Friday, October 29, 2010

Eyes Upon Jesus

People in general are rather gullible (dumb) and are voluntarily led into the most preposterous deceptions, especially when they perceive some chance for personal benefit. We seem to have a pack mentality that meets our need for security, affirmation, and personal esteem. This behavior is evident in many genres, ranging from politics to nationalism to sports and yes, in the community of faith. The Church at Corinth, only several decades old, had already formed factions and divided allegiances.
One of the most baffling exhibitions of exploitations in the church is the so called “health and wealth” movement. Watch as men like Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, and Creflo Dollar teach their listeners how God desires you to be wealthy, and the path to that wealth is through giving some of your money to them. And when the results do not seem to mirror the financial prosperity being enjoyed by those ministers, people are told that somehow they have made a mistake in the process or that their time is coming so just have patience. Normally intelligent people realize that these men own multiple jets, several mansions, and a lifestyle of opulence and their congregations experience no more personal prosperity than the members of the First Baptist down the street.
But fueled by the possibility that money may rain from heaven any day into their own bank accounts, they trudge on, working average jobs, and continuing to help support the preacher’s extravagant lifestyle. And as I said, they exhibit a brand of ignorance and gullibility that makes the world reject anything Christian because the evil one has told them that this is what all Christians believe. If we knew the enormity of the personal wealth of these kind of preachers it would shock clear thinking people, but it would elicit strong words of defense from their followers. As I have often said, a preacher could be found in a motel room with a porn star and with three months of church offerings under the bed, and he could start another church the very next week with hundreds in attendance.
The entire health and wealth movement is a revealing example of how a culture can infiltrate the church and eventually assimilate it into a fallen mindset of greed and avarice, all the while contending the Word teaches such things. And millions listen with willing hearts and holding men in unhealthy esteem, such that allows them to believe lies. And not only do people believe lies, but they believe lies that are being exposed right before their very eyes! Some poor widows give and give, and confess and confess, and believe God for a financial harvest, but are still as poor as when they began. But these false teachers have ready made answers for those kinds of experiences that keeps the doctrinal golden goose safe from authentic inspection.
We as believers should show honor to church leaders who are faithful stewards of the Word and who live humble lives of moderation and sacrifice. But we must never give our unquestioned allegiance and loyalty to any man or woman, for all men have feet of clay. I have been blessed and challenged by any number of preachers, both dead and alive. Whitefield, Edwards, Moody, Spurgeon, Torrey, Tozer, Ravenhill, and men today like David Wilkerson, John MacArthur, Adrian Rodgers and others have been used by God in my life. But I do not consider their opinion as divinely inspired or Biblically infallible. I must be convinced by God’s Word through the leading of the Spirit alone.
I exhort all of you, be students of the Word and search out the Scriptures. Allow God to use godly men and women to speak into your lives and challenge you, but always be careful about viewing any human being higher than you should. Keep your eyes upon the Lord Jesus and follow Him alone with humility and personal sacrifice.

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