1 TIMOTHY 6:3-5
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
I often don’t understand this world of ours. I don’t understand how people can twist and turn words so that they fit their own agenda. I don’t understand how good can become bad and bad can become good. I don’t understand how the church can go after things that are not Biblical. It baffles me often, but then I read the scriptures and I am reminded that these things are all signs of the end times. Then I smile, knowing that the true believers will rise to meet Him in the air. What a glorious day that will be!
There are so many wolves clothed as sheep today and a deceptive gospel is preached everywhere you turn. It sound so good, so right, so on target that even the very elect are being deceived. Some would say it is not them but me who is deceived. Who is right? Only God knows this, but from what I have learned in my 40 plus years of following Christ tells me that this other gospel that is being taught lures people away from the lives God truly wants us to live. Lives of servanthood, not ruling. Lives of need, not full of worldly things. Lives of humility, not thinking God is at our beck and call. Lives of suffering, not of pleasure and all good things. Lives of continuous faith, not ask once and it’s yours. Lies of hunger, not of fullness.
I think of Proverbs 27:7 “The full soul loathes a honeycomb but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” The depth of these simple words cannot be overlooked, but it is so often today in the church. We want things to be easy. We want to be uplifted every time we hear the preacher speak. We don’t want to hear about our sin and our need for correction in our lives. We want to hear God is good and he will answer our prayers. We don’t want to hear God judges sin and we are sinners that need redemption. We are surrounded by troubles, just like the honeycomb is surrounded by bees that can sting and kill depending on the type. It is sweet to the taste, and I desire that sweetness but do not want that repentance, the humility it takes to lay down my pride and allow God to transform me into His child. The sweet things of God are the most difficult for us to handle because they change us. They cause friction in our souls. They divide our soul like the piercing sword of Hebrews 4:12. Yet we turn from the sweetness of God’s call to humility and a life of servanthood. We despise the taste of those sweet words that were the picture of Christ on this earth. He was not rich. He did not have many possessions. He gave everything He had to touch others and reach out to them. He served the masses. He was not served by them. Yet the Pharisees despised the sweet words He spoke and taught. They despised the honeycomb of His wonderful teaching because it lured people away from them. Their pride got in their way.
You see, the honeycomb is not the sweet words of grace and love that are spoken by preachers like Joel Osteen and John Hagie. Oh, they preach sweet words, but their words come from a belief that God is at our command. God will do what we want Him to do. God empowers us to become rulers on this earth, people who have all they desire and live lives of blessing and fullness. They preach a message of love and grace that comes without sacrifice and suffering. Simply have the right words in your mouth and you will be free of struggles and wants in this world of ours. God must answer your prayers because His word says He will. He must do this, and He must do that. We simply have to ask and all fullness will come to us.
These words are sweet to our ears because they satisfy our fleshly desires on this earth. They are not surrounded by the stings of the bees like the honeycomb is. There is not a preaching of the struggles, the storms, the tribulation that we will go through. Jesus promised us this, Paul emphasized it. Both of them lived it. But those who are caught up in the name-it-claim-it gospel don’t want to hear the sweet words of suffering and sacrifice. They loathe it. They will tell you that you are dead wrong. That we are overcomers. They will say our prayers must be answered because God says if we ask, He will do it. They think God is a vending machine that takes prayers instead of coins. Put your prayers in and answers will flow out. And many of them experience this prayer answering machine type existence. They are being blessed in all ways as they walk in this faith. They are reaping worldly benefits by claiming the promises of scripture. The deception is rampant. Is God answering those prayers, or is the enemy coming alongside and fulfilling the prayers to bring these believers of a new gospel to a place of unknown deception. Are they despising the real message of Christ while living a life contrary to scripture even though it seems so right.
The full soul loathes the honeycomb. Full of themselves. Full of what appears to be Godliness only to see underneath dead men’s bones. Looking all adorned and ready to be fruitful only without fruit, like the fig tree that Jesus withered away because it appeared to have fruit and did not (Matthew 21:19). So many appear to have fruit and do not. Do these two preachers, and so many others who teach this prosperity gospel, have large churches? Of course they do. The preach a message that appeals to the flesh. Just pray and it’s yours. Believe and you shall have it. God loves you and will do whatever you ask. Just come to Him and ask Him to take you as His child. You don’t need to repent or change your life. Just know He loves you and that’s enough. It sounds like honey, but it is deception. A life that comes to Christ and does not change is not His! The preaching of Christ and John before Him does not change today. Repent was their cry. Turn away from the world and it’s trappings. Give yourself to serve others. Forgive all men their trespasses. The sweet words of repentance are loathsome to them.
But to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet. Everything that brings us to humility is sweet. Everything that tears me away from my flesh so I live more in the Spirit is sweet. It may not be pleasant, but it is sweet. These are the words I need to hear to fully follow Christ. They do not make me proud or boastful about what God is doing in my life. They do not make me have a need to tell everyone how God is blessing me. In fact, most of what Jesus taught on the greatest sermon ever preached is not satisfying at all to our flesh. Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are those that hunger, blessed are they that mourn, forgive others, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. He did not preach a message of worldly gain, but of giving our lives away! The hungry soul heeds His every word and follows it as closely as he can. We do not become the proud, boastful ones who God is seemingly blessing at every turn. The bitter things in life are sweet because we know God is working to perfect us through the trials.
As you navigate this life, look at the entire message of the gospels and of Paul and see what they emphasize more. You will find that they talk of a suffering life, one that is filled with opportunities to serve, not to be served. A life filled wit hope, not with the riches of this world. A life of sacrifice, not of prosperity. A life of submission, not domination. A life of humility, not boasting. It is not a popular message in today’s church, but it is the truth. It can be bitter to our ears, but it tastes good to our spirit if we are in Christ. Please do not be deceived! Ask God to open your eyes to the true Scripture meaning. Ask God to show you what the calling of God on our lives truly means. Look at all the people God used in the Bible and see if you find any rich, demanding and proud people. You will not find them. God uses ordinary people like you and me. People who love His word, even when it is bitter to the ears. Come, sit at His table. He’s waiting for you.