No Sense of Smell
What I’m writing here is in behalf of many ministries and pastors who agree and are concerned about what is taking place in the church.
2 Cor. 2:14-17: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”
God speaks of our prayers as incense in the Old Testament, and the sacrifices as a sweet smelling aroma unto Him. We are His ambassadors to the world and we are a family, His body on earth. Though we may not all meet together, we are united in the Spirit as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
If this is what the church is supposed to be united in both the spirit and truth why do we disagree-why are there conflicts in the church? The answer to this question is simple yet weighty- It is written that, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” It should be apparent to people who are observing what is taking place in the church and understanding it from Biblical perspective that there is a lot of garbage coming inside our doors. The smell is permeating God’s house and there are only a few that notice it and even fewer that want to say or do something about it. Our indifference and lack of will is what is preventing us from a God sent revival.
In 2 Cor. 2:14-17 the fragrance Paul is speaking of is one of knowledge; we are the ones who bring this knowledge of God’s grace and the truth to people. If they accept the gospel of salvation it is a sweet smell to them. It they reject the gospel, it becomes odious to them. If your life is not being a sacrifice for Christ it may not smell so good. This is why we have only a small influence in society.
We should all follow the example of Mary, Lazarus’ sister who sacrificed her costly perfume for Jesus’ burial and it says “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (John 12:3). The oil was a type of the anointing on Jesus who was to be crucified. The more we are dead to our self the more alive Christ is in us. But this is the more difficult part, where knowledge becomes wisdom as it is applied in our lives.
Have you ever had a cold where you could not smell or taste what you are eating? Well the church has got a cold that is affecting her taste for good food and she is ready to eat any bland food served on the platter. In fact, too many drink the skim milk of men-they do not know what the pure milk of the word tastes like anymore.
The Bible tells us that we were all like sheep that have gone astray. We are sheep that are to be led by the good Shepherd. The Lord used sheep in a number of illustrations and for good reason, because as sheep we can still go astray after we believe. There are other illustrations that are used as well:
Proverbs 27:8: “Like a bird that wanders from its nest is a man who wanders from his place.” Some teachers that were once grounded in Scripture have been influenced away from their place called home.
Many think they are immune to bad influences and leave themselves wide open to them. We are to have discretion with whom we associate with, who we learn from and submit ourselves to. No true minister is to befriend false teachers, defend them or contribute to their ministry. The simple reason is that once you begin to compromise in this area, you have nothing to say, you have lost your salt. It won’t take long before you become one with them and blinded to what you once knew. One of the best examples is found in the New Testament, Barnabas; he was carried away with Peter’s hypocrisy that compromised him and others (Gal.2). Leaven never affects a few but the many.
Chasing down trends has become a trend in itself. People sit and wait for the newest thing they can introduce to their church for church improvement or the real reason- for church growth. Growing attendance and growing spiritually are two different matters. Super-size is in and it is beneath the notice of today’s Mega leaders if you do not have this kind of attendance. So they desire more and follow the one who wanders from its nest. Like birds, they chirp whatever is said and follow the bird droppings of big bird.
The followers parrot whatever their teacher has said, never understanding that they are submitting to him instead of Jesus. For Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). People are following men and their words over Jesus and His Word.
The world is convinced the devil is imaginary and is a mythical creature, who wears a red suit. In the same manner a good portion of the Christian church has been convinced to accept anyone who is successful, that wears an expensive suit (or aloha shirt) behind the pulpit as teaching the truth about God. To the listeners of these teachers it has become more offensive to question what they are saying than it is for spreading heresy. If someone accuses their teacher of saying something wrong, they are pre conditioned to act like Pavlov’s dogs and attack them, labeling them with every derogatory term or word in the book (and some not in the book).
We are to be listening to the content, we do not have our eyes on the messenger. Is it Biblical teaching or is it from man. It happened to Israel- Ezek 22:27-28 "Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. "Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' when the LORD had not spoken.” We are told to be aware of men rising among us to lead us astray by speaking perverse things. Paul warned the Ephesian church specifically about this (Acts 20:29). Perverse is the Greek word diastrepho-1) to distort, to turn aside to oppose, to plot against the saving purposes and plans of God. 2) to turn aside from the right path, to pervert, to corrupt.
On the other hand he commended a certain group of people above all the others, the Bereans (Acts 17). They searched the Scriptures daily- not just once in a while or not at all. Unfortunately, the emphasis today is on “not at all.”
Like a bad cold, their followers ears are stuffed with the teachers words and cannot hear anything spoken to the contrary, even the pure word. They have become mentally challenged on the truth, rationalizing that because they speak in tongues they are filled with the Spirit and anyone who disagrees with their teacher is not. They label anyone who disagrees with them a Pharisee, they quickly become disrespectful, intolerant to any of the facts. This is no exaggeration, as I have received letters for years on these matters and this is the attitude of too many in the church. All one needs to do is ask- is this a Biblical teaching found in the Bible, can it be proven to be the correct interpretation? Once they are willing to examine it thoroughly they usually come to a different conclusion. But the inquiry of teaching becomes the roadblock to knowing truth.
The main contention between the Pharisees and Jesus were all the extra Biblical laws they were practicing as God’s law. It was their added revelations to Moses that they enforced upon people to obey which got Jesus very angry. The Pharisees wanted him to obey the elder’s laws- their laws (Mk.7 the tradition of the fathers). Jesus would not submit to them at all.
Jesus defended the people against the false teachers of his day. He stood in the gap for them. He corrected them by teaching them what is right and true, often right in front of the false teachers. And when necessary he got in their religious faces. It cost Him His life, though He was going to lay it down for sinful man; that would include them.
The religious leaders had all the money (it says they loved money) they had a monopoly on power and because of this they had great influence on the religious population. Sound familiar? If they were here today (and they are) they would make sure they stand out on the TV. They would make sure everyone sees them pray in public, their giving would be made known, and they would exert their authority and make disciples of themselves. They would enforce their position by making sure the people side with them. They would connive the people to give them money to support their work, using false promises to ingratiate themselves with their audience. Not much has changed only the names and means. All of these qualities were found in the religious sect of Jesus’ day.
It’s hard to defend Christianity when they see the TV evangelists preach money as their gospel. To the unbelievers that watch them on TV they think all of the church is like them. It is they that have brought the church in disrepute. And this is where the latter portion of 2 Cor. 2:17 is applied- "For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”
When someone is told about their teacher being wrong that they have been learning from for years they immediately start a comparison list of what you have done and what they have done.
We do well to remember what Paul wrote: “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12)
Their defense is often like Simon the sorcerers followers in Acts 8:9-11: “this man is the great power of God.” The Lord’s apostles wrote us that we would know who is with him or against him, NOT by their works, NOT by their power (Mt.7:21), but by their doctrine and lifestyle and love for the brethren (1 Tim.4:6; 1 Pt.2:21; 2 Thess.3:7, 9). God does not pour out His Spirit and power on those who teach falsely, they must repent first and correct their teachings and practices. There is no power from God unless one is under God’s authority. Which means they are servants to him first and then to his people, they are not masters (Jn.15:20; Mk.9:35; Col.1:7,4:7).
What’s the Real problem?
Too many are unaccountable for what they are teaching. They are hurting people’s lives both spiritually and physically. Because of this, so many are depressed, disillusioned, and are losing hope. We love people enough not to sit idly by but to be active in helping them understand what has taken place and help them get freedom that is in Christ Jesus. Love is an action, a commitment and in this case to the word of God which is the truth and to God’s people.
They don’t defend Christ when he is mocked or ridiculed by the world but they do defend their teachers WHEN THEY ARE QUESTIONED OR EXPOSED. It is a form of idolatry to follow man over Jesus and the word of God that is truth.
There are too many Christians that look with disdain on those who publicly defend the Christian faith. For numerous reasons, they have been convinced that we should not have a say about anything. What if the early Church lived by their example against the heresies that arose? We certainly would not have any Christianity today.
Did you ever read a review of a product before you purchased it? Maybe you wanted to buy a refrigerator or a car. Did you not appreciate that someone took the time to look at it in detail to prevent you from losing your money. Of course you did.
People refuse to open their eyes to see, their ears to hear. Go drive down the road with your eyes close and see if you don’t get into an accident. In fact anything that impairs your seeing can bring about an undesirable circumstance.
What if you had a babysitter for your child and someone knew he was molesting him, would you want him to tell you? Of course you would. it would be for the child's protection.
Silence is part of the problem, silence on matters that are destructive to peoples lives. While people affirm they love Jesus, but where is the hatred for things Jesus hates? (Psalm 97:10-11; John 12:23-26; Lk.16:13; Heb.1:9; Rev.2:6,15). Where is the love for people to help them by telling them the truth? Sitting by idly and watching people get spiritually massacred is not love. Jesus didn't and neither did those who were trained by him, they spoke up. And that is why we speak.
This lack of discernment and standing up for the Lord reminds me of Cain, who said, "Am I my brother's keeper? Cain’s response is defiant. He was saying to God I have no obligation, he was accusing God- saying you take care of him knowing full well what he did.
Yet we are commanded James 5:19-20: “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
God tells us to judge teaching, man tells us not to. Who are we going to obey? These scriptures on judging are not bible dressing…
God wants US to judge those inside the Church, He will take care of those outside.
1 Cor 5:11-13: “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner-- not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."
“Test ALL THINGS; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
We do not live in the former Soviet Union; we are allowed to speak our mind before God and men. If you tell people its wrong to question and challenge something openly you have either been taught wrong, are naďve to what the Bible actually says or you are intentionally having them disobey the Bibles commands. Either way you are wrong.
Our mild exhortation to the followers of these men is nothing compared to the divisive effect they have on the church. Many of us have had enough of the nonsense- the pervasiveness of false teaching from our pulpits, on our radio and our TV (emphasis on our) has gone on far too long without a strong voice of challenge.
Show us where the apostle Paul, Peter or John taught the church that we are little gods, that we have great spiritual powers like Jesus that can defy or change nature by our speaking. That we will take over the earth as the Church before Christ comes. That Jesus became sinful on the cross and went to hell to be tortured by Satan.
Since they have taught these heresies publicly there is an obligation to Biblically refute them publicly. Analyzing statements and published works are in obedience to the Word of God. Men who have something to lose will always deny people the right to examine their teachings, they intimidate them into silence.
If you allow others to tell you how to think on something without ever looking into it yourself to come to your own conclusion- you have accepted a cult mindset. The cults convince their followers not to pursue questions that would challenge their leadership or teachings. They set themselves up as an authority and convince their followers they are God’s man or woman. This has been going on for hundreds of years. In modern terms its called group think.
The church in Germany was silent as Hitler rose to power. Today the church is mostly silent about the slaughter of their brethren that is taking place all over the world from Islam. But they are quick to speak up and condemn their brethren who are being Bereans and obeying the command of Christ.
Consider this a recent relative example to what is taking place inside the church.
At the Democratic National Committee’s Annual Winter Meeting in Washingtonthe Democrats were led in prayer by a Muslim imam, Husham Al-Husainy, Imam of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center. He asked Allah to assist in converting the party members to Islam. “We thank you God, to send us your messages through our father Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Muhammad. Through you, God, we unite. So guide us to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom. Help us God to liberate and fill this earth with justice and peace and love and equality. And help us to stop the war and violence, and oppression and occupation. Ameen.”
I’m astounded that there was no outcry, they did not even blink. It was if they did not hear him say what he said (certainly they did not understand what he meant).
Husham Al-Husainy, was later invited on the Sean Hannity (Friday 9 of Feb. 2007 show to explain himself on the statement of oppression and occupation in relation to the United States. When asked if the president of Iran is an anti-Semite or is Hamas is a terrorist organization he would not answer him. and argued about giving him a chance to speak (which he graciously did) He then tires of Sean and calls him names accusing him of not being for peace and working against the unity of the world. Saying you are against the prophet Mohammed, you are against the Qur’an. You are makinbg God mad at you Jesus is going to get mad at you… he was called the anti peace person; and much more was said in his anger from questioning him
Take this as lesson in dodging the point and turning the tables on the one who directly asks about the facts and is trying to get to the truth. Al-Husainy could not deal with the facts so he went into a tirade.
Getting to the truth will always remove the deception. But to do so, questions need to be asked and ANSWERED– facts need to be scrutinized. When we as a people and a church stop doing this we may find ourselves in a similar time period of Germany in the 1930’s.
Getting back to the subject in the article- If people would learn to think past their feelings – their emotions, their blind loyalty to man, they just might be able to get a whiff of the smell. This aroma is spread all throughout God’s house. Instead they tell people to ignore the smell even if they are ready to keel over. Instead of the fragrance of Jesus filling the house it is the smell of garbage and decay. We are telling people to get the garbage out of the house before it is ruined.
Paul wrote 2 Tim 4:3 They “will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;” its all about - SELF. The problem does not lie with the teachers only but with the people- they want it, they love it (Jeremiah 5:31). Why? Because they love themselves; they are not intending on living as Jesus instructed, to deny themselves and carry the cross. If they did they would see right through the manipulation and chicanery. What has taken place is nothing short of criminal.
The main problem is the strength of the Laodicean church today. The delusion is increasing in power and scope and this is no time for you to be complacent, silent or indecisive. In this matter, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. It’s time to take the garbage out of the house.
Gal. 3:2-3: “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
Because everything is turned upside down people do not recognize what is taking place. They are under these men’s lawful spell of blessings. They are looking for God in all the wrong places.
With the Spirit and faith comes God’s blessings but when you put people under the law (such as tithing for a blessing, or obedience to men to gain spiritual favor) Gal. 3:10 For “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse” Gal. 3:18 For “if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”
Being under the Law removes one from being under grace. We should not be removed from the simplicity in Christ (2 Cor.11:3). The word simplicity is haplotes- meaning- 1)singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy 2) not self-seeking.
It has been given to us all individually and collectively. 2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Some have missed the whole point of the New Covenant and the Spirits indwelling. We have what we need if the Spirit is in us, we don’t have to wait for another baptism- we do not need an anointed man to give us the spirit or more grace or blessings.
2 Pet 1:3-9: “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness ,to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
You can’t love God with your heart when you are not using your mind, and Jesus told us to know the truth. That means we must judge by the truth, his Word and forewarned us of a deception in the last days that would be so great that few would escape its net. If you do not think we are in these days then you do not believe Jesus’ own words. If you do believe His words then you should be on guard about those who come in his name to deceive you with their teachings, prophecies and their solicitation of money to have a blessing.
In fact, when one chooses to continue following these MENS teachings (Laodicea means men’s opinions) that are false, it solidifies them further in the deception and makes it more difficult for them to hear truth. There is no justification for anyone to continue this once it is pointed out, unless they willfully do not want to walk in the truth (1 Jn.1:6-7; 3 Jn.3-4). We care for individuals and for the body of Christ; and we want to see it strengthen what remains so that we are ready.
Rev 3:11: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Pt.5:4)