Sunday, May 22, 2016


Years ago, a pastor preached a message that he called, "Error by Overemphasis."

The crux of the message that theology can be in error if we do not preach the whole truth of God's Word - in its appropriate context and in perfect balance - never adding to, or subtracting from God's original intentions.

For example, Jesus taught us to remember Him through the Lord's supper. The vast majority of churches honor Jesus through communion. However if a church peaches nothing but messages about communion, they are in error - not because they are not preaching truth - but because they are overemphasizing one truth above its rightful place in God's Word!

Churches also fail when they preach only a part of the message - while holding back the rest. We certainly can't cover every aspect of the bible in every sermon. But if one particular truth is taught over and over to the neglect of complementary aspects of biblical truth - that truth becomes error. We may have heard the expression, "A half-truth is a whole lie!

One example is a phrase that I have seen on billboards and church signs or banners, it says, "God is not mad at you." One church near my home added, "He's madly in love with you."

This is a good example of a half-truth. Yes, there is some truth in what these churches are saying. In one sense, God's wrath was poured out on Jesus when He suffered and died on the cross. But the whole truth is that Jesus substitutionary death only applies to those who have been born again!

To be perfectly frank, telling all people that "God is not mad at them," without qualifying that kind of statement, amounts to a lie!

I do not judge the churches who promote such things because I do not know their hearts and motives. I do know that a person or group can be sincerely wrong! Their motives may be right but what they are teaching can still be in error.

My intention is not to point out some insignificant error - similar to a person who points out to to that someone, "missed a spot." Telling the world that "God is not mad at them" can be an error with eternal consequences.

Why? Because it is simply not true! Psalm 7, verse 11 is just one verse which declares the opposite:

God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalms 7:11 (emphasis added)

Both the Old and New Testaments warn of the coming wrath of God on sinners. Yet many boldly declare the opposite!

Yes, God is loving and willing to forgive - IF, AND ONLY IF, WE REPENT! We cannot continue in sin and believe that God will not judge us!

Love vs. Relationship
Certainly God loves each and every person in the world. Yet the Bible makes it clear that all are not right with God. In fact, Jesus made it even more clear, when He taught about the path which leads to life:

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:14 (emphasis added)

Notice the three words which Jesus used to describe the path to life:
1. Narrow
2. Difficult
3. Few

In contrast, He used three different words to describe the path to destruction:
1. Wide
2. Broad
3. Many

As harsh as it may sound, it is clear that the majority of people in the world will not be saved. They are headed toward destruction by default and must repent if they are to be saved!*
* (Please do not reject this truth - look into it. Many are angry at God because they do not understand Him. It is of vital importance that we all turn to God if we are to be saved!)

Can you see how important it is to preach the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

We can be loved by someone and not be in right relationship with them!

For example, we may need to imprison a violent person or he may have to be drugged to stop him from hurting innocent people. We may genuinely love that man - i.e. have warm feelings toward him, wish him the best, pray for him or try to help him. Yet he cannot be in right relationship with society (free to hurt again) until a way is found to control him or change him!

A mother may love her child and a woman love her husband. Yet often, they know that they must separate from them for a variety of reasons! In a similar way, God can love someone - and yet send them to hell. What? Quite true!

Of course, He does not want us to go there. He strongly desires ALL to repent:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

We often preach only half of this verse - that God does not will [want] anyone to perish. But we leave out the second part - that God wants us to come to repentance!  

In other words, God loves us and wants us to be saved - but He cannot save us unless we repent! It is as though He were cheering us on saying, "Come on [insert your name]; please repent so I can save you; I do not want you to perish!" but I cannot help you unless you use your free will to repent.

We cannot truly help those who reject our help. God has given each of us such power to choose that we can even reject His help if we so desire! God gives us a choice - but He even goes a step further and tells us which choice to make!

This is evidenced by God's plea to Israel in the book of Deuteronomy:

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, that both you and your descendants may live.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (emphasis added)

We should not try to reason this through. Our thinking is too limited to understand the thoughts and ways of God. His thoughts and ways are as high above us as the heavens are above the earth! (See Isaiah 55:8-9)

What a tragedy when God offers salvation and eternal life to us as a free gift to us - and we choose, instead, to reject His help and refuse to repent!

With such high eternal stakes, should we not preach the whole truth to this lost and dying world of people?




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