The world is turned away from truth and cannot endure sound doctrine. The world chases after whoever will tell them what they want to hear. And those who make merchandise of the gospel have no problems adjusting their message to meet the demands of their audience and to increase their friendship with the world.
False teachers love the world, not God. They may live the idea of His promises, but they do not follow in His ways. But the one who stands firm upon the Word of God finds many enemies, and encounters opposition, and trials and tribulation – as was promised by Christ for His followers while they were in this world.
So many people seek religion, or forgiveness, or prosperity, or health – but are there any that seek the Lord? That seek His will being done in their lives?
Looking at ourselves under that same lens of examination – Whose words, and advise, and example, and influence are we consuming in our lives? What example are we giving the world by our lives?
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” – James 1:27 NKJV
[The religion that is acceptable to God is not a once a week participation in religious services, or morning devotionals, or offering prayers, or giving money to so many false prophets that are making merchandise of the gospel. It is loving and serving those who are in need. It is stepping past religious observation and stepping into the role of being a disciple of Christ, laying down your life for others. Yes, belief in the heart results in something outwardly manifested in our lives.]
“Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” – John 9:31 NKJV
If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. – Psalms 66:18 NKJV
One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination. – Proverbs 28:9 NKJV
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. – James 4:3 NKJV
[Yes, there are those who do not love God more than their sin, than their own selfish desires, who wallow in their sinful ways all week long but who show up to church, who lift their empty praise and prayers to a God who does not hear them because they serve a different master.]
Hear the word of the Lord , You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord . “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord , “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 1:10-20 NKJV
[Yes, there are many false teachers who pretend to be His messengers of light, who promise injustice will be done and rewards will be given to the unfaithful, whose lies raise a stench to the nostrils of the Lord as they promise that evil will be rewarded with good, as they dismiss repentance and righteousness and holiness because they do not desire it themselves. They trample the sacrifice of Christ under their feet, and treat the blood of the covenant as unholy and powerless, by deliberately continuing in their sin after coming to the knowledge of truth. They promise others that they will escape judgement as they slip more of their filthy lucre into their pockets. They have only a fearful expectation of judgement and raging fire, and they seek to drag many to destruction with them. The Lord will repay them, “The Lord will judge His people.”]
Therefore thus says the Lord : “Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them. – Jeremiah 11:11 NKJV
[Yes, their true master, self and mammon will fill their bellies and their purses – but the Lord will not hear them even when they cry out. They are, apostate, they are reprobate, they are liars Luke their father the devil.]
Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God ! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ ”
And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’—‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed! And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them—them nor their wives, their sons nor their daughters—for I will pour their wickedness on them.’ – Jeremiah 14:11-16 NKJV
[And the Lord would not even have us pray for them other than that their doors might be closed and their false light stamped out. He would rather their altars be torn down and their idols tossed into the fire as a warning of what lies in store for them.]
So what will we do with this truth?
Will it change how we come to the Lord with our praise, our worship, our prayers?
Will we give up our empty, repetitive, religious activities and seek Him closer, alive, and growing in every part of our lives?
Will we remember in those times when we’ve let it become practiced and repeated that we are better off not lifting it at all than lifting it in vain?
It’s better not to “fake it until you make it” when it comes to the things of God. Many fall into the empty pit of religion by that trap. Instead, choose who you will serve – and stand firmly and boldly by that decision. Count the cost, and if you believe, you’ll see that no cost in this life is written missing what lies ahead for those who are in love with their Lord and Savior.
I urge us all to seek the face of the Lord, seek a purified heart, resist temptation, rely upon the Lord completely.
We need to Immerse ourselves in His Word, in His teaching, in prayer because we want what fruit He has to bear in our lives TODAY – not to just rely on a promise of heaven SOMEDAY.
One is an alive, undefiled relationship with Him active in your life moment to moment – the other is dead, defiled, worthless religious practice and ritual.
One is a living sacrifice lifted to Him by walking in the Spirit – the other is the stench of diseased and rotting flesh headed to destruction.