The Need For Sound Doctrine – Part 2

Sometimes the problem is not the mega-church and all it entails. Paul also told Timothy:

“1 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; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1 Tim. 4:1-3)

Sometimes the problem is “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. Imagine… God’s people literally being led by demonic forces! And when you hear the devil, don’t expect to see him in horns. Oh, no. What you will see is a priest or pastor or preacher who has probably even been to Bible school. And, actually, when you read this particular scripture, you will realize that the Bible is talking about mainstream denominations!

Take, for example, a ‘church’ that forbids people to marry, or one that forbids people to eat certain foods. The Bible here states that both these doctrines are doctrines of devils. And yet… false denominations and cults use these same teachings to deceive their members.

The Bible calls these doctrines of devils because they aim to found people’s faith on something else other than the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ.

The second thing – which is the subject of the second part of this series – is that you would think, as I had always thought, that the culprits in these modern-day charades are the greedy, worldly (and sometimes demon-possessed) preachers. We love talking about how these preachers are ripping off God’s people and how they are leading them into error. But lo and behold… the Bible has news for us! According to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, the real culprits are not these preachers. The real culprits are the people themselves, who have given these preachers the platform to deceive them. That is what the Bible says right here:

“…after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers”.

The whodunnit in this crime are the believers who attend churches where the cross of Christ has been stripped of its power (1 Cor. 1:17)!

False preachers’ tentacles reach far and wide. I have a brother right here whom I one day found letters in his office from a famous American preacher directing the brother to send to that preacher’s ministry a large sum of money in exchange for an upgrading of his status in the ministry’s roll of honor. He was told he would be sent a gold-edged certificate.

The letters had come in thick and fast. With each succeeding letter the demands got more strident. The last letter was an actual threat. Luckily, our man got to hear the gospel of the grace of God just in time, and he and his family were saved from an impending catastrophe.

Countless other people have not been so lucky.

Now, when we see or hear of these people being deceived and fleeced by these mega-preachers and other demon-possessed cultists, we are prone to sympathise with them. But God’s outlook is radically different. God’s outlook is that a blind man who accepts to be led by another blind man will fall into the same pit that his blind leader fell into. In other words, they shall both perish. It is not a matter of God pitying them or not. God has given them the freedom to choose the path they wish to follow.

And when you come to look at it in light of scripture, there is really no excuse for a person who has been born again by the Word of God to be deceived. God’s Word has the power to hold and to keep! We get deceived when we reject the truth of the cross.

That is why Paul charges Timothy to:

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

There is nothing ‘good’ about God’s Word. Notice the words Paul uses here:

“reprove, rebuke, exhort…”

The word “exhort” here means “warn”. There is nothing good about being reproved, rebuked or warned. They are all hard, difficult things to bear. But these are the things that constitute the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what the cross comes to do in our lives!

When you accept to listen to a different gospel than this, it means you have changed course and you have begun chasing after other things. When you hear a gospel that does not lead you to deny yourself and to take up your cross and follow Christ, you are being deceived and you ought to ask yourself how you arrived there in the first place.

[In a homestead deep in central Tanzania, dinner is served!]

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The Need For Sound Doctrine – Part 1

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Tim. 4:1-5

What a charge Timothy had! And yet it is today, more than ever, that this charge needs to be carried out to the maximum, despite the dangers that accompany its execution. Dangers, yes, for Paul here tells Timothy that, once he set out to implement this charge he would “…endure afflictions”.

There was a time when I used to wonder at the present-day phenomenon of the mega-church. These are single churches with mass congregations of ten, twenty, or thirty thousand people. It is in most of these churches that the “pop” gospels of prosperity and other doctrines made up by man are preached. In these churches also is where you find a form of hype and sensationalism which would turn the world green with envy.

I used to wonder about these things, just as King David also wondered at how God could allow evil men to prosper (Ps. 73:16).

I used to wonder… until I read 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

“3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Mark the “they” in this scripture. “They” are God’s people and with this particular group of people lies the whole problem of the church. Not all, certainly, but the majority. With God’s people lies the problem of the church. That’s incongruous, to say the least.

Notice there is “sound doctrine”, or “truth”; and there are “fables”. A time would come, Paul told Timothy, when God’s people would not endure sound doctrine. You don’t endure good things; you endure bad or difficult situations. Apparently, therefore, sound doctrine is not good for the flesh. Paul’s reference to sound doctrine here is to the gospel of the cross. He was saying a time would come when people would not endure pain. They would not endure the hard choices that the cross offers. Instead, they would choose the broad and easy road of the flesh.

That’s hardly surprising today, with the feel-good gospels that are being preached in most churches today. That is why people are flocking to these churches. The sad fact, however, is that the people who go to church to hear feel-good sermons are not spiritual people; they are worldly-minded people.

If there was one person who should have had a mega-church here on earth, it was our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that He had such a large following that, at one time he fed five thousand men, apart from the women and children. That means that the number of people who followed Jesus were in the tens of thousands. But these people were not the church.

On the day that Jesus decided to start His church, He turned to these same people and to spoke them these words:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (Jn. 6:53)

At this, His followers scattered like flies. They could not endure His hard words. Only 12 remained – the apostles. And they, too, hang on by a thread! (v. 67)

So, when Jesus was here on earth He had 12 members in His church! And we know that one of them was a devil. That left only eleven.

If things were so difficult in Jesus’ time, how can we possibly think that things are any different – or easier – today? The Bible expressly says that in the last days, the noose will get tighter. How can a man possibly claim to be breathing easier when the noose is getting tighter?

Today, we are living in times like the nation of Israel’s during Elijah’s time. At that time, the nation of Israel had forsaken God and they were worshipping pagan gods.

The nation of Israel is a type of the church. Now, we don’t want to make Elijah’s mistake and declare that there is no church in the world today. Even at the worst of times, God always has a remnant. And so it is even today. God has, within today’s apostate church,

“seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (1 Ki. 19:18)

And yet, you realize, seven thousand in a nation as big as Israel was is a very small number. The number was so small that Elijah had no idea these people existed!

Now, more than ever, true ministers of God ought to heed Paul’s exhortation to Timothy:

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine…

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

[Children play in a drain. They have absolutely no idea the danger they are in if flood waters came crashing through]

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Itching Ears vs God’s Word – Part 1

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim. 4:1-4

[Before saying anything, let me express my heartfelt condolences and empathy to the victims and relatives of all who who were killed or injured during the Bastille Day terrorist attack this Thursday in France. Mine are not mere words, but my heart is torn apart by the violence that we are witnessing in every corner of the world on an almost daily basis. France has been hit particularly hard by terrorists, and my heart goes out to this lovely nation. May God bless and comfort you all.

All said and done, it is time for everyone to turn to God through believing the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ. Amen.]

Now, to the main article…

The Apostle Paul wrote many warnings and many “charges”, or commandments, to his spiritual son Timothy. This was because Paul, being an apostle and a prophet, saw in the Spirit things that would happen in the future, and what he saw troubled him greatly. He saw a time of great apostasy within the church, when God’s people would shun the truth and hanker after doctrines that would cater to the flesh. And it was revealed to him that there would be no shortage of preachers to lead God’s people down that road.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy there would come “perilous” times (1 Tim. 3:1), and that these times would occur on Timothy’s watch. “Perilous” means dangerous. Dangerous times for the church would come in Timothy’s time.

And so here we see Paul charging Timothy, and that before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to… “Preach the word”. Then he adds something else there: preach “sound doctrine”.

What is “the word”? The Word of God is scripture. In our case, it is the Bible. The Bible is the reference point of everything we say or do. This was the same Book that was there in the early church’s time, even if not in its entirety. Jesus Himself stuck to scripture.

Here Paul was therefore telling Timothy: “You must be a stickler to the holy scriptures”.

I love that with all my heart. Sticking to the Bible seems to be a problematic thing with believers in our day. People read out the Bible all right, but they cannot seem to align their words (and actions) to what the Word says. More so, sound doctrine is lacking in an even greater extent in today’s church. People prefer to hear things that tickle them. But, if we are to believe Paul’s words here (which we should), sound doctrine has been lacking in the church for a long, long time. Two thousand years, to be exact.

Do you believe that Timothy met with the state of affairs that Paul describes in his two letters to him? I believe he did.

And so, therefore, Paul commands Timothy to “preach the Word”. God’s Word would be the answer to the coming apostasy.

It is incredible how the Word of God has been compromised today. I once attended a burial service in our town and the preacher who was to deliver the sermon, a man whom I knew well, read a scripture from the Book of Philippians. There was a huge crowd there that day and when it came to hearing the Word of God, there was dead silence. In our country, people respect the Word of God. They may not necessarily believe it, but they have a primitive fear of God.

The air was absolutely clear and, as the man read the scripture, I could feel every word dropping into my heart. So much so that I could also feel the hairs on my body stand. The Word of God, when read under certain circumstances, is tremendously powerful. I am sure that God wanted to speak to the sea of people there that day, and that He gave the man that particular scripture to read. God loves His people, and He wanted to bless them.

But it was not to be. It is beyond belief what happened the minute the preacher began his sermon. The minute he closed his Bible and began preaching, the man of God shot off on a tangent and from the first sentence to the last, nothing he said had any connection with the powerful scripture he had just read.

Utterly deflated and shocked, I looked for some shade and sat down. But I was not entirely surprised. I had known for some time that many preachers today read the Word of God in church only as a formality, but what they speak afterwards is the fruit of their mind rather than obeying God’s command to “preach the word”.

Amongst the more progressive circles within the church today, motivational speaking takes the place of preaching the Word. Preachers say things which have no basis in the Word of God and they expand on them to invent doctrines. The Bible calls these things “fables”. Motivational speaking in church creates “fables”. And here we are talking of Pentecostal churches.

This was what Paul warned Timothy about. In other words, he commanded Timothy to stick to the Word. He instructed him not to give heed to fanciful ideas that might come from his head – and from a lustful heart.

Let me end by saying that if there was a way to force preachers to stick to the Word of God, many – very many – would drop from ministry. Probably out of every ten preachers only one would remain. The situation is that serious. This is because these preachers would find in the Word truths that they are currently not aware of, either due to a lack of revelation, or simply because they cannot “endure sound doctrine” and they deliberately ignore Biblical truth. They would find that there are many things that they cannot speak and do. They would find, for example, that the Word of God curtails the freedom that they exercise in formulating their own doctrines. They would find, too, that the church is not there to amass worldly wealth. The church is not to say, “We are blessed” simply because someone has purchased a new car or a new private jet.

In the early days of my salvation, in the 1990s, preachers were attracted to a Korean car called Musso Ssangyong. Urban-based preachers competed to own a Musso. That was the “blessing” in those years. Many years later I would meet with those same Mussos, now very old, spewing smoke on the road like furnaces, and dragging to one side.

Today’s “blessings” amongst preachers consist of private jets and private estates. They, too, will pass away.

True blessings, however, are of the Spirit. It says so in Ephesians 1:3:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.

You don’t see a private jet mentioned there, do you? That is the heart of God.

[This is one of my favorite songs. I hope you enjoy it]

A Time for Sound Doctrine

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim. 4:1-4

The Apostle Paul laid out this charge in the most serious manner he could to his young ward, Timothy, because in the Spirit he foresaw a time of great apostasy coming to the church. The Book of Timothy is there in the Bible because the Holy Spirit also foresaw our times and He knew that they would be exactly as they were to be during Timothy’s tenure of ministry.

There is an incredibly large number of fake “ministers of the Word” today. It is so clear that these men and women are false ministers of the gospel. Everyone can see it. Even a drunk seated at a bar can clearly tell that many ministers masquerading in church today are not true ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone and everything in the world is screaming out aloud that there is something amiss within the church!

And yet, strange as it may seem, you will find genuine born-again believers seated in these same churches, watching and listening to these preachers. More extraordinarily, however, is that you will find these born-again believers enjoying themselves immensely in such churches.

Just to give an example, I recently saw on TV a young African preacher teaching that the gospel is a mystery. That sounded scriptural all right, so I sat down to listen. Then this young preacher started “doing things”. He began explaining that one way in which God is a mystery is that He can play with babies in their mothers’ tummies. And right there he began singing, “Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit…” – and immediately, all the pregnant women in that church began moving their tummies and waists in a decidedly obscene manner.

But the truly amazing thing is that although that church was packed to capacity with people whom you could gauge were of sound minds, yet not one of them stood up and did the least that anyone could have done in such a situation, which was to walk out. Instead, these people sat there and they clearly were enjoying the explicitly lewd show that was going on in their midst, laughing and cheering at the gyrating tummies..

I sat there and wondered: where is any of this in the Bible? And where did this young man come from?

But I probably shouldn’t have been so naïve, for the Bible expressly says that in the latter times God’s people “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

In other words, the Bible is saying that it is the people of God themselves who will bring in and egg on these preachers to do these kind of things, so they can “have a good time” in church.

The fact is, people today just love these kinds of things. They are not interested in whatever God calls the truth anymore. People – believers – today love their own selves more than they love God, and they are actually in church to pleasure their flesh. They go to church to satisfy the lusts of their own flesh, and their itching ears. And if an obscene act is carried out in church in the name of the gospel, so much the better!

But the Apostle Paul charges Timothy: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (v.5)

A carnal believer would never love affliction. Nor would he want to be engaged in any “watching”. No. The flesh loves the good life. It loves the soft life.

In other words, Paul was warning Timothy that in days to come, a literal tsunami of the flesh would descend upon the church and that therefore he, as a young preacher, ought to be prepared for this.

In the days that we are living, the words of the Apostle Paul concerning the church have proved to be doubly true. All the more reason for the true men of God to rise up and preach the true gospel, the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ, without thinking of being too “politically correct” within a dying church.

[In the African savannah, the acacia tree is king!]

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Seducing Spirits and Doctrines of Devils – Part 1

1 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;

2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 1 Tim. 4:1-5

There is no single word, or combination of words, in any language, that could possibly convey the astonishment and the horror of how a ‘Christian’ denomination or sect that is clearly un-Biblical can be brought about and instituted on a worldwide scale through people giving heed to “seducing spirits” and “devils”. In other words, how the danger of a lack of spiritual revelation can lead to the birthing of ‘Christian’ denominations which carry demonic doctrines, and how these doctrines can become acceptable to so many believers.

It is a truly incomprehensible.

But this danger is exactly what Paul warns Timothy about in this scripture. “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats were teachings that were not there in Paul’s day. But the Holy Spirit through Paul spoke of the emergence of these doctrines “in the latter times”. Today, these very doctrines have the majority of God’s people in their grip. Paul’s prophecy has clearly been fulfilled and we are living in the very times.

Had you told someone in Paul’s time that there were such denominations around, they would have had a hard time finding them. But we cannot say that today. Today, these denominations are the vanguard of what is considered Christian in today’s world.

What a farcical turnaround!

The cold fact is that people have deliberately cast aside the truth of God, and have willingly embraced deception.

I want to use this post (and probably the next two) to show how easily the remnant church (for today’s true church is only a remnant) can also be easily ensnared by false teachings and find themselves following after false teachings, bearing in mind always that the Bible here warns us that in the last days there will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.

Paul did not write to Timothy things which he knew would not affect the church. He knew there were doctrinal dangers that would become all too real to the true church of Christ. That is why he tells him,

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (v. 6).

In other words, Timothy had become such a good follower of Paul that he had “attained” to an understanding of “the words of faith and of good doctrine” which Paul carried.

Clearly, many had not. Some had fallen by the way, of whom were Hymenaeus, Alexander, Demas and others (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 4:10).

Many more were trudging wearily along, not fully committed. Not once did the Apostle Paul find himself all alone, with only a handful of disciples willing to identify with his situation and the doctrine that he carried.

In the light of the false doctrines that we take so lightly today, I believe it is time to warn the church to beware lest they find themselves missing the mark, and taking a different road than the road that leads us to an attainment of the maturity and perfection and unity in Christ, which is the three-fold purpose for which the gospel has been preached to us.

[Below: A bus bound for Arusha. The city of Arusha is the main tourist destination in Tanzania, mainly because of the major natural attractions surrounding it: the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti National Park and Mt. Kilimanjaro, amongst many others]

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Of Worldly Wealth And God’s Kingdom – Part 3

… So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Luk. 12:21

This is the last post in this series.

There is something we read of here called ‘laying up treasure for oneself’ and there is another thing called ‘being rich toward God’. These are two contrary states, and they both reside in the heart of man.

Let us conclude our discussion by saying that this is a battle for the heart of man. Money, or wealth, is the undisputed god of this world; and our God is the God of heaven. One is natural. The other is spiritual. Both are striving for control of our hearts. Mark that, and beware.

This does not mean that Christians are not allowed to become rich or to own wealth. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about being rich or being poor in the natural. Indeed, the gospel is not natural in any sense. It is something spiritual.

Our father Abraham was one of the richest men that lived in his day. But the fact about Abraham was that his heart was never set on or taken up with the things of this world. He saw something in his spirit for which he was willing even to sacrifice these things.

If you as a born-again believer see something in the spirit for which you are willing to sacrifice everything you have, including your own life, then you are a spiritual person. It is as simple as that.

The Bible says this about Abraham: “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11:9). Our spiritual forefathers were extremely rich in the natural, but they dwelt in tents! Long before Abraham was born men were building towers of brick and mortar (Genesis 11:3). He and his sons could have built similar structures. But they chose to live in tents.

Verse 10 tells us the reason why. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

Abraham was not interested in this life. On the contrary, he sought after the things that make a man “rich toward God”. Much is written about Abraham in the Bible and in all of them we see a man of a Godly and noble character:

–         He was magnanimous and humble (He allowed his nephew Lot to choose which portion of Abraham’s inheritance to take);

–         he was loyal (he went to Lot’s rescue);

–         he was kind and generous (his ministry to the angels, whom he initially thought were men!);

–         he was merciful (he stood pleading for sinful Sodom in the presence of the Lord). In short, Abraham was rich in the things that pertain to Godliness. He had the heart of God.

In the final analysis, it is not about believers owning wealth or not. It is about making sure that our hearts are not given to the spirit of this world, but are caught by a vision of heaven. It is about not walking in the natural, but by faith. Faith is what sees into God’s Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul was not as rich as Abraham was. And yet in the spirit he lived the same lifestyle that Abraham lived. He lived a life of the Spirit. This was because he lived a life of faith that saw in the spirit. He says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:20-21).

Notice Paul says that the life he lived in the flesh he lived by faith. That means that even though he lived the same earthly world that you and I are living, he was not bound by this natural life. What a spiritually fulfilling life he must have lived!

Notice he also says he does not “frustrate” the grace of God. That means he does not deny the Spirit’s role in his life. His life was controlled 100% by the grace of God, not by what he had or what he knew in the natural. That is the faith that we ought to have. In every condition, rich or poor, intelligent or less intelligent, whatever our natural state, we are to FULLY acknowledge God’s grace in our lives. That is what faith is all about.

In 1 Timothy6:5, the Apostle Paul warned Timothy about those Christians who supposed that “gain is godliness.” He was talking about people who would equate being rich with being ‘spiritual’. They would think that the more they have, the more they know or are known by God. These are people who cannot see into the spirit and therefore have no faith. We could say they are in it for the money. But their spirits are empty. Remember money is a natural thing. It is not spiritual.

Paul here is talking about the people who subscribe to what is popularly known today as the gospel of prosperity. It is sad, but a majority of the church are in this group today.   

Paul tells Timothy, “From such withdraw thyself.”

In other words, he is telling him, ‘Do not allow yourself to be in that group. Do not receive those teachings. Do not be a part of them.’

That’s tough language. But the gospel is all about “the strong meat of the gospel”! Heb. 5:14

He continues in 1 Timothy 6:6-12, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

We could own the world. God has no problem with that. But He wants us to live by faith. Many times we think that only the poor should live by faith. But as we just saw with Abraham, we are all called into a life of faith. Faith is what pleases God. Faith also is what makes us to see into the spiritual kingdom and live out the life of God in us.

Our Relationship is Spiritual

Tomorrow I will be boarding a plane to go to the exotic Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to attend the annual CTMI conference (www.ctmi.mu). This trip will be a first for me in many aspects. I will be visiting a new country, meeting new brethren and building new relationships.

And yet, even as I board that aeroplane tomorrow. deep in my heart I know God has allowed me to go to that conference for a spiritual purpose. And I know He has called me to relate to whoever I come across in the spirit, not in the flesh. In hindsight, this is for my own good because if I were to view the people of God in the flesh, no doubt I would be tempted to play favorites.

That would be a spiritual disaster.

As Jesus was hanging on the Cross he looked down at his mother Mary and told her, “Woman, behold thy son”, as He indicated to John, the son of Zebedee. Then He turned to John and told him, “Behold thy mother!”

The Bible says, “And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home”. Jn. 19

This might indicate that Joseph was already dead because it is highly unlikely that Jesus would command John to take care of His mother while her husband was still alive! The Bible, however, does clearly state that Jesus had other brothers and sisters, any of whom He could have directed to watch over their mother, if He felt the need to give that directive.

Jesus did indeed feel the need to instruct over His mother’s welfare. But it was her spiritual welfare He was thinking about. And who better to commit that responsibility to than the disciple “whom He loved” (Jn. 19:26), the one who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, the one who knew and felt Jesus’ heart more than any of the other disciples. It was John that Peter had asked to inquire from the Lord who it was that would betray Him, for, apparently, only John could elicit that secret from Him.

It is little wonder that the Apostle John is today known as “the Apostle of Love”, for he wrote much on love; and love, as we know, is the very essence of God.

Jesus could trust his mother with such a man, a man who knew His heart, and His purposes.

Likewise, the Apostle Paul would tell Timothy, the son whom he begot in the faith, “But thou hast known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith…” 2 Tim. 3:10.

We are not called into salvation to answer to or to gratify fleshly and emotional ties. We are called to seek after spiritual relationships alone.

We spend a lot of energy and time building on relationships that are not spiritual. Jesus did not do that. He redeemed the time. He knew whom to trust with His mother, and He did not waste the opportunity.

As I travel to the conference tomorrow, let nothing take precedence over the known will and purpose of God in my life: to link up with the men and women of God in the spirit.

So help me God.