By Elizabeth Prata
“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.” Leonard Ravenhill.
We are living in a plague now. It is a plague of false teachers. False teachers bring a different Gospel, or meld the true Gospel with a false one, and they try to make the people forget the True and Living God. Jeremiah had complained to God about the false prophets and their message.
“But I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.'” (Jeremiah 14:13)
Jeremiah was concerned that the falsely positive messages would dampen their fervor and alertness of the people. Any message that a person accepts that is not from God is inherently damaging in some way, and ultimately damaging in every way. Paul referred to this process as gangrene. (2 Timothy 1:7). False teaching spreads and it kills as it goes.
This is why we must insist on proper interpretation of biblical messages from our pulpits, read books that have proper representations of the Gospel and God, it is why we must study for ourselves so when a TRUE message of peace does come, we can rely on it.
Later God answered Jeremiah,
“They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship.” (Jeremiah 23:27).
Has the United States forgotten God’s name? From my vantage point and in my opinion, yes.
Jeremiah was broken by the false prophets’ falsehoods and treachery upon the people and against our Holy God. Do we have that same attitude today? Do we simply say, “Meh” when learning this one or that one is a false teacher, or say “Well, let’s be loving and not say anything negative about it”? Let it not be so! Were Jeremiah’s tears in vain?
Matthew Henry’s explanation of Jeremiah’s concern:
“Because of the prophets and their sin, the false doctrine they preached, the wicked lives they lived; especially it filled him with horror to hear them making use of God’s name and pretending to have their instruction from him. Never was the Lord so abused, and the words of his holiness, as by these men. Note, The dishonour done to God’s name, and the profanation of his holy word, are the greatest grief imaginable to a gracious soul.”
There will come a day when Jesus will take care of the false teachers. We will shout hallelujah! Until then, do not forget the Lord’s name. Do not seek after false messages brought in another’s name. Do not ignore messages that the false ones bring, but reject them!
Matthew Henry continues:
“He charges it all upon the prophets and priests, especially the prophets. They are both profane (v. 11); the priests profane the ordinances of God they pretend to administer; the prophets profane the word of God they pretend to deliver;” … “God threatens to punish these prophets for their wickedness. They promised the people peace; and to show them the folly of that God tells them that they should have no peace themselves. They were very unfit to warrant the people, and pass their word to them that no evil shall come upon them, when all evil is coming upon themselves and they are not aware of it,”
Honor God’s name by studying His word. Encourage your pastor and teachers. Speak highly of Jesus and lift up fellow Christians, encouraging each other. Reject even the smallest amount of leaven, for it is dishonoring to His mighty name. Most importantly, do not let false messages creep in, for their design is to make you forget the name of God, and so instead, say,
“I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.” (Hebrews 2:12).
Some day the visible Bride will be spotless.