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Jesus Warns Religious Leaders They Are Not Heaven Bound

Mark Virkler's picture

What a scary concept, that religious leaders are not going to make it to heaven! Here is what Jesus said: "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20). 

Two things come to mind: 1) I don't want to be a Pharisee; 2) I don't want to be shepherded by a Pharisee.

Paul presents the contrast between when he was a Pharisee to when he was a true follower of Christ

The false circumcision: (dogs, evil workers. put confidence in the flesh Phil. 3:1-11).

  1. Did all the right religious ceremonies – circumcised
  2. Had the right heritage – trained by the best religious leaders
  3. Righteous behavior – kept the laws of God perfectly
  4. Zeal for God – A persecutor of those he thought were heretics

The true circumcision: (worship in the Spirit of God, glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh)

  1. Suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ
  2. Know Christ intimately - found in Christ
  3. Righteous through faith in Christ's work on my behalf
  4. Experience Christ’s power flowing out through me

I have made the same transition Paul made in my own life, from a pharisee to a true believer in Jesus Christ, and I pray that if you need to make this transition, this blog will illumine your path.

Jesus speaks about corrupt religious leaders (their character, actions, and ultimate judgment)

  1. They don’t practice what they preach (Matt. 23:3)
  2. They make the path to God hard. "You shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." (Matt. 23:4,13)
  3. You make your followers twice as much a son of hell as yourselves (Matt. 23:15)
  4. They love titles, being noticed and honored, and they are NOT servant leaders (Matt. 23:5-12)
  5. Their hearts are full of robbery and self-indulgence (Matt. 23:25)
  6. They have a twisted focus on legalism rather than seeing truth (Matt. 23:16-24)
  7. For a pretense they make long prayers; they will receive greater condemnation (Matt. 23:14)
  8. They kill the prophets, they are of their father the devil (Matt. 23:29-38; Jn. 8:44)
  9. They reject sinners (Lk. 7:36-50)
  10. They attribute the miracles of the Holy Spirit to satan (Lk.11:14-23)

More discussion by Jesus about false religious leaders is found in Luke 11 and 18 and John 8.

Choosing to be free from phariseeism

Wow! OK, so they are not saved and not going to heaven. That means I do NOT want to have the traits of phariseeism, nor do I want to be mentored, pastored or shepherded by a pharisee, as it will lead me on the path of eternal destruction. I need to find fellowship with true believers who are pursuing the path of the Spirit and the righteousness which comes by faith in the finished work of Christ.

What is the path to freedom from phariseeism?

Graciously, God saw that Paul’s heart was fervent for Him, so God dramatically intercepted Paul’s life on the Damascus road with a blinding vision and a direct spoken word from heaven: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9)

This got Paul’s attention, so he got alone with God, spending time in the wilderness (Gal. 1:15-18), allowing the Holy Spirit to teach him and reveal truth to him. He came back from the wilderness having put away his bad theology, which was created by the traditions of man and which invalidated the Word of God. This is something Jesus specifically addressed.

'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. He was also saying to them, 'You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition'" (Mk. 7:7-9).

If you're reading this in an email, click here to watch the video on our website.

My personal story of freedom from phariseeism

Since I was taught by my religious leaders that God no longer speaks today, I did what I believed to be the next best thing. I lived out of the Bible. However, the Bible says to live and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). From Genesis to Revelation we see that people heard God's voice and honored it. Jesus' guarantee is: "My sheep hear My voice" (Jn. 10:27).

My passionate search for the voice of God was rewarded in 1979 as I took a year to simply focus on learning how to identify God’s voice within me. As with Paul, God honored my passionate heart, and woke me up with a booming bass voice, saying, "Get up, I am going to teach you to hear My voice.”

I went to my pastoral study and God showed me Habakkuk 2:1,2 and the four keys the prophet used to hear God’s voice. He taught me to do as Habakkuk did: quiet myself down, fix my eyes on the Lord, recognize His voice as spontaneous flowing thoughts and then journal out this flow within me.

On this day I was transformed. Now I could actually live and walk by the Spirit because I could hear God's voice and see His visions. I stepped from living out of religious laws into a relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I write about it in 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. I estimate that by now well over a million believers have learned how to use these four keys and enter into communion with God through two-way journaling and returned to God's original intent, walking and talking with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.

The TRUE CHURCH offers the ONLY answer to the pain the world is in today

At this point, most people feel they are not getting the truth from the newscasters, the government, the CDC, the health care profession, or the educational system. I agree. These are all failing, and it is probably because the Church has itself failed to provide Truth and power. The church in which I was saved told me that God was not speaking and there were no more miracles today. They lied. They did not offer me Truth or power. The Church and the world need Truth and power. These are both available through the Holy Spirit.

  • Truth: When He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth (Jn. 16:13)
  • Power: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (Acts 1:8)

Action Steps

  1. Learn to hear God’s voice and move in the power of the Spirit.
  2. Do not follow a religious leader who has the characteristics which Jesus describes as being present in dangerous religious leaders who are not going to heaven.
  3. Register for our free worldwide video event, 49 LIES – 49 Religious Lies Jesus Told Me to Stop Believing beginning April 8, 2022.
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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages | Retail: $16.99

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

Price: $12.95

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

40% off the suggested retail price!

For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

Price: $15.00

Dialogue with God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 296 Pages

This top seller for 30 years from Bridge Logos provides a narrative, right-brain presentation of the principles of how to hear God's voice. Especially enjoyable for personal use, it makes a great gift for introducing a loved one to the voice of God. This book teaches the four keys to hearing God's voice in readable style, and also devotes two entire chapters to moving samples of people's journaling (i.e. their two-way dialogue with God).

Price: $16.99
Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books | 10 CDs | 10 DVDs | Save $35+

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

Price: $175.00

How to Hear God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 317 Pages

We recommend that you order the newest revision of this book titled 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. It includes 95% of the content of How to Hear God's Voice but is reorganized so it fits perfectly with the 10 DVDs on this subject by Mark Virkler. In addition, it gets you started using the four keys earlier in the book and gives you more journaling samples and exercises. Since we have removed the large margins, it is a smaller and less expensive book.

Price: $19.95

Prayers That Heal the Heart - Revised & Expanded 20th Anniversary Edition

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 320 Pages

Act Now to save 25% off any of these:

You can even take 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module! Sale ends February 22nd.

Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

Did you know that you don’t need to be continually plagued by negative thoughts, feelings, pictures or memories?

It is not part of the "human condition" to feel the constant nagging of doubt, insecurity, or anger. No matter what sin you are trying to overcome, what lie you think you’ll always believe, or what traumas your heart has suffered in the past, you will receive total freedom and restoration by praying these prayers in faith. 

Price: $19.99

Twelve Weeks to Spiritual Mastery - Group Coaching

A group coaching experience with Mark Virkler

Because I could not find a Spirit-anointed teacher/coach, I spent ten extremely frustrating years seeking to hear God’s voice!!! Suggestions offered did not help me, things like: “You just know that you know. It is a still small voice. He speaks from your heart.” No one could give me the answer I needed which was: Hearing God’s voice is as simple as quieting yourself down, fixing your eyes on Jesus, recognizing His voice as spontaneous, flowing thoughts and writing down His flow as it is coming. Test what you have written after the flow is done, NOT while it is occurring.

Price: $1,200.00

Counseled by God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

Have you ever been defeated by negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, inferiority, condemnation or depression? Have you tried to fight them off unsuccessfully? Is there an answer that is deeper than simply trying to mentally reason yourself out of these emotions? Is there a way that Jesus can speak a word of life into the depths of your emotional despair and bring healing on a deep level? Is there a form of Christian counseling that begins and ends with the movement of Christ within your heart, rather than simply with the words of man?

Price: $9.95
Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook Cover

Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 92 Pages

A newer book has been released that accompanies this workbook: Click here for Hearing God Through Your Dreams by Charity Kayembe and Mark Virkler (featured on Sid Roth's "It's Supernatural", with almost a million views just on YouTube).

Do you often wake up feeling there was a significant message in your dream, but you’re just not sure what it is? Like Daniel and Joseph, do you long to be able to help others understand their own dreams and win them to Christ as you explain His night messages to them? Wouldn't it be nice if you could receive mid-course corrections from the Lord while you sleep? Do you wish you could be receiving divine inspiration, creative solutions to problems, and direction from the Lord during that third of your life that you’re “just” sleeping?

Price: $11.95

Hearing God Through Your Dreams

by Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe | 292 Pages

Learn How to Hear God’s Voice, Even When You Are Sleeping

It is always fun to be on the winning team. Well look what God has done with Charity's new dreams teaching. It has taken off like a rocket with a live TV interview on Cornerstone Network and her Sid Roth interview which has almost a million views on YouTube!

Price: $16.99