Isaiah 30:8-10 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
There is economic, social and military unrest. The protests bring unrest to our hearts. Covid-19 has been on us 4 months now and it brings unrest. We are to be concerned about it but not worried. People long to hear something encouraging, sometimes even if it’s not the truth. Israel didn’t want to hear about what was happening around them. They wanted something smooth. Doesn’t that sound familiar today. Politicians know all about this. They tell it how they think people want to hear it. Israel didn’t want to hear the truth. That can make you feel more comfortable, but Jesus said the truth will set you free.
First, there are things that people don’t want to hear today.
(a) The universal necessity of salvation. Acts 17:30 says And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. There was a time when the Word wasn’t as available and not as clear as it is today. In this day and time, if a person is not familiar with the Bible it is no one’s fault but their own. What is repentance; it’s a turning away from something. You tell God you’re sorry for your sins and in repentance turn away from them. Good works won’t save. Baptism won’t save. Church membership won’t save. These are things you do after you’re saved. Various cults teach alternative thoughts on what it takes to go to heaven. There’s only one way and Jesus is the way. John 10 tells us the story of the Good Shepherd. They didn’t understand it so he went on to say “I am the door.” If you enter heaven, you must enter in the door and Jesus is the door. There is not an alternative. He’s not a good way. He’s the only way. A thief does not generally come through the door. He breaks in somewhere else. Jesus said a thief comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life. There was only one way in Moses’ day–a brazen serpent was lifted up and those bitten by the snake could look upon it and live. In Noah’s day there was only one way–the ark. When they got in, God shut the door, not Noah. Only those inside the ark were delivered. In Lot’s day the only way was to get out of the wicked city. In our day, the only way is Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(b) Another thing people don’t want to hear is the obligation to be separate from unbelievers. Second Corinthians 6 says for us not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. A yoke was used to harness two animals together. You don’t put an ox and a mule together. One is strong and the other stubborn. If there is a couple and one is a Christian and the other not, the Christian is not doing the right thing by marrying the unsaved one. Many times the Christians will say they will lead the other to the Lord after the marriage but most of the time, the unsaved one pulls the Christian away from the Lord. A violation of this won’t bring a good result. Second John 10-11 says If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. On the basis of this, we should not be asking Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons into our house when they visit. We are not to be mean and ugly to them. Jesus died for them as well. And don’t say “God bless you” when they leave. It could be noted that at the time people were meeting in houses for worship. Don’t allow them to speak in your church either. My job is as an overseer, and I am to watch after this church. Romans 16:17 says Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Would I? Yes. That’s what I am to do.
(c) There is a rebellion against holiness. I Peter 1:15-16 says But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Hebrews 12:14 says Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Holiness is of deep importance, but it has been put on the shelf. It’s never out of season. Look at Ecclesiastes 3. It says to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Does your Bible say “a time to be holy and a time not to be holy?” Mine doesn’t either. It’s not in there. What does this mean? Are we to be without sin? We’re all in trouble. It simply means set apart. There is purity and separation. Live a pure, clean and honest life separated from the world.
(d) People don’t want to hear about God’s punishment of sin. He has never tolerated sin. Moses heard the people gripe and complain about the water. God told him to speak to the rock but he struck it. I’m sure he was upset with the people, but God never let him go into the Promised Land because of his disobedience. The water came out. He led the people through the wilderness but he didn’t go into the land with them. David was a man after God’s own heart yet he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed. God sent judgment and it never left the house of David. The sin of Cain was not tolerated. Acan’s sin was not. No matter what the sin, God will not tolerate it. God has already punished our sin through Jesus Christ on Calvary. It’s taken care of, nailed to the cross. The world wants to believe they can do what they want, but God punishes sin.
(e) There is unbelief that a God of love would ever punish sin. Is it not right to punish wrong? If I speed and get a ticket, I will have to pay the fine. Suppose someone breaks into your house and assaults your family; should they not be punished? Of course. If people curse and blaspheme Jesus Christ, do you think God will ignore it? If it’s right to punish wrong in society, then do you not think God will also punish sin.
Secondly, what is the cause of smooth preaching? Why do people want to hear it? Many Christians don’t want to hear the right thing. Their toes might get stepped on. There’s a lot of smooth preaching going on today. It sounds appealing, but there is nothing ever said about sin. I serve a God that blesses me and loves me. But the God I serve is also a God of wrath. Others want it preached hard as long as it’s not their sins that are mentioned. I have never singled out a message for anybody. If I have a problem with you, I’ll talk to you in private. If a preacher gets to where their sin is, then they call it meddling. You’d better thank God he’s speaking to you.
Thirdly, what are the results of smooth preaching? Israel went into captivity. That didn’t have to happen. Hell is for unbelievers. Some of these smooth preachers won’t be at the Judgment Seat of Christ; they’ll be at the Great White Throne Judgment. Am I judging them? No; this Book is. If a flood washed away a bridge and you got stopped just in time, would you not warn others? Would you just pull off and let them plunge into the river? Thank God he came one day and saved us. Let’s warn others so they don’t plunge into hell. We warn people but they don’t listen; we’re free. But if we don’t warn them, their blood will be on our hands.
God help me that I don’t use smooth preaching. People don’t want the truth; they will sit and listen to a lie because it makes them feel good. The truth is what will get us home to glory. This ship is about to sail into the harbor. Hang in there. The best is yet to come!