Monday, February 25, 2013

Worshiping the Material Universe

Please read through the entire portion of Scripture I have posted below.
Lk.12: 13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Look how long of a Scripture passage I have posted here. And to what issue does it focus? This teaching which can also be found in Matthew addresses man’s obsession with this material world and all the things it offers. This is perhaps the greatest stumbling block to the church. It is almost ignored in the west. In fact, the entire teaching has been diluted, manipulated, and even reversed in order to accommodate our lust for things. And we can never know Christ in all His fullness while we still lust for things in order to allow our flesh to run wild.

One of the greatest tragedies is that millions of lost sinners are responding to a false message which promises them wealth and material blessings, and in so doing I fear millions have embraced a falsehood and will eventually lose their souls. Oh what a great tragedy! How could we who have known Christ go a-whoring after that which perishes? How can the things of this world compare with the resplendent glory which shines forever in His magnificent face? What kind of spiritual adultery leaves that which is eternal to bed down with that which is passing? And now we have so called preachers holding up riches instead of Christ and calling people to come.

We live in a religious climate which is the enemy of the Spirit and most certainly embraces and presents another Jesus. The church does not seek a sign; it does not seek self denial; it does not seek greater sacrifice; and it surely does not seek Jesus. We have settled into a convenient, redundant, and powerless practice which meets our needs, the needs of our marriages, and the needs of our families. And like a machine which produces enough energy on its own to keep it going, the church does not need, much less seek, God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a cold doctrine or is falsely displayed to create excitement and a feeling of spiritual importance.

And yet we as believers have been captured by a culture whose spirit is against Christ. How have we created this falsehood and acquiesced to that which is death? We no longer just live in the material universe, but now we love and embrace it while pretending to believe in the surpassing glory of the unseen world. Who can believe us? Can we place heaven on a pedestal, shove in a doctrinal corner, and go about our business just like the millions who have no claim to Christ? What kind of fairy tale is that? Angels and demons and spiritual wickedness in high places? Please, go play dungeons and dragons.

Have we become so vain and so jaded that we no longer need something in which to believe? Are we satisfied in believing mythology which can be used as a tool for our own carnal purposes? Hollywood seeks after the material things, so do the politicians, so do the athletes, so does Wall Street, and so does the church. More and more and more is the way of American evangelicalism, and the most joy a preacher and his church can experience is to cut a ribbon and enter into a debt ridden new building. Guns and cars and clothes and houses and phones and televisions and cameras and vacations and savings accounts and restaurants and movies and all kinds of waves of politics and national fervor are the things which drive our lives. Like sitting in a kayak and rushing downstream, being swept by the torrent, the church enjoys all the pleasures of this western culture while still sitting on a doctrinal statement which when taken at its face value should suggest just the opposite.

The church has subscribed to the ugly devil theory. Like the wicked witch in Oz, we have laid out a fairy tale. The devil is beautiful. He is alluring and accommodating. He sings beautifully. He speaks words that soothe. His evil has a fallen glory which reflects the kingdoms of this world. He comes as an angel of light. But the church has constructed a self serving set of absolutes. Earthly success and monetary gain is always God’s blessing. Higher taxes or less money is always of the devil. Good health comes from God and bad health is evil. Promotion is from God, and layoffs are from Satan. Numerical church growth is always good and divine, and numerical decrease is an evil attack.

This kind of thinking has been borrowed from the world and adjusted to fit within the church. The larger the church the greater the pastor’s salary package. The more popular the pastor the greater insight to truth he has. Christian music is a ministry from which people can become wealthy. Christian conferences benefit the body of Christ. Christian cruises are what Jesus would do. All this earthly thinking has infiltrated the church and it revolves around the concept of value. Bigger and more has more value and is therefore better. Popular is a sign of divine blessing. It is all so carnal.

Rom.1: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever

This is a principle clearly outlined in Scripture. It is based upon the first commandment that says we are to have no other gods before the True God. That includes gods of stone, gods of wood, gods of steel, gods of money, gods of success, gods of food, gods with wheels, gods with four feet, and most especially gods with two feet. The teachings of Jesus are so clear concerning this subject that we must be completely dishonest with Scripture to suggest that material things are a divine sign, much less to suggest that God desires us to be wealthy and on a continuing climb to prosperity.

The glory of the Creator can be seen in His creation, however the glory of that Creator surpasses all created glory. We have seen the wonder of Saturn’s rings; we have seen the amazing snow peaked mountain of the Himalayas; we have watched as the Sun was hidden in an eclipse; we have seen comet racing through the night sky; we have seen the power of a tsunami; we have been awed when we have seen the Earth from the vantage point of the moon. But I can give testimony, even as an amateur astronomer, nothing can even compare with the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing at all.

Imagine the world before humans inhabited it. Nothing but rivers and oceans and trees and mountains. Look around now and see the cars and the buildings and the ships and the planes and all the modern technological advances. Now look back at the earth without any of those things. Do you realize that everything we see now came out of the earth? We did not travel to some planet and bring them back. No, we dug them up out of the earth. So when the Creator made the earth, He made it with everything we would ever need.

But what Jesus did not intend was for His people to love and cherish the creation and make it in competition with our love for Him. In essence what we have done is take our hands, dig up some earth, mold into a car or a house or some clothes and bow down to them. Oh we do not literally bow down most of the time. But what we do is bow our hearts to the created universe and still attempt to suggest we love and serve the Creator Jesus. That is a disconnect that will never work regardless how far the church falls.

It is time all who name His name release the affection we have for the things of this world. We are in this world and have need for the material things, however we are not of this world and our hearts must never follow after things. We must evaluate everything according to our needs and not our wants which are our lusts. Jesus deserves all of our hearts and lives. We must not compromise that which is His alone. Creation should remind us of Him and not about what we can have. The world bombards our minds with the allurements of this world. And year after year it chips away at our hearts and minds until the tension disappears because we have surrendered to the world.

And in the end we are faced with a choice. And this is choice with only two choices. There can be no compromise or dilution. There are only two distinct choices. We either serve the Lord Jesus completely, or we create some false construct which uses Jesus but serves the world. Choose you this day who you will serve.


Anonymous said...


"So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

This verse reminds me of the western church attitude that it's members should keep them salaried and their ministries fully supported. Ministers most importantly want their members to be "rich toward God". But preaching to be moderate and not hoard material things and keep amassing treasures for themselves doesn't work if the pastor is not moderate in church spending, nor worried about hoarding material things for himself. How can ministers keep their members giving all they have left towards the church's coffers, through tithing and offerings when clergy are always in a ministry shopping-spree mode? They cleverly decide they can do that by promising them God's abundant blessings on them 100-fold.

There are many church members that cannot ever amass luxuries, or extra material things, because they are constantly bombarded with requests from the clergy to donate toward this and that special need, or for a new sound system, or to help someone fly to some missions area. There is always a plea for money; a need every week. I've seen church families give and give until it hurt and they could never enjoy the privileges, traveling, support, adventures that the clergy and his family enjoyed.

When church members started to resent the constant need for their last dollar that could have gone towards meds for their kids, or supplies, clothes and basic needs for their family, the prosperity movement lured and whispered "you can have it all" - God wants your best offering, so He can give you His best blessings" kind of teaching. This is where many are right now. THey are being deceived into thinking that God wants them blessed and rich and comfortable (thinking of Creflo Dollar and his 'Jesus was rich' teaching).

This manipulative ploy keeps the masses happily giving, believing that they'll get 100-fold. And they don't give because they want to out of pure appreciation toward what Jesus did for them, it's a OT- giving sentiment. It's again using the Old Testament manipulative guilt tactic and many people fall for it. These same quote the Malachi verses about God putting a curse on those who withhold their tithing.

And add to that, christians in America who feel entitled that they have a document that promises equality and rights for them forever and ever. These same people believe that if kingdom-builders (founding fathers) AND God are both on their side, who can stand against them?

Christians today seem to believe that wealth through capitalism is the greatest achievement and that God has given His blessing for it. When they realize that this is not the New Testament plan for a believer, they'll be too invested and imprisoned in this belief to stop it. It's like an addiction to a drug and when everyone around them is using that drug, it's hard to quit.

I never understood how hard it could be to allow material things to keep someone from entering heaven, and now I realize how easy it is. And it isn't the 'things', it's the dangerous need and attitude it causes; to keep things and the belief that unecessary things are permissible in God's eyes to any serious believer.

Cherie c. said...

The joy of conviction! Yes, I said the joy of conviction!

How do you ask can I be happy with conviction? Easy, it is God's love for me. He has used Pastor to give a message in a manner we can understand using His Word. By being made aware of error in our walk, we walk in His righteousness when we repent, and therefore we are blessed. Not blessed in earthly things, but blessed in Spiritual things, like His favor. A Scripture that comes to mind is:
1 Samuel 15:22

22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Once we are given knowledge from the Lord, we ought to obey it. God at times, repeats things. That alone can tell you how He feels about a particular situation. But He only has to say it once for me.

How long have we been allowing ourselves to be duped? Too long. I could blame a former pastor, but when it comes down to it I was the one who heard the Holy Spirit through the Word of God and choose not to listen. So in order to get my attention I believe He allowed things to happen to me to make me wake up and repent. There are no more excuses. God's Word is clear. No, not yet perfect, and sin will occur, but I cannot ignore the road signs. Even if that road gets so narrow that I have to go it alone, I can no longer pretend every thing is okay, especially when God's Word says differently. Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone. Jesus didn't come to make us comfortable, He came to save us, which He did. The Word is complete and if you are hearing something other than what is complete, RUN AWAY! As fast as you can, run!

But those of us who have come out of the church are learning the truth (Thank you Lord for Pastor Rick) it can be like cold water in the face. The truth takes your breathe away.

Again, learning how to apply God's Word to your life is so important. It is life or death!

The Lord is working with me and I am so grateful. Conviction is not easy, no correction is, but without correction, death.

Thank you Pastor Rick for teaching the unchurched, using the Word of God to correct us, teach us, and keep us ever on our face, humble and fearful before the Lord. Your road is a tough one, but He has called you to do His will, and please know I understand that it at times can be overwhelming. But, stay humble, stay open to God's Word as he seeks out His own out of the apostate church system. My prayer is that there are other unchurched Pastors doing the same for the Body of Christ.

Happy in Conviction this day. Leaning the ways of the Lord is better then winning the lottery I say, some may disagree.

Prayer request: Brothers and sisters, there is a follower of Jesus, I cannot at this time say the name, but this person needs our prays to help with a deep spiritual struggle. Please pray for this person for the attacks are constant. I would like to say more, but rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead you in prays to our Lord for this person. Pray for this person to be open to the Word of God, the strength to obey Him and not be filled with offense at correction. To turn from the world's system to the God for all the answers. This person relies upon the world for help, and is being fed a bill of goods contrary to God.

Thank you in advance for your intercession.

Love to All!

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

I need to correct a sentence:

Wrote: To turn from the world's system to the God for all the answers.

Correction: To turn from the world's system TO GOD for all the answers.

Sometimes I write too fast and the sentence comes out wrong. Either way, please pray. God Bless.

Love to All.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Less (material stuff) is more :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this excellent reminder Pastor Rick. Actually, I think this issue is not just a western church problem, it is a worldwide plague. I am in contact with people who attend underground/house churches in various parts of the non - western world, and they also have many members who are excessively materialistic. At the moment it is not obvious, but sooner or later, they they will be just like the modern western church. The problem, I think, is human nature. It is something we need to overcome, sadly, many perverts like to twist virtue into vice, and vice into virtue. God help us, please.