When men begin to make up easier ways of entering the kingdom of God, they begin to err from the truth of the Word. Many pastors refuse to submit to the traditional values of the Bible and they believe others—such as themselves—would rather worship a god more tolerant of their own beliefs and their own desires and traditions. In other words, some people want the easy way out and false preachers adhered to these wishes. Thus, fulfilling the scripture of 2 Timothy 4:3, 4 which reads, “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.”
The inability to endure sound doctrine is becoming prevalent in the church world. There are issues many churches will not address and many pastors will not teach on because they run the risk of losing followers. This refusal to teach the whole truth leaves gaps in the steps of the gospel that believers need to grow in their walk with God. Most of the issues are sensitive in the secular world and are sensitive in the church world also such as politics, women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights and the segregation of the church by ethnic background, and many more. However, no matter how lax preachers have become in teaching biblical values, there is only one way to the kingdom of God; to go to heaven, and that is to be born again of water and of the Spirit. When the Lord calls a person into His kingdom, He does it by the mission of one of His children. No one is ever born again by the mouth of a false prophet.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). The sheepfold is symbolic for the believers of Christ who dwell in the body of Christ, and he who has access to the sheepfold is the shepherd. When someone goes into the sheepfold, God is the one who sends him or her. Many false shepherds seek to enter into the sheepfold through ways other than the way ordained. They want to preach to the sheep of God in an attempt to deceive them; however, the scripture also says, in verse five, that the sheep know not the voice of the stranger, but of the true shepherd.
The false shepherds that lead, lead only false sheep. The true sheep will not follow, though some are vulnerable to the captivity of a false shepherd for a season. One of the most popular doctrines taught by the traditional preacher and the false shepherd of how to get saved comes from the scripture in Romans 10:9 which reads, “That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Note: all scripture is true and profitable for doctrine, yet a believer must rightly divide the Word of truth, as we will do to the one above concerning salvation.
The tenth chapter of Romans was devoted to the unbelieving Jews who rejected Jesus as the Christ and Savior of the world. Start reading from the beginning of chapter ten and a person will see that. The Jews first had to accept that Jesus was the Messiah before they could begin the process of salvation. This confession of Jesus as the Savior can be, and has been done by not only Jews and Gentiles alike, but by the devil too; however, this does not mean that either will be saved. A confession means to acknowledge something as true or to admit something. Nevertheless, salvation requires faith and not a confession alone. Anyone can confess to anything, but mere words have no meaning in salvation if the confessor does not have faith.
The devil knows that God raised Christ from the dead and that Christ is the Savior of humanity, yet his destiny is final; the devil cannot be saved. The scripture in James 2:19 reads, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The scripture implies that it takes more than a belief. The devil believes and trembles, and he will confess; however, faith is the key characteristic needed for true salvation. It is ironic that the devil knows there is a God, and people will acknowledge the devil and other forces of evil, but they will not believe in the powers and salvation of the Lord.
The devil will stand before a crowd and recite, “Yes, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart” but this does not guarantee him or anyone salvation. The confession and belief are elementary to bring a person to salvation, and eventually they will be saved. People must have faith in Jesus as the Messiah and that He has come to save the world from its sins. This was the initial message in Romans written to the Jews. They had to first confess that Jesus is the Christ, and then they had to believe that God raised Him from the dead and that He still lives in the spirit of the Holy Ghost. This mystery is what the apostles were attempting to convince the Jews of during the apostle’s reign. The Jews were not looking for Christ in the way He came; they were looking for a gloriously arrayed king to come with riches and power to take over the world, not a carpenter walking among the Gentiles teaching parables. They could not believe that this man, Jesus, was the Messiah, the one promised to them hundreds, even thousands of years before.
The prophet Isaiah describes the Messiah in chapter 53 of his book this way, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (vv. 1, 2). Isaiah did not depict the picture of a glorious Savior, but an ordinary person, maybe even contemptible. The scripture says that they will not desire Him in any manner, let alone as the Savior of the Jewish nation. He came inconspicuous to the Jews and to the world, and the lowest of the people received Him, unlike the elite. He related to the poor and the masses instead of reigning supreme as a ruler or a king.
The scripture says “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples” (Matt, 9:10). When the church leaders noticed this, they asked the disciples why Jesus sat among sinners. This same mentality is popular in the church today. If a Christian is in the company of sinners, other Christians will presumptuously refer to that person as a backslider, not supposing that they may be doing a work for the Lord. Jesus was not arrayed in king’s garments or commuting in the best of transportation. God sent Jesus to earth not to rule the world but to save the world, and that salvation came through the Word of truth, not by the glory of the world.
At the beginning of Romans chapter ten it starts, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Paul clearly expresses the intention of the chapter; it was for Israel to be saved and the rest of the chapter are instructions as to how they would be saved. They must first believe Jesus was the Christ and that God raised Him from the dead. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). The message was to get the Jews to acknowledge God’s prophesy fulfilled in Jesus Christ so they could return to the Lord.
However, the preachers of today use this passage of scripture for the church in place of what Jesus commands in Saint John 3:3, 5 about how to get saved, which is to get born again of water and of the Spirit. Again, it is a beginning for anyone to confess that Jesus is the Messiah and that God raised Him from the dead. The scripture says the devil knows that, thus, confessing and believing only bring the person to the forefront; however, after they confess and believe, they must be born again of water and of the Spirit, as did the believers Paul met in Acts 19.
In Romans chapter 10, verse 13 it reads, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is another scripture pastors use for a gate to the kingdom of God; yet again, this deed is one that jump-starts a person’s belief in God. Preachers teach that if a person acknowledges God as the Messiah or calls on the name of the Lord in certain situations in life like times of trouble and suffering, that God would recognize the caller as a believer and thus save them at the end of time. As stated earlier, anyone can call on the Lord during hard times of life or may give thanks to Him during good times, but that does not necessarily mean they will be saved when the world ends. Nor will they be when they call or confess His name because the scripture also says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Therefore, not just any one can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved; they must do the will of God to be saved, which is to be born again of water and of the Spirit.
The “Confess with thy Mouth” theory is a fallaciously prepared entrance into heaven by many pastors who attempt to gain followers and church members, not to get them saved. A person is saved only after they are water baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. People can confess, believe, and call on His name, the devil does all those things also, but unless a believer does the will of God and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, which fulfills the new birth, they will not enter the kingdom of God. The difference is great yet thin and it takes a sincere soul to understand and accept the truth; someone who wants to know God and His powers, and not just to act as if they are saved or to belong to the trendiest church. The greatest wrong in this misguided doctrine is that thousands, even millions of people truly believe they are saved after they perform these confessions of faith. They believe and trust in the words and experience of the preacher and literally commit their lives into the preacher’s hands.
This doctrine does not make disciples’ of Christ, but members of the preacher’s congregation. It is easier to “accept the Lord as your personal savior” (which is not written in the Bible) than it is to believe in and receive the Holy Ghost. It is easier for pastors and preachers to teach this doctrine because it eliminates the fearfulness of the supernatural realm of God. Practicing the supernatural aspects of God would limit church membership, so preachers do the altar call and invite those who want to “accept the Lord as their personal Savior” up to the front of the church. Then, the preacher says to them “give me your left hand and raise your right one to God and repeat after me,” and the person recites the creed of faith and then the preacher announces to the church that we have another soul in the body of Christ or that another soul has been saved. These deeds are not what the Bible ask for, and all those who are walking around after this reception of salvation will definitely be one in whom the Lord says “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23). A person is not a child of God if they are not born again and if they want Jesus to profess that He knows them, then they must receive the Holy Ghost. “. . . Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Ro. 8:9).
After a person receives the Holy Ghost, the gifts of the Spirit will begin to appear. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17, 18). Many of the supernatural gifts, such as speaking in tongues and healing, that appear after receiving the Holy Ghost is another reason church leaders today avoid the true gospel. Tongues are not only a gift of God, but a confirmation of receiving the Holy Ghost. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Ro. 8:26).
It takes faith and belief in these scriptures for the gifts to manifest. All of the gifts of the Spirit take faith in to operate. Moreover, for faith to operate properly there must be love; and God is love. God is also a Spirit. Therefore, if a believer receives the Holy Spirit of God they can manifest the gifts of the Spirit through love. There is an entire chapter in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, on the importance of love in a Christian’s life and esteems love above all other gifts and callings of God. For any of the gifts of the Spirit to work, or even the simple characteristic of hope to work, a believer must possess the love of God. So, how do we as Christians get the love of God? “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Ro. 5:5).
There is earthly love and there is godly love. Agape love is the term for God’s all-powerful love. It is an unconditional love that He has for the entire creation and the means by which He created it. God’s love is the highest and most powerful force present: above all evil powers, mythical gods, spiritual wickedness in high places, or any thing conjured up by magic or witchery. It is more powerful than hate, jealousy, or anger; even joy, peace, hope or faith. Though faith has power of its own and many preachers cry all the time how Christians need faith to get and receive blessings from God, it is only by love that faith operates, but preachers do not teach this because they do not know this.
When preachers and prophets (or televangelist) cast out devils, heal the sick, speak in tongues, or any other so-called profound act of God they perform before an audience, many of them are not doing it in the love of God, or at least with love as a motive. These acts can be performed by someone who does not possess the love or Spirit of God, in fact, in St. Matthew 7:22, 23, Jesus said that, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” What is the difference in these believers and the ones Jesus knows? The believers He knows possess the Holy Ghost whom He raised as children by the milk and meat of the Word.
The love of God makes all the difference, and we now know that the love of God comes from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the only source of communication with God on a personal level, where a believer gets to literally know Him. The reason these supernatural acts work for the false believers is that they are done in the name of Jesus and the name of Jesus has power over all other entities and powers; and though the false believers perform these acts under the authority of Jesus’ name, they do not know Him personally. Besides, many so-called preachers and prophets do not perform these acts in love, but in the power of glory and recognition, as a famous singer performs on stage and captures the emotions of the audience. They do it for publicity and popularity and not for the glory of God. It is difficult to know the difference between the believers who are powered by God and His love, and those who are not, yet God gives the gift of spiritual discernment to those He knows through the Spirit, so they can know who is real.
Today’s Christians do not operate in the gifts of the Spirit like they should because some find it uncomfortable to claim to the public to have supernatural powers and also because they have not learned the power of the love of God to its fullest. They learn the power of prosperity instead, and the power of money. Many Christians receive the Holy Ghost but fail to grow in the love of God strong enough to possess the faith needed to operate in the gifts. To grow in the love of God a believer must pray in the Spirit and get to know God’s will then they will have knowledge enough to use the gifts. If the believer does not know what God wants from them on using the gifts, they cannot use them properly. If the believer does not understand the love of God, the gifts will be of no effect nor will the gifts operate according to their purpose. The believer must know God’s will for their lives and they can only learn this through love and by prayer in the Spirit.
Another reason believers are not operating the gifts of the Spirit fully is that they are afraid to be mocked by the world who stereotypes the operation of the gifts as extreme and sometimes cultist. Most of the stereotypes are justifiable because there are many counterfeit prophets who characterize Christianity to shame. There have also been many false preachers caught in scandalous religious movements and cults throughout time, who would use such pretentious acts of spirituality to fool their followers. Nevertheless, the Bible says that in the last days there will be such false prophets; the problem is identifying them. Today’s church world are full of false preachers, teachers, and prophets that deceive potential believers and they are not the infamous Waco and Heaven’s Gate leaders or the Jim Jones’ of the time, but well known and reverend people who speak to millions of television and congregation audiences daily.
The bait today is not theories of another kingdom separate from the rest of society or promises of a better life after a mass suicide, but with a subtle lure of riches, prosperity, and wealth. Regardless if the bait is a better world or wealth, the tactics are the same, gaining followers through the slow process of anti-Christ indoctrination and secular propaganda to deceive unlearned people and lead them away from the true gospel and the teachings of Jesus.