Dear Esther
If you are having a challenging day or burdened with some personal problems, then you can be sure others are too. Write to Esther and she will have some good sound biblical advice and answers for you. You will be helping others by sharing your need or concern. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).


You can email your question to Esther at:
dearesther7@yahoo.com

    




March 7, 2016

Dear Esther,

I read your letters every week and am blessed by them, thank you! I have a sister (born-again) who listens to and buys books by Joyce Meyer. I’ve sent her a few videos and a couple articles about Meyer and a few others but she says she doesn’t believe it (she’s been following her for ten years).

She also goes to a church that has homosexuals attending but they are not trying to turn them from their sin. We’ve talked about this but she is still attending this church. I asked her to pray that God will show her the truth.

What else can I say to her? What might the consequences be? I’m of course praying for her but it still makes me nervous that she would cling to these things. Any help from you would be greatly appreciated!

Christine


Dear Christine,

It sounds like you have already made some good efforts to reach your sister. We live at a time when cult of personality in the Church often overrides biblical truth. As I mentioned in my column last week, too many people are not into their Bibles but into getting “teachings” from various media sources underwritten by various personalities. Some of the information presented by these folks is edifying and biblical; some of it is not.

Many of these personalities are great orators; they can pull people in with their creative and convincing methods of speaking. I have only heard Joyce Meyer speak a few times and she is a very gifted and strong speaker. I can see why your sister would be impressed with her and drawn into her web. Joyce Meyer appears to have huge following making her very rich, and is really good at making people “feel good” about themselves.

If your sister has overlooked and rejected the information you have given her about Joyce Meyer, all is not lost. As you continue to pray for her, it is still very possible that in the future she will come around and rethink her position.

Joyce Meyer and numerous other televangelists are skilled speakers who take Scripture and use it to justify their agendas, their immense wealth and the manner in which they operate their ministries.

I have read that Joyce Meyer says she does not need to defend how she spends her ministry’s money. (Never mind her multiple extravagant homes, six-figure high-end cars, etc), all paid with from contributions made by her followers. This is the same kind of brainwashing that tyrants use to placate the common folk. They speak of a better day ahead for the devotees while robbing them blind.

Here is something you can point out to your sister as something to think about: Joyce Meyer has been quoted saying, “We teach and preach and believe biblically that God wants to bless His people who serve Him. So there’s no need to apologize for being blessed.”

Notice how Meyer uses Scripture to try to justify her greed. It’s not much different from a ponzi scheme; the people at the top get rich and the underlings go broke. Of course God wants to bless us, but it is not in ways that the prosperity hounds preach. Joyce and others like her— appeal to the flesh making material possessions god, all the while using God’s name and Scripture twisting to covertly prosper themselves.

Ask your sister if she thinks that God has allegedly blessed televangelists with millions of dollars while He gave virtually all the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, the great apostle Paul and all the other Apostles just enough for them to live on? (And you might also mention that most of them died as martyrs.) Does He love the televangelists more than the great heroes of the faith?

I can appreciate that you would be nervous about a family member being caught-up in questionable and liberal teachings infiltrating the Church. The church your sister attends is apostate. We are living in the apostasy forewarned in the Bible. The devil is knocking down people in droves. Their souls are in peril. Two of his greatest weapons are various religions and also false teachings within the Christian church,

Wealth in itself is not the problem. Wealth is great depending how it is acquired and how it is used. Many good Christians have been blessed with wealth and use it to further the work of the Lord; to reach others for Him. We need money to do God’s work, especially when reaching others on a larger scale. Many good ministries use their money to share the gospel, clothe and feed those in need. These are all biblical and admirable endeavors.

Another point you might make to your sister is that wealth and success do not always come from God. We know that millions of people do not serve God yet many have great wealth; their wealth is not a blessing from God, it is a curse from the devil disguised as a blessing.

I would say the wealth that most of these televangelists enjoy is not a blessing from God. It is acquired through fast talk, deception and the products they produce and sell to their deluded faithful fans. The devil is good at twisting and using God’s Word to pull people away from the true gospel, and he uses false teachers to do this.

Never underestimate the power of prayer. Since you have already pointed out to your sister some of the problems with how she is living her life, it is unlikely she will listen now. But you can try one more time. Then you may have to step back in the physical sense and let God fight the battle for her soul. But your continued prayers are needed. James gave us a good example:

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18).

When the devil tempted Jesus he prayed to His Father. Prayer is so important. Our human reasoning might tell us that if we push a two-ton car that just ran out of gas to a service station that must be nearby, we can fill up the tank. After an hour of pushing the car, there is still no service station in sight. It would have been easier to call a friend, ride with him to buy a can of gasoline and go back to the stranded car. No sweat, right?

We need to call on our Heavenly Father every day; especially when it looks like there is no way to resolve a problem, instead of insisting on trying to rescue people from their own poor choices. (That is, once we have made the effort to enlighten them of their folly as you have.) Prayer can change things! Jesus left us this message:

“But he said, ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God’” (Luke 18:27).

We live in a fallen, chaotic world. Only by stepping back and carefully assessing a situation on how to best use biblical teachings to approach the problems we face—can we keep a semblance of serenity in our lives. The more our awareness increases the better we can handle challenges.

Understanding where we are in the prophetic timeline is important when attempting to show others that false prophets and teachers are all part of the end times scenario. Throughout biblical history there have always been false teachings but today deception is at an all-time high and will continue to get worse.

It can be a touchy situation when trying to lead the deceived to recognize and understand that they are caught-up is a pattern of spiritual deception and destruction. No one wants to be “wrong.” Many seekers depend on certain teachers or pastors to “teach” them and the thought that they are “following” someone who is not truly called by God but instead, a self-anointed personality—can be a devastating blow to a person.

Competing with the many media outlets that promote problematic and/or false teachings is toilsome when trying to reach the lost and confused for Christ. It can be an overwhelming undertaking if we try to do it without intense and faithful prayers.

We are bombarded with material that appeals to the flesh often using Scripture taken out of context—to make deceived and biblically weak seekers think that they are participating in ministries grounded in true biblical doctrine.

Too many people assume because someone has a public platform that he or she can be trusted and understands Scripture. But too many of these “leaders” and speakers are biblically weak and confused themselves.

Jesus let us know in no uncertain terms the fate that awaits false teachers who deceive others for personal gain:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Another point you can mention to your sister is that false teachers are really good at using bits and pieces of Scripture. What I mean is that they mix in some truth with biblical error. You can also find this type of marketing deception in some of the books in Christian bookstores authored by those like Joyce Meyer who write for fame and glory.

Ask your sister, “Whatever happened to Jesus? He said, “Follow Me” many times. He did not say, “Follow leaders who use My name to get popular and/or rich.” He also said:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15).

The fruit of the many popular “Christian” personalities is not good. It is all about them and appealing to the flesh of their seekers and followers. The apostle Paul warned us that in the last days many will rather have their ears tickled than hear biblical truth:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Paul described exactly what is happening today. He went on to say this in the next verse (5) in 2 Timothy:

“But you be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Regardless of false teachings, we are to keep witnessing and doing our part for the Lord, just as you are, in an attempt to reach your sister with the truth.

As obvious as it is to many of us, far too many people are oblivious to where we are in God’s prophetic timeline, and do not understand the peril that is approaching and how deception is at an all-time high.

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul explicitly warns of certain events as signs that must take place before Christ’s return. Paul is giving a warning about deception. Paul in his writings refers to “deceptions” of all kinds, expressing the need to be very discerning.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the word “apostasy” (apostasia) comes from the Greek verb aphistemi, which literally means, “to depart,” “revolt” or “stand away from a body of truth.”

Paul also spoke of this in (1 Timothy 4:1) and used the same Greek word. However, in 1 Timothy Paul added the words “depart from the faith” instead of “depart” by itself, specifically defining the phrase so it cannot mean anything but departing from the faith:

Paul states the reason for the falling away (“depart from the faith”) is because some are listening to demons; deceiving spirits. So some are being deceived by teachings that are in opposition to the Word of God and this is taking place within the Christian church.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

Another important point to keep in mind is the order of the passages, the distinct succession of the verses in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3: Let no one in any way deceive you by any means, implies that attempts to deceive are at play.

Immediately after that verse we read: For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first implying: defection, caused by what is stated in the previous verse: “deceive” (deception). After the deception, comes the apostasy, the falling away.

Continuing on, simple logic tells us that out of the apostasy the son of destruction (the Antichrist) will emerge—as a result of the falling away—the apostasy. His appearing will be preceded by the “great apostasy.” He will continue to perpetuate the apostasy and take it to new heights.

His rise, his revealing will be in relation to a great falling away from the faith, and it is he who will primarily carry it on and continue to promote false religious doctrines (one-world church) by using deception (“lying wonders”) until he finally goes into the temple halfway through the Tribulation declaring himself to be God.

To illustrate further, consider the end-times apostasy in the parable of the leaven showing that the apostasy is going to take place in the last days, and that the infiltration of corrupt doctrines into the Church will result in total apostasy. In Matthew 13 and 16, the “leaven” is the end-times apostasy (false doctrines) as shown by Jesus in the parable of the leaven.

Jesus warned about false doctrines:

“Another parable He spoke to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened’” (Matthew 13:33).

“Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Saduccees” (Matthew 16:6, 11-12).

Jesus’ parable of the leaven is concerning apostasy in the last days. It is a warning about false teachings and false doctrines, a “standing away from faith.” By the Lord’s own account as we just read, leaven is false doctrine.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Scripture teaches that the explosion of false doctrines in the last days will take hold, making the way for Antichrist:

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

Christine, as much as we try sometimes we cannot get through to some people. It appears that your sister does not understand where we are on the prophetic timeline. The Scriptures I have given you might help her see what is going on and help her see the truth.

The best approach is to be as loving as you can with her no matter what, but make it clear (without berating her) that she is following a false teacher and not Jesus. But then you must let her go and give it all over to the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is the One who can cause to her awaken. Your faithful prayers will help facilitate that awakening You might also consider putting your thoughts into a loving letter to her; that would give her a chance to think about what you have to say and circumvent the possibility of getting into an argument with her.

Your sister is blessed to have a sibling like you. Try to make your case one more time in a way you think will resonate with her. Many people who have been led astray have come around, and are now faithfully serving the Lord.

In time, your sister could also be one of those people as well. Don’t give up on her; be patient and loving; and remember that Jesus wishes for no one to perish, and He honors our prayers.

In God’s love,

Esther

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).