“I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and Heaven without Hell”
– William Booth
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering 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
“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace”
In every generation false ministers speak peace and comfort when God’s desire is righteousness. There can be no true peace apart from God’s righteousness. These false comforters speak peace “when there is no peace”. They have never confronted the sin within themselves and therefore cannot and will not speak to the sins of His people. Righteousness is simply a religious term with no meaning in those who proclaim such a message. These are false and impotent expressions within His house. Words like mercy, forgiveness and grace have little value without an expression of righteousness. If sin is not understood as the evil and horror it is, then the sacrifice and shedding of Christ’s blood holds little weight in the hearts of His people.
We live in a day of tremendous obscurity as the result of a false and man-centered preaching of the gospel. While these ministrations lure His people into slumber of spirit and a false sense of peace and safety, death and destruction lie at the door.
“Your prophets have seen false and foolish things for you; and they have not revealed your iniquity, to turn back your captivity”
It is in preaching the righteousness of God in Christ that His people discover the wretchedness of their ways and can avail themselves of the beauty of His grace, mercy and truth. It is in the ministration of His Holiness that we discover His power to save us and raise us up to be a flaming expression of Him. He came to save us from our sins not to leave us in them. He came to give us a peace which cannot be taken from us because it is founded in Him. It is a peace that the world cannot give. Those who speak peace when there is no peace are liars and traitors to the word of God. They seek to soothe and console when God desires conviction and repentance.
What is the end of such preaching? What does a church look like that endures such false and beguiling words? Read the next verse from the Book of Lamentations.
“All who pass by clap their hands at you. They hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city which they called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?”
Men mock and scorn the very thing that should reveal the power, the love and the glory of our God. When the church as a whole listens to the falseness of this gospel His face and heart are hidden from the world around us.
The Church at Laodicea
“Because you say, I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”
This is God’s church! Why did she not know her true condition? Why did she not know of her wretchedness and poverty? Her condition was the result of a false gospel which spoke peace and comfort instead of preaching the truth. Deception is anything which hides God and prevents His people from truth. Truth is the revelation of Jesus the Christ; in His piercing light we see Him and we see ourselves. It is in this ministration that men and women find powerful comforts of mercy and grace whereby we are set free from our sins and our poverty becomes the storehouse of His riches; the blind eyes see, our nakedness is clothed in the garments of His salvation and His joy becomes our strength.
Woe to those who seek to comfort His people with anything less than the living truth of God. Woe to those who would speak comfort to people who are at home in this world. Woe to those who seek out and listen to those who would lie to them.
This is a day for crying out to God for truth that we may turn from our ways and back to His ways; that the hurt and the cause of our lukewarm hearts would be discovered and healed so we may rise up in the purity and fire of a love that cannot be quenched.
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape”
1 Thessalonians 5:3
This is a word to God’s people not the politicians of the world.
“If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying “Peace, peace,” where is no peace; if I forget the poignant word “Let love be without dissimulation*“ and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love…”
*Note: The meaning indicated here is to speak the same to all people; we do not blunt the edge of truth because of friendships, associations and people with whom we seek advantage. Calvary’s Love destroys the seeking of the approval of men for it brings us to the same heart as the One who offered Himself at Calvary. He died for Jews, Gentiles, slaves and free men. His blood is without dissimulation and so must be our ministration of Him!