Preach This to Satan – Steven Furtick Visits Potential Church Part 2

“When you ask the question, “is this it?” The answer is a message you’ve never heard. Christmas preparation continues as visiting Pastor Steven Furtick offers encouragement and the reminder that God’s promise is bigger than your perhaps.” – Potential Church

A few weeks ago I had written an article about Steven Furtick and how he’d be speaking at Potential church in Cooper City, FL. The church’s commercial for his arrival dealt solely with his book Sun Stand Still. And so I had assumed that he would be giving his Sun Stand Still talk when he visited Potential. He didn’t. Instead, he preached a message called, “The Most Encouraging Message You’ve Never Heard.” In his introduction, he explained that in some ways his message relates to the topic of “when you have disappointed expectations in your life,” and “when you’re looking at where you are in your life with your relationships, in your walk with God, and where you are is not where you thought you’d be.” He then illustrated this by going to a text about John the Baptist that Furtick says was a time when John’s expectations were disappointed. And in light of this illustration, Steven shared some encouragement that he felt the Lord laid on his heart to share with them. My response is lengthy, but this sermon is just a tangled mess. Before we take a look at his message to see what the Lord supposedly wants us to know, let’s look at the text he will use and take that apart.

I. Exegesis of Matthew 11:1-15

1 When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples

3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

John had been in prison for pointing out the sin of Herod Antipas. Herod was in an adulterous relationship with his own brother’s wife (Matthew 14:1-11). While in prison, John the Baptist, who had previously preached that Jesus was the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He really was (3). John not only preached this at one time, but he had also heard of the works that Christ had been doing (v. 2). This perhaps seems strange, but it’s important to note that John had certain expectations, as many others did, of what the Messiah would be like. Many Jews expected the coming Messiah to be this political/military leader like King David. At one point, John preached Jesus as the One Who had the axe at the root, throwing bad trees in the fire [Matthew 3:10], and he was right. Jesus lays the axe at the root, only it isn’t done with earthly weapons or physical might. John wasn’t saying Christ was definitely not the Messiah. Perhaps he wondered such a thing because the doctrinal conclusions John had weren’t showing themselves as John had imagined. So if Jesus was the Messiah, given John’s own presuppositions of who the Messiah would be, John’s current imprisonment may have been what confused him the most. If Christ was the military-driven Messiah, then why would John still be in prison?

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:

5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

And here is the central point of this entire passage. Jesus tells them to go back and let John know that miracle are being performed and that the gospel is being preached.  In other words, Jesus is answering, “Yes! I am the Messiah!” He quotes the prophet Isaiah [35:5-6], and gives testimony to the signs He has performed and the MESSAGE that is preached. The purpose of this text is to understand that Jesus IS the Messiah. I know our natural inclinations want there to be more, but that is it. “Is Jesus the Messiah?” “YES.” Christ came giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, the deaf hear, and raising the dead – offering signs to the Jews who required a sign (1 Cor. 1:22). And most importantly, Christ came preaching the GOSPEL. He continues to give spiritual sight to spiritually blind people, opening the ears of the spiritually deaf, and giving life to those dead in sin because physical signs are awesome and amazing, but will leave you dead in sin until you are brought to life through believing the gospel by hearing it preached.

6 “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

He does not say this to describe those who are apathetic about Jesus, or think that Jesus was a prophet, but not God. It doesn’t describe those who even think Jesus was a great guy, but reject the Biblical revelation of Christ. It denotes those who are Christians. Thinking Jesus is great, cool, or nice will still keep you dead in sin. And God is not pleased with anyone like this. It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Not faith that there is a God out there somewhere, but faith in what the True God has revelaed about Himself, namely – the gospel. Such a one is truly blessed because his sins are not counted against him.

7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

8 “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!

9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.

10 “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’

Jesus asks the crowds about John the Baptist. He asked who they thought they had seen in the wilderness. He answers it for them. John was a prophet. And, by the way, in case you think that Jesus is steering away from the main point I had mentioned just above (Jesus as Messiah), think again. John was more than a prophet. He was the one sent before Christ proclaiming His coming, like someone heralding the coming of a king. Jesus is only further affirming the fact that He is the Messiah by explaining that the prophetic Scriptures concerning Him were being fulfilled. John was that messenger, Jesus is the King.

11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Jesus says that John is the greatest of people born. He doesn’t say he is the greatest of everyone before AND after, only just up until that point. Certainly, the “greatest” people would have been the prophets. God was speaking directly to them. And they preached the coming Messiah. But of all the prophets, none was like John. He beheld the Messiah with his own eyes. He was the forerunner. He baptized the Messiah. John did what no other prophet did.

Yet, even the LEAST in the kingdom of God is greater than John. But why? John wouldn’t live to see the the death of Christ, or His resurrection. John preached the coming Messiah, but never the perfect obedience, death on the cross for the taking away of God’s wrath toward believers, and the resurrection. This isn’t to say that John preached the wrong thing. The prophets knew that the Christ would come to remove sin. But they preached obscurely. Those of us in Christ can preach it after the fact and with clarity. Jesus still hasn’t steered away from the main point. He isn’t bragging here about John. The point of this isn’t John. The point is that even those who are least in the kingdom are greater because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

After John, the kingdom of heaven has been “suffering violence” or “coming with force.” And violent men – thieves, murderers, prostitutes, etc – have been believing the good news.

13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.

14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

John was the last prophet before Christ. He was “Elijah.” This is a reaffirmation of verse 10. John was the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5. “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.”

15 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

That is, those whom the Lord has given ears to hear. So what is the point of this text? It answers the question of whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. The answer is yes.

____________________________________________________________

II. Is This it?

The following is Steven Furtick’s explanation of the passage:

John sent some messengers to Jesus and what he wants to know is ironic. He says, “Are you the One?” The reason that’s ironic is because it wasn’t long before this that John the Baptist was announcing to all of the crowds who were coming out to be baptized that Jesus was the One. He pointed at Him and said, “This is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.” But now things have changed a little bit. The situation is different for John. He’s in prison. Interestingly enough, he’s not in prison because he did anything wrong. He’s actually there because he did something right. He didn’t steal anything or smoke anything to get thrown in prison. He’s there because he stood up to a wicked king. And he stood for God’s ways, but yet, he finds himself in prison. And I don’t know this to be true, I can only assume it from the text that John may have been expecting that Jesus was going to come get him out. And He didn’t. I don’t know how long John has been in prison at this point, but long enough. Long enough for him to call some of his messengers on one of their visits to send them to Jesus Who is now preaching and teaching to crowds of such a magnitude that the religious leaders are already conspiring how can they get rid of Him. And he wants to know, “Jesus, are You the One? Are You the One? We’ve gone from John announcing, “This is the One,” to asking, “Are You the One?”

Furtick’s explanation of this verse up to this point wasn’t bad. Unfortunately, Steven then did with this text what he normally does with Scripture and what too many pastors do with the Scriptures – make it about you. This is what he says right after the quote above:

Which just goes to show you that everybody comes to points in their life, no matter how strong your faith is, that you wonder, “God, is this it? Is this the way it’s going to be?” I don’t think that means you are doubting God necessarily, John never doubted God, he just wanted to know, “Is this situation going to change?” Really, if you think about it, we’ve all had times in our life where, for different reasons and different stages, we look at where we are versus where we want to be, where we need to be and in our hearts begin to feel like, “God is this it?” Have you ever felt that way? Just nod at me. Sometimes I look at myself and I’m frustrated with myself. Are you ever frustrated with yourself? You try to overcome something. Maybe for you it’s something that others can see, and for others it’s a thing that people can’t see. And you wonder, “God, am I always going to struggle with this because I’m trying to get better in this area and I keep on falling back into the same patterns and so I thought I’d be further along by now, God, because I’m trying to live for You, and I’m trying to live a life that pleases You. But I can’t seem to get there, so God, I just want to know, “Is this it? Is this the way it’s going to be?” because I do love you, Lord. I do want to live my life for You, but I just need to know, is it always going to be this hard? Is my situation always going to be like this?

I bet there are some single people in the house today who are looking at your loneliness and feel like, “God is this it?” Some of my other friends are getting married, and they seem happy, and “I don’t know if there is someting wrong with me, or if there is something wrong wit every other human being on the planet, but this isn’t working the way it’s supposed to work. God is this it?” Other people are married, and they’re looking at their husband today as I preach and going, “Is this it, God? Is this it? Because I just need to know. I want to stay married, I want to be faithful, I want to keep it true, but what I need to know is this it? Is this it? Some of you lost your job in the last year, and you’re going, “God, I want to trust You to provide for me but I’m not seeing much provision right now.” And I know you’re not locked in a physical prison cell like John was, but we can all relate in some way to be waiting for something that God has seemingly promised us that He would do, and wondering, “God, are You coming? Are you going to take care of me? Is this it?” Talking to a parent who has a child who’s not really following God right now, and you’ve done all that you know to do for that child and you’re going, “God, is this it?” Our expectations are disappointed from time to time.

And there it is. Steven Furtick puts the focus on John in this passage. He psychologizes the text in order to make it appear as though it answers the big, “Is this it?” question in your struggles, loneliness, marriage, vocation, and provision – mentioning that we can all relate to waiting for something “God has seemingly promised us that He would do.” What exactly did God promise His people about struggling with sin? Paul dealt with it, and saw it as a constant war within himself (Romans 7:14-25). He knew that his hope was Christ, Who would free him from his body of death. What has God promised about being single? Jesus said that some will be single their entire lives, and not given into marriage (Matthew 19:12). What about marriage? Husbands are to love their wives and not be harsh with them (Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19) and wives are to love and respect their husbands (Eph. 5:24; 33), and not to divorce one another. But what promises have been made about marriage? What about vocation and provision? If a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). And if you believe the gospel, you have been adopted into God’s family. And as a child of God, you are provided for. That’s the promise. The amount isn’t stated, but the fact that God clothes the flowers and feeds the birds (His creation), how much more will He do for you as His child (Matthew 6:25-34)? What about children who are “not really following God?” I’m not sure exactly what he means there. But for anyone who commits sin (which is everyone), call them to repent of that sin, and more importantly to look to the gospel as the only hope they have of their sins being forgiven. But what did God promise here? Jesus said that families would be divided over Him (Matthew 10:34-36).

BUT

ALL OF THIS ASIDE…

Is the point of this text to answer the, “Is this it?” question? Is that what the Holy Spirit intended us to walk away with here? Focusing on “the John the Baptist in all of us?” NO. The focus in the text is on Christ. It ends with Him. I know that is way too basic for people. There just has to be more. “Jesus? That’s it?” YES.

Let’s say I write a letter to my friend about how there is a new self drying jacket coming out like in Back to the Future. And the letter says this, “I just want you to know that there is (finally) a self drying jacket coming out like the one Marty McFly had in Back to the Future. Regards, Chris.” Now let’s say that in 2,000 years, someone named Rufus finds my letter. If Rufus interpreted my letter the way Furtick interprets this text, Rufus might let everyone know what he thinks is the important message with which to walk away. He would probably say that the important thing is to realize that just like I had a desire to let my friend know about the jacket, we all have desires to let people know things in life. Is that how you think it should be read? The question we should focus on in the text is not, “Is this it for us?” It should be, “Is Jesus the Messiah?” Furtick starts off with a faulty reading of this text, and consequently a faulty foundation for this sermon. We should be asking Steven, “Is this it?”

III. Jesus Purposely Waited

Furtick then moves on to the words Jesus spoke after John’s disciples left:

7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

8 “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!

9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.

10 “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’

Steven said that Jesus waited until John’s disciples left. And this is another part of the foundation he is laying to make his 3 major points of the sermon. Unfortunatley, the text doesn’t say that he purposely waited until they left. It says that when they were leaving Jesus began talking about John the Baptist. You might think that this is a pointless argument. But, check out what he does with it:

“For some reason, Jesus thought it wise and appropriate to wait until the messengers left to start saying the best things about John.”

And then Furtick starts to speculate the meaning behind this too. Just more and more focus on John which will ultimately mean more and more focus on you. He says the reason that Jesus waited for the disciples to leave was because he didn’t want John to know what He was saying about him. According to Furtick, if Jesus didn’t want John’s faith to be placed in the things John was doing, Jesus wanted John’s faith to rest in the things that Jesus was doing. Apparently, not only have we found the meaning behind John’s “Is this it” question, now we know the meaning behind why Jesus waited, although the only thing we have to go on is this, “As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John…” Maybe they didn’t want to stick around or had to go or maybe they had to feed their camels or help a child who broke a leg or had a dinner party or were so excited they wanted to tell John asap. The point is, we have no idea, and there is no reason to really reject any of the explanations I offered. So let’s just stick with what we do know.

Now, earlier in the text, we observed that John asked Jesus if He was the Messiah. And we had done some speculative work for ourselves, supposing that John had the common view of the day. I realize that isn’t in the text. But when you consider statements or questions posed about the kingdom of God in the New Testament, it is a fair assumption. For instance, the Pharisees’ question in the gospel of Luke:

“Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

Their assumption was that the kingdom would be a physical or palacial reality. The Pharisees weren’t the only ones who were confused. Check out almost the same exact question in Acts 1 made by the disciples, although Christ had spent time with them after His resurrection speaking of the kingdom.

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8

Jesus knew that not only would the kingdom come in power with the Spirit, but that they would understand that same truth He had disclosed to the Pharisees – that the kingdom was a spiritual kingdom. So, we have evidence within the Scriptures themselves that there was obscurity concerning certain teachings. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit clarifies these things for those who believe. All of this to say, when we psycologize the mind of Jesus or anyone in Scripture to where we begin to speculate things like why Jesus waited when we have no evidence to look that direction, we are standing on shaky ground and can make the text mean whatever we want.

This is how he wraps up this point:

“So maybe you came in here today, and you’re not very encouraged. Maybe you’re here today and you’re not very uplifted. And you wonder, ‘Why, God, won’t You fix my situation? Why, God, won’t You come break me out of prison? Why, God, won’t You even just send me a sign that I’m doing the right thing? See, because Jesus certainly could have walked through prison doors and set John free. And if not that, He could’ve at least sent Him the message, “Hey I think you’re doing pretty good.” But sometimes God doesn’t want you to place your faith in the fact that you are doing pretty good, but in the fact that He alone is good, see. And that it’s not about whether or not you’re doing the right things but about the fact that you’re serving the right God.

It sounds so theologically solid whenever you tag, “It’s not about you,” to something. It’s true. Life is not about you. It is about God glorifying Himself. But that doesn’t mean that is what this passage means. The job of a pastor is to teach the Word of God properly. Since it’s not about us, then how about you exegete this passage properly and point people to the intention of it? Don’t offer some general purpose driven cliche like “It’s not about you.” Instead of using your imagination, just expose the Words that have thundered for centuries and that have cut men to the heart. If it’s too plain, or not descriptive enough, go write movies or fiction novels. I would even go watch one of those movies. But  please don’t call it solid historical grammatical exegesis or Christian orthodoxy.

IV. Jesus May Be Talking Behind Your Back

The very next words from Steven’s mouth are,

“So Jesus may be talking about you behind your back today. It’s possible that God is working behind the scenes in your life, so to speak, in a way that you can’t see and has a purpose for you that you can’t hear. But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a purpose.”

For not being about us, he sure is talking a lot about us. I believe God does have a purpose. He has a purpose for everyone. It’s not a purpose like so many of the seeker churches want you to believe – that is, a purpose that is thrust into effect once you let God work in your life or something. Nope. God’s purpose for you might be to work in a cubicle your whole life, and be treated horribly by your boss. God’s purpose might be for you to cut grass for a living. God’s purpose might be for your wife to leave you. God’s purpose might be for your kid to be kidnapped. God’s purpose might be for you to be killed tomorrow. God’s purpose may even be for your best friend in the whole wide world to never come to faith in the gospel. The man in hell is there because of God’s purpose. The man who is saved is there because of god’s purpose. God’s purpose, as someone had put it, might be to shine the brass on the Titanic.

This message of hope or the good news offered here by Steven Furtick is this: “You might be depressed about your circumstances, but be of good cheer, God has a purpose for you!” Jesus didn’t come to give you purpose. He came to die for your sin. You are depressed because God wants you to be depressed. You are a sinner. And the wrath of God abides on you. And He planned it that way. And there is hope for those who believe the gospel. But it isn’t realizing your purpose. The good news is that Christ has lived a perfect life and when He died, the sins of those who bleieve the gospel were placed on Him. He didn’t become sinful. God treated Him as though He was guilty for the sin of His people. In turn, His perfect life was credited to them. Believers aren’t without sin, but God views them that way. And when they die, they won’t face the maw of hell or wrath of God because it was placed upon Christ. That’s the great news.

But, again, let’s not not not not not get away from the point here. The point of this text is not so we can answer the “Is this it” in our life. It’s not intended to show us that Jesus purposely waited so John could learn that it’s not about himself. It’s not intended to give us the good news that God has a purpose for us. It is intended to point us to Jesus the Christ, and the good news that He is the Messiah, and that He had finally come.

V. Three Statements of Encouragement

Furtick then lets Potential church know that he has 3 “affirmations of encouragement” that he feels like God wants them to know. Let’s see what to make of his “feelings.” So far, his feelings have taken us on a wild desert ride somewhere just outside the outskirts of the Bible. He tells us that these are three affirmations for those who love God, serve God, and are trying but fall short, and feel discouraged sometimes – three affirmations they will need to “preach back to the devil” when he starts coming up into your heart and your mind, and telling you stuff that “isn’t true.” Okay, so let’s see what this has all boiled down to. What is the first of the three points we need to tell the devil, who accuses the bretheren of sin? What is it that we remind him of when he says, “You have sinned greatly!!!” ???

1. You’re doing better than you think you are… 

Satan, “You can’t accuse me, because I’m doing better than I think I am”? So we use our own lives as weaponry against the devil? Furtick then puts down churches who preach about how “horrible you are.” He says he knows that we are filthy sinners, but in Christ, we are just dirty sinners anymore, we are created in the image of God, have the hope of glory in us and the righteousness of Christ is our portion and you are doing better than you think you are. He then commends them for being at Potential that day.

If the devil should accuse you, and burden you with the law, don’t use your life as a weapon! Use the gospel. Remember the perfect obedience of Christ. Yes you are a sinner, and you are sinning, and will. But Christ is a greater Savior, and no one can lay a charge against God’s elect. There would be a case if I was clothed in my own righteousness. But I’m not. And that’s what you preach. As a believer, the entire wrath of God toward your sin was placed on Christ. I don’t fear that wrath anymore because I believe the gospel. I have been freed from the curse of the law.

But this is so wrapped up with positive thinking. “You’re doing better than you think you are. Tell someone else they are too. You’ve come so far.” Sounds like that guy from Saturday Night Live – Stuart Smalley. He would sit in front of the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonnit, people like me.” And then Steven concludes the point with even more imaginative assertions. He says that John didn’t feel very effective in prison, but his ministry was making a great difference. And although that point is found no where in the text, it MUST be asserted because then how else would you make the point: Just like YOU may not feel very effective, but your ministry is effective. Remember, this is what you should be preaching to the devil…

2. You matter more than you think you do…

This is where the gospel really gets convoluted. Steven begins by saying,

“You can tell the value of something, based on the price someone pays who knows what it’s really worth. The Scriptures said that Jesus bought you with His precious blood – His pure, unblemished blood. So, I don’t care how worthless you feel today, you matter more than you think you do. And someone needs to hear that because the enemy tries to tell you a lot of times that you are worthless… you’ve got nothing to offer… that you can never measure up and live up…”

It sounds like he is saying that the cross was God’s big price tag for our personal worth. That’s damnable. And for Furtick to say that this must be used against the devil is horrible. For him to put down the enemy for saying we are worthless, have nothing to offer, and we can’t measure up is confusing. Measure up to what? We are worthless, and our works don’t make God love us any more or any less.

7 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8 “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9 “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:7-10

Let’s not get away from this main point here. The cross of Christ was not the price tag for your personal worth. It was the price tag for God’s wrath against the sins of believers. Christ paid our debt on the cross by having the punishment for it unleashed on Him (Romans 5:9; Colossians 2:14). Steven says it’s a matter of perspective to understand how you are loved. I agree. So let’s look at the Biblical perspective: 

Yes, it was a loving act, but not because of anything we have done. It was because, according to the kind intention of His will, He had chosen a people in Christ before the foundation of the world. He had decided to, apart from anything we have ever done, choose a people to save. God isn’t like an eternal man who watched the video tape of life and made His decisions based on what He had seen. God ordains all things for His glory.  It wasn’t arbitrary. It was according to His will and purpose. And He is certainly allowed to do whatever He wants with His own creation. He doesn’t have to answer anyone about why He has decided to do things the way He has. It wasn’t because He saw they would be great, or anything like that.

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, Ephesians 1:4-5

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 2 Timothy 1:9

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5

We should never wield a sword of personal worth or greatness if the devil should accuse us. If he should say we are unworthy, we shouldn’t say, “I know, but God thinks I am!” Rather, we should say, “I know, but Christ is!” This sermon just draws us back to ourselves. From the starting point to now it has been a train wreck. And the text of Scripture just gets lost. Finally, we have the third point:

3. It’s less about you that you think it is

Furtick said that we need to get this or else we will think this whole sermon has been about how awesome we are. He says that Jesus affirmed John based on the work that He (Jesus) was doing, and that Jesus wanted John to know that should be enough for him. Steven says that God sees greatness in us even when we are struggling in life.

What I find so offensive about this is not that it just isn’t true, but he isn’t using verses that explicitly teach these concepts. If these are encouragements for the saints, then where else may we find them? They sound great and spiritual, but it doesn’t mean that they are biblical ideas. He is psychologizing John and Jesus. And as a result, you come up with a sermon that dusts off your shoulders, shines your shoes, and hands you an ‘atta boy. And what gets lost in all this is Christ. Preaching a sermon like this is like calling God a liar. That may sound really harsh, but when you preach your ideas and intention with the passage, you are (by default) discounting God’s intention with the passage.

I don’t care how glossy eyed you are when you tell me that “it’s all about God.” Tagging that at the end of this sermon renders that statement valueless. In fact, this point is also empty because of how Furtick defines it. He still focuses on our work. Think about it. He says that Jesus affirms John by the work that Jesus is doing while making the point that God sees greatness in us even while we suffer. Though you may say “it’s all about God,” the real point here is: though you are suffering, chin up. God sees greatness in you, and you are part of his plan.

Let’s summarize here. Do you find anything wrong with the following statement?

Preach to the devil that you are doing better than you think you are, that God says you worthy of His love, and that God is using me for his purpose.

Certainly, there have been bits of truth floating around this sermon. But when you mix truth with error, the results are deadly. Yes, God has a purpose. I had even supported that Scripturally earlier. But mix that with, “You’re awesome, you’re great, you have greatness in you” it’s deadly. What’s worse about all of this, is that Steven took an amazing passage that spoke of Jesus as the Messiah Who had come performing miracles, the gospel, and prophetic fulfillments, and emptied it. An opportunity to focus ALL the attention on Jesus  was missed. He attempted to use the text as a magnifying glass in order to bring focus upon the audience. Instead, he only ended up using it as a weapon, burning everyone under it. What’s worse, there were undoubtedly unbelievers in the crowd who walked away with feelings of personal grandeur and without having heard of the greatness of Jesus Christ.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Preach This to Satan – Steven Furtick Visits Potential Church Part 2”

  1. Furtick sounds like he’s been drinking from the same well Tim Tebow visits. Someone might have asked him after he finished his sermon, “Is that it, Steven? Is that the only reason you came all this way to visit us? To bring us what I could have learned from watching Dr. Phil?”

    Like

  2. Thanks for posting about Potential and Furtick. I’ve been trying to discover if they preach the truth and desire all to be saved, not just comforted. I believe the Spirit can use the text of the Bible in more ways than you give it credit. I really enjoyed hearing what Furtick had to say and appreciate you posting it! It sounds like you want the truth revealed but you also want it revealed in the way you understand it. I believe I will love going to Potential and hope you know how much you are worth. God did pay a high price for you. He created you and you are significant to him. He values you more than his life.

    Like

    1. I think you may have misunderstood my point. I am actually warning people about guys like Furtick and Gramling from Potential. The purpose of covering their sermons is to show that they are mishandling the Scriptures. That may be no big deal to some people, but bad theology sends people to hell.

      Like

Comments are closed.