Bible Lesson 167

TAKING A HARD LOOK AT CHEAP GRACE PREACHING

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.” 1st Corinthians 9:16-18

“Preaching the truth makes people sad, mad, or glad. Too many people today leave church on Sunday neither sad, mad, or glad; they go out as they came in. Better go out mad than just go out! Vance Havner.

There is an account of a Church that had a large picture of Jesus on the wall behind the pulpit, and one day a little girl sat with her mother in a seat directly in front of the pulpit. From where she sat she could no longer see the picture of Jesus Christ after the preacher took the pulpit, so she said to her mother?. ?Who is that man that keeps me from seeing Jesus?’. That is what happens when the preacher becomes the object of our view, or the only person that we focus on during our church service.

Do we have preachers like that today who stand and block our ever really seeing Jesus Christ who is the only One who can save? Sadly, yes we do, and we have them by the thousands. Let me say quickly that some of these who block our view of Jesus Christ and the gospel of grace, do not even know that they are doing it! They were taught it by some Seminary or by preachers who they mimic; however that is not the way that the Gospel of Grace is to preached. The Gospel and nothing but the gospel and God’s Amazing Grace are sufficient to save any soul.

The Apostle Paul, wrote to us under the inspiration of God, that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes ?? Romans 1:16. The power of God to save is encapsulated in the gospel of Jesus Christ, not in our sweet little pastor or our esteemed elders or in anyone else, and yet there are many church services every Sunday that move the light from Jesus toward the preacher or the Choir or some member of the church, or the church itself, rather than on the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.

In the word of an old hymn I say “Give me that old time religion”, because it was good enough for Paul and Silas, and I add and for Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh?.and it’s good enough for me. Now, I want you to understand that when I speak of religion today, I’m not talking about that outward attempt to look spiritual like most church members in our day. What I’m talking about is that miracle of salvation that occurs when God intervenes in a person, and that person is reborn by God. That old sinful creature that lived in the flesh and for the flesh is dead and a new creature is raised up by God.

If that isn’t a miracle, then there is no such thing as a miracle. In religion man can and often does a pretty fair job of showing what man can do for God, but real religion or Christianity is God showing man what He alone has and can do to make a man, woman, or young person fit for heaven. In that miracle of rebirth, that only God can do, there is a new creature raised up ‘a new creature with the old things (of the flesh) all washed away and all things are become new! (Ephesians 2:10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17). Christianity is about the glory and the grace of God in returning a sinner to a saint. Apparently, most preachers and church members do not like that idea because they never speak of the fact that God inspired the Apostle Paul to write to us that we were to be saints, that is if we are truly children of God. (Romans 1:7; 1st Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 3:8; 2nd Thessalonians 1:10; Jude 3; 16:6).

Why is that we never hear from our pulpits that we are to be saints, we used to hear once and a while that we were to be holy, but never that we were called by God to be saints, which points to a godly life on the part of every true believer. Sainthood is not something that we attain, but rather a state that we are called into by God by His Grace. Saints are not Christian supermen or women, just plain Christians. Saint has nothing to do with church membership, although every true Christian is a member of the Church that Jesus Christ is building. You may ask, what does that have to do with cheap grace preaching, and I reply, that it is the lack of preaching the hard verses and making sure that our hearers understand that God meant them just as they were written, that has contributed in large part to the lack of real gospel preaching. The preaching that is done to satisfy people in our congregations is normally cheap-grace preaching. It tells people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.

What is the logic in that kind of thing’ I can tell you that there is no logic to a person who speaks Biblical truths; but there is a logic that says to a man whose desire is to succeed as a worldly preacher would want to succeed. The person who gets caught up in that kind of desire has to know that he is working from within himself rather than from ‘in Christ’. They are concerned about how they look to the world rather than the salvation of souls. Any man who mounts a pulpit or sits in a high-backed chair and preaches anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified is preaching cheap grace! If we know our Bibles and we teach what they say rather than the latest fad or preaching that is aimed at church membership we know that the Bible teaches that every man, woman, and child that lives on any particular day is living under the Wrath of God (hell bound), unless and until they come to the realization that they are lost, blind, and undone without God and without hope in this world. Now, once a person gets to that point and are fed-up with their selves and throw themselves on the Cross of Christ for reconciliation to God, then and only then have we accomplished the simple plan that Christ left for us in the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). God has never called any preacher to go out and make people feel good about themselves. God calls men who understand that lost men have nothing to feel good about; because they are under the wrath of God and are dead with no means of communing with God until God brings them back to Spiritual life and points them to the cross. Notice that fallen human beings do not and will not take the initiative to reach God, instead it is always God who gives men that effectual call to righteousness, and that call cannot be denied. Romans 8:30.

God’s Grace is amazing but real men of God know that it is truly ‘God’s Grace’ and is subject to only God, who grants it to only those who place themselves before God owning their sins and crying out for His mercy, knowing that they have no right to His mercy. No man will ever know the love of God and the beauty of His Grace and mercy, until they have dealt with God about His wrath against their sin; however cheap grace preachers have led many away from God’s grace by preaching their little cheap grace messages that assure many that they are going to be alright just the way they are. Cheap grace tells people that God loves them and Jesus loves them and that Jesus died for everyone. These cheap grace dispensers tell people that they can be saved anytime they want to walk the aisle and shake the preachers hand. I don’t know if any of them have ever thought about it but that pushes God aside and lifts up the preacher and their church and it’s leaders.

There has never been, nor will there ever be, any man saved except on God’s terms, and that is that people come to Him humble and contrite, confessing their sins and broken hearted because they have sinned against God, repenting and turning away from every sin; and I repeat’.God does the initiating every time. I am afraid that what the visible church has become is a place where we entertain sinners and never offend anyone by telling them the truth about God and about God’s coming judgment of all sin. We like the idea of being competitive with other denominations, other churches and other preachers and their groups, and we lead thousands away from God in the process because God and His truths have been violated by cheap grace preaching. You may ask ‘What is Cheap grace preaching’ In the Words of a great old preacher’it is preaching that shades the truths of God’s Word, ignores the core of who God is and what He is about in the world. It involves humanistic ideas and ideals, and in short, is not the gospel of Grace. Grace is never cheap because it cost the Lord Jesus Christ everything and any gospel you hear that does not set a standard for Christian living and point people to the cross, rather than toward church membership will be worth nothing in the judgment. God never gave us the Bible (the inspired and inerrant Word from God), for us to revise, adjust, deny, destroy or to ignore, instead God gave us the Bible to bring people to the truth which is that they are born dead in trespass and sin, under the wrath of God and destined for hell and all of it’s terrors.

If you have a pastor or preacher who is too sweet, too nice, too loving and indulgent of sin in his flock, you can know that you have a pseudo-preacher, a cheap grace preacher, and you need to straighten him out on his doctrines or else leave that church. If we are honest with ourselves before God, we have to admit that we do not like to hear any of the hard doctrines that God filled His Word with, instead we desire those smooth things that never accuse us of sin, never challenge us to right living, never make us look inward to make sure that we know God in the forgiveness of our sin, (See Isaiah 30:8-11). We prefer sermons that are objective (point at sin in the heavens or in some other people. We do not like sermons that put a face on sin and describe it in it’s evil and then apply that preaching to the congregation. For that reason we have made our churches a point of darkness, rather than a point of light. How many of you who are reading this today will honestly examine yourself and your church’ How many of you really know enough about the Bible to even examine yourselves’

That is one of the problems in our congregations’.. we have abandoned our Bibles for the once weekly thesis of our preachers. Most do not understand what they are saying, and many do not care; because they go just to make an appearance; and think that by going to church they are obeying God. We are not obeying God unless we are being the church seven days a week in everything we do. Too many of the people who profess to know Christ, can best be described as C.S. Lewis who stated: “The word morality raises in a good many people’s mind’something that interferes, something that stops you from having a good time. In reality, moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or friction, in the running of that machine. That is why these rules at first seem to be constantly interfering with our natural inclination. When you are being taught how to use any machine, the instructor keeps on saying, “No, don’t do it like that,” because , of course there are all sorts of things that look right and seem to you the natural way of treating the machine, but they do not really work.” The Holy Bible is the instruction book, the operating manual that explains the best way for the human machine to work. How is your machine working these days’

Perhaps it would be good if we defined what we mean when we say preacher/preaching. A person becomes a preacher and begins preaching or distorting the Word and Will of God whenever they speak out in the hearing of others, and I mean by that the person who is always eager to talk about things that they know nothing about. We have those people in large numbers in our day. They are the ones who after the sermon will end up in a group and challenge the truth. Then we have those who are teachers who are not prepared to say anything about the Word of God or the God of the Word. They exist by the thousands and normally they mean no harm, but they are not saved and God has not given them any light to reflect to others. The old saying that goes ‘You cannot lead where you have not been, and you cannot teach that which you do not know’, is valid especially when it comes to proclaiming the Word of God. Yet we in modern day professional and commercial religion are attempting to do that very thing. What does that kind of ‘bootlegged’ religion do to people who are true seekers of God’ It confuses them and hinders them coming to God for their forgiveness. Jesus accused the Pharisees and others in His time here on the earth of doing that very thing (Luke 11:49-52).

Cheap grace preachers have no compunction about standing before congregations and preaching things that is not in the Bible. They do that because they do not trust God to save those whom He intends to save. They have the idea that God was too narrow and too severe when He inspired the writers of the Bible to write down the truths of God, and so, they who consider themselves little gods I suppose, take it on themselves to correct the Almighty God. For instance, Jesus Christ Himself, preached and it looks like the first thing that He preached accused the religious community of being on the wrong track, as He preached ” Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). But most preachers in our day have forgotten that those who come to God through Jesus Christ His Son, must repent; and repent carries with it the notion of changing directions because of a changed mind. All too many preach sermons that give people the idea that all that matters to God, is that we all belong to one of the visible, institutionalized, denominational churches that exist in our time.

Folks, it is time that we all woke up and smelled the coffee, and by that I mean that we have been lulled asleep by these hired hands that we call preachers, who never accuse anyone of sin, never call for lives that prove their repentance and forgiveness and rebirth. Being saved is defined as being a member of some group or some denomination that exists today; but being saved is defined by God as those who were elect before the foundation of the world, called by God the Father as they are drawn to His Son Jesus Christ and being reborn (having that old creature the flesh crucified and being made one with and in Christ Jesus). As I write this lesson, it is June of 2012, and there are signs going up everywhere about revival. Churches are scheduling revivals and plan to hold revivals and will make time and spend a little effort to make sure that some evangelist comes and harangues those who come until somebody walks the aisle and makes a profession of faith in Christ. We have come to the place where we do not trust God to deal with the heart and soul of those whom He alone can save and so we have created scenarios that makes a show out of some preacher. Listen to me carefully now, God planned your salvation in eternity past, and He predestined those who He chose to be adopted by Christ as His sons’.then by hearing or reading of God’s Word, the Scriptures, the Bible, God knows those whom He has chosen in eternity past, and in time, here on the earth, God calls, justifies, and glorifies them (Ephesians 1:1-5; Romans 8:29-30).

That is the Biblical way that salvation comes to anyone who is ever saved. Now, allow me before anyone who has read that begins to cry foul, or begins to accuse God of not being fair, I would remind you that whatever God does is fair, because He is the standard and we have no way of influencing what God does. We love to think that we can because we want to chose if we will be saved, when we want to be saved, and to what extent we will be saved; however that is not what happens. What really happens is whatever God’s eternal plan for man, and you in particular, is predestined to happen. Most people do not like to hear that because we like to think that we are the captain of our own soul, but we have never stopped to think what we are thinking or wanting because we have sought to bring God down and lift ourselves up. God is the Creator of all things and we are simply a minute part of His creation. God knows everything that is going to happen because he controls it all, and we as His creatures can create nothing. If you want to argue with that you may think that you helped create a space ship that went into space, but you had to use things that God had created in the beginning in order to build it. We cannot create anything: we may be able to change it’s form but we cannot create anything.

Now I have said all of that to wake up those who are interested in being aware of the truth and I would ask you to begin to study the Word of God the Bible as you pray and ask the Creator God to give you light. Open you eyes and see what is happening around you’.and think of these things’

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob