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“And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof. But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.” (II Kings 4:38-41)
There are some things in this passage very much like what we’re dealing with today. It tells us in verse 38, “And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land;...” He’s talking about a famine. He’s talking about lack of food, hard times, and real legitimate need. In this case a scarcity of food. Anytime there is a dearth in the land, it is a desperate situation. It was a time of great need and it was a time of little provision. We’re living in such times spiritually in these last days. We’re living in perilous times. We are living in times when there is a dearth in the land, but not a dearth of bread.
Amos 8:11 talks about these times. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” We have that kind of famine in the land today. There is great need and there is little provision. We are in a desperate time. The truth is that some folks are pretty lax in this desperate time in which we live. Some folks think everything is all right, when it’s not all right.
He said that the problem was going to be a famine of hearing the words of God. In John 6:63 it talks about how bad that is. Jesus says, “...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” So the very words of God are spirit life. That means without them, people are dead in their trespasses and sins. That means without them, they are hopelessly lost. That means without them, they have no light and no direction and no hope of salvation. We live in a desperate time. God said there would be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord, and we are in such a time. Have you noticed that folks are dull of hearing? There are a lot of contributors to this famine in the land. He said there is a famine of hearing the words of God.
One of the reasons for this famine is that some are translating the Word of God out of existence. In the name of scholarship, they are improvising and translating it literally out of existence. In Matthew 4:4 the Bible says, “...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word...” Not just every doctrine, not just every principle, not just every idea, but every word “... that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” It’s impossible for me to live by every word if I don’t have all of them. We have all these modern ‘translations’ in our day that are missing words, and entire passages. They also change key words. I can’t live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, unless I have every word. It would be unreasonable for God to expect me to live by every word, if He didn’t make sure I had them all. The words can’t be different in all these translations, and all be the same. They can’t all be in conflict and in harmony at the same time. It can’t say one thing and actually say another at the same time. You can’t delete something and everything be the same as it was before you deleted it. You either have the Word of God or you don’t. A lot of folks in our day do not have the Word of God.
In II Corinthians 2:17 Paul said, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity,...” When he talks about corrupting the Word of God, he’s talking about intentional distortion. To corrupt the Word of God means to huckster it. The noun form of the word corrupt is talking about a hucksterer, somebody who is going to tell everybody what they want to hear so they’ll buy the product. The verb form of the word corrupt means to change the message for the sake of gain. Maybe to get a larger crowd, maybe to climb the political ladder, maybe to increase financially, maybe to increase numerically. He said there are some folks who corrupt the Word of God. They’ll poison people with intent to do so. They will falsify what the Bible says knowingly. There is a famine of hearing the Word of God because a lot of folks will stand up and claim to be preaching the Word of God, and they don’t even have a copy of it in their hand. People are hearing what they say but they’re not hearing the unadulterated message of God, the Word of God in its purity. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about when I say God’s pure word, I’m talking about the old King James Bible.
Another reason for this famine is that some are legislating the Bible out of public life, or should I say judiciating it out of public life. It’s not even the people that have the power to make such laws that are doing so. It’s the judicial branch rather than the legislative branch that is intentionally misinterpreting the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They were supposed to look at what was already written and make sure it was fulfilled, but instead they are corruptly judiciating it out of existence. They say, “That’s not what it means,” but that is what it says.
In Acts 16:20-21, I love what they said. It sounds just like a bunch of Americans. When Paul and Silas got there they said, “...These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,” What they’re saying is troublesome. It is a tough message, hard to receive. Then it says, “...and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.” Isn’t that what they tell you the First Amendment was designed to do? It is not lawful for us to try and get our message out because it’s unlawful for somebody to have to hear the Gospel. It’s okay that we have to hear profanity and filth. That’s not unlawful, but it’s unlawful for them to have to hear the Gospel so they’re going to pervert the Constitution of the United States to try to make it seem that what we’re doing is unlawful and we are encroaching upon somebody else’s territory. No, we are continuing something our Founding Fathers gave us.
They said, “Government shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” The present day judges reverse that Amendment regularly. For over 200 years, everybody understood what they had in mind. The last 25 to 50 years, we’ve come to the conclusion that what they had in mind was pornography, what they had in mind was profanity, what they had in mind was personal expression or false propaganda, as long as it was corrupt and filthy. So we not only have the religious crowd that are translating it out of existence; we have the political crowd that are judiciating its presence out of public life. ‘You can have the Bible at the church, just don’t take it to the doorstep, or the street corner. Just don’t knock on peoples’ doors.’ You mark my words. The day will come in my lifetime when they tell us that it is unlawful for you to knock on the door and present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. It’s coming and we’d better do what we can while we can because the favor of America is not with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our problem in America today is not that we are anti-religious; we are antichrist. We’ll coddle the Muslims and talk about what a noble, good religion it is while we criticize Christianity and call them divisive. The political crowd is trying to judiciate the Word of God out of existence, or at least out of public life.
Then there are some that are withholding the truth, so it’s not being heard. You’ve got the Calvinist crowd. We’ve got a bunch of independent Baptists that act like they’re Calvinists because they are ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul said, “I am not ashamed and I am ready and I am debtor,” in Romans 1:14-16. In Acts 20:27 Paul said to a crowd of people, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” There are a lot of folks withholding the Word of God. Preachers hold it back because they are afraid they’ll make somebody angry. People that should be soulwinners hold it back because they don’t want to be unpopular. You wouldn’t want to upset anybody, now would you? Just let them die and go to Hell. That will make them feel good.
It’s not strictly the Gospel. I’m talking about the words of God, all of them, the whole counsel of God. Paul said, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Listen to these New Evangelicals. It’s not what they say that is so incriminating; it’s what they don’t say. You can tell them, not by what they say, because they say a lot of things that are true. They’re not exposed by what they say; they are exposed by what they refuse to say, what they will not mention, what they delete from their message. There is a strange absence of dogmatism and conviction in what they say. They, too, contribute to this spiritual famine.
Then there are some that are dull of hearing. When they do hear the message, they refuse to receive it. The Bible says, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing,...” (Matthew 13:15) Dull hearing ultimately leads to destruction. In Proverbs 29:1 the Bible says, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” A lot of folks have selective hearing. They hear what they want to hear. They ignore what they want to ignore. They mentally delete the message. It was preached. They actually picked it up with their ears. They heard, but they didn’t listen.
“What do you mean by that?” That’s what He said about Israel. He said that the problem is not that you are physically deaf, that you did not physically pick up the sound of the message. The problem is not that you did not hear the words. Often when the Bible uses the word hear, it means ‘to hear with the intent to respond.’ Let me give you evidence of that. First John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” The Bible says if God hears, God answers. God not only hears what you say, He knows what you are thinking. He knows the very thoughts and intents of your heart. But when it says that God hears our prayers, it means He hears with the intent to answer. When it says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God...” (Romans 10:17) it doesn’t mean that my faith is increased just because I picked up the sound of the words, but when I hear with the intent to do, it will bolster and increase my faith, strengthen me spiritually.
There are a lot of folks dull of hearing. They hear, but they don’t hear. Don’t be shocked. We’re living in a famine of the words of God. We’re living in perilous times. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,...” Isn’t that it? The economy is everything. Everybody is in love with themselves. “...boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,...” We’ve got false accusers and the judges are so corrupt that it succeeds. Somebody drives through a McDonalds drive through, spills a cup of coffee on themselves, and sues McDonalds because the cup didn’t say the coffee is hot. Well, son, if you didn’t know coffee is hot, you couldn’t have read it if we wrote it on there. “...incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (II Timothy 3:1-5)
I could pick up a newspaper and see the same thing that is in that passage of Scripture. Those are the days and times in which we live, the last days and the last hours. There is apostasy. You say, “Does that mean we should despair?” No, it means we’re to run harder. When you get in the last lap of a race, you don’t ease up. You blow the engine trying to take the lead. When you get to the end of a foot race, that’s when you give it the finishing kick. When you get to the end of a football game, that’s not when you ease up and become conservative; that’s when you try anything and everything. I’m simply trying to tell you that we need not despair, but we need to know the times in which we live and what we’re dealing with and how to approach it. There are a lot of bad things happening that were not intended to be bad.
In light of the need and peril, we find in the text, verse 38, that the prophets were trying to meet the need. They set the pottage on. They were going to try and feed everybody. After all, they were starving to death. “It’s up to us. We’re going to have to feed them, or they’re going to die. Somebody has got to meet the need and we’re going to rise to the occasion.”
The man of God told them, “Put a large pot on, a big pot, and seethe some pottage.” They were going to try to meet the need, but don’t miss what happened. They set on a great pot to seethe pottage. This pot was supposed to be the source of life. This pot of pottage was supposed to meet the need in these perilous times. That was the intent. The whole reason for seething pottage was to try to meet the need, to try to feed starving people, to try to supply their want and their need. There was no ill intent in what they set out to do. It was a good motive. It was a right desire. It was something that needed to be done. You understand if you have no food you die.
In I Kings 17:12, the man of God left the brook that dried up, and went to the widow’s house at God’s command. When he came to her he said, “What are you doing?”
She said, “Well, I have a little stick and a little bit of meal and oil. I’m going to make a cake and my son and I are going to eat it and then die.”
He said, “Make me a little cake first.” Do you know what she was saying? If we can’t eat, we can’t live. It takes food to live physically, and when we run out of food we’re going to die. This is our last meal. We’re going to make a little cake and eat it, and then there is no more food. When there is no food we will die.
A famine takes physical life, and a famine of the Word of God takes spiritual life. It drains the life out of those people that are saved, and it dooms those that are not saved to Hell. That’s why He said in Matthew 24, talking about these last days, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
He said living in a society that is filled with iniquity takes its toll, even on saved people. It will cause their love to wane. It will cause their zeal to die. It will bleed them of energy and desire and passion if they’re not careful. It vexed Lot’s righteous soul daily as he saw and heard their wickedness in Sodom. You have to constantly be fueling them. “What do you fuel them with?” The Word of God and prayer.
Jeremiah 38:9 speaks of one who is likely to die of hunger. I’m telling you, if you don’t eat, you die. It’s just a matter of time. You will starve to death. You will die of malnutrition. It is a slow, agonizing death if there is no food. These young prophets were trying to meet a need.
Lamentations 4:9 speaks of those who are slain with hunger. In Luke 15:17, the prodigal in the hog pen was lamenting that, “I perish with hunger. I don’t have the physical provision that is necessary to stay alive.” In a famine, that is always the case. You don’t have the provision to stay alive physically. In a spiritual famine, the problem is that you don’t have the provision to stay alive spiritually.
When describing the seven sealed judgments in Revelation 6:8, it speaks of the one on the pale horse, who has power to kill the fourth part of the earth with the sword and with hunger. When there was a dearth in the land, it was a lack of physical provision. It brought physical death to many. When there is a spiritual dearth in the land, people lack what they need spiritually, and if they lack it long enough, they die.
The situation called for action, not apathy, and these good men set out to make a difference. Their motive was right. What they were trying to do was a good thing. They set on a great pot. They put things in it to cook, to meet the need. There was great need and it required an urgent response.
In the spiritual realm, we live in needy times, so needy that we’re to the point of it being desperate. There are many people that realize how desperate the situation is, but their solution is insanity. They recognize how desperate the need is. They recognize how deep-rooted the famine is. They recognize what problem they face, but they don’t have a Biblical solution to the problem. What was intended in our text to solve the problem actually made it worse instead.
What were they trying to do? People were starving to death. “We’re going to cook a big pot of pottage.” Isn’t that a good thing? “We’re going to save life. We’re going to provide them with what they need. It may not be the best meal. It may not be steak, but we’re going to make a pot of pottage and help them survive.” Good motive, making an effort to do a good thing, but they went from starvation to food poisoning. You get a bunch of half starved people and then give them food poisoning, it’s going to finish them off fast. It’s worse now than it was before. They would have survived longer without food than they would with poison. When the solution becomes worse than the problem, we have a disaster.
Many people today are making bad mistakes. They see the need. They have a desire to meet the need. I hope to God that’s the heart of every young preacher. You’d better be careful what you do to meet the need. You’d better be careful what you do to draw a crowd. Your solution may be worse than the problem.
The Bible says, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23) Let me give you a concept. If your source of light is filled with darkness how great is that darkness. In our text we’re talking about food. The need was food, but if what we give you is poison, how much worse is the solution than the problem? Our intent may be noble and good. Maybe we’re actually trying to meet the need, but there are some things that govern what we can use to meet the need. Wild gourds won’t do!
When I was a boy I had one of those comedy records and the guy was talking about his tonsils, and said tonsils were little guards back there to keep the bad stuff from getting in. He said, “In my case they joined the other side.”
Preachers have been put here to protect the bride and to nourish the bride and to guard the bride. Quite often even though our intentions may be good, our solution is more damaging than the problem. You recognize the need. “Well, you know they are just not responding like they should. What we need is some contemporary music.” Yes, that’s it. They are starving to death spiritually, so why don’t we give them some poison? Why don’t we lower the standard a little bit? They are starving to death. Let’s lower the standard and enlarge the crowd. Let’s water the message down and tell them what they want to hear. Let’s go contemporary.” You’d better be careful. We have too many of these slick little guys. They may have good intentions. I’m not even going to try to question their intentions because I do not know a person’s heart. But I can tell by looking at the Word of God that instead of them giving people what they need, they are filling the pot with wild gourds. Though that may fill the pot and make it stretch farther and feed more people, everybody that partakes will ultimately die.
Realize that the corrupting of this pottage was unintentional. This young man went out and gathered wild gourds. When you check the word wild out in your Bible you’ll find all that stuff relates to this carnality and worldliness. It is something that is not domesticated by God. It is something that has not been tamed by God, something that does not meet God’s approval. Something that is not in the design and program of God is wild. It talks about wild grapes in Isaiah 5.
This damage was not done by an enemy with evil intent. Some Muslim didn’t come and poison the water source in an attempt to terrorize and kill people. This was one of the young prophets. Take it easy on him. He was young and naive. His intentions were good. In his heart he actually thought he was helping to meet the need. It was not done by an enemy, but by a well-meaning, naive, young prophet. He was undiscerning, not wicked. This wasn’t a wicked act; this was a stupid act. This was not done by somebody who was hypocritical; it was somebody who was sincerely wrong. Your sincerity doesn’t make everything okay. Your good intentions don’t make it all right. The fact that the pottage goes farther and you can feed more people does not justify putting wild gourds in the mix. The temporary enlargement of the crowd with poison is not justifiable. The solution will ultimately be worse than the problem.
When my daughter was young, she’d frequently miscalculate, spill or break something, and say, “I didn’t mean to.”
I told her, “Honey, when you start driving, if you run over somebody and you didn’t mean to, they are still dead.” It doesn’t matter if you meant to. You’re going to have to think ahead and be more precise. You’re going to have to be in line with precept, and not make those mistakes. Feeling sorry afterwards does not erase the damage done.
In Hebrews 5:14 the Bible says, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” God talks about the mature Christian leader, versus the immature. The immature leader may be far more dynamic than the mature leader. He may be far more gifted as a speaker than the mature leader. The problem is he does not have his senses exercised to discern between good and evil, and he is liable to put wild gourds in the pot with the intent of meeting the need and instead accidentally poison the crowd.
I’m worried today about some things I’m seeing in Fundamentalism, things that are being done by men that are not bad men; they’re naive. They are not seasoned vets. They’ve been preaching a while in some cases, but they are young men. I’m not questioning their motive. I think some of them are fine men with excellent intentions. I don’t think they would intentionally poison anybody. I think they actually see how desperate the need is, and they’re trying to make sure the pottage stretches far enough to feed everybody. I actually think they’re trying to meet the need. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and not question their motive.
This young man in the story very clearly had good intentions, but what he put in the pot was poisonous. It didn’t produce life. It produced death. What was he trying to ward off? Death. Well, if you’re trying to stop people from dying, I suggest you don’t put death in the pot you’re going to feed them out of. If your goal and your intent is life, don’t put death in the pot that is supposed to produce life.
We bring a lot of things into our churches. Our intent is to produce life, but instead we bring death. Do you think poison is going to produce life? The wages of sin is death. Sin, carnality, and worldliness can’t produce life. No, that’s what is killing them to start with. That’s why they have such great need. That stuff is killing them morally and ethically. This young man’s senses were not yet exercised. He was immature. He may have been dynamic. He may have had good intentions. He may have been very intelligent. He may have been a great speaker with all kinds of spiritual gifts. The problem was that he didn’t have enough spiritual discernment to know the damage he was doing until it was too late.
In Ezekiel 22:26 the Bible says that the priests did not make a difference between the holy and the profane, between the unclean and the clean. They started bringing what was profane into the holy place. They acted like it was no different than the holy things that God Himself had designated in the Word of God. They justified it.
Every time your goal becomes to increase the crowd instead of glorify God, you are jeopardizing some things. I promise there are things that will enlarge your crowd that don’t have a thing to do with the glory of God. He said, “...a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Corinthians 5:6) If you put a little bit of leaven or yeast in a lump of dough, what happens? It grows, right? Does it really grow? No, it’s not growing. “But it’s getting bigger.” It’s swelling with corruption. It can’t grow if it doesn’t have life. It is swelling with corruption. Be careful that you don’t confuse the swelling of corruption with growth.
Have you ever come down the road and seen a deer that had been hit that day lying there dead? A week later you go by on a hot summer day, and it’s almost doubled in size! Is that deer growing? No, he’s not growing. He’s dead. “But he’s getting bigger.” I know. It’s the swelling of poison and corruption. We have a lot of churches swelling with corruption today, and everybody thinks it’s growth. Of course, if you have the biggest crowd, you’ve got to be the authority on everything. “Who could tell me anything, if they have less people than I have? I must be the authority. Everybody needs to look to me.” We’d better look to that Book. It’s always right. We better look to history. God requireth that which is past. Those who have finished well and gone on to their reward are our best examples. His intent was good, but a naive young prophet with good intentions put wild gourds into the pottage. He was not devious, but he was deceived.
In II Timothy 3:13 the Bible talks about evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. That’s in these last days. Did you notice he talked about deceiving and being deceived? If somebody is deceived, it is impossible for them to do anything to anybody else but deceive them. You understand if somebody is poisoned, it’s impossible for them to do anything but poison somebody else. It doesn’t matter whether that’s what they’re trying to do or not.
Let me illustrate My grandmother on my mother’s side was a Jehovah’s Witness for about 40 years before I got saved. She was one of the gentlest, kindest, sweetest, old ladies you ever met in your life. She was generous, sweet, courteous, sincere, and religious, but you understand that every time she tried to help somebody, she deceived them. She would never have intentionally deceived anybody, but because she was deceived herself, she couldn’t help but deceive other people. Her intent was good; the outcome was bad. I’m glad to add this quick note: about a year before she passed on, I had the privilege of leading her to Christ. She had been a Jehovah’s Witness for over 53 years at that time.
I’m simply telling you that somebody who is deceived, no matter how good their intentions, they are going to do damage, whether that’s what they want to do or not. What I’m trying to tell you is forget about Rick Warren’s books and Bill Hybels’ books and forget about all these guys that reproduce this carnal, business leadership and put it in books. How about getting in touch with the Bible and the God of the Bible, and making sure you are in line with what this Book says. Don’t find out what will draw the biggest crowd. Don’t get slick like these business-executive preachers. We’ve got churches that don’t have a pastor; they have a CEO. They’ve got some guy that never says anything offensive. Nobody minds him holding the pulpit down and their attitude is, “Preacher, you make the corporation successful so I can bring all my rich friends in for you to impress, but don’t say anything that would offend anybody.”
Somebody just gave me a book on ‘Transitioning.” It teaches some snake in the grass to take a church under false pretenses and change it from a Fundamental church that has standards and separation, to one of these watered down, carnal community churches. It tells them how to get away with that without causing too much ruckus. The whole thing is built on the deception of good people. That is intentional and sinful, but there are preachers that borrow from that crowd with no intention to deceive, and they end up destroying the people they love. That wasn’t what they set out to do or what they planned to do.
In Acts 27, the ship master was deceived about the safety of the voyage and the man of God said, “We’d better not leave.”
They wanted another opinion. “What do you think?”
The ship master said, “It’s going to be all right.” After all, what would the preacher know about sailing? This guy is an expert in this field, who sails these seas all the time. What would Paul know compared to him? We’re not going to listen to the preacher. We’re going to listen to the expert. We’ll go to the specialist rather than the seasoned, aged man of God. Soon they ended up in a life-threatening storm. Do you know what Paul said? He said, “I told you so.” When he spoke the second time, they listened and took him so seriously that when some tried to escape, they cut the lifeboats loose, let them fall in the ocean and float away.
The young prophet shredded wild gourds into the pottage. Some things that look suitable for consumption may be poisonous. When Eve looked at that forbidden fruit, the Bible says that it was pleasant to the eyes and looked good for food, and was desired to make one wise. It didn’t turn out that way, did it? Things are not always in line with the way they look. You look at somebody else’s work and feel envious because you think they’re doing better than you. They may be swelling with corruption. They may be destroying people they love unintentionally. You and I need to be careful that we gauge things based on the Word of God and not be so zealous about getting a crowd that we’re willing do anything to get one. There was death in the pot. What was intended to solve the problem and salvage life had now become a threat of death. It wasn’t because of evil intent. It was accidental and unintentional.
These gourds were not the main ingredient in the pottage. They were not the only ingredient in the pottage. There was a lot of other good stuff in this pot. All of it wasn’t poison. As a matter of fact, most of it was good. There was one item in the pot that was poisonous, but do you know what it did? It corrupted everything else. It destroyed the whole pot of pottage. It was one of many ingredients, not the main ingredient.
Did you know that rat poison is 97% cornmeal? I like cornmeal, don’t you? I like corn sticks and corn muffins. Rat poison is 97% cornmeal -- a good thing, and 3% arsenic. Most of it is good, but that 3% turns it all into a lethal poison.
Sometimes we try to justify things because most of it is right. All we have is this one questionable area. We just brought a little leaven in. We just added a little arsenic
When we talk about the wild gourds, we’re talking about this Gospel rock and contemporary Christian music, this philosophy and psychology instead of Bible preaching, all these New Evangelical methods and terminology. We don’t have sinners anymore; we have seekers. We don’t have song leaders; we have worship leaders. We don’t have a choir; we have a worship team. We don’t have a pulpit; we have a screen. We don’t have a song book; we have a bouncing ball. That stuff was born in the world. You say, “Well, we didn’t get it from the world. We got it from so and so, the preacher.” So you got second hand worldliness. You got it after it was used by someone else. You didn’t get it first hand.
Remember, a seed will produce what it came from. That seed looks innocent, but before you plant it you’d better go back and see where it came from because whatever it came from is what it’s going to produce. This stuff came from the world and came through the New Evangelical crowd and a bunch of independent Baptists are buying into it, but it is a seed of destruction and despotism spiritually. It is a wild gourd. It will bring a problem worse than the famine that we’re dealing with now, because it will corrupt what little cure there is.
I’m talking about these secular leadership techniques instead of spiritual leadership. We need to distinguish between the two. Jesus said, “The rulers of this world are the benefactors, rather than the followers. It shall not be so among you. In spiritual leadership the follower will be the benefactor. In carnal leadership the leader is the benefactor.”
The reason we are producing a bunch of little kings and queens who want to be hot-shots sitting on a throne instead of servants meeting the needs of people is because we’ve fallen for the world’s philosophy. We’ve gotten away from ministering to people and into marketing techniques. If you are in business and marketing, what you do is find out what people want and give it to them. That’s a pretty good business tactic, but pathetic as a ministry practice. I’m responsible to give people what God says they need, not what they want. Usually they don’t want what they need, but that doesn’t change a thing. You say, “They won’t come.” It doesn’t matter. Better feed fewer people the pottage of life than to feed a huge crowd with poison wild gourds.
Then we’re getting into this thing of dressing down for church. We’re going to have praise and worship and dress down. If I’m coming to worship God, that ought to be the time that I’m dressing up. God deserves my best. I don’t think the primary reason for assembling is worship, but to hear the message of God. Worship is certainly a part of it, but not the main reason. The very thing that they call it is contradictory to their conduct. They call it worship and then dress down and get more carnal and worldly to worship a Spirit God, a holy God. That’s brilliant, isn’t it?
In our text, the seasoned man of God took three measures of meal and cast it into the pottage. If you study your Bible and follow it through you’ll find that many times meal is a type of the Word of God. The only thing that’s going to do away with the poison and solve the problem is getting back to the three measures of meal. We’re going to have to deal with this thing Scripturally.
If you gals don’t watch it, you’ll get caught up in the trends of our day and get upset about preachers preaching against women in the military and the police force and women CEOs, because that’s so common in our generation that we’ve begun to think that’s the way it is supposed to be. I’m telling you that it’s wrong. It’s unbiblical. It’s corruption that’s damaging to the entire society. We’ve got generations of kids reared with no mother. “They have a mother.” Yes, one that brought them into the world, but nobody that mothered them. She was too busy being a CEO, too busy working for her female status and equality. You mark it down. The Bible instructs ladies to be, “...keepers at home...” It’s not talking about having a ball and chain on your leg, but realizing the elevation of your office in God’s economy. You can’t do more good than you can do in the home. I don’t care if you make three million a year and you’re the CEO of the company and boss men around. You’re out of place and that’s dangerous.
I’m addressing everybody, but I’m especially warning young preachers. I know we live in desperate times, and desperate times and famine call for drastic measures. There was a famine in the Old Testament and some woman boiled her baby. People do strange things in famine. We have a desperate situation at hand spiritually. The Lord Jesus is coming. We’ve read the last chapter and we know how it’s going to turn out, so I’m not defeated and discouraged. I look at it and realize how desperate the need is. When you see the desperate need, you might be tempted to try something unbiblical that you think will work. Forget it. Perish the thought. Don’t let some hot-shot who has a big crowd and isn’t doing anything with them convince you that you’re just too hard because you’re preaching the Bible. He will say you should just ease up a little bit and change the music and get in step with the times and technology.
Mark my words. They had a revival in Acts 2 and not one of them had a computer. You’re welcome. You say, “Are you against computers?” Not necessarily, but I won’t use one. I own about ten and everybody on my staff uses one. We put out a newspaper, so I guess that’s necessary, but I don’t mess with them. I don’t have the temperament for a computer. If I had a computer and it crashed, it would look like it crashed. The outside would match.
I think we can have revival without all that stuff. I’m not against you using tools and technology, but we’ve become little, squirrely techno-geeks who know more about our Palm Pilots than we do about our New Testaments. We think you must have a technological explosion in the church to grow. No, what we need is the Holy Ghost and this Book. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) You don’t lift Him up with technology; you lift Him up with the power of the Holy Ghost and the Holy Bible.
I’m simply telling you that I’m worried about what is going on in Fundamental churches, even in high places that are looked to constantly. I’m worried about the trends. I’m not questioning the intent of some of these good, young men, but I’m afraid they are a little naive. I think their intentions are good. They see how desperate the need is, but I think they are boiling their babies. I think they are putting wild gourds in what is supposed to meet the need and making it poisonous. People are going from spiritual starvation to spiritual food poisoning. What’s worse? God help us to hold the line in these shifting times. We dare not be guilty of putting death in the pot.