Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 17 May 2013

Eternity Blindfolded

Have you noticed how fast time is passing by? Do you find yourself saying, “There is not enough time in a day?” It’s as if there has been an acceleration of time in earth.

Things are changing so rapidly. Technology is dated every 6 months; privacy is no longer valued; things that were abnormal are now normal; the forbidden is now tolerated; and freedom of speech, especially when it comes to the sharing of God’s Truth, is now considered a crime of hate to those who don’t agree with the word.

Something is definitely brewing and our generation fails to see it because we have become Eternity Blind-folded.

When a smartphone generation, constantly changing with the latest trends, tries to serve a God that never deviates from His word, the perception of who God is becomes diluted to accommodate the current flow of the culture.  Even “Spiritual” leaders of this generation are convinced that the God of the Old Testament is not the God of the New Testament. Who told you that? Hebrews 13:8 says, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  The judgment seat is now the seat of mercy, but God is still the God that judges.

Jesus provides, beforehand, two examples of what it would be like when the Lord returns and judges a nation of people (Lk 17:22-33). If one would spiritually heed to these judgments, of a people who accepted what God deemed abnormal as normal, they would find that Jesus’ return may be much sooner than one thinks. We can’t allow the number of times that we have heard “Jesus is Coming Back” to desensitize us to the undeniable Truth that Jesus WILL return. And if the Days of Noah and the Days of Lot are any indication of when He’s returning, the Lord’s sudden appearance may be much sooner than any of us ever thought.

Like those in the day of Noah, this nation no longer has a concern for spiritual things. We are preoccupied with living a life of self-indulgence, and to the exclusion of God. Yet, when in need, we do not hesitate to run to him for rescuing. Our perception of who God is, His role as Lord, has been deduced to servant.  And like those in the Day of Lot, EVERYTHING has become about sex – pleasing the flesh and without boundaries.  From the cartoons on television to every product sold on a shelf, sensual appeal is the marketing scheme used to lure the people. Even the churches have become Sin Dens  – home to “Christians” guilty of Sexual Immorality.

The Day of the Lord is near, and the enemy is aware. It is for this reason that he has, cunningly, kept us so consumed with ourselves (our personal issues, desires, our flesh, our lives) that we have been Blind to Eternity – that which is inescapable and swiftly upon us. He knows that if we are consumed enough with just living, we will be distracted from that which is spiritual, and miss the signs of the Lord’s return.

Has the enemy blindfolded you to eternity? If so, what are you going to do about it?

by Pastor Tavares Robinson

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 19 Oct 2012

A Nation Divided; A Church Delusional

Written on October 17, 2012 by Pastor Tavares Robinson

Before now, I have never seen, so much division in America. This year’s Presidential Election, alone, has the potential to produce a 21st Century Civil war. It would all be easier to understand if the conflict stemmed from unregenerate individuals governed by the works of their flesh; but this is not the case. Instead, a vast majority of the strife and chaos causing the division is birthed from those who are, supposedly, born again believers. Those who claim to believe and live by the teachings of Christ. I am appalled, ashamed and saddened by my fellow pastoral leaders who have used their influence, ethnic race, charisma, power, and popularity to sway those under them to back the political parties that they, themselves, personally support.

America, a nation founded on the principles of God, is perilously divided. The nation has forgotten about God, and the American church, which is supposed to speak on the behalf of God, is under a delusion. The church has lost sight of who is truly the head of the church. Many cannot comprehend the critical state of this nation’s spiritual condition. Moreover, they fail to see that the declining condition of the church has directly affected that of the nation. Today, our nation is immoral! Why? Because the church, first, lost it’s morality; Today, more and more people are becoming Anti-God. Why? Because the church elevated man’s agenda before God’s. Why is it that a nation whose laws once paralleled scripture, now despise the Bible? Its simple. The church no longer live and teach the Bible.  America has become the nation that hates God, clearly because the church in America does not know Him!

America is drowning in humanism as the church’s main focus and objective continues to be “Purpose Driven”. Today’s culture, unapologetically,  bleeds with self-centeredness, while leaders of the church erroneously encourage narcissistic behavior. The pulpit used to be the voice and the moral conscience of a nation. It’s whole purpose was to be the resource and dispenser of God’s truth to mankind (1 Timothy 3:15). But many on Christian platforms have been muzzled, losing their voice because they, like many others, have bought into and are corrupting the minds of the people with a secular version of love. In an attempt to be more “liked” or “accepted” by the people, leaders have ceased to proclaim the hard truths concerning Christ and his word. We are more worried about having a loving, non-judgmental appearance than teaching a word that brings conviction and consequently, godly correction and change.

This diabolical scheme of the enemy was sold to the church and we paid full price for it.  Now, the church leadership is being hijacked by men, who the apostle Paul would have never placed in charge; especially not to be the voice to the nations. Instead of preachers, we have business men; instead of preaching on sin; they motivate and proclaim the essentials of high self esteem. God doesn’t need or want politicians in this hour.  He needs true prophets!!! God is looking for those individuals that Jeremiah spoke of in Jeremiah 23:18:

But who among them has listened to the Lord, that he should see and hear His Word? Who has given thought to His Word and listened?

What God is saying to America, should be the focus of every church today. Clearly, the handwriting of the Lord is on the wall, and time is quickly approaching when popular and celebrity preachers will be called on to diagnose the signs but will have no answer. We are delusional to think that the same God who blessed our Nation, will not, in his sovereignty, also severely punish our Nation. The judgment of the Lord is upon us. And as the days progress, we will see a greater manifestation of his correction and  abandonment. Is there hope? Of course there is, but we will not go unpunished. Like the Nation of Israel in the Days of Jeremiah, America has rejected the counsel of God too many times to avoid what The Lord has already put into play. His wrath on this nation is inevitable, but just.

So, what’s the hope? The hope is that those, that are a part of God’s faithful remnant, can rest assured knowing he will never forsake His chosen, called out ones. Not even in this midst of his wrath.

Regardless of who you are – your talent, attendance record, “ministry” or title, now is the  time for each of us to examine (judge) ourselves that we may not be judged. It’s time for us to take serious inventory of our walks, to see if we are in the truth faith, and not the very popular, but distorted faith. It’s time for God’s people to shift their focus from the temporal things of this world, and become more eternally minded – valuing things that have heavenly value.

God’s word must have complete authority over our lives, instead of our ever-changing feelings and needs. The time has come for us to stop pursuing positions of importance, and start desiring conformity to Christ’s image. We have to get back to the essential mindset of the believer which is that “this world is not our home”. We are merely pilgrims passing through. Not citizens! Christ and his agenda has to be the focus of our meetings. Not entertainment! We have to become Spirit-driven people. Not a cultural-relative people that change with the generational trends.

Believe it or not, the time has come. Christ is about to do what he must to bring America back to the revelation that,  apart from him, we are nothing!

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 20 Sep 2012

Truth In Far Too Many Churches Today!

TRUTH IN FAR TOO MANY CHURCHES TODAY!
Holy Anger in the Pews: An Open Letter to Hirelings

Dear Pastor,

We don’t know how you ended up in the pulpit. We only know what we hear from it. Whether you felt legitimately called or it’s just a nice career track, you are making your flock sick and weak.

In lieu of having any leadership to do this, let the sheep give you some pointers for preaching.

Do not insult us by getting up in the pulpit with a pop culture laden devotionalette. We don’t want to hear about the movie you saw the night before, stories from your vacation, college or NFL football analogies, quotes from Catholic mystics, Hollywood stars, M. Scott Peck or Dr. Phil.

We don’t want sermons on sex, live texting from the “audience”, 24/7 live cams from your own family reality show online, Michael Jackson Thriller dances, Circue du Soleil style acrobatic productions, hula praise dances or Christian yoga demonstrations.

Don’t have the “audience” perform hand motions to children’s songs, stage karaoke shows known as “special” music, or host motorcycle blessing ceremonies. Forget the car washes, classic car shows, balloon launches and helicopter rides. We don’t want Easter egg hunts; church-sponsored sleigh rides with Santa, Elvis impersonators or pie eating contests.

Don’t stand behind your plexiglass stands with gelled hair, open shirts to show off how “hot” you are, and torn jeans to show you are hip. We don’t care that you were a bad boy once with a history, we don’t care how hot sex is with your wife. We don’t want potty training jokes, lust jokes or jokes of any kind.

We abhor your self-indulgent, narcissistic “messages” with a little Jesus drizzled on top. We are sick to the point of vomiting with hearing about God’s love when his judgment is falling all around us. Your lukewarm, carnal ministry is making the entire congregation sick and diseased.

You are no shepherd. You are a Satanically-inspired fraud, and you are serving up poison on the installment plan. Sunday after Sunday after Sunday until the sheep under you are dying or leaving.

And for your information, we are leaving while we still can stand. Sitting at home, reading the Word of God is preferable to what you are serving up. There is an ancient phrase from Scripture that is comprised of three words, “Woe to you.” And woe to all the false shepherds, the hirelings who scatter the sheep of Christ’s flock.” – Punch Lines

Sincerely,
The Flock

Jeremiah 23

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 22 Apr 2012

Concerned to Discern

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Discernment

Does anybody care?

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jeremiah 5:30-31, KJV

As could be agreed upon by most believers, Christians have the right, even the duty, to evaluate and hold accountable to Holy Scripture those who profess the evangelical faith but who, for reason of their manifest beliefs and behaviors, appear to be departing from the faith.[1] Jude told his readers to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). To shirk this responsibility means that believers are being disobedient to the faith once for all delivered. To all Christians, the Spirit gives His anointing which places upon them the responsibility to discern the “spirit of truth” from the “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6; 2:20-21, 27). To the congregation at Rome Paul wrote:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18 (Compare Philippians 3:17-19.)

This same apostle also warned the elders at Ephesus:

I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. Acts 20:29-31

In one context, Paul even named the false teachers! (2 Timothy 2:17; Compare 1 Timothy 1:18-20.)

Thus, in fidelity to the apostolic injunctions, in open forums around the blogosphere, various websites attempt to differentiate truth from error. They do so because mainstream Christian publishers and churches—not wanting to become overly controversial and therefore risk the loss of membership and/or sales revenue—ignore issues that those in discernment ministry, for the sake of the integrity of God’s truth as revealed in Holy Scripture, raise. In past generations, evangelicals exposed and faced down the errors presented by Christian-like cults without, but now-a-days, for whatever reason, seem quite unwilling to expose equally destructive heresies within the movement itself. As John McArthur noted eighteen years ago, an undiscerning spirit amongst evangelicals has bred and is breeding “reckless faith.”[2]

On one occassion, an opponent of discernment ministry questioned the spirit in which discernment ministry is conducted; specifically, that because some writings are critical they are therefore unloving. In syllogistic fashion, this perception might be stated as follows:

Christians are to love other Christians.
Discerning Christians appear not to love other Christians.
Therefore, discerning Christians and discernment are un-Christian.

Such criticism ought to be taken seriously, especially in light of 1 John 4:20-21 which says:

If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

But the risk of being unloving ought not deter believers from exposing error in the context contending fot the truth. As Paul ordered, every believer ought to be to speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The problem within pan-evangelicalism today is that the movement weighs too heavy on the scale of love and too “lite” on the scale of truth. Nevertheless, with the anticipation that all will not agree, discernment ministry needs to contend for the faith without being contentious. But in the face of having lost the biblical and theological argument, discerners must recognize they might be subjected to the ad hominem attack of being called ”unloving”.

But interestingly, the apostle’s admonition to speak the truth in love follows on the heels of his stating his hope that the Ephesians would have matured to the point where they would no longer be “children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). Thus, one evidence of spiritual maturity involves the ability to differentiate spiritual truth—those beliefs and behaviors which accord with Holy Scripture—from spiritual error—those which do not agree with Holy Scripture. It is therefore understood that discernment must pursue the truth; but coordinately, must do so in a spirit of love. At times, and given the fleshly nature that remains in every Christian (none of us is perfect), this can become a difficult balance to keep.

Yet on this point of the accusation of being un-loving, the critics of discernment, if the issue has been researched and documented, usually do not accuse discernment authors of being untruthful; that is, that they lie. This of course, raises a consequent issue: can speaking of truth offend some persons to the degree that it creates in them an emotional impression that those who speak the truth do not love them?

On this point, we ought to remember that Proverbs inform us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6, NASB). We might also remember the instance when Jehoshaphat inquired of the king of Israel about where he could find a prophet of the Lord to make inquiry to. So the king of Israel informed Jehoshaphat: “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8). On another occasion Ahab addressed Elijah: “Have you found me, O my enemy?” (1 Kings 21:20). It is evident that the kings perceived the messages of these prophets, Micaiah and Elijah, to be unloving. Of the latter’s encounter with Ahab, Anglican pastor J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) noted something that is as relevant today as it was in his day. He observed:

Alas, there are many like Ahab in the nineteenth century! They like a ministry which does not make them uncomfortable, and send them home ill at ease. How is it with you? Oh, believe me, he is the best friend who tells you the most truth![3]

Granted, the New Testament informs Christians of their responsibility to be loving (John 17:23; 2 Timothy 2:14-16; James 4:11; 1 Peter 1:22; 4:7-8; 1 John 2:9, 11; 4:20-21; Jude 18-21). Agreed—we are to love genuine brothers and sisters in the Christian faith. But like Jesus, we are forced to ask, especially in the days of apostasy in which we live, “Who are our brothers?” (See Matthew 12:48.) Any definition of brotherhood must rest upon NT passages that define brotherhood to include those individuals who evidence submission and fidelity to the beliefs and behavior established by Holy Scripture, who together manifest that we’re members of the born-from-above family of God (John 3:3, 7). In Christendom, there are professors and possessors, for Paul wrote that, “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Romans 9:6). Ultimately, Jesus will separate the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:36-43). That is why the ministry of discerners ought to be discernment, not judgment. In the end, the Lord Jesus will judge (See John 5:26-30.).

Nevertheless, we need to look at 1 John to see if it confirms the assumption that division and differences are invariably wrong, that discernment hinders the greater Christian community from aggregating itself into a single polymorphous “Kumbaya.”

We note John wrote his first letter to a hurting church that false teachers/antichrists devastated with their false doctrines. False teachers—professed Christians who for reason of having subtly introduced destructive and divisive heresies into the body of Christ revealed they were not Christian—had devastated the church to which John was writing at that time and place (By the way, where’s the “love” on the part of false teachers?). The naïve sheep did not know what had hit them, what had ruined the loving fellowship they had once enjoyed. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are very unloving and destructive. The biblical metaphor implies they’re the natural born killers of the sheep. So John informed the remaining believers: “They [i.e., the false teachers and their followers] went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19). Discernment ministry is necessary to expose unbiblical beliefs and behaviors because they destroy the blessed fellowshiop enjoyed by His beloved. Discernment is necessary to expose those who, often contrary to their claim to be otherwise, are not “of us.” We note the division in the fellowship was instigated by those pretending to be Christians but were not. So John added: “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you” (1 John 2:26).

As in the politics of a free society, all of us have a right to state our take on the condition of Christianity today. It is the believer’s responsibility to state not only what’s right with the church, but also what’s wrong. Believers have the God given right, if not duty, in Scripture to express biblically informed opinions. Let the views play out in the marketplace of ideas, and may God’s truth win out in the hearts and minds of blog readers. Yet amidst it all, Jesus’ warning ought to be heeded:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:15-23, KJV

Jesus’ words serve as a solemn warning to all who profess to know Him, including any and all in discernment ministry. Paul tells us: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Again, the apostle instructs believers to “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; See Ephesians 5:11.). Yet again, he states:

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-5

In light of these scriptural admonitions—and others abundantly extant in both testaments—Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951) observed:

Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry . . .[4]

He then went on to state:

Error is like leaven of which we read, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.[5]

Genuine Christian love “does not,” indeed cannot, “rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). Meanwhile, as the apostasy of this current evil age unfolds and plays out, all of us ought to heed Jesus’ question:

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Luke 18:8

______________________
ENDNOTES
[1] We ought to remember that through two-thousand years of history, Christian churches, even the Roman Catholic, have declared certain beliefs to be incompatible with the Christian faith. Thus, discernment ministry has had a long history in the church. Discerners are not “the odd group out,” but rather find precedent for their ministry within the Protestant Reformation itself, for the key word in protestant is “protest”!
[2] John F. MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern (Wheaton, Il: Crossway Books, 1994).
[3] J.C. Ryle, “Unsearchable Riches,” Holiness (Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1879): 281.
[4] Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951) was a Bible teacher and author who for eighteen years served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church (1930-1948).
[5] Ibid.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 23 Nov 2011

A Church Experience is NOT a God Encounter by Tavares Robinson

Proverbs 22:16 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” According to a 2008 study commissioned by the Bush Administration, parents are attempting to do just that. The article, entitled Children in Christian Families more Likely to Attend Church Services, reveals that more that 96% of Christian children attend church. At first glance, this is great news. But don’t celebrate too fast. In a 2009 article, entitled How many Youth are Leaving the Church, researchers astoundingly disclose that “as little as 4% [of the 96%] will remain Christian”. So what happened to the other ninety-two percent?
It’s no secret that more and more young adults, after being raised in church, are choosing to leave their faith for the world. They are sprinting to the very things that they were taught to avoid; excited to indulge in that which they know could eternally separate them from God. But, why?
The answer is simple. Our children are attending church, but the enmity of their hearts towards God and His laws have not been altered. Week after week, Sunday after Sunday, we create, for our children, an attractive experience in church. They participate – doing all the things that Christian youth do – but never have a true encounter with God.
The enemy is after our youth, and in a zealous effort to save them from the world, we have missed the essentials. We’ve become so caught up in the “how” to get them in, that we’ve lost focus of “why” we’re trying so hard to draw them in the first place. The desire of every parent for their child should be salvation – conversion of the heart, alteration of mindset, deliverance from sin, and not just participation in church.  If our children are to remain faithful into young adulthood, they must have a relationship with God which is not possible without, first, having an encounter with Him.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find someone who had an encounter with God, and was left unchanged.
Consider Paul. Born as Saul of Tarsus, Paul was a very religious man. Even before he became a follower of Christ, he was actively involved in his ministry. Having received the best possible training under Gamaliel, a great teacher of Jewish beliefs, Saul was a good Pharisee who knew the word and sincerely believed that his conduct and participation in certain activities was supported by God.  With much knowledge of God, Saul zealously headed to Damascus in hopes of capturing Christians for persecution. But it was on this trip, that Saul, now Paul, had an encounter with God and received salvation.
Who would’ve known that prior to this trip, Saul was not saved! After all, he knew the Bible and was zealous about the work of God even volunteering to participate in the activities.
It wasn’t until after his encounter on the Road to Damascus that Paul says his new life in Christ began (Acts 26:12-20). It was here that God took off the mask and revealed to Saul who he was and who he was to be (Paul) according to His will. Paul made the decision, after meeting God, to follow Him. This meant forsaking that which he was knew. How is it possible for Paul to, now believe the Gospel, but continue to persecute Christians – those who also believed the Gospel? Would it make sense for Paul to follow Christ, but continue to fellowship with those who persecute Him?
It is for this reason that people cannot be saved without being separated from the world. We are trying to save our youth, but at the same time tell them that it’s okay to still be a part of the culture from which God saved you. They have to choose – just as Paul did. But they can’t have both. There is no dual citizenship with God. Paul not only confessed with His mouth that His new life in Christ had begun, but also with his actions (which were now contradictory to his previous actions).  But walking away from that which he once knew was an automatic once he had a personal encounter with God.
So, now I ask you, “How can one live in Christ never having a face-to-face meeting with Him? Meeting God is essential to building a relationship with Him.
Do you think that maybe our children are leaving the church because we’re asking them to follow, and even more difficult, live for, someone they’ve never even met? Would you spend the rest of your life with someone you don’t know – only hear about?
So, now what?
For direction, let’s look to Peter and John’s example. Acts, chapter 3, tells the story of Peter and the Crippled Beggar.  The Bible tells us that there was a lame man who was carried to the temple gates everyday to beg. In the Jewish religion, it was considered honorable to give money to the poor.  So, people would, on their way into the temple courts, give him what he asked – money.  And at the end of the day, the lame man would leave, just to return the next day reliving the experience – still crippled and in a position to beg.
[Like those who carried the man, we carry our children to church. They have an experience, some even get to show their talent, and they go home. Soon, returning just to relive the same experience all over again.]
On this particular day, Peter and John, were on their way to the temple to pray when they were asked by the beggar for money. Peter and John looked at the man. Then, Acts 3:4,5 reads, “And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, ‘Look at us.’ So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.”
[Just as Peter instructed the lame man to look at them, we should be able to tell our youth to look at us. When they are struggling in their walk or just in need of assistance, what they need to see is the example of those who have gone before them – us. We must be a living epistle of the very words we teach them. Many times, it’s through our lives that God’s word (His power) is illuminated for them.]
Peter and John didn’t, however, give the man money. They were able to see that this man needed something different. Had they given him what he wanted, like all the others had, he would still need someone to carry him to that same spot the next day.
Peter told the man that he didn’t have what he wanted, but instead he could offer something he needed. What he was offering would be life altering. The lame man would undergo a radical change that would be the beginning of a new way of life for him.
Acts Chapter 3 continues:
“…Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
So, what was it that Peter and John had to offer that all the others didn’t? We find out in Acts 3: 11-12.
11Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomons, greatly amazed. 12So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently as us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
Peter goes on to tell the people that it was not by his own power that the lame man was made to walk. Rather, by the power of God through faith. God gave a man with a church experience (routine) a God encounter (inconceivable) in which no one else could take credit for.
The humble lives of both Peter and John testified to the Power of God. God was able to use them because they did not desire to be recognized and lived lives that others could follow. If we want the young folk to change, we have to change. How can we lead the younger generation to a place we’ve never personally been?
Ask yourself, why do you come to church? Why do you drag your children to God’s house week after week? Are you looking for a temporary experience or do you desire a personal encounter with God?
If we want our children to be among the 4% that remains faithful, we must make changes in our own lives. We have to stop bringing people to church and start bringing them to God.  We must allow God to change us so that we’re in a position to share the power of God with our children when they’re in need.
We have missed the mark as a church! Let’s get back to God’s original purpose. Each individual starting with oneself.
If we truly desire to see our children change by the power of God and become the individuals God is calling them to be, there are a few things we must put a stop to.

  • Don’t give them what they want just to keep them. Church becomes entertainment and they attend for the wrong reasons.
  • Don’t prophesy to a call just because there’s a talent. Pre-maturely prophesying to a child’s gift may cause them to place their talent above their obedience to Christ.
  • Don’t allow those that are struggling in their sin to exercise their talent in the church. It leads them to believe that God accepts their offering because of their ability to perform versus their life of sacrifice (holiness).
  • Don’t focus on bringing your children to church, rather bringing them to God.  By doing so, you leave them open to seeking Him instead of all the other non-essentials that make up the church.
It is important to remember that God will not only hold us accountable to train our children in the way they should go, but also for being an example after which they can follow, and a vessel upon whom they can draw power.
by Pastor Tavares Robinson

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 22 Nov 2011

The Cry for Revival

IT IS INTERESTING to notice the time when
this prayer was offered. It was a time of mercy. “Lord thou hast been
favorable unto thy land”. It was a time when God had led many to the
knowledge of Christ, and covered many sins. “thou hast forgiven the
iniquity of thy people.” It was now they began to feel their need of
another visit of mercy — “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

The Thing Prayer For

“Revive us again,” or literally, return and make us live anew. It is
the prayer of those who have received some life, but feel their need of more.
They had been made alive by the Holy Spirit. They felt the sweetness and
excellence of this new, hidden, divine life. They pant for more — “Wilt
thou not revive us again?”

The Argument Presented

“That thy people may rejoice in thee.” They plead with God to do this
for the sake of His people, that their joy may be full; and that it may be in
the Lord — in the Lord of their Righteousness — in the Lord their Strength.

When is the Prayer needed:

In A Time of Backsliding

There are many times when, like Ephesus, many of God’s children lose their
first love. Iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold. Believers lose
their close and near communion with God. They go out of the holiest, and pray
at a distance with a curtain between. They lose their fervency, sweetness, and fullness
in secret prayer. They do not pour out their hearts to God.

They have lost their clear discovery of Christ. They see Him but dimly. They
have lost the sight of His beauty — the savor of His good ointment — the hold
of His garment. They seek him, but find Him not. They cannot stir up the heart
to lay hold on Christ.

The Spirit dwells scantily in their soul. The living water seems almost dried
up within them. The soul is dry and barren. Corruptions are strong: grace is
very weak.

Love to the brethren fades. United prayer is forsaken. The little assembly no
more appears beautiful. Compassion for the unconverted is low and cold. Sin is
unrebuked, though committed under their eye. Christ is not confessed before
men. Perhaps the soul falls into sin, and is afraid to return; it stays far off
from God, and lodges in the wilderness.

Ah! This is the case, I fear with many. It is a fearfully dangerous time.
Nothing but a visit of the Holy Spirit to your soul can persuade you to return.
It is not a time this prayer — “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

The soul of a believer needs grace every moment. “By the grace of God I am
what I am.” But there are times when he needs more grace that at other times.
Just as the body continually needs food; but there are times when it needs food
more than at others — times of great bodily exertion, when all powers are to
be put forth.

Sometimes the soul of a believer is exposed to hot persecution. Reproach breaks
the heart; or it beats like a scorching sun upon the head. “For my love
they are my adversaries.” Sometimes they are God’s children who reproach
us, and this is still harder to bear. The soul is ready to rest or sink under
it.

Sometimes it is flattery that tempts the soul. The world speaks well of us, and
we are tempted to pride and vanity. This is still worse to bear.

Sometimes Satan strives within us, by stirring up fearful corruptions, till
there is a tempest within. Oh, is there a tempted soul that reads these words?
Jesus prays for thee. You need more peace. Nothing but the oil of the Spirit
will feed the fire of grace when Satan is casting water on it. Send up this
cry, “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

In A Time Of Concern

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time if the latter rain.” When God
begins a time of concern in a place — when the dew is beginning to fall —
then is the time to pray, Lord, stay not thine hand — give us a full shower —
leave not one dry. “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

Who needs this revival?

Ministers Need It

Ministers are naturally hard-hearted and unbelieving as other men (Mark 6:14),
so that Christ has often to unbraid them. Their faith is all from above. They
must receive from God all that they give. In order to speak the truth with
power, they need a personal grasp of it. It is impossible to speak with power
from mere head knowledge, or even from past experience. If we would speak with
energy, it must be from present feeling of the truth as it is in Jesus. We cannot
speak of the hidden manna unless we have the taste of it on our mouth. We
cannot speak of the living water unless it be springing up within us. Like John
the Baptist, we must see Jesus coming, and say; “Behold the Lamb of
God.” We must speak with Christ in our eye, as Stephen did. “I see
Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” We must speak from a present
sense of pardon and access to God, or our words will be cold and lifeless. But
how can we do this if we are not quickened from above. Ministers are far more
exposed to be cast down than other men; they are standard bearers, and Satan
loves when a standard-bearer fainteth. Oh, what need of full supplies out of
Christ’s fullness! Pray, beloved, that it may be so. “Wilt thou not revive
us again?”

God’s Children Need It

The divine life is all from above. They have no life till they come to Christ.
“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have
no life in you.” Now this life is maintained by union to Christ, and by
getting fresh supplies every moment out of His fullness. “He that eateth
my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in Him.” In some
believers this life is maintained by a constant inflowing of the Holy Spirit —
“I will water it ever moment” — like the constant supply which the
branch receives from the vine. These are the happiest and most even Christians.
Others have flood-tides of the Spirit carrying them higher and higher.
Sometimes they get more in a day than for months before. In the one of these,
grace is like a river; in the other, it is like a shower coming down in its
season. Still, in both there is need of revival. The natural heart is all prone
to wither. Like a garden in summer, it dries up unless watered. The soul grows
faint and weary in well-doing. Grace is not natural to the heart. The old heart
is always for drying and fading. So the child of God needs to be continually
looking out, like Elijah’s servant, for the little cloud over the sea. You need
to be constantly pressing near the Fountain of living waters; yea, lying down
at the well-head of salvation, and drinking the living water. “Wilt thou
not revive us again?”

Those Formerly Awakened Need It

A drop fell from heaven upon their hearts. They trembled, wept, prayed. But the
showers passed by, and the rocky heart ceased to tremble. The eye again closed
in slumber; the lips forgot to pray. Ah, how common and sad is this case! The
King of Zion lifted up His voice in this place and cried. Some that were in
their graves heard His voice, and began to live. But this passed by, and now
they sink back again into the grace of a dead soul. Ah! This is a fearful
state! To go back to death, to love death, and wrong your soul. What can save
such a one, but another call from Jesus? “Awake, thou that sleepest, and
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” For your sake most
of all I pray, “Wilt thou not revive us again?”

Barren Fig Trees Need It

Some of you have been planted in this vineyard. You have enjoyed sun and
shower. You have passed through all this time of awakening without being moved.
You are still dead, barren, unconverted, fruitless. Ah! There is for you no
hope but in this prayer. Ordinary times will not move you. Your heart is harder
than that of other men. What need have you to pray for a deep, pure, effectual
work of God, and that you may not be passed by. Many of you would stand the
shock much better now. Many of you have grown experienced in resisting God, and
quenching the Spirit. Oh, pray for a time that will remove mountains. None but
the Almighty Spirit can touch your hard heart. “Who art thou, O great
mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” “Wilt thou
not revive us again?”

For whom revival comes:

It is God who must revive us again. It is not human work. It is all divine. If
you look to men to do it, you will only get that curse in Jeremiah 17.
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.”

The Lord has all the men in His hands. The Son of Man holds the seven stars in
His right hand. The stars are His ministers. He lifts them up, or lets them
down, at His sovereign will. He gives them all their light, or He takes it
away. He holds them up and lets them shine clearly, or He holds them in the
hollow of His hand, as it seemeth good in His sight. Sometimes He lets them
shine on one district of a country, sometimes another. They only shine to lead
to Him. The star that leads away from Him is a wandering star, and Christ will
cast it into the blackness for ever. We should pray to Christ to make His
ministers shine on us.

The Lord had the fullness of the Spirit to Him. The Father has entrusted the
whole work of redemption into the hands of Jesus, and so the spirit is given to
Him. “As the Father hath life in himself, and quickeneth whom he will, so
hath he given the son to have life in himself, and to quicken whom he
will.”

It is He who keeps all His own children alive from day to day. He is the
Fountain of living waters, and His children lie beside the still waters, and
drink every moment eternal life from Him.

It is He that pours down the Spirit in His sovereignty on those that never knew
Him. “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications.” Truly, the whole
work from the beginning to end is His.

Every means will be in vain until He pours the spirit down (Isaiah 32:15): Upon
the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers, “Until the spirit
be poured upon us from on high.” We may preach publicly, and from house to
house, we may teach the young, and warn the old, but all will be in vain; until
the spirit be poured upon us from on high, briers and thorns shall grow. Our
vineyard shall ne like the garden of the sluggard. We need that Christ should
awake; that He should make bare His arm as in the days of old; that He should
shed down the Spirit abundantly.

The children of God should plead with Him. Put your finger on the promise, and
plead, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, I the Lord
will hear them” (Isaiah 41:7). Tell Him you are poor and needy. Spread out
your wants before Him. Take your emptiness to His Fullness. There is an
infinite supply with Him for everything you need, at the very moment you need
it.

Ungodly men, you are saying, there is no promise to us. But there is, if you
will receive it. Psalms 68:28; “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led
captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious
also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” Are you a rebel? Go and
tell Him so. Oh, if you are willing to be justified by Him, and get your rebel
heart changed, go and ask Him, and He will give you living water. Proverbs
1:23; “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you,
I will make known my words unto you.” Go and tell Him you are a
“Simple one, a scorner”. Ask Him to do what He has promised in
Ezekiel 34:26; “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a
blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall
be showers of blessing.” Now you cannot say you belong to Zion’s hill, but
you can say you are in the places around this hill. Oh, cry, “Wilt thou
not revive us again?”

The Effects of A Revival

The Lord’s children rejoice in Him. They rejoice in Jesus Christ. The purest
joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus. When the Spirit is poured down, His
people get very near and clear views of the Lord Jesus. They eat His flesh and
drink His blood. They come to a personal cleaving to the Lord. They taste that
the Lord is gracious. His blood and righteousness appear infinitely perfect,
full, and free to their souls. They sit under His shadow with great delight.
They rest in the cleft of the rock. Their defense is the munitions of rocks.
They lean on the Beloved. They find infinite strength in Him for the use of
their soul — grace for grace — all they can need in any hour of trial and
suffering to the very end.

Then go by Him to the Father. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ.” We find a portion there — a shield, and exceeding great reward.
This gives joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Now, God loves to see His children happy in Himself. He loves to see all our
springs in Him. Take and plead that. Oh, you would pray after a different manner
if God were to pour water on the thirsty. You would tell Him all, open to Him
all sorrows, joys, cares, comforts. All would be told to Him.

Many flock to Christ. “Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves
to their windows?” “To him shall the gathering of the people
be.” Just as all the creatures came into the ark, so poor sinners run in
such a time. Laying aside their garments (Mark 10:50), their jealousies, they
flee together into the ark Jesus. Oh, there is not a lovelier sight in all this
world.

Souls are saved. “Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?” There
is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. They are
passed from death unto life.”

It is glorifying to God. “He that receives Christ, sets to his seal that
God is true.” He confesses the holiness of God, His love and grace. His
mouth is filled with praise. “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” He begins to
long for the image of God, to confess Him before men, to walk in His ways. It
gives joy in heaven, and joy in earth. Oh, pray for such a time.

There is an awakening again of those who have gone back. IF we have not a time
of the outpouring of the Spirit, many who once sought Christ, but have gone
back, will perish in a dreadful manner; for they generally turn worse than
before. Sometimes they scoff and make a jest of it all. Satan is all the worse,
that he once was an angel. So they become all the more wicked who have gone
back. They generally go deeper into the mire of sin. But if God graciously
pours down His Spirit, the hardened heart will melt. Pray for this.

There is an awakening of fresh sinners. It is a sad state of things when
sinners are bold in sin, when multitudes can openly break the Sabbath, and
openly frequent the tavern. It is an awful sin when sinners can live in sin,
and yet sit unmoved under the preaching of the Word, cast off fear, and
restrain prayer before God. But if the Lord were pleased to revive us again,
this state of things would change.

I am sure it would be a lovelier sight to see you going in company to the house
of prayer, than thronging to the tavern, or the haunts of sin and shame, that
will bring down eternal ruin on your poor soul. It would be sweeter to hear the
cry of prayer in your closets, than to hear the sounds of oaths and profane
jesting, and your hard speeches and reproaches of God’s children. Sweeter far
to see your hearts panting after Christ, His pardon, His holiness, His glory,
than to see them turning after the world and its vain idols.

Oh, lift up your hearts to the Lord for such a time. Plead earnestly the
promise, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” Then this
wilderness will become a fruitful field, and its name be, Jehovah-Shammah —
the Lord is there.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 22 Nov 2011

Price and Power of Revival by Duncan Campbell

Unction From On High

THERE IS A POWER THAT IS placed at the disposal of the Church that can outmaneuver and baffle the very strategy of Hell, and cause death and defeat to vanish before the presence of the Lord of Life. Barrenness is made to feel His fertilizing power. Yet, how is it that while we make such great claims for the power of the Gospel, we see so little of the supernatural in operation? Is there any reason why the Church today cannot everywhere equal the Church at Pentecost? I feel this is a question we ought to face with an open mind and an honest heart. What did the early Church have that we do not possess today? Nothing but the Holy Spirit, nothing but the power of God. Here I would suggest that one of the main secrets of success in the early Church lay in the fact that the early believers believed in unction from on high and not entertainment from men.

One of the very sad features that characterizes much that goes under the name of evangelism today is the craze for entertainment. Here is an extract from a letter received from a leader in youth work in one of your great cities: “We are at our wits’ end to know what to do with the young people who made a profession of conversion recently. They are demanding all sorts of entertainment, and it seems to us that if we fail to provide the entertainment that they want, we are not going to hold them.” Yes, the trend of the time in which we live is toward a Christian experience that is light and flippant and fed on entertainment. Some time ago, I listened to a young man give his testimony. He made a decision quite recently, and in giving his testimony this is what he said: “I have discovered that the Christian way of life can best be described, not as a battle, but as a song mingled with the sound of happy laughter.” Far be it from me to move the song or happy laughter from religion, but I want to protest that that young man’s conception was entirely wrong, and not in keeping with true New Testament Christianity. “Oh, but,” say the advocates of this way of thinking, “how are we to get the people if we do not provide some sort of entertainment?” To that I ask the question, how did they get the people at Pentecost? How did the early Church get the people? By publicity projects, by bills, by posters, by parades, by pictures? No! The people were arrested and drawn together and brought into vital relationship with God, not by sounds from men, but by sounds from heaven. We are in need of more sounds from heaven today.
Pentecost was its own publicity. I love that passage in Acts that tells us that “when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together.” What was noised abroad? That men and women were coming under deep conviction. That was God’s method of publicity, and until the Church of Jesus Christ rediscovers this and acts upon it, we shall at our best appear to a mad world as a crowd of common people in a common market babbling about common wares. The early Church cried for unction and not for entertainment. Unction is the dire and desperate need of the ministry today.

Power Before Influence

Further, the early Church put power before influence. The present state of our country presents a challenge to the Christian Church. Those who have eyes to see tell us that at this very hour forces are taking the field that are out to defy every known Christian principle. In many quarters there is today a growing conviction that unless God moves, unless there is a demonstration of the supernatural in the midst of men, unless we are moved up into the realm of the Divine, we shall soon find ourselves caught up in a counterfeit movement, but a movement that goes under the name of evangelism. There are ominous sighs today that the devil is out to sidetrack us in the sphere of evangelism, and we are going to become satisfied with something less than Heaven wills to give us. Nothing but a Holy Spirit revival will meet the desperate need of the hour.

The Watchword of the Early Church

The early Church, the men of Pentecost, had something beyond mere human influence and human ingenuity. But what do we mean by influence? The sum total of all the forces in our personality–mental, moral, academic, social, and religious. We can have all these, and we can have them at their highest level, and yet be destitute of power. Power, not influence, was the watchword of the early Church.

While at the Keswick Convention, it was my privilege to spend an afternoon with a leader in foreign mission activity. I was arrested by what that man said to me. Here are his words: “Our Bible schools are turning out young men and young women who are cultured and polished, but who lack power.” I want to suggest that he was near to the truth. We may be polished, we may have culture, but the cry of our day is for power from on high.

A Young Woman

I could take you to a little cottage in the Hebrides and introduce you to a young woman. She is not educated. One could not say that she was polished in the sense that we use the word, but I have known that young woman to pray heaven into a community, to pray power into a meeting. I have known that young woman to be so caught in the power of the Holy Spirit that men and women around her were made to tremble–not influence, but power.

The Apostles were not men of influence–“not many mighty, not many noble.” The Master Himself did not choose to be a man of influence. “He made Himself of no reputation,” which is to say that God chose power rather than influence. I sometimes think of Paul and Silas in Philippi. They had not enough influence to keep them out of prison, but possessed the power of God in such a manner that their prayers in prison shook the whole prison to its very foundations. Not influence, but power.

The Place of Power

Oh, that the Church today, in our congregations and in our pulpits, would rediscover this truth and get back to the place of God realization, to the place of power. I want to say further that we should seek power even at the expense of influence. What do I mean by that? I mean this: never compromise to accommodate the devil. I hear people say today, “These are different days from the days of the 1859 Revival or the Welsh Revival. We must be tolerant and we must try to accommodate.” The secret of power is separation from all that is unclean. We must seek power even at the expense of influence.

Separation Unto God

Think again of the great Apostle Paul. What an opportunity he had of gaining influence with Felix. Had he but flattered him a little in his sin, he could have made a great impression, and I believe he could have got a handsome donation for his missionary effort by being tolerant, by accommodating the situation. But Paul chose power before influence and he reasoned of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Let Felix say what he will, let Drusilla think as she chooses to think, I must be true to my conscience and to my inner convictions and declare the whole counsel of God and take my stand on the solid ground of separation unto God. Now the person who will take his stand on that ground will not be popular.

He will not be popular with some preachers of today who declare that we must soft-pedal in order to capture and captivate. Here I would quote from the saintly Finney: “Away with your milk and water preaching of the love of Christ that has no holiness or moral discrimination in it, away with preaching a Christ not crucified for sin.” Such a collapse of moral conscience in this land could never have happened if the Puritan element in our preaching had not, in great measure, fallen out.

Hear a Highland minister preaching on this very truth: “Bring me a God all mercy but not just, bring me a God all love but not righteous, and I will have no scruples in calling Him an idiot of your imagination.” Strong words, but I say words that I would sound throughout our land today, in this age of desperate apostasy, forsaking all the fundamental truths of Scripture. Here you have the Apostles proclaiming a message that was profoundly disturbing. We are afraid of disturbing people today. May God help us; may God have mercy upon us.

A Wave Of Real Godly Fear

I would to God that a wave of real godly fear gripped our land. Let me quote from a sermon delivered by the Rev. Robert Barr of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa: “This is what our age needs, not an easy-moving message, the sort of thing that makes the hearer feel all nice inside, but a message profoundly disturbing. We have been far too afraid of disturbing people, but the Holy Spirit will have nothing to do with a message or with a minister who is afraid of disturbing. You might as well expect a surgeon to give place to a quack who claims to be able to do the job with some sweet tasting drug, as expect the Holy Spirit to agree that the tragic plight of human souls today can be met by soft and easy words. Calvary was anything but nice to look at, blood-soaked beams of wood, a bruised and bleeding body, not nice to look upon. But then Jesus was not dealing with a nice thing; He was dealing with the sin of the world, and that is what we are called upon to deal with today. Soft and easy words, soft-pedaling will never meet the need.”

Finally, the early Church believed in the supernatural. Someone has said that at Pentecost, God set the Church at Jerusalem on fire and the whole city came out to see it burn. I tell you if that happened in any church today, within hours the whole of the town would be out to see the burning, and they would be caught in the flames.

A Fire Needed!

It is fire we want. The best advertising campaign that any church or any mission can put up is fire in the pulpit and a blaze in the pew. Let us be honest. We say “God, send revival,” but are we prepared for the fire? I believe we have only to regard and observe those laws and limits within which the Holy Spirit acts, and we shall find His glorious power at our disposal. Surely that was the conviction that gripped an elder in the Isle of Lewis when, in a situation that was difficult and trying, he cried, “You made a promise, and I want to remind You that we believe You are a covenant-keeping God. Your honor is at stake.” That man was at the end of his tether; that man was in the place of travail.

Absolute Surrender

Revival is not going to come merely by attending conferences. When “Zion travailed she brought forth children.” Oh, may God bring us there, may God lead us through to the place of absolute surrender. Is it not true that our very best moments of yielding and consecration are mingled with the destructive element of self-preservation? A full and complete surrender is the price of blessing; it is the price of revival.??
Duncan Campbell (1898-1672) – A fiery Scottish preacher used of God in revival. He is most famous for being involved in the Lewis Awakening in the Hebrides Islands in Scotland.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 15 Sep 2011

The Faith teaching Motto- Life and death are in the power of the tongue

This interpreted as a general revelation statement for all people who are Christian (and even non Christian?). That we have power to speak things into existence, that some from other spiritual persuasions have discovered this.

Some have taken this statement to the extreme and made it an affirmation.
“We covenant as gatekeepers that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Therefore, we will speak edification, exhortation and comfort to our city” (p.133 Tenny, God’s Dream team).

Paul Yonggi (David) Cho: “By the spoken word we create our universe of circumstances….” (Solving Life’s Problems, p. 51)
The idea that words have power and we just need to speak them is not Christianity but another spiritual practice found in Religious Science.

There are many in the word faith movement that live by this motto. Kenneth Copeland one of the main promoters, “By getting the Word deep into your spirit and speaking it boldly out your mouth, you release spiritual power to change things in the natural circumstances” (The Power of the Tongue, 15).
“You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth” (Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2.)

Joyce Meyer states, “The Lord recently showed me that we can bless or curse the financial seed we sow. We can speak positively about our financial future, or we can say things like, ‘I can’t afford it’ . .. ‘Every time I turn around something happens to take my money’. . . . We should water our giving with the water of His word and expect an abundant harvest. Sow your seed and speak prosperity scriptures over your finances” (Joyce Meyer, “Your Mouth is a Weapon,” Life in the Word March 1997, p. 4.)

Then why ask for money if this is how it actually works? To think one can control or create what we want in life by the power of our words is hardly relative to real faith and how the Bible teaches us to live.

Let’s look at how this Scripture (and others) are taken out of its context to mean something that was never intended.

The Faith teachers quote the end of Romans 4:17 pulling it out of its context. “who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” What is attributed to God is also attributed to them Rom 4:17 is quoted “who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;”

Rev. 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” Notice, by his will- something they always try to avoid in their prays and faith declarations of the word.

“Romans 4:17 says God gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things as if they already existed. He created the world with faith-filled words (see Genesis 1). We are created in His image, and we can also call things that are not as though they are. We can speak positive thoughts about ourselves into the atmosphere and thereby ‘prophesy our future” (Joyce Meyer, “Your Mouth is a Weapon,”(Life in the Word March 1997, p. 4)

Rom 4:17-18 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed– God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
This is referring to God having this ability to call things into existence and Abraham believing what He (God) told him.

The concept that by speaking positive or negative words causes something to take place in the spiritual realm comes from the occult not from the Bible.

Benny Hinn teaches, “say we speak say it again.. say it again. say it again .say it again – now hear this, now hear this, your words in the spirit create reality” (Benny Hinn, TBN, 29th June 1992).

In Magic: an Occult Primer, “Unseparable from magical speculation about words is the theory of vibrations, which supposes that certain sounds have a powerful acoustic impact on both the spiritual and astral worlds. Like the spiritual world and astral plane can in some circumstances be affected by sound, so that verbal magic may be said to derive its power not only from the idea contained in certain words, but from the peculiar vibrations these words create when spoken” (Magic: an Occult Primer, pp. 74-75).

It was Adolf Hitler nationalism that used the concept – if you tell a lie long enough and with enough persuasion, the people will believe it’s the truth. This is what has happened to a large portion of the church, accepting faith teachers concepts of speaking the word to make things change in reality. The Holy Spirit told Benny Hinn “… if witches and occultists can speak death by the supernatural power of words, then Christian can speak life and prosperity by the same power” (B. Hinn, Dec.1, 1990, Orlando Christian Centre, WACX-TV Channel 55. Quoted from The Facts on the Faith Movement, J. Ankerberg & J. Weldon, Harvest House, 1993, p.23.)

What about when Jesus cursed the fig tree? He spoke but he tells us to pray, showing that we do not have the power. The power is in God’s hands, not mans.Mt.21 :19-21

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Jesus expects those who pray correctly to ask for things of his will and not of their own wants. The qualification; we ask in prayer, not demand or command. John says in 1 Jn.5:14-15 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
First, notice our confidence is in him, not our faith; next it depends on His will, not our will. It is all directed toward God, Genuine faith trusts in God not in our faith.

Life and death are in Christ.
Jesus demonstrated He had authority was over life and death. (Matthew 9:18,23-25). On three occasions where He raised someone from the dead. Jairus’ daughter who had just died (Matthew 9:18-26), the widow of Nain’s son who was in the coffin (Luke 7:11-15), and Lazarus (John 11:39-44).

This phrase is often used to prove human speech mixed with faith literally contains power to create things. It should be obvious, this verse is a reference to God and is reserved for him alone who was able to speak the universe into existence. Attributing the passage to human capability diminishes the being of God and God’s power. To suggest that believers are capable of performing the same acts of creation is attributing God’s abilities to his creatures. Which exalts us to godhood, which has no biblical precedent. We find no apostle practicing what faith teachers teach as standard biblical doctrine. All things find their source in God. He alone holds incomprehensible power that cannot be apprehended by man. Nothing came into existence without him, He is the source of all and upholds all Col. 1:16-17 “for by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” In other words He holds it all together, How? “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3).

But there are those who teach that what we profess we will possess. Their explanations are like Metaphysical practitioners. Consider Creflo Dollar: “your sitting in a building that was manifested as a results of our laying hold of the profession of our faith”
“By confession Jesus and the angels were obligated to bring the confession to pass, its what I’ve been doing over the last 18 years, it works.”
 “He’s the apostle and the high priest of, listen, listen to what he is the apostle of listen to the reason why he has been anointed.. he has been sent for our”… he says the amplified bible reads that Jesus is, “the apostle and high priest of our confession.”

There is, after all, only one God, who alone is capable of calling into existence what is not existent (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 24). “Calling into existence” is the literary terminology chosen by the Scripture writers to express what we creatures can never personally accomplish – namely, the creation of something from nothing, or from a substance already there by our speaking. “God’s voice” in Scripture represents His ability and authority to create from nothing, from speaking.

This is in reference to Genesis where God spoke and the physical universe came into being

1.Gen 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

2.Gen 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

3.Gen 1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

4.Gen 1:11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.

5.Gen 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;

6.Gen 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”

7.Gen 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.

8.Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

8 times God spoke and things were created. Ask yourself – Can anyone who claims to have this same ability do any of this?

Lam 3:37-38 “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? “

Ps.12:2-3 “Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things,”4 Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

Joyce Meyer teaches  “Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. That means we can speak life to dead circumstances, but it is a choice and decision not made with feelings as its basis. We can also speak death to sick circumstances. In other words, we can have something negative (sick) happen, and we can cause very serious problems by speaking negatively about it. It may go from sick to dead, especially if we repeatedly talk hopeless, negative, and downcast. (Joyce Meyer, “Your Mouth is a Weapon,” Life in the Word March 1997)

Are Life and death are in mans words? Are Death and life are in the power of the tongue? The faith teachers interpret this in a metaphysical manner instead of using a biblical interpretation. Proverbs 18:21 was related to Solomon being the author who penned it. The verse can be attributed to Solomon being their king and having the power to pronounce death or life (condemnation or pardon) over his subjects as their king, as a command he could have one live or die. Another way to look at the passage is to consider how our spoken words affect another person’s feelings, emotions (12:18, 25; 16:24), self-image (29:5), and convictions (10:21; 11:9). What we speak can affect people but to say we can literally have someone die from our words or bring one back to life is not the meaning. There can be no denying that what people say affects outlooks and perceptions, which in turn may alter their attitude or circumstances. But nowhere does the Bible teach that humans can speak things into existence. We need to look at a better explanation for this than to rely on those who claim this power and interpret it the same for us. If this were true, no faith teacher would be sick or die if life is in there tongue. Think about it, they wouldn’t need to ask you to give them money, they could speak it. They could speak people into salvation, not just healing.

Jesus said in Matt 15:18-20 our words show our thoughts. The heart is considered the seat of our emotions. The heart is considered the center not only of our spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. “Heart” and “soul” are often interchangeable. Ezek.28:2 sin begins in the heart v.17 (Prov.12.23 ,15:28 Jer.23:25-26)
Jer. 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked” Jesus further explains in Matt. 15:18-20: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” What comes out of the heart can defile man, and make him really polluted or offensive in the sight of God.

Matt 12:34-36: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
It’s not our words that have power to change circumstances and create. Jesus is pointing to our heart as the origin of these words. So if one covets or wants power to decide what lives or dies or what he wants to take place in his life what does this tell you about the person? They want the control instead of God.

This is why in Heb. 4:12-13: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Our heart needs to be changed from being sinful to one of the new nature. One that is submissive to the Lord our God.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue – but this is not the whole Scripture. Let’s look at the whole portion of the Scripture before death and life are in the power of the tongue it says Prov. 18:20-21: “A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, from the produce of his lips he shall be filled.” Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Do we believe that a man will literally always have a filled stomach by his speaking? Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. But he never said that what we say will come true. Words can wound or bring health to our emotions, soul, but they can’t change our reality. It does not mean whatever is spoken changes another person or the world around you. What is clearly meant by “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” is that if one is always slandering, using falsehood, will reap what he sowed. In the same manner one who speaks well, that encourages people and tells the truth will be known for this.

Consider other proverbs which are metaphorical and speak in the same manner. Prov. 12:17-19: “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

There are words that cut that are like the piercing of a sword. The tongue can be uses as a poison or medicine. Just as James says, but there is no evidence to believe a word spoken will come to pass because of any supernatural power of faith contained in them.

The Bible has many examples of words being spoken bring health or discomfort.

Prov. 16:24: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Prov. 4:10-13: “Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”
Those who follow obediently will often have a full life in years and quality. But this is not a general promise to all. How do we know this? Look at the examples of the apostles, they all died in middle age except one. Look at the prophets and their lives; it was not comfortable they had trials to forge their faith (Heb.11). Could they have spoken the trials away?

Prov. 8:35-36: “For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD; But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.”
This is speaking of a quality of life that cannot be lived without the Lord. To despise His instruction is to love death more than life, God gives to those who surrender to His lordship blessings, but he does not give the power to create things as He has.

Prov. 9:10-11: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” (Prov.14:27 and 19:23) Prov.11:19 “As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.”
Prov.13:12-14: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded .The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”

It is not the word we speak that affects them but the concept of acceptance and living by it. Many people overcome what was spoken ill to them, it can still be spoken and not accepted by them. Its what you believe that affects how you live.

If a Child is trained up in only correction and never affirmed that they are doing good they will be affected, when older they will be conscious of thinking everything they do maybe wrong.

Our best example is Jesus. Jesus used some harsh words and rebuked those who followed him. The reason was to have them believe the truth and abandon a false belief, if they did not respond it was just as well that they left.
He didn’t always speak soft or sweet words, something people would prefer to hear.

Faith and God’s will are the missing ingredients.
If you have to strive in faith to receive a promise, you have to give money and jump through certain hoops then it is not a faith based on a promise from God. A promise is fulfilled by the promiser not by the recipient. In the word faith theology it is dependent on man to manage and release this belief called faith to have what he wants (which is always beneficial). The bibles definition of faith is to trust in God. We leave it up to him no matter what it looks like. As Job said (whom they disdain) Yet he slays me I will trust him. Look at Abraham, he did not strive to receive his promise. He listened to his wife who was being impatient and they got a son, but he was not the promise, he tried to fulfill it by the work of his own hands ( like the force of faith). He got what he wanted — the wrong way. Sometimes God will allow this to test our faithfulness to what He said. The genuine son of the promise came in God’s timing. He may do the same with us and bring us to the end of ourselves to accomplish it.

Look at Noah who was the only righteous man left on earth in the time of corruption. God told him that his family would be saved and that he needed to build a boat, but it was God who brought the flood, no amount of faith would have changed the duration, nor the intensity.

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor.4:11-12: “To this hour we have gone both hungry and thirsty, we habitually wear but one undergarment and shiver in the cold, we are roughly knocked about and wander around homeless. And we still toil unto weariness for our living, working hard with our own hands…”What kind of confession is this? Well it’s inspired by the Holy Spirit, so we should take notice that Paul did not confess abundance. God tested their faith by not providing what they often had to strengthen them.

Healing on demand
Faith admits its problem, no one who was blind that came to Jesus said I can see until he touched or willed them to be healed. They did not confess healing and claim their healing. They did not recite scripture to him and say you promised this in your word. They did not cite by your stripes we are healed. They asked for Jesus to heal them not ordering it nor confessing or demanding it as a promise. No one ever claimed this in front of Jesus. As a matter of fact no one ever claimed anything like the faith teachers promote today as Bible doctrine, look at the examples of the apostles, how they practiced their Christianity and what they wrote to the Church. Look at the Church and how they practiced their Christianity and obeyed the apostle’s writings.
Gal. 4:13-14  As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.” Illness by the one that faith teachers claim gave them the teaching of speaking words.

People say well I’m going to believe for my healing because Jesus said in the Bible “I am willing”. When we look at the numerous times Jesus spoke the words let it be according to your faith, it is not what they say it means.

Matt 8:2-3 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

The individual was asking for a specific act from Jesus when he was physically present with him. Its not the same thing today, He is not standing physically in front of you wanting you to recognize him as the Messiah to follow him. This was specifically done to have the rulers investigate him as the Messiah fro no one was healed of leprosy for centuries.
We should not take a unique event and make it a general promise. This is like saying Peter walked on water therefore we can all walk on water. Nonsense.

God told Israel to be obedient that it was he who afflicted the Egyptians with the sicknesses. Contrary to what we hear today that it’s the devil that does bad and God only does good. Sometimes good comes from confronting the evil as it did in this case, it freed Israel despite those that say God does not make anyone have suffering or kill anyone ( he did to the Egyptians). So the word of faith teachers are calling the God of the Bible the devil because he actually does these things. God said after he rescued Israel that he would chasten them if necessary.

Exod.15:26: “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.” Clearly this is not used as a ticket for supernatural healing but a condition if they obey they (Israel) will not become sick.

Deut. 7:15 “And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.”

But He also says Deut. 28:60-61 “Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. “Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed.” Can ones own confession prevent this?

Deut. 28:59-61 “then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues– great and prolonged plagues– and serious and prolonged sicknesses. “Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. “Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed.”

Deut.30:19-20 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live “that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days” (also Deut.32:45-47)

This was a specific promise to Israel not a general one for all of us today. It was under a covenant of law and depended on their obedience as a nation. By choosing God and following him they had abundance and a longer life in the land. This was part of the covenant made to the nation of Israel. It was a choice made by how they lived not by what they spoke. And no speaking would alter God’s will to judge if He decided to.

Solomon writes in Eccl. 7:15: “I have seen everything in my days of vanity: there is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.”

In contrast to Word-Faith theology, sound biblical theology teaches that God is not duty-bound to do anything. Someone has said: “healing is not a divine obligation, it is a divine gift.” The receiver of the gift can make no demands. God can be trusted to do all things well. It flows from his mercy and grace, it is not a promise to all now.
The root error of the gospel of health and wealth is that it applies a promise of future for the believer as today’s present promise to all. Christians cannot claim now what God in His grace has promised only for the future. There is a timing involved in receiving certain of the promises said. We wait until that day when all share in the resurrection and are healed permanently in the body.

In the 60’s the gurus came to America and preached against materialism. They could see how we lived. The Church was more content back then. In our day we have a complete reversal with the preaching of how to get it all, what we are owed by God because we are his children. This manipulates people into a works based relationship with God, it is making people covet instead of resting in God and being content. The faith teachers are preaching a sterile faith based on the human conditions, not on the God the Father who is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

The faith of God

Creflo Dollar:
“He used faith to create everything that he created.” Faith is the stuff that we use to get the stuff that we need. That’s what faith is.” Faith is the word of God, the same stuff that’s in God he put it in his word ….”
“Now, God used faith substance to make everything that He made…in every one of those words they were filled with faith substance, because words are nothing but containers…. every time God speaks, He can’t help but to speak words that are filled with faith…God’s guts are called faith stuff…. if you were to cut God open, you’d see nothing but faith. Every time He opens His mouth now, He automatically fills those words with His faith material.” (Changing Your World, Sept. 20, 1998)

Another distortion is that we have the same faith as God. Where does it say God has faith? Who does he trust?
Some have taught to have the God kind of faith…

Mark 11:22: “have faith (in) God” echete (NT:2192) pistin (NT:4102) Theou (NT:2316). Objective genitive Theou (NT:2316) as in Gal. 2:26; Rom. 3:22,26. That was the lesson for the disciples from the curse on the fig tree so promptly fulfilled (Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament).

It means to have strong faith, or the strongest faith, in God. Since this is the only place in the New Testament that this was said, we need to look at what Jesus taught on this. Everywhere he taught the people to trust and believe in God not in their faith.

If there is any question behind what was said in Mk.11:22 it would be interpreted by the clear statements such as Jesus own prayer of thy will be done, not MY will be done. Have you seen anyone move a mountain yet by speaking? How about a boulder? The meaning is not a free ticket to whatever we want. Our prayer must line up with what he wants and is doing. For example if I pray for everyone in the world to become a Christian this year, will it happen? There is only God’s purpose and if we are not lined up with that when we pray we will ask amiss as James says Jm.4:2-3, 3:13-16, 4:13-16. We receive what we pray for as we have faith (trust) in God and His will. Pride will always rise up and assert itself saying what God has not.

You can always find enough “proof texts” to justify your what you want, why would you want to if your treasure is in heaven? (Matt. 6.19-21)

If we want wisdom consider Proverbs 13:17-18: “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health. Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”

By LetUsReason.org

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 15 Sep 2011

Tolerating Spiritual Leaven

Leaven is a common ingredient in things like bread and cake that produces fermentation and causes dough to expand and rise.  The idea of leaven is to make sure that it is in the entire batch you’re cooking.  The Bible mentions leaven in different contexts.  In Exodus 12:15, regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread, leaven was not permitted.  It was not permitted in the Passover meal (Deut. 16:3) and God forbade leaven to be used in grain offering (Lev. 2:11).  Why?  Because ultimately, leaven represents pride and false teaching.

Jesus said in Matt. 13:33, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened.”  He was signifying that the preaching of the gospel will be spread throughout the entire world.  But, and this relates to our article, Jesus also said in reference to the false teachings of the Pharisees, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees… 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” (Matt. 16:11-12).  This is the leaven that we have to beware of — the leaven of false teachings that is becoming more prevalent in the church today.

1 Cor. 4:6 tells us that we are “not to exceed what is written,” and 2 Tim. 3:16 says the inspired Scriptures are for correction and teaching.  Therefore, the Scriptures are the final authority in everything they address, and we are not to teach as doctrinal truths anything that is not found in the Bible.  Now, that hasn’t stopped certain people from twisting the meaning of Scripture, imposing secular ideas upon the text, and forcing it to say what they want to suit their purposes. Unfortunately, there are things being taught in churches and on “religious” TV that are not biblical. In light of what 1 Cor. 4:6 says, let’s take a look at some of false teachings in the Christian church today.

We have televangelists who boldly proclaim to millions that we are little gods.  There is the name-it-and-claim it “prosperity” teachers who say that the crucifixion of Christ bought us health and wealth and we need to claim what is rightfully ours.  We are taught that churches must change their appearance and message in order to attract unbelievers — all the while compromising the gospel.  The error of universalism, that all people will be saved, is creeping in little by little and gaining converts.  The Scriptures are increasingly seen as a collection of good stories, suggestions by which we can gain wisdom rather than the inspired, authoritative word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).  Jesus is not uplifted as the only way to salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), but the “main way to God” and that, if you are sincere, do good things, and seek God in your own way you too can make it to heaven.  More and more churches are teaching that we maintain our salvation through doing good works (Isaiah 64:6).  Homosexuality is increasingly seen as an alternative lifestyle instead of the sin against God that it really is (Rom.1:26-27).  Some churches are advocating theistic evolution – the idea that God used evolution to get us here – thereby denying the reality of Adam and Eve and The Fall.  Much of the literature sold in Christian bookstores promotes man-centered theology while reducing the majesty of God, turning him into a cosmic “buddy” who is hip and cool, yet lacks the greatness of God’s Holy Character and sovereignty (i.e, The Shack).  Christians seem more interested in following the super gentle, easy-to-follow, blonde haired, blue eyed, Caucasian surfer Jesus instead of the one that beckons us to pick up our crosses, follow him, and seek the lost (Matt. 10:38).  And, women pastors and elders are becoming more common despite the clear biblical admonition to the contrary in 1 Tim. 2:12-13 and Titus 1:5-7

Why are these things happening in the church?  Perhaps it is because the word of God is not considered to be true and absolute as it really is.  Paul’s words to Timothy are appropriate here:  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” (2 Tim. 4:3).

Yes, of course, there are many good pastors and churches out there that, by God’s grace, preach and teach the truth and the totality of Scripture.  They do not shy away from the harder things of truth and teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), including God’s predestination (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 8:29) and election (Matt. 24:22; Rom. 8:33; 2 Thess. 2:13).  They proclaim that unless you believe Jesus is the great I AM, you will die in your sins (John 8:24); that hell is a real place for those who do not receive Christ (Matt. 25:46; Mark 3:29); that we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3); that we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 4:1-5; 5:1); that you cannot come to Christ unless it has been granted to you from God the Father (John 6:65); that Jesus spoke in parables so that people would not be saved (Mark 4:10-12), and many more such biblical truths that are not popular to mention.  But such teachers are becoming fewer and fewer while the ear-ticklers who, like parasites, bury themselves deep within the comfort of Western Culture and preach to Christians me-centered messages aimed at appeasing the masses.

They are wolves in sheep’s clothing who use emotion with scripture-twisting and speak perverse things in order to draw disciples after them (Acts 20:29).  Sadly, most Christians are ill-equipped to discern what is good and bad because they are not studying.  Therefore, they cannot accurately handle the word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), nor can they give an answer to everyone who would ask (1 Pet. 3:15).  Instead, they gather teachers to themselves so they might hear what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3) — that which serves them instead of learning how they can serve God in truth.

To tolerate this spiritual leaven means to invite apostasy.  Like leaven, error gradually creeps into the church and spreads to all parts, causing the whole to elevate itself with pride and do what is right in one’s own eyes instead of that which is right in God’s.  2 Thess. 2:3 speaks about the great apostasy that is coming.  However, it cannot occur without a host of lesser apostasies within the Church that will ultimately deceive Christians and prepare the ground for the arrival of Antichrist.

As Christians, we are to take the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7:3-5), get ourselves right with God, dedicate ourselves to his word, and seek to follow him where he would lead us — whether it is comfortable or not.  God has stated that judgment will begin with the house of God which is the church (1 Pet. 4:17).  Let it begin with us and may we seek God’s holy truth and, if need be, die defending it.

By Matt Slick

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 03 Jul 2011

Do We Really Have Tomorrow?

Ever wonder, “Where did the time go?” You had one million-and-one things planned to do, got distracted, looked up and realized that the time had gotten away from you and none of the things you said you were going to do, got done. Most of us would just go to bed with the comfort of knowing that “It will eventually get done.  After all, we still have tomorrow.”

But, do we really have tomorrow?  Where in God’s word does He promise us the next day?  Matter of fact, Proverbs 27:1 testifies to the contrary. In this passage, Solomon reminds us not to boast about tomorrow for we do not know what a day may bring.  Recall the Parable of the Rich Fool who stored up plenty of “good things” in preparation for the future not knowing that his life would be demanded of him that very night.  If we knew that this very night would be the night that God demanded our life, would we push our physical limits to complete all that He has commanded of us?  Would we lose track of time because we’re so focused on finishing the task that would make us rich toward God?  Would the things we’ve constantly put before Him immediately lose their value because we know our window for change would soon close for good?

The one thing that the saved, the ungodly and the sinner all have in common is the belief that “they have time”.  The lack of timeliness and consistency in carrying out natural tasks has run over into our spiritual walks and left us as sluggards with our hands buried in the dish yet too lazy to bring them back to our mouths (Proverbs 19:24).  Even with the tools necessary for spiritual growth in hand, we continue to be as unresponsive as those who lack, even the access to, such Truth. God’s people have done Him wrong.  We are abusing His time and taking for granted His extended mercy.

In this season, God, in His mercy, repetitively warns us to heed to His commands.  His Word has been so insistent because we don’t have the time we think we do. Messages, like When God Reveals My Heart, Breaking the Heart of God, The Prerequisites, and I Call It Like I See It, confront us with our idols and leave us with a decision to make.  Will we continue to focus on that which benefits us yet has no heavenly value because we have no expectation for the master?  Or, will we show ourselves faithful, readily determined, whenever He calls, to offer Him our best?

What would you do if you did wake up the next morning and thoroughly completed what you put off the night before?  But then, just as you went to present what you believed to be some of your best effort to God, He said, “No thank you. I was expecting that yesterday. Today, it bears no fruit! It has no value to Me!”  Most of us would argue our good intentions, which may be genuine, nonetheless, intentions alone are just that – intentions.  It is only through our timely action that our intents gain value.

The battle has never been about our intentions – our mind, but about the heart.  We all have the mind to do right.  The problem occurs when the mind and the heart are not aligned.  We think of many things, but how many of those thoughts actually develop into action.  The few thoughts that do make it into action make it because they were not only in our minds, but in our heart as well.  It is through our actions that the true contents of our hearts are revealed.

Has God spoken to you directly?  Has He given you multiple dreams about the same thing?  Perhaps, He has sent a messenger to tell you what He’d already shown you through another means.  Regardless of the method He used, God has charged you with a task that has a deadline. Just as swift and unexpected as the Lord comes in the night (1Th 5:2), so shall He close His window of grace to those who disregard the importance of every task given.

What is it that keeps us from doing what we know is right?  Has our love for God diminished to the point that we’ve become routine – doing just enough and giving nothing extra?  Have we lost our reverence – doing just what is needed to keep the guilt away?  Have we told God (under our breath, of course) to, “Stay in your place.  I will do what I want, when I want.  You just be ready when I need you!”?

Although we dare not say these things to God aloud, our actions show that this is what’s in our hearts.  We have convinced ourselves that we’re safe and that our “set apart” status has, somehow, afforded us extra time to get the spiritual things in order. Yes, going to church and sharing the Word is good.  But God is looking for instant obedience.  It is not by coincidence that God charges us with the things that He does at the time that He does it.  It is all according to His plan, and it is not our place to postpone anything.

Whether you procrastinate out of fear, feelings of inadequacy, or pure laziness, to delay in making a response to the requests of God is dangerous.  The Bible says that one who slacks is the brother to one who destroys and his way is blocked with thorns (Pr 18:9;15:19).  When we put off the things of God, we inflict upon ourselves troubles that were never the will of God.

The fruit of God’s commands are all tied to his timings. The seed He gave you to fertile last season won’t reap the intended fruit once the season has changed.  And regardless of the amount of care you give, seeds tended out of season are unfruitful.  Likewise, the fruit of procrastination is rotten (overdue). Proverbs 20:4 says, “A sluggard does not plow in the autumn, he will seek at harvest and have nothing.”

The Bible warns against slothfulness (Pr 15:19; 18:19); however, it commends hard work (Pr 12:24;13:4).  Anything we do for God should be done with diligence.  A Tyndale Life Application Bible footnote states it best: Proverbs makes it clear that diligence – being willing to work hard and do one’s best at any job given to him or her – is a vital part of wise living. We (should) work hard not to become rich, famous or admired (although those may be by-products), but to serve God with our very best during our lives.

It is important to remember that God controls the final outcome of all we do.  We are accountable to always carry out our work with diligence – never lax.  A gospel lyric of the song entitled, “Am I Enough?” by AJ Da Representative says, “Why did I take my glory to become you, if every time it’s time to change, you just make another excuse?”

Let’s stop giving God excuses about why we can’t do what He asks – when He asks.  If He is Lord of your life, honor his timing.  If He is the center of our lives, everything else should be planned around Him.  So what’s the problem?  Maybe we do not love Him like we think we do.  Maybe He is not our center after all.  Maybe, there is something else occupying our center and God is only one part of the one million-and-one things surrounding it.  Let us be diligent about the things of God NOW.  For tomorrow may be too late!

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