ought, must, should

When presenting a sermon I think that I heard that pastors and preachers should not use the words “ought”, “must” and “should” in their sermon points.  The reasoning behind this is because of the potential effect it may have on the listeners.  The audience or congregation may hear the points beginning with ought, must and should and feel like they are not doing enough for God.  The may feel guilt because they are not following the steps prescribed by the minister and then try to do more.  They will falsely believe that they are still under law because they are not meeting some criteria presented with the oughts, musts and should.  I believe there are some cases when these three words are appropriate to use.

We ought to remember the forgiveness of our sins by God the Father through Jesus Christ.  Jesus endured the nasty opposition of the Pharisees and others in His ministry.  He then stood silent before the Sanhedrin while on trial.  He only spoke to confirm His claims of deity for which He was on trial.  He then willingly submitted to the Romans to be flogged and nailed to a cross.  He hung on that cross as He suffered the wrath of His Father, endured separation from His Father as He turned away because the Father’s holiness cannot bear the presence of sin, and Jesus had borne upon Himself our sin.  He died on that the final death for all of mankind and rose again from the grave, the Passover Lamb whose sacrifice was accepted by our Heavenly Father.

We must study God’s written word, the bible, and endeavor to listen to good Godly teachers of His word.  He has worked through many men to write the books of the bible.  Within the pages we can learn about Him, understand the doctrines that Paul and the other apostles tried to convey to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  In those pages we learn about our sin, we learn about the plan of salvation enacted on our behalf, and how we must learn these doctrines to defend against heresies and false teachers who are instruments of the devil who seeks to destroy the body of Christ, the church.

We should work out our salvation in fear and trembling.  We should be showing ourselves as valuable and loyal workmen who humbly submit to the yoke of our Lord and Savior.  Our Heavenly Father has set aside good works for us to accomplish.  These are what we should be seeking to do, not to earn our salvation because that is a gift from God to those who believe in His Son.  We should be doing these because of our love for our Lord and we should share His love for the lost sheep of the world.  Our desire should be that same as His desire by seeking to fulfill the Great Commission given by Him.  We are not sent to change the world through social justice and by setting up theocracies.  We are here as ambassadors to make disciples of men by sharing and teaching the gospel of Christ.

These, I believe, are the few times when the words ought, must and should be applied to us as servants of the Almighty.  We serve One who sits in Heaven on His throne at the right hand of the Father.  We have the His Spirit living within us so that we are not alone when we set out to do His will.

dreamers of dreams

These false teachers and false prophets are something else.  Their motives are easy to figure out, they want money and they want that money from the suckers who are willing to give it to them.  Where they get their, well, I am not sure one could call doctrine or theology.  Maybe it would be best to call them “fleecing points” or something because they are not teachings from God or the bible, God’s inspired written word, His revelation of Himself to His creation.  So their teachings are more based on wild interpretations of bible verses violently ripped out of context to support some idea they are using to get rich.  Easy to understand.

They love to talk about dreams.  In these dreams God reveals to them some catastrophic event that is going to happen in the immediate future.  We all must be prepared because there are some signs that only have been able to decipher because God gave to them the only key to understanding them.  We are all to listen to them and perhaps send them some money so they can share that secret.  They seem to be able to spend thirty minutes talking about the dream without really giving any details.  They can go around in circles of dialogue talking about how God revealed to them in a dream that woke them up in a cold sweat.  These dreams sound so fantastical and frightening that we must send them some seed money so that we can avoid being caught up in the horrible event that is soon to come.

It sounds like they get the basis of their teaching, I cannot call it theology because its basis is not found in the Almighty, from Willy Wonka.  In the movie, Willy Wonka leads the group into part of his factory and he has this quote, “We are the muscimakers, we are the dreamers of dreams.”  It seems that these false teachers have latched onto the “dreamers of dreams” part, especially the “we” part because they usually take credit for everything except the God part.  They all claim and impress on us that God has chosen them to share this message and they only can help.  We must believe in the messenger to avert certain disaster, not the One who gave the message.

Now, they were other people in the bible who interpreted dreams.  Joseph interpreted revealed his dreams to his brothers who immediately knew the interpretation.  But Joseph also interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s servants and eventually the dreams of Pharaoh which saved the nation of Egypt from famine.  Daniel not only interpreted the dream of Nebuchadnezzar but was revealed the actual details of the dream.  Daniel also had dreams of the future events of Israel and the coming of God’s final judgment.  Daniel and Joseph did not take credit for what happened, they gave the glory to God and diverted the attention from them towards God, understanding that He is the Giver of all things and they would not know anything if it was not revealed to them by God.

What a contrast Daniel and Joseph are compared to today’s false prophets and false teachers.  We should remember these two humble men of God when we hear people exclaiming about dreams of direct revelation from God.