Prosperity Gospel – The Bane of The True Gospel

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2 Pet. 2:1-3

Personally – and I ain’t too much of a person, but thank God for this blog, because here my voice can reach out from the wilderness – personally, the thing that riles me most in the church today are the prosperity preachers. Nothing vexes my spirit more than these people. In a word, they are charlatans. They are fraudsters and swindlers. And they have hoarded the gospel TV, where they are spilling out their shame for all the world to see and the world is having a field day slandering the Name of the LORD. (What do you think the world thinks when they see a larger-than-life preacher announcing on prime-time TV that he is divorcing his wife? C’mon!!)

These preachers are the curse of the gospel. People generally make fun of the devil, thinking he is a clownish old grandpa. But he is not. If these preachers originate from him – and they do – then the devil is not someone to fool with. He is deadly.

The Bible calls these jokers “false prophets”. Now, we all know that falsehood will not take you far. The prosperity gospel is not taking anybody anywhere. Just a few miles down the road, and they run into the quicksands. That is why there is so much sin stewing in these prosperity churches. There is so much divorce, and preachers themselves are divorcing and remarrying like the castanets.

Let a preacher teach and preach the gospel that the Apostle Paul preached, and I vouch that he will never go through this spiritual foolhardiness in his life, nor hear of it in his church. Sin will be dealt with! Paul told the sinning Corinthians, “What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1 Cor. 14:21)

A rod? That was to deal with sin in the church. And Paul was speaking in the Spirit.

But, of course, I might as well be talking into the wind. This is because prosperity preachers are people who have come with a mission of their own and they are intent on carrying it out. Moreover, they have brought their agenda into the church stealthily, which proves that right from the beginning, they had never had any intention of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are, in fact, anti-Christ. The Bible said long aforetime that they “privily shall bring in damnable heresies”.

“Privily” means secretly. These people are in cahoots with the devil, and they know full well what they are doing.

What is their agenda, anyway? I heard one prosperity preacher say, “The notion that a preacher should be walking in sandals and riding on a bicycle is foolish!” In other words, they teach that a child of God should live the high life materially. That is their agenda. And they use the Bible to bring in these damnable heresies into the church.

“And many shall follow their pernicious ways…”

The word “many” here refers to the rise of the modern-day mega-church. God saw these things long before they would occur, and He described them exactly as we are seeing them today.

During the Early Church, the mega-church was the church of the cross, as we see from the Book of Acts and the apostolic epistles. But that was because the falsehoods had not yet been introduced into the church. Once the falsehoods came in, God’s people quickly embraced this easy gospel. Fewer and fewer were willing to pay the cost. And thus rose the new mega-church – the church of the un-cross.

Today, the mega-church is not a place where sin is dealt with. I am not saying they do not preach against sin. They do, but there is no power in these churches to deal with sin. Where the gospel of the cross is not being preached, there is no power to deal with sin. As a result, the gospel of Jesus Christ is maligned in the world because of sin within the church of Jesus Christ.

In the meantime, prosperity preachers spend their time teaching about the tithe!

Lastly, let us look at verse 3:

“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

Why is it that God has reserved severe judgment against these preachers, a judgment which will unquestionably befall them, and swiftly? (With God, “swiftly” could be an entire lifetime!)

In the Old Testament God said,

“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.” Deut. 24:7

With all their voracious Bible-searching, preachers still cannot put two and two together! But it is difficult to have your head on straight with the dollar sign swinging in front of you.

But notice:

2 Peter: “…make merchandise of you”;

And here, in Deutoronomy: “…maketh merchandise of him”.

These two statements are alike. They are talking of the same thing.

In the Old Testament, the general punishment for a thief was to pay double the amount he had stolen (Ex. 22:7, etc). But God made exception to the thief who would “…be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him”.

The punishment for that particular thief, God said, was death!

The situation today is far worse in the Spirit than it appears. Prosperity preachers – under the New Covenant – are not simply stealing from God’s people; they are stealing God’s people. What does that mean? It means that apart from stealing their property, they are also stealing their souls. When you preach a man a false gospel you are stealing his soul. And when you steal someone’s soul you effectively just killed them.

And for what reason are these preachers doing this? It is so they can become rich! Prosperity preachers are extremely wealthy. If you didn’t know that, you must have just dropped in from the moon!

One of these preachers is so rich he went to Rome to donate money to preserve the works of Michelangelo. Yes, the man supports the works of Michelangelo with money that he has taken from God’s people!

Personally, I think that for a man to do such a thing, there is a certain amount of arrogance involved. Another owns  a $16,000 dog. And so on and so forth…

People, these are facts! and they probably are among the less shocking ones.

But thank God, He is not deaf, He is not blind – and He certainly is not dead. Soon he will deal with these prosperity fraudsters who have brought their damnable heresies of money into the church. He will judge them, and throw them into hell. That’s what the Bible says.

Prosperity preachers have only one option: to repent. No excuses, no “You don’t know what my ministry is doing around the world” (a smokescreen); just repent and leave off deceiving God’s people. If you want to continue preaching the gospel, lose your life, and teach God’s people to do the same, for this is the revelation of the gospel that has come to the church under the New Covenant.

Jesus looked upon the Jews – God’s own people – and He grieved deeply because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Equally so today, God’s people – the church – are like sheep without a shepherd.

But the Shepherd of our souls calls out to us… He calls out to us through the revelation of the cross. There is only one true gospel: the narrow road that Jesus and the apostles taught. If we come to Christ but are unwilling to lose all, we will fall into the hands of the devil and he will destroy us.

But the gospel of the cross liberates us to serve the true living God, and to do so in freedom.

The gospel of the cross is the true mystery of God, and it was for this very reason that Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Mat. 11:15

Finally, I wish all my readers a lovely weekend.

[Below: The new Dar es Salaam – Bagamoyo Road]

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“Be Ye Holy; For I am Holy”

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16

I may not be very accurate here, but I would not be surprised to learn that all the talk that has been going on in this blog about the cross, suffering and dying is getting on someone’s nerves. But, the way things are, I pray that it may penetrate even further into that person’s system. I pray that it might become a revelation in their heart.

I am assured in my heart that the gospel of the revelation of the cross is the gospel that shall win the day for the church. I have been saved for 25 years and I have witnessed the charismatic gospel at work and I have witnessed the power of God moving mightily. But it is where we stand today that is important.  Today’s church is a weak church. Two things are clearly evident in today’s church: sin and confusion. When I talk of confusion I am talking about doctrinal error. No one in their right minds would contest the fact that the “gates of hell” seem to have overpowered the church in nearly every area. That defeat is the truest indication of the lack of real power within the church.

It is not an easy admission to make, but clearly the charismatic gospel has failed the church. Or, there was something it did not have right from the beginning, even though it was of God. Remember the story of Elijah and the wind breaking the rocks before the Lord; but God was not in the wind!

The church must eat humble pie and acknowledge that there is a problem. (When I read the Bible, I see that God’s people should not have a problem with the issue of humility. And yet you tell someone that they should change the direction they are moving in, or that they should make a rethink of what they believe in in light of scripture – and hackles begin to rise. And yet, the Bible says, See that ye refuse not him that speaketh…” – Heb. 12:25)

I humbly submit that the church needs to take notice of what God is saying in these last days through His holy apostles and prophets. God is bringing again to His people a revelation of the gospel that Jesus brought to the Early Church and which it is clearly documented in the Bible that this church walked in, or lived.

That revelation is something that has always been there in the Bible, but which the church lost sight of when it failed to focus on the strait and narrow road it was supposed to be walking on. This revelation is what the Apostle talks of in 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

When we read the New Testament, we do not see that there was a problem in the church when no miracles were being performed, or when there was a lack of material necessities. But we do find the apostles getting very concerned when the church was not taking up their cross and following Christ, when they allowed sin into their lives.

That fact puts the cross right at the center of everything – and the other two, suffering and death, are irretrievably tied up with the cross.

You see, you can live life here on earth without experiencing a single miracle in your life (except the miracle of salvation, of course) and still go to heaven. Jesus said you are allowed to go in with an eye or even one foot missing (Mat. 18:8,9). In the same way, you could live a life lacking in material necessities and still go to heaven – Romans 8:35-39.

But you cannot enter heaven with sin. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). That is why the whole purpose of the cross is to crucify the flesh and its lusts, and thus vanquish sin in our lives.

Before we dance to the tune of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and all the other frivolities the gospel has been turned into, we ought to ask ourselves: Are we walking in the victory over sin as demonstrated by the Early Church? Are we denying ourselves and crucifying the flesh?

When we talk of confusion, I can assure you that the church today has so lost focus that it does not even seem to know what is sin and what is not! Just imagine a pastor who divorces his wife, remarries, and continues to preach. And just imagine all those born-again, Bible- waving believers who are aware of what this pastor has done and who continue sitting under his ministry.

The Biblical scenario would be for that pastor to remain alone, with his new wife (if he has remarried) in his ‘church’, every member having abandoned him.

And right here let me say that divorce, unlike other sins, is not simply saying, “I am sorry” and moving on with your plans. If someone is truly repentant concerning divorce, then they need to get back to their wife (the one wife, because the Bible does not recognize your second and third wives, or husbands, for that matter); you get back to her and love her by dying for her, which means that you happily stay there till death do you part. Divorce is no joking matter with God!

That is why I reiterate my position, which I am convinced is a Biblical one, that God’s people will need to discover something other than the “Bless me” and other current gospels if they want to arrive at God’s true purpose for our lives – true holiness.

That other ‘something’ I am referring to is the gospel of the cross. It is not important, of course, what we choose to call it. Let’s just take up our cross and follow Christ.

[Below: Love your wife!]

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Building Spiritual Character – Part 2

Now today, in church, because people are not taught the proper gospel, because they are not taught to deny themselves and to take up their cross and follow Jesus, they are not being built up in character and they are unable to take up the responsibilities and challenges that come with marriage. Grown-ups act like spoilt kids. People easily tire of each other. But, even worse, they go a step further and “take the law into their own hands”, as it were, and divorce. They feel free to just walk away from marriage because they cannot stomach the bad things their partner is doing to them.

This clearly reveals the fact that God’s people are lacking seriously in the grace of God. To a large extent, Christ’s sacrifice is being proven powerless in Christians’ lives. They forget that there are many factors that are involved in marriage: that probably God is teaching them patience, He is “raising them up”. And because God needs you to grow up spiritually, He will use any ‘instrument’ He wishes to ‘straighten’ you. In most cases God’s chief instrument of correction is someone’s own spouse.

It may be also that God is giving you the rare opportunity to give your life like Jesus did in order that a very rude, un-Godly person (your spouse) may receive salvation in their lives.

Many factors are involved; but the bottom line is that there is a big price to pay with marriage. That is why when one is carrying their cross and following Jesus, the thought of divorce is, to use an understatement, unthinkable.

It is appalling to behold the unbridled freedom that God’s people today give to their flesh in many other areas of their lives. Many Christians live as if now, since we are under grace and not under law, there are no rules to follow.

The problem, of course, is the kind of teaching that people are being taught in our generation: a cheap gospel that lumps together the spirit and the flesh and leaves people to literally  find their own footing on a very shaky spiritual foundation!

The Bible says in Galatians 5:13 that we “have been called unto liberty”; but right there it also says, “only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh…”

Elsewhere, the Apostle Paul says that he became “… to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ)” 1 Cor. 9:21. Notice that Paul says he was under the law of Christ. It follows naturally that if there is a law of Christ, there is also a law of the flesh. When we allow ourselves and feel free to live certain lifestyles where it is clear we are pleasing the flesh and not God, we should ask ourselves under which law we are.

The Apostle Paul had a law, a law that had no place for a worldly lifestyle. He loved the Lord with all his heart, his soul and his strength.

The Apostle John put it this way: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 Jn. 2:15

Loving the world consists of many things, but it is dependent on the condition of our hearts. And what John is talking here is not law. That is simply loving the Lord. That is true grace.

Many Christians today feel free to do nearly everything they want to do especially when it comes to answering to the desires of the flesh. And, because of a lack of revelation of the Word of God in their hearts, they use those same scriptures to justify whatever they are doing! It is like some Roman Catholic friends of mine who challenge me to show them where it is specifically written: “Thou shall not drink beer”. They have many scriptures, both from the Old Testament and the New, which ‘prove’ that God allows Christians to drink beer!

Once you begin listening to the flesh, you cannot draw the line between right and wrong.

Tribulation – trials and testing – brings character and maturity into our lives. Nothing else will bring these valuable standards into a Christian’s life apart from that hard and difficult narrow road which Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount. This is a road where you will be tested and tried in every way. You will be despised, rejected, reviled, hated, beaten; a road where you will know hunger, and where you will lack many things in this life. Not that going through these hardships in itself is Christianity; but as you go through all this and you know your position with God, you will know these things are preparing you for the glory ahead.

The Bible says no weak thing shall enter into that Kingdom, only the strong. Here God is not talking about the toughies of this world (because people are always mis-interpreting scripture). He is talking about a different kind of toughie – one who has allowed their flesh to be dealt with by the cross of Jesus and who are living a life not their own, but another’s, Christ’s.

Building Spiritual Character – Part 1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Rom 5:1-5

The word ‘experience’ here could be substituted with the word ‘character’. In other words, we could say, “Patience builds character”, and still do justice to the above scripture. That word, ‘character’ is what I want to talk about today.

The path of a righteous man has never been easy, and it will never be. It is a costly one; and yet, it is this very costliness that gives God’s call on a man’s life its value: it makes the person to appreciate and respect God’s call upon their lives.

If you look at the lives of Saul and David in the Book of 1 Samuel, who both were kings of Israel, you notice a big difference in their characters. Saul was not a disciplined man. He lacked patience. He would, for example, not wait for the prophet Samuel to come and sacrifice as per God’s word but, unable to bear seeing his men leaving him, he went on and did the sacrifice himself.

Lacking in that inner discipline that comes from patience, Saul was also a severely temperamental man. He took badly to David’s victory against Goliath, and he allowed himself to develop a deep hatred towards David. He went on to hunt him down like an animal.

Time and time again Saul failed to obey God. He failed to respect God.

But, you know, we cannot blame Saul too much for this lack of a spiritual character in his person. Why? Because he was handed the kingdom without being prepared. He had not paid any price to receive it. He was handed it, as they say, on a silver platter. He did not know its worth or value. As a result, he failed to guard the position he was so graciously granted. In the end, God had no option but to take the Kingdom from his hands. The prophet Samuel told Saul, “The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.”1 Sam. 15:28

Notice the word ‘better’ there. You do not become ‘better’ because you have dimples on your cheeks.

When we look at David we see someone who, long before he became king, had to go through a very difficult period. In the first place, David knew and loved God. Secondly, he was humble enough to allow God to mold and shape him. Thus by the time he became king, David was ready to take his position and rule his people justly and in righteousness.

With the exception of the issue with Uriah’s wife, David was a capable and effective king who knew and taught God’s people the ways of the Lord. In many ways, David proved himself ‘better’ than Saul. He had been tested and tried.

In today’s Christian world, the virtue of character is lacking to a very great degree. There are many areas where this virtue is lacking. One area where this is clear is the area of marriage and divorce.

Even without salvation, our parents and grandparents never contemplated divorce. Poor folks, seems they were not civilized enough! Today’s generation, on the other hand, is a ‘liberated’ generation. In some countries I hear there is such ‘liberation’ that in some circles the word ‘marriage’ has been deleted from their vocabulary. It has been fossilized. Words like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ are unknown. Instead, there are ‘partners’. In these ultra-modern settings, people live together on a contractual basis, each ‘partner’ having their ‘rights’ fully guaranteed!

For those of us who still believe in marriage, we also are not safe. Women have been to Beijing and back, and they are now fully aware of and ready to fight for their ‘rights’. Men, on the other hand, have had their manhood so undermined to the extent that they take out their frustrations on the object nearest them – which invariably happens to be their wife!

All of the above is okay if you are of the world. But in church, we must talk a different language. Marriage is such a serious issue with God that He does not allow divorce unless under the most extreme of circumstances (adultery); and even then the wronged party, if they cannot forgive, are not allowed to re-marry until their spouse dies. Marriage is literally a “till death do us part” affair!