God’s Desires & Ours

“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him.” – Mark 3:13

I just love the sovereignty of our Lord’s selection of these men. It’s a microcosm of the way He chooses all of His people.

Like them, all in Christ are chosen before the foundation of the world – that’s before creation took place.

Then all of His sheep are called to follow Him at some point in this life and by God’s irresistible power and enablement, they do it. They hear the gospel and believe it.

As for our Lord’s reasoning, verse 13 says He called to Him those whom He desired. It’s referring to the choosing of the twelve apostles. Our Lord’s desire is the only basis given for His choice. He simply desired to call these men.

Of this sovereign selection, Herbert Lockyer writes,

“Those called were not consulted beforehand, nor did He seek anyone’s advice upon the qualifications of those He was to call. The choice was His own sovereign will and purpose. Their appointment was carefully foreordained, deliberate, and momentous with far-reaching results. ”

In verse 13, the reason Jesus was up on a mountain was to pray. According to Luke 6:12, He had been praying all night before He called the twelve.

When Jesus called the ones He desired, the result was… “they came to Him.” The effectual call of Christ always includes the requisite desire to come on the part of the called. God not only calls us to Himself, but He also gives us the desire to come.

Little is taught today about the role our desires play in discerning God’s will in our lives. Many Christians have wrongly assumed that if they desire to do a certain thing, then it must not be God’s will for us. But that isn’t necessarily the case.

There are sinful desires to be avoided, but there are also sanctified desires to be embraced.

If we are informing our thoughts and actions with Scripture, and if we are prayerfully seeking God’s will, then God’s Spirit is giving us His leading. In a believer’s life, our desires are an indispensable aspect of how God leads us along.

Sometimes we may desire to take one job more than another job for a multitude of reasons and neither choice is sinful. Other times we may desire to live in one part of the country instead of another area, and that isn’t wrong or sinful. And a single person may desire to get married… and all of these desires have their place in God’s will for our lives.

I think it was Augustine who famously said, “Love God and do what you please.” This is true for the committed believer. It’s true because when a person really loves God, their desires are always being shaped by that love.

Even the call of a missionary is borne of this God-given desire.

It may begin as a simple curiosity for a certain place or people group. It then grows into a genuine interest. Then it becomes a preoccupation. And finally that desire becomes a restless love to reach those people with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God-given desires advance us forward throughout our Christian pilgrimage.

Along with our desires, God primarily informs us through our understanding of Scripture, then through the wise counsel of Christian friends and family members, and by opening and closing certain doors of opportunity.

Understanding our sanctified desires is helpful in discerning God’s will at various junctures of life. This understanding is also effective in our witnessing to the lost.

We can freely say to the lost… “If you’re not following Christ and you have a desire to follow Him, that’s as good as an engraved invitation to come! Engage that God-given desire and follow Him!”

There are thousands and thousands of lost people in false religions who are going to hear the gospel and believe unto salvation because God chose them before the foundation of the world to be saved. Some of them are in our city right now.

When the magnet of the gospel is held out to the world, the true metal is inexorably drawn upward and like our Lord’s original twelve apostles, the chosen sheep of Christ respond and follow Him.

So love God, inform your heart with Scripture, seek godly counsel, look for opportunities and after prayerfully surrendering your will to God, do what you most desire to do.

With love in the truth,
Pastor Kevin





Beware of Toxic Theology

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” [John 10:27-30, ESV]

Those remarkable words from Jesus in John 10 were spoken to a group of unbelieving Jews who wanted Jesus to say that He was the Messiah, the predicted Christ of prophecy.

The reason they wanted Jesus to declare Himself in this way was to have a charge against Him. Then they could accuse Him of blasphemy, which they already were doing and would later do.

But they needed more than a Jewish religious offense to bring it to Rome’s attention. They needed a political charge. So to declare Himself to be the Christ (Messiah) was to declare that He was the true King of Israel. This way they could charge Jesus with sedition against Rome.

Our Lord’s answer is that He already told them what they needed to know in order to know who He is. The problem is that they were not His sheep. That’s why they didn’t believe even though they physically saw the second person of the Godhead in human form.

They didn’t know God and yet they all professed to know God. Their version of God was false and their murderous hatred of God incarnate proves that they didn’t know God at all.

Then Jesus made this defining statement, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” The sheep of Jesus hear His voice; they are known by Him; and they follow Him.

But what about those who say they know and follow Jesus while rejecting many of the teachings clearly declared in His Word? And what about those who call themselves Christians while they listen approvingly to the voices of false teachers and false shepherds?

Here’s the question of the hour: Do the true sheep of Christ have the Spirit-given ability to recognize when they’re not hearing the voice of the one true Shepherd?

It’s not an easy question to answer because it is possible for undiscerning, untaught, or new believers to be swayed by religious rhetoric from false teachers. False teachers pose as messengers of light. They say what the lowest common denominator wants to believe.

Most false teachers on television, like Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer, are very slick in their presentations. It’s no wonder that they’re so popular and have such a wide following. They say positive things like “God wants everybody to have the best in this life.” But they define “best” in only temporal terms.

Satan’s deception often runs along these two lines.

He either tries to convince people that God is bad and doesn’t want them to have all the good there is to be had (in other words, God is holding out on you). This tactic was first employed by Satan in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3).

Or he takes the opposite approach and convinces people that God wants everybody to have all their dreams and desires fulfilled right now in this life. Then he offers a counterfeit “best” in place of God’s genuine best for us in Jesus Christ. The latter is happening now.

To someone without any knowledge of Scripture or without discernment, it sounds very attractive. But the voice of the one True Shepherd is not in the messages of these false teachers. The underlying premise of the positive confession theology and prosperity preachers in general is nothing but religious paganism. It’s all a charade.

Prosperity Theology is based on pagan principles. For example, they teach that your spoken word has the power to bring your desires into existence. They teach that you control your own destiny through your words of positive confession into the universe.

You profess it and then you possess it, they say. So you are in control of providence, not God. You are the author of your own story, not God. That’s their message.

They may use the name of Jesus (which they do) and even quote Bible verses (which they do), but they always do so out of context.

This gives them the appearance of credibility and actually makes them more dangerous than a secular motivational speaker.

In fact, if they didn’t claim to be Christian preachers who are  teaching God’s principles, I wouldn’t even bother to warn people about them. But it’s much worse than that and far more dangerous because it poses as Christian teaching and people are actually believing it.

That’s because many people in the visible church will accept anything from someone who says the name of Jesus and quotes a verse or two of Scripture.

Even the cults do this. The cults all give lip-service to their own version of “Jesus” and cults always appeal to the Bible as one of their sources, but it’s never Scripture alone or with God’s intended meaning.

Joel Osteen has become skilled in the art of ambiguity. He tries to be as vague and non-committal as possible on biblical doctrine. But he is in fact a pantheist who teaches that God can be found in every religion. He’s also a legalist who teaches that we earn God’s favor through living and thinking the right way.

He teaches that Mormons are his “brothers in Christ” because they claim to believe in Jesus and their claim is no different from his, Osteen says.

When asked about Bible doctrines or the exclusivity of Christ, he says “I don’t know about any of that. I don’t study those things.”

But all of Osteen’s claims are identical to what Satan wants the masses to believe: that all religions have God in them; that all roads lead to heaven; that people don’t need to believe the gospel to be saved; and that if you live a “good life” you have God’s favor and eternal heaven. This is false according to the teaching of Scripture.

Osteen and others like him are slick con-artists in the employment of Satan. They are deceiving and beguiling the masses. They are not followers of Christ. They follow Satan, teach his lies, and cunningly do his will.

This is not the voice of the Shepherd; it is in fact the unmistakable voice of Satan who disguises himself as an angel of light just as the servants of Satan disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

When a follower of Christ knows the Bible and has been well-taught in doctrine, they see through the ploys and tricks of Satan. Immature Christians may not see it as readily… and those who aren’t His sheep have no way of discerning truth from spiritual error.

Therefore, all followers of Christ need to be aware of the deception taking place in the spiritual arena in our day. Religious television (like TBN) is rife with false teaching by religious con-artists.

“Faith-healer” Benny Hinn even claims to have raised dead people back to life. An incredible claim! Did Benny Hinn actually raise dead people? Of course not. And he knows he can’t raise dead people. It’s a false claim with the same credibility as an “urban legend.”

He’s lying to make desperate and hurting people send him their money. Hinn and other false teachers get wealthy at the expense of poor people who are desperate and hurting. True healing from God won’t be connected with the financial aggrandizement of some phony healer. God’s healing is without an exchange of money.

If Benny Hinn could really heal the sick and raise dead people he should go to the hospitals; go to the children’s hospitals, go to the morgues, go to the next funeral of someone known to be dead. That would make the news and silence the critics.

He can’t heal any deformity or raise the dead. He’s a liar who deceives people in order to get earthly riches at the price of his own eternal perdition. These false teachers are certainly not followers of Christ in spite of their lying claims.

Tens of thousands of gullible people are now intoxicated with the poisoned Kool-Aid of these false teachers, false healers, prosperity teachers, and word-faith teachers… and it is spiritually (and sometimes physically) deadly.

Therefore, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” God is our true Healer. He can heal anyone of anything, but only according to His good purposes.

It isn’t always God’s will for us to have physical healing in this life. God has a purpose in our brokenness and infirmities. Many godly people have physical infirmities in this life, including the Apostle Paul himself, who suffered physically throughout his ministry.

The only way to know and follow Jesus is through saving faith in Christ and then by knowing and believing Scripture. Go deep into God’s Word. Learn the doctrines of Christianity. Get to know the True Savior.

Become familiar with the Good Shepherd’s voice. Stop watching toxic religious television. Stop buying their books. Hear the Shepherd’s voice and come away from Satan’s camp.

Then you will understand the prayer of David in Psalm 17 where he asked the Lord to deliver him “from men of the world whose portion is in this life” (Ps. 17:14).

For the joy of His sheep and the glory of the Shepherd,
Pastor Kevin