Encouragement for weary shepherds
WORLD Radio - Encouragement for weary shepherds
Pastors need discernment to navigate perilous times
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, October 27th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a word about pastors.
Many churches celebrate October as Pastor Appreciation month. And, it’s not too late to say thanks to your pastor! Just sayin.
EICHER: Back in January, pastor and author Steven Lawson spoke to an auditorium full of pastors. He was at Founders Baptist Church in Houston for the annual Speaking the Truth in Love conference. His message was titled: “Preaching in Perilous Times.” Today we highlight a portion of Lawson’s hour-long challenge and encouragement for shepherds from the book of 1 John.
STEVE LAWSON: Perilous times are usually seasons of chaos and confusion in the world. And it has its effect upon the church, as well. Perilous times become the opportunities for the sowing of damnable heresies in the church. Because the church in difficult days has a way of taking their eye off the Lord Jesus Christ and become concerned with what's going on around them on a horizontal basis.
With the overturning of society with the tearing down of morals. With the proliferation of reprobate minds, spewing its lies. In the midst of the death of the culture, with the vanquishing of all human decency. With the propaganda of the crooked and perverse generation, brainwashing people on every side...the pulpit must speak the truth in love.
And I want you to note first, the discernment. The discernment needed. And John begins with what is the duty of every believer, he says, “Do not believe every spirit.” Stop believing every spirit. Stop being so gullible. Stop being so foolish. Stop being so naive. Stop being so undiscerning. Do not buy everything you hear. That is what John is saying, to the first century church. And as it's recorded in the canon of Scripture, this is what God is saying to His church tonight.
You need to discern between truth and error. You need to discern between the pure and the vile, you need to discern between what is of God and what is of Satan. There are no other options. You need to discern between divine revelation and satanic reason. Between heavenly wisdom from above, and hellish wisdom from below.
So this leads now second to the danger. The second half of verse one here is why this is so critically important and absolutely necessary, this is why you and I must be on red alert. He says beginning in the middle of verse one, “because many false prophets have gone out into the world...” Many, not a few, many. It's a Greek word that means great numbers, a proliferation of false teachers and false prophets. And it can be argued very easily that there are more false prophets than true preachers.
And in Matthew 7:15, Jesus said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves…” Oh, they look so slick on the outside, but on the inside, they have the devil's initials carved in their heart.
They are from the world, therefore they speak as from the world, just listen to them. They have a worldly message, worldly wisdom, worldly philosophy, worldly thinking, worldly mindset, worldly values, worldly perspective, worldly agenda, carnal, fleshly message with just some Bible words scrambled in.
They preach another gospel, they preach another Christ that the flesh loves to hear about. Now, verse six, the positive. We, and when he says “we,” is referring to John, and the other writers of Scripture, and true teachers of the word, “we are from God, we have been sent by God.” We have been born of God, we have been taught by God, we have been commissioned by God, we are men of God with the message of God, the gospel of God, we are from God.
By this we know where the Holy Spirit is at work. By this we know where the pure, unvarnished, unadulterated gospel and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ is being preached and being received by this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, you you will be able to discern and to differentiate between the true and the false because you have the Holy Spirit inside of you.
EICHER: That’s Steven Lawson from this year’s Speaking the Truth in Love conference in Houston, Texas. We’ve posted a link to the full message in today’s transcript at wng.org.
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