Sunday, May 27, 2012

THERE WILL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU.

Brethren:  This is a reposting of a teaching that has gotten more readership and reprinting around the world than any other teaching that God has given me from His Word.  It seems we live in a day that abounds in false prophets and false teachers, made possible by the surge in media availability to even the most remote areas of the world.  Stand for Christ, and stand against those who twist his Word to their own wicked purposes.  Christ will triumph, never fear.   
                                                                                -- A. Brother


WOE TO THE FALSE TEACHERS WHO LEAD THE SHEEP ASTRAY


FALSE TEACHERS DOMINATE THE MEDIA
A. Brother

“But there were false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you.”
2 Peter 2:1

A quick flip through the Christian television channels will provide anyone who cares to watch a catalogue of false and misleading teachings.  I just finished watching a man named Mike Murdock preach a false gospel, misleading the thousands watching him, and bringing many to destruction.  Right here in broad daylight, in America, on a professionally-produced program that airs on a major Christian network.

This man preaches a false gospel that is not of Christ in any way.  He uses the name of Christ once every half hour or so, and the rest of the time twists and distorts the Word of God for his own ends.  He preaches a false gospel that is not new, but in fact a false gospel that was introduced by false teachers while the apostles were still preaching and teaching the true gospel of Christ.

Christ calls this man to step down or be brought down at the judgment seat of Christ.  Like so many before him in a long line of deceiving wolves, he tells the sheep they can have unlimited prosperity, money, and blessings in their lives if they just “hold God to His promises”.  He tells his own story, a blasphemous and ridiculous tale of poverty, and crying out to God, and telling God that if He didn’t keep His promises, then He was a liar.  And He didn’t want to serve a liar.  So Murdock challenged God, and came up with a smooth and complete doctrinal system that purports to be the true gospel.  Murdock’s gospel is a phony, man-made list of principles that claim to obligate God to make everyone prosperous. He is a manipulator, a master salesman, and a liar.  It is time he and others who declare these preposterous lies in the name of Christ be called out.

“Many will follow their shameful ways
and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
In their greed, these teachers will exploit you
with stories they have made up.”
2 Peter 2:2,3

This man and others like him tell masterfully-crafted stories, scripted perfectly to grab at the heartstrings and the pocketbooks of their audience.  This audience is made up of the lower part of the population in terms of education and success. The sheep are hungry, and he promises wealth and prosperity.  He plays on their greed and their desperate need to be somebody.  He plays on their fears, and exploits their desires for a better life.  He never mentions Christ, or the cross, or the Way of Christ, of love and sacrifice for others.  He instead plants dreams of multiple homes, fancy cars, lots of money, and great respect from God based on the “faith to plant seeds” and to give to his ministry and to others.  He represents himself as a model, having been poverty-stricken, and in dire need (“no kitchen table, no kitchen chairs”), and having then gone to his knees to find the truth in Scripture. 

He challenges God in his story, building himself up as a pure and honest man.  He said to God, “God, if you are not a God who keeps His Word, then I don’t want to serve you.  If you are a liar, then I won’t be part of this, because I don’t want to be with a liar. But if you keep  your promises, I’ll be willing to do anything for you.”  In other words, Mike Murdock is honest and dependable, but God may not be.  If Mike doesn’t get what Mike wants from God, then God is a liar.  What boastful arrogance and sinful pride.  What Satanlike character displayed brazenly and openly on “Christian” television! 

He was claiming a Scripture that talks about God giving good gifts to his children, and that if they gave up all they had for God, He would give them “a hundredfold back, in this life, and in the life to come.” (His interpretation, not what Jesus said or meant).  He used this Scripture, along with a few others, as a basis to teach that God rewards those who sow upon the principle of the Seed Gospel.  That anything good we sow will reap rewards in this life, now, for us.  That God is obligated to keep that promise.  That this principle guides us in giving, so that we receive material blessings in this life in proportion to the material giving we do in this life.

All of this is bunk.  It is pure and simple false teaching, out of accord with the entire Word of God from beginning to end.  Yet stupid and ignorant sheep follow these men and are led astray, because they look, talk and act like men of ministry, and they are teaching on a major Christian network.  So the networks are equally at fault for carrying men like these, and for advancing their false teachings.  Not only the teacher, but those who promote him and “send him on his way” will all be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ for misleading many in His name.

I say about Mike Murdock and all others involved in promoting these teachings:

“They will be paid back with harm
for the harm they have done…
they are blots and blemishes,
reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning;
they seduce the unstable;
they are experts in greed—
an accursed brood.”
2 Peter 2:13,14

These men and women, who are Satan in disguise, call men and women away from the narrow road of discipleship to Jesus, and onto the broad way that leads to destruction.

I have seen them my entire life, and know their excesses.  They use the giving of poor sheep to fund an extravagant lifestyle, with private jets, large homes, luxury cars, huge wardrobes, travel and the finest in everything.  These men and women exhibit the perfect blend of public humility and private greed and corruption. 

The empire of Oral Roberts, and his son Richard, are perfect examples.  Their personal wealth, amassed to not only build “prayer towers” and a university, has been used to buy a fleet of private jets, and luxury palaces in several places.  In the twentieth century alone, and now following into the twenty-first, we have dozens who live this way off their twisted gospels.

It is time, brothers and sisters, that we had the courage in Christ to call these men and women out. 

“These men are springs without water
and mists driven by a storm. 
Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
For they mouth empty, boastful words,
and, by appealing to the lustful desires
of sinful human nature,
they entice people who are just escaping
from those who live in error.”
2 Peter 2:18

This is serous business, brethren.  These people lead others astray.  They betray the very Lord who bought them with His sacrifice on the cross.  They take others to hell with them.

Remember Jesus’ Words about Judas, on the night of His betrayal.

Jesus replied, “The one who had dipped his hand
into the bowl with Me will betray Me.
The Son of Man will go just as it is
written about Him.
But woe to that man who betrays
The Son of Man.
It would be better for him
if he had not been born.”
Matt. 26:23,24

Judas was one of the twelve, chosen by Christ Himself.  Yet he betrayed His Lord for money.
These men, the Mike Murdocks, betray the Christ who called them and gave His life for them.  So these men follow the way of Judas.

Woe to you, Murdock, and the others who mislead the sheep across the globe today.  Woe to you from Christ, who says it would be better for you if you had not been born than to lead astray even one of His little ones.  It is time you found judgment at the hand of God.

I counsel all who hear these words today.  Stay in Christ.  Stay close to Him. Never accept or promote the false teachings of these self-glorified men.  As John says in his first letter to the churches, so I say to you:

“I am writing these things to you about those
who are trying to lead you astray.
As for you, the anointing your received from Him
remains in you, and you do not
need anyone to teach you.
But as His anointing teaches you about all things
and as that anointing is real, and not counterfeit—
just as it has taught you,
remain in Him.”
1 John 2:26,27

The Holy Spirit, God’s anointing in your life, will teach you the truth from His Word as you remain in Jesus.  He will remain in you as He promises, through poverty, trouble, disease, danger, famine, the sword, and all other trials.  He will be your strength and your shield.  You need no material rewards in this life when you know and serve the living Christ.  He will take care of you, with food, clothing and shelter, and so be content with that.

Resist these false teachers, and take every opportunity to speak out against them and their deceptions.  Perhaps the Lord will save some of His own who are among the deceived.

Monday, May 21, 2012

WOE TO THE HYPOCRITICAL SONS OF HELL.


A. Brother


          “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.  You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
          Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”  --Matt. 23:13-15

          Sons of hell, this is for you.
            I rebuke you for your hypocrisy, with these words of Jesus.
            There is a special place reserved in hell for those who make others stumble, and keep others out of the Kingdom of God, through their haughty and prideful religion.  Those who claim to be Christians, and to know the way, and to be a guide to the blind, but instead, are more lost than the ones they claim to guide.
            Better for you to choose a millstone now, or a rope to hang yourself, than to lead another poor soul into hell with you!
            Do you understand the gravity of your situation?  Do you not know that the worst punishment is reserved for those who lead others astray?  That God so cares about even the smallest, the least, of people, that He will judge with special severity those who make them stumble? 
            These teachers of the law and Pharisees were the most highly regarded religious people in their day in Israel.  When Jesus taught, these men would come around and judge what He said. These were the leaders, the so-called proclaimers of truth to the common people.  They had the Scripture, and stood up and read it every Sabbath in the synagogues.  They were the ones who prayed very fervently on street corners, and led the processions to the house of God.  They were the ones who taught the young, and claimed to be holders of the keys to getting into heaven.  They were the ones who presided over marriages and funerals, and every major occasion of life among God’s people.
            Yet Jesus here rebukes them and tells them they’re not only going to end up in hell, but are taking others with them.  They are keeping men and women and children out of the Kingdom of God, not bringing them into it!
            Does this shake you, brother?  It should. 
            For many in the churches today are as much sons of hell as the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were in Jesus’ day.

            I rebuke in the Name of Jesus those of you who claim to be the keepers of the keys to the Kingdom, yet who yourselves are blind, impotent, sinful, disobedient, and full of deceit.
            I rebuke in the powerful Name of the One who came as Light in the darkness, this spiritual darkness you perpetuate by enslaving men and women to your self-declared leadership. 
            You who seek prominence, and position.  You who seek to stand in front so your egos and your self-worth are fed by the respect of your congregations.  You who speak words pleasing to the ears of your hearers, while letting them be taken to hell with the rest of the world.  You who treat the Word of God as if it is your private reserve of wine, to be doled out in small glasses as you wish to favor those who come to hear you.  You who care more about your programs and your church growth than you do about any individual man, woman or child around you.  You who have found a secure niche in the hierarchy, who favor us with your pronouncements, and your profound opinions, and your carefully-worded press releases.  You who speak from the seats of scholarship, safely dispensing your wisdom while the world dies for lack of knowledge.  You who wear the suits, and make the gestures, and intone the correct phrases, and pray the right prayers.  You who create whole industries around yourselves, and your ministries, and yet who do not speak the plain, simple, hard truths of God’s Word.  You who claim to be leaders, but are followers only—followers of your spreadsheets, and your financial advisors, or your denominational pronouncements, or your boards of directors.  You who claim to be free and claim to lead others to freedom, but who instead are the worst kind of slaves--slaves to pride and rebelliousness, slaves to self, slaves to religious convention and man-made tradition—who lead others into the same enslaving bonds, and sit on your couches in your comfortable homes and offices content and secure while your readers or listeners go to hell with you.
            Jesus would have a Word with you.
            He would like you to stop what you’re doing, and find Him.  To become true disciples before you speak another word in His Name. 
            His greatest condemnation is reserved for those who claim to be what they are not.  His fearsome condemnation sits heavy upon the hypocrites of our day, just as surely as it did when He spoke these Words to the religious leaders of His day.
           
            “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will be clean.”  --Matt. 23:25,26

          You must first learn to listen to the Word of God, and to obey it.  You must  bear the fruit of the Spirit in your own life, learning the difficult and costly lessons of the narrow road with Jesus, before others can drink from your cup.  Clean your cup and dish, take the plank out of your own eye, sit in humility and be nobody before the world, and then, perhaps you will be worthy to share this Good News with others.  Then perhaps God will honor you with the great responsibility of speaking His Word to His people.
            Jesus tells us we are not to be called “Rabbi” or “Father” or “Teacher”, and I would extend that in our day to “Pastor” and “Reverend” and “Doctor” and “President”.  Within the Body of Christ, we are all brothers.

            “For you have one Teacher, the Christ.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  --Matt. 23:8-12

          Repent today of your hypocrisy, sons of hell, before the humbling comes!

           

WE ARE NOT ENTITLED TO IGNORE GOD


THE ENTITLED
A. Brother

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
“But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’. 
Jer. 6:16

            Who listens to the Word of God today?
          Who obeys the Word of His Servant Jesus?
          Not the churches who call themselves by Jesus’ Name in our modern, affluent societies.  Not the denominations who supposedly spread the Word of God across our land.  Not the church organizations who claim to be acting in the Name of Christ.
          By the thousands, our churches and institutions who carry Christ’s Name boldly on their signs and their letterheads, who quote their favorite Scriptures in their bulletins, who maintain nice websites for their constituents, and busy programs to keep their membership happily engaged, are flaunting their ways of doing church, and refusing to listen to the Word of God.
          Is it any wonder that people don’t see Jesus today?
         
          The affluent societies, such as the United States, see themselves with a special endowment from God for their standards and ways of living.  This could be termed an ‘entitlement’.  In other words, we are entitled to live the way we please, because we are a free, affluent society.  Our very prosperity is a stamp of approval from God Himself on us.
          Perhaps God blessed America with abundance.  Perhaps He gave us our ‘work ethic’ and allowed us to expand across a continent and build cities and states, farms and factories, a huge economy, and endless possibilities for the many.  Perhaps it was the Lord God who gave us the freedom and ability to do these things.
          But it is not God who gave us entitlement to do whatever we want to do with our lives and our time and our energies.  It is not God who allows us to love the world we have created, and the things in it we set up as idols.  It is not God who gave us the right and privilege to exchange His truth for lies, and His Word for comfortable church pews.
          God’s people must seek Him wholeheartedly or perish along with this affluent, godless society that is heading for disaster.
          God’s people, those who name the Name of Christ, must abandon their selfish, empty religious ways and “ask where the good Way is, and walk in it.”
          I hear every day about the disillusionment of people who leave the churches because they are not getting anything out of their church experiences.  They are leaving with good reason.  The churches are consumed with their own schemes and plans, and have run ahead without holding to the teachings of Jesus and His Word, and have spun themselves webs of lies and deceit so large that nobody can discern where they end.  The overwhelmingly rich and powerful church society we have created is keeping people from finding the Lord.
 
·         We are not ‘entitled’ to change the Word of God.
·         We are not ‘entitled’ to live rich, comfortable lives in the service of God.
·         We are not ‘entitled’ to defend what man has created.
·         We are not ‘entitled’ to hold up our modern ideas of what the church should be over what God says His people should be.
         
          We are ‘entitling’ our way into God’s wrath.

          The current ‘entitled’ church system that many are working so hard to defend is under the judgment of God.

“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury,
burn incense to Baal and follow
other gods you have not known,
and then come and stand before Me in this house,
which bears My Name, and say ‘We are safe’—
safe to do all these detestable things? 
Has this house, which bears My Name,
become a den of robbers to you?’
‘But I have been watching!’ declares the Lord.

“I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen;
I called you but you did not answer. 
Therefore what I did to Shiloh I will do now
to the house that bears My Name, the temple you trust in,
the place I gave to you and your fathers.” 
Jer. 7:9-15

            Because of our sense of ‘entitlement’ we think we can go to church, and sit in the pew or chair, and sing, and go through the religious rituals, and attend classes, and even lead within the church structure, and live any way we please.  We believe our very affluence attests to our obedience to God.  We believe, because the churches think this way, and teach this way, that life for a believer in Christ is measured by how well our life is going, how much money we make, and how well we look.  We think, because the churches think this way, that our leaders should be well-paid, and have secure jobs, and that we should give our money each week to keep up our Christian-church lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to.
          You will be surprised at how God views these things if you begin to follow Christ through death and resurrection.  You’ll be surprised at how powerful God wants to be in your life, and the deliverance He has for you from this weak, lowly view of what God’s people should be. 
          What we have created that we call church is unrecognizable in Scripture, except the Old Testament Jewish religious structure, which God abolished when Jesus came to bring the power of God to men. 
          As God’s beloved people went away from Him then, we have gone away now.

“Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle.”
Jer. 8:6

“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain…”
                                                         Jer. 8:10

            Brothers, I recommend that we all step away from our pulpits, shut down our church structures, abandon our institutions, give back our paychecks earned from our religious work, and completely leave the work of our hands for one year.  Yes—let’s shut it all down.  The entire so-called ‘Christian’ subculture.
          Then for that year, let’s gather together as the people of God informally, and live out the life portrayed for us in Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-27.  Let’s spend the year in prayer and seeking the Lord, and talking with one another, and assembling only to ask the Lord Jesus what He wants us to do.
          Is there one of you, no matter how steeped in your church ways, that believes the Body of Christ would be worse off at the end of that year?  Or would we, by obeying the Word of God, be blessed in that obedience, and have the wonderful outpouring of God’s Spirit, the fruits of repentance, the powerful working of God among us?
          Is there anyone who will stand up and say this would be wrong?

          Our current version of church is a license for sin and anonymity.  We as believers can hide in the church, never confessing, never changing, and living like heathen while we dishonor the Lord.
          Many of our leaders have confessed in private survey after survey that they have sinned much in secret while accepting their ‘entitlement’, the paycheck they are given for ‘serving’ the people of God.
          Which god is this?
          Not the God who speaks in Jeremiah, and Isaiah, in Acts, or in Ephesians, or in John’s, James’ or Paul’s letters.

“His intent was that now, through the ekklesia
(the ‘called out to be together’ people of God),
the manifold wisdom of God should be
made known to the rulers and authorities
in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose
which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”                                                    

Eph. 3:10,11

            The calling of God for the people of God is so much higher than what we are accomplishing by our silly man-made church institutions.  He intends to show His power, not our wealth.  He intends to show His love, not our programs.  He intends to show His Temple, the living stones being built together in love into a living, breathing Body for Christ, and this Body doing Christ’s work His Way on the earth.
          It is of supreme importance to God that we leave our childish, modern religious ways and seek His already revealed Word, the ancient Way, and walk in it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

WE ARE A REBELLIOUS HOUSE.



FOREHEAD TO FOREHEAD
A. Brother

“But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you
because they are not willing to listen to Me,
for the whole house of Israel is hardened
and obstinate.  But I will make you as hardened
and obstinate as they are.  I will make your
forehead like the hardest stone,
harder than flint.”
Ezekiel 3:7-9

There are different callings for different men under the administration of the Holy Spirit among the people of God.  God made each of us unique.  He creates the New Man in Christ we become, and we are still unique.  This incredible diversity, God’s mark upon all His creation, marks also the Body of Christ.

Unfortunately, religious Christianity creates a sameness, not a uniqueness, among God’s people.  Men and women are urged to conform to current religious standards, the structure and standards that are handed down through generations, which standards are generally, just because they have become standards, bound by tradition, impeding the work of the Holy Spirit.  They are not the fluid, powerful workings of a creative God, but the ideas, forms, and staid functions of a bound religious system, which does not allow anything unusual or uncomfortable into its sanctuaries.

These bound systems of Christianity include the so-called evangelical and charismatic traditions.  I grew up in a church that prided itself on its supposed non-conformity, and where regularly the “traditional churches” like the big denominations were skewered from the pulpit by preachers.  Yet our charismatic traditions were set in stone just as surely as the so-called “dead denominations” out there we derided.  We were defending and securing ground for our own traditions, not for the change the Lord requires of us.  We had pride, not in Christ, but in ourselves and our own “new” religious ways.

Today, we are being called out.  Today, the Lord is raising up Ezekiels and Jeremiahs.  God is calling those who will listen.  And God is giving them the hardest task He can, which is to speak to the house of Israel, the spiritual Israel, His people who claim the Name of Jesus.

Our hardness and obstinacy has brought God to this point.  We have ignored His Word, preaching and teaching weak and powerless versions of our own religious thoughts.  We have not clung to the faith handed down to us by Paul, Peter, John, James and the other apostles.  In fact, we have woven beautiful tapestries of our own choosing, lovely garments to wear which are made up of bits and pieces of the Truth, mixed in with the colors that strike our religious fancies.

For those whom God is calling, you will know the hardness of God’s people.  You will experience their anger, their censure, even their direct opposition.  You will be judged for speaking what you have been given to say.  Reference every man or woman who had a prophetic gift in Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments.

Jesus had few who stuck with Him, and many who dropped away when He began teaching harder truths.  He was bucking the religious system, the house of Israel’s traditions.  He was not what they wanted, and when they saw that, they began to turn away and go home.

Those who speak for the Lord will speak from the Word of God, and from the Truth, without defending themselves.  We are not the Word, we are the messengers called out to declare it.  We are not ourselves the Truth, we are only the ‘earthen vessels’ given the honor of speaking it to God’s people.  Never does defense need to be made for speaking out what the Word of God says, nor should we hold back what God gives us to say to accommodate the religious sensibilities of others. 

The whole system of man-made Christianity will be shaken down to the foundations in the coming floods and fires.  Even the foundation will be uprooted, wherever it is not Christ.  The simple Christ-life, devoid of religious trappings and sentimental foolishness, is what Christ is working in His people around the world.  It’s always been His Way.  We have been the ones who’ve strayed into false positions, and now find ourselves without a worthy ship, clinging to the wreckage of the religious system we thought would take us through the storm.

“But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth
and you shall say to them,
‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  Whoever
will listen let him listen,
and whoever will refuse will refuse;
for they are a rebellious house.”
Ezekiel 3:27

God’s message is always positive in Christ Jesus.  Those who cling to Christ alone now, and leave behind the religious ways, all that is not foundational in Christ, all that is of the old man, and the old man’s comforts, will be found standing in Christ when all is shaken around them and under them.

In the early centuries of Christ on the earth, when the Romans and other pagan cultures dominated, it was routine for those who followed Jesus to follow Him in His crucifixion.  Today, it is still routine for many in cultures other than our affluent, western societies.

Where will you be when the walls of Jerusalem are destroyed, stone by stone, pulled down by the enemies of your Christian religion?  What will you be left with?  Will you be prepared for the coming tribulations?  Are you today facing trials you never expected or wanted to face?

If you build your life now on Christ, if you spend your time with Him, living in the Spirit, walking by the Spirit, embracing the difficulties and hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, you will be ready for prison.  You will be ready for torture and pain.  You will be battle-hardened, tough-minded in Christ, able to withstand all the slings and arrows that the enemy throws at you.

Rejoice, for your Lord counts you worthy of His Kingdom, and would have you ready, lamp lit, when He comes.  Spend all your time seeking Him.  Work only for your daily bread, which He will provide, not for worldly things.  Let us seek together to become the Body Christ has prepared for Himself, full of His Spirit, rich in good works.  Let’s leave our weak and silly traditions behind, and give ourselves fully, as the martyrs have throughout history, to Christ now, so that we will be prepared when all the foundations are shaken, when all the stones crafted by man are pulled apart.

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