15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
On more than one occassion I have heard pastors 'preach' - but at times I questioned of their motives of what they were preaching about. One particular pastor that I have heard speak on more than one occasion I have had this feeling that he was standing there on that stage to promote himself, rather than promoting and teaching about God.
The very first sermon that I heard from this particular pastor was about tithing. it was a just a few years ago when I heard the sermon.... what I gathered from the sermon was that if you did not give 10% to the church, then you would not be 'Blessed.' -- the more money that you give to church -- to God- the more that you would be Blessed......
(not something that I learned when I grew up...)
I was taught that whether you put in $1 or $100,000,000,000 then you'd be blessed, it was what was in your heart... I understood though that the church runs on our tides and offerings and such, so it was good to give as much as you could, just so the church would be able to operate. - But it didnt matter how much you should put in that offering plate, just because you put only a small amount or none, didnt mean that God was not going to bless you.
there is a pastor who for several weeks that I had watched him preach, he would continually get on stage and would announce his or his wife's new book... and everyone should buy it... and you (the audience) should tell everyone else that you know about the book, and they should purchase it. when he speaks about this, it doesn't feel right, telling people that they would be 'Blessed' if they bought it.... in the two times that I've seen him promote his or his wife's book, both times he spent a fair amount of time talking about it, what its about, and then repeatedly telling people that they would be blessed if they bought it..... this pastor has a HUGE audience, with thousands of people watching every week, whether that is physically at the various (4) Campuses over the course of many different service times, and not even including the people who watch online... But this pastor uses his power of being a 'pastor' and he has a microphone, and able to talk to thousands of people.
I understand about having a book out, but there is a difference between mentioning your book, or having it on the 'announcements' on a screen or handout, and a different if you promote it by getting up there and say buy this for me, if you do then you will be "blessed"....
This same pastor also claims that he is a prophet. I have never seen him prophesy-- but one day Steve and I were watching his sermon online- and he was trying to get the attendance for EVERYONE to come to see him prophesy - because we would be "blessed"- he gave a few examples that he was successful with prophesying some peoples lives... but he did put out a disclaimer "everyone makes mistakes... so I may get some things wrong...."
understandable... but if you truly have the holy spirit in you to prophesy - then it would be God speaking through you - not you saying something... and if it was God speaking, then it would have been accurate.... just something that sat wrong with us.... since he was claiming to be a fantastic prophet, and everyone would be 'blessed' to come to the event.
another pastor that I have seen was flaunting the fact that he was debt free- built a huge mega church - (which looked a sports stadium than a church) - and flaunting that he once had nothing, but God has blessed him with so much money that he was able to build a huge church, all out of his pocket - and no loans or anything. (why stand on an altar and flaunt of how much money you have?) really?? (didnt sit well with me.) In the same sermon, as I listened I couldnt tell in his message of the points that we should be taking away and what we were really learning, seemed more about his life than anything, and the bible verses that he had, didnt really go with what he was speaking about.
Sometimes you have to be careful when a pastor is giving a sermon, and randomly throwing in Bible verses, for some pastors, they don't give the whole spectrum of the Bible verse -like what the passage was truly about, just because the verse had a certain word or something to supposedly 'prove' their point... at times that bible verse doesn't truly back up that point... When I go back and read the passage... I wonder where the pastor(s) came up with that particular point. They also sometimes 'sugar-coat' things, basically telling you alot of 'feel good' messages, rather than 'stepping on your toes' and really getting 'down and dirty ' in the Bible....
God instructs us that we are to be wary of people who act like one way, but have ulterior motives. We can recognize these people by their 'fruits' - what kind of 'product' or whatnot are these teachers making? we can tell by if they are making a good fruit, then they are good people, but if it is a bad 'fruit' then they are not.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 (The Message)
3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.
I chose the message version of this because I found it more easy to read, and get my point across for this point, but of course feel free to look it up in your own Bible or a different translation.
This particular translation though, it states it quite plainly...
We are on this earth, and while we listen to many different people. And many people have different views, or different motives. We have to figure out for ourselves as far as if that particular person's teaching lines up with our own views--- such as ask yourself, and evaluate to see if that particular person lines up according to the Bible..
Like what 2 Timothy 4:3-5 says - you have to be care ful for people who fill you up on misleading information or teachings... you have to be careful for those people.
We are to continue to be good servants to God, and to spread his Love, as it is intended in the Bible, not because we want to promote ourselves, or because of thinking of our own reputation, but because it is truly in our hearts.