s “3 Idiots”. Now “Chennai Express” has taken the top spot in the worldwide collection chart with a gross total of ₹399 crore, followed by “3 Idiots” with ₹386 crore. – 1 Sept 2013. Glory for SRK-Deepika Padukone.
India Pak Match is anyways the most thrilling event of the year, but imagine the adrenalin rush when the match is the t20 world cup final ! People from both the countries were praying all throughout the match ! But this time our prayers got heard, afterall we were 1.2 billion of us!
(from various website)
Jude last few verses talk about MOST GLORIOUS MOMENTS FOR EVERY ONE!
So, this is a book that’s interesting!
We will summarize the message of Jude using the acronym:
J-JESUS-BROTHER WRITTEN BY BOOK OF JUDE –
India’s Tamil superstar Dhanush, who is married to Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwarya, says being the son-in-law of the iconic actor has not helped or affected him. “Being his son-in-law doesn’t do anything to me actually. I have always done my own work. It (his name) neither helped me nor affected me,” Dhanush said in an interview with the India Today group (from their website). Looks like Dhanush does not like to flaunt his connections with Rajinikanth to get meaty movie roles. Jude, the author of the Bible book of Jude, was a bit like Dhanush here. Let me explain:
Six individuals are named Jude in the New Testament. When we comb through their names we find that only two are likely to have written this book – the apostle Jude (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) or Jude, the half-brother of Jesus (Mt 13:55). Verse 17 of this Bible book which has only one chapter indicates that the writer doesn’t club himself with apostles. So obviously he is the brother of the Lord. This is confirmed by the writer’s reference to James as ‘his brother’ (v. 1). He is the brother of the Lord Jesus and James named in Mt 13:55. A reference to him as author in a letter of Clement of Alexandria (AD 153-217) casts another vote in his favour as the author of this written-sermon. Yet it must be noted that Jude doesn’t strut, “Hey Guys! I am the brother of Jesus speaking! You’ve got to listen!” Instead he chooses the Greek word ‘doulos’ [bond slave] to describe himself – a mark of his humility (in v.1).
Nelson Study Bible: We might wonder why Jude did not assert that he was the brother of the Lord Jesus, but his first readers would already have known this. Also, even in the years following the resurrection, there were already some superstitions surrounding the “holy family” that Jude might have wished to avoid.
A God-pleasing contemporary preacher will not boast about his connections and qualifications. Do we not preach a Lord who said, “I do not accept praise from men” (John 5:41 NIV)?
U-NDERSTANDING ABOUT HYPER-GRACE FALSE DOCTRINE PROVING BOOK OF JUDE:
A world-wide movement has gathered inside Christendom where there is so much distorted and dangerous over-emphasis on the grace of God, that folks are told that believers don’t have to repent from sin when they sin. They say, God, the father, sees the perfect Jesus inside believers and believers need not unduly worry about stubborn sinful habits still present in their lives, after-all even still-stubborn-in-sin believers are the ‘righteousness of God’. This movement has been aptly and rightly labelled as “hyper-grace” by balanced Bible-believing scholars. This “hyper-grace” teaching which the following article exposes is getting popular in India. I have heard it being preached with my own ears and cringed in disbelief about how we swallow such shallow, unbiblical, imbalanced, stuff. In the book of Jude we see one of the many reasons found in the Bible, as to why we should not be “hyper-grace” teachers.
In verses 8-10 and verses 12-13, Jude applies to the false teachers the severe warnings he issued to them from the Old Testament to condemn their sin forthrightly. Jude accuses them of ‘polluting their flesh, dreaming’. The New Living Translation puts it this way: ‘false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams’(v.8). Apparently, these false teachers based their immoral behaviour on the revelatory dreams they claimed to have received. They ‘defy authority’ of those who were placed in leadership positions in the local congregations. They ‘scoff at the power of the glorious one,’ probably evil angels (v.8, NLT). Jude’s accusation against them get even more pointed and shriller: ‘these people sneer at anything they can’t understand and by doing whatever they feel like doing – living by animal instinct only – they participate in their own destruction.’(v.10, The Message). He goes on: ‘They are shameless in the way they care only for themselves.’ (v.12 NLT). At the end of this written sermon Jude tells his listeners: ‘Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin’ (v.22, The Message). He practiced the same in the earlier section of his letter – he was hard, straight and ruthless on sin, but behind those denunciations hid a loving, pastoral heart for the sinner and the erring.
Jude minces with no words about what awaits these persistent false teachers: ‘everlasting gloom and darkness’ (NLT) ‘the black hole’ (The Message)[V-13].
There are a great number of preachers today – ‘Pillow Prophets’ in David Wilkerson’s words – who wink at the sins of their audiences and proclaim, ‘The Lord bless you!’ and make them lie comfortably in the bed of sins, with their ‘hyper-grace’ messages serving as pillows. The Bible has already warned us about such perilous times when “men will not put up with sound doctrine”. “Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear”(2 Tim. 4:3 NIV). Those times are here now. But this is an age-old phenomenon – this cushioning-of-sin preaching was rampant even during Prophet Jeremiah’s time. He talked about ‘Pillow Prophets’ when he wrote: “they keep saying to these rebels who despise my word, “Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!” And to those who stubbornly follow their own evil desires, they say, “No harm will come your way!”(Jer 23 :17 NLT). Paul also talks about it – Titus 2:11-15 (ESV) 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Another thing of concern in contemporary preaching is that the doctrines of hell and judgement have gone for a six – hardly anyone speaks about it, anymore. But Jude – the preacher was different – he comes again and again hard on sin and warns his folks about judgement. C. Lynn Green, one-time Director for Europe YWAM, wrote a personal reminder in his notebook: “I must preach more about hell!” Perhaps every preacher of this age should take a cue from him. Oh for more John the Baptists and Judes to announce God’s soon-coming judgement to this calloused and cool generation! Oh for Jesus-copying, hell-preaching preachers (Jesus was the greatest ‘hell preacher’ who ever lived. Eight times he spoke about hell, using the Greek word, Gehenna, in the Bible! He spoke about heaven only once!).
Duke’s comments on Jude:
Vs. 3 – Hyper-grace is such an important false doctrine, it changed the topic one full book of the Bible!
Vs. 4 – Hyper-grace teaches slip in unnoticed in our churches. Major denominations Major camps – not unusual to have Hyper-grace teachers. They have slipped in. Like Dhanu Slipped into Bomb Rajiv in Madras Café;
Vs. 4 b- Hyper Grace teachers twist words of Jesus. “He remains till the end will be saved!” “Jesus preached on hell 8 times to believers!” – They twist these words!
Vs.5 Hyper-grace teachers hate ‘warning’ message to believers. But that’s why NT writers often preached vs.5-7.
Vs.8 Hyper-grace teachers have extra-biblical authority: dreams
Vs.8b-10 Hyper-grace teachers talk about things they do not understand. They confuse you! “Is not worry a sin?”
Vs.11 Hyper-grace teachers: “Woe” to them! Don’t say “Wow!” Don’t like their posts on FB! Like Cain and Balaam – for financial gain. What I heard about …….church…. get foreign support.
v.12 Hyper-grace have FEAR-phobia.
V.12b Hyper grace teacher are waterless clouds swept along the winds (light – their doctrine has no weight or anchor in Scripture).
Vs.4b – Hyper Grace teachers are on the road to Hell.v. 13 as well. Hell is “outer darkness” to Jesus. Vs.14-15 Jesus is coming again to Judge Hyper-grace teachers. Only on Judgement day some of them will realize they are teaching falsehood. It’ll be too late then. “The deceived do no know they are deceived, till the day of Judgement!”
V.14-15 “The reason why Christianity is reject is the moral reason! – not intellectual!”
Hyper-grace teachers want excuses to REMAIN IN SIN –
D-ifferent Behavior-Calling For Book of Jude –
See v. 17 – “But you….” Thrust: Let the hyper-grace false teachers do what they want. But you…. Be different:
See v. 20 – “But you….” (ESV)
In what you be different:
- Remember the predictions of the apostles (v. 17). – Read the prophetic passages of the Bible and recall it’s message. 120 day plan! Bible reading and beating temptation/living holy go together – Psa. 119/Proverbs 5-6-7/Jesus/Joseph Gen 39. Psa 78:30-31 (great verse to memorize to beat porn watching temptation – when they died, they died with the anger of God still upon them – so they will go to hell!)
Psa. 78:30-31/Luke 17:30-31 (Lot’s wife); Heb 12:14-17 (Easu). Both OT and NT use such scary examples!
b.RIGHTEOUS LIVING – Build (prepare – reherse) yourself in your most holy faith – (v. 20a). In other words:
Hebrews 12:14-17, JB Philips –
Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord”. Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others. Be careful too, that none of you falls into impurity or loses his reverence for the things of God and then, like Esau, is ready to sell his birthright to satisfy the momentary hunger of his body. Remember how afterwards, when he wanted to have the blessing which was his birthright, he was refused. He never afterwards found the way of repentance though he sought it desperately and with tears.
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1). I Cor 1:2
We are ‘given a white robe’, we read there (Rev 6:11). That’s a symbolic way of expressing positional sanctification. We come to Christ in repentance and faith just as we are, he makes us ‘white’ – holy and pure (Paul calls this being “sanctified in Christ Jesus” in I Corinthians 1:3). But that’s just the start. Positional sanctification would and should translate into practical sanctification, if our repentance was genuine. By practical sanctification I mean living a life of victory over sin in our day to day lives. John talks about practical sanctification this way: “No one who lives in Him makes a practice of sin” (I John 3:6). Paul expressed practical sanctification this way: “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19). Peter talks about practical sanctification this way: Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart (I Pet. 1:22). – EXAMPLE OF HALLE BERRY –
“HALLE BERRY” PRAYING? DON’T BE SORRY ONE DAY!
Hollywood actress, Halle Berry who is currently living in with French Actor Olivier Martinez who she began dating in 2010 after working costarring in the thriller Dark Tide. They are engaged to be married, but not yet married just as yet. Halle Berry, 46, became pregnant with a boy and is likely to deliver the baby by October 2013. In an interview, Martinez, referred to the baby inside Berry’s womb as ‘my son.’ Berry, has two failed marriages with David Justice and Eric Benet. During her relationship with model Gabriel Aubry whom she did not marry, she had a daughter who is now 5 years old. Berry, who has been married twice, once infamously swore off ever walking down the aisle again while speaking to Oprah in 2004. “I will never marry again. I mean it with every bone in my body,” Berry told Oprah.
“Every night, we do our prayers,” Berry said during a November 2012 appearance on The Wendy Williams Show. “We pray to God, so sweet. She says, ‘God, please bring me a bunk bed and a baby sister.’ And I say, ‘I can do one of those things, I know for sure. The other one, we’ve got to keep praying on.’ What do you say to her when she wants that and can’t understand why God’s taken so long?” (First two paragraphs gleaned from various news websites).
I haven’t bumped into any source that claims that Halle Berry is a Christian. But what she said in The Wendy Willaims Show, as reported seems to indicate her strong faith in God – maybe, even in the Christian God. While the Berry and Martinez need to be appreciated for having regular family prayer – something that is absent even in the homes of several believers and pastors – they cannot be appreciated for having a child outside the boundaries of marriage. The God of the Bible comes out strongly against sexual immorality – we know that.
Privilege Vs Responsibility
The book of Revelation talks about those ‘clothed in white’ in the very next chapter (7:13). The folks who wore white, deliberately chose to wear that color. We must make a choice to wear white clothes (spiritually speaking), that is, be pure, say ‘no’ to sin day in and day out, with God helping and we actively cooperating with him (quoting God’s Word, running away from temptation, praying to receive power at the hour of temptation, being accountable to a believer pal, etc). If we want only the privileges of positional sanctification without the responsibility of practical sanctification we are like the man who walked into the wedding feast without wearing the ‘wedding garment’ already gifted to him before the wedding (Math 22:11). He had no excuse for not wearing the wedding garment (Math 22:12). We will have no excuse for not living a practical holy life on the final day because God has given us everything we need to live that life – His Word, The Fellowship of the Church and opportunity to be accountable, The Holy Spirit, etc, etc (Eph 1:3). And the end of those who just want the privileges of ‘positional sanctification’ without the responsibilities of ‘practical sanctification’ will be same as that of the wedding guest whom Jesus talked about – being bound and bounced into eternal hell (Math 22:13). “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth (this part of the verse is talking about PRIVILEGES); therefore I will punish you for all your sins (this part of the verse is talking about punishment sent by God for not combining the RESPONSIBILITY of living holy with God-given power with God-given PRIVILEGES!) – Amos 3:2.
Do not be deceived
So, my friend, let not anyone deceive saying, “Jesus has already forgiven the sin you are planning to commit.” The Bible declares that God will not forgive sin that we refuse to acknowledge, repent from, and ask Jesus forgiveness for. The Bible teaches that we only store up God’s wrath (we are on the road to hell, in other words) by refusing to repent (Rom 2:5). Another 2:5 – Revelation 2:5 I mean – warns of judgment of God which will come upon those CHURCH BELIEVERS who refuse to repent!
Judas Vs Peter
“Will Jesus forgive the sin I am planning to commit?” – that’s your question, a question you may not ask openly. He will – provided you come to him in true repentance and ask him for forgiveness. But there is no guarantee that you will ever do that. Judas did not. He was saved. His name was written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But he also lived in sin even as he lived with Jesus. He used to, now and then, help himself with the moneybag of Jesus. He allowed greed to grip him, slowly but surely (John 12:6). The greed became a monstrous ball, and, before he knew it, Judas agreed to help the religious leaders of his day to arrest Jesus for the money he would pocket by doing so. He may have thought, “I will come back to Jesus after I am done and dusted with this sin!” (like we say, “I will ask Jesus forgiveness after I am done with this hour of porn-surfing!” or “I will ask Jesus forgiveness after I am done with this session of gossip with my close buddies!” or “I will ask Christ to pardon me seconds after I am through with my foul-mouthed rant against the one who rubbed me the wrong way!”). But he did not. Yes, Judas did not get back to Jesus after he committed wanton sin. He ended his life. He headed to hell (John 17:12). But Peter… Peter came back to Jesus after he committed sin. He repented genuinely. He took a U-turn. When he wept bitterly, Jesus did not ever say to him, “Don’t weep Peter. Don’t repent of your sin. I have already taken care of it!” (Math 26:75). Instead, Jesus allowed Peter to weep for his sin. Because doing so is good. It is better and wiser to weep over our sins now, in this period of grace when there is time, than to weep upon seeing Jesus return the second time to judge it when there will be no time given to repent (Rev 1:7). Jesus taught we must weep for ourselves and our children (Luke 23:28). So, when we sin, we must feel for that sin and come back to Jesus in repentance (Luke 13:1-5).
“Build yourself” of Jude 20 reminds of this:
3 strands of Scripture that question ONCE SAVED-ALWAYS SAVED, hyper-grace false teachers’ pet doctrine:
1) Exhortations to continue in the faith – an exploration
The following scriptures will seem ludicrous if there was no possibility of a believer falling away: ‘But all of you who endure to the end shall be saved’ (Math.10:22). ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples’ (John 8:31, RSV); “When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is dead wood, gathered up and thrown on bonfire” (John 15:56); ‘Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger, stand true to the Lord’(1 Cor 16:13); ‘ For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end’(Heb. 3:14); “Don’t quit, even if it costs your life. Stay there believing. I have life-crown sized and ready for you”(Rev 2:10); “Keep tight grip on what you have ,so one distracts you and steal your crown” (Rev 3:11). Renowned Charismatic Systematic Theologian, J. Rodman Williams says, “Although God’s grace is unconditional, and there is no un-conditional persistence in Salvation”. Starting from 1 Corinthians 10:12 – ‘So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’ – He lists the conditions for perseverance, arranging a gamete of scripture verses under each condition. They are our abiding (1 John 2:24-25; Heb 2:1,3.Jn 15:3-4,6,7), our continuing (Col 1:21-23; Rom 11:11,22; 1 Tim 4:16), our enduring (2 Tim 2:10-12;Heb 10:34-39,Mt 24:12,13), our firmness (Heb 3:1-6, 2 Peter 1:10-11,5-7;2:1,20,21) and our faithfulness (Rev 2:10, 2:4-5, Heb 3:1-6,Heb 6:4-8).
Knowing such emphasis will attract an accusation “This is not salvation by good works,” he brilliantly quotes Peter. “We are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”, he teaches quoting Peter (1 Peter 1:5). We are saved by faith. And we guard our faith by faith. Yes, we are saved by faith and not works. But if that faith is alone and is not expressed through works, that faith is not real, saving faith (the message of the book of James is this very thing).
The second set of scripture passages which question unconditional perseverance of saints are found below:
2) Warnings against apostasy/backsliding
2 Peter 3:17. “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall your secure position”. Peter couldn’t have stated this better.
2 Peter 3:18, in fact, expresses the same warnings in the positive terms: ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ If there was no real possibility of a believer permanently backsliding, that one has to admit Spirit-inspired writers of scripture were joking here or I dare say, lying! (trying to deceive). In a discussion like this, we cannot leave out the famous passage in Hebrews 6:4-8. Commenting on this key text, Grant R. Osborne says, ‘In conclusion we must say there is no more powerful or detailed description of the true Christian in the New Testament, yet one has to be stone-blinded not to note that they were in the real peril of falling away.’ Osborne, further, argues that if the passage were located in Romans chapter eight instead of being in Hebrews 6, we would all hail it as the greatest description of Christian blessings to be found in the whole Bible!
He summarizes brilliantly the danger of apostasy so persuasively and passionately presented in the book of Hebrews this way: Pay attention, lest you drift away, 2:1-4; do not harden your heart, lest you fail, 3:1-19. Fear not lest you fall short, 4:1-13; Press on, lest you fall away, 5:11-6:12; Hold fast lest you die, 10:19-39; be careful, lest you fall short, 12:1-17
The third collection of scriptures that shake the foundations of the ‘once saved, always saved doctrine’ –
3) Cases of actual apostasy/backsliding
In the parable of the Sower, Jesus spoke of those ‘who believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.’ (Luke 8:13). Jesus clearly predicted, ‘At that time many will turn away from the faith. The love of most will grow cold’ (Mat 24:10, 12). Obviously it would be stupid of Jesus to talk of them ‘turning away from faith’ if they weren’t in the faith – they were genuine believers – in the first place – something Calvinists always rush to deny. 1 Timothy 4:19 is blunt: some have shipwrecked their faith! Demas – a fellow-preacher in Paul’s ministry team – deserted Paul and perhaps even the faith for ‘he loved the world’ (2 Tim 4:10). Peter described some teachers in the church who had known the way of righteousness yet turned their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them (2 Peter 2:20-22). If they had turned their backs of the sacred commandments then without a shadow of doubt they had their faces set on the commandments – they were believers – once upon a time! But they became apostate. Finally, Revelation 22:19 shows that some can have their names removed from the book of life. Another example of actual apostasy could be Ananias and Sapphira. F.F.Bruce writes, “We cannot be sure that they were not believers, unless we are prepared to say that no one who is guilty of a deliberate deceit can be a true Christian. The thrust of the Simon Magus narrative in Acts leads us to conclude that there was a possibility of serious sin by the members of the church which could lead to their exclusion from eternal life, but at the same time there was a possibility of their repentance and restoration. In the Bible the root word for faith and faithfulness is the same. One can’t have one without the other.”
C) RELEASE THE SPIRIT LANGUAGE, PRAYER AND POWER
20 c – Pray in the Spirit –
The hyper-grace false teachers are “devoid of the Spirit” (v. 19).
One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; – I Cor. 14:4
Holy Spirit and overcoming temptation –
Joseph in Gen. 39 – “The Lord was with him”
Holy Spirit reminds us of the right doctrine.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. – John 16:13.
Can you stop a moving ship with Spider web? Can you stop mountain of satanic temptations with your power? No. You need the Spirit.
d) Keep yourself in the love of God ROMANCE (v. 21)
Stay in love with Jesus!
FOR DHONI, STAYING COOL IN A CRISIS IS SOMETHING HIS HEART LOVES AND HE HAD PRACTICED IN ALL BIG MATCH FINALS:
JOGINDERS WIDES (2007 T20 FINAL)
INDIA IN A CRISIS AFTER KOHLI’S DISMISSION (161 OFF 170) WC 2011 FINAL
ENGLAND NEEDING 20 OFF 16 BALLS IN CHAMPIONS TROPHY FINAL 2013 (ISHANT TRICK)
SCORING 15 RUNS OFF THE LAST OVER IN THE TRI-SERIES FINAL (11 JULY 2013 YESTERDAY).
HE LOVES IT FROM THE HEART AND HE REPEATS IT!
SIN IS A MONARCH – YOU ARE A SOLDIER – YOUR BODY IS A WEAPON (GUN/SWORD).
So you also must consider yourselves (THOUGHT PROCESS – IMAGINATION) dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. ROM. 6:11-14
What then? lAre we to sin mbecause we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselvesnto anyone as obedient slaves,3 you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But othanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart (FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS) to the pstandard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, qhaving been set free from sin,rhave become slaves of righteousness. 19 sI am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For tjust as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members uas slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
YOU HAVE A NEW MONARCH – JESUS. KEEP OBEYING HIM. MAKE THAT YOUR HABIT. CONSCIOUSLY (OFFER
20 vFor when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 wBut what fruit were you getting at that time from the things xof which you are now ashamed? yFor the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you zhave been set free from sin and ahave become slaves of God, bthe fruit you get leads to sanctification and cits end, eternal life. 23 dFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
EZEKIEL 11:18-21 (NLT).
18“When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. 19And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart,b 20so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. 21But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ … Math. 22:37. Other words: stay in love with me….
FOREVER AND A DAY
By : Michael Learns To Rock
Album : Nothing To Lose
When the night has come
and the day is done
I’m always thinking of you
You are in the air
you are everywhere
in everything I do
If I could keep this moment in time
if I could make you forever mine
baby I’m lost in your love
from heaven above
you came to bring me up
With you I feel that I could stay
in love forever and a day
SEE VS. 21 – YOU NEED TO CHOSE TO HAVE THIS FREELY GIVEN NEW HEART! SOME, IN THIS VERSE, CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE THIS!
E) Rescue: Do Ministry – vs.23,24 of Jude.
Ministry is a rescue operation.
C. T. Studd, 1860-1931.
English missionary to China, India, and Africa
Some want to live
within the sound
of church or chapel bell;
I want to run
a rescue shop
within a yard of hell.
You are a soul-winner or a back-slider (Andrew Murray).
You are either bringing people into his presence or you yourself are going away from his presence!
Lazy David who did not want to extend God’s Kingdom personally, became a liability for God’s Kingdom!
Our exploits at St. Francis College in August 2013.
“Have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 22).
Instead of mocking doubters, TALK to them! RZIM: make thinkers believe, and believers think!
Do basic apologetics – I Pet 3:15.
Shah Rukh’s Outlook Quote: My religion my father’s spectacles.
The answer: Shah Rukh’s father’s spectacle talk
Some of us may say along with Shah Rukh Khan this: “For I believe, our religion is an extremely personal choice, not a public proclamation of who we are. It’s as person as the spectacles of my father who passed away some 20 years ago. Spectacles that I hold onto as my most prized and personal possession of his memories, teachings and of being a proud Pathan. I have never compared those with my friends, who have similar possessions of their parents or grandparents. I have never said my father’s spectacles are better than your mother’s saree. So why should we have this comparison in the matter of religion, which is as personal and prized a belief as the memories of your elders.”
Shah Rukh compares the religion he followed to his father’s spectacles, here. This comparison he makes needs to be read by wearing “the spectacles of reason.”
There are number of things we have to ban in our lives if we use the not-so-sensible logic that goes, “We will not embrace anything that our fathers or forefathers did not embrace!” Cricket came to us from England – not from our forefathers. Yet, we play that game! The mobile phone was invented and used first by Martin Cooper of Motorola in the country of the United States, in the year 1973. None of our great-grand fathers ever used it. But we use it, nevertheless! An American college student invented Facebook. But it’s part and parcel of our daily existence, isn’t it, even though it never crossed our ancestor’s mind? We could go on and on in this debate! When we embrace some stuff that never came from our ancestors (say cricket, mobile phones, Facebook, etc) and why do we hesitate to embrace religious faith our ancestors, perhaps, never followed, if that religious faith was indeed true and unique? We can do without this double-standard! We can do without this hypocrisy!
“Show mercy with fear, hating even the garment strained by flesh” (v. 23 JUDE).
Fear in the NT is Scriptural. While doing ministry be careful you fall into the same sin you are rescuing people from! That’s what this verse is teaching!
I Cor. 10:12 – So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. – Rom. 11:20
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. – 2 Peter 3:17
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. – I Cor. 8:9
Coming to the topic of discussion – I need to say that the view point that in the New Covenant God does not want us ‘fear’ him as hyper-grace folks tell us is not supported by Scripture. The Bible says, in the New Testament, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…for our God is a consuming fire!” (Heb 12:28,29). He is a compassionate father but also a consuming fire. We must stress on BOTH these characteristics of God. We also read “Great fear gripped the entire church and all others who heard what had happened (post Ananias and Sapphira’s sudden death caused by God)” (Acts 5:11). The book of Acts is in the New Testament! Acts was written after Jesus, died and rose again from the grave! Also, in the book of Philippians (NT again!) we read: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with FEAR and trembling…” (Phil 2:12).
‘Fear’ in the NT and OT is a positive word. ‘Fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom….’ we read in Proverbs. Is ‘fear’ here or anywhere in the Bible, bad? No. It means to have holy awe, respect. It is a knowledge that tells us that we can’t play games with God or act smart with him. Nadab and Abihu were killed by God for failing to have this reverence (Lev 10). Even in the New Testament we have a similar story – Ananias and Saphira’s. Even Paul had this ‘holy fear’/ a reverence when he wrote, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I FEAR that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” I Cor. 9:27 NLT. God is our Father and Friend but at the same time God is Holy, dwells in unapproachable light and cannot wink at sin – we need both perspectives.
Hyper grace guys say, people know what is wrong and we don’t have preach against sin. I also do not agree that people know what is wrong already. We live in an age where moral values have blurred, even for believers. So, we must sound out Scriptural standards without a holier than thou attitude. 5 out of the 7 Revelation Churches are asked to repent by Jesus in what was his last message to them (Rev. 2,3). Jesus-following preachers must continue to sound that message, even if they don’t become popular at the end of the day. We must sound out the Grace of God which was best expressed on the Cross. YES. BUT there is no point talking about Jesus as the Savior from sin, without talking about sins we must repent of. Jesus, the preacher, did both. The Apostles also preached both.
Hyper-grace guys mention, “even if I sin tomorrow….I won’t lose my salvation”. The point is, while there is no doubt that God forgives sins when we ask him to forgive us, there is no guarantee we will want to come back to him to ask for forgiveness because of our STUBBORNESS (think of Judas) or that we would be even ALIVE (our life is not our hands) to come back to him while we are still in sin (Read, Psa 78:29,30 – When the MEAT they sinfully craved was STILL IN THEIR MOUTH, God struck them dead).
Titus 2:12 says grace of God helps us say ‘no’ to ungodliness. “When Jesus has loved me and has given himself for me on the Cross very graciously when I did not deserve it, how can I return to sin?” – these thoughts in a believer’s heart help the believer to say ‘no’ to sin.
I liked what I read somewhere: ‘A false prophet is one who represents God’s word incorrectly. When we speak on behalf of our God, are we saying what He wants, or are we promoting our own program under His banner? False prophets are more interested in making friends than disciples, more interested in pleasing men than God. If we falsely represent what God requires, we not only encourage others to reject God’s message, but we share in the judgment of those we have failed to convict of sin.’ The author quotes, Eze 3:18-21 (NIV) to support his view point. And it goes this way: “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.” None of us should become false prophets/teachers by promoting this doctrine called ‘hyper’ grace doctrine.
Hyper-grace people mention that we are ‘righteousness of God’ even when we fall into sin! That’s our position in Christ, only when we ‘remain in him’. David Pawson writes, “But are not all sins forgiven when we are justified by grace through faith in Jesus? Past sins certainly are, but not future ones. Ther will be later sins, to deny this is self-deception (I John 1:8). These can and must be dealt with by appealing to our advocate (I John 2:1) and applying the atonement; as we go on confessing our sins, he will go on forgiving them and the blood of Jesus will go on cleasing (I John 1:9, all the three verbs are in ‘present continuous’ tense in Greek).” Jesus cuts off those branches (believers) who refuse to remain in him (John 15:5-6). But we lose that position when we live in open sin (believers can lose their salvation when they continue in open sin – 2 Peter 3:17, Hebrews 6, Hebrews 10; please read my other note, “Can A Person Who Is Saved Be Lost?”). That’s why we need to walk holy in the Lord. The Bible teaches us, believers, in I John 1:8-10, that we must ‘confess’ our sins to the Lord when we become aware of them. The Bible no where asks believers living in deliberate sin to keep on saying, “I am the righteousness of God! I am the righteousness of God!” Only when such still-in-delibrate-sin believers who keep saying that land in eternal hell, will they realize that they have been sadly duped into believing this by hyper-grace preachers who were more interested in receiving offerings from them and staying popular. The Bible calls believers who fall into sin for repentance and confession!
That the Holy Spirit does not convict believers of sin is another erroneous teaching put out by ‘hyper’ grace false gospel folks, which you repeat here. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, the Bible teaches (in John 16), we agree. However, James 4:4, the writer, writing to his church believers, reminds us that even believers can become worldly: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?” So, when we believers become worldly, the Holy Spirit is definitely going to convict us of sin, if we allow him to do that. You don’t have to see that as accusation. It is something good for us. If we ignore this convicting voice, we will land in hell one day. There is a BIG difference between Devil accusing us of forgiven, past sins and the Holy Spirit convicting us of sins we are presently comfortably living in without second thought! Let’s not confuse the two and grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30).
The best ministry model is the writer himself – Jude: His written-sermon was: SCRIPTURAL, SINCERE, STYLISH, SUMMIT-REACHING & STAGNATION-CHALLENGING:
PREACHING SERMONS THAT AREN’T DUDS TO TODAYS DUDES!
Pastor Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) served as the president of the Southern Baptists for three terms during his lifetime. The Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, USA, a church he became senior pastor of in the year 1972 and served till his death in 2005, grew from 9,000 to 29,000 under his leadership. This man of God once said, “I’m willing to compromise about many things, but not the Word of God. So far as getting together is concerned, we don’t have to get together. The Southern Baptist Convention, as it is, does not have to survive. I don’t have to be the pastor of Belleuve Baptist Church. I don’t have to be loved; I don’t even have to live. But I will not compromise the Word of God.” I got goose bumps when I read that quote first! Wanted, preachers who would preach the Bible, come what may! Jude was one such preacher as we will find out below:
For Jude, his ‘Bible’ was the Old Testament. He uses three Old Testament examples of sin and judgement (v 5-7). Jude’s first example is the desert generation of Israel. God’s deliverance of his people seemed to have a permanence and finality about it, yet God still ‘destroyed’ them for their lack of faith. Jude’s intention is to use this as a warning to his readers who thought they could use God’s grace as a credit card to loose, immoral, living. Verse 7 introduces the third of Jude’s warning examples: Sodom and Gomorrah, along with “the surrounding towns” (e.g., Adamah, Zeboim and Zoar, mentioned in Gen. 19:20-22) was destroyed by God-sent fire. We’ll discuss Jude second warning illustration from Old Testament later. He goes on to tell why God judged the cities: because, as the NIV translates it, they ‘gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion’.
Jude is not satisfied with the strong polemic against the false teachers in verses 5-10. He has one more go at them in Jude 11-13. He gives three examples of notorious Old Testament sinners (v. 11) to nail them: Cain became a classic example of an ungodly sceptic. The way of Cain is the way of pride and self-righteousness (Gen. 4:3-8; Heb 11:4, 1 John 3:12). Balaam was reeking with sin of greed. He was a pagan prophet, who believed that doing the Lord’s work was a quick way to earn money. Korah was a Levite (see Num. 16:1-3, 31-35) who resented the prominent positions of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives.
Jude was only following his Lord’s example. Jesus – the Bible says – ‘preached the word to them’ (Mark 2:2). Jude’s exemplary predecessors – the apostles – too did the same: those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went (Acts 8:4). And when we ‘preach the word’ – not mere stories and illustrations – we have this great promise for us: ‘So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ (Isa 55:11 NIV). Oh for contemporary preachers who will ‘preach the word’ – the Bible – like Jude did! When Evangelist Billy graham preached one cannot miss this phrase from his sermons: “The Bible says…” He preached “the Word!” Do we?
President Barack Obama’s lump in the throat, his wiping away of tears when he a speech in response to the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut, USA, cannot be forgotten (December 2012). One news website had this report about that speech of his: “The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old,” said Obama, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. The choked-up president took a long pause to regain his composure before he continued his address from the White House. “They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” said Obama.
While fake emotions are a major turn-off during a message, truly emotional preaching wins the hearts of the Google Genners who love to wear their heart on their sleeves.
Good preachers use a lot of emotion-charged language. How Jude does this in verse 4, using the following 3 phrases must be noted: ‘certain men’ (use of contemptuous language); ‘secretly slipped in’ (he is pointed out that they are hypocritical); ‘godless’ (they don’t really worship the true God). The disgust of Jude with these false teachers hardly can be missed. Jude leaves us with no doubt about what he thinks of these false teachers right at the kick-off of his letter and even later on (see v.16).
While it is unwise to work up/cook up emotions while preaching, it is at the same time absolutely essential to pour out emotions when we preach. It adds an authenticity and punch to our message. It is an indicator of the fire burning inside him, most often than not. This expressiveness adds life and lustre to our preaching. John Piper talked about three ways of preaching: First, you can speak of an unreal, imaginary world as if it were real—that is what actors do in a play. Second, you can speak about a real world as if it were unreal—that is what half-hearted pastors do when they preach about glorious things in a way that says they are not as terrifying and wonderful as they are. And third is: You can speak about a real spiritual world as if it were wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real (because it is). Jude, the preacher, fell in the third category. We too should, if we want to impact the Google Genners.
Some of the most-memorable TV ads have some symmetry about it. The Voltas AC ad is one such ad. Here are lines from that creative ad featuring a South Indian couple who have moved to simmering hot Delhi in the summer: “Murthy, now in Delhi, with wife and sambar rice. How nice!” says the man. In response, his wife who is busy working in the kitchen using her saree end as a fan says in an irritated tone, “When will this heat go away?” Hearing his wife’s constant cribbing, the man now says, “Not so nice! The summer of Delhi makes my wife Meenakshi a pressure cooker. When Meenakshi’s ‘whistle blows’ everyone is at the receiving end!” Even as he says this, his wife shouts angrily asks her maid in the kitchen to put off the gas stove. Then she turns towards her hubby dear, Mr. Murthy, and starts to scream at him because, for her, the Delhi summer heat is unbearable! That’s when Mr. Murthy says, “Looks like it’s my turn to be at the receiving end of the angry Meenakshi. But I, Murthy, won’t worry. To stop the Meenakshi storm, I press ‘on’” He then switches on his Voltas All-Weather AC and talks about its positive aspects, next. “Whatever the weather outside, you stay comfortable inside. It’s not just a AC, you see! Outside hot, Shiva, Shiva; inside cold, shiver, shiver!” – is the main punchline (I have gleaned these from other similar Voltas ads, as well, to spice these lines). The 40-second ad which you may not forget even after 40-years ends with these lines: “Meenakshi, now cool and nice! Now Murthy, back to Sambhar rice!”
The Advertisement professionals know that when one uses rhyming words arranged in a creative symmetry, what is communicated finds a lodging place in one’s mind! If this is so, those of us who are in the work of communicating the message of the Bible to the Google Generation should follow suit. The preacher we meet in the book of Jude also does the same. Here’s how:
Noted New Testament Scholar, Douglas Moo, notes that Jude loves to group what he says into ‘threes’. In verse 1 he described Christians as “called”, “loved” and “kept”. His prayer in verse 2 expresses that his readers may be filled with “mercy”, “peace” and “love”. In verse 5-7 he gives three examples of divine judgement. In verse 11, he issues Old Testament examples of the kind of persons his readers should not imitate. In verse 12-13 he shoots six graphic metaphors of the false teachers.
A disorganized unsymmetrical sermon will vanish from the listeners’ memory and real symmetry adds elegance to the sermon. A symmetric sermon is often the sermon about which the listeners can testify, “The Message in my heart, I bore, long after it was heard no more!” (I have adapted this from a line from the poem, The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth).
Modelling your sermon along the well-accepted rhetorical styles of our day does help
Sam Harrison’s article, “3 Techniques Bill Clinton Uses To Wow An Audience”, blew my mind. Bill Clinton, as Michael Borger put it, “is one of the most effective and engaging speakers. Whether or not you like his politics, you have to appreciate how he communicates and connects with his audience.” Here is Harrison talking about one technique used by Clinton to wow an audience with a specific reference to Clinton’s stirring, Democratic National Convention Speech of 2012: He knows when to stop and go. Clinton uses hard-stop pacing to add emphasis to lines like: “We’re going to keep President Obama on. the. job.” and “President Obama started with a much. worse. economy.” In those moments, he squeezes every word for maximum impact. And Clinton has no fear of dead air, using frequent pauses to garner attention and gain drama: “Listen to me now. [pause] No president, [pause] not me, [pause] not any of my predecessors, [pause] no one could have fully repaired all the damage…” (www.fastcompany.com).
I would recommend that those of us trying to communicate God’s Word with the Google Generation, take time to study techniques that popular speakers bring to the table. We may not imitate them entirely, but we certainly can adapt some of their methods into our own unique presentation styles. Jude, in his letter, seemed to have followed a similar approach.
F.Duane Watson points out that the letter of Jude follows typical ancient rhetorical styles. Rhetorical devices fine tune the skill of persuasion. Here in this letter, Jude chooses his readers to stick to his vision of the Christian faith and to throw out the views propagated by the false teachers. Here’s how he goes about it in rhetorical style of his day-
Verse 3: The exordium, which introduces the ‘case’ the speaker, wants to put forth.
Verse 4: The narratio, which focuses on the concerns that have led to the issue being addressed.
Verse 5-16: The probatio, which attempts to persuade the audience to accept the speaker’s viewpoint by proofs and arguments.
Verse 17-23: The peroratio, which repeats the basic case and appeals to the emotions.
The contemporary preacher keenly observes the established popular and secular figures’ styles and adapts it himself as the situation demands. He will also recognize that taking a few classes on Preaching (by taking up a Bible College crash course/being part of a Church Seminar/by watching Youtube videos on the same topic) will not curb the Spirit’s work in him. Instead these studies will make him fly like eagle high, proclaiming God’s word. Secular rhetoric styles needs to be carefully weighed and adopted into our preaching in order to attract the intellectuals to the message of the Bible and persuade them to believe it.
INCLUDE QUOTES OF OTHERS IN YOUR MESSAGE
The effective preacher quotes from what is familiar with his readers to beef up his sermons
The IPL6 Final was between Mumbai Indians (MI) Vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Kolkata. Batting first, MI set a target of 149 for CSK to score off 20 overs. CSK did not do well in the chase and at the end of the 19th over, they had scored 107 for 9. After Lasith Malinga finished bowling his excellent 19th over, CSK need 42 off the last over to win the match. That’s when MI’s keeper ran toward MI’s captain, Rohit Sharma to celebrate their win, which was a foregone conclusion knowing that the maximum number of runs that a batsman can score off an over is 36 (provided, there no wides and no-balls bowled, ofcourse). Now, Chennai needed 42 to win off the last over! Rohit wisely sent him back with this message: no celebrations until the last ball is bowled. Following this game, I shared this tweet: U don’t carelessly celebrate b4 de final ball is bowled, Karthick – Rohit; U don’t b careless abt holy livin till ur final day – I Cor 9:27. This style of communication captures the imagination of the Google Generation. What’s more, such an approach, I believe, would have been used by folks like Jude. Consider this:
Jude while writing about the fall of angels from heaven in verse 6 is certainly quoting from the inter-testamental book First Enoch where these events which were mentioned in passing. In Genesis 6:1-14, we find their full-fledged elaboration. In First Enoch 10:4-6 there is a description of the judgement of one of the chief of the angels. Jude knew his readers were familiar with these traditions and that a reference to them would be therefore be compelling and persuasive for them while he presented Bible truth to them. Jude 9 comes from another source his original readers were perhaps familiar with: ‘The Assumption of Moses’, a Jewish apocryphal book. Jude 14 is from 1 Enoch again. Jude is not the only New Testament author who quoted extra biblical sources. Paul in Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12, quotes pagan writers to support some of his own Spirit-supplied assertions.
Jude seemed to have borrowed from 2 Peter. Their vocabulary is similar. Both books look to OT for illustrations. Neither book quotes from OT directly. Peter anticipated difficulty with false teachers (the future tense is used in 2 Pet. 2:1-3), while Jude uses the past-tense to describe the situation (v. 4). “The one who does not quote will not be quoted!”
Following the model of Jude and Paul, presentday presenters preaching the Bible, which is at least 2000 years old, should rev up their sermons by quoting from extra-biblical sources like contemporary secular books, events, music lyrics and movies. One way to do it is to contrast them to what the Bible says. Another way is to compliment and clip them along Bible’s message for “all-truth – including truth from ‘secular’ sources – is God’s truth”. Billy Graham, whom God used as His mouth-piece to share the Gospel with the maximum number of people, was known as a preacher with the Word of God on one hand and the news paper on the other hand. I strive to do this all the time.
SUMMIT-REACHING & STAGNATION-CHALLENGING –
Sermons should reach climax and call for change!
“Strategically placed climaxes and lulls contribute to the overall pacing of the screenplay and serve to thrill audiences” – so I read in a webpage about writing good movie screenplay. What’s true about movies, is true about sermons. The climax of the message should be strategically placed – the Holy Spirit should guide us in this important process – for best results. I recall having closed a message on Procrastination with a story which I made out of a MLTR song, “25 Minutes,” which went this way: After sometimes I’ve finally made up my mind /She is the girl and I really want to make her mine /I’m searching everywhere to find her again /To tell her I love her /And I’m sorry ’bout the things I’ve done/ I find her standing in front of the church /The only place in town where I didn’t search /She looks so happy in her wedding dress /But she’s crying while she’s saying this /Boy I missed your kisses /All the time/ But this is/ Twenty five minutes too late /Though travelled so far /Boy I’m sorry you are/ Twenty five minutes too late.
A boy and girl in love fight. They declared their relationship as ‘over’ in the heat of the moment. The girl returns to her village. The boy, after a few months, realizes that he still loves the girl wants to make up with her. Ask her sorry. He goes to the girl’s village. Finds her home. No one is there. He searches here and there. No sign of her, anywhere. Finally, the boy heads to the local church. As he nears the church, he sees a newly married couple walk down the aisle fresh after a marriage. As he gets closer to the entrance of the church, he realizes the bride was the girl he loved. She recognizes him too. That’s when she whispers, “25 minutes too late!”. This story, I meshed, with a powerful challenge to get ready for the returning Bride Groom, Jesus. The Spirit moved among the audience. It was memorable climax.
The book of Jude has this emphasis – the message you preach should lead to climax – as you will find in the following lines:
In Jude v. 5-7 the writer issues three Old Testament examples of sin and judgement. But Jude does not follow the canonical order in the 3 examples he lists. Had he done so, we would have expected angels’ sin to come first (Gen 6), Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin second (Gen 19) and the desert generation’s third (Num 14). But by following the order he does, Jude achieves a build-up ascending upto a climax (a crescendo) in punishment. He moved from the punishment of physical death (the example of the desert generation) (v. 5) to the punishment of blinding in darkness, a punishment that is more horrible to handle, in my opinion than death itself (the example of angel’s sin) (v.6) to ‘punishment of eternal fire’(v.7). Then at the close of his written-sermon he issues a challenge: “Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgement”(v. 23, NLT).
The wise and effective preacher will wait till the end to box into the hearts of his audience his best point. He won’t climb of the pulpit without calling for a response to his pointed challenge. He would build up his entire sermon to reaching his climax.
This practical study of Jude’s written sermon, I am sure has initiated some Creative, Creator-approved ways to communicate his Word with the world of Google Genners! Having been thus enlightened by Jude, let’s get the Bible’s message across, via sermons that aren’t duds, to the Google Gen dudes!
BUILD (Prepare) HOLY LIFE – Rehearse RIGHTEOUS LIVING – REPENT when you fail….
Release the spirit language –
KEEP – “Romance” –
When we are busy about these five Rs then the promise of the last few verses of Jude can be claimed by us!
We can stand before Jesus, faultless! That day!
Thank you for your response. I indeed have assurance of my salvation. Paul also did. He said, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Tim. 1:12). But that assurance should not become arrogance that leads to conscious, deliberate sins. Paul retained a healthy fear that, having preached to others, he should be not disqualified himself (I Cor. 9:27). When we co-operate with God, it does not imply that we contribute to our salvation and thereby get saved by our good works. A Bible Teacher explains it this way: “A ship’s passenger falls overboard. A crew member throws him a rope, shouting, ‘Get hold of this.’ When the drowning man does, he calls again, ‘Now hold on till I get you back to the ship.’ The man is saved. Who by? Will the passenger ever claim to have saved himself? Will be proud of his ‘contribution’ to his rescue? Or will be so full of gratitude to his rescuer that such thoughts would have never occurred to him? In no sense would he regard his actions as earning, deserving or even worthy of his salvation. They were desperate actions of a man who could not possibly save himself and put all his trust in someone else.” We are indeed saved by faith. But faith can be exercised or refused. And a faith which is not ‘exercised’ cannot ‘save’ – the Bible teaches (James 2:14,26). Therefore we must ‘work out’ our ‘salvation’ with ‘fear and trembling’, Paul wrote (Phil. 2:12). This ‘work out’ simply means a living, life-transforming faith in Jesus. We have a daily relationship with Jesus which transforms our lives. The credit goes to Jesus. We are saved by the grace of Jesus. But Jesus cannot save me without my active co-operation with him. Jesus will not violate my free-will to save me. I need to use my free-will to cooperate with him and the Holy Spirit, to live a holy life, day by day, minute by minute, second by second. We are already saved. But the Bible teaches we will be saved one day in the future. But that salvation is only for those who actively “wait” for Jesus (Heb. 9:28). This also means that those who do not wait for Jesus but are busy stubbornly flirting with sin will not be saved – they will be damned when Jesus returns. Jesus said:“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Rev. 16:15). Who gave me my salvation garments? Jesus. I am saved by grace, not works. But I must keep wearing them. I can’t throw them off by wanton, stubborn practice of sin and still except to go to heaven – even Jesus said this. If this teaching ‘scares’ a believer who is consciously living in sin, then Jesus must be accused of ‘scaring’ people – read Rev. 16:15 again and again!
E-XAMPLES FULL OF BOOK OF JUDE
BOOK OF JUDE IS FULL OF EXAMPLES – EXAMPLES GLEANED FROM THE BIBLE TO TEACH THEOLOGY.
WE MUST LEARN TRUTH FROM “ALL” OF THE BIBLE.
He uses three Old Testament examples of sin and judgment (v 5-7). Jude’s first example is the desert generation of Israel. God’s deliverance of his people seemed to have a permanence and finality about it, yet God still ‘destroyed’ them for their lack of faith. Jude’s intention is to use this as a warning to his readers who thought they could use God’s grace as a credit card to loose, immoral, living. Verse 7 introduces the third of Jude’s warning examples: Sodom and Gomorrah, along with “the surrounding towns” (e.g., Adamah, Zeboim and Zoar, mentioned in Gen. 19:20-22) was destroyed by God-sent fire. We’ll discuss Jude second warning illustration from Old Testament later. He goes on to tell why God judged the cities: because, as the NIV translates it, they ‘gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion’.
Jude is not satisfied with the strong polemic against the false teachers in verses 5-10. He has one more go at them in Jude 11-13. He gives three examples of notorious Old Testament sinners (v. 11) to nail them: Cain became a classic example of an ungodly sceptic. The way of Cain is the way of pride and self-righteousness (Gen. 4:3-8; Heb 11:4, 1 John 3:12). Balaam was reeking with sin of greed. He was a pagan prophet, who believed that doing the Lord’s work was a quick way to earn money. Korah was a Levite (see Num. 16:1-3, 31-35) who resented the prominent positions of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives.
G- Gehenna (Jesus preached Hell to believers – Mt 10:28/ Rom 6:23 is for believers)
R- Repent (Jesus preached repentance to Church Believers – Rev.2:4,5)
A – ttire (Jesus parable in Math 22: 1-13 about attire is a powerful parable against Hyper-grace)
C-ut-off (John 15 and Rom 11 warns the dangers of being ‘cut-off’ if we don’t abide in the vine)
E-ndure (All the epistles talk about enduring till the end – I Cor 9:27).
Please read the following articles for greater understanding. Articles have been copy-pasted from various authors:
SYSTEMATIC RESPONSE TO HYPER GRACE BY THEOLOGIANS:
Hyper Grace Teachers Make Blanket Statements and Tries to Fit All Scripture Within His System
For example, he says it is not necessary to confess our sins and that Paul’s epistles never give an example of a believer confessing sin. HYPER GRACE TEACHERS says this because he believes all of our sins, both past and future, have already been forgiven (something I agree with in principle) and that we should just be honest with God and speak to Him about our failures. But He says this is not the same as confession of sin for forgiveness. I say this is a merely a cute play on words because speaking to God about our sins is going to lead to confession anyway.
The challenge I have with this teaching is that in 1 John 1:9, John teaches us to confess our sins. Although hyper grace teachers acknowledges that this passage refutes his teaching on radical grace, he tries to get around it by saying this passage was written to the gnostics in the church—something he states without citing any commentaries, sources or historical evidence. I counter that the context of 1 John shows that John was writing to believers. He calls them his “dear children” in 1 John 2:1 (NIV). Also, remember that originally the book had no chapters or verses; thus, the “children” in 1 John 2:1 are connected to the first chapter of the book.
Although the apostle John was dealing with gnosticism in this epistle when he spoke about the humanity of Christ in 1 John 1:1 and 4:2-3 and the fact Jesus came in the flesh—a fact gnostics refute because they believe Jesus only came as a spirit because they believed the realm of the flesh was evil—the recipients of this letter were not gnostics but true believers who were being warned against gnosticism.
Furthermore, if 1 John 1:9 was written to unbelievers, why would John tell them to confess their sins? Its impossible for an unbeliever to recount and confess all the sins they ever committed. When I came to Christ, I did not confess each and every individual sin of my past 19 years. I just surrendered my heart to Christ and asked Him to forgive me for being a sinner. When a person comes to Christ, they are not commanded to confess their sins but to receive Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 16:31). Only a Christian can remember and confess individual sins as they are committed.
Furthermore, James 5:16 also teaches believers to confess their sins. Lastly, Paul actually implies confession of sin in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 when he encourages the Corinthian church to repent and have “godly sorrow.”
2. hyper grace teachers Base their Theology Only on the Writings of Paul
I find it interesting that HG teachers says he only preaches the gospel Paul preaches. Although I admire Paul, HG teachers has to be careful with statements like this because he can give the impression that the other writings of the New Testament are not inspired or even canonical. (Even the gnostics only cited Paul and disregarded the other epistles as well as the Old Testament.)
HG teachers seems to quote the Gospels only occasionally, which gives me the impression he probably believes much of the teaching is not relevant to the church age because the Gospels were written before the Resurrection. This enables HG teachers (and typical hyperdispensationalists) to avoid dealing with the command for believers to take up their cross (Mark 8:34-36) and other such passages that demand high commitment.
I believe any teacher who is called to preach like Paul the apostle must preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), which means they need to include equally the Gospels and the epistles of John, Jude, Peter and James as well as the book of Hebrews and the Old Testament.
3. HG teachers Don’t Clearly Define the Role of the Moral Law of God
HG teachers teach that the Old Testament Law is not necessary anymore for the church, and he makes a simple dichotomy between both covenants. He doesn’t even make an allowance for the need for the moral law of God (the Ten Commandments), except to show us how sinful and lost we are.
The challenge with this simplified view of the Old Testament is that Paul the apostle told us to know the Old Testament so we will not set our heart on evil things and sin as the Jewish nation did (1 Cor. 10:6). Thus, the moral law was still necessary to keep the church in line, according to Paul.
HG teachers say there is no room for preaching the law of God in the church and that God only blesses the message of grace. However, church history does not back this up. Charles Finney was perhaps the greatest evangelist in American history, and he would regularly preach the moral law of God to get people convicted and then use the gospel to get them saved and consecrated. He preached the law of God to both saint and sinner. You can also throw Jonathan Edwards into the mix as a powerful preacher who used the law of God in his messages.
HG teachers would probably say these men preached a mixture of law and grace. However, the fruit of their ministries shows that their work and message was greatly blessed of God and had historic results. I personally teach regularly on the law of God in the church with great effect and fruit. HG teachers would probably say I preach a mixture of law and grace—but if I stand in the company of Finney and Edwards, who used the moral law as a standard to convict sin, I will take HG teacher’s criticism with a smile!
I believe the moral law is still needed, or else there would be no conviction of sin and our standard of righteousness would collapse down to the ethos of the surrounding culture. Furthermore, the moral law was repeated in the New Testament, even by Paul in Ephesians 4-6, when he told the church not to steal, not to be angry, not to covet, not to commit sexual immorality, not to be idolaters and to honor their fathers and mothers. Furthermore, all the New Testament writers repeatedly used the Ten Commandments as the standard of holiness for the church because it reflects the nature and character of God.
Even when Jesus gave His followers a new commandment to love one another (John 13:34), He was still using love as a law to obligate the church to a standard of living—something Paul repeated in Romans 13:8-10.
Prince thus lumps the moral law (the Ten Commandments) with the ceremonial law of God and says both have been done away with and are not relevant to the church. What he fails to realize is every time the law is dealt with by Paul (in Galatians, Romans, Hebrews and Colossians), the context is always circumcision, animal sacrifices and the observance of the Sabbath and holy days. Hence, Paul is primarily referring to the ceremonial aspects of the law, not the Ten Commandments.
HG teachers bring out the fact that Paul calls the Ten Commandments the “ministration of death” in 2 Corinthians 3:7 (KJV). However, I would counter that in spite of this, Paul and the other New Testament writers continually used the Ten Commandments as the standard of ethics for the church. The ministration of death has to do with the fact that without Christ, we are all guilty before God—a point we all agree with. Galatians 3:24 calls the law our schoolmaster that leads us to Christ; thus, it is a standard of holiness that brings conviction and leads us to depend on the grace of Christ to fulfill it. Romans 8:4 clearly teaches us the Holy Spirit empowers us to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law; thus, it’s standards are still a requirement for functional holiness. Furthermore, the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).
But the point of the New Testament is that Jesus gives us the power to live righteously through His Spirit. It is not just imputed righteousness from Christ with no obligation on our part. When we break the Ten Commandments, that is still a sin that we believers have to repent of and confess to the Lord for forgiveness.
I do agree with HG teaches that we need to be Christ-focused and Christ-conscious to have victory over sin and that we can only have faith and grace to walk in victory through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness—not our own merit. Where we depart ways is that I contend the Ten Commandments are still necessary as our standard for how Jesus wants us to live by His power and grace. The law doesn’t save us. It reminds us of our sinfulness and, as a schoolmaster, leads us to depend on Christ alone.
To summarize this point, I don’t agree with HG teacher when he says we don’t need the law to govern our behavior—we just need grace, he says—because, in my perspective, grace uses the standard of the moral law, as is repeated over and over in the New Testament.
4. HG teachers Believes in “Once Saved, Always Saved”
As a typical dispensationalist, HG teachers believes that once a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior, they can never lose their salvation. (Some know this as the doctrine of eternal security.) The challenge I have with this is that it fails to interpret individual passages honestly that disagree with this particular system.
For example, Hebrews 6:1-8 and 10:24-29 clearly teach that people, after receiving the saving knowledge of Christ, can fall away and lose their salvation. Second Peter 2:20-22 and James 5:19-20 are as clear as tar on snow that a believer can fall away and once again be called a sinner who has to be restored. There are numerous other passages I can cite but will not because of the time.
I am more comfortable with the Reformed understanding of salvation, which teaches people can experience the fruits of salvation while never being chosen from “the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), in which case they will not remain in the body of Christ because they were never a part of it to begin with. (First John 2:19 seems to teach the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.) This is the only position I have found sufficient to effectively deal with the conundrum of Scripture that seems to teach both eternal security and that a believer can fall away. I take the position of the apostle Peter: I may think I am saved, but I have to endeavor to make my calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10).
5. HG teachers Teaches That God Can’t Get Angry With or Punish Christians
These guys says God does not get angry with Christians. But what about the admonition in Ephesians 4 to not grieve the Holy Spirit? (In Ephesians 4:30, grieve means “to cause great sorrow and distress,” which is akin to causing anger). Even stronger is Paul’s warning in Ephesians 5:6 against living an immoral life that brings God’s wrath on the disobedient. The clear context here, for those who are disobedient, is that this is written to the church of Ephesus; thus, God can have wrath toward Christians.
What about the sin that leads to death referenced in 1 John 5:16? Whether this refers to physical or spiritual death has been debated for centuries; however, the main point is that a believer can commit a sin so severe it can result in death. (I believe it is referring to physical death, which correlates to 1 Corinthians 11:30 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-6, where Paul wanted to hand a man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh because he slept with his father’s wife.)
Finally, what does Prince do about Jesus’ words to the seven churches in Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3? In these letters, Jesus not only punishes but also threatens to remove whole churches from their cities unless they repent (Rev. 2:5). In Revelation 2:16, Jesus tells the church of Pergamum to repent or else He will come and fight against some in their church. In Revelation 2:22-23, Jesus tells those who are under the influence of Jezebel that He will kill them unless they repent. Finally, Jesus tells the church of Laodicea that He is about to vomit them out of His mouth (Rev. 3:15-16), Strong words, indeed, that do not nicely fit into the theology of HG teachers.
6. HG teachers Say that God Is Not Judging Any Nation Because of the Cross
HG teachers teaches that God did not judge Sodom until Lot was removed, thus making a case that God will not judge any nation that has a presence of believers in it. What HG teachers fails to realize is that the Old Testament is replete with illustrations in which God judged the nations of Israel and Judah by disinheriting them even though there was a remnant left who believed. (See, for example, Isaiah 6:13.)
Furthermore, in Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus speaks about corporate judgment coming upon cities and towns because they rejected Him. Obviously it is difficult to subjectively prove post-biblically if God has judged nations and empires after the cross, since God often uses the militaries of other nations, natural disasters and their own foolishness to lay low people and nations. Furthermore, God judged the nation of the Jews and Jerusalem for rejecting Christ in A.D. 70, when the Roman armies sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish temple, as Jesus predicted would happen within one generation (Matt. 24:34; Luke 21:20) even though this was almost 40 years after His resurrection.
7. HG teachers Preaches an Individual Gospel That’s Disconnected From the Cultural Commission of Genesis 1:28
Perhaps one of the biggest flaws in HG’s radical grace doctrine is that his dispensational belief doesn’t allow him to connect the gospel to the cultural commission of Genesis 1:28. Believers who embrace the original cultural commission God gave humanity through Adam and Eve (and reconfirmed to Noah after the fall in Genesis 9:1-2) realize we need the moral and civic law to understand how to disciple a nation (Matt. 28:19). The Ten Commandments were not just individual commands for piety and holiness but were primarily given as a corporate structure to disciple the burgeoning nation of Israel (Ex. 20:1-2). First Timothy 1:8-11 alludes to the corporate reality of the law when it says the law wasn’t given to righteous men but for the unrighteous. (There has been only one righteous man on the earth who didn’t need the law to know how to be holy—Jesus!) The fact that Paul deals with slave-trading and kidnapping shows that he was also dealing with systemic sin and not just individual sin in this passage.
HG Persepective could lead people to just seek Jesus without obedience to simple and obvious things like being committed to a local church, tithing and walking in love. (Even though HG teachers pushes church attendance and giving, in principle their theology can make it easy to dismiss these practices.) HG teachers also seems to be against the spiritual discipline of fasting. Although I understand his point in this matter, I still believe fasting very important to practice, albeit not for salvation. Not connecting his teaching to the cultural commission in Genesis 1:28 also puts Princeon a faulty foundation and can lead a person to disconnect the gospel from the kingdom of God, thus leading to self-focus and narcissism. (The kingdom message connects redeemed individuals to their corporate responsibility to serve their communities.)
In spite of all this, it may be a great book for some new believers—although I believe young children and new Christians need to be taught the Ten Commandments as a standard for ethics in the church and world—and especially for those who constantly walk around with guilt and condemnation. If radical grace is taught in the context of the message of the kingdom of God to give it balance, it can be a great teaching that lifts up Jesus and transforms individual lives who can transform nations.
Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more on josephmattera.org or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.
One hyper-grace teacher wrote this: “When God looks at me, He doesn’t see me through the blood of Christ, He sees me—cleansed! Likewise, He sees us as holy and righteous. He sees us, and He loves what He sees!”
Really? Always? 24-7? God always loves what he sees when he looks at his people?
Yes, he loves us, but does he always love what he sees?
Did Jesus love what he saw when he rebuked five out of seven congregations in Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3? Did Paul, writing on behalf of the Lord, love what he saw when he warned the Galatians that they had fallen from grace and become trapped in legalism? Did James, also writing as a servant of the Lord, love what he saw when he rebuked his readers for being “friends of the world” and “adulterers and adulteresses”?
And if the Lord doesn’t see our sins, why did James write that if a believer who was sick had also sinned, God would forgive him when he healed him (see James 5:14-15)? And if he doesn’t see our sins, why did the Lord discipline believers in Corinth because of their sins (see 1 Cor. 11:27-32)? (And pay careful attention to 1 Corinthians 11:32, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”)
If Jesus doesn’t see our sins, why did he say to the church in Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Rev. 2:4, NIV)? And why did he says this to the church in Sardis? “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:1-3)
Does it sound like the Lord was thrilled with what he saw in Ephesus and Sardis?
If the Lord always “sees us as holy and righteous” and always “loves what He sees,” why did he rebuke the believers in Laodicea, telling them that they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17)? Why didn’t he say, “I see you as beautifully clothed, healthy, and rich?”
If he was so happy with what he saw in Laodicea, why did he threaten to spit the congregation out of his mouth (see Rev. 3:16)? And if believers never need to repent of their sins, why did Jesus say, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Rev. 3:19)? And how interesting it is that the same Greek word used in John 16:8—where Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of its sins—is the word used by the Lord in Revelation 3:19 (translated there as “rebuke”; and note Rev. 3:22: this is the Spirit speaking!).
It is because God loves us that he rebukes us (not condemns us) and it is because sin is so destructive that he calls us to turn from it. This is the goodness of God, and this is what grace does, as Paul wrote in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Imagine a car dealership that provides every car buyer with a free car wash for as long as they own the car. You purchase a car, and along with the required paperwork you are given a free-car-wash certificate. The dealer tells you he has fully paid for all the car washes you will ever need, saying he believes that a clean car is the greatest way of advertising and promoting his dealership.
Several days later, you happen to drive down a muddy country road full of potholes and ruts. Later, you notice your car is covered with mud and decide to avail yourself of your free lifetime car wash. But before you have time to drive through the car wash, your friends inform you that you no longer have to go there. They tell you that your first car wash was all that was necessary. Any suggestion that you need another wash is not only wrong, but a lie.
You try and reason with your friends and even show them your dirty car. They still refuse to acknowledge that the car needs washing, even after seeing the condition of the car. They inform you that what the dealer really meant was that once the dealership had purchased the car wash for you, that would keep the car clean forever. They also argued that to suggest it needed washing again was an insult to the dealer and the dealership. “Don’t you realize,” your friends tell you, “when the dealer first paid for your car wash, that automatically washed it for life; all past, present and future dirt was washed away, and therefore it never needs to be washed again.”
Such logic would, by anyone’s reasoning, be considered imbecilic, ignorant or crazy, to say the least. Obviously, what the dealer intended was that anytime you needed your car washed, you could avail yourself of a car wash because he had already paid for it in advance.
Thinking back on your conversation with the dealer, you recall him telling you that he has a personal hatred for dirty cars and that is why he paid for a lifetime of free washes to anyone who asked. He went on to say that if—and not when—you happen to get your car dirty, the car wash would take care of it. He obviously never intended for you to drive around searching for dirty roads just so you could avail yourself of the car wash. That, he said, would be abusive to the car-wash program and an insult to his dealership.
In a similar way, the atoning work of Christ paid in full for all my sin. This, however, does not exclude my need for repentance, nor does it give me license to sin as I please. For my “friends” to tell me otherwise is totally false and misleading.
Sadly, this is the logic behind the new hyper-grace message. The essence behind this false teaching is that all sins past, present and future have already been atoned for and therefore there is no longer any need to repent. That, the proponents of this idea say, would be tantamount to telling God you don’t believe He has paid for all your sin.
This type of fuzzy theology falls apart for this reason: If repentance is acknowledging a sin that has already been forgiven, thereby making repentance unnecessary, then why do we tell people to repent the first time in order to be saved? If repentance is wrong following salvation, then using the same “logic,” repentance is wrong prior to salvation too.
The error here is that this type of teaching leads to ultimate reconciliation or universalism. Jesus paid for all sin; therefore, all are saved.
The fact is that the provision for my cleansing was completed at the cross but the process of my cleansing is conditional upon my repentance, and not before.
How do works fit into the salvation equation?
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
False-grace teachers are vigilant in their attempts to invalidate any measure of works for the Christian—at least as they relate to salvation. In fact, the logical end to the false-grace theology is actually universalism. We do nothing, God did everything, everybody is saved.
Of course, it would be said that we have to believe to be saved. Well, first, that is a work. It takes participation on our behalf. Second, even the demons believe. Even the Rich Young Ruler believed. He was rejected because he was unwilling to do his part. The true motive of his heart was revealed, yet in today’s churches it would be offensive to turn such a man away at an altar call! The common reaction is to give someone assurance of their salvation, all while they may not actually be saved at all. That is a serious indictment on the church to say the least! How many people are going to Hell because a pastor told them they are eternally secure if they simply repeat a prayer after them? I believe the sinner’s prayer may actually be sending more people to Hell than to Heaven!
Leonard Ravenhill states that he doubts that 5% of professing American Christians are actually saved!
The above scripture in Ephesians 2 is actually quite easy to understand. It’s NOT saying that we don’t have to participate in the salvation process. The truth is that we have to be radically involved. The salvation equation includes us!
What the passage is saying is that we cannot bypass Jesus. We can’t give a million dollars to a charity and volunteer at Habitat for Humanity every weekend in order to work our way into Heaven. We can’t decide that the call to serve Jesus is not appealing to us, so we opt instead for option two or three. We can’t create our own salvation plan and then boast about our own abilities. There is only one way, and Jesus is it. And, obedience is very much a part of the equation.
James 1:21-22 (ESV) 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
- Works minus Jesus equals no salvation.
- Jesus minus works equals false salvation.
- Jesus plus works equals evidence of true salvation.
The cross of Christ doesn’t eliminate our responsibility, it redefines our responsibility. He did what only he could do and we must do what he will not do.
When he said, “It is finished,” he meant it. His job is done—and ours begins. He emphasized this again in Acts 1. The disciples wanted Jesus to do more work (establish his Kingdom), but Jesus made it clear that his job was indeed complete. However, he let them know that their work was just beginning. They must walk in obedience to Jesus.
It’s striking to me how often I hear that a focus on holiness and obedience equates to legalism. How far from orthodox Christianity has the church fallen?
The only point at which it’s legalism is if we were to reject the cross and resurrection of Christ by attempting to work our way into Heaven. But, if we agree that Jesus is the only one who could have paid for our sins yet we also refuse to work, our salvation is a myth.
Legalism is our attempt to get to Heaven by bypassing the cross of Jesus. Holiness and works are our response to the cross of Jesus
FIVE MARKS OF THE FALSE-GRACE DOCTRINE
ONE. We believe in a theology of exemption.
A theology of exemption states that since we are saved, we are exempt from the penalties of sin. That there are parts of the Bible that no longer apply to us. Yes, it’s a heresy.
The number of people who subconsciously or unwittingly embrace a theology of exemption is far greater than those who explicitly pronounce their agreement with this doctrine.
Many have been lulled into a false sense of security while actually existing in an unsaved state. They are confident they’d enter Heaven if they died, yet the reality is that they would not. They have come to believe they are exempt from certain parts of the Word of God that requires response.
1 Peter 1:15-17 (ESV) 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
Be holy. God judges according to one’s deeds. Those who hold to a theology of exemption don’t believe they are subject to what this verse is communicating. The command to be holy is to them a great goal, but not a mandate. A principle not a command.
Our name can actually be removed from the book of life—and that is determined by our obedience, our holiness. Sin can still separate a follower of Christ from him. The Rich Young Ruler saw that this was the case. He wanted to follow Jesus, but could not. He was not exempt from judgment even though he wanted to follow Jesus.
The argument of grace is actually quite revealing. People in the false-grace movement would say, “It’s not possible to be holy, or to avoid sin, so thank God for his grace that covers those sins. In fact we are automatically holy… innocent by association!”
Grace isn’t meant to cover up sin, grace is power! Those who walk in true grace would never say that we, as Christians, are predisposed to sin! True grace enables us to do the impossible! Because of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, we now have something they didn’t have in the Old Covenant—we have the power to obey! We can do this!
In fact, not only aren’t we exempt from obedience in the New Covenant, the call to obedience is even more humanly impossible than in the Old!
Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
We as Christians are not exempt from judgment or from the repercussions of sin. If we are in Christ, there is no condemnation, but if we are deceived by false theology into thinking we are in Christ, while actually living in disobedience, we are in trouble. We are not in Christ and there is condemnation. No salvation. The wrath of God remains on us.
John 3:35-36 (ESV) 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 3:18-19 (KJV) 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Deeds. Fruit. Works. They are evidences of our position in Christ.
Yes, it’s hard to get saved, hard to stay saved, but if we walk in humility and grace and in the Spirit, eternity with Jesus is our inheritance!
TWO. Sin is treated as temporally troubling but eternally benign.
Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV) 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
That verse stands on its own. The false-grace teachers emphasize that our sin may cause problems in the here and now, but there is no risk of Hell. This has to be one of the most troubling positions those in the false-grace movement take.
Universalism is creeping into the church very subtly. False grace teaches that Hell is not a concern for Christians and Christian Universalism teaches that there is no Hell. Different twists on the same false doctrine.
Yes, sin does result in trauma here on the Earth. But, it doesn’t end there. If we embrace a lifestyle of sin, we are not saved. We won’t go to Heaven. The day of judgment will be a day of horror.
The false-grace/semi-universalist position is one that would adhere to “once saved always saved.” My belief is actually quite the opposite—once saved rarely saved. The road is not wide. It’s narrow and it’s rare to find people on it… and people who decide to stay on it.
Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
If we don’t conquer, don’t work out our salvation with fear and trembling, our name is blotted out of the book of life.
Galatians 5:16-21 (ESV) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
If we walk in the Spirit, our flesh is subdued. However, if we aren’t walking in the Spirit, we are under the law because Christ’s sacrifice has been made of no effect. Therefore, even though we may have said the sinner’s prayer, paid tithes and lived a good life, that salvation is nullified for us. The above scripture reveals what clear evidence to look for when analyzing our position in Christ.
I’ve heard of pastors who boast that they no longer preach on the cross, sin or Hell because we are in the age of grace. My God! The cross must be central to our churches!
There can be pastors who preach powerfully, pray in tongues and lead large, growing churches who won’t inherit the kingdom of God. If they are driven by jealousy of other pastors or embrace division, the Bible is clear. If they don’t repent, Hell is in their future. Do you have any idea how much of the fear of the Lord is on this pastor? I tremble continually.
THREE. Repentance and confession of sin is not necessary after we have been saved.
It’s been said that our sins are forgiven past, present and future. This is simply not true. If we repent, we are forgiven. If we retain our sins they are retained.
The Lord’s Prayer itself makes it clear that we must both ask for forgiveness and forgive!
Matthew 6:12 (ESV) 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
1 John 1:9 (ESV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:6 (ESV) 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
The false-grace theology commonly teaches that we, as humans in a fallen world, are expected to sin and that it’s the focus on sin, not sin itself, that puts us into bondage. The reality is that people are becoming affirmed in a sinful state with no fear of the Lord or fear of damnation to be found. Of course, false-grace teachers don’t encourage a lifestyle of sin, but they also don’t sound the alarm communicating any sort of eternal threat. To them, there is no eternal risk whatsoever.
A friend of mine shared this:
Amy Smith: Misrepresented grace has caused us to respond to the command to be holy with an elbow bump and a wink, wink. “Ok God, we know what you mean. You’re not really asking us to be holy, you’re just telling us to make sure we’re under your grace. We know that You’re overlooking those little sins we’re not dealing with. In fact, your grace allows us to also overlook some things, such as all the scripture verses that call for standards that are higher than we can achieve.”
Another friend shared this:
Ed Hull: When we die, it will not be what we believed about our identity in Christ that will save us. It will be whether the concept of our identity produced good fruit, the fruit of righteousness.
Simply put, repentance and confession is absolutely critical to our position in Christ after salvation. Most are unclear on their identity… they presume themselves to be ‘in Christ’ though they very well may not. If we are ‘in Christ’, there is no condemnation, but if we analyze our position wrongly, presuming to be ‘in Christ’ when in fact we are not, we are still condemned.
Repentance is actually a very wonderful, joyful, fulfilling lifestyle!
The closer I get to God, the deeper into my heart I allow him to peer, the more wonderful repentance comes flowing out. I love to repent! Even if it’s grieving, my heart comes alive as I realign with the Lover of my soul! The more I turn, the deeper into God I go! Ignoring sin, unbelief and other barriers to intimacy just can’t be our strategy! Presuming they aren’t there when they are just doesn’t work. Repent continually and enjoy an indescribably journey into intimacy with Jesus!
FOUR. A biblical works message is renounced as legalism.
It’s striking to me how often I hear that a focus on holiness and obedience equates to legalism. How far from orthodox Christianity has the church fallen?
The only point at which it’s legalism is if we were to reject the cross and resurrection of Christ by attempting to work our way into Heaven. But, if we agree that Jesus is the only one who could have paid for our sins yet we also refuse to work, our salvation is a myth.
Legalism is our attempt to get to Heaven by bypassing the cross of Jesus. Holiness and works are our response to the cross of Jesus.
Luke 6:46 (ESV) 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
Luke 8:21 (ESV) 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
Luke 11:28 (ESV) 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
John 8:51 (ESV) 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
John 14:15 (ESV) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 15:10 (ESV) 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
John 15:14 (ESV) 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Matthew 25:23-30 (ESV) 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Throughout the New Testament it’s proven over and over again that obedience, works and production (fruit) is mandatory if we are to be—and stay—saved.
FIVE. Salvation is depicted as easy and/or permanent.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make it easy for us to get saved. He died so it would be possible for us to get saved.
There is a temptation to withdraw from the pressures of persecution, the call to holiness, surrender and the cross, and a false-grace message is the perfect solution to that problem. It offers an escape from an urgent and fervent focus on obedience by disjoining it from our position in Christ. The false-grace doctrine teaches that our eternity and our relationship with Jesus is already settled and we can simply relax and enjoy God. Our obedience is in no way joined to our relationship with Jesus our our eternal destiny.
Additionally, there is a misunderstanding of the process of salvation. Those impacted by the false-grace movement tend to believe that they play no part in salvation other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God. Anything other than that would scream of works and false-grace teaching has convinced them to have an averse reaction to anything that feels like human effort.
The scripture that most often comes to mind is Ephesians 2:8-9:
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
First, this scripture is quite often misunderstood. It is NOT saying that works don’t play a part in salvation. It IS saying that works ALONE can’t save us. Basically, we can’t say, “Thanks Jesus for dying on the cross for me, and rising from the dead. Great job! But, you know, I’m not really interested in your version of salvation. So, I reject the cross and the resurrection… it’s just too narrow for me. Instead, I will give $1 million to a local church and will buy my way into Heaven. I’ll pay the price myself.”
We can’t pay the price. We can’t substitute Jesus’ payment for our own.
But, that doesn’t mean we don’t work in RESPONSE to and in ACCORDANCE with the price that only Jesus could pay. We love Ephesians 2:8-9, but usually leave off verse 10:
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We were created for good works. Paul reveals that we receive the Spirit via hearing by faith and not of works, yet that does not communicate to us that works are not to be expected. First faith, then works and not the other way around.
James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
It’s a rhetorical question. The answer, of course, is no. Faith without works cannot save us. This means, if we have faith in Jesus, worship him, pray to him, honor him… but don’t obey, we cannot presume to be saved. False-grace theology would not agree with this.
James 2:18-20 (ESV) 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
The false-grace movement is shouting, “Show me your faith apart from works!” The question must be, “Are we like demons who have faith (believe) or do we also work in response to the mandates of God?”
It’s easy and common to be falsely saved, but to truly be saved requires an extreme price—both on the part of Jesus and on our part. We can’t do his part and he can’t do ours—and this does have eternal implications. The false-grace message that minimizes obedience and works absolutely does result in people being cast into eternal fire.
he past several decades, we have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade, we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.
In addition to this, whole churches and movements have oriented themselves to a distorted understanding of the gospel by espousing a “hypergrace” approach that trickles down to not only what they preach but who they allow to minister and teach. (I was told there is even a new television station devoted to this view of “grace.”)
Furthermore, many churches and preachers refuse to take a stand against sin and rarely if ever mention the need for repentance or topics like hell and judgment. Many of these same churches allow people to minister in music, as small group leaders and even as ministers with no personal accountability while looking the other way when they are living sexually immoral lives and regularly engaged in drunkenness!
This is nothing new. For centuries the body of Christ has wrestled with something called antinomianism (anti means “against”; nomos means “law”). This is the belief that the moral law of the Old Testament has been done away with and that, once we are in Christ, there is free grace in which we can almost live any way we want since we are not under the Law but under grace. Thus, according to this view, the Old Testament is not that important to read except for metaphors, types and symbols regarding the coming of Christ. The New Testament is all about grace and does away with the Old Testament Law!
Of course, Paul the apostle warned against this sort of thing in Romans 6:1-2 when he rhetorically asked, Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? His response: God forbid! How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer in it?
The first thing Jude the apostle says in his epistle (in the context of contending for the faith in verse 3) is that ungodly men amongst them were turning the grace of our God into a license to sin. Evidently these free-grace preachers were twisting the Scriptures by teaching that “we are no longer under the Law” means “we are no longer under any obligation to obey the moral law of God once we are saved.”
This in spite of each of the Ten Commandments being directly cited or taught indirectly in the New Testament. Examples of exact citations are Ephesians 6:1-3, which quotes the fifth commandment; James 2:11, which quotes the sixth and seventh commandments (regarding murder and adultery) and says in verse 12 that believers will be judged according to the “law” of liberty; and Romans 7:7, where Paul quotes the 10th commandment regarding not to covet. Paul also says that we dishonor God when we disobey the (moral) law (Rom. 2:23).
Obedience to the Ten Commandments (the moral law) is also taught indirectly, as in 1 John 5:21, which instructs believers to stay away from idols (from the second commandment, regarding not making a carved image to worship); and when Jesus said that the greatest commandment in the Law is to love God with all the heart, mind and soul (Matt. 22:37-38), which corresponds to the first commandment regarding having no other gods before Him.
Paul makes it clear in Romans 7:12 that the law is holy, righteous and good and that the purpose of being filled with the Spirit of Christ is so the righteousness of the law would be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4)—not so we can just float around as spiritual beings without any standards for obedience and disobedience!
Although we cannot be saved by following the Law (because everyone is guilty of breaking the Law, according to Romans 3:19), God uses the moral law as the standard of righteousness in which to judge us of sin. Thus, the Law doesn’t save us, but it sanctifies us when we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, because through it we have the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20).
So, then, what does Paul refer to when he says that we are justified apart from the Law (Rom. 3:21) through grace as a gift (v. 24)? The context of these statements and the other teachings of the New Testament regarding the Law is clear: While the moral law doesn’t save us, it is still in effect as a guide and standard for righteous living, but the ceremonial law is no longer in effect and has been totally done away with. This we know because circumcision (Rom. 3:30; Gal. 5:1-2) and animal sacrifices (Heb. 9:12-14) are always brought up in context of Paul teaching that the Law has been nullified in Christ. Thus, Paul is affirming that the ceremonial law has been done away with in Christ because He was the perfect Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and in whom, by a single offering of Himself (Heb. 10:14), abolished the law of commandments and record of debt that were against us (Col. 2:13-14) because we violated them. In Him we are no longer obligated to follow the Levitical system, for although the old covenant terms are no longer in effect and faded away (Heb. 8:13), the new covenant clearly is a more perfect continuation of the old covenant because of its prophetic fulfillment in the Messiah (Heb. 10:1).
The following are signs of a hypergrace church:
1. The preachers never speak against sin.
If you are in a church like this, you will notice that the word sin is usually only mentioned in the context of forgiveness of sins in Christ but hardly ever in the context of taking a stand against sin, except of course when they condemn the sin of “legalists” and “Pharisees” who are the ministers they denigrate for preaching against sin.
2. The lead pastor never takes a cultural stand for righteousness.
When issues like abortion come up, these pastors will shy away from mentioning it because they are afraid of offending new people. I can understand this to a point. But I counter that we as ministers of Christ are obligated to at least mention our positions publicly so that we use it as a teaching moment for the sheep following us. Not saying anything about an issue like abortion is another way of condoning it!
3. The Old Testament is almost totally ignored.
In these churches, the Old Testament is treated as only types and shadows for sermon illustrations but has no real value regarding our standard of living today. As I show in this article, my position is that the New Testament and Old Testament are organically connected, with the New building upon the Old, not eradicating it altogether!
4. People who live immoral lives are allowed to teach and lead ministries.
One pastor was telling me that sexual immorality and drunkenness is rampant in many evangelical churches—even amongst small group leaders and other leaders in local churches! This is because there is very little accountability.
5. The lead pastor speaks often against the institutional church.
Many hypergrace pastors constantly denounce churches that are conservative in their values because they believe those churches represent the “old school” that is no longer relevant to today’s culture.
6. The lead pastor preaches against tithing.
Although I believe tithing carried over into the New Testament, I believe it is more of a biblical principle that preceded the Law of Moses (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all tithed before Moses gave the Law), was taught by Jesus (Matt. 23) and was mentioned in other passages, like Hebrews 7.
These pastors denounce tithing as a law that was done away with in Christ. (For more on this, read my position paper entitled “Is Tithing in the New Testament?”)
7. The lead pastor only preaches positive motivational messages.
Those attending hypergrace churches only hear positive messages on health, wealth, prosperity, God’s love, God’s forgiveness and how to succeed in life. Although I also agree with and teach on these topics, we have to be careful to include in our preaching the whole counsel of God so that we feed the flock a balanced diet instead of just the sweetness of feel-good messages. We must do this so we are free from the blood of all men (Acts 20:26-27).
8. Key members of the church are regularly living sinful lives with impunity.
Those attending a hypergrace church will most likely find that, because of the strong emphasis on grace—with no teaching against sin or on repentance, judgment or hell—there is an atmosphere of loose living, with many involved in sexual immorality and drunkenness as well as other physical vices.
The reason for this is “the law is our schoolmaster that leads us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24) because through the (moral) law comes the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). If the moral law of the Ten Commandments is not preached or alluded to, then in ignorance the people will live foolish lives and will be like the blind leading to blind because “where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 28:18).
In conclusion, there are many other things I could mention regarding hypergrace churches and their preaching, like how it is one step away from universalism (the belief that all people will eventually be saved, whether they believe the gospel or not, e.g. Love Wins by Rob Bell) and liberalism, because an increasing amount of Scripture is eviscerated because it is culturally offensive (like husbands being the head of the house, views on homosexuality, etc.).
I believe antinomianism is a dangerous trend in evangelicalism and is something we need to lovingly take a stand against with our brothers and sisters who espouse it.
Joseph G. Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more on josephmattera.org or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.
STEVE HILL article The 7 Great Lies in the Church Today:
False teachings running rampant within the American church have created a “whiteout” condition for millions of believers. Here’s how to detect—and overcome—these destructive doctrines before it’s too late.
Editor’s Note: Most Charisma readers remember Steve Hill as the fiery evangelist from the Brownsville Revival who has since continued to win countless souls for Jesus around the world. But what many readers don’t realize is that Hill only recently came out of a three-year battle with melanoma. During that time, he received a prophetic vision warning the church of an impending “spiritual avalanche” that could kill millions. The following article on deception in the church is part of this timely message, now delivered in his latest book, Spiritual Avalanche.
Years ago my wife, Jeri, and I were driving on the interstate when we were overcome by a white cloud of windblown snow. “I can’t see a thing!” I shouted. We were experiencing a complete whiteout. I lost all sense of direction. I couldn’t see the road or other cars. Everything had vanished, replaced by this strange, mystical blizzard of white. The only thing I knew to do was to slow down and pray that I was still on the road.
By the providence of God I came to a stop in the median, where we waited out the storm. When it lifted, I was shocked at what we’d gone through. Miles in front of me and miles behind were wrecks—too many to number. Massive trucks had slid off the road and turned over. Cars were everywhere. It was purely by the hand of the Lord that we survived.
A whiteout is a weather condition in which visibility is severely reduced by snow. The horizon disappears completely; there are no reference points at all, leaving the individual with a distorted orientation.
This is what’s happening today in the church. Many are oblivious to the dangers on the horizon. In this spiritual whiteout the reference points—the ancient landmarks—have been covered. Erroneous teachings have merged together with truth, causing innocent believers to become disoriented—and blinded.
The Lord recently imparted to me a vision concerning the state of the church and what we must do about it. Those familiar with our ministry know we’ve never played games and have a deep, reverential fear for the work of God. Given this, I urge you to take heed to the following words. If you think I’m just letting off some steam, understand that I’ve just passed through three years of cancer treatments. I had been given only days to live. And as Leonard Ravenhill often reminded me, we must speak with the unction and urgency of God. We are all nothing more than dying men preaching to dying men.
In the vision I saw the church, depicted as a beautiful ski resort, with an enormous avalanche hovering overhead. The Lord immediately revealed the interpretation. This impending spiritual avalanche carried a threat that could destroy everyone. I’ve spent countless hours in the past attempting to rescue those who had fallen prey to false teaching. Now, in this visitation from God, I saw layers upon layers of snow steadily covering the solid, traditional truth of Christ. As with a whiteout, the truth had been lost in the flurry. No one who loves God willingly preaches deception, yet a spiritual whiteout of unhealthy, unbalanced and, in some cases, unbiblical teaching is blinding the body of Christ in America, and it is quickly spreading around the world.
How Has This Happened?
Unhealthy and destructive teaching can enter the church in various ways. Sometimes a biblical truth is taught to the exclusion of other biblical truths, producing a dangerous imbalance. At other times a biblical truth is taught in an exaggerated way, often going beyond what Scripture actually says, and in the end this does more harm than good. Many times clear, biblical warnings are ignored or reinterpreted so radically that they lose all impact or effect, leaving people vulnerable and exposed.
Paul warned that the “time will come when [believers] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Today’s church in America, as a whole, is dangerously close to turning aside to such fables. Millions have already succumbed to these false teachings. Before we lose any more souls, it’s crucial that we identify what I believe are the seven greatest lies that have infiltrated the church and have led to a whiteout of error.
1) Overemphasis of Prosperity
Undoubtedly, some adherents of the carnal prosperity message are motivated by greed. For them, preaching Jesus is a means of financial gain, something Paul rebuked in the strongest possible terms, speaking of men “of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:5).
Yet many sincere believers embrace this message too—and back their case with Scripture. They point to the covenant blessings the Lord promised to Israel for their obedience, including financial prosperity (Deut. 28:1-13). They highlight verses in Proverbs and Psalms that link financial prosperity to generosity, hard work, godly living and faith (e.g., Ps. 112). They remind us of wonderful promises, such as those found in Proverbs 3:9-10—and how Jesus reiterated these in the New Testament with teachings such as, “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38). And they quote Paul, who wrote about the financial principles of sowing and reaping (1 Cor. 9; 2 Cor. 8-9; Phil. 4:11-19).
Are you with me? I am not against you having money. But I am adamantly against money having you. The problem is, there’s more to the story that the carnal prosperity preachers fail to mention:
- Jesus warned against storing up treasures on earth (Matt. 6:19-24) and covetousness (Luke 12:15).
- Jesus emphasized caring for the poor (Matt. 25:31-46).
- Paul and John both taught that we should not live according to this present age (1 Cor. 7:29-31; 1 John 2:15-17).
- Jesus did not die to make us financially wealthy but to save us from our sins (Matt. 1:21).
- God chose the poor to be rich in faith and kingdom heirs (James 2:5).
More importantly, the carnal prosperity preachers have ignored other biblical warnings, like Paul’s powerful words to Timothy: “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:9-11).
Carnal prosperity preachers encourage God’s people to seek after riches—or to seek after God for the purpose of riches—often even judging your spirituality by the kind of car you drive. What does that have to do with the gospel of Jesus?
2) Exaggerated View of Grace
This hyper-grace teaching has become an epidemic (see “What’s Wrong With Grace?” on p. 28). It has slipped in almost unnoticed and taken root like an unwanted weed—easy to get in but hard to get out of the Christian. I have personally dealt with many young people who were once on fire but fell under this “kicked-back” view of God. Now, instead of pursuing Him, they are partying. This “unmerited freedom,” if not tackled and taken out, will spread to future generations, leaving us with millions of lukewarm Christians who have traded their passion for poison.
Sadly, some hyper-grace preachers live in sin and ease their consciences by preaching about a God who is all love and who never condemns, a God who doesn’t judge us by our conduct. Like the false teachers Jude confronted, they “turn the grace of our God into lewdness” (Jude 4). The New International Version describes such lewdness as “a license for immorality.”
But not every hyper-grace preacher is looking for a way to justify sin. Some truly love Jesus but are simply preaching truth mixed with error. They’ve taken an undeniable, glorious truth about God and presented it in such an exaggerated form that they nullify all divine warnings and even claim that the words of Jesus don’t apply to New Covenant believers. If this seems judgmental, then it’s time to honestly line everyone’s teachings—including mine—alongside the Word. Don’t just go through the Word; let the Word go through you. Why are we so afraid in this godless generation to confront fallacies?
These hyper-grace teachers rightly emphasize that we are saved by grace and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9), that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6-8), that we are no longer sinners but saints in God’s sight (1 Cor. 1:2), that God’s love for us is not based on our performance (Rom. 5:9-10), that having begun in the Spirit we can’t become perfect by human effort (Gal. 3:3), that we are now sons and daughters of God, joint heirs with Jesus (Rom. 8:15-17), and more!
But they ignore mountains of other scriptural truths and draw wrong theological conclusions. For example, they rightly teach that Jesus died for all our sins—past, present and future—but wrongly conclude that as believers we no longer have to deal with sin (meaning we never have to confess sin or repent of sin, and the Holy Spirit no longer convicts us of sin). Aren’t you tired of hearing of another backslidden brother? Trace his steps and you’ll often find he was given permission to slip away from the wonderful freedom of holiness into the bondage of humanism.
Antinomianism—long word, simple meaning. The word literally means “against law.” It’s a short jump from an overemphasis on the grace message to complete antinomianism. In practice, it means that “anything goes,” since Jesus has set us free. The problem is, Jesus didn’t set us free to sin; He set us free from sin.
Jesus died for us and broke sin’s power on our lives so that now, by the Spirit, we can live out the righteous requirements of the law (Rom. 8:1-4). Yet purveyors of this poisonous teaching fail to realize that Jesus calls us beyond the requirements of the law in His teaching, stating, for example, that adultery refers to adultery of the heart and not just the physical act (Matt. 5:27-28).
God’s perfect, holy, glorious law is not the problem. Sinful flesh is the problem. Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go. Sin will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay. And sin will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay. Sin will promise you everything but leave you with nothing. Sin will love you for a season and curse you for eternity.
For all the antinomians out there who believe “anything goes,” the question is, where do you end up?
4) Deification of Man
Many false teachings today start with man rather than with God. In contrast, when Paul laid out the gospel message in Romans, he started with God and then went to man: God is holy and we are not; He is righteous and we are not; we are under His judgment and in need of mercy, and that mercy comes through the cross.
Today’s gospel, especially in America, has a very different ring to it; rather than being all about God, it’s all about me. Just as the American way is to make everything bigger and better, the American gospel says that Jesus came to make you into a bigger and better you. That is not the gospel!
Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).
We are in grave danger worldwide as millions upon millions gaze upon man rather than God. Just take a look at our political system. Words like messiah, lord, savior and anointed one are tossed around like candy. I cringe at heaven’s response. This is a setup for the Antichrist; as we become so accustomed to worshipping man, it will be a simple maneuver for the Antichrist to move into position.
5) Challenging the Authority of the Word
The challenging of God’s authority goes back to the Garden of Eden, starting with the serpent’s challenge to Eve: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). This satanic challenge was twofold: First, did God really say that? And second, God didn’t really mean what He said. After all, you won’t die if you eat from the tree (vv. 1-5).
That twofold challenge continues to assault us today. Best-selling authors tell us the biblical text isn’t reliable, that the biblical manuscripts we have in our possession are hopelessly contradictory, and that we can know little or nothing about the real, historical Jesus. Other authors tell us that the Bible is no more than a collection of religious traditions and that God Himself is nothing more than a religious myth.
For the most part, though, the challenge to the authority of the Scriptures is subtler, and some of it flows out of the deification of man, which says, “The Bible must live up to my standards. I will judge the God of the Bible based on my morality rather than the God of the Bible judging me based on His morality.” In short, when the Scriptures contradict our feelings and preferences rather than crucify our feelings and preferences and bow down before God and His Word, we question God’s Word.
6) Rejecting Hell
Nowhere is this questioning of God’s Word seen any more clearly than when it comes to the subject of hell and future punishment. And because we preach an imbalanced gospel—emphasizing God’s love and ignoring His wrath, emphasizing His mercy and ignoring His justice—we no longer have room for hell and future punishment in our theology.
Why did Jesus use such strong language in talking about the fire of hell and about people weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth (see Matt. 8:12)? And why did He teach that “it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:29)? And why do other New Testament writers warn us repeatedly about the wrath to come (see Eph. 5:1-6)?
It’s one thing to debate the exact nature of the future punishment that awaits those who reject the gospel. It’s another thing to downplay or eliminate it. Whatever legitimate debate we may have on the precise nature of the coming judgment, this much is clear from the Word: it will be irreversible, dreadful and of eternal consequence.
Revelation 20:11-15 clearly warns about the coming Great White Throne Judgment. Yet modern-day heresy teachers have taken it upon themselves to erase the judgment. The result, if believed and followed, will be too devastating to mention.
7) Universal Reconciliation
Universal reconciliation promotes a get-out-of-jail-free mentality—that in the end, everyone will make it into heaven because of Jesus’ death on the cross. (In contrast, universalism teaches that all paths lead to God.) There may be future suffering, but it will be purging rather than punishment, and ultimately everyone will be saved.
Proponents of universal reconciliation point to verses that teach that God reconciled “all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). And they point out that just as in Adam all die, in Jesus all will live (Rom. 5:12-21).
What would you say if someone attempted to persuade you that Adolf Hitler was in heaven? “Abomination!” you would scream. “You’re deranged!” Yet that’s a sample of the fundamental false teaching of this layer of “avalanche snow.” Added to other layers mentioned previously, we will find the believer’s foundation deteriorated, and when the storms come, the house will come crumbling to the ground.
During this season when we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, let’s determine to glorify Him by staying pure. A gentle breeze of false teaching has become a strong wind of serious error, some of it downright heretical, and a storm of doctrinal deviation has become a massive deadly whiteout. Amid this whiteout, stay committed to His teachings. Don’t permit any false teaching to subtly weave its way into your life, bringing down an avalanche that could destroy everything you hold so dearly. I won’t let it happen. Not in my lifetime and not in yours.
I urge you to open your heart and read Spiritual Avalanche. Revelation will be imparted from its pages. This 30-minute, full-color vision shook me to the core. I wept as I saw it and wept as I wrote the book. I love the church and will do everything possible to prepare her to meet the Groom. She isn’t ready, but she will be!
Yes, Jesus said in the last days even the elect could be deceived. But not you! You’re too smart for that!
Steve Hill is founder of Heartland World Ministries Church in Dallas. He is widely known for preaching the uncompromising message of Christ throughout the world.
More resources relevant here:
Max Lucado – In his book, In the Grip of Grace, his humorous illustration on page. 116 in chapter “Grace Works”.
Walter Kaiser Jr. – In the Book, Five Views on Law and the Gospel, read his article, “The Law As God’s Gracious Guidance For The Promotion of Holiness.” P.177 onwards.
This Bible Study was prepared by Duke Jeyaraj, the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission (G4 Mission).
WHO IS DUKE & WHAT IS G4 MISSION?
Duke is a full-time, itinerant, presenter/writer of Truths from the Bible to the Google Generation (the presentday people, the Youtube Youth, the Facebook Folks, the Twitter Troupe) who operates from out of his base in Hyderabad, India, and is someone who ministers cutting across denominational or organizational barriers.
He founded Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna (hell in Greek) Mission (G4 Mission) in February 2006 to creatively reach out to the Google Generation. This ministry, which Duke n his wife work for full-time, is supported by individual Indians who have been blessed by his preaching and writing ministry, and NOT by any particular organisation or group.
For more info about G4 Mission – it’s message and ministry – please check out www.googlegeneration.in & www.thedaysofyouryouth.com, the two official websites of this mission.
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