Sunday, 29 March 2015
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Israel Abandoned - Pastor Mike Taylor - http://www.churchofgod-usa. org/1/post/2015/03/israel- abandoned.htmlEzekiel 39:4 "Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.39:5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel."Never have I heard a speech so well delivered, in Reaganite fashion, as the speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Oh, to have a statesman like that running America again, that speaks clearly of the dangers that surround this country on every side from without and especially from within. But the PM spoke of the dangers that lurk on every side of the nation of Israel. He spoke of those who only wish to see the destruction of his tiny Jewish state and are in the process of achieving the means to carry out the total annihilation of Israel's people. He spoke with passion the dangers that their neighbor the east of their country, meaning Iran and how the proposed deal on containing their nuclear ambitions was nothing, but a "bad deal". It will "pave the way to a nuclear bomb" PM Netanyahu stressed."Bibi", as is his nickname received standing ovation after standing ovation by the house majority, but was mocked by the Democratic minority including our own POTUS who didn't even bother to attend, or meet with the only ally we have in the Middle East that is truly democratic and a free nation.Much prayer, I'm sure went up to the throne room of God for the election of the only sane choice, of a man who is determined to provide security and safety for the Israeli people who at one time, was supported and protected by the only friend that Israel had in the free world, the USA. But no more, as the current occupant in the oval office has all but abandoned God's people, the nation of Israel. Only now, this administration is cozying up to the leader of terrorism in the region and exporter of same to the rest of the world, the Iranian leader Rouhani, its president and the supreme leader Ayatola Ali Khamenei by calling them our "best partner for peace in the Middle East"...say what? Have you gone looney tunes? Are you crazy? Thus was spoken by the administration's security advisor, Susan Rice and obviously believed by her boss, the POTUS.HOW ARE WE TO RESPOND?I hear ministers say that we should obey the powers that be and quote Romans 13 to prove their point.13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:"Or maybe they will quote this one:Titus 3,3:1 "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.Surely they don't mean to stand idly by and submit to a godless administration that shakes their fist at God....surely not! We are to stand for righteousness in this world. "Know one thing and I'm sure many of you may feel the same way, I do not like the present POTUS. I don't hate him, but I hate his policies and the way he is trying to impose his beliefs on the rest of the citizens of the USA. Note that I do not use his name, as I can hardly stomach his name, his face, or his voice anymore. To me, the man is anti-god, anti-Christ, and against everything the bible clearly stands for. He says he's a Christian. Yes, and Mohammed was a closet Jew, too, plus the Pope is Methodist. All I see is pandering to what the man respects, Islam. He gives away his religious loyalty by his actions.I am reminded of the Pharisees and how our Lord and Savior railed against them for their being hypocrites. Or how Elijah withstood King Ahab and Jezebel to the point where they sought his life. He did not submit to the policies and dictates of unrighteous rulers of his day, neither did our Lord Jesus Christ. They opposed them and brought it up before their face. Like my Lord and the prophets, I oppose those who pervert the clear commandments of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel). We have clear commands and scriptural proof that all oppose Israel, oppose Almighty God Himself. Zechariah:2:8 "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye."But let's be clear, God has raised up nations in the past, to discipline Israel for their following after other gods, as I am reminded of the Assyrians, and the Babylonians. They were raised up for judgment against Israel going "whoring" after other gods, but what did God do to the nation that carried it a little too far and instead, abused them beyond what was intended? Isaiah wrote of God using Assyria as a instrument of His judgment, but by taking it too far, God destroyed Assyria:10:5 "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.10:6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets."But in the passage, God comes against His own instrument of judgment:Isaiah 10:12 "Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks."As you read the chapter God speaks through Isaiah, that God takes notice how you treat His people Israel. As God blessed the King of Babylon, Cyrus the Great who was merciful to the people of Israel who allowed them to return to their homeland to rebuild, because Cyrus believed God and what was prophesied concerning Israel. Point being, you had better be careful how you treat God's chosen people or judgment will come upon you as well.SO WHAT'S THE POINT?I'm glad you asked. The point is God may have raised up our own "leader" that this nation elected twice to enact judgment on the unrighteous behavior that we have promoted in the last 70 years, especially the last 40 years. But know this, God is watching and His judgment will come against those who live against His laws, and reject His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We deserve judgment, as a nation, for the sins against God that goes directly against His laws that govern what God expects from the human beings He created. We have been deserving of judgment for nigh 40 years and that of itself is enough that God will bring pain and suffering to this nation shortly. But if we go against God's chosen people (you Replacement Theory folks take note) we may be applying the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, by not standing with Israel and then actually working against her by deceit and political intrigue. We are provoking God's wrath upon this country by doing such folly.Why is this so? Because we are NOT God's chosen people. We have been blessed because we honored God by doing what is right based on the clear principles that governed the forming of this nation, namely the Bible and God's Ten commandments. But as a country, we have abandoned what the founding fathers envisioned when they formed this nation. Make no mistake, God will and has protected His chosen for being the Bride of Jesus Christ, the Church, and will continue to do so, as long as we follow Him. Tribulation is coming and we see the first pangs of its symptoms of being formed into our country, right now. I am not saying we are in the Tribulation, but we will have tribulation this side of glory all the days of our lives. We are bringing pain and suffering upon ourselves for what we have done. But fear not, my brother, Jesus has overcome the world. John:16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."Does not anyone think that the policies of our POTUS has brought on tribulation and suffering to this land we call home? Can we stomach his lawlessness, his blatant refusal to follow the Constitution, or reigning as a dictator by using a "phone and a pen"? If not, where have you been the last 6 years? Mark my word, it's going to get a lot worse. Why is that, you say? Let me explain something to you, my friend.I WILL CURSE THOSE WHO CURSE YOURemember those words? Genesis,12:3 "And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."It's been used many times against the opponents of God's people in Israel. As mentioned, we were the friend, maybe the only real friend in the free Western world that supported and protected Israel in our modern past, but what has happened in the last few years under this present administration? Let me make a short list, but the list is much larger and growing daily:1. We continue to attempt to divide God's land and God's capital, the city of Jerusalem. Remember this is God's land and God's City that He has chosen above all nations, lands, or cities and that is the land of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. He has only "loaned" the people of Israel the right by covenant to dwell within this land, as long as they kept His covenant with Him as was given to their father, Abraham.2. This present administration has gone beyond what has been attempted in past administration, in an attempt to coerce and force a "two state solution" between the terrorist groups known as the PLO, and Hamas. They recently attempted a political "coup" by meddling in Israeli elections to remove the duly elected PM of Israel, but "thank God" it failed. They wished a political strawman found in Isaac Herzog that would bend to their will and give them their legacy of a two state solution that would only mean a death sentence for the people of the country by making their borders indefensible.3. They have threatened to withdraw support in the UN Security Council and allow resolutions condemning Israel to pass by a body that, in the majority, is Anti-Israel. In fact, they may even vote with and further what is clearly seen as a political condemnation of Israel. This is political strong arm tactics of a so called "community organizer".4. They have threatened to shoot down any Israeli plane that passes over Iraq on their way to neutralize the nuclear threat of Iran's facilities and destroy their infrastructure to produce nuclear fuel for an atomic weapon. This threat is from an "ally"?5. They have with-held weapons and support for even the last campaign against Hamas during the "Protective Edge" war that destroyed Hamas tunnels and rocket producing factories, and put in jeopardy the ability of Israel to defend itself by using it's Iron Dome missile shield along the Gaza border by with-holding support to that effort.6. Animosity is evident between the two leaders of Israel and the USA, and the left is quick to blame the PM of Israel, but the POTUS is clearly the instigator of this animosity. Why? Because he has a Iranian security advisor, Valerie Jarrett, that is probably directing the actions of her narcissistic puppet president. Plus our illustrious POTUS is surrounded by Muslim advisors and czars, and other Islamist goons appointed to high offices of the administration and of government.7. The U.S. government is talking of imposed sanctions on Israel or to allow its greatest ally in the Middle East to be tried in the International Criminal Court for "war crimes" used to just protect itself.8. The POTUS and the present administration has in effect told Israel, "you are on your own."WHAT DO I MAKE OF ALL THIS?I envision God Almighty with a brightly lit console by His throne that has a large button in red, that says "SMITE". That's just my imagery, but how long before God does actually smite those who "mess with the apple of His eye"? Is the "leader" of the free world (and I use that term, tongue in cheek) provoking God to act against him with some type of judgment? And how about the country this "goofball" governs? Will they be also at risk for being hit by the "SMITE" button?WAR BREWS IN THE MIDDLE EASTThe Israeli elections are over. Netanyahu won, much I'm sure, to the chagrin of the White house. No popping champagne corks on that night this last week. The PM has warned and gave a rousing speech in the chambers of the USA Congress warning of this proposed nuclear deal with Iran , even as the POTUS condemned his coming at the invitation of the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, saying it broke diplomatic protocol...Hogwash!!...Didn't have the same problem when the Pope was invited without White House approval. So why the difference? I think we know the answer to that one, or should.Here is what we can expect from Israel in the near future. Israel will NOT allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. They have stated that repeatedly. They know that they may have to defend themselves alone without help from their "closest" ally who has become a traitorous benefactor, Hmm, is there a big Gorilla in the room? Namely he was speaking of the USA and the present POTUS. Netanyahu promised that "if Israel has to stand alone, she will stand" and I believe a veiled call for future conflict in the region, as Israel will attempt to neutralize the nuclear ambitions of its most dangerous enemy, Iran with or without America's approval. When she does, maybe even this year, you will see war develop between the surrounding countries and Israel as Iran will use its proxies of Hezbollah and Hamas and possibly start the Psalm 83 war. On its heels (and how long it will take I don't know the answer to) but a coalition of overwhelming force will attack the nation of Israel. It's called the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 or Gog-Magog, and it's a devastating war. Not for Israel, but those who dare come against God's people and His land. What makes me concerned is that our country, the USA "could" be involved in that coming devastating war. Note the verses that I opening this commentary with? Note verse 6:39:6 "And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD."Many believe and myself included that Magog is Russia led by Gog (Putin?) that God will slay on the mountains of Israel and will "send fire against Magog and them who carelessly dwell in the aisles"...Now some translations interpret "isles" and render it as the coastlands of far away countries. Many believe that this is a direct reference to the Western world coastlands, or the USA. Fire will follow Magog, a term in Hebrew for judgment onto the armies that fall on the mountains of Israel and follow them back to their own country. Now if the USA is somehow involved in this coming war by omission or commission, then judgment will follow those who dwell carelessly in their coastlands back to their own shores....meaning judgment and fire will come upon the USA as well. How would this come about?"Many bible scholars think of Magog as Russia and "fire" means a literal fire, possibly a nuclear exchange. The provocative interpretation is for "coastlines" [isles] to be the United States."Personally, I don't think God needs Russia or the USA to bring fire or judgment upon either nation. He is quite capable of bringing fire to all countries that dare set foot on His land to come against Israel. They will die on the mountains by His own Hand and they will know that "God is the Lord" when he brings judgment upon the invading armies own native soil and their populations. What could God use? Environmental disasters for one, or plagues and epidemics, for another. The choices are as broad as God wants them, but it will be Divine in nature and men will know it came from God alone, as scripture prophesies they WILL KNOW the He is the LORD God that has done this to them.WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN TO DO?In the meantime, the individual citizens of the USA who are Christian or supporters of Israel can do little against their government that is determined to impose their will on a sovereign nation of the Middle East, Israel. You can complain and write your senator, your congressman, or call the White House "ad nauseum" and it will do no good. Our elected representatives have spines of a jellyfish and only talk, until they be blue in the face and winded , but nothing gets done by either Republican or Democrat. Plus our White House is inhabited by the devil's imps. We are responsible as individuals for our own actions.The elite in Washington D.C. are out for themselves, and they are not listening to any of us. We must stand with righteousness and by extension the nation of Israel by our speech, our thoughts, and our actions. God knows each of our hearts and we must pray Psalm 91 for protection from Almighty God is these last days we are here on earth.91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.91:8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."Yes, my friend, I'm afraid it's going to get really nasty. I remember what a big tornado did to my neighboring Joplin, Missouri....think of that on steroids to any large metropolitan area, especially on the east and west coast, or any coast line where a majority of the American population lives...how about a devastating hurricane, or some other natural disaster? Remember also, that our southern border is porous like swiss cheese and who knows what evil person will be used as a judgment tool to bring destruction on a city near you by whatever bomb they can create being set off. And that's just the start of all the terror that will rain down on a rebellious mankind leading up to the REAL Great Tribulation that follows the coming time that is close at hand. These coming wars are bad, very bad, but it's just a warm-up when God gets really, really made and His wrath is poured out on all humans that are still "living as earth dwellers"...you don't see the name "Church" anymore when the Tribulation starts in earnest. That's a clue, folks. Take it to heart.THE HOUR IS AT HAND AND IT'S VERY LATEIf you've been reading any of my warning messages about the coming judgment of God with the closing hours which signal the nearness of the trumpet call of God, then you know that the signs that are building this year are converging upon each other and will virtually collide with one another. Like no other time in human history have these celestial signs been so evident and the God given appointed times have become louder and louder. God is nearly beating us over the head trying to get our attention and may be saying "Wake up, my people. I am sending my Son to remove His bride from this planet before I take my vengeance and pour out my wrath on this unbelieving and rebellious world." (I don't speak for God, but He might be thinking just these same thoughts).What are those signs that I have discussed in the past? Let me refresh your memory and they are all available for review on my website:1. Blood moons, with the last two this year falling on God's Feast Days of Passover and Tabernacles.2. A solar eclipse that happened on March 20, a sign of judgment to the Gentiles. Note that only the northern countries of Europe could see the full eclipse.3. The year of the Shemitah that ends this fall followed by a possible collapse of the economy based on previous observances, also on my website.4. The coming Feast of Trumpets, called "No man knoweth the day or the hour" by Jesus in Matthew 24. Also known as the sign of the coming King.5. End of the Shemitah and the beginning of the year of Jubilee...so what does that mean?To understand the Year of Jubilee... one must first be familiar with the Sabbatical Year, which is observed every seventh year (Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:20; Deuteronomy 15:9; Nehemiah. 10:31). The Sabbatical Year... is also known as the "Year of Release," because farming as well as debt payments were released (discontinued) for the year(Deuteronomy 15:1-2; 31:10). This was initiated at the closing of the Feast of Atonement. Year of Jubilee'... timing was to years (50) what the timing of Feast of Weeks (Shavuot / Pentecost) is to days (50)...the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot / Pentecost) occurs on the 50th day; i.e. the day after seven weeks, plus 1 day after Passover. The Year of Jubilee occurs every 50th year; the year after seven Sabbatical years (49 years) according to Leviticus 25:8-11. The Year of Jubilee begins at the end of 7 Sabbatical years of 7 years, and at the end of the Feast of Atonement / Yom Kippur per Leviticus 25:9. Jewish historian, Josephus believed that the word denoted "liberty!" (Antiquities of the Jews 3.12.3)So then what is a Jubilee Year...? By adding together seven cycles of seven years, we count a total of 49 years. Therefore, the year of Jubilee is the 50th year as noted by the following verses..."You are also to count off seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven Sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family," Leviticus. 25:8-10.Could it mean those who have been a slave of sin will be released? We are slaves to sin, as we are born into sin, but Jesus took our sin upon Himself at the Cross of Calvary. Will Jesus come at the beginning of the Year of Jubilee? Only if I knew it were so, but I don't. I just report what it could mean and what it does mean. But the point being, they are appointed times, or Moedim, or "divine appointments, sacred seasons, or Feast Days". These are all converging this year.SOUND OF A TRUMPETWith all the signs and wonders that are being proclaimed and fulfilled this year, isn't it the wise person who makes appropriate preparations for the prophesied coming of the Lord Jesus on the clouds of glory for His people? The evidence is overwhelming. Could it be this year? Again, we don't know, but with all the signs that are converging right now, Jesus could get the call from our heavenly Father and say "It is time. Go get my children and your bride". We would hear a trumpet call. 1st Corinthians:15:51 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"When is the last trumpet in Feast days blown in times appointed for God's plan for mankind? The First Trump or the left horn is blown at Pentecost, which was the start of the Church and its birth. The Right Trump or the "Last Trumpet" is blown at the Feast of Trumpets or the possible end of the church and its redemption. Surrounding this coming Feast of Trumpets are all these signs and we KNOW we are in the seasons. Could it be this one? Oh, let it be, dear Lord God, but we wait and we watch. Then and only then will God begin the opening of the land deed of redemption of the earth and the beginning of His righteous wrath, one seal at a time. Then my friend, you will see all that I have covered begin to happen as war after war develops. The Gog-Magog war bringing worldwide calamity as God pours out His wrath on those who invade His land of Israel and to harm the people "of the Book"...your Bible, the nation of Hebrew people called Israelites. But you will have no warning, no time to prepare, and you won't get a second chance to be with Jesus in the coming 7 years of the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation except by death in being a martyr for belief in the Messiah you just missed. Is it not time, the appointed time for you to believe in the One the God has sent? When asked what shall we do to attain the works of God, Jesus answered him the Truth: John Chapter 6,6:28 "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."John 3:16-17,"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.God sent not His Son to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved"That is the work of God. He sent His Son to give us victory over sin, death and the grave. All it takes is child like faith to be delivered from what is coming...what is coming? WRATH. The wrath of Almighty God poured out on unrepentant mankind, but to those who make that decision of Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior will not endure His righteous wrath. 1st Thessalonians:5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."Revelation 3:3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."Each man and woman has to make choice. It is what you were born to decide. Will you spend eternity with Jesus and receive victory over death, sin, and the grave, or will you be separated from God in a place so terrible, dark, and foreboding that no words can justify its description of the loss of hope, joy, love, peace, happiness, and no light. Only darkness that is so dark it is painful. It was designed and created for Satan and his demons, but man has choice. Live for God, accept His Son's payment for your sins by His own blood on Calvary's cross by faith and belief and asking Jesus to be Lord of your life, or live with Satan in torment for all eternity. Ultimately, the choice is by your own free will...WHAT WILL YOU DECIDE, AS TIME IS RUNNING OUT?This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make that decision for my Lord Jesus Christ. If there be any need for prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, then email me firstname.lastname@example.org .God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.
Sunday, 22 March 2015
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Sunday, 15 March 2015
By Matt Ward
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3).
One of the strongest signs that this is the last generation is the dramatic rise in apostasy within Christianity. The increasingly severe nature of this Christian apostasy indicates that the end of this age is rapidly approaching.
We are all by this point familiar with the prosperity gospel and it is a phenomena that is unique to our generation alone. It is a “seeker sensitive” model of church growth and leadership stating that only the things which appeal to Christians should be taught from the pulpit.
This means that only the things that appeal are included in church services, all spiritual needs or edification are omitted in favor of short term satisfaction and a general sense of “feeling good about ourselves.” Boring old songs—gone; long difficult sermons—gone; Bible study—gone; prayer—gone; sin—gone.
This erosion of God’s Word starts usually with young, dynamic and charismatic pastors going into the community to find out what people find most offensive about the church, and this cause of offense is simply removed from church services and replaced by things that congregations do want to hear about.
Great worship groups with catchy praise songs; short snappy twenty minute sermons more inclined to the psychology of nurturing positive self-perceptions and achieving success; no boring, difficult to understand exegesis of Scripture (this is outdated anyway), and definitely no teaching on or conviction of sin.
To preach on sin would send them away in droves.
The prosperity gospel is without question successful and boasts churches with some of the largest week by week congregations in the world. However, the reason why the prosperity gospel is so wildly successful is because it requires no conviction to believe in it. The prosperity gospel does not require any regeneration.
The churches with prosperity gospel preachers are packed week in, week out because they offer the people what they already desire in their flesh, so there is no challenge, there is no conviction or repentance. There is no regeneration or reconciliation to God. There is no new life.
The prosperity gospel fulfils and meets the desires and aspirations of this life, it does not meet the needs of the life to come. The prosperity gospel is about satisfying the needs of the flesh, not the spirit. It is about having, “Your best life now” not in setting sights on the world to come as Jesus taught. It is not about spiritual rebirth through the Holy Spirit.
I followed for one week on Twitter one of the most “successful” pastors on the planet and here is a selection of his tweets from just one short period;
- “Struggle and lack are not your destiny. That’s temporary. The rain of abundance is coming.”
- “You’re not inconveniencing God by believing big. He’s the one that put the dream in your heart.”
- “You have no excuse to give up on your dreams. You have what it takes to become all that you were created to be.”
- “Don’t get discouraged; there’s something better for you. Today declare by faith, ‘I’ll see an abundance of goodness.’”
- “This is your time. Your sorrow will turn to joy, loneliness into love, lack into plenty. You’ll get beauty for ashes.”
“I’ll see an abundance of goodness?” Really? What about those Christians being butchered at this very moment in the Middle East by ISIS? Is their “time” also right around the corner? What about the people scattered all over the world, ardent followers in Jesus who struggle just to put food on the table for their wives and families? Is it just that they aren’t “believing big” enough?
What about the multitudes sleeping on concrete floors because of poverty, losing jobs because of the economic depression, fighting through life-threatening illnesses themselves or with beloved family members? Is their lack of faith the cause of the blight in their lives? Of course not, and it grieves God that people would so misrepresent Him and His Word.
The prosperity gospel is all about the flesh. It is about achieving satisfaction now, getting exactly what you want and living as you desire with no concern for sin and no consideration of God. In the prosperity gospel Man in his own heart becomes God.
Jesus, by contrast could not be further away from this gospel. Jesus said:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13).
Folks look around you, if the aisles are packed and you are crammed in at the seams then you are probably entering through the wrong gate!
By contrast Jesus describes those who will find salvation, “…but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14).
These apostate churches mention Jesus in passing but he is not the Jesus of the gospels, he is “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). And as a consequence, the Son of God does not know them and the day they stand before Jesus they will petition the King:
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’” (Matthew 7:22).
Jesus points out that it won’t be a few who say this to him, but many.
One day (equally as terrifying), the pastors teaching this unbiblical gospel will be held accountable to God,
“Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman… whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. "When I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezekiel 13:17-18).
That this great falling away should happen in my lifetime fills me with conflicting emotions.
Hope, because it means that Jesus’ return for his Bride is close at hand and as commanded, “…when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near” (Luke 21:28). This far reaching apostasy is a clear indicator of how late the hour really is.
On the other hand, there is a feeling of hopelessness and genuine grief over the multitudes that will stand before Jesus only for Him to say, “… I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’” (Matthew7:23).
Anathema to the prosperity gospel is the notion that living a life for Jesus is not just about taking him as Savior, but about dying to sin every day for His sake, too. It is about taking Jesus and then going with Him into that tomb and emerging from it a new creation made in the likeness of God’s own Son.
It is about dying to our own selfish desires and wants and putting Jesus first as the true King in our lives. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us, guide us and anoint us to His work, not to empower us to fulfill our own lusty, fleshy desires for wealth and success. This is what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 15:31 when he said that, “I die daily.” Paul means to die daily to self.
Where is the genuine conviction of sin to be found in any of these prosperity gospel mega- churches?
Without this conviction of sin how can there be forgiveness of sins and regeneration in Jesus Christ, our Lord? Jesus himself said “blessed are those who mourn,” talking about those who have a broken heart and are mourning over their own sin, realizing sin to be sin in their lives and then running to Him with that burden.
Jesus, in response tells those of us genuinely burdened by our own sin, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew11:28).
The “prosperity gospel,” the “word of faith” movement or “seeker sensitive” models of church leadership use God in unbiblical ways to achieve their desires. The Bible teaches us that it is in fact God who uses the believer to accomplish His good will. These models teach that the Holy Spirit is a power to be used and commanded to achieve whatever the believer wants.
The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is a unique person who enables the believer to fulfill God’s desires in their own lives, not the other way around.
Paul himself warned about corrupt preachers bringing corrupt influences into the early church. He also warned, very specifically, that the pursuit of money is dangerous for Christians;
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s” (1 Timothy 6:10)
Jesus Himself warned:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich manto enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24).
In Hebrews Chapter 11 Paul describes the Bible’s “Hall of Famers,” men who... “were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated…” (Hebrews 11: 35-37)
Paul concludes, “…the world was not worthy of them…” (Hebrews 11:38) yet according to the standards of the prosperity gospel they were all failures.
These heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, “…did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
This is how we should be living, as strangers living in a foreign land because our citizenship lies not on earth, but in Heaven. Every day should be grasped forJesus, not for ourselves.
We should be as these heroes were, “…longing for a better country—a heavenly one.” This attitude pleases God, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16)
My aspiration and my hope also resides in that heavenly city. I want to stand before Jesus and have Him say to me, “‘well done, good and faithful servant”(Matthew 25:23).
Jesus tells us that “He who overcomes will inherit all this; I will be his God and he will be my Son” (Revelation 21:7). And how do we overcome? Is it through wealth or success? Is it through pastoring a huge church or having vast international audiences on multiple Christian television stations? Is it through tithing huge amounts each month?
“Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5) “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
My hopes and desires for myself, for my family and for you if you read this is that your aspirations also reside in that time yet to come when we will see the Lord face to face:
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Life is not about the accumulation of “stuff” and mankind was not meant to chase after these things. Man was created for one purpose, to have fellowship with the Creator God, and to worship Him. As a result of sin that relationship can only happen now through believing Jesus Christ, God’s Son—died in your place to pay the penalty for your own sins.
That is how your relationship with God starts and this is how you overcome the world, through this faith. That is how you have the most precious thing of all, peace with God.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. ”But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6: 19-20).