Posts Tagged ‘billy graham’

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of what is known as preaching today is no more that ‘self help seminars’ masquerading as the gospel. A lot of this self help is how a person can have a financial breakthrough and will tell lies about supernatural wealth transfers and/or debt cancellations as can be sen below

Unfortunately when things do not materialise, many Christians turn a blind eye and do not ask questions.

On the BBC, there is a story titled ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ where it states:

In these tough economic times, thousands are flocking to wealth creation seminars and purchasing their products in the hope they will unlock the key to becoming rich and “financially free”, like their gurus. But are these courses costing attendees more than they are worth?

“According to the plan, I will be a millionaire in 10 years’ time.

“I owe £4,000 on my credit card, but I will be financially free. It’s going to happen,” says Janice Geddes, a 38-year-old nursery nurse from Ilford, Essex.

She has an unshakeable belief that the wealth creation courses she has paid thousands to attend will teach her the skills and mindset she needs to be rich.

Every day she wakes at 05:45 and spends her time doing a series of exercises known as “wealth conditioning”, before leaving for work at 07:00.

If you want to read the full article and see the video, click here.

The sad thing about this is that though this article is nothing about Christianity, you could easily go to a christian conference and you wouldn’t notice any difference. You will be told to decree and declare, and to speak positive confessions which in most cases give people false hope.

Unfortunately, there is truly a famine for the word of God all over the world. Yes we have many churches and yes we have many sermons but it really does take discernment to wade through the mess to know what is truly a word from God and the only way to recognise the fake is to know how to study the truth

2 Corinthinans 11:12-15 makes it VERY clear that Satan will come in the Christian arena disguised as the real deal with all the christian jargon etc but under it all, Christ has nothing to do with it.

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

This is why one of the best litmus tests that I use is when someone is preaching, who is at the center stage. With the ‘gospel of you’, it is very man centered and even though this is expected in the secular world with their self help gurus and seminars, this should not be the case with biblical preaching and teaching.

One of the worse offenders of motivational speaking disguised as biblical preaching is Joel Osteen and you just need to put his name in the search bar on this blog to see some of my blogs about him. But if you think that his (and other self-help/motivational messages are biblically sound, click here to take part in a bible quiz.

Remember, at the end of the day, its all about Him and NOT you.

To be continued……

Ten of my favorite blog posts on Real Christianity

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Christian Living, Evangelism, False Doctrine, False Teachers
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I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over five years beginning with How Important is Doctrine and as of today, have written 619 posts, this being my 620th. Every now and then, I go back to my old posts and re-read some of them, if not for anything else to re-encourage myself. So out of these 600+posts, below are ten of my favorite posts in no particular order and my reasons why. Just click on the titles to read the posts

1. The Marks of False ‘Christian’ teachers and teaching - OK, I am going to cheat on the first one as it was my first series (11 parts in total) called The Marks of False ‘Christian’ teachers and teaching starting with A Form of godliness. I saw so much foolishness in churches and on Christian TV and I knew that a lot of people were beginning to question a lot of things but were afraid to say anything. I just said what they were thinking. So I wrote the series and gave my reasons for doing it as I know a lot of people would think that I was just a heresy hunter. If you want to read the full series, just follow the links at the bottom of the posts

2. To tithe or not to tithe - Tithing was one of those things that kept me in bondage early on in my days and I know keeps many in bondage today. Many preachers use old testament scriptures like Malachi 3:8-12 to manipulate people into giving money and making them feel that they have robbed God if they don’t give their 10%.  That was until I searched the scriptures for myself only to find that the new testament principle of giving is proportional giving and giving out of what you have and not out of what you don’t have thus getting yourself into debt. It is also about a person giving what THEY purpose in their heart (2 Cor 9:7) . I wrote this to make it plain why Christians are not under any obligation to tithe anymore under the new covenant.

3. How do you know that you are saved (that you are a Christian)? - I really enjoyed writing this blog because it became very apparent to me that many people thought that they were Christians but they were actually self-deceived. This troubled me so I wanted to have some kind of ‘test’ whereby a person could measure up themselves to. Luckily the books of 1 and 2 John has such a test and has been one of my most popular posts that is found when people do searches, which tells me that a lot of people really do want to know if they are a Christian or not.

4. So you think that you’re a Christian. Power testimonies from former false converts - This ties in to number 3. When I heard these testimonies, I knew there were countless amount of people in this situation and I wanted to share it because I wanted others to see if they could see themselves in the mirror and if so, do something about it. The worse deception ever is to think that you are a Christian when, in fact, you are not

5. Spending Quality Time with God - This post always comes to haunt me because I know that this is something that I am constantly guilty of not doing but it is a constant reminder of where our priorities should be  

6. When your children don’t want to follow God – This post was and still is a very personal one to me. It hurts me to know that my children (so far) have decided to not follow Christ. I can only pray that God orchestrates the events in their life to point them to him.

7. Every Man’s Battle - I wrote this because it is a taboo subject amongst Christian men but can be a deadly poison if not dealt with….especially when it comes to the summer.

8. The Money Challenge - If anything, this is a shame on most of us as Christians about what motivates us to share the  gospel with others. I never want to be  Christian that as the gospel group, Commissioned, say in one of their songs that we “tend to find security in our salvation. We should constantly think about the lost”

9. Should we ever question what the man of God says – This post goes hand in hand with the post of Touch not the Lord’s anointed. Say goodbye to the untouchable preachers. The reason why I started this whole blogging stuff is because I questioned everything that I had previously heard and decided to go back to the basics of the gospel. You know, things like the cross, salvation, sin, repentance, faith, discipleship and NOT breakthroughs, blessings and divine favour which seems to be so prevalent in churches these days.

10. Christ is the only way, now you choose - I have posted many videos over the years but I love this video because it puts everything in perspective about what Christ has done and how he has provided a way out for those who have repented and put their trust in him

Last weekend, I was going about my business, when a person stopped me asking myself and I to attend the Realise event at his church which is UCKG. We have had a few separate invitations from this church. The first was to get anointed with oil by ‘the man of God’ and my wife was offered to come for an anointed rose… yes you heard me right. Anyway we played dumb and asked him what it was about without divulging the fact that we were Christians. He then proceeded to tell us how we could learn the keys to being successful. At this stage there was NO mention of God, NO mention of Jesus, NO mention of sin, NO mention of my need for forgiveness. I actually tried to steer him in the way by asking him what would happen if I became very successful (like Steve Jobs) , but died afterwards? Still nothing.

In the end, I had to tell him about his error because no doubt, if I had been a non-christian, and asked him all those questions and left, I would have left dead in my sins without any knowledge of the gospel at all. I did ask him why he never spoke to me about God and he basically said that non Christians would not be interested so he talked about the other stuff to ‘get me in’. The problem with that is if I decide not to visit their church, the very thing that has the power to save me i.e. the gospel, is the very thing that is left out in the conversation. It is hard enough going out of your way to witness to someone but when someone comes to you asking questions, we as Christians should jump at the opportunity to give them the good news.

As I said, this is not the first experience that I have had with UCKG and many times, I have had their newspapers in the post and their general thread and emphasis is about being happy and successful, but not about being righteous and being in a right standing with God. A classic example of this is their series ‘The 5 Biggest Failures of Jesus’ (I didn’t even know that he did fail, silly me)

As per their website

When we say that Jesus had failures, people’s knee-jerk response is, “No He didn’t. He’s God. He never fails at anything.” But the truth is that Jesus failed many times throughout His 33-year earthly ministry. He experienced disappointments and many times things did not always go quite the way He wanted.

But… He turned them around… every single time. Whenever Jesus experienced failure, He used it to His advantage and either turned the failure into success, or put more effort into something else that would bring more results.

‘Failure’ 1 – Jesus had no money to pay His taxes (Matthew 17.24-27) Click here

‘Failure’ 2 – Jesus was known as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and had no recognized degree in theology – Click here

‘Failure’ 3 – The partial healing of the blind man – Click here

‘Failure’ 4 - People of the Gadarenes reject Him (Mark 5:1-20) – Click here

‘Failure’ 5 - Many Disciples desert Him (Jn. 6:66,67) – Click here

You may say ‘What’s the problem?’ Do you see a re-occurring theme? They have twisted the scriptures to somehow make the bible a self help manual. The problem is even though on the surface, it seems to be harmless and even christian, the real focus is not about Christ but it is the gospel of YOU. The focus is on being successful in THIS life on earth. The very thing scripture tells us not to focus on

Set your minds on things that are above, NOT on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

Am I saying that it is wrong to have earthly ambitions? Not at all, but from my experience and from the many newspapers and experiences that I have had with this church, the emphasis has always been on the here and now and an example of this can be seen in the five lessons above.

Do I have any personal gripes against UCKG? Not at all but I have enough experiences to know that churches (whether it be this church or a Joel Osteen type of church) which subscribe to this type of theology is a dangerous one. I can be the most successful person in this life but the truth of the matter is, if I die without Christ, I will die in my sins and will be heading to hell

It is amazing to me how few Christians know their Bible regarding the topic of public rebuke and censure of brethren in sin—and especially that of ministers in error. After all, there are copious Scriptures on the topic throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The apostle Paul in particular detailed this topic within his epistles. Christians read these passages everyday… so why have not more believers contemplated their significance and application within the modern Church?

In fact, surprisingly, many will often will attack those who are attempting to apply these Scriptures to a specific situation which certainly calls for it. Labeling them as “critics” or “spreaders of strife,” such people will misapply the principles of public censure and rebuke against to those who are righteous… in DEFENSE of the ones in error. This is an obviously bizarre twist of both Scripture and circumstances, I know… but I have seen it done time and time again. Such twisted behavior is especially prevalent whenever a “popular” or charismatic minister is the topic of the public rebuke—and/or when people’s own agendas and “hero worship” cloud their good sense and proper judgment.

On the other hand, it is not surprising at all that believers are “in the dark on this topic” because many ministers teach doctrines convenient to their own agendas, and prefer to avoid teaching believers truths that might be applied against them. Never mind the fact that the honest pastor would actually have fewer problems in his/her church if they properly taught on the subject of Church discipline and public accountability of all believers—including preachers. Never mind the fact that such teaching is critical for the spiritual growth of believers—and inoculation of the church against both heresy and the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who are often prowling for new victims.

No, many preachers (including pastors) are more inclined to shy away from such obvious doctrines of Scripture. Rather, many ministers often prefer to favor unbalanced teaching of biblical topics (particularly “tolerance,” “love,” “forgiveness,” and “submission to authority”) in an effort to avoid having people confront them on various issues ad nauseam. In fact, many preachers go to great lengths to avoid passages in the Bible that discuss confrontation of sin and public accountability.

In truth, many ministers are tired of people “messing with them” and “rebuking” them left and right (which often happens to us preachers when ignorant people want to make “big deals” over very small doctrinal differences). So these defensive ministers bend their teaching in such a way as to squash such “disrespect” and “disorder” in the Church (i.e. to keep the weird people off their backs). So it is understandable how some ministers can in self-interest find themselves stressing only “one side of the coin” within their teaching. However, this tendency is itself in GREAT error, and even leaves the ministers more vulnerable to temptations—as they can too-often end up using such distorted teaching to cover their own sins.

ALL ministers should be applying a balanced approach to these biblical topics in their teaching— one which quells error to the extremes in either direction (i.e. errant over-rebuke on one extreme, and the errant ignoring of obvious sin on the other). Otherwise they will likely eventually fail the self-imposed standard of integrity that the apostle Paul espoused as an example of all HONEST men and women of God in ministry:

But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. (1 Corinthians 9:27, AMP)

Paul not only taught that brethren in sin should be held accountable by the Church, he also maintained that same standard for ministers—including himself. Thus, Paul also had a self-imposed reason to strive for purity and holiness within both his own heart and the conduct of his own daily living: To avoid public embarrassment and reproach for being found a hypocrite.

Now, let me emphatically note that NO Christian or minister is immune to the temptations offered daily by a world in gross darkness (and the devil who controls it). However, a holy reverence for God—coupled with the knowledge that one will be held accountable by the Body of Christ once their sins are discovered—can have a POWERFUL deterrent effect that can keep the believer (and minister) on the “straight and narrow path” rather than giving in to the enemy’s solicitation:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV) Further, once a minister (or believer) is held accountable for such sins by the Body of Christ, it begins a process that will hopefully lead to their FULL REPENTANCE—and their subsequent restoration to pure living and profitable ministry.

Related Posts:

False Teachers: Naming names, is that biblical or loving?

Justin Peters ‘Wrong To Name Names on Revelation TV’

A Call for Discernment – Justin Peters

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 1

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 2

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 3

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 4

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 5

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 6

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part  7

Naming names: Is it biblical? – Part 8 – THE CONCLUSION

The marks of false ‘christian’ teaching and teachers (Interlude) – My reason for doing this

The marks of false ‘christian’ teaching and teachers  – The Conclusion

“I’m always amazed by the people who, despite God’s clear and emphatic commands through the Apostle Paul, say things like, “Ah, we need to forget about the differences in our doctrines, and we just need to love one another.” as though those two are consistent goals. Surely they haven’t come to realize that the only way we can love right is to live right, and the only way we can live right is to believe right.”

- Mark Kielar

The Judgment of Deception – Are You Deceived?

Posted: August 31, 2010 in False Doctrine, False Teachers
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Courtesy of  Ask the Chaplain

2 Peter 2:1,”… 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.”

What do you think it means to deny the Lord? Many would say that any person or group that doesn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God would be denying the Lord and that would be true enough. False religions like Islam and Hinduism would fall into this category. Most orthodox Christians would include the pseudo Christian cults like Jehovah’s Witness’, Mormons, and others of that ilk. And they would be correct but are these false teachers Peter is referring to here?

If you look closely you will see that Peter says these false teachers will be “among you”. Since he was writing to a group of born again, Spirit filled believers, we must conclude that he is not talking about the obvious false religions or even pseudo Christian cults. The false teachers he is speaking of will be found within the Body of Christ.

Now how do you suppose that false teachers will get away with denying the Lord among a group of believers?

The word denying as it is used here is the Greek word arneomai {ar-neh’-om-ahee}. It is the same word used in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him….” Used in these contexts, the word means to contradict.

So a teacher that contradicts the Lord is in fact denying Him. He may say that Jesus is Lord. He may speak right sounding words claiming to be born again and he may have the biggest Bible you’ve ever seen but if his works or teaching contradicts the words of Jesus he is denying Him.

For example, when Benny Hinn claimed in 1999 that Jesus would physically appear at one of his upcoming crusades, he was contradicting the specific words of the Lord Jesus.

Math 24:23 -26
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

By making the claim that Jesus would physically appear at one of his crusades Hinn contradicted (denied) the words of the Lord and proved himself to be a false prophet and false teacher according to 2 Peter 2:1.

The so called principle of seed faith giving was first popularized by Oral Roberts almost 50 years ago. It proved to be so profitable to him that he essentially based his entire ministry on it. As with any other profitable venture others soon followed. Today it is used by virtually every “Faith” preacher, the majority of Christian television networks, and almost all TV preachers in general. It has even found its way into many mainstream and denominational churches.

How does seed faith giving work. It is loosely based (very loosely as we will see) on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Using the illustration of sowing seed, people are instructed that if they will give money to the church, the ministry, the TV network, the man of God, etc, God will multiply it back to them 30, 60, or 100 times more than they gave. In fact now days, about all you ever hear about is the 100 fold return. The 30 and 60 fold returns have pretty much been dropped altogether.

That’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say? Give God $1 and get back $100. Give God $100 and get back $10,000. Give God $10,000 and get back a cool million. And not only that, but you can also sow money and get back other things. Things like salvation for relatives, healing for incurable diseases, and deliverance from various demonic influences! That’s right; all you have to do is send your seed (meaning money) to the man of God!

Is this really what the parable of the sower is all about? What do you think? Let’s examine this important parable.

Luke 8:4-8 NASB
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus explains the parable

Luke 8:11 NASB
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

Now right here anybody with even a minimal level of reading comprehension should be able to see that this parable has nothing to do with money. The seed is the word of God. Even a brand new baby Christian should be able to look at this and say “I don’t think these fellows are teaching this correctly”

Let’s continue with Jesus’ explanation

Luke 8:12-15 NASB
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

This parable is about what happens when the word of God is sown or revealed in the heart of a person. It may be the most important parable Jesus taught. Why do I say that? Because Jesus said this:

Mark 4:13
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Jesus is saying that if you don’t understand this parable you won’t understand any of the parables he taught. This is a foundational teaching!

By misapplying the parable of the sower, these false teachers do great damage to God’s people. First, by falsely claiming that God works like some kind of cosmic slot machine, but the real damage is in the fact that believers are robbed of the true meaning of this teaching.

The parable of the sower is at work every time God’s Word is revealed to you. In fact it is at work right now in many of you who are reading this.

I know that many of you will read this and say “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that my favorite preacher would preach a false message” You’ll reject what I’m saying. You’ll actually be rejecting the words of Jesus.

The devil has come already to steal this word from you.

Some of you will hear what I say and receive it gladly. “Glory to God” you’ll say, “preach it brother…. Hallelujah” But you won’t take the time to really meditate on this word. You won’t really apply it.

And then a testing will come, a test to see if you really believe, trust in, rely on, and adhere to what you claim to believe. Testing is because of the word sown in your heart. You’ll be challenged. God Himself will allow that challenge, that test.

Will you pass the test? Or will you revert back to your traditional thinking?

And of course some of you will hear and believe but you won’t give this word the proper place in your life. You’ll think about it for a while. You’ll decide that it’s right but then you’ll get on with your life. You’ll get busy with your job, your family, your daily responsibilities and it will recede further and further into the recesses of your heart until it has no real value to you.

A lot of people think that today’s “Prosperity” teaching only affects those in the ‘Word-Faith’ movement. But it’s effects are felt far more widely than that. Jesus said, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” and we find that this insidious teaching has infected large sections of the body of Christ in all kinds of ways. -Especially in America. One of the main reasons for this is because it has aligned itself so successfully with CHRISTIAN TELEVISION.

The fact is, Christian TV can be costly, so it helps to have lots of money. And the “Prosperity” teaching is a proven money-maker for preachers. It really gets people giving! And so these kinds of preachers thrive on television. But it sure is a sick kind of “Christianity” that is presented. And totally unscriptural, as we shall see.

The Prosperity gospel basically teaches that not only does Jesus want to take away your sins and heal your body, but He also wants you to be prosperous and even “rich”. -Not just ‘SPIRITUALLY’ rich, but actually blessed with all kinds of possessions, cars and houses, etc. Because, of course, any kind of poverty and suffering is a “curse”, and we know that Jesus came to set us free from the ‘curse’.

Now of course there is some truth in this. If there wasn’t, then this false teaching would never get off the ground.

But the Bible makes it very clear that Jesus’ followers can expect to SHARE IN HIS SUFFERINGS (Rom 8:17, Lk 14:27, etc). The Scriptures also speak again and again of Jesus’ affinity with the POOR and His opposition to those who are rich. In fact, the sheer weight of Scriptures on this subject is staggering. It is amazing to me that the Prosperity teachers can get away with the things that they say. Doesn’t anybody read their Bible any more?

The fact is, these people can find only ONE verse that mentions “Prosperity” in the whole New Testament (-and it is of dubious help, as we shall see). And there are dozens and dozens of verses in opposition! But which one do they choose to quote again and again? Here it is in the King James version (-which is the only translation that helps them in any way): “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2). Now, it is interesting to note what this word “prosper” really means in this verse. Renowned Greek scholar W.E. Vine says that it simply speaks of “the prosperity of physical and spiritual health.” So it’s not about MONEY at all!

And thus we find that in all the later translations, this meaning is made clear. For example, the NIV translation says: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2). Isn’t that interesting?

As I said, this is one of the ONLY VERSES that these Prosperity teachers quote in the entire New Testament. If they are honest, they will admit that most of the rest of the NT is squarely AGAINST THEM.

What I would encourage anyone to do, who wants to research this subject, is to get a Concordance and look up EVERY VERSE in the New Testament that contains these words: (1) Rich or Riches, (2) Money, (3) Poor, (4) Mammon (5) Possessions, (6) Treasure, (7) Sell or Sold, etc.

You will be absolutely amazed at how strong the NT Scriptures are on this subject. I did this exact search years ago, and was astonished at what I found.

When you look up the word ‘Rich’ you find Scriptures such as this: “Woe unto you that are rich! For you have received your consolation” (Lk 6:24) and “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Lk 18:24-25, NIV) and “People who want to GET RICH fall into temptation and a trap” (1 Tim 6:9) and “You rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you” (Ja 5:1). There are many more along similar lines. Go and look them up, and you will see!

We find that when Jesus was preaching kingdom principles he was very strong in this area. When the ‘Rich young man’ came to him, He told him: “SELL your possessions and give to the POOR, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mt 19:21, NIV). He also told his own disciples to “SELL your possessions and give to the POOR” (Lk 12:33).

In my recent article on “Tithing” we discussed the whole issue of ‘Giving’ in the New Testament. The fact is, there is no “law” telling Christians to give 10%. In fact, what the NT makes clear is that EVERYTHING we have literally belongs to God. Many people claim that “All I have is God’s” but they do not act like it! In the New Testament it is clear that it was EXPECTED for Christians to sell any spare possessions, land or houses, to give to their needy brothers and sisters – especially widows and orphans. They certainly weren’t giving their money to wealthy preachers on TV! And neither were they giving it to erect a new church building on the corner! (-Such things did not exist). They were giving from their HEART – and while some of it went to support the ministry, MOST of it clearly went to feed and clothe the POOR. (See Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:34-37).

Some people today want to go back to the Old Testament and use people like Solomon and Abraham as examples of RICH people to emulate. But what they fail to realize is that the Old Testament is a ‘type’ or a “SHADOW” of the New. (Col 2:16, Heb 10:1). The Old was a “physical” covenant, with a “physical” temple and rituals, etc. The “blessings” of God were also mostly PHYSICAL and material. But today we have a “spiritual” covenant – a “heart-based” covenant, with mostly SPIRITUAL blessings. That is why we should not seek Old Testament wealth today. -We live under a different covenant.

It is very obvious from the New Testament that there is NO SUCH THING as a ‘Prosperity’ gospel. In fact, it is the exact OPPOSITE. Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are POOR, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk 6:20). And James declared: “Has not God chosen those who are POOR in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (Ja 2:5, NIV). Jesus clearly stated that you “CANNOT serve God and Mammon” (Mt 6:24) and yet it is obvious that many Christians today are trying to serve BOTH. The ‘Prosperity’ teaching clearly encourages this. It is a very dangerous and harmful fallacy.

So does God want to bless His children or not? Of course He does! But He wants to bless us so that we can GIVE MORE AWAY – NOT so that we can hoard more luxuries to ourselves. How can it be right for some Christians to be wealthy and rolling in money and possessions, while just down the street there are Christians who barely have enough to eat? And what about our needy brothers and sisters overseas?

There is a prophecy about the coming move of God that one thing it will be built on is “Extravagant giving to the poor.” I truly believe this. I am convinced that it is something that is very high on God’s agenda.

“SEED-FAITH” GIVING

It is important that I make a few comments about the ‘Seed-Faith’ teaching here, because so many TV preachers use it to pressure people to give to their ministry. What it amounts to is a “Give-to-Get” doctrine that blatantly twists Scripture.

When a preacher says something like, “Sow a seed of $100 into my ministry today, and God will give you back 100-fold,” then they are operating out of this “Seed-Faith” doctrine. What they are really saying is, “Give to get”. The motivation for giving is not so much to bless that ministry, but to GET SOMETHING BACK from God. The motivation is all twisted. Do they really expect God to “bless” something so wrong-hearted?

But the TV preachers love this doctrine, because it enables them to gather huge sums of money. And surprisingly, studies have shown that it is the poor and needy who give most often to these TV preachers. Why is this? -Because these people often feel that only a financial “miracle” can save them. It is not uncommon for desperate Christians to give and give, well beyond their means, in the hope that God will rescue them. Some will even lose their homes. And the elderly and the sick often give sacrificially in the hope of some kind of improvement.

Many preachers are fully aware of the kind of people they are exploiting. How sick it all is. As Jesus said in Mt 23:14, ?Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses.? I shudder to think of the fate that awaits some of these preachers on Judgement Day.

Much of the reasoning behind this “Seed-Faith” teaching is a distortion of ‘Sowing and Reaping’, which is a biblical concept. But when it is distorted by preachers and sold as a means of “Giving to get” then it has gone well beyond the Scriptures. The purity of simply “giving from the heart” is lost and replaced with selfish motives. People give because the preacher “guarantees” they will get a ‘big return’ on their investment! The motivation is so wrong that it is no wonder that this doctrine has produced disastrous fruit in the church. It is one of the sickest things around.

So next time you hear a preacher using this kind of manipulation to get you to give him $100, make sure you rebuke the deception in the name of Jesus, and turn the television off!

We would all be far better off giving to the poor.

Here is the conclusion to this article:

From the “gospel” garnished American Dream, which is all about living in comfort, and getting your own, and enjoying life NOW. A “gospel” that tells us God wants to give us everything we ever dreamed about if we come to him Dream Career,Great Kids, Lovely Spouse, $$$$$. We have been so locked into that mindset and latched on like leeches that i wonder how many of us, would in the face of; trails, difficulty, persecution declare, like Shedrach,Meshac and Abednego, “even if he does not save us from the furnace”, we will not deny our God.. I ask myself that every so often.

I think that is something we REALLY need to come to terms with in the days that lie ahead for true Christianity in a God hating world.

A day and age, where one person can file lawsuits to take down a cross on public property,which the rest of the town likes

Remove the Ten Commandments plaques in schools and court rooms

Remove any identification of Christianity on public property

Be fired or sued for sharing your faith in your own business premises, when the other party initiated the conversation

Be ordered to take down bill boards that say “satan is not welcome in this town” – YES, that really happened

A day that all you have to do is mention you are a Christian and doors are slammed in your face.

When you can be fired, sued or arrested for sharing your faith. A pastor can be arrested in his own church, for “hate crime” or preaching intolerance, can be forced to hire a person whose lifestyle goes against everything the church against or be charged with discrimination.

We are not talking about iron curtain countries this is happening in “the free world”.

Things are not going to change no matter how we fast and pray.The current social,moral and political occurrences have been predicted in both the old and new testament. It’s said that the last days will be like the days of Noah. (read Matt 24)

Men would become lovers of themselves,Aren’t we in a time where it’s all about YOU, The adverts, the movies,the songs, the divorces(MY needs weren’t being met).

Like the people in Noah’s days, they denied and hated God. They disregarded morality ,silenced their conscience, and sin increased, they living hedonistic self-serving lives; they mocked Noah and his “fairy tale ” God. Noah lived in preparation for the flood, he was not concerned about having a mansion ,the best cars.

Does this mean we should fold our hands and resolve to be the bottom of the barrel in finances or our careers ? NO

Does this mean one should not be responsible, contributing citizen while on earth,NO .

Does it mean that we should abandon everything and all flock to a mountain resort and live like monks waiting for the Rapture. NO.

Does this mean we should live in mediocrity and not make an effort NO

The point here is , where was his focus, where did he channel most of his energy, and

WHO was he listening to? Societal expectations? Criticism/mockery from the ungodly?

Was he concerned with Impressing the sinners with “God’s material blessing”, so they could run to him for those things they are already chasing? NO.

His concern was with his assignment; building the ark, and warning, preaching, trying to save as many people as possible before the inevitable. But they went on ,acquiring, partying and leaving Noah to his ark building “Don’t worry, Live, there is no God” ,Sound familiar??

I may be wrong ,but It is quite possible that there were other men and women that feared God in that time. But they didn’t want to get involved in Noah’s “taking it too far and he’s making the rest of us look bad”. Maybe he was delusional after all that time in the sun, early stages of Alzheimer or something. Who wants to look like a fanatic after all ? .

So they carried on, business as usual, thanking God for the customers that made them richer, a large turnover, the new barns they built and livestock they’d bought. Perhaps even threw a party for a bountiful harvest. All while Noah, worked on that ark, babbling about some unheard of phenomenon happening . To destroy THIS WORLD!!!!, the one God had just blessed them with lands, livestock,vineyards and over flowing barns? NAH.That’s not MY God, The devil is a liar
(a parallel to those that were too busy with “taking care of business” to attend the great feast Matt 22)

Noah may have won most valuable customer 120 years running ,at the local B&Q of his day. Sadly the CEO,shareholders, board of directors,manager, check out boy and the staff watched their best customer sail off as they sank down to a lost eternity.

Once again,
This is not to say that we are only righteous or saved if we are poor or barely getting by.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with earning well in our careers. Or

Having a business that grows phenomenally or even wanting to have more than enough for our spouse and kids.

BUT

Whether we admit it or not, When financial prosperity is our BIGGEST and SOLE goal,

When those are the only scriptures we know.

When building OUR Kingdom on earth puts on such blinders, that we can’t even see the world sinking around us in sin, and they march right pass us in gleeful conga a line to hell, and our eyes are so focused on ourselves or asset building, that we ignore them, THAT is a huge problem.

Jesus himself said “My Kingdom is not of this world”, why then are we so blinded to think he has promised us one HERE. Why aren’t we pointing others to him and HIS kingdom???

Im not going to pretend I have it all figured out(i haven’t even scratched the adamantium like surface ) nor i have reached that position like the apostles.Nor do i smile when i think about it or that i look forward to it.The possibility of being called to a life that is not cushy or flowing easy.Facing Constant conflict to my faith/life , swimming against the tide,as everyone else relaxes and seemingly “enjoys life” carried by the ebb. Believe me, i am still coming to terms with it all the time and it is HARD, Ko Easy.

Like most people, I have lofty dreams, goals, ambitions, I’m not a masochist, so im not venturing out looking for suffering or discomfort.

BUT

At some point we just have to surrender it all to the Lord, instead of wanting to Live La Vida ,spiritually living in comfort, in the sweet by and by, getting fat and lazy with no challenge or REAL building to our faith. We have to submit our ambitions, goals, dreams, intentions,assets. and ask the Lord, if all we are doing is IN LINE with what HE wants us to do.

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church, should not be of failure but succeeding at things that in Life, don’t really matter - Tim Kizzar”

We need to be the ambassadors that he called us to be. An ambassador does not try to establish his own embassy in the land he has been sent to, he is a representative of that from Kingdom, which he has been sent and his commander-in-chief makes sure that his needs are met at all times.

What should most concern us, is, when it’s all said and done,

After all the employee awards, mansion, 4 apartment building,tightest whip in the hood , 2 month global holidays, 40 page balance sheets, paid off mortgage , platinum album, appearance on the magazine front cover,blockbuster movie.

How would we answer when he asks,

WHY SHOULD I LET YOU INTO MY KINGDOM

I highly recommend the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, It would help your ascertain where you are now.it would open your eyes into a new way of thinking about your faith , and walk with Christ. A true defibrillator and Challenge for anyone that reads it and TRULY seeks a deeper walk with God.

“ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY”-JFK

That is one of the most recognized lines in the history of speech making. Most of us don’t have to be told that it’s from John F Kennedy,one of the youngest Presidents of the United States of America. A speech to rally up the people to stop focusing on themselves, and think about how they can each contribute to the greater benefit of the nation. As later years would show , Kennedy had a lot of skeletons in the closet, that would follow him in presidential and private Legacy, but that was such a profound statement, that immortalized him.

Somehow and unfortunately we “modern day” Christians have gotten it twisted. We’ve flipped it round and it’s become

“Lord, ask me, not what i can do for your Kingdom, but what you can do to build MINE”.

The modern day “gospel” has become so focused on, How we can, Get our best life now, “Write our own ticket “, claim our inheritance NOW, that there little or no room in our minds , thoughts or desires to ask,

How we as individuals can further the Kingdom by bringing more people in. Just like the prodigal that demanded his inheritance before the appointed time, we. The consensus is,

“When we as Christians are wealthy, we can pay higher tithe, therefore , have more money to build bigger churches and send missionaries out”.

The truth is, if furthering the Kingdom was our REAL and number 1 concern, we’d ask for God to bless that ministry , and not be requesting him to use us as the financial conduit or middleman, who gets a 90% commission.

That big bonus, or huge salary rise would go to the building,missionary or homeless fund, and not to a brand new whip, or wardrobe upgrade. If the biggest reason for financial increase was the Kingdom. We’d give more of our time, skills and talent directly to the church or ministry , voluntarily ,so the church could direct funds elsewhere.

Our prayers would be “God, please supply just enough for my needs, so I’m not worried about money, but not more than i need, that my heart would stray from you”.

NOW, this is NOT to say we can’t aspire to be financially comfortable, own a big business, or succeed exceptionally in our chosen careers.

The point is, we spend so much time , claiming the wealth “promises” and what God can do for US, that we rarely turn and ask,

“Lord, what is it that you have set out for me to do for YOUR kingdom”.

We think, it’s the job of the pastor, deacons, ministers , elders etc. We rarely cry like Isaiah “Here i am, send me”. Most of our thoughts and actions go, “Here’s my money, send it..but don’t even think of asking me to go anywhere or do anything”

Once again, THIS IS NOT against , attaining success financially or otherwise, But i think we should just admit that we want wealth, success etc. for our own comfort , instead of the sanctimonious, “I’m praying for it for the Kingdom sake”.

We are not fooling GOD, when the Kingdom is just a very last, after thought for that wealth desire and we pretend like it’s the first .

Remember Annanias and Saphira??

I was listening to a teaching on the Prodigal Son yesterday, and it occurred to me, that with numerous teachings on how to have a ;best life now, and riches NOW. We demand our inheritance from God NOW, and want to go off and enjoy, while we leave the harvest and the building of the Family Empire(God’s Kingdom) to our more mature siblings i.e the missionaries,pastors, the evangelists. We aren’t concerned about the generations to come after us, all we want to do is grab as much of the inheritance right NOW.

This is NOT against having financial success, but it’s evident that it’s become a SOLE focus. A lot of us due to certain teaching, ONLY see God as a cosmic bell hop; there to respond to our chanting of twisted/mis interpreted scripture at him .Our thought patterns have made scripture an ATM pin code to Heavens bank account instead of “for reproof, correction and training in righteousness”.

In the past 40 years or so, Christianity has adopted the American Dream, and just tied a ribbon of scripture around it to pass it off as Gospel. A message that is so focused on a comfortable cushy problem free materialistic life, that the early church would spin in their graves ,if they found out what we are teaching, “is this what we were killed and fed to the lions for!!!”.

A lot of which sounds no different from what you’d hear at a secular Wealth Building/Self empowerment seminar, (a few of which have metaphysical origins). Our justification!! “The Lord promised me”.Now there is nothing wrong with personal development, but it should not be done at the expense of a person’s soul.

In fact, if you are familiar with personal development, you can hear some sermons almost lifted verbatim, from some self help books and tapes. This is not to say personal development is wrong, but we have to be aware that some of it , and it’s speakers also learn from new age and other questionable movements.

Some “pastors” have gone as far to say we should not pray “if it be thy will Lord”. They claim it’s a prayer of doubt. But isn’t that a HUGE contradiction to Jesus teaching the disciples to pray “Our Father………YOUR will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven”

Are we to listen to their method and not the Lord Jesus. You’d be surprised and frightened at who some of the people saying this are, huge and influential ministries for decades, but that is not for today.

Looking at the early church, the early apostles, none of them had a cushy, problem free lifestyle. None of them sat in their La Z boy ,saying

“That’s not my calling, I’ll lick a few stamps, and write a cheque but that’s it”.

Imagine if Paul,Peter, Timothy John the Revelator had many of our attitudes??

Too far back to relate to?

What would be of what we know of the Church today, if John Calvin decided all wanted to do was sign cheques. Or Martin Luther thought he’d leave the expounding to the Pastor alone. What if Charles Spurgeon or George Mueller,John Bunyan, Smith Wigglesworth, decided that, he’d chill at home and just send a love gift to God TV when the Dow Jones jumps a few points.

Still don’t know DO SOME RESEARCH ON THESE EARLY 20TH CENTURY REFORMERS

The Bible says “take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day” .It didn’t say, “contribute to the armor fund and watch the ship sail off then go home and lean back”

This is not saying that we are all going to be missionaries in the field, pastors or in a direct form of ministry. But regardless we are still asked to take on the armor, and not just those in the five fold ministry. We may not be in the front lines like the missionaries and the Pastors but we are the reserve army that could be called to report at any time. What if in the wealth we are claiming and fighting so much for, we get too fat for the armor.

We’ve consumed so much “good stuff” that when the battle-cry comes, we’ve gained too much weight to fit into the armor. We are too lethargic to even move.

The breast plate of righteousness, is bursting at the seams and no longer protects our sides , because we may have engaged in something dodgy to attain that “promised” wealth.

The shield of faith has weakened because after attaining the wealth or while seeking it, Church becomes mechanical, routine, if at all we go, and spiritual growth has become irrelevant.

As for the sword of the spirit, we have absorbed so many wealth and sweet by and by, “promises” that the battle preparation,spiritual war fare verses were neglected.

The verses that predict the inevitable are skipped over and downplayed as only judgement on the heathen not us “the saved”.

The verses that enable us to prepare for the battle, that is “not against flesh and blood” are glossed over.

How can we be battle ready if we have been so fattened by the spiritual equivalent of Twinkies,Ding Dongs and Dumplings, that we can barely fit into the armour(if we remember where it is and how to put it on)

Modern “gospel” is lot a more of ” Lifestyle of the rich and Famous” justified by twisting scripture,than it is truth .

We have been programmed in self preservation(physical,emotional,reputation) and many celebrity Pastors who “preach” messages that ; lack Repentance from sin,Remorse over sin,Holiness,Righteous living, passion for lost souls.

All in an attempt to be politically correct and avoid losing or offending their unrepentant fans(yes fans), who sit to hear all about how God is going to give them all the desires of their heart. but requires no change or sacrifice from them. They care more about being high on popularity and opinion polls, than they do do uncompromising Biblical truth on Sin and Salvation…

….but you may think, “they give altar calls and many people answer and are are saved, God is using them” . OK. But who are the people answering the altar call????

The people that want a Jesus upgrade from a Buick to a Mercedes, to move from The Projects to a Penthouse, from RV Holidays to Jet Skiing in Barbados.

Those “converts” don’t want Jesus,
They want what they can get by dropping his name in front of God.But he better not mess with their default settings.

At least those that go to Tony Robbins Wealth seminar are honest about why they are there, and to be frank experience more success, than those falsely converting ,and claiming promises with misinterpreted scripture.

MENTAL QUIZ: Think of this, how many people attend a seminar on

Holiness and growing in Christ, Being an effective witness

as opposed to the masses that attend a Achieve your destiny ,Enter your prosperity.

Believe me, I know, been guilty of it myself.

When many of these celebrity pastors are directly confronted by secular media, or non believers about sin or salvation, they water it down, or give the greatest single answer dodging line(s)

“it’s not my place to judge” , “i can’t tell you who’s going to heaven and who’s not going”,

OH, and here’s a big winner “Judge not, i can’t judge somebody’s heart, i don’t know their hear, only God knows it.”

YES, it’s not your place to judge,don’t give them your opinion, just tell them what the Bible categorically states on the issue of sin and how to assure salvation.

“..The heart of man is desperately wicked no one can know it…”- Jeremiah 17:9
“…you shall know them by their fruit”- MATT 7:18-20

“I am THE way the truth and the NO ONE comes to the father but by me” -John 14:6

.PRETTY CLEAR ISN’T IT

Instead they promote a cotton candy, lah lah land, Care Bear picture of God. YES, he is a Loving God, but he is also an incorruptible Judge, who will not acquit the guilty or those that wilfully and even gleefully break his law

They neglect the fact that people are living unrepentant and unwilling to change in sin and say “Smile God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.

Imagine that pasted over the side of Noah’s ark.

They paint the life a Christian is to live as some Shan gri La….A Paradise Island, .If you are not rich and completely healthy 100% , you either

1)Need to give more to their ministry
2)Buy their book and find out how to achieve it
3)Don’t have enough faith for 100% health and wealth,and you are a doubter

Quite a contrast from the lives the Apostles lived, or even the one Christ told us to expect in Matthew 10 & 24.

This is not about going out, like a suffer seeking missile, causing trouble and seeking persecution. We are not masochist. But we have to realize that the feel good message feeding the flock is no good. We want to be fed , stay at home and never be called or leave for the mission and battlefields, literally or metaphorically. Growing fat, like an over feed, yet under nourished hamster, protected from the world in it’s cage.

We all have seen, how a once magnificent athlete makes it big, becomes rich , comfortable , famous, dates and marries a stunner. Having struck career and personal gold, he gets distracted ,then adds weight and starts to perform poorly on the field, Letting down the team and the fans, eventually benched, not so long after being on the road to Legend status.

Imagine being an NFL quarterback and your two blockers have become over weight and can barely move, already wheezing in the huddle before the game has started. Would you want them, or feel confident with them having your back as you charge the opposition?

NOW Imagine that was YOU on the front-line of a battlefield, war, life and death situation, and those are the people giving you back up. Sword to sword combat, without the safety of long range weapons. There’s no mention of missile,Jet fighters or M16′s in the armour of God.We are in the thick of the battle, your only protection is your training, weapons and your allies. Getting the picture??

As we are meant to be soldiers for Christ and the Kingdom, what does this say about our state of fitness.

Fat and lethargic soldiers in the real world are useless and certainly likewise in the spiritual,they do the army of God no good. The opposition is well armed and fully aware of what to do . Nobody carries an overweight and lethargic soldier into battle , they get left behind in the base , miss the battle, and the rewards of victory, they most likely get a dishonorable discharge.

TO BE CONTINUED

PS- All this is as much and perhaps bigger challenge to me as it is to anyone else that remembers the importance of The Great Commission over The great 401k.

This note is NOT about being mediocre, poor and using Holiness as an excuse. But against an obsession with money that makes people pervert, misinterpret and twist scripture to justify greed.