The second test does not come from the Sermon on the Mount itself—although Jesus Christ also referred to it elsewhere—but from the writings of Jeremiah. False prophets do not have disturbing doctrine in their messages, even though the true state of man demands it. Instead, their message is one of false peace. Jeremiah says, “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Apparently Jeremiah thought that this truth was important enough to repeat more than once, for the identical verse occurs both in 6:14 and 8:11. He would undoubtedly say of all false prophets, as Arthur W. Pink does in his commentary, “There is nothing in their preaching which searches the conscience and renders the empty professor uneasy, nothing which humbles and causes their hearts to mourn before God; but rather that which puffs up, makes them pleased with themselves and to rest content in a false assurance.”1
It is obvious that Jeremiah knew this situation in his own day. For he had a message of judgment upon the city of Jerusalem because of the sin of the people, and every time he preached it there were always some false prophets to say that his words were untrue. They said that God loved His people so much that He would not let evil come upon them (Jer. 23:16-22). But Jeremiah was right, and God allowed the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the city.
This can be applied to America. We have preachers and teachers in our day who are saying that all is well with America. Theirs is a message of peace. But there is no peace. There is a kind of false patriotism in our day that is wrapped up with the Gospel that says, “America is a Christian country. God will not let anything happen to America.” That is absolutely untrue. America is a pagan country today, and it is certainly every bit as materialistic as Soviet Russia. We must not preach false doctrine. Sin has its consequences. Evil will be judged. Judgment will come. And it will come to America as much as to any other country. Moreover, it will come to you and me personally, except as our sin is covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. True teaching involves the reality of man’s depravity, sin, God’s wrath and coming judgment, the need for repentance, and the answer to man’s sin in Christ’s vicarious atonement. And any teaching that omits these elements is erroneous.
1Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969), 339.