Brothers, I think it is a fair and honest question to pose: How long will the church of Jesus Christ continue to dishonor Him by embracing the cult of man? Everywhere and at every level we see men involved in countless religious schemes which claim to have the imprimatur of heaven but which when viewed up close have a decidedly fleshly odor.
Are we really being Christlike and walking in love when we support and encourage in any way the notion that the Lord has ordained ‘pastors’ who are to stand before the ‘congregation’s’ each Sunday and ‘preach a sermon’? If these men are not called, sent, and empowered by God what is the point?
If the proportion of conversions were related to the number of ‘ministries’ in this country, everyone would be a disciple of Christ.
Imagine with me for a moment a group of people who had never tasted anything but vending machine food. We have all partook of it at some point so I do not have to go into great detail concerning the insipid nature of it. It is real bad. But you can survive eating it. Now suppose by the largess of someone outside the group a wonderful home cooked meal was provided for some of the individuals. They would be delighted and overwhelmed that food could possibly be so delicious and satisfying even if the deeper issues regarding nutrition were hidden from them. Do you think those people would consent to return to the vending machine menu if it was possible to partake of the other? I think not.
There are men on this planet who have tasted of that power and wonder of the Holy Spirit at work and have no intention of being content with something less. God is interested in setting before His children a feast. Something that possesses a heavenly aroma and flavor. Yet believers in this age for any number of reasons are by and large not interested in celestial fare but prefer something vastly inferior. This is where the ambitious churchmen step in with all the traditions and programs and the willingness to ape the world in an increasingly embarrassing manner. Tripe and scraps are substituted for the bread of life.
As a young believer I was given a ‘spiritual aptitude test’ in the Assemblies of God to help find out what my ‘gifts’ might be. That was 20 years ago. I shudder to imagine what things are like there now. A year or so later I had a very telling dream. I met the ‘pastor’ and his wife in a stair well. He pointed at me and screamed, “He won’t work!” I will never forget that dream. I was not then or am I now willing to be poured out as a drink offering on the alter of fleshly religion.
We are going to be judged for our works. If we are foolish and or lazy enough to hook up our railroad car to the carnal engine of some religious guru we may have a very nasty surprise when it finally pulls into the station. Someone once said very wisely that God is looking to come into us and do through us what only He can do. Most religous ‘leaders’ today seem not to be at all interested in this concept. Religion is killing us.
Faith energized by love has no counterfeit. It can not be feigned, it can not be obtained on our own. If God is not inside us doing, then we are simply spinning our wheels in the muck. It is a twisted irony that some say it is rebellion to speak like this when the truth of the matter is that the rebels are those who have set aside the NT pattern and strike out on their own gathering disciples to themselves. This is epidemic in our time. It is the cult of man.
This arena can be quite lucrative.. Benny Hinn lives in a 8.5 million dollar house in a gated community and owns a 36 million dollar Gulf Stream Jet aircraft. Do the foolish souls who sin with their money by giving to this liar ever pick up their bibles? How soon the judgment day will be upon us!
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among us seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. Therefore let no one boast in men. What was Jesus’ response to the disciples in Ephesus who tested the false apostles and found them liars? Was it a rebuke for ‘touching God’s anointed?’ Or was it praise because they had exercised their God given discernment as He expects each one of us to do? The writer of Hebrews told us in 5:14 that we are to have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Surely this is the crying need of our day; not simply that someone uses the name of Christ, begins a ‘ministry’, and proceeds to engage in much religious work. That isn’t the criteria. God is expecting us to do His work in His way, and in His time. This age, characterized as it is with fads, fluff, and a truly cavalier attitude towards extremely important revelations that God has given us in the Word, will never stand in the day of judgment without great shame and sorrow.
In 2 Chronicles 15 we see clearly that God, the knower of all hearts, is looking and brooding over those who desire to walk in the fullness of the Spirit. Azariah was sent to meet Asa the king with a word of great encouragement. He told him to be strong and not to let his hands be weak, for his work would be rewarded. This visit by the prophet, which was received with humility by the king, was used as an occasion for a great revival. Although Asa had problems and fell into disobedience later on, at this juncture he responded in a way that was pleasing to God. What I think God wants us to see is that if we do His work in His way and in His power we will be rewarded. Whether God uses an Azariah or some obscure brother that no one has ever heard of makes not the slightest difference. We simply need to walk in humility before the Lord, truly seeking from the heart to know what He is involved in and what He is not involved in. Unfortunately, the pride of our heart comes in many times and makes the voice from heaven either too faint to hear, or ascribes it to another source.
Brothers, we need to build each other up in the most holy faith, but let’s be very careful that the edifice we are involved with is the body of Christ and not something that is going to go up in a sudden burst of flame and smoke on that Great Day.