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2 Timothy 4:3-4 “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.” (Bible - King James Version)
This scripture always puzzled me! Because when I looked around in my church, I saw Christians striving to walk in holiness. They were eager to study their Bible every day. They loved God, and they did their best to obey Him. Thus I couldn’t figure out this scripture above. I assumed that all Born-Again-Christians were Jesus-followers. Believers daily led by the Holy Spirit to walk in purity and truth. I thought that all evangelical Christians were in love with the living God. I believed that every pastor preached the biblical sound doctrine. Therefore this passage of 2 Timothy didn’t make sense at all. It was the case until I arrived in Winnipeg (Canada). Oh boy! May the Lord have mercy on the lukewarm Christians that I met…
In Winnipeg, I visited few mega churches. I was amazed by the crowd. There I met believers, but after a while, I couldn’t see the difference between the heathens and them. It is sad to say that these Christians behaved as heathens - women dressed provocative, men dressed like thugs, they smoked, drank alcohol, cussed, enjoyed night clubs, had casual sex and were perpetual liars! Yup, something went wrong in these churches. When I talked to some churchgoers about their ungodly behaviour; they told me that God agrees with their lifestyle because they are saved anyway. Their excuse number one to behave poorly was that “Jesus paid the price on the cross for my sins. So I don’t have to suffer anymore because I am forgiven and washed by His precious blood.” I found this statement very alarming! Excuse number two was that “God is Love so no matter what I do, He will never abandon me. Because He is my Father. A father will never reject his children” What!!! Now wait a minute! Are you kidding me? Seriously? What kind of Gospel is that? See New Gospel in North America.
What about God’s other attributes? I agree that God is love and merciful but what about his holiness and righteousness? I love the Old Testament because it shows the righteousness, holiness and wrath of God. Yes, God is a just Judge who must punish sin! And in the New Testament, God gets mad too!
This passage showed a warning from the Holy Spirit:
Acts chapter 5 verse 1 to 11 “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” (Bible - English Standard Version)
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Yikes! Haven’t you heard of God's requirements? If you recall the Apostle Paul's ministry, he wrote most of the New Testament. I think that he could have bragged about his achievements for God’s glory. Instead, look what he said after serving the Lord for decades.
1 Corinthians 9:24 “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (Bible – New Living Translation)
As Born-Again believers we are supposed to have a reverential fear of God. I saw too many Christians acting as if Jesus was a lonely buddy. Be careful guys! Jesus is God! He is our friend, but we need to respect Him and adore Him. And remember that He has the power of life and death over us!
After chatting with lukewarm believers, the passage of two Timothy chapter four made sense. I really get it! It is crystal clear now… And I am wondering if God brought me to Winnipeg just to make His point? I understood how a false Gospel could grieve the Holy Ghost. And create lukewarm churches that Jesus spits out of his Holy mouth (Revelations chapter 3 verse 15-16).
Comfort-Hyper-Grace-Gospel or False-Sense-Of-Security
I remember how confused I felt after attending the Mega-lukewarm-congregations. The hyper-grace Gospel had nothing to do with Jesus’s biblical teaching. I was so frustrated to see churches filled with such worldliness! It was as if there were two different gospels. The western gospel against the biblical one. The first one focuses on prosperity, happiness, comfort, countless blessings and feeling-good-about-myself-teachings. Biblical gospel taught about dying to ourselves; living for Christ; killing our selfish desires; being grateful to God in every circumstance; remaining content in the midst of suffering and staying happy when people hate us for our faith. In a nutshell, true believers are instructed to lay down their life for Jesus’s sake. Period!
In France, I learned to seek God earnestly by praying, fasting and witnessing to my unsaved friends. Bible studies, prayer meetings, and a personal prayer life strengthened my daily faith. In my church, we used to pray for people, I saw the Holy Spirit healed people and cast out demons. And God answered our prayers in miraculous ways. I haven’t perceived that in Winnipeg yet. It is like the Holy Spirit is limited. And the Carnal Christians told me that I was too legalistic! It is clear to me that they don't know the difference between "discipline" and "legalism". I found out that carnal Christians are the know-it-all, too. They refuse to listen to the sound doctrine. They just keep talking to justify their carnal choices. Unfortunately, they are completely deceived by greedy preachers.
Have you ever felt that your fellow Christians tempt you to live in sin? How did you handle the pressure to live like the world?