Preaching a Superficial Gospel

PREACHING A SUPERFICIAL GOSPEL by Greg Gordon

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A warning against preaching an unbiblical modern gospel

A POPULAR PERVERSION

Is it possible that modern popular Christianity is preaching a spurious, superficial, shallow Gospel in the 21st Century? If you look carefully at the history of the people of Israel many times the “popular” majority of priests and prophets turned from preaching the truth before the people and became profane in their speech and lives. In Jeremiah’s time we see this recorded in Holy Scriptures: “For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.” What horror! what dismay to see almost all of the spiritual leaders of Israel speaking lies in the name of the Lord. Could this happen again? Is it possible that in our modern day evangelical circles there are many that are not preaching a true genuine, Biblical Gospel? True Christianity is never popular Christianity! True Christianity is accepted by few and rejected by many. True Christianity is an abhorrence to the flesh, devil and the world. True Christianity is a Cross! Death to self! Crucifixion to the world! But we want it easy a salvation and Gospel that does not hurt us or crucifies us. We want a Gospel that is catered to man and his interests.

A DOCTRINE OF SATAN

Milton Green shares in one of his conferences on the theme of a false modern day Gospel: “I am going to read to you a statement that Martin Luther made and I want you to listen! Martin Luther wrote this, ‘I should have never foreseen that Satan would raise a sect as such that teach the ten commandments should be taken out of the Church. And that men should not be terrified by the Law.’ Are you terrified by the Law? Martin Luther said he was! Moses trembled. Do you reckon Moses knew anything what is being said? Martin Luther continues, ‘And that men should not be terrified by the Law but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.’ You know ‘gently exhorted!’ Martin Luther also said it is a doctrine of Satan, that men are no longer terrified by the Law and have replaced it with a Gospel of love and grace only.” The law and fear of God are foundational aspects of True Christianity and to replace those with the love and grace of God is to build on sand. This Gospel of love and grace has a paramount place in the evangelical Church today. If a minister speaks of the Law and the Judgement of God he is considered by most a extremist and legalist without a proper conception of God’s grace. In the last days Scripture speaks of many false teachers and gospels to abound in the world. In the epistle to Timothy the Apostle Paul wrote: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Could it be possible that you have been believing on a false, spurious gospel? Is it possible that you have been preaching a superficial gospel that does not relate the whole counsel of God to your hearers?

UNBIBLICAL BIBLE PREACHING

Milton Green continues to share on this false gospel: “I have a book back here called ‘Today’s Gospel’, I don’t have too much to do with books, unless I know there is a whole lot of anointing and truth in it and that’s what I found in this book. There’s some truth in it, It’s good! And this is what Walter Chantry said in his book, ‘We have inherited a system of evangelistic preaching which is unbiblical. Our message and manner of preaching the gospel cannot be traced back to the Reformers and their creeds. They are much more recent innovations worse that cannot be traced back to the Scriptures. They have clearly arisen from the careless mixture of 20th century reason with God’s revelation. Products of modern evangelism are often sad examples of Christianity. They make a profession of faith and then continue to live like the world. Only a small proportion of those that make decisions evidence a transformed life. When emotional hope is gone and the evangelist invitation is moved to another city. What do you have that is real and lasting? Large numbers have been led to assume that they have a right to everlasting life and have been given assurance that does not belong to them.’ In other words I am going to add it’s a false security! ‘Evangelicals are swelling the ranks of the deluded with a perverted gospel! Many who have made decisions in Churches have been told in the inquiry rooms their sins have been forgiven will be surprised to hear I never knew you depart from me! What about those that have decided for Christ and you cannot tell what they decided. They do not study the Word, they don’t mind if they are absent when it’s preached. You know they give no evidence of true conversion. Have you considered the possibility they were never evangelized at all?’

“Thousands of sinners think of God having only one attribute, love! When you tell a stranger ‘God loves you’ his mind registers something like this, ‘Yes he loves me, he would never harm me so all is well with my soul.’ To say to a rebel ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life’ is a terrible misinforming. The truth is that God is holy! Thus He is angry with the sinner at this moment. Wrath already hangs over the head of the guilty and will forever torment him unless he repents and trusts God. This plan is not so wonderful! Sinners frequently think of God as flexible so that He will by no means punish the wonderful men. If you rush into four easy steps with a man that has a defective view of God, you will deceive him. You may lead him to pray after you, and you will be praying to the God of glorious holiness but when he repeats to God in his prayer he’s going to be praying to another god, he don’t know Him. Preaching several easy steps to heaven is not evangelism, preaching the whole counsel of God is! Paul was a missionary evangelist he could say to his Ephesian elders I am free or I am pure from the blood of all men. Not because he had given each person four spiritual laws, the next verse substantiates this claim. ‘For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.’ You know why some people shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of God? Because it upsets flesh!”

A WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE THING

Jeremiah wrote this when a entire nation was embracing a false gospel: “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their own means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” What shock should we experience if we realize that a false Gospel abounds and overflows in our evangelical Churches. Could it be possible that just as in the days of Amos the prophet today it is the same as was prophesied: “Behold, the days come with the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” I hear of this desperate searching from many in this day that are seeking out Churches were true biblical doctrine is preached. Where the conviction of the Spirit of God, the burden of lost sinners, the judgement of God are preaching. How rare it is to find such a Church were there is not just presented floppy, sappy, feel-good messages that warm the backslidden soul.

Milton Green continues to share on this false gospel: “Present day preaching only pays lip service to the concept that a man must recognize himself to be a sinner before he can genuinely embrace the Saviour. No definition of sin is included in this presentation. It is God’s Law that convicts of sin. It is essential to declare the Commandments in order to show the sinner his heart of hatred toward God and enmity towards men. Only then will he flee to the grace of God in Christ Jesus to provide him righteousness and love. Men are not turning to Christ because they have a sense of sinning against the Lord, they have no concept of sinning because the Law of God is not preached. In the 20th Century the Church is tried to see how little it could say and still get converts! It is succeeding in spreading the truth so thinly that the world cannot see it! We must preach the holy character of God. We must preach the eternal Law of God. Where are the pulpits showing God’s clear Law makes strict demands upon motives, desires, feelings and attitudes of the soul? When you find them or pastors that preach these things, you will also discover Churches with convicted sinners prepared to hear the way of salvation.”

“Our ears have grown accustomed to hearing men told ‘accept Jesus as your personal saviour.’ A form of words that is not found in Scripture. It’s become a empty phrase that totally ignores a essential element of the Gospel namely repentance. Evangelists and pastors are forgetting to tell sinners to repent this misinformation leads sinners to believe that they can live in their old way of live and just add Jesus. Build treasures on earth and also build treasures in heaven! Who could turn down that bargain? Pleasures of sin and joys of eternity! Sinners are not being saddened or offended, repentance is necessary for forgiveness, confession of sin is not enough. Churches are being filled with professing Christians that have never heard that Jesus demands repentance of any who seek eternal life. People flock to accept Jesus as personal Saviour without selling all! The converts of modern evangelism are often as worldly as after their decision as before. In a panic over this phenomena, modern day evangelicals have invented the idea of a carnal Christian. They are said to be folks that have taken the gift of eternal life without turning from sin. They have allowed Jesus to be their Saviour but they have not yielded their life to the Lord. No one is saved while being unrepentant! What a lie! Giving false assurance to sinners is a Scriptural sign of a false prophet.”

Peter the Apostle said “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Oh to realize this is happening now in our modern day evangelical circles! “damnable heresies” being spoken from renown pulpits across America. This half-gospel that is being preached nullifies God’s power and makes it void. Jesus Christ our Lord spoke these words: “ye have made the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition!” And dare I say that our modern day evangelical “traditions” have made the word of God of “none effect.” May God anoint his vessels in these last days to preach a true Biblical gospel message in our day.

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SermonIndex.net Moderator – Brother Greg

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A Vision of Hell

I was reading a back issue of a South African Christian magazine Prepare the Way“: Answering the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Issue No. 25) and came across this article by Greg Gordon (view the pdf file at this link) published at pages 10 and 11. To the Christian, may we all receive a vision of Hell from Almighty God to get us urgent about our Father’s business. And to the unbeliever, who has sinned against a Holy God and rejected His Son Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of their life, may this be a warning!!!

SOMBER ACCOUNTS OF THE REALITY OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

This is the cry of the damned “send!” Are we numb to this cry from hell dear Christian? Right now you can hear it millions of damned souls crying out send someone, tell someone, you have your entire life before you. We need a vision of hell amongst our modern day, lazy, undisciplined Christianity. We have a “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us that were fully convinced of this truth and warned men of the judgement to come. – Greg Gordon

THE CRY FROM HELL

Right now if we could put a megaphone into hell we would hear a resounded message “send!”. When a soul realizes that he cannot be freed from such torment his immediate plea is for his family, friends, neighbours to be warned of such a place. In Luke 16 we see the story of the Rich man and Lazarus and when the Rich man is in eternal torment he cry’s out: “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” This is the cry of the damned “send!” Are we numb to this cry from hell dear Christian? Right now you can hear it millions of damned souls crying out send someone, tell someone, you have your entire life before you. We need a vision of hell amongst our modern day, lazy, undisciplined Christianity. We have a “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us that were fully convinced of this truth and warned men of the judgement to come. Hear the words of Christ: “Then He shall say unto those on the left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!” Oh does that not shake your soul? or are you deafened by selfishness? Deafened by worldliness? Deafened by materialism? Will you not today hear the cry from hell?

Thomas Boston three hundred years ago wrote of the misery of the damned: “They shall never more taste of His goodness and bounty, nor have the least glimpse of hope from Him. They will see His heart to be absolutely alienated from them, and that it cannot be favourable towards them; that they are the party against whom the Lord will have indignation forever. They shall be deprived of the glorious presence and enjoyment of God– they shall have no part in the beatific vision; nor see anything in God towards them but one wave of wrath rolling after another! This will bring upon them overwhelming floods of sorrow for evermore.” Oh! Hear the warning of J.C. Ryle in response to a everlasting hell: “What would you say of the man who saw his neighbour’s house in danger of being burned down, and never raised the cry of “fire?” What ought to be said of us as ministers if we call ourselves watchmen for souls, and yet see fires of hell raging in distance, and never give the alarm? Call it bad taste, if you like, to speak of hell. Call it charity to make things pleasant, and speak of smoothly, and soothe men with constant lullaby of peace. I have not read my Bible. My notion of charity is to warn men plainly of danger. My notion of taste in the ministerial office is to declare all the counsel of God.”

MILLIONS OF AGES

J.C. Ryle an non-conformist from the 18th century writes on hell: “The punishment of hell shall be most severe. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle for a moment if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace, and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water; but nothing can live in fire. Yet fire is the portion to which the Christ-less and unbelieving will come. They will be ‘cast into the lake of fire.’ The punishment of hell will be eternal. Millions of ages will pass away, and the fire will never burn low and become dim. The fuel of that fire will never waste away and be consumed. it is ‘unquenchable fire.’ O reader, these are the sad and painful things to speak of. I have no-pleasure in dwelling on them. I could rather say with the apostle Paul, “I have great sorrow.” But they are things written for our learning, and it is good to consider them. They are part of that Scripture which is all profitable, and they ought to be heard. Painful as the subject of hell is, it is one about which I dare not, cannot, and must not be silent.” What a fearful thought of an eternal hell! Millions and Millions of years but never relief or rest. Perpetual ongoing torment unceasing, never ending, eternity, eternity, eternity in hell!

C.H. Spurgeon spoke on hell much being faithful to warn the masses: “In hell there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying–the hope of being annihilated. They are forever–forever–forever lost! On every chain in hell, there is written ‘forever’. In the fires there, blaze out the words, ‘forever’. Above their heads, they read, ‘forever’. Their eyes are galled and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is ‘forever’. Oh, if I could tell you tonight that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be–it is ‘forever’ they are cast into the outer darkness.” Christopher Love uses an illustration to try and help us understand what eternity means: “Suppose all the mountains of the earth were mountains of sand, and many more mountains still added thereto, till they reached up to heaven, and a little bird should once in every thousand years take one (grain of) sand of this mountain, there would be an innumerable company of years pass over before that mass of sand would be consumed and taken away, and yet this time would have an end; and it would be happy for man, if hell were no longer than this time; but this is man’s misery in hell, he shall be in no more hope of coming out after he hath been there millions of years, then he was when he was first cast in there; for his torments shall be to eternity, without end, because the God that damns him is eternal.” Dear reader if you feel lacking in this vision of hell cry out to God for it, plead for it, Oh we need this burden again tears over the truth of hell. Leonard Ravenhill spoke of this burden-less condition: “You can tell how bankrupt a preacher is when he prays in the pulpit they say nothing, ‘Lord bless us today, amen.’ Forget it! A parrot could do better in some churches. I believe to quote Whitefield, if I am going to preach on heaven I should live there a week before I preach. If I am going to preach on Hell I should get soaked in hell for a week. Bring the atmosphere of heaven, bring the atmosphere of hell! When we do that the house of God will not be empty.”

LOST SOUL SPEAKS

John Bunyan the famous baptist preacher before his conversion attempted suicide and was given a vision of hell of which he recounts of a soul there speaking of hell: “Our miseries in this infernal dungeon are of two sorts; what we have lost, and what we undergo. And these I will name under their several heads. First then for what we have lost. Here we have likewise lost the company of saints and angels, and in their place have nothing but tormenting devils. Here we have lost heaven too. The seat of blessedness. There is a deep gulf betwixt us and heaven, so that we are shut out from thence forever. Those everlasting gates that let the blessed into happiness are now for ever shut against us here. To make our wretchedness far yet more wretched, we have lost the hope of ever being in a better state, which renders our condition truly hopeless. The most miserable man upon earth still has hope. And therefore, it is a common proverb there that were it not for hope, the heart would break. Well may our hearts break then since we are both without hope and help. This is what we have lost; which, but to think on, is enough to fear and rend and gnaw upon our miserable souls forever. Yet, oh, that his were all! But we have sense of pain as well as loss. And having showed you what we have lost, I am trying to show you what we undergo. And first, we undergo variety of torments: we are tormented here a thousand, nay, ten thousand different ways. They that are most afflicted upon earth have seldom any more than one malady at a time. But should they have the plague, the gout, the stone, and fever at a time, how miserable would they think themselves? Yet all those are but like the biting of a flea to those intolerable, pungent pains that we endure. Here we have all the loathed variety of hell to grapple with. Here is a fire that is unquenchable to burn us with; a lake of burning brimstone ever choking us; eternal chain to tie us; here is utter darkness to affright us, and a worm of conscience that gnaws upon us everlastingly. And any one of these is worse to bear than all the torments mankind ever felt on earth.”

“But as our torments here are various, so are they universal, too, afflicting each part of the body, tormenting the powers of the soul, which renders what we suffer most unsufferable. In those illnesses you men are seized with on earth, though some parts are afflicted, other parts are free. Although your body may be out of order, your head may yet be well; and though your head be ill, your vitals may be free; or though your vitals be affected, your arms and legs may still be clear. But here it is otherwise: each member of the soul and body is at once tormented. The eye is here tormented with the sight of the devil’s who do appear in all the horrid shapes and black appearances that sin can give them. The ear is continually tormented with the loud yellings and continual outcries of the damned. The nostrils smothered with sulphurous flames; the tongue with burning blisters; and the whole body rolled in flames of liquid fire. And all the powers and faculties of our souls are here tormented. The imagination, with the thoughts of the present pain; the memory lost with reflecting on what a heaven we have lost, and of those opportunities we had of being saved. Our minds are here tormented with considering how vainly we have spent our precious time, and how we have abused it. Our understanding is tormented in the thoughts of our past pleasures, present pains, and future sorrows, which are to last for ever. And our consciences are tormented with a continual gnawing worm.”

“Another thing that makes our misery awful is the extremity of our torments. The fire that burns us is so violent that all the water in the sea can never quench it. The pains we suffer here are so extreme that it is impossible they should be known by any one but those that feel them. Another part of our misery is the ceaselessness of our torments. As various, as universal, and as extremely violent as they are, they are continual, too. Nor have we the least rest from them. If there were any relaxation, it might be some allay. But this makes our condition so deplorable that there is no easing of our torments, but what we suffer now we must for ever suffer. The society or company we have here is another element in our misery. Tormenting devils and tormented souls are all our company; and dreadful shrieks and howlings, under the fierceness of our pain, and fearful oaths, is all our conversation. And here the torments of our fellow sufferers are so far from lessening our misery that they increase our pain. The place in which we suffer is another thing that increases our sufferings. It is the abstract of all misery, a prison, a dungeon, a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and brimstone, a furnace of fire that burns to eternity, the blackness of darkness for ever; and lastly, hell itself. And such a wretched place as this must needs increase our wretchedness. The cruelty of our tormentors is another thing that adds to our torments. Our tormentors are devils in whom there is no pity; but being tormented themselves, do yet take pleasure in tormenting us. All those particulars that I have reckoned up are very grievous; but that which makes them much more grievous is that they shall ever be so; and all our most intolerable sufferings shall last to all eternity. ‘Depart from Me ye cursed into everlasting fires’ is that which is perpetually sounding in my ears. Oh, that I could reverse that fatal sentence! Oh, that there was but a bare possibility of doing it! Thus have I showed you the miserable situation we are in, and shall be in forever.”

In the prophet Jeremiah God said to the hell bound nation of Moab “I will weep for thee.” Can we share God’s tears for those that are walking in the vanity of their minds and apart from God. Weep, Christian!

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