I recently watched a pastor from a San Antonio on TV giving his sermon. His message to the congregation was that they were all blessed.
His back-up scripture was from Deuteronomy 28. I am a fan of the blessings and curses teachings of Deuteronomy 28, and I have used these passages quite a few times to break curses in ministry. In this case, the pastor was talking only about the section on the blessings.
This pastor has a dramatic delivery of sermons which makes him very credible and stirs emotion in the listener. I have heard him several times, and mostly I agree with him. Not this time.
Now, some would think that I am judgmental or critical. I hope some would instead think that I have discernment, or perhaps a good knowledge of the scriptures.
I was once in a big Baptist church, and at the beginning of the service, a minister came to the podium to read scripture, announcing he was about to read from Acts chapter two. I was surprised he chose Acts 2 because this chapter tells about Pentecost and speaking in tongues, which the Baptist church does not practice. I was indeed surprised again when he smoothly omitted certain verses without missing a beat. It was so flawless that I realized he had his reading typed up and inserted into his Bible to appear that he was reading directly out of the scripture. You can guess what he omitted.
At that time I was a naïve churchgoer and could not believe that out of the fear of God, this kind of deception could happen in church. I know better now.
So, what was wrong with the aforementioned “blessings” sermon? As I said, the pastor was telling the congregation that they were blessed in all kinds of ways as described in the scripture, just because they were Christians, or just because they were sitting there. However, this is not necessarily the case. He omitted reading the beginning verses of this passage. These omitted verses make the receiving of God’s blessings conditional. In other words, there are conditions to receiving blessings–if you do not meet the conditions, you don’t receive the blessings.
I disagree with conventional church thinking that the death of Jesus removed the conditions of the original covenant from Christians. I do not find anything in the Bible that says that.
Here is the “blessings for obedience” scripture in Deuteronomy 28:2:
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God…
But wait, there’s more!! A corresponding scripture heads up the receiving of curses in Deuteronomy 28:15:
However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you…
In ministry, before I break these curses that a Christian person has (and cast out the demons that came with the curses), I read the person this scripture. I tell them if they disregard the scripture, the demons will come back.
Luke 16:17 (NIV) 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
Matthew 5:18 (NKJV) 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.