Titus 1:16 “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

     Paul was referring to the teachers of the Law that wanted to impose religious requirements upon the people that the Gospel simply didn’t call for. These ‘leaders’ were using their position and influence to force others to comply to their way of thinking not God’s way. One commentary points out that times haven’t changed; “. . . taking the church at large, there are many such, and the fact that there are such persons is the grand hindrance to the triumphs of religion on the earth. ‘The way to heaven is blocked up by dead professors of religion.'”

    Jesus nailed this kind of fake religiosity; “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:13-15)   Thankfully, Jesus didn’t mince words when the truth was on the line.
   
     Sadly, there is no shortage of self-righteous hypocrites who love to place illegitimate requirements upon those who are striving to follow Jesus.  Some demand a specific form of worship such as only a particular way of dancing claiming that you’re not really worshipping if you aren’t dancing ‘just so’.  Some will claim that unless you exhibit specific charismatic gifts then you don’t have the Holy Spirit.   The demands and false claims grow and grow until the only one that conforms to the fake holiness is the false preacher!

     Matthew Henry rightly states that such fakes and false doctrines must be opposed; “Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures.”

    The Gospel Good News is straightforward;  believe in Jesus (John 3:16),  follow Jesus (John 8:32), live and love like Jesus (Matthew 25:40).  The Forerunner Commentary points out that a great many fakes preach and lead people away from the Gospel; “A number of years ago, a Protestant pastor commented that the church has become good at turning wine into water. In many cases, modern Christian services and teachings are nothing more than entertaining paganism and in other cases, a Sunday morning fraternal organization.”

     Ask yourself; ‘What is the Gospel?’ and ‘Is it preached and followed in my church?’  Go and look up the answers in God’s Word – the Holy Bible.  If you can’t answer those questions for yourself (and don’t take my word or anybody else’s for it) then you are open to all kinds of potential abuse.  The Bible tells us; “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:2,3)

     The time is short. Don’t be fooled; “But woe to the earth and the sea,be cause the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12)

      And Jesus calls; “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

     Praise the Lord!

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