Posted by: phillipmway | March 28, 2011

Destitute, Afflicted, Tormented

Hebrews 11 is widely proclaimed by preachers and theologians from many different backgrounds and denominations as a spectacular collection and record of those who the Spirit of God inspired the writer of the Book of Hebrews to name and identify as those who are to be remembered in the church for their faith. So in order to leave no doubt about this, these people are heroes and role models for us – they are the faithful.

Now I want to show you in very plain and simple terms what the Bible says about those throughout church history who have been examples of mature, deep, and abiding faith. The Holy Spirit declares to us in inspired, inerrant, and infallible words that those who “obtained a good testimony by faith” were the same ones who were put on trial, mocked, scourged, chained, imprisoned, destitute, afflicted, and tormented. Why have I worked so hard to make this point?

Because there is a false gospel out there, presenting a false christ and a false hope and a false faith and we need to call it what it is – it is a lie! This false gospel sounds nice and pretty. It looks good on the television. It smiles with big white teeth. It looks professional. Hip. Cool. Those who preach this gospel (and their spouses) try to look like celebrities. They exude signs of worldly success. They doom their listeners to everlasting damnation. Why? What false gospel is this?

It is a gospel that tells a person that if they just trust in Jesus and pray a prayer and give their money to God via their ministry then they will not have any trouble, suffering, sickness, distress, or problems. They preach that if you will just have faith then all your problems will go away. They preach that if your problems do not go away, then you just do not have enough faith.

Wait a minute. The Bible says that those who have faith of the highest caliber are often suffering, are destitute, are afflicted, and are tormented. Throughout the Scriptures we learn that most of the prophets, apostles, early church leaders, missionaries, and even Christ Himself would simply not be considered good Christian people. They would be rejected as their faith is obviously, by Word-Faith and Emergent standards, too weak and too pitiful.

The fact is that the leaders of these faddish false gospel movements are teaching the doctrines of demons. They are full of lies. They smile at us and placate us and lull us into a false assurance that if unhindered, will lead straight to hell. Harsh words? You bet. Why should we be soft and easy on those who prey on men’s souls and make their living misleading the masses?

In the Scripture and throughout history we see where faithful believers are stoned (Zechariah, Stephen, Paul), sawn in two (Isaiah), tempted and tried (Joseph, David, Peter), slain with the sword (Uriah), They wandered around with no home, poorly clothed, destitute, afflicted, and tormented. This is surely not the picture one gains reading many of the best selling books lining the shelves in our Christian bookstores. Oh, no. That picture focuses the eye firmly upon self and makes an idol out of fleshly desires. What we want is the chief concern – never mind what God commands.

This one verse today debunks every false teacher and every ministry that preaches a self help prosperity gospel. It really is that simple to refute them and their heresy. Too many churches today care more about looks and status than truth and holiness. It is a concern that many are being mislead while those who claim to want truth in reality have itching ears, cannot abide sound doctrine, and run after the latest fad as if the fate of their eternal soul rested upon knowing what the latest celebrity preacher has to say about anything.

Those preachers and theologians who abide these false teachers and toy with their bad theology as if it were something to be pondered and examined in order to pick out the good and leave the bad are playing with hellfire and teetering on the brink of deception and destruction. There are too many good books to read instead of wasting our time trying to drudge through a pit of spiritual poison in order to find one or two crumbs that might faintly resemble the truth.

The faithful we read about in Scripture knew that God was with them through suffering. The “faithful” today are taught how to get and stay out of suffering by the use of superstitious mantras disguised as prayers and best selling books masquerading as truth.

The church has been granted the great and precious gift and privilege of suffering for Christ’s sake, and sadly we are being taught to view that honor as something to be scorned, avoided, and detested. Why are we ashamed to suffer?

Join us for worship this Sunday, April 3, at 10:30 AM, as we gather to worship and praise our great and gracious God. Our message this week from Hebrews 11:36-38 is titled “Faith that Endures.” Enduring suffering is just one part of a vibrant faith. Join us as we explore this is more detail in our study “Do You Believe?” from Hebrews 11.


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