Daily Devotional for Friday April 12, 2013

An Embarrassment to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith

(Luke 19:40; Romans 10:14)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, what do you think about the latest on Joel Osteen saying that he has given up his Christian faith? I know they say it wasn't true but I am not so sure about him.


"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." - (Luke 19:40)

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" - (Romans 10:14)

An embarrassment to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith!!! On April Fools Day, a website was created to say that Joel Osteen said the Bible is not the Truth of God, Christianity is a lie, and he was starting his own religion. Unbeknownst to the creator of this faux website, Osteen HAS publicly denied the truth of the Bible, HAS refused to confirm the foundation of Christianity that Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved, and HAS started his own religion that is based on a mix of the prosperity gospel and motivational clichés!

I have warned people for the past decade about this fraud masquerading as a "pastor." Yes, Lakewood "church" in Houston is the largest "church" in the nation. However, it is the largest, and his TV program has millions of viewers each week, because Osteen refuses to take a Biblical stand on any of the major issues of the day, refuses to even talk about sin, instead using his platform to give people false hope that their problems will just magically go away. Instead of telling people the TRUTH, he gives them worldly motivational clichés to make them feel good for a moment even thought their problems aren't solved!

A few motnhs ago, Osteen and his wife were on CNN's Piers Morgan program, the successor to Larry King Live. During the entire interview, he never ONCE, NOT ONCE, mentioned the name of Jesus!!! As I watched the interview, I asked myself why is this man going on TV, other than to boost his own personality and SELL BOOKS!!! (That is why he was on in the first place!)

A man of God only has ONE MESSAGE, the Gospel. Yet Osteen, because he is the "pastor" of the largest church in America, has a TV following of millions each week because he is little more than a prosperity motivational speaker like Tony Robbins, he has the ability to get on these national programs.

But why? To sell more books and get more people to give him money! That can be his only motivation since he refuses to take a for Biblical Truth on the issues of the day. Morgan did everything to get Osteen to talk about abortion, homosexuality, other faiths, and finally did goad him into stating the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. He asked Osteen about the Mitt Romney being a Mormon and if he had a problem with that. Osteen said he didn't know what Mormon's believed and that if Romney said he was a Christian, that was good enough for him.

What a gutless, pathetic wonder! Is it any wonder why many call themselves Christians but have never been born again? Is it any wonder why those who have been saved and follow someone like Osteen never speak out against homosexuality, abortion, or any of the major issues of our day? Is it any wonder with men like Osteen in the pulpit we have such a weak, ineffective, Biblically illiterate church today?

Worst of all, Osteen has never ONCE dared to tell people the FACT that without Jesus they will die and end up in hell. Osteen has to be the most spineless, gutless, cotton candy excuse for a man of God there is. The blood of those who watch him and will die and go to hell will be on His hands, according to Ezekiel 33:8!

"When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." Ezekiel 33:8 Is it any wonder why the church is so weak and ineffective today? Is it any wonder why the church has virtually NO POWER to stop the unbridled sin in this nation? Is it any wonder why the cults and false religions are flourishing? When Joel Osteen is the "spritual guide" of our day, it is no wonder why so many people who think they are OK because they are "good" will end up burning in hell for all eternity!!!

In a recent interview with Rabbi Naomi Levy, here is what Joel Osteen said about salvation:

Rabbi Naomi Levy: I watched an interview you did with Larry King. I was so amazed when you said Jews can indeed go to heaven, and then I saw that you later took heat for it, and you rephrased yourself. Is it wrong to believe that people who don't believe in Jesus have a place with God and have a place in heaven?

Pastor Joel Osteen: Sure. You know, to me it's up to every person. I mean, what the Scripture teaches is that Jesus came so that we could have salvation through him.

NL: Your Scripture.

JO: Yeah, that's true. So that's why I don't judge anybody else. ... You know, I don't believe in telling one group who can and can't go to heaven. I believe that's up to God.

NL: So do you think it's possible that our God, the God of the universe, might have an equal plan for all good people?

JO: I believe that any of that is possible.

Interview with Pastor Joel Osteen - Transcript from Larry King Live (CNN) (from Monday, June 20, 2005)

KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know . . .

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong . . . but I just think that only God with judge a person's heart.

KING: You don't call them sinners?

OSTEEN: I don't.

KING: Is that a word you don't use?

OSTEEN: I don't use it.

CALLER: I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

KING: So, then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only God can look at somebody's heart, and so - I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just . . .

KING: What about atheists?

OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let someone - I'm going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell.

The most important issue there is in life is how to be saved. No other issue is even close since salvation deals with the eternal destination of our soul. God created man in His own image and once this brief journey we know as life is over, our soul lives on for all eternity. The only question is will that eternity be with God our Creator or separated from God our Creator. Man was originally created to live for all eternity WITH God his Creator, but his choice to sin broke that eternal relationship. However, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - (John 3:16 KJV)

You see my friend, it is God's desire that ALL men come to repentance and that one be lost. There is no other issue as important as how to be saved, to insure that you will spend all eternity with the God who created you and loves you so much. That is why the Gospel, the "Good News," the death, burial, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ CANNOT EVER BE COMPROMISED!

I sat in horror a few years ago as I watched the Pastor of the largest Christian church in America on Larry King given the opportunity to share the Gospel with the world and fail to do so. We are talking not only about the most important issue there is, salvation, but the most fundamental to the Christian faith.

After all, we are Christians because we have put our faith in Jesus Christ and have a personal relationship with Him. I realize that Pastor Osteen took over as Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston when his father went to be with the Lord, much like a son takes over the family jewelry store. However, the ministry is not something that you can pass down from one generation to the next like a business, it has to be a CALLING FROM GOD.

Pastor Osteen's father was a powerful Gospel preacher who the Lord used to bring the Truth of His Word and the hope of Christ to millions worldwide during his life. He had to be deeply saddened by his son's missed opportunity to tell people that faith in Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved. I realize that Pastor Osteen never had any formal theological training, but sharing the plan of salvation doesn't require a seminary education, only going to Sunday School! How men are to be saved is the most basic message there is. Everything else is meaningless in light of the Gospel, and that message can NEVER be compromised!

The reason and purpose we reach out to people is to be able to share with them the TRUTH of God's Word and the hope and love of Christ. We can be creative in how we reach people, but the point is not to then dazzle them with our words but simply share with them God's words! If we do anything less, we are reduced to nothing more than the false hope merchants like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, and all the other self-help, "positive mental attitude" gurus whose goal is to see how many books and tapes they can sell and how many people show up at their events.

That is why the message of these people is nonconfrontational. It is politically correct so nobody will be offended and will attract the masses. It is designed to "tickle ears," not bring people under conviction. These false-hope merchants all embrace the universalistic theology straight from hell that "all good people will go to Heaven." There is no more damning a lie being told in our world today. The Bible proclaims, "There is none good, no not one." It says, "We have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory." Faith in Jesus Christ, and Christ alone is the ONLY WAY to be saved. There is NO OTHER name by which men can be saved. There are not many roads that lead to God-only ONE-faith in Jesus Christ!

Pastor Osteen needs to understand that he isn't the one who says who will go to Heaven or Hell, God is. God clearly told us in His Word who would be in Heaven and who would be in Hell. He already made that decision and it is our job as those who know Christ, especially those who lead His church, to share that eternal hope we have in Christ with those who are lost. Also, when you call sin what it is, it is not you who made that determination, it was God. It is God's Word that tells us what sin is and it is the job of those who know the Lord to share that Truth from God's Word with others.

I know many people reading this today are like Pastor Osteen and have a kind heart, not wanting to hurt people by telling them if they don't accept Christ they will spend eternity in hell. The fact is, if you really love people you will tell them the truth about eternity so that they have the opportunity to choose Christ and have a personal relationship with Him. Hell is a very real place and sadly, the eternal home of those who die rejecting Christ and His love for them. The fact is, the Gospel IS offensive to those who choose to reject it. God's Word IS offensive to those who choose to deny it. Those who know the Lord can't save anyone, that is something only Christ can do as a person makes the choice to accept Him into their hearts and life by faith. What we can do and are commanded to do is to share our faith with others and tell them about Jesus.

I love you and care about you so much. I realize many will be very disappointed that I wrote this message today. I have no doubt many in the Liveprayer family are members of Lakewood Church and will be very upset with me. I am sorry but I can't sit back and stay silent when such a prominent representative of Christ sits on national television, with a largely non-Christian audience watching, and fails to tell people that the only way they can be saved is through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to always be ready to share the hope we have in Christ and not to be, "Ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."

I pray for Pastor Osteen today and ask that you do as well. I have no doubt this man loves the Lord and is doing a great work for God. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring him under conviction about never again missing an opportunity to share the fact that Jesus is our only hope in this life and for all eternity. I pray the Lord will give him new courage and boldness to stand up for the Gospel and not be afraid to share the Truth with those in this world who so desperately are looking for truth in their life. I pray that he will not be afraid to simply share what God has stated in His Word and is what our very lives and faith are based on.

People don't need more false hope and empty hype. What they need is the unadulterated Truth of God's Word so that they can not only come to know Christ in the pardon of their sins, but live a victorious life here on earth. That ONLY happens when you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The job of everyone who knows Christ as their Savior, whether you pastor a church or serve God on your job, is to share with those the Lord brings into your life the Truth of His Word and how they can have an everlasting relationship with Jesus Christ. May you share the Gospel proudly and WITHOUT COMPROMISE!

Do you know that if your heart stopped beating in the next minute that you will be forever with the Lord? Do you have that assurance today? The most important decision you will make in this life is not who you will marry, or where you will live, or what kind of job you will have. The most important decision you will make in this life is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

If you have not done that yet, the Bible says that TODAY is the day of salvation. I would invite you to go to, http://www.liveprayer.com/plan.cfm . Pray to ask God to open your heart, read the words, pray the prayer, and accept today God's gift to you of everlasting life through His son Jesus.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Chrsit,

Bill Keller