When I was young, people flattered me, but I always quipped, “Flattery will get you nowhere.” Flattery is the language of much of today’s church, and Father God and Christ are grieved, for it will kill you, O Christian.

[SW089] 04/21/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“Flattery Will Get You Nowhere”

Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it on a tablet before them
    And inscribe it on a scroll,
    That it may  serve in the time to come
     As a witness forever.
9 For this is a  rebellious people,  false sons,
    Sons who  refuse [14 & 3808 never, ever consent to, are never, ever willing]
    to listen
    To the  instruction of the LORD;
10 Who say to the  seers, “You must not see visions”;
    And to the prophets, “You must not  prophesy to us what is right,
     Speak to us  pleasant words [2513, smoothness, flattery, smooth things],
    Prophesy illusions [4123 deceptions].
11 “Get out of the way,  turn aside from the path,
      Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

Pleasant words, smoothness, flattery, smooth things.
Illusions, deceptions.
As I look from the wall,
the Lord says,
“Much of the church in America knows nothing but these.”

What smooth things do we like to hear?

Success theology —
Your best life,
no mention of sin except on their websites in the sinner’s prayer or a quick scripture.
The evil you do is not “God’s best for you,”
the power of positive thinking — “think” yourself successful,
claim the promises of God though you do not obey Him.
No call to holiness (1Peter 1:15, Matthew 5:48)
No cross or blood.

Ezekiel 13:10 and elsewhere: These say “Peace, peace” when there is not peace between God and you.

Success theology is a man-centered gospel. It is humanism.

Definition of humanism per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
a doctrine, attitude, or way of life
centered on human interests or values;
especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism
and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth
and capacity for self-realization
through reason [thinking].

Jesus would have flunked success theology. He preached:

Matthew 10:38 “And  he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his  life will lose it, and he who has lost his  life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 16:24   Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and  take up his cross and follow Me.”

Utterly deny myself?
Not live for myself?
Not seek my own success,
using scripture to justify my pursuit
of my own personal happiness?

Selfless giving away all that I am
So I can be God’s instrument here?
Being crucified with Christ so I no longer live?

Becoming a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing? (Romans 12:1-2) And by the way, STAYING ON THE ALTAR until God has completed His work.

It seems the whole New Testament, and all its truth,
does not pass the “success theology” test.

Next, liberation theology:

This teaching says that the freedom Jesus spoke of in His earthly ministry
is freedom from social injustice and political oppression.
He came so we could be free of tyranny from evil governments.

Jesus would have flunked liberation theology.
Jerusalem and all of Israel
was under the oppression and social injustice of Rome,
while Jesus walked the earth!
Roman rule was cruel, indeed,
Yet He did not rebel against it.

He even prophesied that all of Jerusalem
would be destroyed by the Romans!
And He did nothing to prevent it —
Jerusalem was indeed destroyed in 70 A.D.

What Jesus DID do
is speak of freedom from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36)
He secured that freedom for all who believe
and are filled with the Holy Spirit.

He whom the Son sets free is free, indeed,
regardless of poverty
and political oppression
and social oppression!!!

Ask any of today’s Christian martyrs
(and there are more since the 20th century
than in all centuries prior).

Jesus came to set us free from the tyranny of sin in our hearts,
and free us from our selfishness.

The Apostle Paul never rebelled against Gentile governments,
nor Jewish leaders.
He preached Christ,
and was free, indeed,
though he was accused and tried,
beaten and scourged,
stoned and left for dead,
and imprisoned for the sake of the gospel.

Next, prosperity theology:

Jesus wants you to be rich!
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
When you have three Bentleys in your driveway,
people will know you are blessed by God.
(I personally heard that at one of their conferences.)

Jesus would have flunked prosperity theology. Here is what He says:

Matthew 6:19   “ Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20 “But store up for yourselves  treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

Matthew 6:21 for  where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:24   “ No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and   wealth.”

These false teachers twist the words of Christ.
They use “pressed down, shaken together” (Luke 6:38) to make money.
But that scripture’s context is not monetary — it is selfless living.

The words these false teachers use is ear-tickling (2 Timothy 4:3).
It pleases our ears.
It is flattery.
It will get you nowhere but hell.
It does not deal with the fallen condition of our hearts.

Anything that does not deal with the fallen condition of our hearts
is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I tell you, as Paul did Timothy:

2Timothy 4:3 For  the time will come when they will not endure  sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and  will turn away their ears from the truth and  will turn aside to myths.  

Listen to the Lord, through Jeremiah:

Lamentations 2:14 Your  prophets have seen for you
    False and foolish visions;
    And they have not  exposed your iniquity
    So as to restore you from captivity,
    But they have  seen for you false and misleading  oracles.

They have not exposed your sin
so you would repent
and cry out to be purified.
So you are captive to your own lusts.

And if you continue on with Lamentations,
you will see that the Enemy, Satan,
has his way in your lives,
O Christians,
O Church!

Listen to the Spirit-inspired Paul:

Galatians 1:6   I am amazed [2296, I marvel and wonder at it] that you are so quickly deserting  Him who called you  by the grace of Christ, for a  different gospel;  7 which is really not another; only there are some who are  disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  8 But even if we, or  an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel  contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be   accursed!  9 As we  have said before, so I say again now,  if any man is preaching to you a gospel  contrary to what you received, he is to be   accursed!

Galatians 1:10   For am I now  seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a  bond-servant of Christ.

It is a different (2087) gospel,
not of the same source, altered, strange.

It is a gospel which is really not another of the same kind —
it is not like it, it is not even a gospel.

It is not a good message, like Christ’s gospel.
It is a distortion, a perversion of it.

By following it, O Christian,
you desert God.

It is contrary, it sounds nearly like Christ’s gospel, but it is not.
Christ would flunk it.
He is grieved, O Church!
The truth will not please you
and gain your favor,
but it will please God
and gain His favor,
for all who dare to speak it.

Much of the church likes to hear Galatians 5:17,
but does not want to hear Galatians 5:24.

Galatians 5:17 For  the flesh  sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another,  so that you may not do the things that you  please. Whew! I can go on struggling and sinning because that’s just the way it is.

Galatians 5:24 Now those who  belong to  Christ Jesus have  crucified the flesh with its passions and  desires.

Much of the church likes to hear the second half of Romans 7:25,
but does not like to hear Romans 7:24 or the first half of 7:25.

Romans 7:25b So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh  the law of sin.

Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from   the body of this  death?  25  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Most of the church chirps Romans 5:20,
always changing it to the present tense (which is incorrect) —
“Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more” —
but does not like to hear Romans 6:1-2.

Romans 5:20   The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased,  grace abounded all the more,

The Law was given to show us our hearts, and that we are unable to change them. But then came Jesus, the grace of God personified, the One who frees us from our captivity to sin and transforms our hearts so they obey.

Most of the church loves to say their sin only makes God’s grace increase. But what does the Holy Spirit say through Paul?

Romans 6:1    What shall we say then? Are we to  continue in sin so that grace may increase?  2  May it never be! How shall we who  died to sin still live in it?

We like to stamp our feet and sing, “Satan is under my feet,”
while we disobey God!

If nothing else has touched you up to this point, I pray this does:
In Ezekiel 6:9, the Lord says our spiritual adultery,
our exaltation of ourselves,
shatters His heart!

Much of the church likes to say “We are born again,”
but they do not turn our feet to follow Christ to Calvary
and so they bear no resemblance to Him.

The Lord longs to be gracious to you, O Church, O Christian!

Isaiah 30:18   Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you,
    And therefore He  waits on  high to have compassion on you.
    For the LORD is a  God of justice;
    How blessed are all those who long for Him.

He longs (2442) to be gracious to you.
To Him, it feels like piercing to Him.
It is a very strong word!

He waits (2442) to have compassion on you.
He longs for it.
It feels like piercing to Him.
He offered a pierced Son,
pierced for our transgressions!

Isaiah 30:19    O people in Zion,  inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will  weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will  answer you.

O Church!
A shaking is coming,
and many will be weeping who do not turn to Him now!
All you have to do is cry out (2199),
to shriek (from anguish, extreme distress)!
When He hears your brokenness and contriteness,
He will not despise it.
He will answer you!