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THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

        Desperation for money and spiritual faith don’t go together. People who do their Christianity for money are desperate. If they build their lives and ministries that way they only build away from God.

 

       And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]

         One of you, my readers, had a recent post in which you quoted a famous preacher. I can’t remember the exact words. He had been a minister for decades and said something recently to the effect that he had really messed up a lot of people. I thought his sentiment, or apology, was in one sense a tad refreshing. Of course I also thought that it was about time he finally admitted what so many had always known. This guy was a first class idiot. The devil played him like a banjo. I used to wonder how such an obvious shyster managed to fool so many people.

          I don’t name names here. It’s not the way I work. If you know who I’m talking about and care to comment, don’t use his name. It could be that he might actually be repenting. It may be possible that he has headed down redemption road. But it could also be, and likely is, that he’s still the shyster he always was.

         And there are a lot just like him. The celebrity Christian world has gotten really dark recently. There was steady progress toward that goal. They may still look bright the way the devil looks bright with his fake lighting. They may be more rich and powerful than ever. They may command respect and have lesser “ministers” cowed and afraid to say a word. But the Lord knows the truth. He knows what they are. They took the wrong road long ago.

         Were they desperate? Well, if a man needs to make a buck and he’s really down on his luck he forces himself to do absolutely anything he can to survive. If he’s a good man he does honest work the right way. But there are men in this world who refuse to work like a man and instead seek an easy way out. “Ministry” has always been one of those easy ways. Once a man gets past that first plea for cash and gets a little offering money and sees how easy it was to do, his conscience doesn’t bother him as much. He then figures if a little money is okay why not more?

         I remember stories of this guy raking in so much cash he was paying ten thousand dollars for one night in a hotel. They could buy anything. While the people in congregations all across the country were trying their best to live right before God and were struggling to buy another used tire for their old car or more baling wire to hold it together and doing their best to feed their kids right, these fake idiot ministers had no money problems whatsoever. It would be different if they earned it. And it’s not wrong to give or receive help. But all these guys do is take up collections. There’s nothing hard about that.

         The Lord’s example means nothing to them. They don’t care. They reach a point early on when they can never go back. They are too dependent on the easy money. They had become masters at getting it. There was a guy in the gospels that did something similar but not as a preacher. He was just your common every day little runt rip off artist. And he found redemption:

         He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:1-10]

         Based on this story I would say there’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of several trillion dollars that needs to be restored to Christians who were ripped off by fake ministers. It would great if every one of these high-living low-life idiots would make restitution just as little Zaccheus did. But that idea is a pipe dream. There may be one or two here or there but most of the whole lot will keep being what they always were.

          And now they have a lot more power. They have also made good friends with the world and the line between both has gotten so blurred it no longer exists. Nothing will convince them to give it up. They believe their success is due to God’s blessing. Their big brotherhood gives them solid protection. And though they know all about the gross sin among them they strive to keep it hidden so the others won’t suffer.

        That’s in part why you never see one of these guys rat out another. They know if they do they will likely lose their place at the trough.

         The Lord will have to separate these goats out from His sheep.

MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN

          When you do it right you have to struggle. I’m old enough to remember the tales of old-timers when I was new to the Spirit-filled life back in the 1970s. I heard about how, in their early days, they often barely had enough to eat. These were good Christian people and real ministers. I was told they had to depend on prayer and “pray things in” just to survive. Think about that.

         I also remember a young evangelist who preached at our church. He had a wife and small children. They would travel the country in their car. He was dependent on offerings. These people received very little. I remember how thin he was but also how much the Spirit of the Lord had shone forth in his face. He was so sincere. He told the following story as I remember it:

         “We spent what little money we had from our last offering. I had what I thought was just enough gas to take us a few hundred miles to our next destination. We were traveling at night. It turned out that gas starting running low and we still had many miles to go. We decided to pray. We had a small console in the front seat. We asked the Lord if he would please bless us with the money we needed so we wouldn’t be stranded. I kept driving on in the dark and at last found an open gas station still a ways from our destination. My wife and I prayed again because we had no money for gas. Being satisfied that the Lord honored our request we lifted up the console and there before us was a five dollar bill…”  

         I remember another story from that time. I had a friend who was married with two small children and money was tight. His wife knew how to pray. She had to go buy a few groceries one day but had very little money. She asked the Lord for help. While walking to the store she heard a little rustling behind her and saw what looked like a small bit of rolled-up paper. She continued walking and it kept following her! I remember her laughing when telling the story. She finally stopped to pick it up and it was two or three dollar bills. She was able to buy some milk for her kids.

         The point with these stories is that the people involved had more desperation for the Lord instead of for mere money, and because their priorities were right they had greater faith. They knew when they prayed that the Lord would provide. They had no doubt. He didn’t dump gold bars on them but gave them what they needed at the time.

         “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:5-6] [1]

         Those who are monetarily successful in the ministry without using or needing faith and prayer are likely never receiving anything from the Lord. They are nothing more than carnal people using carnal means and are duded up to appear outwardly spiritual. When the time comes that they desperately need personal faith and prayer they’ll be up you know what creek without a paddle.

         But the Lord’s real sons and daughters will ALWAYS be provided for by Him. And I say Amen to that.

            © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued] 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

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THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

       The Lord Jesus taught that His followers would do what He did. Since this is obviously not the case among the majority of Christians it proves such Christians are not for real. Something is off.

 

         The evidence of His presence is always obvious. When He shows up, believe me, you will know it. When the evidence is lacking His active presence is lacking. The Lord is omnipresent, of course, but that does not mean He has the authority to work. Human beings have free wills and most often reject Him. Thus, restrictions upon Him in Christian circles must be removed. Because one never sees any evidence of His miraculous work in most Christian gatherings it means not only that restrictions upon His work exist in such places but also that they were often put there on purpose and by design.

         Why would so-called Christians do this?

        Again, it is an authority issue. Let me give you a simple example. There are a great many free websites in the world. One can go to such sites and gain free information. Much of this information is excellent. People work very hard at bringing forth the information they present and then give it out for free. This is essentially what the Lord Jesus did with His teachings and what He taught His disciples to do:

         “Freely you received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8]

         “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:31-32] [1]

         But then there are those websites who keep much of their information behind a pay wall. There is nothing wrong with this. It is their right to do it.

         What model do most Christian churches and ministries use? One should notice that the offering always precedes the preaching. One may also notice that celebrity preachers sell tickets. Christian music artists have almost always done the same. Regular church singers never do this. It is because they are most likely not talented enough to charge for their efforts. Can anyone imagine the Lord Jesus insisting on an offering before He would teach? As it was, whatever money His ministry was blessed with by people giving freely likely never went to Him. He had pared down His life to such an extent that He needed very little to live on.

         I bring this up because there is a clear connection between churches and ministries who install a pay wall and exhibit a decided lack of evidence of the Lord’s presence and authority. These two most often go together. If the Lord was there and was allowed to work, miracles would happen. But someone else is in charge and that someone is charging for the services. They refuse to “have church” for free. They refuse to preach for free. They are professionals and they demand payment.

         Now, I believe in giving. I have given very large untold amounts in my time. I have given more money away to churches and ministries than most Christians have by far. I know this because statistics prove the majority of Christians give little or nothing. [2] But I also learned long ago to give it to the Lord. Though I was giving through the medium of a church or ministry, I was actually giving to the Lord Jesus through them, and I did my best to only give where He directed. The Lord also taught me long ago to never pay tithes. The tithe is not a tax. I have given tithes. I give the tithe to the Lord Jesus. If you pay tithes you will likely not receive the promised blessing or increase whatsoever.

         So again, we have this phenomenon in which the Lord Jesus taught for free and gave everything for free. HE EVEN GAVE HIS VERY OWN PERFECT LIFE FOR FREE. This was the greatest life ever lived in which He never, ever sinned. And He gave it away? His salvation is thus absolutely free. Whoever attempts to charge a person for salvation will have to answer to God.

         Since the Lord never charged anyone for anything He ever did in His ministry, where do the majority of “ministers” get off in charging for their “services?” The Lord even did miracles for free. He healed so many hurting sick people for free. They never had to pay a dime. He raised the dead for free. Fake ministers have no power to do miracles. But they charge money for what they offer. They operate behind a pay wall. Most people should see the connection between preachers who only work for pay and who never operate in the Spirit in which there is no evidence of the Lord’s presence. Non-Christians see the connection. It’s much easier to see the fakers from the outside.

        There is an old song by Charlie Daniels, [3] before he began living as a Christian, in which he expresses this idea perfectly. Here is the particular verse:

           Jesus walked on the water and I know that it’s true

           But sometimes I think that preacher man’d like do a little walkin’ too [4]

           © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Church Giving Statistics, 2019 Edition

[3] Charlie Daniel’s Testimony

[4] Written by: CHARLES EDWARD DANIELS Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

       There can be no unity without division. All evil must be separated from the good. This is one’s life in a nutshell, to go one way or the other by the time he exits into eternity.

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         The Lord called them disciples. They were those who would follow Him successfully. Their first task was to lay down their lives and allow the inherent sin and evil within to be purged out.

         It was not at all easy nor was it supposed to be. His standard is the highest. He said all sin and evil must go. To assist in achieving such a monumental task He required His followers to take up an unseen personal cross—a crude and roughhewn, raw and rasping deadweight to serve as an ongoing execution stake.

         And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” [Luke 9:23]  

ALL REAL CHRISTIANS ARE DISCIPLES

         It stems from the word discipline. This invokes extremely hard work. The spiritually lazy need not apply. Discipline does not refer to mere busyness but to the wrenching chore of somehow being conformed to His image and living the life He lived. One’s humanity will always fight the process and most of the time human nature wins. This is why most of what we presently call Christianity is composed of losers and fakers who refuse to do it right and settle instead into a faux form they can handle without getting right with God. They would rather be comfortable within society and create a religion and deity to suit themselves. I guess they figure they will be clever enough to convince the Lord of their artificial righteousness at the Judgment. This is not a good plan.

         Since everyone who comes to the Lord is a sinner, the first order of business is plowing up the sin field and sowing it with salt. This process must go down deep to the very roots. All vestiges of sin and evil must be removed and eliminated. This process—initial repentance—allows for breaking up hard fallow ground and creating deep, pure nutrient-laden soil within which the Gospel seed can be successfully planted. Repentance is thus likened to the process of decomposition and death. The richest soil is that in which the greater decomposition takes place. Think of a healthy compost heap.

THE LEVEL OF REPENTANCE RELATES DIRECTLY TO REAL SALVATION

        “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” [Mark 4:3-8]   

         With no repentance the seed is stolen by the devil. With little or shallow repentance, whatever may spring up is weak and dies quickly. It must be noted that the level of initial repentance one engages in is directly related to surviving eventual persecution. If one attempts an easy way he will later fall away. He is too wimpy to survive the inevitable spiritual attacks that will surely come. If he had been harder on himself he would have been stronger:

         “In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.” [Mark 4:16-17]

DIVISION FIRST, THEN UNITY

       “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” [Luke 12:51-53]

           So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. [John 7:43]   

         Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. [John 9:16]

         A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?” [John 10:19-21]  

BRINGING FORTH SPIRITUAL FRUIT

         No unregenerate human being has the required spiritual seed to bring forth spiritual fruit. It must come from the Lord. This is why one must be born again of the Spirit and not simply the flesh. Some unregenerate humans may be very nice and friendly people willing to help and do good things but they are worthless spiritually. The good things they may do are never eternal. Thus, the Lord put a premium on spiritual things, the same kind of things He was associated with and brought forth during His ministry.

          Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” [John 14:8-12][1]

          © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)