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God’s will for your life September 14, 2011

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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I have always struggled when I read about or hear teachers saying that one needs to find out what God’s will for their life is and then seek to pursue it. Underpinning this message is the notion that “God’s will for your life” encompasses all aspects including, career options, who to marry etc and that “God’s will for your life” is something unique to each individual. In other words advocates of this “notion” believes that God has already selected a career path, a wife or husband or a range of blessings that will allow one to live a relatively comfortable and successful life. It is therefore believed that unless we know what God’s will for our life is we can actually miss it. Have you missed God’s will for your life? We shall come to that question later. The more pertinent question here though is whether this view is Biblically sound.

Since God is sovereign then the common denominator that everyone’s life is predicated upon is “God’s Will.” This applies to the believer and the unbeliever alike. The scriptures truly say that “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Ps 24:1). Jesus also made it clear that the Father sendeth rain upon both the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). One question that could be asked here then is whether it is in God’s will for man to commit evil? The answer clearly is no but it is God’s will to allow man his free will. Back at the beginning of time God forbade Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit but at the same time God equipped Adam with free will. It should be said here though that it is not God’s will for man to exercise his free will the way he chooses. There is therefore a conflict here between God’s will and man’s will or desires as demonstrated by Adam disobeying God. So what then is God’s will?

In the simplest terms, God’s will for us is that we should serve Him by obeying His commands, not merely the Ten Commandments but rather the commandments of Christ as outlined in the New Testament. God’s will is for us to “Seek ye first the Kingdomof Godand His righteousness”(Matt 6:33). The interesting thing about this verse is that Jesus continues by saying that “……. and all these things shall be added unto you.” The “all these things” pertained to daily living as demonstrated by the previous scriptures:

31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

The concept of seeking “God’s will for your life” therefore seems to be at cross purposes with what Jesus has said here in these verses. Jesus did not say that we should seek theKingdomofGodand His righteousness and then do something more but rather that once we make theKingdomofGodour priority “all these things” SHALL be added unto us. Why do these ministers and teachers therefore give believers the impression that they need to do something more than simply seeking theKingdomofGod? The concept of seeking God’s will for one’s life seems to me to be the direct opposite of what Christ said about not taking any thought for what we shall eat, drink or wear. Not only is it at odds with what Jesus said here but also with other scriptures as well as will be demonstrated below.

The Preacher for example says:

6Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? (Ecc 8:6-7)

12For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. (Ecc 9:12)

Against the backdrop of these scriptures how can one know “God’s will for their life”? As the preacher has demonstrated here you do not even know when your time (death) shall come let alone to know what will happen in the future. Does this not resolve back to what Jesus said about not taking thought for tomorrow and “sufficient unto the day the evil thereof? (Matt 6:34)”

We can learn even more from the Preacher in Ecc 9:

10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

11I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

These particular verses are quite important to consider against what some pastors and teachers have been saying about seeking God’s will for one’s life. Firstly, it says in verse 10 “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do” as opposed to whatsoever we sought God’s will for our hands to do. In conjunction verse 11 made it clear that what our hands find to do is all down to time and chance rather than as a result of seeking God’s will for one’s life. Of course this is not meant to deny “God’s sovereign will” underpinning all this. For example, James demonstrated that if we desire to pursue a future endeavor we ought to prevail on ‘God’s will’ in allowing us to complete it:

13Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:13-15

The key verse here is “ye know not what shall be on the morrow”. To say that we can seek and know God’s will for what we shall do for tomorrow however seems to me to be somewhat presumptuous. The question here then is this: Do we reflect God’s will through our own desires and ambitions? Again, how can we say we have missed God’s will considering we know not what shall be for tomorrow? Of course with the benefit of hindsight we can have regrets about things we could have done or wished we had done in the past, but how do we know that it was even God’s will in the first place?

I believe God’s will for our lives is to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness if we do we have not missed His will. The “in betweens” of what pertains to daily life does not matter and consequently I believe that teachers who teach the “God’s will for your life” doctrine are teaching a different gospel.

The ‘Curse’ of Harold Camping August 4, 2011

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (2 Pet 3:3-4)

 

Harold Camping predicted that the rapture would occur on 21 May this year. Of course we all now know that the rapture did not take place then and that the day itself passed without event. It is of course presumptuous of Mr Camping to attempt to try and calculate the date of the rapture (or indeed the date of Christ’s return) particularly when scripture tells us that “no man knows the day nor the hour” when the Son of Man should put in His appearance. This however is not the main problem with Mr Camping’s prediction but rather the fact that by this act he has caused Christianity in general to be the laughing stock of the whole world and will no doubt cause some to reject Christianity. He has caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of by this foolish act.

 

Rather than be treated as a loose canon in the church or as a senile old man for that matter and be passed over, instead Mr Camping ceremoniously drew the attention of the World’s media, not so much because it cares about Christian thought but so that Christianity can be put on show to be jeered and mocked at once again. The reality is that the media cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood in Christendom so everyone who calls themselves Christians are lumped together and painted with the same brush in the media’s eye. The more discerning amongst us however know the truth that Christ will indeed return one day, when we think not. We also know from scriptures that despite this eternal truth, scoffers will be asking “where is the promise of His coming?” It is this same reaction that has been drawn by the worlds media which they then use to attempt to disprove the existence of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. People like Mr Camping however would do better in preaching the Gospel instead of attempting to calculate the date of Christ return, which no one can know. If Jesus Himself didn’t know the date of His return (as He said only the Father knew) it is very foolish of us to attempt to hazard any guesses as to the date.

 

As if once was not enough though, Mr Camping has again insisted on prolonging the charade by recalculating the date of the rapture and forecasting it to occur this time on October 21, 2011. Apparently he made a mistake with his first calculation and that this time his calculation is a dead cert. When this second prediction fails to materialize however (and it will) Christianity and the Church will once again be subjected to the ridicule of the world.

 

Perhaps someone needs to get the message to Mr Camping that he needs to desist from such foolish, vain and unfruitful works and to stick to preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, whilst waiting patiently for the Son of Man to be revealed in His time.

Do the Jews need Jesus Christ for Salvation? April 3, 2010

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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There are some ministers today, even very “high profile” personalities like John Hagee who teach that the Jews do not need to believe in Jesus (or come to faith in Christ) to ensure their salvation. But is this view biblically correct? The implication of this position is that the gospel was given to non-Jews only but what do the scriptures teach? Paul writing in Romans 1 says:

 Rom 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 Paul made it clear here that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (or Gentile). It is clear then that the gospel of salvation came to the Jew first as well as everyone else. To demonstrate this we may note from scripture that when Jesus called the Twelve Disciples and sent them out to preach the message of the Kingdom, He sent them to the Israelites only (Matt 10:5-7). Why was it necessary then that the gospel be given to the Jew first? We know from the Old Testament that God had made a covenant with Israel and this covenant is referred to as the Law, which was given unto Moses. This Law was to be observed in the Promised Land which God gave the Israelites under the covenant. However, the Children of Israel repeatedly broke God’s commandments and statutes and even went after other gods to worship them. The Lord therefore said He would make a new covenant with this people and we learn of this through the prophet Jeremiah in Jer 31:31-34:

 31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.  (see also Heb 8:7-12)

The new covenant that Jeremiah spoke of therefore is the same covenant that was fulfilled in the gospel through Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the new covenant that was made with Israel hence the reason the gospel came unto the Jew first. To substantiate this fact we may look at Heb 9:15:

 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament (covenant), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament(covenant), they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Emphasis mine!)

The new covenant which we as Christians partake of today is the new covenant that was promised and given to the Israelites. However the Jews in the main rejected it and the word of God came instead unto the Gentiles and we see this in Acts 13:46:

44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

Having examined the foregoing scriptures the question which needs to be asked is how can a minister of the new covenant claim that the Jews do not need to come to Jesus Christ for Salvation? By teaching such heresy these ministers are helping the Jews to continue to reject a covenant that was given to the Jew first and then the Gentiles. Indeed the scriptures, Acts 4:12, tells us that salvation is found in no other but Jesus Christ. Jesus put it this way:

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

 May we repent of such heresies and may God forgive us and have mercy upon us and help us to return to the truth of His Word. Amen

The Apostles of Mammon VS the Apostles of Christ January 27, 2010

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The church today is dogged by many false teachers spouting false doctrines on wealth and prosperity, and many in the church have become deceived as a result. These teachers give promises of untold blessings, as if God placed them personally in charge of doling out His blessings, raising false hopes mainly amongst even the poor and destitute in the church. All you need to do to receive of these blessings is to hand over your money (sow a seed) and even if you don’t have it you should write an IOU or pay using your credit card. The “sheeple” are led to believe that unless they give they won’t receive any blessings. In one video floating around on the Internet, for example, people can be seen strewing money at “apostle” Leroy Thompson’s feet, during one of his “Money Cometh” speeches. Later in the video both “apostles” Leroy Thompson and Creflo Dollar could be seen walking or sliding across the money supposedly to “anoint” it. The basic idea then is that “money cometh” (blessings will flow in the form of money) to those who gave money and have it anointed by these “apostles”. The first question here is whether such practices are biblical. It shouldn’t take a “rocket scientist” or a theological degree for that matter however to ascertain the answer to that question. But how does this contrast with the Scriptures?

 In the early church it was common practice for the people to sell their belongings, be it houses or land and bring the proceeds and lay it at the Apostles’ feet. But what did the Apostles do with these generous gifts? Did they take it away to count up privately and use it as they saw fit, promising the donors that blessings will flow to them for their giving? On the contrary we notice something quite the opposite. In Acts 2 for example we read:

  42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The first thing we note is that the church continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and they had all things in common and shared their possessions according to the need of everyone. No where do we see the apostles promising the church earthly blessings for the due care, brotherly love and kindness they showed to each other as Christians.  Again we may learn from Acts 4 to see how the apostles approached handling the gifts laid at their feet:

 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

 We note here that the apostles did not go off in secret to count the money and lodge it in some bank account and promise blessings to those who gave but they distributed it according to everyone’s need. How then did we get from this position to what we see Creflo Dollar, Leroy Thompson and others doing in the church today? Did the early Apostles, some of who walked and talked with Jesus Christ miss it? Did Jesus forget to tell the apostles that they should take the money and the goods laid at their feet and go enjoy it and in return give the church empty promises of blessings that will never materialise? Creflo Dollar and the likes may call this the “Word of Faith” but Brother James calls this dead faith in James 2:14-17:

 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

  Which apostles’ doctrine do you believe then? Those who teach the “gospel of mammon” or the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Do we need “New Revelations” and are they valid? January 15, 2010

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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In the current church age there are numerous prophets, apostles, and teachers that have arisen and who are buzzing with excitement, claiming to have “new revelations”, new teachings and new insight into scriptures. Some of these individuals use the Old Testament scriptures to base their “new” teachings, some radically re-interpret Christ’s message, and some even claim to have received new revelations from God that even falls outside of the realms of the already Revealed Word. These preachers and teachers promises that their messages will be “awesome”, especially as God is doing a “new thing” and they scurry around to hold concerts and conferences to deliver this “new message” to the masses.  Seemingly, they have whipped up a frenzy among church-going folks who rush to and fro to attend their meetings/gatherings in the veiled hope of receiving a “word from the Lord”. This is in spite of scriptures warning us not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14).

What then is the position that Christians should take in regards to these teachings? We first need to ask whether there is a scriptural basis for anyone to lay claim to having “new revelations”. Certainly we could go down the road of arguing that Christ said “it is finished”, i.e., the redeeming work of the Cross was finished. This would mean then that we would not need anything else other than that which we have received through the Word, the Bible. We could also argue that God in sundry times past spoke to us via the prophets but today speaks to us by His Son (Heb 1:1-2). Since Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), then what Heb 1:1-2 is saying is that God speaks to us today by the Word. Again this would mean there is no need for any new revelation since God continues to speak today by the Revealed Word.

In spite of those cogitations however we may examine further evidence as to whether claims of new revelations are valid. One area which is often overlooked with regards to this question is what is sometimes referred to as the “Great Commission”, the pertinent scripture being Matt 28:19-20:

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

What did Jesus command the Disciples to teach to all nations? The answer to that is, “to observe all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you”. This commission given to the Disciples is the same commission given to us today. Jesus clearly did not say to the Disciples to teach the Old Testament practices, to re-interpret scriptures or His words, or to teach “new revelation” that He will provide. How then can anyone claim to be a true follower of Christ and claim to have “new revelations”? It is noteworthy to mention here that there are those who will still insist that the Holy Spirit gave them new revelations. In that case what did Jesus say of the role of the Holy Spirit? To answer that we may look at John 14:26:

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jesus did not say that the Holy Spirit would give us “new revelations” outside of Scriptures but that “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Do we therefore heed Christ’s commands or do we go after our own way to seek new revelations or doctrines?

Deceitful Use of Scriptures October 8, 2009

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One of the things I find amazing in church circles today is how easily church folk can be fooled by this minister or that who can seemingly make scriptures appear to say something it actually doesn’t. For example, leading up to this year’s International Gathering of Champions (IGOC) conference, which was held back in August 2009, I received a flyer through the post informing about this conference. The title of the flyer was “Step Up” with a partial quote from Revelations 4:1, “come up here” which appeared to underpin the overall heading. For the main theme which was also imposed on the front of the flyer were the words, “Step Up out of…. Poverty, Obscurity, Bondage; Step Up and FULFIL YOUR DESTINY.” Needless to say I of course did not attend but on reading this at first glance and without prior knowledge of this scripture many might readily assume that what is being spouted here is Biblically based in scripture, that being, based on Revelations 4:1. I am also confident that thousands rushed out to this said conference without checking the scripture, as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) would have done, to see if what is being claimed here has scriptural merit.

Scripture admonishes us not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine but these warnings however seems to go unheeded by the church. The pertinent scripture here is as follows:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:14)

It would be to our profit however to obey the cautions of scripture which would save us much trouble in the end. Going back to Rev 4:1 however, does it actually say or support any of the things being claimed on the IGOC flyer? Lets look at what it actually says:

1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (Rev 4:1)

Anyone who has read Revelations would clearly appreciate that this scripture is part and parcel of a much larger revelation which the Apostle John had received. In fact if we read the verses following on we soon see that John was having a vision of heavenly places and truly spiritual things which the angel took him up to see:

2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (Rev 4:2-3)

Now how do these scriptures relate to what is being claimed on the flyer as aforementioned? The truth of the matter however is that John was being taken up to see God being worshipped and glorified. In contrast, the claims on the flyer of stepping up out of poverty and out of obscurity, seeks to achieve one goal and that is for man’s self-glorification – to put man in the limelight of self-illumination. To use scripture to make it appear to support this position therefore is quite deceitful to say the least. These conferences in any event are just more opportunities by which the organisers prey on the greedy and also the vulnerability of those who are desperate and in dire need, in order to fleece them.

The Day of Atonement: Is it Still Relevant? September 29, 2009

Posted by Henry in Teaching Things They Ought Not.
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Recently Paula White has been promoting the Day of the Atonement which fell on the 28 September 2009 under the banner “Don’t miss your moment”. As a New Testament believer however, is the Day of Atonement still relevant to us? In the advert Paula White alleges that this day is God’s “Holiest Day of the year” and that if we are to “receive” from God (the 8 blessings of the Atonement) “we” must send her our “best Atonement Offering” of $70 or more. It is interesting to note here that in previous years Paula White promised 7 blessings of the Atonement but this year it would seem Paula would have us believe that God has increased the number of blessings for this years’ Day of Atonement. Aside from the fact that any well-discerning individual would see through this scam I want to look at the actual issue of whether the Day of Atonement is still relevant and that the church should observe it.

 

Under the Old Covennant God commanded certain rituals be performed by the Israelites which were meant to atone for their sins. These rituals are set out in the chapter of Leviticus 16. These rituals involved the use of blood sacrifices and the action of laying the sins of the people on to a live goat which would then be set free in the wilderness. The priests (Aaron) were also to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering of atonements unto a special altar and this was to be done once a year to make atonement for Israel (Lev 30:10). It is for us to understand however that these things were meant to foreshadow the things that were to come under the New Covenant (Heb 10:1). Under the New Covenant for example, we are no longer required to offer blood sacrifices to God on an altar and we do not follow the priesthood of the Levites but instead the priesthood of Christ. Under this Priesthood burnt offerings are not required.

 

Under the New Covenant the redemptive work of the Cross negates the ritualistic practices under the Old Covenant. Scripture tells us in Heb 8:6-7 that Christ is the mediator of a better covenant and that if the first was faultless then there would not be a need for a second. Verse 13 of the said passage also tells us that God made a new covenant and that the old decays and vanishes away as a result. The key point we need to remember here however is that Jesus made atonement for us “once for all” (Heb 9:12, 10:10). Unless we are Jews therefore who have not recognised the redemptive work of Christ, the Messiah and Risen Saviour, we do not need to observe the Day of Atonement any longer. Scripture makes this very clear.

 

Why should Paula White and others like her (Steve Munsey comes to mind) insist upon honouring the Day of Atonement? To attempt to return to observe the ordinances of the Old Covenant is to deny Christ and the work of the Cross making it of no effect. This is a deception and a heresy, which helps to bring about confusion in the church even if this was not her intention. Paula White needs to repent of this heresy and return back to the truth of scriptures which are clearly spelled out.