Bible reads, beginning in verse number 1, "I charge thee therefore before God and the lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
The bible here is prophesying of a day when people will not want be reproved. They don't want to be rebuked, they don't want to be told anything negative, they will have itching ears and they will heap to themselves teachers that will tell them fables, things that aren't true, they will tell them what they want to hear. Now go back, if you would, to first Kings, chapter 22, and I want to show you an old testament story that illustrates this very well.
First Kings, chapter 22, and in this story, we see that King Jehoshaphat who's the King of Judah is going to team up with the King of Israel, and at this time, the King of Israel was a very wicked and ungodly man, the nation of Israel was an ungodly nation, and Jehoshaphat is constantly being rebuked by the prophets of the lord for having anything to do with Israel and for teaming up with the king of Israel and for doing these types of things, but in verse 1 of First Kings 22, that's the situation where Jehoshaphat finds himself.
It says in verse 1, "They continued three years without war between Syria and Israel," verse 2, "And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said unto his servants, 'Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?' And he said unto Jehoshaphat, 'Wilt thou go with me to battle Ramothgilead?' And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, 'I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.'" The king of Judah here is disobeying the lord by teaming up with the king of Israel to go on this military campaign. Later, he's rebuked by Jehu, the son of Hanani, who says to him "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from the lord thy God."
This teaming up with the king of Israel brings wrath upon Jehoshaphat because Jehoshaphat, even though he's a godly man ruling over a godly nation in Judah, is yoking up with the wrong people here and helping the king of Israel, which is a bad person, but let's read the story here. It says in verse 5, Jehoshaphat, remember he's the one who's a godly man, "Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, 'Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.'" He's trying to be a good influence on the king of Israel, and it says "Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, 'Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear?' And they said, 'Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.'"
The king of Israel produces 400 prophets of the lord who all have this really positive message telling him he's going to succeed and he's going to prosper and everything's going to be great, but Jehoshaphat could tell that there was something wrong with this preaching, and that's why even though 400 prophets are there, Jehoshaphat says in verse 7, "Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?" Can we have 401? Isn't there 1 more that maybe we could listen to? "And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, 'There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.'" That's because you're a bad person, but he's just saying "Oh this guy doesn't say anything good to me, he says evil things to me."
"Jehoshaphat said, 'Let not the king say so,'" verse 9, "Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, 'Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.' And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, 'Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou has consumed them.' And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand." And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, 'Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.'
And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak," and of course, if we read the rest of the chapter, he gives a negative message. He tells him "No, you're going to be destroyed. You're going to be killed." He doesn't say it in so many words but that's the gist of the message that he gives, so here we see 400 men that are willing to preach a positive message even when there's really nothing positive to report from the lord. Wicket nation, wicked king, but 400 men are willing to preach a positive message just because that's what people wanted to hear, that's what the king wanted to hear.
They try to do the same thing with Micaiah, the officer that brings him, says to him "Look, 400 men have preached a nice message. Why can't you just preach the same way, just preach something good today, we know what you're like, don't be that way," and he just says "You know, I'm just going to preach the truth. I'm just going to preach what God tells me to preach," but we're living in a day where many people want to hear a positive only message. We're out soul winning yesterday in Prescott Valley, and I knock on this lady's door and I was really friendly to her, invited her to church and asked her if she knew for sure that she's going to go to heaven when she dies, and she said, "Oh yes, I know for sure."
She went to Presbyterian church. I said "How do you know that you're going to go to heaven?" She said "Well, just because I'm a good person. I do good things, I live a good life, I'm a good person," and I said "Well, do you have a second? I just like to show you what the bible says how to be saved because it's a little bit different than that." She said "Oh I don't have time." I said "Okay, well I'll just leave you with one verse then," because whenever people don't have time to hear the gospel, I always just leave them with one verse because at least then, I'm planting a seed, give them something to think about, and 99% of people will at least listen to one verse and then you can leave them and you've at least accomplished something by giving them that one thought.
The verse that I decided to leave with her was Romans 3:10 because she's saying there, telling me "I'm a good person. I live a good life," so I just said "Well, let me just leave this one thought with you." Romans 3:10 says "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." Right after that says "There's none that doeth good, no, not one," and I said "Jesus said there's none good but one, and that's God," so according to the bible, none of us really ... She said "Well, speak for yourself, but I live a really good life. I am a good person," and I said "That's not what the bible, that's not what Jesus say. According to the bible, we deserve hell, but if we just believe on Jesus Christ, we ..." She yelled at me and said this. She said "Oh well, thanks a lot. That's a really uplifting message you gave me. That was really uplifting verse from the bible," and slammed the door.
You know what? It is uplifting to Jesus. It doesn't lift you up, it lifts Jesus up because the verse I quoted said that Jesus said "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, and that's God." You're not good. God's good. Jesus is good. You need to be saved, but people don't want to hear that message because it's not uplifting, because they do not want to lift up God, they don't want to lift up Jesus, they don't want to lift up the gospel, "Lift me up. I want to be lift up." The bible says "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." If you lift yourself up, if you exalt yourself, you'll be abased, you'll be humbled. God will bring low those who are proud, and that's just pride when you stand there and say "I'm going to heaven because I'm such a good person.
I was very friendly. My soul winning partner can testify that I was very friendly, I was smiling the whole time, I was trying to be gentle and nice, just showing her a couple of verses about how there's none righteous, we're all sinners, and she just angrily shouted at me and shut the door because it wasn't uplifting, and that's what people are looking for today. It doesn't matter whether it's true, just tell me something uplifting. It doesn't matter what the bible says, it doesn't matter what it does for the lord Jesus Christ, just tell me something positive. Go to Isaiah chapter 30, Isaiah chapter number 30. People are looking for a positive message, the proof is Joel Osteen.
Joel Osteen preaches to a crowd of tens of thousands of people, and not only does preach to a crowd of tens of thousands of people, I know I go out soul winning all the time and people say "Oh I watch Joel Osteen." You say "Hey, do you go to church anywhere?" "No, but I watch Joel Osteen." He's popular, he's everywhere. Now amongst our crowd, he's a laughing stock, but honestly, there are a lot of people out there who take him seriously, and you know why he's so popular? Because he'll always lift you up. It's always positive. He'll always tell you something nice. He'll always prophesy good concerning you, but look what the bible says in Isaiah chapter 30 verse 9. "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits."
Go to chapter 56 of Isaiah. Chapter 56 of Isaiah, beginning verse number 10, it says "His watchmen are blind." Now can you imagine a blind watchman? What's a watchman? Basically, a watchman is like a security guard or somebody who's stationed to guard a city, guard a wall, guard a tower, guard a military installation, whatever, and so it says his watchmen are blind. Now remember, God told Ezekiel that he had set him a watchman to warn people of the judgment to come, to warn people of their sins and the consequences of their sins, and to warn the house of Judah and the house of Israel, so it says here "His watchmen," meaning God's watchmen, "Are blind." It says "They are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." Basically, the picture here is of a security guard sleeping on the job, a blind man as a security guard, or a dog as a watchdog that is unable to bark.
Some dogs have had a surgery done or something where they can no longer bark. Imagine that as a watchdog. Now in my opinion, the best that a dog is good for is just to bark, to make noise, and by the way, look up every time a dog is mentioned in the bible. There's a lot of negative mentions of dogs, and you know why I'm a little negative about dogs right now? Because I was out soul winning all day yesterday and dogs were barking at us and chasing us everywhere we went, and you're trying to get people to gospel, dogs are barking ... They work as a security guard, and by the way, here's my pet peeve. When people can't control their dog. You knock on the door, out soul winning, they come to the door and they're like wrestling their dog. "Can I help you?" You're like "Yeah, I just want a ..." "I cannot talk right now. I'm trying to ..."
Who's ever been to a door like that when you're out soul winning? It's like why do you have a dog that you're not capable of holding down? What if this dog turns on you some day? Get your dog under control, but anyway, as I knew with the ... But to me, that's what a dog is good for. Why do I have a dog? Because I needed a watchdog. People are trying to break in to my house a few times, I tried getting an alarm, tried getting cameras, put out menacing signs, and the only thing that worked was to get a dog because the dog barks and people leave, so that's what a dog is good for. He's saying this is like a dumb dog that can't bark. The enemy comes and it's just like ... There's no noise, there's no effect, and God is saying this about preachers.
He's talking about an ignorant preacher in verse 10. He's talking about a blind preacher, a dumb preacher. Not dumb meaning foolish, but dumb meaning he doesn't have the voice to bark and warn at the enemy approaching. "Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough," and by the way, the love of money is the root of all evil. Greedy dogs. That's why they're not barking, that's not why they're preaching, right? "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink," and listen to this really positive message. "To morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
You know what? Today is a great day, isn't it, beloved? Isn't today a wonderful day? It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Hello, neighbor. Thank you for coming to The Faithful Word Baptist Church. Isn't it a beautiful day today? You know what? Tomorrow is going to be even better than today, and it doesn't even matter what you do, it doesn't even matter what our country is doing, it doesn't even matter how you live your life. You're a drunk, you're living in fornication, you're committing adultery, you know what? Isn't God good, though? Why focus on all that negative stuff? Isn't he good? Isn't it just good to be at church?
That's what the picture is that's being painted here of a preacher who's supposed to be warning people, he's supposed to be telling people of the dangers and he's supposed to be telling people of the coming judgment of God, and instead, he's just telling them "Hey, you know what? Today's great and tomorrow's going to be even better. Pass the wine. Pass the alcohol and let's just eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow, we die, all right?" Look what the bible says in James 4, because by the way, Jesus was a man of sorrows, and listen to this from Ecclesiastes 7 verse 3, "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better."
Now the bible has a lot of good positive things to say about laughter and joy, but it also has some good things to say about sorrow, and there's a time for sorrow, and there's a time to be negative. Now I can't stand people that are negative all the time, but you know what? I can't stand people that are positive all the time either, and they can never get negative when it's time to get negative. We need both. I'm not up here preaching this morning saying "Hey, we need negative preaching all the time, it's all hell fire and damnation." What I'm trying to say is that we need to preach the whole counsel of God and that we need to preach the positive and the negative, and not just be a positive only preacher because you're turning the truth of God into a lie.
When you just only talk about the positive, then it's no longer really true because there's a balance of truth in the bible, you can't preach heaven without preaching hell. You can't preach joy without preaching sorrow. You've got to preach both. You say "Well, you're preaching too much old testament." Okay, let's go to the new testament then. James chapter 4 verse 8 says this. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." The bible is teaching you here that there's a time when we do need to have sorrow, when we ought to be mourning.
You say "Well no, I just want to be happy all the time. I just want to be positive all the time," but that's not reality, that's not life. That should not be our goal, to just be happy all the time, happy everyday, joyful, no, because there's a time when we need to mourn, when we need to weep, when we need to be sorry for something, and the bible teaches that both are necessary. Go to second Timothy chapter 4 where we started, second Timothy chapter 4 verse 1. The bible says "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine."
Now notice those 3 words there in verse 2. He says reprove, rebuke, exhort, and to reprove means to tell somebody that they're wrong. That's what a reproof is, it's when you correct someone and tell them that they're wrong. You say "Well what's the difference with rebuke and reprove because he says reprove, rebuke." Rebuke is the same thing except it's more stern. It's a little bit harsher, it's a little bit more forceful than a reproof. A rebuke is taking it to the next level of reproof, and then it says exhort, which is to try to get someone to do something that they're not doing. To exhort, and then it says "With all long suffering," so we should be patient with people and loving and understand that different people are different levels of growth. We should have a long suffering and not expect everybody to be perfect and not expect everybody to just overnight become a perfect Christian.
He says "Do with long suffering, and do with doctrine." Teach people. Don't just get up and yell "You need to do what I say." No. Teach it from the bible so that they can be reproved from the bible and understand why they need to make changes in their own life based upon the word of God, so he's saying "Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine," and what he's saying there is that the temptation is going to be there to stop doing it when it becomes unpopular. You need to do it because the "Time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts," their own lusts or their own desires. They want to hear what they want to hear. He says "After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."
Now what is the word "Heap" mean in the bible? Whenever you see the word "Heap" in the bible, it means a huge quantity. It's a giant pile of something is a heap. Now I never really hear people say this in America, but people from Australia, they'll say "Oh yeah, heaps of ..." They'll talk about, instead of saying a lot of something, they'll say "Oh yeah, heaps of time," whatever. I don't know why they say that but they say the word "Heaps" all the time, but we don't really say that, but that's what it means. To heap up something is to make a huge pile of something, so what this tells me is that someday, there are going to be a lot of preachers that are going to tell people what they want to hear. There are not just going to have Joel Osteen or Rick Warren. No, they're going to "Heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." There are just going to have heaps upon heaps and piles and piles.
You see that story that we looked at where there were 400 prophets that would tell people, I promise you, you can find 400 positive only preachers in Phoenix alone, easily. Forget America, forget Arizona, just in Phoenix, you could find 400 positive only preachers. Now the thing that's so deceptive about positive only preachers is that a lot of what they're saying is right, but it's only half the story, so you'll go to one of these positive churches and listen to what they're saying. I've never sat through a Joel Osteen message, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if you sat down and watch a Joel Osteen, I'll bet you, a lot of what he says is true. A lot of positive good things, I'm sure he has lies mixed in, but I'm sure that there are some of his messages that are probably all true because there are some positive things in the bible.
There are a lot of nice things and good things, and the gospel is good news, and so there are a lot of positives, but the thing that's so deceptive about positive only preaching is that they're telling you the truth, but it's not the whole truth, and it's deceptive because it gives you a false impression of who God is and it doesn't warn you about what you need to be warned about. The problem with most preachers, just remember this, the problem with most preachers is not what they say. It's what they don't say. That's the problem. It's not that the dog is barking too much, it's that the dog isn't barking enough. It's that the dog is not warning of the enemy, so the problem is that preachers today want to be popular, they're greedy, and so they'll give a positive only message, but look, you say "Well I'm not a pastor." Go if you would to Jeremiah chapter 6.
Here's the thing about it, though. We need to be careful. Forget preaching or being a pastor. We need to be careful just as Christians that we don't get into this mentality of "Hear no evil, see no evil, just don't tell me anything negative, I only want to hear that which is positive" because that's the way a lot of people are today. Now again, out soul winning yesterday, I ran into many people like that. Not only just that lady who said "Well you're not uplifting me when you're telling me that I'm a sinner. You're not uplifting me when you tell me that Jesus is the only one that is without sin and that is good in the eyes of God," but not only that, I was talking to this other guy and any time I said anything negative, this guy just shut off. "Woah, woah."
I remember when I was a teenager, going to these liberal NIV preaching churches, they were the rock and roll type, new evangelical type churches, I remember that literally, no criticism of any other religion was ever allowed. If you just said some remark, something negative about Mormonism, something negative about Catholicism, something negative about any other religion, they would just "You need to stop judging and you're being too ..." It's fine because you try to tell people sometimes, you try to tell them like "Did you know that the Mormons believe that there's a multitude of gods, and that there are people living on other planets, and that if there are really good Mormon, they could be their own god of their own planet," and they're literally just like "Well I don't know anything about that. I don't know anything about that." You're like "Well yeah, but I'm telling you about it."
"No, no, I don't care about that. I just have a personal relationship with Jesus, man, and that's all I need to worry about. I don't need to know what the Mormons are doing, I don't need to know about the ... Don't tell me that," and they don't want to hear, and literally, I was talking to this guy yesterday, and he was this "No negative. It's all just my personal relationship," and I was trying to tell him that he wasn't saved because he's telling me that the reason that he's saved, this is why he was saved, because he quit doing heroine and crystal meth, and he turned from all that.
He said "That's what you have to do to be saved. You just have to turn from all your sins, repent of all your sins, and have a personal relationship with Jesus," and he said "Man, that personal relationship with Jesus, something you got to work on everyday. You work on it everyday," but it's not works, but you work on it everyday, but it's not works, because I said "Well that's work salvation." He's like "No, no, no, it's not works. You work on it, but it's not works," and then it's like "Oh, you just have to turn from all these sins and everything," so I was trying to show in the bible that we're all sinners, we all sin everyday, and if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, the truth is not in us, there's not a just man upon the earth that doeth good, and sinneth not, and here's what's funny.
I told this guy, because he didn't want to hear anything negative, nothing negative about any other religion, about anything, and I told this guy, I said "It's funny because I said you think that you're going to go to heaven because you quit being addicted to heroine, but I never even started taking heroine, so do I get a free ticket into heaven?" If you go out and become a heroine addict and then turn from that, that'll get you into heaven, right? What about all the people who never started taking heroine? I'm sick of people going around and bragging about their testimony about "I lived such a wicked life, and I was on drugs and I was a gangster and I shot people, but I've been delivered of all it," "Oh you come speak at my church and give that testimony about how you turned from all of your sins."
I'm more impressed by the guy who never shot people, the guy who never took drugs, the guy who never even started on heroine, and you know what? If that's your past, where you used to be a drug addict and you used to do all those things, you know what? Praise God for that, but don't go around bragging about it, because you know what? That's not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is about Jesus, not about you. It's not about you. "Oh let me just tell you about ... God gets all the glory, but let me tell you how I turned from all my sins and," no, no, no. Let's talk about the cross. Let's talk about Jesus dying on the cross and how he was buried, and 3 days later, rose again.
Let's talk about how the only reason you're going to heaven is because of Jesus and what he did, and the way that you get saved is by believing in Jesus, not by cleaning up your life, not by turning over a new leaf, not by turning from a life of sin, and by the way, there are people who get off of heroine all the time and has nothing to do with Jesus. It's called a 12 step program. It's called alcoholic synonymous. It's called narcotic synonymous, and you know what? Some people just get sick of that lifestyle and they turn from it. That's not going to get them into heaven, my friend. It's not turning from ... Well first, you got to go out and do a bunch of really bad sin. That way, you can turn from it, then you have a really good testimony. You know what my testimony is? I believed in Jesus and I'm saved.
"Oh that's not that exciting." I think it's very exciting, but the thing is, he wanted to take credit for his salvation saying "It's something I work on everyday. It's a personal relationship," and whenever people hit me with this personal relationship thing, by the way, relationship is a word that's never found in the bible. Whenever people hit me with this, I always say to them this. I say "Well you know what? I have a relationship with my wife, right?" Does that take work to have a good relationship with your wife? Absolutely. Does it take work to have a good relationship with your husband? Effort? Of course. What happens if I stop putting forth the effort and start having a really bad relationship with my wife? Am I still married? What if my wife and I just ignored each other for days. Would we still be married? Absolutely, but there's not joy there, there's not fellowship there.
It's the same thing with the lord Jesus Christ. If you believe on the lord Jesus Christ, you're saved. Now if you want to have a good relationship with the lord Jesus Christ, that's going to take a lot of work, that's going to be a daily thing, but whether you do or you don't, you're still saved because you believed on Jesus, because it's a status that doesn't change. You're begotten again. You're born again. You're a child of God, and just as if my children disobeyed me, are we going to have a good relationship? No. They're going to be disciplined, but are they still going to be my children? Am I still going to love them? Of course. It'd be like if my children said "Well in order to stay in this household, I have to have a personal relationship with my dad." "How do I get into this family? How do I become an Anderson child and live in your home?"
"All you have to do is have a personal relationship with my dad, and it's something that I work on everyday, and if I didn't have this personal relationship with my dad, I'd no longer be his son anymore." Think about how ridiculous that is. No, guess how you get into a family. You're born into it. Guess how you're born into it. By faith, not works. It's by believing in Jesus, you're born into the family, and then a relationship is optional. Now if you don't have the relationship, your life's going to be miserable because God's going to punish you and God's going to judge you, and if you do have the relationship, then things are going to go well for you because God's going to bless you. Not saying you're not going to go through trials and tribulations.
The bible says "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but out of them all, the lord delivers him and there's joy unspeakable and full of glory. If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have joy, our joy is full." That's a difference there between being married and having a relationship with my wife. Difference with being a child and having a relationship with your parents. Difference with being saved and having a relationship with the lord. Being saved is faith. Relationship with the lord, work everyday. Work at it, hard work, but this guy, he didn't want to hear anything negative, and it's funny how people just close their eyes. "Oh you're right. The Mormons, they love Jesus."
We talked to another guy. He told us "Oh the Jews, out soul winning yesterday." He said "I used to practice Judaism," and he said "You know what? The Jews love the lord, and they're looking for a messiah," he said. "They're looking for the messiah. They love the lord, they're looking for the messiah, and they believe the old testament," and I showed him where Jesus said, if they believe Moses, "You would have believed me, for he spake of me, but if you believe not his writings, how can you believe my words?" I said "Well according to the bible here, the bible says that if you don't believe in Jesus, you don't believe in Moses," because Jesus said "If you believe in Moses, you would have believed me." He said "Well I still think they believe in Moses."
Here's what Jesus said. Jesus said "If you would have believed Moses, you would have believed in me, for he spake of me, but if you believe not his writings, how should ye believe my words?" "Well I still think that they believe in Moses," and he said "All this doctrine and attacking other religions, we just need to just focus on Jesus," but that's what's popular today and that sounds good, that rolls off everybody's tongue. "Just talk about Jesus. Just talk about the Gospel." You know what? Don't tell the Jews that they're not saved and they're looking for the Antichrist. They're looking for the devil. You mean they're looking for a messiah? You know what they're looking for a messiah? Because they didn't like the one that God gave them. God gave them the real one and they don't like, so we're looking for ...
"I'm looking for God. You want to look in here?" "No. I'll look somewhere else. I'll look in the kabala. I'll look in the Talmud." It just amazes me how people just "Hey don't criticize any denomination. Don't tell me the Mormons are worshiping other gods, don't tell me that people are bowing down and kissing the pope's big toe as a greeting, don't tell me that the Mormons believe in people on other planets, don't tell me that the Jews have rejected the lord Jesus Christ and spit on the ground 3 times every time they mention his name, don't tell me anything negative, I don't want to hear it, don't tell me that that long haired hippie on Duck Dynasty is not really saved because he believes in Baptism to be saved, because he's church of Christ and he believes you're going to lose your salvation and he believes that salvation's by works, don't tell me that.
I just want to put them all over Facebook and talk about what a great Christian he is, and he's just so wonderful that somebody's on TV, standing up for Jesus," but it's the wrong Jesus, my friend, because the church of Christ is a false religion that tells you that you have to work your way to heaven. Speak in tongues to be saved. Be baptized to be saved. Look, why doesn't anybody want to just hear the truth anymore? It doesn't matter whether it's positive or negative, in season, out of season, good, evil. If it's the truth, it's the truth, and you know what? If I'm wrong, I want to be told that I'm wrong, and if I'm right, I want to be told that I'm right, but I don't want to go to somebody who's just going to tell me I'm right even when I'm wrong. You can't trust people like that. Just the "Yes man," just tell you everything you want to hear but just make the check out to faithful word, and I'll tell you whatever you want to hear.
Is that what people are looking in a church today? "I'll make you tingle." Is that what people are looking for? Music that'll make you tingle, preaching that'll make you tingle. It's not going to tingle, it's going to burn when you come here, but I'm just telling you the truth today. This is bible preaching, and look, I'm not all negative all the time, but sometimes, we need a negative sermon. Yes, we need to talk about the good news, that Jesus paid it all. Yes, we need to talk about the good news that salvation's a free gift, but we also need to talk about the bad news that the devil's going around telling everybody that you work your way to heaven and that it's impossible to know for sure that you can go to heaven. What about the bad news that everybody who does not believe in Jesus Christ is condemned already? That's bad news today. Needs to be warned. Somebody needs to talk about it.
Jeremiah chapter 6, look at verse 13. It says "For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace." Talking about peace is a great thing, but he's saying they say peace when there is no peace. Now it's interesting here, it says that they've healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly. Now the word "Slightly" there means deceptively, that's what that word means, slightly. Have you ever heard of people when they do magic tricks and they call it "Slight of hand" tricks? It's a different definition of slight than you're used to, because you might think of slightly as "Kind of", like "Well, they kind of healed it." No, that's not what it's saying. They've healed it slightly, meaning deceptively not in reality.
It would be like if somebody came to the doctor and they said "Oh man, you know I just have this horrible pain in my head and I don't know what's wrong with me," and it turned out they had brain cancer or something like that, and the doctor just says "Just keep taking ibuprofen until your headache goes away. If that doesn't work, take 2 more, or let me give you a stronger pain killer," instead of actually figuring out first "Hey, is there something wrong with the head here?" That would be healing them slightly. "Hey, doctor fixed my headache," and then you die of brain cancer because he didn't actually addressed the real problem of what was going on, and that's what the bible is saying about these prophets, that these preachers are healing the hurt of people slightly just by telling them it's okay.
Basically, people have real problems in their life, and then a pastor just tells them "You know what, it's okay. Everything's fine," and he makes them feel good as they keep marching down the wrong path, as they keep making a worse mess of their, as they keep treasuring up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and then as they keep on making the same mistakes and destroying their life, and just tell them "Hey, just peace. Peace bro. Just peace. Let's just talk about Jesus. Let's just talk about the good news, man. Just get freed, bro. Just free yourself from all this negativity," but you know what? The negativity is necessary, and whenever I ran into these people who just say "All we need is just positive, positive, positive," I always tell them "You know what you should do because I like this positivity thing? Remove the negative cable from your battery in your car, because it's bringing you down.
You don't need that negativity in your life. Just remove it. Just get rid of it. How about this, 2 positives. Just hook up 2 positive battery leads, but guess what? You're going nowhere because nothing works with positive, you got to have the positive and the negative. Now look, is negative only going to work? There are people out there that are negative only. There are preachers out there that are negative only, like "Oh man." They don't give any hope in their message. They don't even tell you anything good to do or how to ... It's just like "You're doomed, we're all doomed, there's no hope." Obviously, we need a message of hope that Jesus saves, that if we believe on the lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved.
We need a message that tells us "You know what? We can get people saved. Our church can grow. We can succeed. We can win people to lord. You can have a good marriage. You can raise children that are going to live for God. It's possible to succeed and prosper and do right," but you know what? We need the warning too. We need the negative too. We must have both. We must have the balance of both, and either way, you're going nowhere if you're all positive or all negative. You must have both. I think a great passage that illustrates this is Ecclesiastes chapter 3. Go ahead and turn over there, Ecclesiastes chapter 3.
I'll keep reading for you from Jeremiah 6 where we were, he said "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."
In that passage, the lying preacher, the lying false prophet just said "Peace, peace, when there is no peace," right? What did the righteous preacher say? He said "Stand in the way and ask for the old paths wherein is the good way, walk therein, and ye shall find rest unto your souls," but then they said "Well we don't want to. We don't want to do that," and then they go to the guy who just says "Peace, peace, when there is no peace." Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1 says this. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." It's not always time to be positive or be rejoicing or whatever. There's a time for both positivity and negativity.
It says there's "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep," watch this, "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Does it say "It's always dance time. It's always rejoice time. It's always happy time." That's not what it says. "A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;" watch this, "A time of love, and a time of hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Getting an overly simplistic view that says "Always positive, always the good news, always joy, always happy," and by the way, this is also an unrealistic expectation to have of your life. You need to understand that you are going to go through times of sadness and sorrow and grief, and that's okay, but a lot of people, they think that if there's a time of sorrow and sadness, they need to immediately get drugs. "Oh you're depressed? Take an antidepressant." I knew a lady whose child, her only child, died. Now when your only child dies, do you think you're going to be mourning? You think you're going to be weeping, right? This lady was given antidepressants by her doctor weeks later. A couple of weeks, 2 weeks later, "Oh, you need to get on these antidepressants."
Now wait a minute. She doesn't have chronic depression here. Her child just died, she's going through a normal grieving, mourning process, she doesn't need drugs because that's actually a healthy, normal process. When someone you love dies, you mourn for them. Now the bible does teach that we don't mourn like those who have no hope. We know that we have hope in Jesus Christ, and so I don't believe that we should just "Go down with sorrow to the grave" as Jacob said. That isn't right, to just mourn endlessly, and to just "I'm just going to be sorry for the rest of my life." No. What you do is you go through a normal mourning period. Some people in the bible that died, they mourned for them 40 days, and 40 days they put on sackcloth and mourn and were sad.
Obviously, when someone dies or when something horrible happens, the normal response is to be sad, to mourn, but you move on from that. God heals you and you move on, and then there comes a time of joy in your life, a time of rejoicing in your life, and you're happy once again and you rejoice in the lord, and you're thankful for the things that you have, but it's wrong to sit there and have an expectation of never having any sorrow, never having any mourning, and if you're sad, if you're sorry, take these antidepressants, and by the way, one of the side effects is depression, and one of the side effects is suicide. Literally, look up any antidepressant and the package insert, and in the possible side effects, depression, suicidal tendencies, violence are listed as possible side effects of the antidepressants. Go figure.
We think today "Oh I need a drug to make me happy all the time," but honestly, you just need to go through sad times. The bible said "Through the sorrow, the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better," so God's saying that things that we go through that make us sad, they actually make us a better person. Now who wants to be a better person? I want to be a better person, right? Well then that means I'm going to have to go through some times of sadness in my life. David said "It's good for me that I've been afflicted, that I may keep thy word." God uses affliction and sadness in our life to make us a better person.
Sometimes, you need to go to church and not hear what you want to hear but hear what you need to hear, and if you're one that's living in sin and you come to church and the pastor preaches on your sin, you need to hear that. You need a swift kick in the pants. You don't always need a pat on the back when you come to church. Sometimes, you need a pat on the back. Sometimes, I give you a pat on the back, you're like "What was that?" I've done it many times. I've done it many times, but let me say this, though. You sometimes need to come and get a swift kick in the pants, verbally, because of the fact that you're not right with God. There are times when I'm not right with God and I need a swift kick in the pants because we're all human, and we all make mistakes, and none of us is perfect and we're all growing, and so we need to come to a church that's not just going to build us up ...
I like to use this illustration. What if you were into sports and you're coach never said anything negative to you? Never. Have you ever been on a sports team? "You stupid blaggity blag!" That's how the coach usually talks to you. I haven't been on a sports team in many years, I barely even did any teams. I've never been big on team sports but I run around my neighborhood, I do a lot of running, and there's a soccer team that practices at the park right behind my house, and I jog laps around that park, and this soccer coach, first of all, he's ought to shave. You look at him, and he's got a big gut, and he's smoking a cigarette. He's coaching soccer which is the most physically demanding sport that there is, as far as this endurance, it's very demanding of a sport. Who's ever played a lot of soccer before? It's hard. It's tiring.
He's sitting there, smoking a cigarette, and he's yelling at these kids, and he's "What's wrong with you?" They're running laps at the beginning of practice, he's yelling out "Why are you going so slow? What's wrong with you?" I remember when I used to go to the Muay Thai gym in Chandler, which is kickboxing, and I would go there, and man, the trainer there was mean, and he would just sometimes even just ... You're doing tons of push-ups, and you're like ... Trying to crank out one more, and he'll just literally stand in front of you, just be like "Wow, you are weak. You need to get a ..." I'm not kidding. He'll just stand there, shake his head like "What?" People are literally like ... He's like "Why do you even come here if you're not going to try?" They're trying their hardest. Are you kidding? If you did well, he'd praise you, and tell you "Oh yeah, you're doing great, you're getting a lot stronger, you're doing good."
This guy was negative, but honestly, maybe that guy was a little too negative, and maybe that guy at the park, maybe him too, I don't know, but what I'm saying is, a little bit of a hypocrite, right? "Come on, run faster," but the thing is, though, if you went to the other extreme and had an all positive coach, he'd be a terrible coach. Terrible. Think about it. Any teacher in your life, whether it's your piano teacher, what if she just never tells you anything negative? You're never going to learn how to play the piano, because she has to tell you "No, you're doing that wrong. You need to ..." or "Oh, I'm sorry, piano teacher, I haven't played piano in the last 7 days since our last lesson." "Oh that's okay, don't worry about that." You'll never going to learn how to play. She has to tell you "No. I'm not going to teach you piano unless you do the work, unless you practice, unless you get something done."
The same thing, what if I just went to a boxing gym and I'm throwing punches like a 5 year old? The hammer fist is the only thing they know, and what if they just said "Man, that looks good. You are looking good. I love your intensity." No. They have to tell you "No, that's wrong. You need to throw a straight punch," and tell you "Hey, keep your elbows in. No chicken wing. You don't want to go and fight like this. No chicken wing. Keep your elbows in, keep your chin down," and tell you all the coaching, and what does the coaching sound like? "You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong, your chin's wrong, your elbows are wrong, your hands are wrong, your feet are wrong," and you're like "Thank you. Can I pay you to tell me that again next week?"
Of course you want to be told that you're wrong. Why? Because you don't want to be wrong. Because you want to do it right, and the only way to do it right is to have someone tell you that you're doing it wrong, and tell you what to change. Now think about how bad a coach he'll be if he was all negative. You just went there, he said "That's awful. Looks horrible. You look stupid." "How do I do it right?" "I don't know, but it's not what you're doing right now. What you're doing right now is not working." "Okay, what do I do?" "Just keep trying and I'll you when it looks good. It looks horrible." No, because you need the positive also saying "Hey, here's how you do it. Yup, that was a good one. Hey, you did it right that time. Good job on that one. Yup, keep doing it like that. Don't do it like that." That's what preaching is, it's coaching you.
I'm a life coach up here. I never thought I'd call myself that. It's the truth, you need both, don't you? You need the positive and you need the negative. Don't get sucked into all this positive only, but I'll just leave you with one last verse. The bible says in Matthew 4:4, turn there, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Every word. You say "Well what percentage of the bible is negative and what percentage is positive?" I've never done that exact study but there's a lot more negative than there is positive. That's just the fact. "I don't like that." Well you don't like the bible. "Well, the new testament, though." Revelation? Kind of a negative book, and if we go to any of the epistles, Paul's saying "You fools," he's like telling ...
The epistles are some harsh language sometimes to people, but look, there are a lot of wonderful positive things also, beautiful things, peaceful, joyful things, but what I'm trying to say is that we need all of it. Don't make the mistake of saying "Well I only want just the one side and not the other." Let's get the whole smorgasbord of what God has to offer, let's get the whole balanced meal, let's get the balanced nutrition of God's word, every word, and you know what? These guys that are going to preach only the positive? Turn them off because they're actually leading you astray when they do that. "But what he said was right, what he said was biblical." You're being led astray because of the omission of half the story, and then when you leave out half the story, the whole thing becomes deceptive.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word, lord, and we thank you so much for the positive and the negative, lord. We need it both. Both of it is so important to us spiritually, lord. Help us never to try to just focus only on the positive and just happy, happy, happy, joy. Lord, help us to actually just focus on reality and just loving you and actually embracing every part of your word, lord, and realizing that there's a time to love and a time to hate, and there's a time to mourn and a time to rejoice, lord. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. All right, let's sing one more song before we go.