Posts Tagged ‘Joel Osteen’

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Luke 9:23-26

I spend most of my time addressing issues related to the Hebrew Roots Movement and the SDA organization, but this one has been heavy on my mind this week.  The success of the prosperity-thinking/positive-speaking gospel has taken in many more people than the law-based cults could ever dream of, although strangely enough, it has very close ties to Old Covenant thinking.  Doing something (insert any “work” or incantation exercise here)  to be blessed in health and wealth were indeed the promises of the Sinai Covenant, and the only promises I might add.  No provision for eternal life came with it, and you don’t hear much about that within prosperity circles either.

I have heard one distraught evangelist who has recently been to Nigeria.  He reports that we have exported this message via “Christian” television to the point that he couldn’t find any church there which had not been affected by this falsehood.  He said they look at the prosperity of the American preachers on television and can’t see any way that what they are teaching couldn’t be true.  This man said he spent all his time there simply reading what Jesus had to say about seeking money.  The details he related were horrifying and heart-breaking.

When Jesus’ disciples came to ask Him what the signs would be for the end of the age, the first thing Jesus warned them about was spiritual deception.  He said, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’, and they will lead many astray.  Matt 24:5.  I used to think this meant there would be multiple cases of antichrists running around claiming to be Jesus.  I now believe it means that many will come claiming that Jesus is the Messiah, yet deceive many.  This is so true in our time.  If you started making a list, you would run out of ink before you ran out of names.

What is the true path?

Jesus invites us to share His cross and walk a narrow road, not just camp out there.  He promised the world would hate us as it hated Him.  The abundance He offers is freedom from condemnation and victory over the chains of sin.  In Him we no longer fear death, because we have already died.  His gives peace, which is not as the world gives, and joy.  He promises to be with us and in us always through every situation.  He promises to discipline those He loves, to prune away things in our lives that derive their strength from ourselves and not Him, both “good” and bad.  He promises all this now, and your best life to come, if you do indeed belong to Him.  Romans 8:9 says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

The Glittering Alternate Route

Throughout scripture, we see the adversary often chooses to entice people with their best life now, as defined by that which pleases the senses and satisfies our pride.  If someone is promising you can have your best life now, by earning God’s favor in your own goodness or positive attitude, who are they following?  If someone offers the true blessings of God’s children, to all people, without respect to their relationship with Jesus Christ, who are they following?

I have seen a stadium full of people, nodding in agreement to this “gospel” without the real Jesus being presented, or any part of the Word of God  in the message.  At the very end, everyone was invited to come have Jesus, to add Him to their already great life, because the speaker had assured them they were all very good people already.  If someone had come into that stadium knowing nothing of Jesus Christ, and they had accepted the invitation, they would still at that point have had no idea who He was, what He said, why He came, or what He asks of us.   Jesus was just the icing on the cupcake… and was going to give them everything they wanted.

This makes my heart sick, not only for the people who are not seeing Jesus as THE way THE truth and THE only life, but also for the name of Christ who suffered so much agony for us – so much so that we could never begin to understand the magnitude of the sacrifice He made.  In return we don’t want to sacrifice anything at all, but instead to be blessed in the things of this world.

A pastor in communist Romania took his youth group to the zoo.  He showed them the lions and asked them if they were willing to follow Jesus.  He told them what their own futures could hold, and asked them to count the cost.  We don’t hear sermons too often on Romans 12:1,2 where Paul asks us to give what is reasonable… ourselves, as a living sacrifice.

This brand of deception never appealed to me after I came to Christ.  But as we were priding ourselves in rejecting this one, we were falling for a different one.  The enemy has a flavor designed just for you, don’t worry.   Jesus warned us all in the Matthew passage, “don’t let anyone lead you astray.” My plea is for all who are seeking God to avail themselves of the Word of God and not man.  If you follow a man, you may indeed get what he promises, not just your best life now, but possibly your only life.  Deception is a test to see if we love the truth enough to find it.  (2 Thess. 2) Jesus IS the Truth.  Find Him.


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