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Smooth Things or Rough?

Remnant Endurance

Unrepentant rebels love the sunday “church” routine because they love their darkness and relish the fact that the wolf they sit under never preaches on sin or the essential of real repentance and a holy life (2 Tim 4:2-4; Titus 2:11-14; Heb. 12:14-15; 1 Pet. 1:15-16, etc.). They love lies! (Isaiah 30:9-10)

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law (Word) of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” Isaiah 30:9-10 

Those living in darkness many times shun the light of truth and therefore diligently avoid leaders who endeavor to speak the whole of divine counsel. Instead, they heap to (set before) themselves teachers who will tell them “smooth things,” never confronting their sin while intentionally avoiding harder Bible truths that might offend their listeners and hinder the cash flow. Leaders who are self-serving in their positions know that the masses want “smooth things” and therefore tailor their messages to win friends and influence people and grow their local church business. Self-ambitious leaders who are not dead to self, intentionally remove the jagged rock biblical truths from their messages, smoothing out the road and making it wider and more accepting than the narrow road Christ spoke of (Matt. 7:13-14). This is the new form of “Christianity” we see today that is deceived on purpose. Masses are being deceived on purpose, driven to deception because of their denial of the fullness of divine truth revealed in the written Word (2 Thess. 2:10-12). The “seeker-friendly” or “seeker–sensitive” movement, community churches, and otherwise are a part of this departing from the faith once delivered to the saints and given us in God’s precious Word (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; Jude 3-4).

Wolves are known in that they accommodate the flesh. True servants of Christ call men to repent and be brought out of darkness. See Exodus 32; Isaiah 56:8-12; 58:1; Jeremiah 23:17; 2 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Timothy 4:2-4.

Unrepentant counterfeits who love darkness rather than light demand a “minister” that tells them what they want to hear, never demanding repentance of change. This is where Satan’s wolves in sheep’s clothing accommodate them. This would account for the vast majority of so-called “churches” in this late hour before Christ’s soon return.

The words of the LORD bring light which shines on darkened hearts and the unrepentant are repelled – because they choose to remain in darkness. Remember what Jesus told us about this?

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:19-21

To accommodate those who wish to remain in darkness, enterprising leaders have tapped into the key to growing their congregations numerically while withholding precious truth that would lead their hearers to the Savior in repentance upon realizing their sinful state. The unconditional love and unconditional eternal security messages are two of the telltale messages used by this type of leader, basically communicating to the hearer that he has a free ride or carte blanche ticket to live as he wishes and there will be no consequences to face.

The people whom the prophet Isaiah ministered to in his day were no different than many people today who flock to hear conviction-less, nice little sweet and smooth sermonettes from smiling, positive, seeker-sensitive church liars who refuse to tell the whole truth, but for their own agenda, cherry pick certain parts of the Bible to allure and entice the fleshly nature of men (Phil. 3:17-21; 2 Pet. 2:18).

Counterfeits run to ear-tickling wolves and from truth-speaking disciples.

“They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.” Amos 5:10

Many of those who are in darkness today, believing they are secure due to a past experience with Christ, shun truth tellers. They defy the LORD by shunning His truth while vainly believing they have the assurance of eternal life. This is what is conveyed due to the absence of the harder truths of the Bible.

Like many today, the people in Isaiah’s day didn’t desire nor search out truth but instead, wanted “smooth things.” In the theme verse of this chapter from Isaiah 30, the people were demanding that their religious leaders tell them what they wanted to hear so as not to inconvenience their personal lives. They wanted salvation and security on their own terms. They wanted to hear that they were okay, secure and assured eternal life in their current sinful condition. These people didn’t want to hear about denying self, taking up the cross, being crucified to the sins of the fleshly nature, serving God and others in a real way, etc. Oh no, they wanted easy things and to feel good all the time as they did their own thing in their earthly lives. Their goal was to be happy in this life, not holy. The person who lives with these erroneous ideas is self-deluded and self-idolatrous. Today, a man whose stadium church tops 30,000 in weekly attendance has built his lucrative enterprise on trying to make people feel happy (instead of being holy), purposely refusing (as he himself states) to preach on sin. This is a perfect example of a false leader who comes in the name of the LORD but not with the fruit and doctrine of the LORD Jesus and His apostles, who offended many. Our LORD warned of many men speaking well of you, for “so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (2 Tim. 3:10; Lk. 6:26) Christ promised that His true followers would uncompromisingly embrace and speak His Word and would consequently be “hated of all men.” (Matt. 10:22)

Preaching the Word uncompromisingly will thin crowds or prevent them from coming and salvation without sacrifice sells (2 Tim. 4:2-4). The false gospel of ease is the epitome of the “at ease in Zion” lifestyle (Amos 6:1).

The word “repent” in its various forms appears 80 times in the Bible. If there were no sin, there would be no reason for this divinely inspired word and action. Yet, since sin occurred in the Garden and has passed upon all men, repentance is a necessity (Rom. 5:12). When a leader chooses not to preach on sin there is obviously no reason for his hearers to turn to the LORD in godly sorrow (repent) – there is nothing to repent from in his false theology. He has created a god in his own image – his theology transmits the image of a false god – a god who accepts people in their sins instead of the God of Scripture who separates Himself from those who live in sin (Isa. 59:2). Those who do not preach on sin identify themselves as false and completely contradictory to the message of Jesus and His holy apostles and prophets (Lam. 2:14; Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8, 27).

The happiness-instead-of-holiness syndrome is epidemic in this late hour and is a trademark emphasis of seeker-friendly churches which are drawing tens of thousands of goats who believe they are truly right with God. While they do a good job alluring and gathering the masses, these enterprising leaders refuse to name and define sin as the Bible does. When men refuse to preach on sin there becomes no reason to repent or call men to repent before a holy God. How tragic!

The sinful masses are no different today than in Isaiah’s day, seeking to do what is right in their own eyes while receiving justification from their leaders to live a self-serving life instead of a Christ-serving life. Unrepentant, sinful man believes he can live as he so chooses and still remain in God’s grace, vainly believing he has divine approval in doing such. A rude awakening lies (Matt. 7:21-29).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

The people of Isaiah’s day cried, “Prophesy not unto us right things (truth), speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” (Isa. 30:9-10)

The Alignment

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:31

Notice the 3 classes of people involved here whom the LORD indicts in Jeremiah 5:31:

  • “Prophets”
  • “Priests “
  • “People”

“And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.” Hosea 4:9

When mass apostasy occurs, both classes are involved – leader and listener. It takes both parties to complete the circle. Mass apostasy was foretold (2 Thess. 2:3; 2 Tm. 4:3-4). It is a reality today as it has been throughout history, yet there is a remnant, as has also been the case throughout history (1 Kings 18:4, 19). The people among the remnant are those who know their God and are willing to suffer the loss of all things and like Job to say “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.” (Job 13:15-16) The word “remnant” is found 92 times in the Bible and in this context is being used to refer to the residue of people within the church world who truly serve the LORD and have not forsaken the Ancient of Days for the idolatry of selfish pleasures, personal gain, and religion (Mk. 4:17-19; Lk. 17:26-33).

Our God is so very merciful, His compassions fail not but are rather new every morning, great is His faithfulness. He is ever so tenderly merciful with those who will come to the light of His truth. If we just come to Him in honest and sincere heart, confessing our sins and asking Him to restore Himself as the first love of our hearts. See Psalms 86:5, 15; Proverbs 28:13; Lamentations 3:19-26; Revelation 2:4-5. God is continuing His good work in all those who love Him in truth and are conforming to His holy image (Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:29).

Since the Son of God promised us that speaking His Word – including the truth that one must endure to the end to be saved – would bring persecution, some leaders have toned His message down. Speaking the whole counsel of God would include the hard truths of Scripture, and such teaching will not make one popular or garner to one’s local church masses of people. So, it is natural for the leader who has as his driving goal to build a large following, to teach OSAS or avoid this subject. The expose of the myth of unconditional eternal security offends people and such hinders the goal of the one who seeks to build his own kingdom.

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:31

Note that like today, the leaders of Jeremiah’s day “bear rule by their means.” In other words, they lead for their own good, to accomplish their own agenda. Leaders like this “prophesy falsely” by telling people what they want to hear and not what God wants them to hear. These leaders do things their own way and not God’s – all this while they conduct themselves in ministry leadership positions, claiming to come in the name of the LORD while denying His Word (Mk. 8:38).

Note the chilling question and implication at the end of this verse:

“What will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:31b

Judgment is coming on all in the house of God who do not truly obey Him – according to the pattern of His immutable Word. See 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 and 1 Peter 4:17-18.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:17-19

In light of the fact that only a few of the “righteous” will be ultimately and eternally “saved,” they are exhorted here to “commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” We serve “a faithful Creator” and the remnant of the LORD are called to “commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing.” Those who do will possess true assurance in their hearts.

Lure of the Temporal

To “endure sound doctrine” means to hold oneself account to it, to obey it. This is the different between the true disciples and the false brethren among us.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Esau didn’t “endure sound doctrine.” Like Esau, who forfeited his very birthright for a fleeting fix (bowl of soup), the religious and yet sinful people of all ages want the temporal blessings of ease and comfort instead of doing whatever it takes to conform to Christ’s image, leading and Word. Our LORD calls each of us that is to be His disciple, to walk through sufferings in this life and it is through these times and seasons that He works His character in us (Phil. 1:29, 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 4). We must be willing to endure hardness, and all those who do, reap the earthly and eternal rewards that only the LORD can give.

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

At times God’s way is rough isn’t it? All who have ever walked with Him have found that out, but they also discover that He has His purposes for our suffering – to establish, root and ground us in Him (1 Peter 5:10). The end of the LORD’s way is always a priceless peace and rich blessings. Job is one such servant who was established more deeply in the LORD as he obediently and patiently endured the trials that came upon him.

“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:10-11

Remember that those who endure the rough things now, walking with the LORD no matter what comes their way, will be overcomers and eat of the fruit of the tree of life in the eternal kingdom of the Savior they supremely loved and therefore refused to deny in this life (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2-3).

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing your people to be seated together in heavenly places in Christ and with all spiritual blessings in Him. Please grant me the grace to grow in knowing You and hearkening to Your voice at all times. I love you my LORD Jesus. Help me to know You better this hour and to treasure Your holy words, hearkening to the voice of Your Holy Spirit and what You are saying to the Church. Stir me up LORD. I love You and praise You for all the blessings You have bestowed upon this life you have given. Purge my heart and strike it with Your fear my LORD. I choose to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” to suffer, and become a companion of all those who are genuinely true to Your Word. No matter what comes my way, I know You are greater. Please bless me to be rooted and grounded in Your love and fill me with Your fullness LORD Jesus as You use me to be a blessing to others this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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