Having 3 kids of my own, and working and coaching kids for more than 20 years, there’s one scene that seems to play itself out with great frequency:
“My Mommy Said!”
It usually involves a kid trying to get their way. As most of you have probably experienced, in many cases, it’s also a lie.
“One piece of cake, girls.”
“My Mommy said I could have as much as I wanted!”
Or, it’s also used to impress people or state something they wish were true:
“Oh look, what a beautiful horse!”
“My Mommy said she is going to buy me 10 horses!”
While the goal may be to get their way, to impress people, or to talk about things they wish were true (in spite of reality), In the end, it’s a lie. Logically, it’s an appeal to authority. However, the word of the kid is only as valid as what “Mommy” has actually said. When kids do this, it might be a bit bratty, and it’s technically a lie, but we’re pretty patient with our kids as we teach them.
For adults, it’s a bit more serious:
“The boss said you need to….” Hmm. That’s a bit more serious. Why? Because the stakes are raised as the authority being appealed to is greater. Mommy said you could have a second piece of cake? Sorry, you only get one piece. Mommy will understand. The boss said I need to work this weekend? Well, I’ll work this weekend or risk being fired, I guess.
The risk increases, so I’m likely going to verify or accept it as true rather than get fired. The downside is if the boss catches you using his authority and making things up, you’re liable to the extent of his power. People don’t misquote the boss often because it’s so easy to verify what he actually said. How about an even more serious example..
The King’s messenger: Messengers have been used for centuries to relay the pronouncements (or commands) of a sovereign to his subjects. What sane messenger would ever consider changing the message, inserting his own, or outright lying about what the King had said? The penalty would surely be death. The message is serious because the authority of the one who sent it is serious, and the power of the one who is being misquoted is great.
Yet, there is one greater than any King. He has made a pronouncement and commanded his messengers to take that news to all His subjects. Who would dare change or corrupt that message? Who would ignore the clear qualifications of a messenger and appoint themselves to deliver a message of their own? What impudence! What infidelity!
The King? The Lord:
For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;
the LORD is our king; he will save us.
(Isaiah 33:22 ESV)
The pronouncement? The Gospel:
[5:1] Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.  And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.  For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.  For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,  so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 5 ESV)
Instructions to the Messengers?
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
Priority of the Message? First
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV)
What about Messengers bringing other messages?
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-10 ESV)
So when your pastor speaks on behalf of God, “God says!” or “God wants you to know..” he’d better do so with an open bible, quoting chapter and verse. To do anything less, to say “God wants” without scriptural support, to put words in God’s mouth is the very definition of taking the Lord’s name in vain. (And you always thought it was about cussing?) What impudent, unfaithful messenger would hijack the King’s message and replace it with his own! And you? Why would you allow someone to give you commands “from the King” without verifying what He has recorded in His word?
And your Pastor, why would the change the message?
1. They aren’t messengers of the King. If you don’t believe there are very gifted speakers/entertainers/stand up comedians who can borrow the language of the christian faith, hijack the message, and draw a large crowd you’re naive. In the end, you’ve been entertained, he’s been well paid, and the gospel has been abandoned. Your church is huge? Your pastor writes books and teaches seminars? The band rocks? If you are hearing something other than the gospel, it’s not a church and your messenger is accursed according to God the Holy Spirit as recorded by the Apostle Paul. That’s pretty serious.
2. He’s like the kid who says “My Mommy Said!” when she said no such thing. Maybe it’s an appeal to what the crowds want to hear. I can guarantee that if you’re getting 1 or 2 verses, not read in their context, it’s so he can hijack the narrative and make it say whatever he wants. I can assure you that Paul never wrote about how to pray audaciously. Jesus never stood at the door of your heart knocking to come in, and God has not commanded you to speak things into existence. Don’t believe me? Take the verse your pastor just preached, write it down, and go back and read the CHAPTER. Does it have anything to do with what you were told God said? Be honest, there’s a great deal at stake here!
(See the difference? The quote on the left? God didn’t say that. Ever. It’s not in scripture. In fact, what God has actually revealed about how to pray stands in polar opposite. Audacious? Intimidating? Give us our bread, forgive us our sins, lead us not into temptation. Not so audacious is it? But we buy into it because it appeals to our pride. The hardest thing in the world for us as humans is to simply repent and receive.)
An example of this that I’ll never forget is my young nephew, walking into the dining room and announcing “My Mom said I could go!” What he didn’t know is that his mother was around the corner in the kitchen. His mother responded, “I said WHAT?!?” My nephew burst into tears. He knew he had lied, he knew his mother had heard him, and he knew he would be held accountable.
Someday these messengers will stand before the King, accountable to one whose authority they have misused. It’s bad enough that they have not taught the full council of God’s word and have intermixed pop-psychology, moralism, and politics.. but to actually attribute words, and commands “God wants you to…” to God which are not in His word? They should tremble at the thought.
So, the next time you hear “God said”, make sure it’s legit. Here’s a good start: If you hear the phrases “I believe” at the beginning of your pastor’s sentence, pay attention. “I believe God wants…” be very, very vigilant here. Open your bible, see if scripture says this IN CONTEXT. Read the CHAPTER! And if it’s “God wants you to _____ so he can begin to _____.” Run. Your “messenger” has hijacked the mission.
Would love to hear your feedback!