Zechariah, Chapter number 10 in the Bible reads, "Ask ye the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain so the Lord shall make bright clouds and give them showers of rain, to everyone grass in the field, for the idols have spoken vanity and the diviners have seen a lie and have told false dreams. They comfort in vain, therefore they went their way as a flock. They were troubled because there was no shepherd." Notice in Verse 1 there, he says, "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain so the Lord shall make bright clouds." Basically what he's saying in this verse is, "Ask and you shall receive." Ask for the rain when you need it and God's going to give it to you. All throughout the Bible, that principle is found. The Bible says, "Everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that knocketh, to him it shall be opened," and so on and so forth.
The problem is, according to the Bible, we have not because we ask not. Now a lot of people, they think that prayer is just some kind of an exercise to go through. We talked in the last few weeks about religions who use all kinds of chanting and they do vain repetitions when they pray and things like that. Even amongst Baptists you'll sometimes find people that have this weird doctrine that’s been influenced by Calvinism, where they basically think that when we pray, it doesn’t really change things, it doesn’t really affect the outcome. God just has his plan and it's set in stone and we just pray in order to go through some kind of an exercise, something that he was going to do anyway, but if we ask for it and then it happens, we can somehow feel like, I guess, we got our prayer answered. What the Bible actually teaches is you have not because you ask not.
Pastor: He said in the Book of James, he said, "You lust and desire to have." He said, "You fight and war, yet ye have not because you ask not." Then he said, "You ask and receive not because you ask amiss that you may consume it upon your lust." According to the Bible, if we ask and if we're asking right, then we will receive, but if we ask according to our lust, then we're not necessarily going to receive. The Bible says in that case, we may ask and have not. The main reason why we have not, according to the Bible, is that we ask not.
A lot of people talk about how to get your prayers answered, and there have been a lot of sermons on that subject. They'll turn to scriptures like, for example, in 1 John where it says, "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." They’ll show us other scriptures that say things like that, "If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. If we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire from him." At the end of the day, one way to for sure not get your prayers answered is just to not ask for anything.
Congregation: That's right.
Pastor: You can talk all you want about the different qualifications, and they're important. I preach those sermons because we do need to realize that if we want God to answer our prayers, we need to keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. The Bible says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." We also need to understand that when we pray, we need to pray according to God's will, not according to our own lust in order to get our prayers answered. When we pray, we need to understand not to use a vain repetition, but, rather, to say it once and then move on to the next thing and not keep repeating the same thing over and over again in prayer where it becomes chanting, where it becomes a vain repetition.
At the end of the day, the biggest reason why people don’t get their prayers answered is because they're not praying. You can keep all the commandments, but if you're not asking for anything, you're not going to receive anything. "You have not because you ask not. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Everyone that asketh receiveth," meaning that God's not a respecter of persons. He'll do for one what he does for the other, but we have to ask. He says, "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain." God, why don't you just send it? No, because God wants us to ask and then he wants to give us what we ask for. He wants us to pray, and if we don’t pray, the outcome will be different than if we do pray. Praying is not just an exercise that we go through. It actually makes a difference. You are missing out on blessings from God if you're not praying.
Congregation: That’s right.
Pastor: It's that simple. There are things that God could do in your life, things that God could give you that would be a blessing to you and the people around you, but because you're not asking for them, you're missing out on those blessings. That is a fact of prayer. Look down at the Bible here. It says, "Ask ye of the Lord in the time of the latter rain so the Lord shall make bright clouds and give them showers of rain to everyone, grass and field." It's almost as if God's just waiting to do something for you. He's just waiting. He wants to show himself mighty on behalf of those that love him, but he's just waiting for you to ask.
There's even a story in the Bible where he gets frustrated with King Ahaz because he tells him, "Ask the Lord. Ask for a sign. Ask for it in the heaven above. Ask for it in in the earth deep." Ahaz said, "Well, I will not ask. Neither will I tempt the Lord my God." He said, "Wearied me." What's he saying? "I'm sick of you." That’s what it means to be wearied with someone. I'm sick of you. He said, "You have no vision. You won't ask for anything." Whereas Hezekiah, his father, he was given the chance to see a sign from God. He was asked whether he wanted the shadow to go forward or backward in the sun dial by so many degrees, and Hezekiah said, "Well, let's go for the harder miracle. Let's make it go backwards."
Pastor: I don’t know why that’s harder, but in his mind it was harder. Maybe he just thought that speeding up is easier than turning it and making it go the other way. God actually made it go backwards. There's a guy who knew what to ask for. There's a guy who went for the big miracle. He prayed to see something big happen. Even later on in his life he prayed and had other prayers answered. Hezekiah knew how to pray. Whereas Ahaz is the bad example of the guy who refused to ask and he missed out on seeing the blessings and God was frustrated with him and angry.
Look at Verse 2, "For the idols have spoken vanity." God's comparing himself with these false gods, these idols, these carved images, saying, "I can actually send the rain when you ask me, whereas these false gods, they're not able to do anything for you." There are verses like that in the Book of Jeremiah, for example, where he talks about how the false god can't send you the rain when you pray to them and do your rain dance or whatever.
It says in Verse 2, "For the idols have spoken vanity and the diviners have seen a lie and have told false dreams." Now the diviners would be some kind of a soothsayer, some kind of a fortune teller, someone who claims to be able to predict the future. He says, "They comfort in vain. Therefore, they went their way as a flock. They were troubled because there was no shepherd. My anger was kindled against the shepherds and I punished the goats, for the Lord of hosts had visited his flock, the house of Judah, and it made them as his goodly horse in the battle."
He's talking about here are these diviners and these people who were having false dreams, basically claiming that they had dreamed, claiming to be prophesying the word of the Lord, when really they're just speaking something out of their own heart. They're just making things up and saying, "Hey, this is what God told me." By the way, there are people who do that today and just say, "Hey, God told me this," or, "I had this vision," and they're actually just lying and speaking out of their own heart.
He's talking about how the people as a result were like a flock that had no shepherd. They didn’t have good leadership. God said that his anger was kindled against the shepherds, Verse 3, "And I punished the goats." Now when he talks about the goats, the Bible will sometimes differentiate people that are saved and unsaved by sheeps and goats, so the sheep are the saved and the goats are the unsaved. He's saying that these shepherds, or pastors, are not saved. They're goats. His anger is kindled at these false shepherds, these fake prophets, fake preachers who are actually not even saved, let alone a Godly leader for his people.
The word "pastor" literally means shepherd. That's what that English word means. That’s why the word "pasture" is so similar, because the pasture is where the cattle goes out to graze, and the pastor is the one who is taking care of the sheep. That’s why the Bible said, for example, in Acts 20, when Paul is talking to the pastors, he's talking to the elders from Ephesus and these places, he says to them, "Take heed unto yourselves and unto the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers." Overseer is synonymous with the word bishop. Then pastor means shepherd.
Also, the Bible talks about how the elders that rule well, he talks about, "When the chief shepherd shall appear, he will give them a crown that fadeth not away." They are the under-shepherds, pastors. I'm a pastor. I'm a shepherd of this flock, but I answer to the chief shepherd, which is Jesus Christ. Remember, the Bible said in Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want." Then in John, Chapter 15, he said, "I'm the good shepherd."
Pastor: Right? Then in Hebrews, it said, "Jesus Christ, the son of God, that great shepherd of the sheep."
Congregation: Amen. Yes.
Pastor: That’s another great proof on the deity of Christ, because in Psalm 23, David said, "The Lord is my shepherd." Then Jesus said, "I'm the good shepherd." Then Jesus in Hebrews called "that great shepherd." Not just a good shepherd; he's a great shepherd.
Pastor: That great shepherd of the sheep. He's the chief shepherd. Obviously, Jesus Christ is not physically walking and talking on this earth, so he has left us as Christians on this earth to do his will and to do his works. He said, "As long as I'm in the world, I'm the light of the world," but he said unto his disciples, he said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine that men may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven."
Jesus Christ had a certain ministry that he carried out while he was on this earth to seek and save that which was lost. Then he said to his disciples at the end of his ministry, "As the father has sent me, so send I you. You're the light of the world. You're the salt of the earth. I'm sending you now." Jesus Christ up in heaven is that great shepherd of the sheep, but down here on this earth, there are other under-shepherds, the bishops, the pastors of churches, that are basically to watch for the souls.
What is the shepherd's job of the flock? He's to lead them unto the cool waters and to lead them to the grazing grounds and to feed the flock, to oversee the flock, to guard against the wolf. Right? When the enemy comes, he's there to guard against the wolf, which in the Bible represents the false prophets, "They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." The pastor's job is to guard the flock, protect the flock, and also to feed them, not with physical food but, rather, "to feed them with God's word, to feed them and nourish them with good doctrine," the Bible says. That’s the pastor's job to do that. There are all kinds of scriptures in the Bible rebuking the pastors who are failing to do that. You'll find a lot of this preaching in the Book of Jeremiah, and then you'll find it here in the Book of Zechariah, where God is saying that his anger is kindled against the shepherds, and he's saying they're goats.
Pastor: Phony pastors. They're supposed to be feeding the flock, but instead, they're just abusing the flock, taking advantage of the flock. They're not even saved. Now just to give you a feel for this, flip over to Chapter 11. We're in Zechariah 10, but look over at Chapter 11 and look at God's anger toward the shepherds again. Remember, shepherd and pastor are synonymous in the Bible. It says in Verse 8, "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me." Now think about that. He's talking about these shepherds that are being cut off, these bad shepherds who God's anger is kindled against them. They're actually goats themselves. They're not even saved. Notice what he says about them. He says, "My soul loathed them." Now what does the word "loathe" mean?
Pastor: Now we spell this differently now. We spell this with an "a" in it like L-O-A-T-H, whereas in the Biblical spelling that "a" is not there. He says, "My soul loathed them and their soul," the pastors, "their soul also abhorred me." Now both "loathe" and "abhor" are just fancy ways of saying hate. Those are just old words. They're still not archaic words, because we do use them today. They're just not common words. We just don't really use them very often. We might sound a little snooty if we said, "Oh, I just absolutely loathe this place." It's just not the way the everyman would speak. That’s what it means to loathe or to abhor something. It means that you hate it. Here's what God's saying about these false prophets, these wicked pastors. He's saying, "I hated them and they hated me." Now imagine a pastor who hates the Lord.
Congregation: Get him out.
Pastor: Isn't that a weird thought? You say, "Well, why would you be a pastor then?" Again, this is a whole sermon in and of itself. The goal of the false prophet that I just preached about in the last few weeks when we talked about what the goal of a false prophet could be, some of them are teaching things which they ought not for a filthy lucre's sake. Some of them just want their egos stroked, and they just want to be on a power trip and have people looking up to them and respecting them and giving them all kinds of accolades. They might be in it for vainglory. They might be in it for money. Hello, Joel Osteen and these multimillionaire-type preachers who teach lies in order to get paid. Others are just pure evil people.
One thing that I wish I could get across to people sometimes is that there are just evil people in this world, and people just don’t get that. They have to say, "Well, there's just good in everyone. Everyone deep down is a good person. They're just a troubled, troubled soul." No, there are actually really just bad people who the Bible says they literally live to harm people. If you read the Book of Proverbs, it says, "They can't even go to bed at night unless they’ve caused some to fall." The Bible says, "The adulteress will hunt for the precious life. It is a sport unto some people to do evil and to do mischief."
There are people out there that are just pure evil people. It's hard for us to understand that because we're not like that, and we have a tendency to assume that everyone is like us. We tend to judge people after our own heart, but we have to trust the Bible when it warns us about these really bad, evil people. What did he say in 2 Peter 2? He said, "But there were false prophets also among the people even as there shall be false teachers among you." It's a guarantee that they're going to be there. These people hate the Lord and God says, "I hated them and they hated me." That’s the relationship these people have with God. Do you expect me to believe that there are pastors like this right now? You think it was just back then in Zechariah?
Pastor: There's nothing new under the sun. Today, there are pastors that God hates. God's up in heaven saying, "Man, my soul loathes that guy, and that guy is one who abhors me." That's what he's saying here. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, because when you look at 2 Peter, Chapter 2, it talks about how these false prophets … Let's flip over there quickly and look at it, because this is a pretty important subject. These false teachers, these guys are doomed. These guys are not just a little mixed up, they slept through a few important days of Bible college and they missed some important teachings. No, these are actually really bad people, and it's too late for these guys. They're doomed.
He talks about these guys in Verse 3 of Chapter 2, "Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you, whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not and their damnation slumbereth not." Jump down, if you would, to Verse number 12. This whole chapter is about these false prophets. "But these are natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not and shall utterly perish in their own corruption, and they shall receive the reward of unrighteousness and they that count it pleasure to riot in the daytime.
"Spots they are and blemishes sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you. Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling, unstable souls, an heart they have exercised with covetous practices, cursed children which have forsaken the right way and are gone astray following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness but was rebuked for his iniquity. The dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbade the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lust of the flesh, through much wantonness. Those that were clean escaped from them who live in error."
Now notice that in Verse 18 here, it says that they speak great swelling words of vanity. What that means is that they're using a lot of fancy theological terms or just a lot of beautiful-sounding language as they speak, but it's vanity in the sense that they're not really teaching any doctrine. You ever just listen to these preachers and they sound like they're using a lot of spiritual words, but you don’t really walk away learning anything concrete. You don’t really walk away knowing where this guy stands doctrinally. You don’t really walk away rooted and grounded in anything.
You hear a lot of swelled-up words. What does it mean to be swollen? It's a lot of hot air that’s just inflating the sermon, very little substance. It's sort of like when you buy chicken breasts and they literally will inject the chicken breast with salt water, and just make them bigger, just filler, just because you're paying by the pound. That way you're paying for salt water instead of paying for the meat that you're actually trying to get. It's a sermon that’s been just puffed up and inflated with all this fancy, holy-sounding jargon and theological mumbo jumbo, but it's actually very lean on substance.
They allure with these great swelling words where people just say, "Oh, I just love listening to so-and-so, the preacher." It's one of these guys who's making tons of money just teaching a positive-only message, one of these prosperity-type preachers. Look what he says in Verse 19, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." Now if you remember what Jesus taught in John, Chapter 8, he said to them, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." They said unto him, "We be Abraham's seed and we're never in bondage to any man," and he said, "Verily, I say unto you, whosoever committed sin is the servant of sin."
The bondage of corruption is the bondage that sin puts us in in our lives. If we live a life of sin, it puts us into bondage. These people are promising them liberty in Verse 19, but they themselves, the preachers themselves are the servants of corruption. Why? Because of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. Now what does this mean? Have you ever heard this movement amongst the new evangelical-type preaching, the non-denominational-type crowd, the positive-only preaching crowd, where they preach about Christian liberty and they say we're free in Christ?
Now obviously, there's truth in that and they're mixing the truth with a lie because of the fact that obviously, God does want us to walk at liberty and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Yes, we are free in Christ in a sense. Yes, we are free and so forth, but here's the thing about that, though. They're actually twisting that teaching into a license to sin, where they're basically saying, "Well, we're free in Christ, therefore don’t tell me what I'm doing is sinful because I'm free in Christ."
This is what they’ll say, "Don’t bring me into bondage." What they mean is, "Don’t tell me not to fornicate. Don’t tell me not to drink. Don’t tell me not to take drugs. Don’t tell me not to smoke. Don’t tell me not to whatever." They say if you do tell them, "You're trying to bring me, but we're free in Christ." This doctrine is huge amongst the non-denominational and amongst the sort of neo-evangelical crowd, the liberal-type Baptists, the Southern Baptists, and so forth, North American Baptist Convention, people like that.
I was in that movement for about 5 years as a teenager. The church that we went to went under and we were trying to find another fundamental Baptist church. My parents couldn’t really find one that they wanted to go to, so they ended up throwing in the towel for awhile and we all as a family went to these neo-evangelical-type liberal Baptist churches for five years. Then eventually, we found a great soul-winning church. We got out of there. While we were there, man, I learned this doctrine well from these people, this "Christian liberty." What they're missing is the fact that if you're living a sinful life, that’s not liberty.
Let me just explain this in a way that makes it really easy to understand of why sin brings bondage in your life.
Pastor: I think a great example is smoking cigarettes. You say, "Well, the Bible never mentions smoking." Yeah, but the Bible does mention foolishness, and sucking a chemical into your lungs 20 times a day that you know is a poisonous chemical, that would probably fall under foolishness.
Congregation: [Inaudible 00:24:05].
Pastor: Spending $7.00 a day on something that’s harming you and carcinogenic and going to bring you to an early grave, yeah, that’s foolishness. Is foolishness a sin? The Bible says the thought of foolishness is a sin. Just thinking about smoking is a sin. Right? Seriously. The Bible says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in us and that we are not our own. We're bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
[Inaudible 00:24:36]. If you rent a car, do you think they want you smoking in that car if you rent a car? Why? Because the car doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to them. What about when you rent a hotel room, do they want you smoking in there? No, they want to charge you a $300.00 fine or something if you smoke in that hotel room, cleaning fee. Why? Because it doesn’t belong to you. God says, "You are not your own. Quit smoking in my body. Quit smoking in my lungs. I own you and you're devaluing yourself and you need to be clean."
When you think about smoking, though, does smoking bring liberty to our lives or does smoking bring bondage to our lives? Do smokers wake up every day and decide, "I want to smoke today"? That would be liberty. See, liberty is when you're making choices, when you're free to decide what you want to do. When you're a smoker you don’t have liberty because you must smoke. You must waste that $7.00. You must destroy your health because you're addicted. That is bondage. You're not choosing anything. You say, "Well, I want to have freedom in my life. I want to have liberty in my life, so I'm just going to just never set an alarm clock. I'm not going to have a job because they're going to tell me what to do."
Okay, now try that lifestyle and where are you going to end up? Homeless. Now that’s not a place that people would choose to be. People don’t choose, "Yeah, I want to be a homeless person. I want to live under a bridge. I want to be in a cardboard box. I want to be dirty. I want to have no food. I want to beg every day." How do they end up there? They end up there by not wanting to set guidelines for themselves and set rules for themselves.
See, here's a good way of explaining it. Freedom is when you make rules for yourself or you choose the rules that you want to live by. See, if I choose and say, "You know what, I want to live by God's rules," that’s freedom because I choose to follow God's word. I choose to follow the word of God. Whereas the guy who has no rules for himself, he ends up coming into bondage to other people, because pretty soon the policeman comes along and says, "Hey, you can't sleep on this bench." Now you're subject to the cop's rules. "Hey, you guys got to clear out of here," or whatever, "no vagrancy allowed." You're beholden to people's charity and you're beholden to whether people are going to give you a handout that day or not.
When you're a drinker, that brings a bondage of addiction and you have to drink, you're compelled to drink, an alcoholic. Whether it's gambling, that can become a compulsion with people and become an addiction and bring bondage. Then when you get into gambling and then you go into debt, as you inevitably will, then there's a bondage associated with that, where the borrower is servant to the lender. Now you're in debt and now you're owing people money and now you're in bondage to them. All sin brings bondage into our lives, and the more that we start living by God's laws, the more liberty we're going to have in our lives, the more freedom, because we're going to find ourselves doing what we want to do, because God will change our desires also and we will desire to do what's right and desire to obey God's word. Then we're waking up in the morning and we're doing what we want to do every day.
Pastor: Every day we do what we want, which are good things, which are Biblical things. That’s what freedom feels like. Sin is an illusion that seems like, "Yeah, no rules. Woo hoo, forget God's laws." Then you go out and start doing that for awhile, and you're just like, "Woo, I'm going to go out and sow my wild oats and go fornicate. I'm going to go sleep around. The preacher is not going to tell me to wait till I'm married to do that. Man, marriage is bondage. I want to be free. Woo." Yeah, then you go out and get a disease. Oh, that’s great freedom. Syphilis, hello freedom, thy name is gonorrhea. Freedom, thy name is AIDS, syphilis, herpes.
You know what else? Then you get some girl pregnant, and then you're like, "Oh, man, what have I done?" Then it's like, "Oh, well, yeah, but you know this is my child," and she's like, "Nope, I'm going to murder it. I'm going to abort it." Did you know that if you father a child with someone, they can abort it and you don’t even have to give your consent? They can abort it without even asking you. You have no rights as the father in that situation. Then your child is being murdered against your will. Sounds freedom, sounds wonderful, sounds like liberty. Or else the baby is born and then they're going to come at you and say, "Hey, pay me child support. You fathered this bastard child. Pay me child support." Then you say, "Well, I don’t want to." Then it's going to be taken directly out of your check. Then there's a warrant for your arrest when you're not paying it.
Then you're in jail, and that’s not freedom. "Woo, I'm going to go out and party and do whatever." You go out and start drinking, then you drive drunk, you get pulled over, $10,000, DUI, 10 days in jail, $15,000 of your money wasted. You have to borrow it. Now you're servant to that. Now you're in bondage to that. You're in bondage for 10 days. The bondage goes on and on with sin. That’s where it takes you. Look at the people who live this free life, free love, and free partying lifestyle. You know what, they always end up screwing up their life and in bondage. At the end of their life, they look at the people who followed God's rules, and they wish they had that life.
Congregation: Yes. Amen.
Pastor: They wish that they had that life because they see that was where the real liberty was. See, there's a fake liberty, isn't there?
Pastor: There's an illusion of liberty that says, "Do whatever you want." No, because then you become a slave to your own lust. You become a slave to the devil. You become a slave to all kinds of people. The Bible talks about these preachers who won't preach on sin, so they allure through the lust of the flesh. They tell people what they want to hear. "Hey, it's okay to drink. Hey, it's okay to fornicate as long as you love each other. That’s all that matters, as long as you love each other. [Inaudible 00:31:09]. Hey, it's okay. We're free in Christ. Don’t be such a fundamentalist. Don’t be so old fashioned." They promise them liberty, but they themselves are the servants of Satan.
Pastor: They themselves are the servants of corruption, and they themselves are hated of the Lord and they hate the Lord. They're lying deceivers, and their whole motive is just money. It's through covetousness that they're doing this. They just want to teach things which they ought not for a filthy lucre's sake and they just destroy people's live in the process. They bring everybody into the same bondage of sin that they're in.
The preacher who loves you actually preaches against sin and tells you the truth and warns you. Not just the big swelled-up, bring-a-tear-to-the-eye sermon, but, rather, a kick-in-the-pants sermon that says, "Hey, you need to get the sin out of your life because it's bringing you into bondage. It's ruining your life. It's not always what people want to hear, but it's what they need to hear. The real pastor warns of the wolf. The bad pastor, the false prophet, he is the wolf, number one.
Congregation: Yeah, that's right.
Pastor: Number two, when he sees the wolf coming, he invites the wolf in and says, "Hey, there's no danger here. Nothing to see here, people." Yeah, free in Christ. Free in Christ doesn’t mean do whatever you want.
Go to Romans 6, if you would, Romans, Chapter 6, because the Bible talks about us having liberty, talks about how we're not under the law but under grace. People will teach it as, "Hey, we're in the age of grace and, therefore, because this is the 'age of grace,' the law doesn’t apply." The way that they interpret that is that basically we just kind of do what's right in our own eyes. Like I said, I was in this movement for many years, so I know what they teach, and many of you have been in this movement and you know what they teach.
Here's what they'll say when you try to point out to them that the Bible says that something is a sin. Whether it be fornication, whether it be long hair on a man, whether it be drinking, whether it be whatever the case may be, this is what they'll say, "Well, you know what, maybe the Holy Spirit's spoken to you about that, and in that case, it's a sin for you, but the Holy Spirit hasn't spoken to me about that, so I'm going to continue to do it." Who's ever heard something like that? Yeah, it's out there, right? "Hey, you know, that’s great. If the Holy Spirit is dealing with you about that, don’t impose that on me because we're all free in Christ."
Basically, what they say is as long as they can do something and not feel bad about it, it's okay for them. Only if the Holy Spirit talks to them about it. You know what, the Holy Spirit is talking. You're just not listening. These are the words which the Holy Ghost teaches. The Bible says, "He does not speak of himself," the Bible says. The Holy Spirit does not speak of himself. What does that mean? In John 16 when Jesus said, "The comforter is going to come, the Holy Spirit's going to come and he'll not speak of himself but he will take of mine and show it unto you." What does that mean?
Now some people have misread that and they thought it meant talk about himself. He does talk about himself because he talks about the Holy Spirit in the Bible, therefore he talks about himself. That of himself, "of" there is talking about the source of something, like when the Bible talks about things that are of the father or of the world, he's talking about the source. "I am a Paul, I am of a Paulist," they're talking about who won them to Christ, who baptized them. That was the point. It's like in Spanish when you want to say, "Where are you from?" and you said like, [foreign language [00:35:02]. Right? You're saying, "I am of the United States. That’s where I'm from."
That's what the word "of" means. Basically, what it's saying … What was I saying? Somebody help me out. You ever just go off on a rabbit tail and just …? What's that?
Congregation: The Holy Ghost doesn’t speak of himself.
Pastor: Oh, yeah, that’s right. Thank you. You try standing up here. It's harder than it looks. He's not going to speak of himself, meaning he's not going to come up with these teachings that are unique to him. You understand what I'm saying?
Pastor: He's going to take "of mine," Jesus said. Jesus is the word made flesh. He's saying he's not just going to speak of himself. He's not just going to show up with a whole new teaching, a whole new program, separate from that which the father and the son are doing. No, no. He's going to take of mine and show it to you. His ministry is to use the sword of the Spirit. Now that word "of" there is possession. The sword of the Spirit, the Spirit's sword. Like the song goes, "Overcoming daily by the Spirit's sword." The sword of the Spirit is the word of God.
Pastor: The word of God is the sword that the Spirit uses. He'll take of mine, he'll take of Christ's word and show it unto us. He said that, "The comforter or the Holy Ghost would bring all things into remembrance whatsoever I have spoken unto you." He'll bring God's word back to remembrance. He'll guide them into all truth. This thing of, "Well, the Holy Spirit hasn't spoken to me about that," that just means you didn’t read the Bible about that, because the Bible is what God uses to speak to us.
Pastor: As we read the word, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through his word. If we don't read the word, how is the Holy Ghost going to talk to us? He speaks through the word. See, every time I read the Bible, I'm not just reading a book. I'm actually reading the word of God with the Holy Ghost guiding me. That’s why we pray before we read, "Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." The Holy Spirit is our teacher, literally. He will show us things every time we read the Bible. He'll guide us into all truth.
This thing of, "Well, the Holy Spirit hasn’t spoken to me about that," no, no. Read the Bible to figure out what's right and wrong. Don’t just do something, see how it feels, and if it feels good, do it, say, "Well, you know what, I went out and committed this sin and felt fine." Maybe you're not even saved is one option with these people, that the Holy Ghost isn't even talking to you at all because you don’t even have the Holy Spirit inside you.
Even if you do have the Holy Spirit inside you, you might go out and do something that you think is okay and feel fine about it and say, "Well, you know what, brother, I have peace about that." Who's ever heard that one before? "Well, the Bible says no." "Yeah, but I have peace about it." "I don’t care whether you have peace about it, the Bible says it's wrong. The Bible says adultery. The Bible says fornication. The Bible says it's stealing. The Bible said it's …" "Oh, but I have peace about it. The Holy Spirit hasn't spoken to me about it." See how dangerous this doctrine is?
Pastor: Because it just becomes a license to sin, to just do whatever you want. Now truly, we can do whatever we want and still be saved because we have eternal life and we can never lose our salvation. Does that mean we're supposed to just do whatever we want? No. If we do whatever we want, God's going to punish us. It's sort of like my children can do whatever they want and they’ll still be my children, but if they do whatever they want, am I just going to smile and say it's okay? No, they're getting a whipping. You're getting a whipping from God if you go out and live this "free in Christ" fraud where you promise them liberty through doing whatever you want and gratifying the flesh however you want with no restraint.
Look at Romans, Chapter 6. It says in Verse 14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you for you're not under the law but under grace. What then, shall we sin because we're not under the law but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourself servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey, whether of sin under death or of obedience under righteousness." He's saying just because you're under grace, just because you're saved by grace, just because you can do whatever you want does not mean that we should sin. God forbid that we would think we should sin because we're not under the law but under grace. What's sin? The transgression of God's law, God's rules.
Go back to Chapter 5, Verse 20, "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." In Romans 5:20, it's saying the more that we sin, the more grace there is to cover our sins. Like the song in the hymnal, "Grace that is Greater than All Our Sin." God's grace is sufficient, and the more we sin, where sin abounds, grace did much more abound. Look at Verse 1 of Chapter 6, "What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid." What it's saying here is that, yes, if we continue to sin, grace will abound, but should we do that? God forbid that we would do that. Why? Because if we love Christ, we'll keep his commandments, and because we know that whom the Lord loveth, he chastens and scourges every son whom he receiveth.
False teachers and false prophets, you will often recognize their teachings by the licentiousness where everything's okay. I just saw in the news this thing that just boggled my mind where a pastor in, I believe it was Greenville, South Carolina, which you would expect to be a really conservative, straight-laced part of the country … I have family from out there, so I'm kind of familiar with that area, and it's the area of Bob Jones University and places like that. This gigantic Southern Baptist church in Greenville, South Carolina, that’s been around for a hundred and some years just came out and they said, "We're now going to start performing sodomite weddings and we're going to start ordaining sodomites into the mission."
It's a Baptist church. They're falling one after the other, the Catholics, the Methodists, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterian, where they're saying, "Come on in, homos. Come on in, sodomites." Now the Southern Baptist church in Greenville, South Carolina, the pastor, I saw a video on YouTube where the pastor is saying, "Hey, we don’t want to discriminate against you. Everybody's on their different path. No, we're following Christ and we're not going to discern between the sodomite and the …" He didn’t use the word "sodomite." He said that they were happy people. He said these people that are happy. Right? Good thing he didn’t say they were gay. Gay means happy. You know what I mean? They pervert the word of God. The Bible used the word "gay" to mean cheerful. He's saying, "Oh, these cheerful people." They're not cheerful. They're disease-filled, filthy sodomites.
Pastor: That's what the Bible calls them.
Pastor: Here's what the Bible … Let’s use Bible words, "filthy."
Pastor: He said, "Oh, we don’t want to discriminate or discern between these because of the fact that, you know, we're all on a different path and don’t judge," whatever. This guy is the exact guy of 2 Peter 2, just promising liberty, just a total servant of corruption, wicked false teacher, just this permissive, anything goes. Churches where people are just living together and they're not married. Man and woman just live together, not married, and everybody acts like it's normal. Not in this church, be thrown out of the church. First Corinthians, Chapter 5 says to cast you out.
Pastor: That's your situation. Let's go back to Zechariah, Chapter 10 and let's read a little more about this. He said, "My anger was kindled against the shepherds," which is the pastors, "and I punished the goats for the Lord of hosts had visited the flock of the house of Judah and it made them as his goodly horse in the battle." In Chapter 11, Verse 8, he said, "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month." Man, I wish he'd cut off some shepherds in America today.
Pastor: We need at least 3 this month to be cut off. I got a list for God if you want. "Take it to the Lord in prayer." I got a prayer list of some shepherds I'd like to see cut off this month.
Pastor: I got 3 for the next month after that. He said, "My soul loathed them and their soul also abhorred me." Of course, the Bible talks about reprobates who change the truth of God into a lie, that they're haters of God, Romans, Chapter 1. He said in Chapter 10, Verse 4, "Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. And they shall be as mighty men which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. And they shall fight because the Lord is with them and the riders on horses shall be confounded."
What's he talking about? He's talking about how Judah had been led by some really bad pastors that he was angry at, but now that's all going to change. He's given them some righteous preachers. He's given them Zechariah. He's given them Haggai. He's given them some great leaders, Joshua, the son of Jozadak. He's given them Zerubbabel, son of David, son of Shealtiel, and these guys are going to lead them and they're going to be mighty again and God's going to bless them.
Remember, the context of the Book of Zechariah is that this is spoken to the people that are just coming back from the Babylonian 70-year captivity. God had turned away from them, but now he's going to bless them. He says in Verse 6, "I will strengthen the house of Judah and I will save the house of Joseph," which represents some of the northern kingdom there with Ephraim and Manasseh. He says, "And I will bring them again to place them for I have mercy upon them, and they shall be as though I have not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God and will hear them." Look at the end of Verse 6, is it not saying that he did cast them off?
Pastor: He did cast them off, but he's saying, "It will be as though I had not cast them off." He's saying, "Look, I'm going to bring them back. I'm going to bless them now that they turned unto me, and it will be as if I had not cast them off." What's God saying? He's saying he's going to forgive and forget. Isn't that the great thing about God? When we sin and then when we get right with God, he actually will forgive and forget. That’s how we should be, too, with our fellow man and with our fellow church member and with our family members. When they do wrong and they repent, we should be able to let them live it down. Right? We ought to be forgiving people and understand that when people sin and get right, we need to move on.
Pastor: Not keep hanging it over their head. One of the things I hate the most about the legal system in our country, in the United States, is this thing of carrying around a criminal record. It's so unjust and it's so unbiblical to not let someone live it down. Somebody's a young person and they steal something or have drugs or whatever and they get that felony on their record and they have to carry that thing around with them for the rest of their life. It makes no sense. If they’ve already done the time, if they’ve already been punished, let's move on. "Oh, but then what if people hire them?" How else are they going to exist? How do you feed yourself without being hired? They make it impossible for these people to get a job.
Pastor: Then they go back to crime because they can't get a job because of this criminal record. Then they go down to start their own business and they can't get a contractor's license because, "Oh, you got this felony. Denied." It's very unjust, very unbiblical, criminal record. "Oh, but what about the dangerous pedophile?" They're supposed to be dead, so you wouldn’t need a criminal record for them. I'm talking about people that are thieves or drugs, drug dealers, drug users. You know what, it's wrong, it's sin, but if they did the time, it's over. When my children do wrong and they get a spanking, I don’t just bring it up the next day, "Oh, you were so bad yesterday." Let it go. Move on.
I love what God says here, "You know what, it'll be as though I've not cast them off. You know what, it's just as if you guys hadn’t ever done wrong. Why? Because you're doing right now. Let's put it behind us." God is a God of the second chance. It says in Verse number 6 there at the end, "They shall be as though I've not cast them off for I am the Lord their God and will hear them. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man and their heart shall rejoice as through wine. Yea, their children shall see it and be glad. Their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord."
There's some people who rejoice and get excited about wine. Then there are some people that get excited about the Lord and the things of that. It's sort of like if there's a Song of Solomon. The very beginning of Song of Solomon, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for thy love is better than wine." The husband-wife relationship is better than drinking. Right? Also, our relationship with the Lord is better than drinking.
Pastor: I can rejoice in the Lord as other people rejoice through wine. You know what I mean? What do you think is more exciting, drinking wine or having a walk with the God of the universe, reading the word of God? "You know, I'll choose booze." Then you're an idiot and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Pastor: I choose the Lord. I choose to be sober and to be with my spouse. That’s better to me than the drunkenness that the world offers through alcohol. Verse 8, "I will hiss for them and gather them for I have redeemed them and they shall increase as they have increased. And I will sow them among the people and they shall remember me in far countries and they shall live with their children and turn again.
"I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt and gather them out of Assyria and I'll bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon and place shall not be found for them." He said, "I'm going to bring them so many they’ll fill up that whole land. There won't even be room for them all. And he shall pass through the sea with affliction and shall smite the waves in the sea and all of the deeps of the river shall dry up and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down and the scepter of Egypt will depart away and I'll strengthen them in the Lord and they shall walk up and down in his name, sayeth the Lord."
Now this is a really positive passage about the Israelites, about the children of Joseph and the children of Judah. "I'm going to strengthen them. I'm going to sow them amongst all people. They're going to remember my name. They're going to be mighty. They're going to be increased. They're going to be saved. They're going to be redeemed. They are going to be gathered again in the land, the promised land, and they're going to be filling up the place once again." Now remember, this is before that happened, and I'm not talking about 1947-48. I'm talking this is before it happened. This is hundreds and hundreds of years before the time of Christ.
This is the Book of Zechariah. This is when they're first coming back from Babylon, and here's what God's telling them, "You know what, I am going to gather. There's only a few people here now, but more people are going to come from all land, and even the people that are in other lands, they're going to be a blessing in those lands where I'm going to sow them as seeds in those lands where they can actually be a witness for my word and preach my word and preach my name and be redeemed and be saved in those lands." God says, "I'm going to bless them. They're going to be strong. It's going to be great." What's so funny is when people will try to quote verses like this about the modern nation of Israel. "Yeah, look it, it's all prophesied right here. He's going to bring them out of all these lands and they're going to be there." It already happened. Already happened.
Pastor: Before Jesus. That’s why when Jesus came on the scene, they dwell in the land or what? When Jesus was on the scene, they're living in the land. Did they have their temple? Yeah. Did they have Jerusalem? Yeah. Okay, are they worshiping the Lord or are they worshiping idols? Worshiping the Lord. Okay. Then, of course, the Pharisees and the Sadducees came in and screwed everything up with their false teaching.
You can't just take scripture out of context and just time warp this into the 20th century, because we have to ask ourselves the question, does this scripture fit the current state of Israel? Let's ask a few questions. Are they saved?
Congregation: Not yet.
Pastor: Are they redeemed?
Congregation: [Inaudible 00:52:34].
Pastor: Are they remembering the name, because what's the name?
Pastor: Jesus. They have a different name. No, no, no. "There's none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." It's not optional. You can be saved under Jesus or under God's other names, because God has many names, does he not? He's God Almighty. He's Jehovah. Right? He has all kinds of names, but wait a minute. What's the name that we must be saved under?
Pastor: Jesus. "Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart." Look, if they're not saved, if they're not redeemed, if they're not remembering the name, then this scripture is talking about something else, like something that happened hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth, and it was already fulfilled, done. You could just stamp this one as fulfilled, stamp it as done. Move on to the next one. It's important to understand that when we're reading the Book of Zechariah.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer tonight. Thank you, Lord, for this great chapter and, Lord, help us to be aware of these pastors, Lord, these shepherds with which your anger is kindled, that lead your people astray, that lead them into bondage, Lord. These people were coming out of the great Babylonian captivity, Babylonian bondage for 70 years. Why? Because the pastors lied to them and promised them liberty, led them straight into bondage through sinful licentiousness. Lord, help us not to follow the bad pastors of our day, Lord. Help us to rather seek out preaching that actually rebukes sin and that actually tells us the truth about what your word teaches, not just telling people that anything goes. In Jesus' name, we pray these things. Amen.