Saturday, July 23, 2011
MONEYCHANGERS IN THE TEMPLE. PASTORS, TEACHERS, PRIESTS AND PROPHETS.
“Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the Lord
and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us.’”
There has come upon us a sin and crime so heinous that it brings its stench to the nostrils of God, and He cannot and will not ignore it any longer.
Those who call themselves leaders, pastors, teachers, priests and prophets among the people of God have sold themselves for money. They have become the moneychangers that Jesus threw out of the temple early in His ministry. They have become distorted mouthpieces of peace, when there is such pervasive sin among those who call themselves Christians that the wrath of God is about to be revealed.
For salaries and bonuses and the provision of nice homes, cars, utilities and expense accounts, these so-called men of God who preside over the churches and organizations that claim Christ administer pleasing and comforting balms to the people. These purveyors of quick cures, these snake-oil salesmen, have brought the sheep into wrong pastures, promising them what God doesn’t promise. They speak not with the voice of God, but with the banker’s voice, the investor’s voice, the voice of the public relations expert.
Like corporate executives, these men treat the Body of Christ as if it is a man-made organization, subject to the basic rules and regulations of business. These charlatans pretend to rely upon God, to lean upon Him, yet don’t rely for one minute upon the Spirit’s power, nor upon the true Word of God. Instead, they craft sermons for money, and devotionals for gifts.
They call the tithes into the storehouse to spend them on their own pleasures, and the pleasures of the people they claim to serve. These tithes are then turned into excuses to ignore the needy, to cast away the hard things in the Word of God that don’t fit this concept of entitlement which the people of God have bought into.
These leaders publish for profit, and preach for gain. They cater to the rich and powerful, who pay the most into the coffers, and therefore sit on Boards, and are Deacons, Trustees and Elders.
“As for the prophets who lead my people astray,
if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’;
if he does not they prepare to wage war against him.”
These leaders listen to the successful, pander to the payers, and proclaim peace when there is no peace. They endorse the sinner, and attack and wage war against those who refuse to feed them. They ignore the sick and the weak, the helpless and the poverty-stricken, the lonely and afflicted. They call the fat flock around them, administering food that makes them fatter and more complacent. Their sheep have itching ears, and the paid leaders scratch and scratch and scratch comfortingly, bringing desired relief to these diseased sheep.
The itching among the flock is a sign of terrible sin, and the cure is the uncompromised Word of God, yet the leaders and teachers today avoid talking of repentance and the wages of this sin so that the fat sheep will continue to eat in their pastures and buy their books, and attend their seminars. Each devises new and clever packaging for their delicate insights into the truth, which in turn have the sheep running to eat these fattening desserts that have no nutritional value, while ignoring the rich grass of the Word of God that is laid out at their feet and is available to them without cost. The paid publishers and editors find better ways to present these culinary feasts, while the sheep become fatter and fatter, barely able to waddle across the pasture, and the wolves sharpen their teeth for the coming day of slaughter.
These ravenous wolves wait just beyond the wall, laughing. They watch the pitiful display knowing that the flock is ripe for the kill. They wait the day of misery, the floods, the tornado, the hurricane, the earthquake, the fire. For these fat sheep will be scattered before the coming trials and tribulations, their leaders will disappear as the money to pay them dries up, and the flock will be helpless before the enemy, without paid leadership to hand-feed them their food.
Then the wolves will strike in a rush over the puny, man-built barricades, and tear the flesh from the sheep, who will scatter and run in panic, seeking in vain for the hired men.
Listen to Jesus as He proclaims this coming day:
“The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.
So when he sees the wolf coming,
he abandons the sheep and runs away.
Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
The man runs away because he is a hired hand
and cares nothing for the sheep.”
The One Flock, who know the voice of their One Shepherd, will not be scattered on that day and lost. They will find their place, because their Shepherd, Jesus, will never let them be snatched out of His hand. He lays down His life for the sheep, and does not run away in affliction, or in the times of trouble. He is the One who appoints the true leaders of His flock, those who do not speak the Word of God for personal profit or prestige or position. His under-shepherds lead out of love for the flock, laying down their lives as the Chief Shepherd does, feeding them the riches of the Word, building them up into a flock that is ready for anything because they have been trained and toughened, warrior-sheep that have on the full armor of God.
These sheep have not been fattened for slaughter, but are lean, and strong in the faith, and know that many hardships await those who would enter the
. Kingdom of God
Like Paul and Barnabas, the shepherds who lead the true flock teach the good news that Christ has come to bring us into a life of difficult, strenuous, arduous, cross-carrying discipleship. They teach that following Jesus through the Narrow Gate on the
Narrow Road is demanding, full of earthly sorrows and heavenly joys:
“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and
strengthening the disciples and encouraging them
to remain true to the faith.
‘We must go through many hardships
to enter the
,’ they said.” Kingdom of God
The hired hands speak peace when the flock is in turmoil. They soothe the wounds of the people with poultices and pills, instead of prescribing the deep surgery of repentance and cleansing from the sins that are causing these injuries. They administer quick cures, instead of a gospel that requires you give up your own life, to become members of one another in the Body of Christ, and to the pursuit of holiness in Christ without which not even one of us will see the
. Kingdom of Heaven
Hired hands pander to the prosperous, ignore the sick and lame sheep, do not seek the lost who have wandered into the wilderness, and eat at their feasts and banquets without conscience or qualm for their wickedness, or their flock’s sad condition. The diseases of sin rage through their flocks, yet they don’t lift a finger to help them.
These men who claim leadership do so with diplomas and documents, licenses and resumes, endorsements of men and institutions, yet are sorely lacking in the power of the Spirit of God, and have only the fruits of worldly ambition to show for their efforts. They are not called, but they have built careers. They are not empowered and gifted in the Body, but are talented speakers and skilled craftsmen, leaning on their own abilities.
“But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
his sin. Israel
Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of
who despise justice and distort all that is right.”
Flock of God, your true leaders are giving you the meat and bone of the Word of God, not just dessert. They call all of us to necessary repentance, and the forsaking of our sins. They love the flock, and lay down their lives for it daily. They are servants, not exalted potentates. They do not take lofty titles, or flaunt their positions and wisdom.
Your true leaders are filled with the power of the Spirit of God, and declare His Word with authority, yet in gentleness and love. They are like Jesus, who, though the Son of God, gave up all He had to become the Gate of the Sheepfold. His true under-shepherds will mimic His life, His love, and His humility.
Leave the worthless prophets and teachers who lead you astray, and pray for the One Shepherd to teach you and guide you into His pastures, among His own flock. Gather with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, and who do not ask that their ears be itched, their sins swept under the rug, and that they be served delicacies that never upset them.
Hear this, you Hired Hands!
“Therefore night will come over you,
without visions, and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.”
Repentance is available now, so you must respond to the Lord God and His rebuke and correction before His judgment sweeps you away in the tide of trial and suffering coming. Respond to His Spirit and His gentle reproof before the rod of His wrath descends upon your privileged and prosperous life.
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