Monday, July 29, 2013

The Servant Conduit has become the Served Master

has become

In God’s redemptive plan He uses people to spread His gospel and eternal Word. And inside that plan He would call men to be shepherds to His flock. The Spirit would call a man, equip him, and ordain him to be the conduit through which God would minister and feed His people. We call them pastors or preachers and they were to be used of God to minister God’s Holy Word and to draw people to a closer relationship to Christ Jesus.

There were many challenges to men like that. They would have to immerse themselves in God’s Word and in prayer, they would have to draw very close to Christ themselves, they would have to give their lives for the sheep, and they would have to be extremely careful about being idolized themselves by people. God will not share His glory with another and these men were to be conduits of His light and not generate their own carnal light.

If these preachers and shepherds walked in the power of the Spirit they would have to walk in unusual and profound humility as well. They would have to deny themselves and lift up Jesus. And when the Industrial Revolution came they would be put to a very difficult test. Would preachers allow themselves and their name to become a “brand” and be used as advertisement in  order to generate book sales, conference attendance, church membership, and greater and greater recognition throughout the culture? In essence would these men allow the hedonistic culture to use them in the same way it uses rock stars, Hollywood actors, television people, sports figures, and politicians?

And now in so many cases these men, and now women, not only allow themselves to be marketed like some new cereal, but they even embrace the promotion and work with the advertisement campaigns. Yes, they love the applause of men. Those who were to be servants are now served. Those who were to be conduits are now masters. Those who were to spread His message now spread their own and at a sizeable cost to others and at a sizeable gain to themselves. It is a monstrous exhibition that betrays the very fabric of God’s Word as well as completely misrepresents the Christ Himself. The present ecclesiastical construct exists within the power of the culture and it bears carnal fruit.

Gone is self denial. Gone is personal sacrifice. Gone is being clothed with humility. Gone is any vestige of the teachings of Jesus. Gone and rejected are the words of the Baptist who said, “He must increase but I must decrease”. It is impossible to completely reveal the spiritual treachery that now exists and is practiced in the ecclesiastical construct in the west. It has no relationship to Jesus or His teachings. And those who have certain titles not only perpetuate this fraud, but they continue to expand and build upon it. And year by year the entire spectacle grew into a more repulsive monster until what is generally referred to as the church is little more than a collection of people who are comfortable and contented and who receive the self affirmation they desire every Sunday.

And in the midst of it all are the preachers. Now most of the local preachers have no notoriety outside their parochial ministry, but many if not most follow and adhere to some well known preachers. Yes, they are a part of the hedonistic and capitalistic culture which has placed a stranglehold upon the church. Set up a national conference, advertise with some famous preacher’s names and some famous music people, and make it sound like you will not want to miss it, and you will have the desired results. And the result will be a great attendance, much excitement, thousands of dollars spent on all kinds of things, and all the speakers and singers being well recompensed. It resembles a rock concert.

We now have quite a number of famous preachers and their famous subordinates and many of them have established their own brand complete with logos and mantras. And this phenomenon is not limited to the liberal wing of evangelicalism. The orthodox crowd has their heroes as well and many of them are literal millionaires. And the unspoken and spoken suggestion is that they speak and teach things that you need and can only get through them. And with all the books and CDs and conferences and speaking engagements and radio and television you would think that the spiritual condition of people might be soaring, right? You would be wrong.

In fact you can take a faithful and committed member from an orthodox church, and take one from a Roman Catholic church, and take one from a Pentecostal church, and take one from a non-denominational church, and take one from Rick Warren’s church or Joel Osteen’s church or many others, and you may be surprised to find that the overwhelming distinguishing factor is what they say they believe. Their lives and how they live them are almost without any dramatic difference. They borrow money. They drive cars with many accoutrements. They enjoy certain forms of entertainment. They have compartmentalized prayer times. They support their preferred political figures. They pledge allegiance to America.

Now either there is something wrong with that or there isn’t. How can a group of people strongly condemn others whose teachings and practices are unbiblical, but when their lives are compared they are really not that much different if at all? Can the faith be so heavily weighted toward what we say we believe until what we do and live is optional? Can we live a western, capitalist, and hedonistic lifestyle and yet use our doctrinal statements to insulate us from having to answer to the New Testament for how we live? We have the structure we want and we have the personality we want and we have the affirmation we want and we have the teachings we want and we have the Jesus we want and with all that we do not want to rock the boat since it seems to be floating downstream just fine.

The entire American public is consumed with a celebrity preoccupation. The newspapers have a gossip and entertainment section. The television has entertainment and gossip programs. People follow the latest scandal of some Hollywood or sports figure, and when a baby is born to so called British royalty people are mesmerized. And much of the church is just as interested. The entire spectacle is a spiritual scandal in and of itself. But that is the evangelical world in which we now live. Special speakers, special music, special teachers, special conferences, special activities, but all this with a surprisingly little amount of special surrender to Christ.

And on and on it continues as the western version of “Christianity” continues to spiral into a full blown exhibition of capitalist hedonism. And conducting this carnal orchestra are those who are supposed to be the leaders by teaching and exemplifying the Lord Jesus. It’s a three ring circus but it attracts millions to its show.

Really don’t mind if you sit this one out
My words are but a whisper your deafness a shout…


Least Brother said...

Spot on brother!! May we continue to exhort others to sound the alarm. I know at times I grow weary for not many seem to hear, listen or heed. But God's grace, mercy and love allow me to continue on and "contend for the faith once delivered". I didn't get this understanding overnight or at "church", but I share what light I do have whenever and whereever He allows.


Anonymous said...

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Some churches are worldly because they only want to appease themselves, make themselves seem important. We must be very close to the return of our Savior and Redeemer, this is the beginning of the falling away written in 2 Thessalonians 2.

:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
:17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.


Brian said...

Seems these "stately" ministry buildings with all the glamer, lights, camera, action is but a "reflection" of what the shepherds have in themselves...they can't invite a "big name" to a humble little building, that would be embarrassing...

The following statement came from the elder giving the announcements at the start of the service -

"Now that the building is complete and all the remodeling is accomplished, you don't have to be embarrassed to invite people to Church".

What! embarrassed about a building?

And don't get caught always quoting scripture, you are labeled a "Pharisee" or one that has no vision...labeled(by the leadership)

Anonymous said...

Gone is self denial. Gone is personal sacrifice. Gone is being clothed with humility. Gone is any vestige of the teachings of Jesus. Gone and rejected are the words of the Baptist who said, “He must increase but I must decrease”.


> >>


2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Anonymous said...


Just pondering how a few pastors in my past have dedicated themselves and sacrificed and, despite the ecclesiastical construct, they did provide many with the gospel and many were saved.

However, one of the things I observed with a number of pastors, is their need to teach out of the OT. While it was edifying and taught us about all of God's attributes, and compared the old law to the new law under Christ, it tended to turn us into OT followers. The pastors would use OT images of God's wrath and His vengeance, and His anger to point to us that, though He is love, yet He is also to be feared in His awesome nature. Pastors knew how to keep us in check when they'd quote OT, putting the "old" fear in us.

So, with that, I felt continually being pulled left and right, wanting to please God; yet those OT qualities of God, conflicted me when I'd read the New Testament qualities that Jesus taught us to have. Jesus showed qualities of the Lamb; and I believe we have to forfeit vengeful feelings and a sense of entitlement, if we're to follow His Son Jesus.

I find that many pastors in the West are teaching christians to ignore the "Lamb" qualities, and embracing the "Lion" qualities. They seem to want to see the church rise up and to be viewed by the world as God's chosen, and they seem to want their enemies to flee. Some pastors include Old Testament verses that defy being meak, humble, lowly, patient, forgiving, merciful. Old Testament examples are about the Father having to protect His people, in sometimes wrathful style. Enemies of Israel would be wiped out.

We know that as Christ's Church, we can't expect the same relationship with the Father as He was in the OT. He was fierce and the Judge. We are now under the new law through His Son, and because of that, we're not to expect Jesus to throw lightning and thunder at our perceived enemies. Yet, pastors quote OT in this vein, giving christians the false idea that we can expect a Rambo-like justice today. It's obvious by so many christian's commentary these days. They believe they have the "rights" to bear arms and the right to defend and barricade and not just be defensive, but offensive And they do have the these secular/temporal rights by men's law. But, this mindset is creeping into the western church. It's like the pastors want the OT style of God to take care of the enemies of the church. It's creating a false sense of who Jesus Christ is, as He came to the world in this dispensation. We can't change the Son's disposition as He taught us to be. Somehow the church in the US is failing to teach "turn the other cheek".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote about 2 Chronicles 7:14, this is an impossibility, because from the President on down through each State Governor and so on would have to repent.

Leviticus 26:40 'But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, :41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—

I do not see this as ever going to happen.

We as believers of Jesus Christ do not have a place on this earth. John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." :37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Our focus as believers is on Heaven, not on this earth. We are to spread the Gospel of Jesus and make disciples.


Anonymous said...

Dear Joel and friends, both 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Leviticus 26:40 are God's word.
The LORD can and does reward broken and contrite sinners, so that they sincerely confess their sin and He can and does bless sinners with a circumcised heart, so that they live or walk humbly before Him. Truly He brings about these changes in the lives of those He saves!

We can't humble ourselves, and pray and seek Almighty God's face, and turn from our wicked ways in our own strength-that is an impossibility but we can do all these things in the blessing and power of God.

Truly when broken and contrite sinners do these things the LORD will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and this brings forth healing that glorifies His exalted, holy, forgiving, compassionate name above all names!!!

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

Josef, thank you for your kind words. When people quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 they are assuming that all in the USA will fall on their knees in repentance then the USA will be healed and turn into a Christian nation. Because that is what it would take to turn things around here. I also know from my own experiences that if we turn to God and confess our sins and ask Jesus to cover us in His blood that we do not worry about tomorrow. We may have the same troubles as others, but we are not driven by those troubles. Satan will not allow those that are his to turn and worship God. Most of the leaders in this country are being lead by Satan. They have been turned over to the lusts of their hearts or a reprobate mind.

If the church is not preaching the Cross and the shed blood of Jesus, how are people to know what it is to be saved?

We are not to focus on the country where we live, we are to have our focus on God and His Son Jesus Christ. Our focus is the individual lives of our fellow countrymen. It is our duty to serve God, spreading the Gospel of Jesus, giving hope to the hopeless.


Anonymous said...

The Lord God is meek, humble, lowly, patient, forgiving, loving and merciful in both the Old and the New Testament!!! He is love.

Vengeance belongs to Him and whenever He is vengeful He is always righteous and self controlled.

Our great Lord never teaches or acts in defiance of the attributes that He so awesomely possesses.

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

Dear readers, let's guard diligently against falling into the trap of loving the applause of men! In my opinion we should desire to excel at marketing, for unless we "market" God's Word prudently we will underachieve in our work. It is self promotion at the expense of preaching the Gospel that we ought to desire to correct and rebuke.

Lovers of truth, let's rededicate ourselves to the teaching of the vital importance of self denial, personal sacrifice and of being clothed with humility!

Dear readers, if any vestige of the teachings of Jesus are gone in your life. If you sense that you have rejected the words of John the Baptist who said, “He must increase but I must decrease” then you must repent and turn to Jesus and ask Him to teach you anew!

I encourage you to turn to the most gracious teacher of all, for He still longs for you to desire to wholeheartedly trust and obey Him.

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

If parishioners are sitting contently in their pews then they don't really understand the desperate plight of those who have succumbed to embracing the self willed life.

How can so many sit so comfortably and sing the same song week after week when more than two billion people are ensnared by Islam and corrupt Catholicism?

Wake up singers of songs and desire to heed the words of Jesus who said: go ye into the world and preach the gospel. Preach that Christ was crucified and rose again. Preach that sinners need Him to be the Shepherd of their soul. Teach that He calls sinners to repentance.

Teach about His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross. Teach and inspire in word and deed sinners to trust and obey the treasured Teacher of Teachers, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Teach that there is more to living a good and faithful life before God than fine tuning your singing voice.

What should you do? Don't give up sitting on pews or singing but do let your neigbor hear praise of the real Jesus.

And don't be afraid to speak up against Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Communism, National Socialism, Marxism and Atheism.

Truly Jesus loves you!!

Anonymous said...

Joel, your final words are powerful and true, for it is our duty to serve God by spreading the Gospel of Jesus and giving hope to the hopeless.

God is sovereign over Satan.

Let's remember also that Our precious Lord died on the cross. Our great, compassionate, merciful LORD God is well able to rescue those enslaved to Satan but they must be willing to decide to wholeheartedly trust and obey Him.

Christians and non-Christians both need their thinking to be purified.

Having a reprobrate mind doesn't necessarily proclude someone from being saved, for we know that homosexuals and lesbians have a reprobate mind, yet Our gracious LORD God is still willing to draw them to Christ if they repent.

Josef Sefton

Annette said...

This post brings some powerful Scriptures to mind as Jesus teaches us this day....Matthew 20:20-28 "Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. (Jesus) And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your Kingdom." But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able." So He said to them, "You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father." And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 'Yet is shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 'And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

One cannot help but love and respect the very words of our Lord, and yet they are so very hard at times.

So then, what has man made of Christianity, creating our own gods as if Greek mythology has been revived. It is interesting to observe how many in the pastorate as well as leadership, even down to the lowest laity, desire fame and glory/followers for themselves, rather than leading people to Jesus Christ.

Are not the fruits of boasting and bragging/the elevation of the "self," alive and well within the contructs of Christianity?

Lord, be it as it may, show us what humility really looks like in this day and age. Praise you Jesus, for your Words, for they are so very hard at times, yet loving.

Anonymous said...

Dear readers Our loving gracious Lord calls us to service. Are you desiring to serve sinners? Are you desiring to bless them with the word of God? When is the last time that you shared Jesus' words with your neighbor? Do you really love Him?

Dear readers, the desire of our heart ought to be to love and respect the very words of our Lord. What a delight it is to be blessed by such a wonderful Lord and Savior!

Josef Sefton