Posted in discernment, false doctrine, the subtlety of satan

How a Pastor guards his flock: Jim Murphy’s sermon "The Subtlety of Satan" Part 2: God takes away the discernment of the elders

Earlier today I wrote of a pastor in Johnson City NY who had preached a raw and compelling sermon to his flock on Sunday. The sermon is called The Subtlety of Satan, and it is a blessing and an encouragement to Christians who are fainting at the Tsunami waves of falsity swamping us, and the lack of reaction from brethren, leaders, and pastors who either don’t comment or worse, purposely allow it. In these dangerous times Paul wrote about, we know wolves will infiltrate the church, bringing with them poisonous teachings, false doctrine, myths of men, and much more.

But where are the discerning leaders who are protecting their sheep, speaking out against the false and wrong and dangerous? They are out there, laboring in corners of the nations, in home churches, in large churches, in small churches. Most of the time they are unacknowledged, and in many cases, unappreciated. The strong brother in a church sliding to apostasy may feel lonely, but there are still strong members of the body speaking for truth out there. The Lord is good to raise up strong, discerning, unafraid pastors who stand for truth in a dying, lying world. In this case, one of these strong pastors came to our attention. Thank you Lord.

Pastor Jim preached a sermon that was full of raw faith and strength, fierce for the truth and potent in warnings. It is called The Subtlety of Satan, by Pastor Jim Murphy at First Baptist Church of Johnson City, NY.

Deception is subtle. How do I know? Because satan is the liar and the father of lies, (John 8:44), who is out to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10). That is what the Word of God tells us. Further, it tells us that satan is the most subtle creature in the garden. (Genesis 3:1). We must not ignore the many warnings in both testaments about falsity. There is one True God and He is to be held above all else. He died to bring us the true testimony of the Gospel that saves.

Speaking against deception is speaking for Jesus.

Some may ask, OK, that is all well and good, but why does the pastor, or anyone, have to name names? Isn’t that unloving? No. Here is an analogy. We’ll use food. The word feeds us. (I Peter 2:2; Matthew 4:4; Job 23:12). Jesus is the bread of life. We thirst and He is the living water. There is good leaven and bad leaven. Food is the analogy.

So Baptists are known for their covered dish suppers. In the north they’re known as pot luck suppers. Long tables laden with food groan under the weight of all the covered dishes atop them which people brought. Church members gather to have fellowship or to celebrate. They eat together.

Source Decatur Daily

Scenario A: (names are made up)

Pastor Joe Smith is completely undiscerning. He has no idea that some of the food his flock are about to eat contains worms, dung, and poison. He does not warn them that wolves brought that food, because he does not know they are wolves. Why? If a pastor, teacher or elder fails consistently enough to pursue truth and learn to discern wheat from chaff, and fails to teach his flock how to discern good from evil, sometimes God takes away the discernment of the elders.

“He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders.” (Job 12:20, ESV).

Gills’ Exposition, “Speech is proper to mankind, and a benefit unto them, whereby they can converse together, and communicate their minds to each other; this is the gift of God.” One of the Spirit’s gifts to men is that we are brought into the Light of His truth by seeking Him through His word. If He gives the gift of discernment, He can also take it away- and He does.

Geneva Bible Study warns of the results of the Job verse, “He causes their words to have no credit, which is when he will punish sin.”

These sheep under Pastor Joe Smith are at great risk. Not only are they not being warned, but they are through passive means being taught not to discern. And so, the students will become like their teacher. (Luke 6:40).

Scenario B1:

Pastor Pete Jones organizes a covered dish supper in his church’s fellowship hall. He knows that some of the people bringing food to the table are wolves, and he knows that some of the food will make his people sick, or even poison them. He has discernment, but he has a skewed view of what being “loving” is. His people eat heartily, pray, and sing, then they go home. Reports start to come in that this one is in the hospital, or that one fell away from church because they got sick, or this one died. Tearful congregants approach the pastor, and bitterly ask him, “You knew some of the food was bad! Why didn’t you warn us?” Pastor Peter replies, “Well, I didn’t want to be unloving. I thought that the wolves would be struck in their heart by our loving and tolerant attitude, seeing that we accept all food equally and in love, and they would convert.”

Scenario B2:

Mindful of the disaster at his previous church, pastor Pete, at a new church now, has grown a bit (a tiny bit) in his discernment. He organizes another covered dish supper. He knows that some of the people bringing food to the table are wolves. He knows which ones are wolves, too. He knows that some of the food will make his people sick, or even poison them. The potato salad has been left in the sun for hours, the hamburgers have e coli, and the apple pie was laced with cyanide. He knows which food is bad but he sees all the good food too. However, not wanting to have a repeat of the disaster that happened before, He prays over the food, and he warns his flock.

“People! Listen! Some of this food is bad for you! Some of it will make you sick. Some of it will kill you. Some of it will be delicious and fill you up. There. I have warned you.”

“But pastor, which food is bad? Who brought the poisonous dishes?”

“People. It would be unloving of me to name names. We might hurt that person’s feelings. It would be unloving of me to point to which food is bad, because they spent a long time making it and they brought it here sincerely today. We must not judge! OK, enough said, Buon Appetit!”

Scenario C:

Pastor Lupus organizes a covered dish supper. Over the course of the week, he had called his Canis friends and asked them to bring poisoned food to the supper. He sees that there are too many people in his congregation loving the Lord. He hates this. He wants to weed those Christians out. So he brings diseased food and knowingly feeds his flock with it. He knows that those strong eaters of the food will soon be gone and he will need his pews filled up. He doesn’t care that the strong ones go away and the weak ones die. He just wants replacements to fill his pews so he will look good. Feeding them evil food is the best way to do it. But he does it slowly and on the sly. He is the wolf, baying to his wolf friends to come into the church. The covered dish supper is the means to break his church because direct poison kills swiftly.

Many people were surprised that John Piper made Pastor Jim Murphy’s list of those who are failing their duty and who are bringing a false word. Piper has been a towering man of the faith for many years. But he is slipping. Not possible you say? Not Piper! Really? Look what happened to Solomon. The wisest man who ever lived became foolish in his old age. Is Piper different, or excused, or immune to the same fate? Are any of us? No.

The Lord God organizes all the affairs of men. He does what He wills. Discernment is a gift from Him, and a  mercy and a help. When He sees fit, He takes it away.

Matthew Henry comments on the Job verse about when Lord takes away the discernment of the elders. Think of John Piper when you read it. Or substitute any voice which once was strong but now is not.

“Those that were famed for eloquence, and entrusted with public business, are strangely silenced, and have nothing to say. He removeth away the speech of the trusty, so that they cannot speak as they intended and as they used to do, with freedom and clearness, but blunder, and falter, and make nothing of it.”

“Those that were bold and courageous, and made nothing of dangers, are strangely cowed and dispirited; and this also is the Lord’s doing: He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people, that were their leaders and commanders, and were most famed for their martial fire and great achievements; when any thing is to be done they are heartless, and ready to flee at the shaking of a leaf. Those that were driving on their projects with full speed are strangely bewildered and at a loss; they know not where they are nor what they do, are unsteady in their counsels and uncertain in their motions, off and on, this way and that way, wandering like men in a desert.”

Is John Piper excluded from this danger just because he is an elder of the faith, so successful for so many years? No! As a matter of fact he is more at risk. “The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil; they sank into sleep; all the men of war were unable to use their hands.” (Psalm 76:5).

That is why I keep saying, pray for our pastors! Pray, pray, pray; and then pray some more. He is a gift from God! And the pastors who are not discerning, not bold, not warning us? They are a judgment from God. Which pulpit do you want to sit in front of? Just think about that the next time you go to a covered dish supper. Which food are you being fed? Good healthy food (doctrine)? Or poisonous food (doctrine)? Don’t you want a pastor who will love you enough to feed you good food and to teach you how to tell if the food is good? And don’t you care enough about yourself- you who Jesus died for-to then go out and practice that discernment and growing in strength to detect good doctrine from bad, so you can then turn around and teach others?

Pray for Pastor Jim, if you would. God has blessed him with discernment, strength and fire! Do you see from this lesson how that is a gift and a blessing straight from God? Pray for the ones Pastor Jim named who are false. Pray for each other, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV). In all things, pray. (Phil 4:6)

Posted in a pastor guards his flock, false teaching, the subtlety of satan, wolves

How a Pastor guards his flock: Jim Murphy’s sermon "The Subtlety of Satan" Part 1

Part two here. Please read it as well, I entreat you.

I listened to a great sermon on Monday, and I mentioned it in a blog yesterday, here. I decided to do a stand-alone blog entry about this sermon, because the sermon blessed me to tears and encouraged me beyond measure. Perhaps it will for you too.

The Subtlety of Satan, by Jim Murphy

Pastor Jim Murphy is pastor at First Baptist Church at Johnson City NY. On Sunday, July 8, 2012, He stood before his congregation resolved and firm. He had been convicted to share with them, and actually reprove them (and himself) of the false teachings that Christian books, curricula, and bible studies are promoting today. It had permeated his church and he was broken-hearted about that, not the least because he had been worried about these teachings but had done nothing. Well, this is something.

He said he was going to root this stuff out, and purify his local church. He said, “And you’ve heard the rumor, that Pastor Jim killed the Beth Moore trip. Let me clarify that rumor: I killed the Beth Moore trip.”

He spent an hour Sunday laying the context for how the modern church of 2012 has come to be so weak, accepting falsity for true, and being me-oriented instead of God-oriented. Though the slide away from our firm foundation began long ago, in his sermon,  he started the trip in the mid-1940s. He educated his congregation about Gnosticism, post modernism, Christian Universalism, Emergent Church, and more. He named the names of the wolves bringing these teachings, and among them were Rick Warren, Beth Moore, John Piper, Bill Hybels, Francis Chan, Rob Bell.

He also chided his congregation for being undiscerning, and that their lack of discernment came from laziness. He charged them. He charged himself. He was strong.

Rather than being unloving, as the liberals claim today, he was being the most loving of a preacher than I’ve heard in a long time. Raw, honest, clear, he was doing what pastors are supposed to do: guard his flock from wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The Sola Sisters were the ones bringing the sermon to our attention, and I thank them for that. It has gained wide notice in our circles, being on the Brannon Howse’s World View Weekend radio program, being linked to by many others, being spoken of in chat rooms. The flavor of all this notice is one of gratitude. As Brannon Howse told his listening audience, ‘I’ve been encouraging you that there are pastors out there who stand against this stuff. They are out there…here is one!’


Reactions to the sermon:

Brannon Howse radio program examining Pastor Jim’s sermon, part 1. WVW shows are available for two weeks, after that, they cost $5. Part two was broadcast today and can be listened to here.

Here are some transcripts of part of the sermon that other bloggers have posted.

Julia’s excerpts from Steak and a Bible

“Now is the time for clarity. No more messing around. No more experimentation. No more dabbling into these dangerous practices. Now is the time for clarity and that clarity comes through discernment: this ability to think Biblically. The ability to read a book and see what it is saying aside from the warm fuzzy you got from it. Discernment takes time and it takes work and shame on you for not taking the time and effort. shame on you.”

“How do you know it’s not God’s voice if you don’t know the Bible?”

“I’m here to ask your forgiveness. I expressed my concerns along the way in several areas but there were some things that I heard and saw that I was not comfortable with and I thought well, let’s just roll with this. It may be not that bad.”

“Today things change. I’m responsible for this ministry. I will be called a tyrant, a fundamentalist, controlling – you fill in the blanks – I don’t care anymore. We’re going to be making some changes and we’re going to root this stuff out of our ministry because it is unacceptable. It is not biblical Christianity and we’re going to get back to the Bible. I’m not going to make a lot of friends …”

We do NOT need mystical experiences
to validate the Word of God!

“There are pagan books floating around. I’ll be addressing that in writing. When it’s published I’ll give you a copy. You need to learn to be discerning and we’re not. Why? You need to get into your Bible. You don’t know because you don’t read and you don’t study. Number two: You need to connect the dots. The Bible says this. Why this? If the Bible says that you have been given everything for faith and practice in this book, what do you suppose that means? That you have been given everything for faith and practice in that book, which means this: you don’t have to hear voices, and you don’t have to go by experiences. You can know the truth in this book and that truth will set you free. You get that don’t you?”

“What I now have no patience for — I’m kind of at the end of my rope, I’m gonna be honest with you — is the lack of effort. I’ve addressed some of these matters. “Oh it’s no big deal.” How dare you! It is a big deal. It’s a big deal to me, it’s a big deal to God and it’s a big deal to the opposition.”

An Unnamed Christian Woman’s excerpts at My Sheep Hear My Voice

Relevance v. Repentance

“What is a Christian according to the contextually relevant teachers of today? “Someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well adjusted self actualized risk taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a no regret life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage, is an attentive parent, celebrating recovery from all of their lusts, their habits, their hangups and practices biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at his church, tithes off the gross and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world country. That’s who a Christian is. What about the Gospel? Never once do you read in that modern contextualization that a Christian is one who sees their sin, confesses their sin, repents of their sin, and receives the gift of salvation in Christ alone. That is how far we have come.”

This is long so I’m going to make a part two and talk just a tiny bit more about this, using an analogy, and ending with an encouragement. Again, here is the link for the wonderful sermon, “The Subtlety of Satan.” Please take an hour and listen…or break it up into two halves. I am sure that you will learn, be encouraged, and refreshed at listening to a pastor guard his flock.

For your consideration-
How a Pastor guards his flock: Jim Murphy’s sermon “The Subtlety of Satan” Part 2: God takes away the discernment of the elders.