There is perhaps nothing that has been entrusted to us as God’s people that is more serious, important and precious than the gospel message. Every single person who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ has been given as a sacred trust the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and how we share it matters greatly.
The New Testament is full of warnings about how we must guard the gospel, defend the gospel, share the gospel and preserve the gospel. It is equally full of warnings about false gospels, false doctrines, false teachers and false prophets.
While all Christians have a solemn obligation to get the gospel right, to share the gospel, and to guard against false gospels, this is especially true of ministers, pastors, teachers and preachers. They of all people must ensure that they handle with the greatest of care the gospel they have been given by God.
Sadly, however, we know that many are not doing this. Many in fact are peddling counterfeit gospels and doctrines of demons. And not surprisingly, often those with the biggest churches and the biggest congregations are those who preach another gospel.
But God always has his true servants standing strong with the true gospel. Many could be mentioned here, but let me highlight just one such man of God: American pastor Paul Washer. The 53-year-old has faithfully proclaimed the gospel of God for years now, and has warned often about those who would do damage to the gospel.
He would have countless sermons that could be mentioned here, but fortunately for me, since I prefer the written word, he now has three books out as well. The three are part of the series, “Recovering the Gospel”. They are:
The Gospel’s Power and Message (2012)
The Gospel Call and True Conversion (2013)
Gospel Assurance and Warnings (2014)
Between the three of them we have over 700 pages of powerful and important truths about the gospel of Christ which we have been entrusted with. Let me quote just a bit from the first volume:
There is only one true gospel. It was born in the heart of God and handed down to the church through the apostles. It is an eternal and immutable word that transcends both time and culture. It is not to be modified or adapted to please the palates of differing cultures or epochs, but is to be held in the highest regard as absolute and immutable truth. For this reason, we who have become recipients and stewards of the gospel should learn to handle it with great caution, even fear….
Each generation of Christians must realize that an eternal gospel has been handed down to them. As stewards, it is our charge to preserve that Gospel without additions, subtractions, or any sort of modification. To alter the gospel in any way is to bring a curse upon ourselves and to hand down a corrupt gospel to the following generations….
We who have received the gospel, have a fearful obligation to deliver it in all its fullness and apostolic purity. This obligation is not only to God but also to our own generation and the generations to come.
If you prefer reading rather than listening to sermons or watching them online, these three books are a must. But let me refer to an earlier sermon of his delivered in 2009. In it he preaches on false prophets, based on Matthew 7:15. He says in part:
False prophets are known by two things. One: the fruit that they bear. And two: the gospel they preach (Galatians chapter 1). And you can just line up many of these TV preachers and just look at the fruit of their life, the way they live, and then look at the gospel that they supposedly preach and you can mark them off as false prophets. Immediately!
Now it says – he [Paul] says something unusual about them. He says that they are like wolves. Their god is their belly. Their god is their belly BUT they look like sheep. Now how is that? How is it that they look like sheep?
By their flattering, smooth speech, that in an age of tolerance makes you think that they are the men most full of love. They will never contradict. They will never create a scandal. They will never be offensive. They will never speak forth things to anger men but they have the smooth tongue of a serpent. And they flatter men and give carnal men exactly what they want.
Now let me tell you something about false teachers. You think so many times that people fall prey to false teachers and that, in a sense, can be true at times. But I think the dominant thing in scripture is just the opposite.
False teachers are God’s judgment on people who don’t want God, but in the name of religion plan on getting everything their carnal heart desires. That’s why a Joel Osteen is raised up! Those people who sit under him are not victims of him, he is the JUDGMENT OF GOD UPON THEM BECAUSE THEY WANT EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS AND IT’S NOT GOD!
And you can line them all up with him. That’s where it is. Because let’s just go over.
Let’s look for a minute at 2 Timothy, just quickly. Chapter 4, verse 1:
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God, and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead and by His appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word…”
Now, when he says “preach the word” what is he saying? He follows it up with:
“Be ready in season and out of season to reprove, rebuke, exhort.”
NOTICE! That is NOT what these preachers do. As a matter of fact, they boast in the fact that they do not reprove, they do not rebuke – it is not their ministry. And why do they say it is not their ministry? They have a ministry of love, they say. Well then, are you saying that Christ didn’t have a ministry of love? Because He reproved and rebuked and exhorted and so did Paul.
But now look, verse 3.
“For time will come…”
And this shows you that men are not so much victims of false prophets, as false prophets are the judgment of God upon men who don’t want God.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…”
Who won’t? The people! The religious people identified with Christianity – they will NOT endure sound doctrine! They can’t endure it! They hate it! Or it bores them to tears! And so what do they do?
“But wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers…”
Everybody in this world, I hope you know this: everyone in the world that is involved in Christianity knows that America is the BIRTHPLACE of every heretical teaching on the face of the earth, almost.
You know what my greatest fear is? My greatest fear is that the wall around Cuba is going to fall. You say, “Why would you fear that?” Because all of the heresy in the evangelical church will find its way into Cuba!
I go into countries sometimes and they will tell me this, “Go back to your country and tell them please don’t send anymore missionaries.” Look! We ACCUMULATE for ourselves teachers in ACCORDANCE to their own desires! So, you get a Benny Hinn in there who tells you all you’re going to do is have a Mercedes Benz- those people aren’t victims, he is God’s judgment upon them!
They want what he wants and so they accumulate him to themselves along with all those other teachers because they teach exactly what they want! You see that?
Amen and amen. There is nothing left for me to say.
You can hear this section of his sermon in this seven minute video clip here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRskmvDiAHs
And the transcript of this section can be found here: preachersaidwhat.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/paul-washer-said-what/
(His books are available in Australia at Koorong Books.)