Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall follow you.'"
How tragic for eternity would it be to finally discover that you have been trusting, listening and believing what a false pastor has been preaching and teaching to you? You see, from the outset God says there are true pastors (prophets) and false ones. There have always been those who claim to speak for God and then speak not what He gave them to speak. This is what Jeremiah is talking to us about.
Certainly pastors want to be liked by their laymen and want success in their congregational statistics, but ultimately this is not the determining factor in whether or not they are true pastors. If they speak what God tells them and are not afraid to correct, rebuke those who will not hear it, then they are God's prophet (pastor), the one He speaks through.
It is not easy to listen continually to God's word of Law which condemns us and prepares us to repent and seek forgiveness of our sins through the Gospel. However, many today will not have this truth spoken to them, as in Jeremiah's time, so demand and associate themselves with false pastors who will tell them what they want to hear and refrain from telling them what God wants to speak to them. (see 2 Timothy 4:1-5) The temptation is great to tell people everything is okay between them and God when it is not. The temptation is to ease up on the practice of God's Word in the congregation when it offends longtime members and newcomers alike. But the true pastor continues to speak all of God's Word, Law and Gospel, and applies it properly in distinguishing what each person needs, given their response to God's Word.
The current church scene reminds me of the proverbial "frog in the boiling water" story. Many who should be jumping out and finding a new church where a true pastor will tell them all of God's Word remain in churches where false prophets continue to tell them all is well with God and them when it is not. The heat is rising for both false pastor and member who won't challenge and correct the false pastor or who likes what he says and doesn't say. So they remain, content and happy, with the rising heat of God's anger escalating.
The following from Wikipedia speaks of this well known saying and the various opinions as to its accuracy. Whether or not it is true, the image still remains valid for those who will follow a false pastor of all of God's Word and those who will not challenge and finally jump out of these false churches. For Christ's sake and for the salvation of those who always remain faithful to the truth.
"The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. According to contemporary biologists the premise of the story is not literally true; an actual frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out. However, a variety of 19th century research experiments suggested that the underlying premise is true, provided the heating is gradual enough.