We Are Dead Men!

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?1 Kings 19:13

(Ladies, let not the title scare you into thinking that you are not included!)

I know I recently wrote a post based on this scripture, and my readers might be tempted to think I am repeating myself. Well, I could repeat myself (I am only human, after all); and yet, on the other hand, God is so rich that we could draw from a single scripture all our lives and never exhaust the riches therein.

But let us get back to that scripture. It is so revealing what Elijah did when he knew He was about to meet God. The Bible says that “he wrapped his face in his mantle” … and then he went out to meet the Lord.

In the olden days (and even today in much of the world), someone’s face is covered when they are about to be executed. When people have been condemned to die, their faces are immediately covered. I don’t know where men got that from, but that is how they do it. That was what they did to Haman also (Esther 7:8).

Under the New Covenant, God deals with us through our hearts, and the only way He does that is by the third Person of the Holy Spirit. That is the “still small voice” that Elijah heard. God does not communicate with us or deal with us by any other way except by the Holy Spirit.

It is incredible how irreverent the church today is to God. In our country, the young generation calls itself the “new generation”. The inherent meaning in that term is that they are a liberated generation. The result is that today’s generation even in church feels free to do many things in the flesh, in the pretext that it is ministering to God. In one mega-church in our capital city, the major attraction is the nation’s top comedian. People go to church to laugh!

But the really tragic thing is that everything is ascribed to God, and the name of the Holy Spirit is tossed about freely. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in every bizarre act that goes on in church. People are even fighting in church and declaring their “victories” have been handed them by the Holy Spirit!

There is so much irreverence in church today!

In music in particular, people feel free to mention the Holy Spirit as their inspiration in everything. Hiphop, rap, reggae and every other worldly beat is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. I know I am doing the equivalent of throwing stones at a live beehive in Christendom by so much as attempting to mention in a negative light these revered styles of “worship”!

I can assure you of one thing, though… you will never find me praising God in hiphop fashion. I am not saying I am perfect when it comes to my choice of music genre; but I know I used to sing “Buffalo Soldier” before I got saved and when I got saved I stopped singing “Buffalo Soldier”.

We all need to know that there are many spirits moving around (some move in hordes), and we should not be deceived – these spirits are operating in people’s hearts. Just because someone says they are saved or just because people proclaim, “Praise the Lord!” does not mean these spirits cannot use them.

There is no denying the fact that as a consequence of embracing any and all “neo-isms” instead of the old rugged cross, today’s young Christian generation is, sadly, a generation whose lives are plagued by sin.

But here we see this great man of God, this mighty prophet… and he is so afraid, so reverent of God, that he wraps his face in his mantle. He counts himself a dead man!

There is no place for the flesh here. Elijah (most likely without knowing it – see 1 Peter 1:9-12), was foretelling what would be revealed to the Apostle Paul many generations later: I am crucified with Christ…” (Gal. 2:20)

Do we count ourselves dead men when we are in the presence of the Lord? Do we truly? And when, pray, are we in the presence of the Lord? It is every second of our lives! The Apostle Paul says, 30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:30-31). Notice the words “every hour”, and “daily” and that they all have to do with Paul’s way of life – crucifying the flesh.

The cross is the new altar that God has given to us to lay down our lives upon. It is only in the revelation of the cross that we can walk out to God the way Elijah did – as dead men.

At the other end of the spectrum is the fact that, when we fail to reverence the Holy Spirit in us by failing to take up our cross and following Christ, we fail to find grace in our lives and sin rules over us.

[Below: My neighbors!]


What Teaching Are You Under?

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils… 1Timothy 4:1

Did you notice that? The Swahili Bible says, “giving heed to deceiving spirits”.

That’s pretty strong, dangerous stuff there we are being warned against. It is not just your local trickster coming along and trying to pull a fast one on you. These are spirits, devils, demons! And these entities have power. And worse, they are after the Church.

My family and I love watching Disney’s animated stories like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty; and we can always tell when someone has been put under a spell. They become ‘not in their normal minds’. That is what is happening in churches today. God’s people are under a spell and they don’t know it. They are being robbed in broad daylight!

That is why the Apostle tells Timothy, in verse 16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Paul is telling Timothy here: “There is danger ahead. Take heed!”

When I see what is happening in churches today, I realize how strong this deception that was prophesied by Paul is. Mind you, the Holy Spirit through Paul said this deception would take place “in the latter times”, meaning the last days. There are things that have crept into the Church within the last 2 decades alone, dangerous things; but they have grabbed God’s people with a power that can only be matched by the advancement of technology. In my country today there are churches doing the weirdest things – churches which teach questionable, non-scriptural doctrines and which operate with even more dubious MOs; and these are the churches you find the majority of Christians running to.

In one such church, they have employed guards with whips to clear the way when the man of God arrives! People are going to church to be whipped! This happens every Sunday, but the numbers keep increasing.

The sad thing is that it is not non-believers who are attending these kinds of churches, but it is born-again believers who have been deceived. These are believers whose eyes have been blinded by the god of this world and all they can see is the material and physical blessings. When a Christian’s eyes are on material or financial blessings he is on very dangerous ground. He is exposed to the devil. He could find himself under Satan’s spell in a second and he wouldn’t even know it. And he could live that life of spiritual deception the rest of his life firmly believing that he is serving God. Remember that Satan tried to deceive even the Lord Jesus using these same material ‘blessings’ (Matthew 4:9).

When I am sick and all I want is healing, then I am standing on very dangerous ground, particularly in these last days. There are Christians who have been taught that having a physical disability or an issue of health is a lack of faith. Jesus said it is far better to go to heaven hopping on one foot than to go to hell with both feet intact! I wonder what these preachers make of such scriptures.

Others have been taught that to live in financial or material poverty is sin! Preachers cite Abraham, et al. I wonder what they make of Lazarus – I mean the one who sat under the rich man’s table!… These kinds of teachings are unscriptural and they are destroying the Church.

When you see how people are being deceived and eventually being ripped off spiritually, financially, materially and even psychologically by preachers, you cannot doubt scripture. There are dark spiritual forces at work within the Body of Christ!

Even for those who are not preaching these extreme doctrines, for many the gospel has become something light – and cheap. There is no gravity to the things that people are hearing. It is no wonder, therefore, that many Christians are not growing spiritually.

It is time for the Church to wake up. The Bible says to take heed to the doctrine we are hearing. That is where everything lies. When you hear the right gospel your spiritual mind is balanced. When you listen to the wrong teaching, you get spiritually off-balance. This has nothing to do with your natural intelligence, your IQ; this is spiritual business.

I believe God is doing something new today. The Church must heed the gospel of the revelation of the Cross that God is bringing to light in these last days. The revelation of the Cross of Christ is not a strange or new gospel. It is the gospel the Early Church preached and lived. It is the gospel that the Apostle Paul preached. It is the gospel that fulfilled in their lives Christ’s words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” because through living this gospel, the Church was taught to lose their lives and to desire the life of Christ in them.

There was a time I did not understand the real gospel of Jesus Christ. I did not know the gravity of the Pauline revelation. If someone had insisted, I probably would have said, “That is a strange teaching!” But the revelation that Paul had of the Risen Christ – that is the power of God in the life of the Church. The Church needs to understand it in these last days.