Monday, March 23, 2009

The Gospel Prepares Us to Die!

I was listening to my brothers at StandUpMinistries from their March 22, 2007 broadcast. On it there was a brother in Christ by the name of Shawn Scott (sp?) from North Carolina. Now this brother had come to faith pretty much in the Apostolic Church. Now coming out of South Carolina I am very familiar with the Apostolic Church (There are several organizations under the Apostolic banner) and there were plenty of them on the corners and deep in the back woods. For those that are unsure of what an Apostolic Church is, it is basically a Pentecostal Church- holding to the majority of their teachings and also bringing in Oneness Theology and hyper-holiness (i.e. women in dresses only, no make-up, etc). In addition, they hold to an anti-cessationist view of the gifts. For them, all the gifts that God had given the Church are still in full use- to include a magnified view of speaking in tongues.

Now as brother Shawn was speaking, he referred to a conversation he and bro. Tim Butler (the founder of Stand Up and a man with a crazy testimony himself) had. The conversation brought up a thought within Mr. Scott and out came "the Gospel prepares us to die..." Now as soon as he said that, I caught onto that with the quickness. I understood it to be as absolutely true a statement as Shawn did. You see what lead up to this was the discussion of the harlotry of the church and how many were using it for financial gain. In fact, a lot of the discussions taken up on "Stand Up" deal with exposing that particular area because so many are in bondage to it. Really, look at TBN or Daystar and see how much of their programmings deal with "giving or sowing a seed." In so many church assemblies today the focus is on money and that should never be the case. Yes, money answers all things, but we are not to be slaves to it.

Many in the church are burdened down by the desire to "get wealth." God never promised Christians that once they came to Christ they would be debt free and all their financial woes would be gone. No, what He promised us was pain and persecution. Pain from picking up our crosses and following Him. But follow Him where? To the place where we are to be crucified on the very crosses that we carried. As for the persecution, "they that will live godly will suffer it" (2 Tim 3:12). Yet that is not the message preached by a growing number of churches out there. Most of what you hear is "God wants to bless you," "God wants you to be victorious," "hi-5 your neighbor and tell the devil to shut up," and my faviorite (snikt...) "yell out money cometh to me!" These mantras are oft quoted as if they were scripture when in fact, they are nothing more than excitable rants that play on the poor and greedy for gain. Sadly, those that imbibe on the vomit that Satan spits out through these false prophets believe that to prosper financially means that they are blessed in Christ. Yet they fail to understand that the Gospel does not prepare us to live the lives of the rich and famous.
No, what the Gospel does is the Gospel prepares us to die... in Christ, so that in the last day we may be raised with HIM according to the glory of the LORD (1 Thess 4:16). We are encouraged to put aside every weight and sin to run the race. We are encouraged to "lay up four ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy..." Matt 6:20. We are told to focus on those things that are above and not on things that are beneath. Now consider this, "...Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." [1 Tim 6:5] Paul knew what would come after the disciples' departure, and we were being warned. It doesn't matter how rich one becomes, if earthly riches are the ends to the means, then that is the reward and that individual will have no part in HIM. There are plenty evil men out there preaching that the gain of the Gospel is measured out in financial success. What hog-wash! They have perverted the glory of the LORD and made it into a lustful tool that keeps them in an enviable lap of luxury. Earthly monetary gain is not the goal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is not the preparation that it provides for.

The Gospel prepares us to die- because we will die in Christ! We must die to our fleshly desires, our greedy wants, to our unholy ways. Romans 8:13 says,"For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." We struggle in our natural bodies trying to live in the Spirit. The two are opposed to each other like high is to low. Two wills cannot work together, only one will come out on top. If we walk in Christ and stop the evil works of the flesh, we die in Christ, but are also raised with HIM in HIS glory. If we walk in the desires of the flesh then we will still die- just outside of Christ. We will die outside of HIS mercy, outside of HIS grace, outside of HIS love. Yet, we don't die away from HIS judgment.

Yes, the Gospel prepares us to die, for the glory of GOD. Either we die in Christ receiving HIS mercy and grace or we die outside of Christ receiving HIS judgment and wrath. GOD is glorified both ways. HE is glorified in the pronouncement of HIS mercy toward those who believe and He is glorified in the carrying out of HIS justice towards those who are wicked. God will and must be glorified.

I pray that more will come away from these wicked so-called "apostles of faith" who rob men both spiritually and financially. I pray that GOD is glorified through HIS children coming to know HIM in a more meaningful way than a "daddy gimme this..." mentality. Because in the end, the Gospel does prepare us to die- so that we can truly live in and with HIM for HIS glory!

No comments:

Christians Around the World!