Is your church leader leading you closer to the Lord or closer to your destruction?
Many churches today are being pastored by people who pretend to be holy and spiritual, but these "leaders" are not of God. These pastors might say all the right catch phrases and even be highly regarded in the Christian community, but by their actions, the fruit of their lives, and the things that they say in the pulpit (or do not say) it should be apparent that they are rebellious phonies who do not care about your soul. And you are in danger of being deceived and led astray if you are standing in agreement with, believing in, and following these seductive phony leaders.
There was such a man as this written about in the Old Testament. His name was Jeroboam, and he was supposed to be a leader unto the Israelites. Jeroboam started out as a mighty man of valour who was handpicked by God and given specific instructions. The Lord told him, "And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee" (1 Kings 11:38). Jeroboam was given the awesome opportunity to lead the people and draw them closer to God.
But soon after Jeroboam was given the leadership role over the people, he began to do the very things that God told him not to do. Jeroboam was so afraid of losing his "congregation" to some other man that he implemented some easy-peasy secular worship rituals to keep the masses busy, active, and, most importantly, ignorantly happy. Read here how King Jeroboam chose to implement his own man-made foolishness over the Lord's clear instructions and commandments. "And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan" (1 Kings 12:26-30).
"And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense" (1 Kings 12:31-33).
Instead of teaching the congregation of Israel all about God's holy and righteous statutes, Jeroboam devised a system of worship made up in his own imagination which emulated the pagan cultures of that day. It did not seem to matter to Jeroboam that he was leading Israel into sin or that he was disobeying God's commands. All that mattered to him was that he not lose his popularity, his status, his people. Jeroboam encouraged the people to be worldly and idolatrous without a second thought for their futures or their souls or of God's displeasure. Yes, Jeroboam provided Israel lots of altars and feasts and fanfare that had the show of spirituality, and the people followed him gladly, but these rituals had nothing to do with who God is or what He desires from those who call Him Lord. And this thing that Jeroboam did displeased the Lord, and ultimately Jeroboam and all of the people who followed his leadership suffered because of this rebelliousness.
Sadly, I see this same rebelliousness in many church leaders today. Maybe Pastor So-and-So used to be humble and sincere, but now he is on a quest for high attendance numbers and popularity, and this motive is what drives the church services. Gone are the days of sound preaching where there were sermons speaking on striving against sin, being set apart, and abstaining from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. In its place are weak, vague feel-good messages full of psychobabble and frivolity. Gone is a place where people would come and learn to be ambassadors for the Lord, soldiers in God's army, men and women after God's own heart. Instead now people come and spend a couple hours being entertained, placated, and seduced. Many congregations have become a collection of people who are "Christian" in name only for, you see, they walk in as fornicators, adulterers, liars, drunkards, thieves, idolaters, and devil-possessed people and walk out two hours later in that same exact state. No, they walk out even worse than when they came in. Why? Because Pastor So-and-So has validated them and given them the okay to not repent of their sinful ways. He has made them believe that they can have their "calves of gold" (which I am using symbolically as those things that are in opposition to God's Word) and still be counted as being saved and secure. And the people love Pastor for it. They come back week after week, month after month, year after year to hear his alluring empty sermons and to take part in the festive production. They spend countless years classifying themselves as Christian, yet are never truly born again. The people are a heartbeat away from an eternity in hell and do not have the good sense to even know or care. And God's Word warned that these things would happen. Look at these verses:
Isaiah 9:16, "For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed."
Isaiah 30:1, "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin."
Jeremiah 17:5, "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord."
Jeremiah 50:6, "My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place."
1 Samuel 12:25, "But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king."
Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
Matthew 24:24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Acts 20:29, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock."
Friend, are you truly saved? Has some false prophet lulled you into believing that you can have it all, sin and salvation? Would you know a wolf in sheep's clothing if you were being pastored by one at your church? God's Word warns us that we need to be careful regarding whom we put our trust in and listen to. We need to judge all things according to the Holy Scriptures. Know your bible for yourself. Do not be deceived.
The bottom line is that it is time to stop playing church and get serious. Being a Christian means more than giving the Lord lip service. It means more than dressing up and spending two hours in a building on Sunday. It means more than telling folks to have a blessed day or listening to gospel music. It means more than carrying a bible in your hand but not putting into practice what lies therein. What does God want from those who call themselves Christian? He wants us to follow Him with all of our hearts and to do that which is right in His eyes. The Lord wants us to keep His commandments and to turn from our sinful ways. God wants us to not simply own a bible, but to read it and put into action what we learn. God wants us to glorify Him with how we live our lives. Our Savior wants us to love Him so much that we yearn to do whatever He asks of us, not out of fear, but out of our sincere heart-felt love and devotion to who He is and all that He has done. Let's look at some verses that speak on this:
John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
John 14:23, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Ephesians 5:1-8, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."
2 Timothy 3:13-15, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
1 Peter 1:14-16, "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
1 John 2:4, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
In conclusion, yes, we are living in a time when there are an abundance of charlatan preachers. They will say anything to grow in popularity and wealth. They have no problem giving you a license to sin by their vain words. They want to stay in your favor and will say whatever they think itching sinful ears want to hear. But if you are being led astray, it is because you want to be. God has left us His Word, and we can read the bible for ourselves and be taught ALL things by the Lord personally so that we are able to discern good from evil, no matter what some wolf says. Also, the Lord has written His Truth on every person's heart so that we are all without excuse. The Israelites knew that it was wrong to bow down to that golden calf that Jeroboam erected yet did so anyway and were held responsible for their actions, and you too will be held accountable for either obeying the Lord or not obeying Him.
So if you love the Lord like you say you do, live your life in such a way that is pleasing to Him. And make knowing the Lord in a real and personal way your number one priority. Read the bible faithfully and diligently. Do not wait for someone else to "feed" you. Go to the Lord and allow Him to teach you daily His Scriptures and then obey what you have read. (Here are some closing verses for your consideration:)
Psalm 145:18, "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."
1 Peter 2:25, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."