“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2
“My dear friends, many false prophets have gone out into the world. So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God.” 1 John 4:1
“Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words.” Ezekiel 13:7
“Watch out for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“But there were also false teachers among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross was abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.” Galatians 5:7-12. (Notice that Paul was being persecuted!)
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think godliness is a means to financial gain.” 1 Timothy 6: 3-5
A little over two years ago, October of 2014, I set out with excitement in a ministry that I called Complete Fitness. Over time that excitement has moved from excitement to grief, frustration, burden, and sadness. The more I read scripture, the more burden and sadness I felt. Not because what I was reading was sad, rather what I was seeing.
What I saw was people that want to follow God, but are following false teachers. These teachers and preachers are teaching things that sound good. Frankly, things that most of us WANT to hear, but scripture also warns us of this, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3. Without understanding of Scripture, who doesn’t want to believe God wants them to be healthy? Who doesn’t want to hear God wants you to have wealth? Heck, those things are nice. But, that is not the true gospel.
Will God hold these false teachers accountable? Absolutely, but that doesn’t absolve us from being held accountable as well. We have the Truth at our fingertips. Access to Scripture is easy. And, the only way to know if you are being taught the truth is to compare what you are being taught with scripture. Even what I am teaching! Read Acts 17:11, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Paul wrote most of the New Testament! If the Bereans examined what he was saying, don’t you think we should examine what someone today it teaching?
When I started Complete Fitness I was reading the book of Job. At the time, I didn’t see any significance. Over time I came to realize that Job was a major part of the message if not the message. We will now take some time to study Job. This book of scripture will open your eyes to the truth unless you want to remain willfully blind. False teachers will be with us until Christ returns, but we do not have to fall prey to them. Ultimately, each one of us will stand in judgment and the false teaching we followed will be no excuse. Hell will be filled with people who did not take the time to examine the Scriptures.
Let’s start with Job 1.
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.” Job 1:1-5
Are you blameless? Never done anything wrong? I’m not blameless and I have definitely sinned.
Job was wealthy. He had a large family, and he was healthy. Then,
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing? Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put your servants to the sword, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on the camels and made off with them. They put your servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are all dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:6-21
This is one of the most amazing stories in all of the Bible. If you lost everything you own and all of your children, would you still praise God? If God wants us to be wealthy, how did a man He calls blameless lose his wealth and all of his children in one day? When Scripture and the Bible are so easily accessible, we are without excuse when we follow and believe false teachers. Heck, read what Paul wrote in Romans and these people didn’t have the entire Bible that we have today, “For what may be know about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are WITHOUT EXCUSE. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened their foolish hearts. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the desires of their hearts to impurity for the dishonoring of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator, who is forever worthy of praise! Amen” Romans 1:19-25
When in college, many of us pulled “all-nighters” in preparation for a final exam. For our careers, we have spent countless hours studying for tests to receive a license. I’m not pointing a finger at you alone on this because I have done the same. Think about this, we study and worry and sweat over a test, yet we know so little about Scripture that we can’t recognize a teaching that will take us to hell? Career or eternity? It’s our choice to be led astray.
As horrible as it sounds to lose your wealth and family in one day, for Job, it was about to get worse. Let’s read on:
“On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before the Him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:1-10
Scripture destroys those that teach the gospel of health and wealth. The only way anyone could possibly believe in this false gospel is not to have read the True Gospel. I’m not saying that there aren’t any wealthy and healthy Christians because there most definitely are, but to teach that health and wealth on this earth is what God wants for us is not only dangerous, it is demonic.
I used to wonder how people could fall prey to these false teachers because their fakeness is so obvious. Yet, millions obviously do follow them because they fill stadiums with thousands, millions watch them on TV, and they sell millions of DVDs and books. Some of these famous teachers live such luxurious lives they make some movie stars and other celebrities look like paupers. Thirty thousand square foot homes, private jets, luxury cars, and expensive clothes. Things that most people covet. But, things that will not do anything for them when they stand before God in judgment.
Today, I don’t wonder how people fall prey because I know. They are not Bereans. They hear what they want to hear and never check what is being taught with Scripture. These wolves love to point out David and Solomon, especially Solomon the wealthiest man ever. What about Paul? He spent his ministry with a thorn in his side, was stoned and left for dead, was imprisoned, and eventually had his head cut off. Peter was martyred in Rome, possibly crucified upside down. James (son of Zebedee) was beheaded. Phillip was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified. Bartholomew was possibly crucified and some accounts say that he was skinned alive. Thomas was killed with a spear. James (Son of Alphaeus) was beaten, stoned, and killed by being hit in the head with a club. Thaddaeus was crucified. Simon the Zealot was crucified. Only John died a peaceful death. That is faith!
We, in America, live in one of the rarest times in Christian history. As of now, we can speak freely about Jesus. We are starting to see some of those freedoms disappear, but as of now, it is illegal to have your head cut off simply for telling others about Jesus. You might lose your job, be made fun of, or possibly go to jail, but you will at least keep your head!
Back to Job! He had already lost his family and his wealth and now he has lost his health. How bad must he have looked? So bad that his wife told him to forget his integrity and curse God so he could die. Yet, Job refused!
Some of you are following the preachers teaching that you will have health and wealth if you just believe. You can even speak it into existence. You just have to think you will be something and eventually you will. That teaching is much more pleasant to hear than I don’t know what this life will bring for you, but through the blood of Jesus Christ, I know your eternity will be heaven.
We all will one day lose our health through old age or some other way, and everyone will lose their wealth that is stored in bank accounts when they die. What happens after you die is forever! Will you continue to follow false teachers? I pray that you read Scripture, learn the truth, repent and turn away from your sins, and believe in your heart as well as speak with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord!
As if Jobs troubles weren’t enough, here comes his friend to “help” him.
“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:11-13
I do believe that Job’s friends loved him. They proved it by traveling to be with him and sitting with him for seven days in silence. They were there for him. These guys were probably even like some of us when they finally began to speak. They said things that sound right, but in the end they were wrong, and God let them know it later.
Job breaks the silence in chapter 3. He is in such misery that he wishes he had never been born and wishes he could die. Who wouldn’t? Still he doesn’t curse God.
Sometime we will go back and look at the conversations that took place between Job and his friends. Here we will not, but I suggest that you do. For most of the book, Job’s friends want Job to ask for forgiveness, and when he tells them that he hasn’t sinned, they do not believe him. Job has become a laughing stock. There is no way these things would happen to an innocent man right? In chapter 16, Job finally says to his friends:
“Job replied, I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I could also speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.” Job 16:1-5
His friends knew nothing! Yet, they thought they did. It’s easy to tell others what they should do when we aren’t them. How many people have told you how to raise your kids, yet they’ve never had one? Your expert advice doesn’t seem so expert when you finally have kids of your own.
Even after Job speaks his friends aren’t finished. Finally in chapter 27 Job says this:
“And Job continued his discourse. As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Job 27:1-6
We can study more of the words that his friend said in another writing or a talk because what his friends said might sound right to some of us if we haven’t read the entire book of Job.
Finally in chapter 38, God speaks and puts Job’s friends in their place. We have heard preachers and teachers tell us what God thinks. When we hear this, we had better be on guard because you’re probably going to hear what they think, and it is egotistical to even utter the words, “this is what God thinks.” I have no idea what God thinks. I know what he did for us, but His power and wisdom is something that I cannot comprehend. Think! Look at the mountains, the ocean, and the stars. He has the power to speak them into existence. Unimaginable power!
If you want to get a better understanding of God’s power read from Job Chapter 38 until the end. The words from God to Job should humble all of us. It humbled Job:
“Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak, I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6
In the end it was Job praying for his friends after God said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has…. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” Job 42:7-8
In the end Job was restored. For him it was on this earth, but that may not be the case for all of us. It wasn’t for the disciples, but they were restored in heaven with God. I beg and plead that you seek the truth. Don’t just take my word or the word of any other teacher. Read scripture. If you don’t understand what you are reading, read with friends and discuss what you read. Learn what it says, and do not allow yourself to be led by false teachers that peddle the gospel for personal gain.
My prayer is that each one of us would be saved. He gave it to us freely and by his Grace, not us, we can know what real freedom is.