by Theodore Wright.
Over the years, I have heard preachers at times preaching messed-up sermons. Not just simply that they misunderstood a minor point of their message. I mean that their basic premise would be wrong. One time, for example, I heard a message preached at a denomination’s district meeting where the evangelist preached that out of all the disciples that Satan want to sift just Peter, quoting…
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.- Luke 22:31-32 (KJV)
I could understand if someone was using another version of the Bible, they could be confused by this passage. However, the preacher was using a King James Version Bible which reflects the original Greek language here. The words “thou”, “thee”, and “thy” are “you (singular)” while “ye”, “you”, and “your” are “you (plural)”. Thus, Satan desired to sift ALL OF THEM like wheat, not simply Peter. But our Lord prayed specifically for Peter that his faith would not fail. No, Peter was not being singled out then for a difficulty, he was being singled out for a blessing of protection.
The common factor about what I would hear back if I mentioned something like this to leadership in a church would be them saying, “Well, that doesn’t mean they didn’t receive.” I would reply, “It doesn’t mean they didn’t receive what?” Honestly, care should be taken regarding sermon preparation not cheap subsequent excuses.
While we are on the subject, let me bring up a similar matter. That of “confusing worship songs”. Let me cite a couple. There is a song titled “Lift Jesus Higher” which goes like…
Lift Jesus higher.
Lift Jesus higher.
Lift Him up for the world to see.
He said if I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me.
Yes, Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”. Yet, it also says in the next verse of John 12:33, “This he said, signifying what death he should die.” Biblically speaking being “lifted up” means crucified, not praised. Are we supposed to cry out for Jesus to be recrucified to an open shame?
Then there is the song “Arise and Sing” which goes, “Arise and sing ye children of Zion for the Lord hath delivered thee.” Let me ask, please, for this confuses me. Who is the “thee” (singular) that the Lord delivered? It cannot be the “children of Zion” because they are plural. If it were Jesus then how actually was He delivered? Also, where exactly are these words in the Bible? Kind of silly, isn’t it? We need to be concerned before matters go “off the wall”.
What was mentioned above are relatively small matters compared to heretical sermons being preached or songs such as “Ave Maria” sung in worship. “Ave Maria” is a prayer to the Virgin Mary used in Roman Catholic worship. There was an issue about the song being insisted to be sung in a Protestant church. We do need to take proper concern regarding what we sing and what we learn in church. What seem like small matters in sermons and worship can turn into larger issues very quickly. As Galatians 5:9 (NKJV) says, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Therefore, let messages be prepared and worship be done with care. Forgive people for their mistakes, kindly correct with a spirit of gentleness, but warn those who are unruly. Confirm everything with the Word of God, the Holy Bible.