Confirmed

4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 4-9

 In Romans 1:28-29 we read:

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Verse 28 is talking about the Israelites. Verse 29 is talking about the Israelites and us. Both these scriptures are talking about God’s stand with regard to these two groups of people.

These scriptures reveal the paramouncy that the gospel has over even the gifts and calling of God.

I was surprised to read somewhere that the nation of Isarel has one of the highest levels of gays worldwide. Yes, you heard it right: homosexuals. That kind of statistic was something I had never contemplated in my life and this knowledge kind of toned down my cheering for Israel; but I am sure it hasn’t fazed God in the least. The Bible says that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. God will never back down one inch from the promises He made to the nation of Israel.

Any nation which tries to attack Israel in the natural will find itself coming up against the armies of God (angels) – literally. The world has witnessed this countless times. The Six-Day War of 1967 has remained one of the most historic mystery (read miracles) of our modern times.

That is because Israel is the elected nation of God. God, in His wisdom, has put these few people in this world to declare how His election works.

Indeed, wherever the Jew sets foot becomes blessed. America is (or was once) a prime example.

But,

“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes”.

Hmmm. Yes, the Israelites have become enemies of the gospel in order that we, too, might be included in the mercies of God. And the Bible declares that they, too, have been hardened in their hearts to the end that they, too, just like us, might obtain mercy from God (v. 32).

Notice, they are elected, but ultimately they will need to receive mercy. In the end, both we Gentiles and the Israelites will be products of God’s mercy.

It is clear, therefore that, if it is of mercy, it is not of us. The gifts and calling of God come, not from us, but from God Himself. And if it is so, then, no one has anything to boast of there. Indeed, the wisest person in this regard is the person who recognizes this and daily humbles themselves under the mighty hand of God.

This – the non-repentance of God – explains why preachers and Christian believers in general can continue to witness the grace of God in certain areas of their lives even when it becomes clear they are living in sin. This was true of the Corinthian church as we read in 1 Corinthians 1:4-7:

“4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

But notice verse 8.

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In spite of all the gifts of the Spirit that the Corinthians had, yet it was their confirmation unto the end that was pivotal. Why? Because it was this that would present them blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This confirmation is what we ought to seek for above anything else.

But let us backtrack and ask, What is the meaning of the word “confirm” here?

It means to approve, or to validate. We will not go to heaven on the basis of the gifts and calling of God, but on the basis of our approval by Christ Jesus. Christ will first have to prove us, whether or not we passed through the narrow road that He also passed. If we do not get the stamp of approval from Jesus, we will not make it to heaven.

Jesus’s stamp of approval reads:

“IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.”

We become approved when we share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. The Apostle Paul makes that very clear in Philippians 3:10:

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”.

Are you carrying Jesus’s stamp of approval? Are you denying yourself daily, taking up your cross and following Jesus?

The most important thing for us are not the gifts and calling; rather, it is to be confirmed.

[God’s beloved nation, Israel.]

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God’s Bigger Picture

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:27-28

9 … seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering Col. 3:9-12

I just love these scriptures! There was a time when I thought that rich people would not get to heaven. I had the same thoughts about overly educated people. And even certain tribes! But, with time, the Lord slowly got my unlearned heart to understand that such a notion was never in His sights. God had never contemplated such a thing!

Both the scriptures above refer to people who are saved, the church. Even after we have been saved, our hearts tend to hold onto these very insignificant things. But I love these scriptures because they show that when it comes to the church, God is not bothered by any physical attribute in us. In fact, whatever we may or may not have, or whatever we may or may not be; these are very small things with God. When it comes to material or financial riches, whether one is the richest man in the world, or they are dirt poor; in education, whether one has a doctorate in astrophysics or they had never seen the inside of a classroom; in worldly status, whether one is descended from the royal family, or whether they are a peasant from the dustbowls of Africa – these are very small matters with God. They are nothing.

So what’s the big deal? What really matters with God?

God has a far bigger picture than these trivial things. God’s eyes are on the bigger picture, which is the heart. We could be in any one of the classes listed above, but that is unremarkable with God. The bottom line is that we all have a shot at becoming something in God’s eyes if we would only look inwards and put our hearts in order.

God be praised because we all have a heart. That is our key to pleasing God. We can accept to use that key; or we can throw it away by considering who we are in the natural.

When we accept Christ into our hearts, He comes to transform those very hearts. Contrary to charismatic belief, Jesus does not come to make us rich or poor. Instead, He comes to cut out the old man in us and to create in us a new man who is formed in the image of Jesus Christ. Christ comes to form His character in us, which allows us to bear the fruit of the Spirit.

There is nothing in our natural attributes that can truly prevent this from happening in us! In the Bible, we read of great men and women who allowed God to take center stage in their lives. We read of kings, and noblemen and noblewomen. These all had hearts that pleased God.

We also read of humble people who pleased God.

What’s there to prevent us from doing that which pleases God? How can riches – or poverty –do that? Can education or worldly status – or tht lack of it – really do that?

Absolutely no. The heart in which Christ is Lord is made of far much tougher stuff than that. At whatever point we are in the chain of life, we are capable of answering God’s call and pleasing Him fully.

God wants our hearts to be in His order – His spiritual order. This opportunity is open to every man, woman, youth, and child. God desires to shine His light in each and every one of our hearts. It all depends on how we can ignore the clamor of this world and respond to God’s call.

[God’s bigger picture is all about the heart!]

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True Goodness – Part 2

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet. 19-25

Jesus did so much good during His earthly ministry but, in the epistles, the Bible does not talk about those things. Instead, it talks about Christ’s sufferings and His endurance in the same! The Bible exalts the cross above anything that Jesus did or underwent. In fact, in Philippians 2:5-11, the Bible talks about the different stages that Jesus allowed Himself to descend from glory to shame and death. But it ends by stating that He

“became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (v.8)

The death of the cross. That is not any death. The death of the cross is not physical death. It is death to self. And it was on account of this death that scripture declares in verse 9:

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name”.

You can die every kind of death; but if you have not died to self, you are nothing in God’s eyes.

I have an interesting illustration in this regard.

One day, a brother called me and told me he was travelling to the village to attend the burial of a close relative. I knew this brother’s financial condition, so I wanted to bless him with some money. I decided I would surprise him, so I called him back and told him to meet up with me at a certain place. He answered, “I am leaving right away.”

I walked briskly to our meeting point, my heart beating with excitement at the good I was about to do. When I arrived there, the brother was nowhere to be seen. True, he lived some distance away, but I expected him to take some form of transportation and hurry.

I called him and told him exactly that. I told him, “Take a motorcycle!”

He mumbled an answer and the phone went dead.

Finally, the brother showed up after about 20 minutes. By that time, my heart had turned charcoal black. The man had kept me waiting – and I was livid. I almost did not greet him, and I had to dredge up all the remaining dregs of grace left in me to hand him the money I had come to “bless” him with.

I had done good, but my good was not acceptable with God. In God’s eyes, it was the exact opposite of what you could call good. Why?

Because I had not accepted to suffer. God was not looking at the good I had gone to do. He was looking to see whether I would endure patiently when something grated at my will. Those 20 minutes of waiting were more important to God than any good intentions I had to help someone.

God waits for us at the point of suffering. He does not wait for us at any other place. He waits for us like the umpire waits for the athlete. The umpire does not wait for the athlete at any old point along the track. He waits at the finishing line.

Jesus waits for us at the finishing line; and our finishing line is the cross. When we accept to suffer patiently “for conscience toward God” we find God waiting for us right there.

By introducing the cross, the Bible destroys any notion of “good” that we have in the human sense. With God, “good” can only be when we serve Him under His terms, not ours. Actually, the cross is all about dying to our old man, self.

In John 21:18, we read Jesus’s words to Peter,

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”

Imagine that. Jesus told Peter that a time would come when Peter would not serve God under his own terms, but under God’s terms!

Did you know that Peter carried a sword to serve the Lord with? That was his will at work. In fact, Jesus once rebuked him with the words:

“Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Mat. 16:23)

That is how we are much of the time: serving God, but carrying carnal weapons. If someone hurts us, we hurt back because we are not willing to suffer. We, just like Peter, are carrying weapons of our flesh with us.

We begin to understand why the Apostle Paul would not preach any other gospel other than “Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23)

It is the cross alone that can deal with the flesh so that we may serve the Lord on His terms, not ours. Nothing else can. Not even prophecies. There are too many self-styled, self-willed ‘prophets’ roaming about. It’s time to show them the cross – or the door.

So, finally, what is true goodness? What is thankworthy and acceptable with God? It is when we submit ourselves to another’s terms, not our own. It is when we crucify our wills. Biblically, the flesh is our will.

All our good, all our striving, all our effort comes to nought if we have not reached the place of crucifying our flesh. God is not interested in what we do. He is interested in what we allow Him to do in us.

If we are good on our own terms, despite all the good we do, we, just like my brother John at the brook, will not even have began our spiritual journey.

[I love the arts!]

True Goodness – Part 1

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet. 19-25

Long time ago, when I was about 8 or 9, my brothers and I used to go down to our grandmother’s farm where a little stream passed by. We loved to go down there and play in the water. The stream was too small even to swim in but, one day, as we were by the stream, my elder brother John announced to us that he intended to swim all the way up to wherever that “river” originated from. The stream came from a swamp quite some distance away.

We crossed our hearts in awe as we envisioned the undertaking John was about to engage in. He would be crossing steep ravines and fighting currents of every sort.

He quickly took off his clothes and before you could say “Abracadabra!”, he was in the water. Head down and arms flying like rotors, he beat away furiously at the water.

After about half a minute of this energetic exercise, he pulled up his head and asked, “Where am !?”

I still recall the answer we gave him. We told him, “You are still right here with us.”

He hadn’t moved an inch. The river was too small to even manouver in.

I am going to use this analogy to share with my readers one of the greatest lessons that the Lord has taught me to date. That we can do so many things that are “thankworthy” and “acceptable” – but not before God. That we can do so much good in this world for but, when we get to heaven, we find ourselves standing empty-handed before the Lord.

Why? Because, somehow, we evaded that all-important thing in our lives: “suffering”. We never allowed ourselves to endure suffering.

It is this suffering that I want to talk of at length here.

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

I want us to consider verses 19 and 20 and, in particular, the two words “thankworthy” and “acceptable”.

To whom does the word “thankworthy” refer to? In other words, who is thanking who here? Or, put differently: Who is commending who here?

Actually, verse 20 qualifies verse 19. In this verse, we read that if we suffer patiently for the sake of Christ, this is acceptable with God.

Imagine that. Imagine doing something that is acceptable with God. Imagine being commended by God. Imagine being thanked by God.

In my lifetime, I have met many very good people. Truly wonderful people. People who would die for you.

But, in these verses, the Bible draws a clear line between what is good, commendable, thankworthy or acceptable with man; and what is with God.

The two are as far apart as night is from day.

[It is not the good we do that God looks at, but our patience in suffering]

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A Journey To The East

About two weeks ago, my brother Michael and I embarked on a journey to the east – literally. Well, not exactly to the Far East; we just traveled to the eastern seaboard of Tanzania. We have five churches in this region, and we had planned for a long time to visit two of them. And it was the Lord’s leading indeed, for our ministry in these churches, though brief, was powerfully attended by the power of the Holy Spirit; and God’s people in these regions rejoiced.

The first visit was to our church in the mountainous region just south of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The district is known as Same, and the particular region we visited is called Gonja Maore (I did not pause long enough to ask about the meanings of these names).

The road leading to Gonja passes through the scenic Mkomazi Game Reserve. As with most mountainous regions, Gonja, situated on the slopes of the Shengena mountain chain, is extremely pristine and picturesque. Countless streams flow down from the mountains throughout the year.

But it was the people’s hearts that we found even more engaging. They have such a hunger for the gospel. We preached Christ crucified to them and read to them from Deuteronomy 32:30:

“One shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight”.

We told them, “That is the power we have in the Spirit when we allow the cross to work in our lives!”

The church was revived; and they did not want us to leave. This is the beauty of the different ministries that Christ has given to the church working together. No single ministry can build the Body of Christ; but when they work together, the church is edified.

Next we dropped down to the coast proper, to the town of Tanga. Tanga is a deeply Muslim town, as are all East African coastal towns, for the Arabs first settled here. Muslims proudly lay claim to the town of Tanga; they declare openly, “Tanga is our city!”

Indeed it is. There are over 700 mosques in this town.

But by the grace of God the church is alive and well in Tanga. Christ reigns all over the world! Most of members of this small congregation are former Muslim converts.

We preached to them about living a life of perpetual sacrifice. We told them that living the crucified life is our calling; to the end that we might reveal the resurrection life of Christ in our mortal bodies.

On my way back, I passed through Morogoro, where Brother Michael has his church. I stayed there for one day and fellowshiped with the church.

Below, in pictures.

Our bus to GonjaImage19866

The bus takes an hour’s drive through the scenic Mkomazi Game Reserve

  1. Our bus arrives in Gonja Maore. The beating that this bus takes on these roads is hard to imagineImage19884Gonja MaoreImage19897The region excels in farming of gingerImage19898The little church nestled in its own EdenImage19905The Gonja congregationImage20021Market day!Image20022The road to TangaImage20042TangaImage20070This old lady preached to us. She told us, “I have nothing left in this world except Jesus.”Image20071Tanga is a deeply Muslim townImage20086The church in Tanga

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The Tanga church “worship team”

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Loving Jesus, Loving His Church – Part 3

Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:31

Have you ever seen a grown man weeping? It is an unforgettable experience. But a grown man can only shed tears out of deep, heartfelt bitterness. I remember a famous Congolese musician named Franco. In the early 70s this man lost a brother in a car accident. Franco composed a song to commemorate his brother’s death. He sang it in his local Lingala dialect. This song became one of the most touching songs in the 70s. Not because it was sang by Franco, but because of the depth of the feelings that were embodied in that song. The song bemoaned the fact of being left alone.

And it is said that ever since that time, the sound of mourning never left any of Franco’s songs.

That’s how powerful a grown man’s sorrow is.

And yet the Apostle Paul freely wept for the church. He wept for it out of sorrow; but it was sorrow in the Spirit. The love that Paul had for the church was a love that no earthly parent could never know for their child. Paul could not bear to imagine even one hair of the church being harmed.

That’s the kind of ministers that Christ left to look after the church. The 5-fold ministry is not about numbers; rather, it is about carrying the heart of God the eternal Father.

In order for a believer to go to heaven, he needs to be loved, to be prayed for, to be cared for and ministered to in many different ways. That’s called nurturing. Jesus left behind people who would do exactly that: hence, the 5-fold ministry.

We can thus begin to imagine the greatness of this man, Paul. Paul perfected ministry. And, in perfecting ministry, Paul defined the word “love”. He writes in Ephesians:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Eph. 5:25-32

In these verses, Paul shows us the true meaning of love.

Let us look at something else that Paul writes in Galatians. In chapter 1 verses 6-8, he writes:

“6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Now, pause and think about that. Scripture here states clearly that there is no other gospel that can be preached other than the gospel that Paul preached! In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul talks of the gospel that he preached.

“But we preach Christ crucified…”

And here, in Galatians, he says that anyone who preaches a different gospel is troubling the church and is stands accursed. I will leave it to your imagination to work out what “trouble” it is that Paul is talking of here. That should not be too hard for anyone to do. Today, in particular, “trouble” is written all over the church. Why? Because God’s people have put aside the gospel of the cross and they are preaching a different gospel.

But Paul says, “If anyone preaches a different gospel than the one we preached to you, let them be accursed!”

The church is greater than anyone. It was greater than Paul himself. Which brings us to the question, What does Paul mean by the “we” in verse 8?

He means that even he had to be careful. Yes, Paul, the great apostle, had to be careful lest he mishandle the church! He had to be careful what he preached. God is no respecter of persons and Paul himself stood the risk of being accursed if he preached any other gospel than “Jesus Christ and him crucified”! (1 Cor. 2:2)

If every minister of the gospel could crucify his lusts and his desires and serve the church, it would be a blessing both to the themselves and to the church. But today everything is upside down.

Notice, in our key scripture in Acts, that Paul’s tears were to warn the church. Paul did not shed because there was no bread on the table. Bread is important; but the gospel of Jesus Christ is not about bread. But Paul’s tears were to warn the church.

What was so important about the gospel that Paul preached?

Paul was careful about the gospel he preached because it is the singular gospel that prepares Christ’s Bride, the church. How would you feel if, on your wedding day, they brought you a bride who was filthy, unkempt and thoroughly un-mannered in the ways of housekeeping?

I believe you wouldn’t touch her unless you were a madman.

But Jesus is not a madman. He wants a perfect Bride.

The gospel of the cross perfects the Bride of Christ. The cross crucifies the flesh and leaves behind a Bride without spot, and without blemish.

Finally, let us look at yet another example of how Paul cared for the church. In Philippians 2:19-21 he writes:

“19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”

Paul wanted to send Timothy to the Philippians because he wanted to “be of good comfort”. And Paul would only be comforted if he knew their “state”.

“State”. What a word!

I work with a team of four other pastors in my town. We meet every Thursday. Our motto is: “The only problem between us is the state of our hearts!”

Paul wanted to make sure the Colossians were well in their hearts. This was the only thing that could comfort him. So he sent them Timothy, the only man he could trust to truly care for their spiritual welfare.

Paul had other guys with him but he feared that if he sent them, they would go and become burdensome to God’s people. They would tell the church, “Your pastor needs a new car”, or something of that nature.

Timothy was the only person who would not say such a thing.

If faithful ministers were so rare even in Paul’s day, we can imagine how the situation is today. There are faithful ministers; but they are few. Many today look at the offering basket more than they look after the condition of people’s hearts. Many do not have the ability to deal with the problems affecting God’s people because they do not have the revelation of the cross in their hearts.

But Paul, and the few faithful men he had with him, had crucified their flesh and were thereby able to fully focus on the spiritual well-being of God’s people.

[Paul cared deeply for the spiritual well-being of God’s people]

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Loving Jesus, Loving His Church – Part 2

And he is the head of the body, the church… Col. 1:18

During the 1990s, I was an ardent follower of the faith teachings, and I recall reading the interesting account of a famous American faith preacher who had gone to preach in a certain church; and it was Christmas. He claimed that he had asked God that he should receive a certain amount of money as an offering from that church. He needed that amount because he wanted to do Christmas shopping for his family.

In other words, long before he went to preach, this man had already prepared his family budget!

On the final day, as he and the church deacons were counting out the money the church offered, the offering failed to add up. It fell short a few dimes.

The preacher told the church deacons that he had believed God for a certain amount of money, and there was no way he was leaving that room without the money he had believed God for.

The money was recounted a couple more times and – abracadabra! – the missing amount was found hidden among the loose change.

In those days, I believed that the preacher’s attitude constituted Godly faith. Today, I realize he was sowing the seeds of what would become the biggest scamming scheme in church. The present despoiling of the church began innocently enough as a “faith” teaching.

Today, preachers are not just paid to preach, but they go beyond there and demand extravagant sums from churches in order to preach and do ministry. One famous African preacher would always demand a plane ticket from the hosts to travel wherever he was asked to go and minister. Without a plane ticket he wouldn’t budge!

Preachers today have mounted up so high they have become God. They are full of carnal, self-serving authority. They rob God’s people, they oppress them, they rape them. And they do these things in broad daylight. They are so hungry they eat without even first washing their hands! The level of carnage that preachers today are unleashing on God’s people is truly unspeakable.

The Apostle Paul castigates the Corinthians for accepting such preachers in their midst.

“19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.” (2 Cor. 11:19-20)

How clearer could it be stated? And yet believers in their hordes are throwing themselves at these very preachers’ feet. And they are being destrrrrroyed!!

It is preachers today who are leading the pack in defiling the church. In Philippians 3:18-19, the Apostle Paul writes:

“18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”

Paul is talking of ministers of the gospel here for, in the preceding chapter, he had been talking of the faithfulness of Timothy and Epaphroditus.

If a preacher is an enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ, he will destroy the church of God. His God is his belly (he is not a true servant of God); and he minds earthly things (he minds, not the things that cater to the church, but the things that cater to his flesh). This means that this preacher is a self-serving person. Such a preacher is a wolf amongst the sheep!

Now, if you haven’t seen such preachers yet, you must have just dropped from Mars. They are packed to the brim on our planet. So much so that finding a preacher that truly minds God’s people is akin to finding a needle in the proverbial haystack!

The reason for all this is because the church has gone blind. By blind I mean there is no revelation of the cross in their hearts. A lack of the revelation of “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) is what brings about spiritual blindness. The church does not know that it has been called to crucify the lusts of the flesh. It is not aware of the danger that these lusts pose. These lusts are therefore allowed to reign supreme in the church and neither the shepherds nor the sheep are safe. And these blind preachers, who are men and women of the flesh, once given the power of the pulpit, work out, or fulfill, their lusts instead of serving God’s people in the Spirit.

They say power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is true with the church also. Give a carnal preacher authority, and he defiles the church. Give him unbounded authority and he completely destroys the bodies, souls and lives of God people.

These things are happening, not in the closet, but right out there in the front yard.

[“Feed my lambs”]

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