Following on from my post on Biblical Preaching or a Self-Help/Motivational seminar disguised?, I found a post from Dan Delzell on the Christian Post addressing this very topic. Because it articulates the differences so well, I thought I would post the article in its entirety. Please read and then examine the sermons that you are listening to

There are tremendous differences between “motivational speaking” and “biblical preaching.” In America today, many churches offer one or the other. One approach leaves people “encouraged” in their emotions and in their “self-esteem.” The other builds up Christians in the Gospel as the Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures to the hearts and minds of the hearers.

Motivational speakers tell a lot of stories and seek to sway through emotion and pop psychology. Biblical preachers tell some stories, but above all seek to have people influenced by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Motivational speakers may or may not throw in a few Bible verses to “salt” their main topic. Biblical preachers rely totally upon the Scriptures to “drive” the content and to feed God’s sheep. The Bible is the basis of their message.

Motivational speakers seek to never speak of things which might offend anyone in attendance. Biblical preachers seek to proclaim God’s Word with a loving heart as they rely upon the Holy Spirit to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That is, to apply the message of forgiveness to those who are repentant….and to apply the weight of the Law toward anyone content to continue sinning. After all, if I am never offended by my own behavior, I am certainly not growing in Christ….and I am living in denial. Motivational speakers do not tend to think about the Law and the Gospel when presenting a message. Instead, they attempt to persuade people to change their behavior.

Motivational speakers are good at knowing how people think and behave….but not good at “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) They reach the level of man’s emotions with their appeals, but they are not equipped with the proper biblical knowledge to lead people into the realm where souls meet God and then grow in Christ.

Motivational speaking tends to be man-centered and people-pleasing. Biblical preaching is Christ-centered and God-honoring. Motivational speaking is often aimed largely at unbelievers. Biblical preaching typically aims where St. Paul aimed in his epistles….that is, it aims mainly at believers.

New Testament worship services are designed for believers….with a loving and open heart for unbelievers to also attend in hopes of them receiving Christ as Savior. Motivational seminars are aimed at anyone who will help to fill the auditorium.Motivational speakers are reluctant to say, “The Bible says.” They realize that many of their hearers don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Biblical preachers have taught God’s people to trust Scripture to be the inerrant “God-breathed” message of truth from the Lord. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Motivational speakers need to have personal charisma. Biblical preachers need to be humble in order to be anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Charisma influences emotions in the direction of self-actualization. The Holy Spirit influences the soul in the direction of godliness.

Biblical preaching lifts up Jesus Christ. Motivational speaking tends to exalt man’s ability to fix his own issues. Biblical preaching proclaims the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation. Motivational speaking might tack on “the sinner’s prayer” at the end of a “how-to” message.

Biblical preaching produces a holy awe of God and a deep respect for His Word. Motivational speaking tends to be light, fun, humorous, and entertaining. It’s “showtime” when the motivational speaker steps to the podium. It’s “flow time” when the biblical preacher steps forward. He has spent much time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to fall upon his hearers and speak to them when the Word goes forth.

Motivational speakers usually have a certain number of steps they want you to follow to improve your life. Biblical preaching is not that simplistic. St. Paul explained biblical preaching with these words: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

Biblical preaching freely discusses heaven, hell, and the immortality of the soul. Motivational speaking never addresses hell….and if heaven gets discussed, it is done so in a way that suggests most people of many religions will eventually make it to heaven.

Motivational speakers tend to deliberately or unintentionally place the spotlight upon the messenger. Biblical preachers want the hearers to celebrate Jesus and Him alone. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the Gospel will result in making me a traitor to Jesus, and I prevent the creative power of His redemption from doing its work.”

Does this mean that every minister who attempts to engage in biblical preaching is doing so with a loving heart and a life filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit? No. If a minister is living “in the flesh” by intentionally feeding his sinful nature, his message will not be saturated and dripping with the grace of God and a Spirit-wrought love for the hearers. This is why St. Paul told Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Notice that his “life” was highlighted even before his “doctrine.” It is easier to present messages that are doctrinally correct than it is to live a holy life, but both are necessary in the life of a pastor and preacher.

There seem to be many more Americans today who hunger for motivational speaking than for biblical preaching. A taste for the Word can only be developed by regularly feeding on the Word….and by holy living….and most of all, by a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. A love of the world produces no such hunger. We are all sinners, and prone to love the world far more than we love the Word. D.L. Moody said this regarding the Bible: “This Book will keep me from sin, and sin will keep me from this Book.”

The temptation for the minister in America today is not only to water down the message….but to change the message altogether. The test for all of us who have been called by God to preach the Word is to do so faithfully and with a heart full of love for God, for believers, and for the lost. If we do this the right way by God’s grace, then unbelievers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to believe….and believers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to love the Lord and to serve others with their gifts.

When we get charged up by a motivational speaker, the results tend to be superficial and flimsy. When you and I are motivated by the Holy Spirit through the faithful proclamation of His Word, the results are spiritual and eternal.

God will help us to rely upon “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) rather than upon a slick and popular presentation of humanistic moralism. One approach equips the saints for works of service. The other approach strokes the ego of the speaker and the attendees.

God is not interested in our ego. He wants His children to “live a life worthy of the Lord” so that we “may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened will all power according to His glorious might.” (Colossians 1:10,11) There is no room for ego in biblical preaching. There is plenty of room for ego in motivational speaking.

Humanistic motivation cannot produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only God can do that….and He does so largely through the teaching and preaching of His Word, as well as through one-on-one encouragement, assistance, and prayer.

St. Paul instructed Timothy: “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2) This is what is needed in America today….preachers of the Word whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

God will help those of us who are pastors and preachers as we proclaim the message of the apostles. Not one of us is sufficient for the task. Only His grace can accomplish the work in us and through us. Here is tip for all of us….read Paul’s letters….and then go forth to motivate people with those words and with that approach to encouraging the saints. The world is filled with motivational speakers….God’s church deserves to have biblical preaching. That’s why He ordained it for His people.

Notice how Paul’s letters tend to always begin with many examples of what God has done for us in Christ….rather than jumping right into a “quick-fix” of what we get to do for Him. That’s the right order. That’s the biblical order and emphasis. God’s work is what matters….both in our salvation, as well as in our Christian life of discipleship. It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Motivational speaking jumps right into what you need to do to get right in your behavior. The Bible presents a far better approach than “self-help.” The Scriptures deliver Jesus to us. The Bible is the “manger” in which Christ is laid before us so that we can gaze upon Him and be filled with the life of God.

Self-esteem is sought by those who have not yet “died to self” and risen to live for Christ. Healthy believers, on the other hand, hunger for God’s Word like a baby hungers for food. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2,3) Jesus never seeks to build up a person’s self-esteem. That is a dead end street as far as God is concerned. St. Paul said it best: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) That experience is a far cry from a life of self-esteem that needs to be constantly propped up by a motivational speaker.

May the Lord open our eyes to see the huge difference between these two approaches….and may He then empower us by the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in God’s way. Anything less is just a cheap counterfeit, and is has no business being performed in the church of the living God.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of what is known as preaching today is no more that ‘self help seminars’ masquerading as the gospel. A lot of this self help is how a person can have a financial breakthrough and will tell lies about supernatural wealth transfers and/or debt cancellations as can be sen below

Unfortunately when things do not materialise, many Christians turn a blind eye and do not ask questions.

On the BBC, there is a story titled ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ where it states:

In these tough economic times, thousands are flocking to wealth creation seminars and purchasing their products in the hope they will unlock the key to becoming rich and “financially free”, like their gurus. But are these courses costing attendees more than they are worth?

“According to the plan, I will be a millionaire in 10 years’ time.

“I owe £4,000 on my credit card, but I will be financially free. It’s going to happen,” says Janice Geddes, a 38-year-old nursery nurse from Ilford, Essex.

She has an unshakeable belief that the wealth creation courses she has paid thousands to attend will teach her the skills and mindset she needs to be rich.

Every day she wakes at 05:45 and spends her time doing a series of exercises known as “wealth conditioning”, before leaving for work at 07:00.

If you want to read the full article and see the video, click here.

The sad thing about this is that though this article is nothing about Christianity, you could easily go to a christian conference and you wouldn’t notice any difference. You will be told to decree and declare, and to speak positive confessions which in most cases give people false hope.

Unfortunately, there is truly a famine for the word of God all over the world. Yes we have many churches and yes we have many sermons but it really does take discernment to wade through the mess to know what is truly a word from God and the only way to recognise the fake is to know how to study the truth

2 Corinthinans 11:12-15 makes it VERY clear that Satan will come in the Christian arena disguised as the real deal with all the christian jargon etc but under it all, Christ has nothing to do with it.

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

This is why one of the best litmus tests that I use is when someone is preaching, who is at the center stage. With the ‘gospel of you’, it is very man centered and even though this is expected in the secular world with their self help gurus and seminars, this should not be the case with biblical preaching and teaching.

One of the worse offenders of motivational speaking disguised as biblical preaching is Joel Osteen and you just need to put his name in the search bar on this blog to see some of my blogs about him. But if you think that his (and other self-help/motivational messages are biblically sound, click here to take part in a bible quiz.

Remember, at the end of the day, its all about Him and NOT you.

To be continued……

If you know anything about my blog, I am hot on true doctrine and on rightly dividing the Word of Truth. But lately God has been working on my heart on how does that true doctrine work its way in real life. In my post ‘So what have I learned in 2013?‘. I stated:

People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

One of the reasons why I have not been posting as much as I personally would like to is because I have been going through my own difficulties. Its as if God is putting me the very things that I wrote about…….but in it all, I still have that joy in Christ that surpasses all understanding.

I mentioned my friends across the pond who host Real Talk Radio  in my post about Armor Bearers (if you are not afraid to have your thinking challenged, I would STRONGLY recommend you listen to some of these show discussions). One of the radio hosts is a guy called Elgin Bailey and on a couple of their shows, Elgin gave his testimony about where he is coming from and about his journey. Guys, this is where true Christianity is played out. Not just in church. Have a listen to where God has brought Elgin from

Part 1

Part 2 (from Elgin’s childhood)

Its so important that we remember where people are coming from and sometimes this may mean working with people THROUGH their struggles. There are so many people who have problems and guess what? They need the gospel too. Somehow we need to be able to bridge the gap between a hard life and a transformed life through Christ. Maybe they need to hear YOUR story.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11)

 

Did you know that you make the bible say anything you want? One of the main problems that we see from the pulpit and from Christians in general is that we used eisegesis instead of exegesis. What do I mean? What many people do is start with THEIR thoughts and their views and then read that INTO scripture instead of starting with scripture and read OUT of it, not having any pre conceived thoughts or ideas and letting the scripture speak for itself, taking into account the historical context. A typical example of eisegesis is with Pastor Clarence McClendon in this clip at the 1:15 mark

Here he starts with a view of the prosperity gospel and then reads INTO 3 John 2 where it states that:

” Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

But you only need to go back one verse to see who he was talking to

The Elder,

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

John was not trying to make a doctrine about prosperity here. All he was doing was greeting Gaius. It would be the equivalent of us today writing a letter saying “I hope everything is going well with you”. That is all

However, if I told them that the White Camelia Knights of the Klu Klux Klan use the same process to justify doing what they do, I’m sure they would not agree. For example on their website which can be viewed here, they have started with their racist views and then use scriptures such as the below to justify their views

Exodus 33:16 “So shall we be separated: I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the Earth”

Leviticus 20:24 ” I am the Lord they God which have separated you from other people”

Now some may say that this is extreme but it really no different than what is preached Sunday after Sunday in many churches. It is so easy for us in the western world to imprint our western thoughts INTO scripture which is where many false doctrines begin.

Francis Chan explains the difference between eisegesis and exegesis below

I saw this video below which is mainly for those who are preaching sermons but the general princple here should be used by every Christian when interpreting the scriptures and I would encourage every Christian (not only preachers) to use these very useful tips and guidelines when studying the bible. It could put a lot of fasle teachers out of business.

So next time you hear your preacher talking of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor and your destiny which seems to be the norm now, ask yourself, are they reading that stuff INTO the scripture or OUT of the scriptures?

One of the things that really frustrates me about Christians sometimes is that we sometimes believe that we above non-christians. We think that somehow that we are exempt from some of the troubles that life throws at us. Yes, we expect to ‘go through’ but there are some things that we don’t expect to go through because we are the ‘King’s kids’. And at one point early on in my Christian life, I used to think like that but then my check engine light came on. Things didnt ‘work’ as I was taught on the pulpit. I started to ask questions. I gave tithes but never saw blessings (in what I thought was blessing) happen to me that was any different to those who didn’t give. I saw those who didn’t give tithes who were getting ‘blessed’ above me. However, I looked at the scriptures and looked at the the life of the main person (apart from Jesus) in the New Testament and that was the apostle Paul. Did I see him being exempt from certain trials as a believer? On the contrary. This is what I saw in 2 Corinthians 11:

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

A gospel full of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, is not a gospel at all. If this is all you are hearing in your church, then I would say that you need to run from such teachings and don’t be blinded by false promises. You cannot plead the blood out of a situation. Life is life. Here are some issues that Christians sadly have had to go through in life

- Rick Warren’s son committing suicide
- Tedashii (the Christian rapper) losing his one year old son
- Marvin Sapp’s wife dies of cancer
- Rev David Wilkerson dies in car crash

Then Hebrews 11 goes on to talk about some who…

….were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

When we have a false view and expectations God and Christianity based on some of the rubbish that is perpetuated on many pulpits, when stuff happens, we have just set ourselves up for a fall.

So lets be real Christian and not give others this false impression. We will go through EXACTLY (and maybe more) problems than a non Christian but know we have Christ with us THROUGH the trial.

Taken from Wretched:

When I am married, then I will be happy…. until you tie the knot.

When I have children, then I will be happy…. until you have kids.

When my children are more self-sufficient, then I will be happy…. until they are out of diapers.

When my children are in school, then I will be happy…. until they ride off on the bus.

When my children leave the home, then I will be happy…. until you are an empty nester.

When I retire, then I will be happy….until you don’t have to wake up to your alarm clock.

Happy

A Syllogism

Here is a syllogism that is trustworthy and true: Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan is in control of the world system. Therefore, the world system is a lie.

The world system tells you that happiness lies just around the corner. Happiness is not where you are, but where you think you should be. Happiness is anything but this. That is a lie.

Perhaps you have purchased the lie. Perhaps you are in a funk because you are not living this God ordained moment with joy. Perhaps you have worked yourself into a state of frustration because today is not tomorrow. You need a Biblical re-orientation.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps.118:24) So how do we do that?

Good theology

Once again, our worries, problems, anxieties, frustrations and confusions have a solution in good theology.

1. The doctrine of sovereignty reminds you that the day you are living is exactly the day that God has ordained for you. (Ps.37:23). You are supposed to be in the season you are in. You will NEVER be content with any season until you realize that you are in the season that God has pre-arranged for you.

2. The two verses before Ps. 118:24 give us our reason to be glad today, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Ps.118:23,24) Knowing that we have a Savior allows us to rejoice today, not tomorrow when we perceive that things will be easier or better.

If you have grown discontent because you perpetually long for tomorrow, re-orient your thinking. Today is the day God wants you to live, and He wants you to live it for Him because He has provided a cornerstone for you.

new-begin-2013-to-2014_72147488208

Happy New Year readers. As you may have noticed, I haven’t really blogged a lot lately. Why I hear you say? In a word….LIFE. I have been doing a lot of learning and self examination in recent months as well as going through some stuff personally in my life….but God is still on the throne and I love him for being faithful to me even when I haven’t been faithful to him. So what have I learned last year? Here are a few things.

  1. First I have learned more about myself. The more I learn about God and closer I get to him, the more of my sin comes to light and I recognize how unworthy I am of God’s grace. Paul said he was the chiefest of sinners. I am forever in debt Christ for the sacrifice that he made to bridge the gap between me and God and to take the punishment for my sins. On the surface, everything may seem OK, but we all struggle with something in our lives which may not always been seen externally. This can sometimes be something as subtle as pride or self righteousness. Romans 7: 15-25 statesFor I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
  2. I have learnt that for some reason, Christians are afraid to question things and reluctant to ask questions that are not normally asked in Church. Many are satisfied to follow the crowd without checking things out for themselves. This can be questions such as is Tithing biblical, why do we have Armor Bearers or where in scripture do we see anyone pleading the blood? I thank God for my friends Elgin Bailey and the twins John and Jonathan Bolton on Real Talk Radio who are not afraid to address this issues and questions head on. Check out their shows here.
  3. More and more I am learning that the hardships of life is no respect of persons and just because you are a Christian does not give us any special pass. No matter how many times you try to ‘speak those things’ or ‘decree and declare‘, you will go through EXACTLY the same things that a non believer goes through. Whether that be sickness, financial difficulties, relationship problems and the like. The difference is as Christians, we are going through it WITH Christ and that gives us hope unlike unbelievers. Even though I have always known this, this year has bought it to the forefront in my life
  4. Life is like a vapor. As I get older, I know that I am just on the conveyor belt of life. I saw last year that the older generation are now beginning to drop off like flies. And not only them, but people who are not far away from my age are dying as well. James 4:13-14 says  “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” I have to make this life matter, not just for now on earth but for eternal. I know that I wont be here forever, so I want to leave an eternal legacy, especially in the life of my children.
  5. I have to make the most of the ‘windows’ in my children’s’ life. What do I mean? Well last year, my son turned 16, my daughter turned 20 and my step daughter also turned 16. There are many windows in your children’s life that you have to make the most of because that window of  opportunity will not last for ever. For example, when they were younger, we used to do a lot of things together. As I stated on my Dear Daddy post, this could be swimming, going to the park. going to the cinema etc. Now they are at that age where I am no longer the person to go out with because they have their own friends and its not cool to be out with Dad all the time. I cannot get those old windows back. It makes it even harder that I do not live with my biological kids but I am still determined to be there for them, no matter what.
  6. People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

These are just a few of the things that I learnt last year. I know that I will learn more this year in this school called LIFE. The question is, what will I do with these lessons?