Sarah Jakes-Roberts: OnE Church LA
Jakes-Roberts co-pastors One Church LA, one of the fastest growing churches in Los Angeles, alongside her husband, Touré Roberts. Much like her father, T.D. Jakes, Jakes-Roberts is a poised, articulate speaker who seems to possess a wealth of life wisdom. She appears pensive, and she speaks in paced patterns that suggest she is sincerely delving into the Word of God with great care and divine guidance. Yet, also like her father, she merely employs oratory techniques and leans a lot to her own understanding.
An example of this is from her recent sermon “From Grace to Grit”. During it Jakes-Roberts naively speaks on her desire to do more with the grace God has given her. In fairness to her, it seems her point may have been to discuss one’s need to be a faithful steward in life. Yet, her approach to this discussion proves she is not a faithful steward of God’s word. This is first evidenced by her decision to center her discussion around the concept of “God’s grace”, which leads her to utter and teach damnable errors on the topic. “God, I don’t want to just live in the space of grace,” she says. “I want to live a life that requires more grace.” Yet, Scripture is clear that one living a life that requires “more grace” is one who is abusing God’s grace by living in unrepentant sin. As Paul writes: “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more… What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 5:20, 6:1-2)
With this, Jakes-Roberts unwittingly encourages her congregants to remain in their sins and abuse the grace of God! Also, by noting that she wants to do more with God’s grace, she implies that God’s grace isn’t sufficient, though He says it is (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“When God gives us something freely, like grace, He does it because He expects something in return - and that’s grit,” she says. “Grit. It’s when you put yourself in a position where you need grace again.”
Ah! Somebody get her! It is painful to hear such statements uttered when you know the truth!
There is nothing we can do to earn or repay God for His grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And if she insists on taking actions to position herself to “need grace again” that means she’s not under grace at all (Romans 11:6). Either we are saved by grace through faith, or we attempt to earn salvation through our own efforts (works or “grit”) - which is what Jakes-Roberts naively encourages. But the latter is futile. All we can do is be obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And by the grace of God, He helps us do that, too! “For it is God who works in you to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
It is also clear that Jakes-Roberts is not faithful in studying God’s word because later in the same sermon, she poorly exegetes the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30), which is hard to do because Jesus literally explains it a few verses later (Matthew 13:36-43). After reading Matthew 13:24 through 30, Jakes-Roberts says, “As I was studying, I believe God gave me insight about an exchange taking place here. The text says, ‘You are good seed. You’re still good seed.' And how do I know that you are good seed? Because you are still planted in this earth. As long as you are planted in this earth, you are still good.”
Yet, this parable plainly states that both the wheat and the tares are planted in the earth. In fact, they are being allowed to grow up together, and they will both be harvested. Nevertheless, the wheat, which represents the righteous, will be redeemed for eternal life with Christ. But the tares, which represent the wicked, will be judged and cast into hell.
Indeed, the “good seed” and tare seeds are out here - growing up together and even looking alike to the untrained eye. But notice in the parable that even as the owner’s servants were instructed not to uproot the tares, they could easily identify them by the crop they produced. This is consistent with what Jesus tells us about identifying false prophets/believers among us, “By their fruit, you will know them” (Matthew 7:20).
“But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them” (Matthew 13:26-29).
*This profile also appears as part of the series "'No. Women May NOT be Pastors.' Where is the lie?" which explores the ministries and teachings of female "pastors" and women who function as such.