‘Sheep Beating’ is not the Gospel

Today’s sermon comes from Sermon Audio and can be found here, the PDF can be downloaded here. This sermon is titled:

Blaze a Trail
By Jeff Noblit
Anchored in Truth Ministries
Preached on: Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bible Text: 1 Timothy 4:11-16

1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron, 3 forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 5 For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.6 If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. Exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now and of that which is to come. 9 This saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things.12 Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. 13 Until I come, pay attention to reading, to exhortation, and to teaching. 14 Don’t neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders. 15 Be diligent in these things. Give yourself wholly to them, that your progress may be revealed to all. 16 Pay attention to yourself and to your teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

1 Timothy 4: 1-16

This is a passage from a pastoral epistle. This passage is about how a pastor should rightly handle the Word of God, defending and refuting false teachings, and to stick to correct biblical doctrine because the Word rightly handled gives faith in Christ Crucified for the sins of the world. Jeff only included a few verses from the above text in his sermon. I added some surrounding verses for context, even though the main point of this passage of Scripture is included in his portion of the text. Let’s see if Jeff tells us about how true doctrine gives us Christ crucifed for our salvation.

“Now if you’re not a young pastor, folks listen to us, various places, ah, this isn’t just for young pastors, this is for all pastors. One of the worst things I know is old pastors who haven’t learned anything. They’re still functioning like they’re just starting out and waiting for the next new thing to come around. Or if you’re not a pastor at all, there’s great wisdom here for you. You need to understand what God would say to a pastor and first, and also there are applications for your own life as we look at this together.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

“Well, what things is he talking about? Actually this verse, verse 11, applies to the preceding verses. So what’s Paul been talking about? Well, among other things he’s talked about make sure you’re teaching the church the difference between sound doctrine and false doctrine, the difference between true teaching and false teaching. As you will remember, Paul has already been exhorting Timothy about find and uproot the false teaching that’s crept into the church there at Ephesus, as a pastor, prescribe this, that is, keep on doing this. There’ll never be a time when a faithful preaching pastor can say, “Okay, we’re done. I don’t have to ever worry about false teaching creeping in my congregation.” No, you’ve gotta keep on doing it.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

Perhaps this sermon is going to give us some solid biblical christocentric doctrine. Maybe we will even hear about some false doctrine that we need to stay away from.

“This is what he’s saying, “Timothy, here’s what’s wrong with folks, while they’re still down here on this earth they do belong to God but they’re still packaged in this unredeemed humanity.” There’s a new man in you at the new birth but the old man is still there, and every week as you live your life in your home, in your neighborhood, in the office at work, young people at school, the problem is you leak. You leak. It kind of like somebody punches a hole in a balloon and the air starts coming out.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

“”Well, Timothy, continually call the church to spiritual values.” He elaborates a little further on this point in verse 11 and says, “teach these things.” Again, it’s a present tense verse. It means “keep on teaching this.” Because, look, a spiritual man does not mind the continual reminder, matter of fact, he’s looking for it. The spiritual man wants to be challenged by the word of God. He wants somebody to help him with this old lazy, rebellious, flesh nature he still has. He wants somebody to urge him on and coax him on and if he gets backslidden and wants to get away from it, he can’t stay out there long, he’s gotta get back and says, “Pastor, preach again. I need the spiritual medicine. I know it’s for my good and I’m never happier than when you help me get realigned back to spiritual values.””

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

“Well, what’s a pastor to do? “Timothy, it’s gonna always be the case: continually call your people to spiritual values.” We all leak. Need to get refueled, refilled on Sunday morning. It helps some of you come back on Sunday night. Some of you leak out by about 3 in the afternoon. I know who you are and I love you but some of you need more preaching than you’re getting. Amen? You need more preaching than you’re getting. Your flesh needs more preaching than you’re getting. That’s what happens when I’m away for two weeks. I need more preaching than I’m getting sometimes.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

Yeah, that took a sharp turn. Alright, so according to Jeff, Paul told Timothy that believers in Christ, who belong to God, are packaged in unredeemed humanity? First off, where in the biblical text is that conversation? Secondly, what I think Jeff is saying is not that the Christian is unredeemed, but the original sin in our nature is what is not redeemed. He would be correct on that but wow, it’s like this pastor goes out of his way to steer clear of speaking of actual doctrine. Here is where things really get false, Jeff says that it’s not grace through faith in Christ that you need refueled on Sundays, it’s spiritual values; it’s law.

“You remember Korah in the Old Testament? Korah rose up against Moses and Korah said, “Who made you leader? Why are you calling all the shots? Why do you have the authority? The rest of us are holy too, the rest of us can hear from God too.” Now, I’m, I’m doing a Jeff Noblit amplification now. And it’s as if Moses said, “You boys better be careful. I didn’t sign up for this job. I was just keeping sheep and God told me to do this. So your problem’s not me, it’s God.” And a few series of events happened and God split the earth open and swallowed up Korah and all those who supported them and purged the church, took them right down into the fires of hell.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

“Can I just say to you with joy in my heart, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Korah spirit or a Sanballat and Tobiah at Grace Life Church. You know why? They never make it to me. Our men and I don’t just mean our elders, our men lovingly look at them and say, “We don’t do that here. If there’s a scriptural failure or a moral issue, tell us. We’ll get it fixed, but we don’t start movements to divide the church.””

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

“here’s what I tell a young pastor: be kind, be respectful to the older men but if they’re still ornery and difficult and there’s no real biblical violation, be sweet but look them in the eye and say, “It’s biblical, this is what we’re doing, you can either get on board or go on somewhere else.””

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

This seems like a pastor who is not only rough with his sheep but manipulates them. I’m assuming here that Jeff has had some issues with people coming to him and perhaps saying that he isn’t sticking to sound doctrine, maybe he isn’t giving them Christ crucified for their sins. He, seems to be manipulating them by claiming that you can’t claim he is doing something wrong because he is chosen by God and if you question Jeff then you are questioning God. This is just horrific.

“That’s how you don’t let them look down on your youthfulness and all of a sudden I think, “Well, he’s young but he’s got some backbone.” That’s basically what Paul’s saying. He’s saying what Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 16 when he said, “I want you men to act like men. Quit acting like a bunch of junior high drama schoolgirls””

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

He’s referencing 1 Corinthians 16:13 but seems to have not read vs. 14 “let all that you do, be done in love”, and the rest of the chapter that deals with submission and respect to fellow Christian’s. Jeff’s delivery is just harsh. He’s not even using the Law correctly its like he is abusing his sheep.

“Read the word of God and then the third part, exhortation he says here. Read it. Given them exhortation. The word “exhortation” here is the idea of appealing to the emotions. Charge them to change their thinking and change their behavior based on the word of God. That’s what a pastor’s to do, exhortation. Charge them, change your thinking, change your behavior based on the word of God. And then lastly he says here to teaching. Teaching has more the idea of a systematic explanation of the word of God. As 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, to rightly divide or in the New American Standard, accurately handling the word of God. Make sure your doctrine and your teaching is contextually, grammatically, culturally, historically, and systematically accurate. Don’t bring your eisegesis, your personal interpretation into it. Let the text speak for itself. Now that’s the pattern of preaching. “Timothy, this is a priority. Follow this pattern. Study it, read it before the people, exhort them and teach them the sound doctrines.” Now by the way, it’s really impossible to fully separate exhortation and teaching. When you teach sound doctrine you exhort people to change their lives to match it. When you exhort people to change their lives, it must be according to sound teaching or biblical doctrine. So those always go hand in hand.

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

Exhortation is not appealing to the emotions in the way that you were emotionally manipulating your sheep. The exhortation Paul is describing is that which follows the reading of Scripture, to admonish and encourage; law and gospel. He is discussing rightly distinquishing between law and gospel. Not to manipulate their emotions to get them to fall in line or to give them more Law.

Jeff seems to know his exegetical hermeneutics, as he can give a great definition as to what he should be giving in an expository sermon, yet he doesn’t do it.

“He says in verse 14, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.” Now a couple of thoughts here. First of all, all people receive a spiritual gift mix at conversion. God deposited into every one of you at your conversion a unique mixture of gifts. You may have 32% exhortation, 45% service, 25% leadership, and whatever it may be. I sometimes think of it as a spiritual gift cocktail.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

Where is that taught in scripture? How do I find out Biblically how much leadership percentage I have? This isn’t biblical doctrine.

“So Paul’s trying to tell Timothy, “I know it’s hard. I know you’re discouraged. I know it doesn’t look like it’s working for now, but keep on keeping on making a priority of the preaching of the word of God because God’s given you the gift, people have recognized it, your church laid their hands on you and prayed for God to bless you in this. Don’t throw that away. Stay with the task.””

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

“Then he continues in verse 15 and says, “If you’ll do that no matter what they’re saying,” they may have some contempt toward you, you’re too young, you’re just emotional, you don’t have enough wisdom yet, may be some truth to all that. Here’s what you’ve gotta understand, you’ve got a young pastor, he may be all of those things but God may have called him to preach to you. Are you listening? And if God can use Balaam’s donkey, he can use a young preacher. Be careful, you may be accurate in saying he lacks some things but you may miss the will of God in not listening to him and honoring his office of pastoring and preaching.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

Be careful, Jeff says, you might be right that your pastor is lacking in doctrine and is harsh with his congregants, but if you do you may miss the will of God by not listening to that pastor and honoring his office. This is sheep beating. That’s all this is. What pastor would ever talk to his congregation that way? This sounds like something a tyrant would say.

“”Timothy, be balanced. You know you’ve got these elements, take some time to look after yourself.” Now I’m gonna pick up on this next week. I’ll just mention it and we’re done. “Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching.” I believe the reason why he’s got “and your teaching” is, “I’ve already told you how much energy your teaching’s gonna take. I’ve already told you to pour yourself out in that ministry. But in balance, take care of yourself too or your teaching’s gonna suffer.” Then he says, “persevere in these things,” now look at this, church, last phrase of verse 16, “for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourselves and those who hear you.” Now I want you to listen to me, I want you to sit up on the edge of your seat, I want you to listen to me: you making it to heaven in the ordinance and providence of God significantly depends on the faithfulness of your preaching pastor. God’s ordained this.
No wonder the Apostle Paul said, “Who is sufficient for such things?” Your eternal soul making it home is significantly dependent upon the faithfulness of your preaching pastor so the most righteously selfish thing you can do is take care of your pastor. Did you hear that? And can I say to you: I think you guys get an A there. The stress and the difficulties I face are just almost always self-induced. I’m my own worst enemy. You don’t dump stuff on me. Now some of you tried 25 years ago but you don’t dump stuff on me. You try to leave me free to be the preaching pastor God called me to be, but by doing so, he’s not writing to the church, he says to Timothy, “Timothy, if you stay in balance, stay effective for me, persevere strongly in your preaching and teaching but also think about yourself as you need to, then you will assure salvation for yourself and those in your church.” Now I’m gonna break that down and describe what I think all that means, Lord willing, next time we’re together.”

Blaze a Trail By Jeff Noblit

Jeff ends his sermon with some words of wisdom, your pastor can rightly handle the word and give you salvation, or he can give you other doctrines that if you believe them it will condemn you. This was a sermon preached on a Sunday service and not one mention of forgiveness or Christ crucified.

The law given in this sermon was to listen to your pastor or leave. This is not a lawful use of the law. This is a pastor who seems to hold himself in an untouchable place of power. Jeff didn’t do a very good job of rightly handling the word of God today. He gave a sermon that elevates his status and told everyone to listen to him because of his position in the church. He withheld the proper use of the law and slightly gave a head nod or a hat tip to a broad Gospel in the beginning of the sermon. Yet, mentioned no crucified Christ for your sins, ergo no gospel.

Doctrine is important. The Gospel of God taking on human flesh is important. It’s important that Jesus be a man so that He could be our substitute, He is the new Adam. It is important that Jesus is God because a man can’t die for the sins of the world. No angel, no creature, can take on sin and not be corrupted with sin. Jesus fulfilled the Law in your place, he also suffered and died in your place. He did everything for you so that you do not have to merit or do anything to try and earn your place in His family.

He gives you his righteousness, he baptized you into His name, and places you into His family. All of your sin is gone and even though they were so many that they were crimson red, they are now as white as snow. God doesn’t hate you, He doesn’t want to lash out at you or to beat you, He loves you. Dont let pastors like Jeff scare you into thinking that God is a tyrant. He is gentle and His yoke is light.

28  “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  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. 30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28-30

The goal of this post is to get you to see that just because someone says something in God’s name, doesn’t mean that it is true. Yet, also, just because someone is standing in the stead and command of Christ doesn’t mean that he is giving you Christ. Jeff disobeyed God in many ways in his sermon, one of which is he didn’t give you God in human flesh, crucified for the forgiveness of your sins, and risen for your justification.

46 He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem

Luke 24: 46-47

Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God; and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already.

1 John 4: 1-3

I hope this post gives you an example as to how a sermon can be void of the Gospel, and how to listen to a sermon to rightly distinguish between law and gospel. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. With your sins forgiven, go in peace.

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