Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

One of the earmarks of satanic involvement in the life of people is confusion. Confusion works much like a smoke screen, giving the enemy opportunity to advance and promote his lies, causing people to stumble over reality. Satan’s lies are subtle, clever, insidious and usually almost undetectable. He presents his lies in such a way that they appeal to a person’s point of strength, be it their intellect, emotional makeup, standards, or moral boundaries. At this point most people will go into one of four places—their mind, their emotions, their images or their facts to come to some sort of a logical conclusion to a matter. However, God says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” Proverbs 3:5-7.

As we turn inward instead of upward for clarity and truth, complication begins to develop with the result of mass confusion. The reason for this is, while it is true that the elements of nature and the physical world in which we live can be very complicated to our finite minds, when it comes to matters of the spirit, the complication that results from seeking answers within oneself will always lead to a shipwrecked faith and spiritual destruction. We are not God, and Satan knows it.

The Apostle Paul sternly warned the Corinthian Church of this very thing. He wrote, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” 2 Corinthians 11:3. The “simplicity of Christ” is such that even a small child can understand and readily accept whom Jesus is, why He came, what He did for each of us and why He did it, where He is, and that He is coming back one day to rule and reign over the earth. A small child can easily grasp the fact of sin, punishment, hell and heaven. No wonder Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” Luke 18:16, 17. Jesus also warned, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” Luke 1, 2.

It makes one pause and consider how many children are, and have been, deeply offended by those who talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk. Children and youth, who have not yet learned how to complicate the simplicity of truth, can see straight through hypocrisy better than most adults can. Let us face it, our wonderful, post-modern, super duper, rich, arrogant Laodicean visible church system today of professing “Christians” have, and are, greatly offending not only the little ones, but those who are young in the faith as well. The grave hypocrisy of it all is a stench reaching to the highest heavens.

What has happened to the church? What has happened is that it has been so busy admiring itself that it has left Jesus outside the door. There may be a reference or two to “Christ,” and maybe a picture or two of Him in the hallway, but He is not there and the Holy Spirit is missing because the real Jesus is not welcome. The real Jesus is not complimentary to our way of doing church. He upsets the fragile egos of those who cannot stand to be challenged in their wicked lifestyles. The cross of the real Jesus is an offense to those who see themselves as being “good.” Their self-esteem must be upheld and pacified at all times, regardless of the fact that it is nothing more than pride, which God hates and resists.

The visible church today is full of people who cannot give a testimony of their salvation and life in Christ; who have never read the Bible through, even once; who cannot truly fellowship with others on the basis of Christ, but only concerning their church; who are lacking in their knowledge of what real Christianity consists of and what their personal responsibilities are as a Christian; who have a weak prayer life, and who have no concern for the lost or the needs of others.

In the midst of this self-exalting subculture, children and youth are isolated from the main congregation (which is unbiblical), sent to their own little group where they are entertained with a bunch of nonsense more than taught from Scripture, and challenged in their life in God. No wonder we are losing our youth to the world, the flesh and the devil. We underestimate the intelligence of young children, ignore the importance of teaching them the Gospel, and fail to instill God’s Word into their hearts through Bible memorization and Bible stories, followed with application to their own lives at home and elsewhere. Even three and four-year-olds can memorize Bible verses, and the Books of the Bible. The children that have been involved with this ministry are testimony to that. They were eager to be part of the fellowship, to learn how to pray and listen to the Spirit, to discern spirits, to be involved in decisions, to pray for others, to learn Christian songs and to sing for the fellowship, in nursing homes, and the street mission. They were eager to pass out gospel tracts, give their testimony, and share Christ.

Today we are beginning to reap the consequences in our homes, schools, churches and nation of complicating and confusing the real Gospel for a false gospel. The post-modern, seeker-friendly, emergent church has booted out the Way, the Truth and the Life for another spirit, another gospel and another Jesus that cannot save anyone. It may look good, it may sound good, and it may appear to be the answer to modern man’s problems as it moves towards the one-world religion that will bow down to the antichrist, but it is in fact a counterfeit and a fraud. Instead of the simplicity of Christ, the cross, and the Gospel, that alone has the power to save, it offers substitute “spirituality” through “contemplative prayer” and other occult practices. This apostate church system need not fear retribution from the “left’s lying liberals” because it has no qualms with being “politically correct” on such issues as abortion, homosexuality, homosexual “marriage,” Darwinism, psychology, acceptance of other world religions as another “way to God” to name a few. Even the Word of God has been added to, and taken from, to make it more “readable” and “politically correct. Yet, God has warned: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” Deuteronomy 4:2.

       Even though our Lord said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), in the post-modern church the importance of diligent Bible reading, study, and memorization has been “archived.” After all, it’s “too simple” to the “progressive, modern intelligence.” In its place, heretical books, such as The Shack, are read and discussed. How foolish, how utterly rebellious, how utterly wicked has the professing, visible church become? Can God be mocked? “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” Galatians 6:7. If we sow to the intellect, we may reap “intellectualism” but it will have no life to it. If we reap to man’s religious traditions, we will reap dead religion. If we sow heresy, we shall reap eternal damnation. You cannot sow to the flesh and reap of the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:12-16.          Oh! That God would send a fire through the churches today that would burn up the dross of the carnal workings of the “natural man” and purge out the tares from among the wheat! Would to God that He would restore the simplicity that is in Christ, and bring a revelation of the lost state of those who name the name of Christ but who are not born again of His Spirit! Oh! That God would sweep through the Laodicean church system across this land and bring her to her knees in repentance for her idolatry and fornication with the world! May God raise up holy, uncompromising, Spirit-led voices in the wilderness the likes of which this nation has not heard for decades, to bring a contrast to the apostate, harlot church system that is no longer the salt and the light! May it be so!

       Have we “intellectually developed” beyond the wisdom of God? Has mankind suddenly topped the “evolutionary scale” so that he no longer needs to worship the God of the Bible, the God of creation, “in spirit and in truth?” Perhaps God has changed, and He is no longer holy and worthy of all praise and glory. Perhaps He has become more like us, or, as we have convinced ourselves in our complicated and convoluted way of thinking, that we are more like Him. Perhaps He is pleased by our incessant desire for excitement and sensuality in our “worship” as opposed to the “beauty of holiness” expressed through sound doctrine and truth that He is so worthy of. Perhaps He is pleased with our profane offerings of lip service while our hearts remain cold, and our works reprobate. Maybe, if we’re lucky, He is overlooking the offenses to others that our fine-honed hypocrisy is causing. But, if not, woe to this wicked generation! Woe to the “church” that is no longer the salt and the light. Woe, woe, woe for she deserves the judgment that is forthcoming upon all the earth. If she had remained true and faithful to her first love, would America be in her present, and future, hellish plight? “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” Psalm 9:17. What makes us think that America is an exception? We need not forget that to whom much is given, much is required.

        Indeed, Satan loves confusion and complication for such creates a gross darkness of idolatry in which sin, iniquity, unbelief, indifference (hatred), pride, prejudice, irresponsibility, self-love, witchcraft, fornication, lawlessness, and various forms of paganism can thrive. A complicated form of religion gives people an excuse for not obeying God’s commandments. It’s that simple. We must approach the Bible to believe it, and by faith to obey it. Once we obey God, then He reveals more of Himself to us so that we can take the next step of obedience through faith. This is how God designed the Christian walk, taking one step of obedience at a time. Consider Jesus’ words: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” John 15:10-14. He laid down His life for us, and we are to lay down our lives for Him (in service to others). How complicated is that? Just do it!

Can we not conclude that a Christian, or a church, that professes to love Jesus but fails to keep His commandments, the greatest of which is to love one another as He has loved us, is hypocritical? Are His commandments complicated and confusing? The answer is no, else Jesus would not have said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” John 14:15, 21.

       Why do we miss it? We miss it because obeying Jesus by becoming identified with Him in His life as He lived it and in His death (to self) as He always obeyed the Father, willing to become the sacrifice for you and me, is costly. It is going to cost us our right to ourselves—our right to life on our terms. It is going to cost us in ways that we never imagined, because the Laodicean apostate church system today has failed to produce the rugged, courageous, fully committed Christian soldier that the early church produced, and which the suffering church produced through the centuries. Maybe that is why God is allowing everything that can be shaken to be shaken, to wake up the sleepy, harlot church that is content to commit fornication with the world. God has not changed, and His word has not changed. He is still calling His people to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.

As human beings, in our rebellion and pride, when our flesh rises up to take us captive, we prefer the compromise of darkness, where we can delude ourselves into believing we can conceal the wickedness of our hearts. Lack of love for God and others lies under religious platitudes and church activities. Nevertheless, the fruit thereof, or lack of it, reveals the condition of one’s Christianity. Therefore, one can understand why the modern and mega churches are so appealing. On the one hand, a person can meld into the crowd without becoming involved in the lives of others. It is all very calculated and clinical. He or she can attend services for his or her “religious fix” and then disappear into the shadows of private life. However, on the other hand, when the rug is pulled out from underneath them, when the “rubber meets the road” of life, who is going to be there for them?

Through the earlier years of my life, I was seriously involved in different churches. I always had the false sense of security that if anything came my way that “knocked me flat” physically or financially, the “church” would be there for me, helping me through it, because that is what Christians are supposed to do, right? To me it was simple, basic Christianity. It is all there in the Bible. Regrettably, I was wrong. I discovered to my great disappointment that the entity called “the church” consists of people who have never been taught the practical, day-to-day working out of “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” It isn’t that the people were all “bad” people, mind you. It’s just that the average churchgoer is utterly and totally clueless about the meaning, duties, and responsibilities that make up the Christian life that each of us will be judged by. This is due to the failure of the clergy to properly teach, instruct and challenge the people, as well as the failure of the people to read and respond to what the Bible clearly teaches. God knows that in most churches the underlying reason for this is so that people will focus their loyalty (their money, time and energy) towards the entity called “the church” which boils down to the leadership. After all, as the pastor of a large church once confided to us, his church was a “monster” that had to be kept going no matter what.

Is the real Christian life all that complicated? No, but we complicate it by theorizing about where our duty lies, while using a plethora of excuses why we can excuse ourselves from doing the duty that lies nearest us. Let’s face it, the duty that lies nearest us isn’t as noteworthy as pouring everything into “our church” which (if we’re honest) is usually an investment in our “cultural social club”. Helping those around us, or even sending money to orphans, isn’t as glamorous as going on some “mission” overseas. There is always something more compelling and romantic about “saving the heathen” in a foreign country than helping someone in need in our own little circle of friends or acquaintances. Sadly, many people who set sail for the uttermost parts of the world to do “great things” and “save souls,” have overlooked the “small things” at home. How can God trust us with great things if we fail in the small, everyday things? Jesus said, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” Matthew 10:42.

True ministry is simple, not complicated or confusing. It is sincere. It is selfless. It is humbling. It seeks no glory for self. It is as unto the Lord, done quietly, in secret. Jesus, our example, said, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet” John 13:14. “…whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all” Mark 10:43, 44. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” Galatians 67:2, 10. Did you catch that? It says “all men” not just those we love, or those who can repay us in kind. It says “especially” to those who belong to Christ, not just those who are “more important” in the scheme of things.

We cannot serve God without consecration. Here is the key: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” Romans 12:1-3. Therefore, if we are not willing to be a living sacrifice, live a holy, separate life from the world, then we are not acceptable to God. In addition, if we have presented our bodies as a living sacrifice, we dare not claim that our practical, good works are more than our “reasonable service” to God.

If we are proud of our church attendance or involvement, but are still worldly and self-serving, then our fruits tell on us that our minds are not transformed. Outside of the transformation and renewing of our minds, we will fail to prove what is good, acceptable and perfect in the will of God. If we keep it simple, maintaining the simplicity of Christ, doing good works as the Spirit leads for His glory alone, then we will of necessity not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, but will think soberly according to the measure of faith that God has given to us.

Concerning giving, should we not give as the Spirit leads, and not as man dictates in order to further his own kingdom (and bank account)? Giving, out of faith and sincerity, is a form of worship. There are neither commandments nor examples given in Scripture where people were to give to keep the doors of a dead church open, or one that preached “another gospel.” In the New Testament church, offerings were collected for the saints, the poor and to promote the Gospel. (See 2 Corinthians 16:1, 2 Corinthians 9.)  The giving that Jesus emphasized can best be summed up in Matthew 25:40:  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”Truly, it must be an abomination to God to see deluded and disobedient people pour millions of dollars into the pockets of wealthy heretics, false prophets, and wolves in sheep’s clothing. They shall receive their reward.

The Apostle John wrote, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:16-18. While we know that humanists and unsaved people may do good works and yet remain unsaved, it is impossible to be saved without good works. (“For as the body without the spirit is dead, So faith without works is dead also” James 2:26.) What do your fruits say about you? 

“I was hungry
And you formed a humanities club to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned
And you went to your chapel to pray for my release.
I was naked
And you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick
And you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless
And you delivered a sermon on the shelter of God’s love.
I was lonely
And you left me alone to attend church.
You seem so close to God but I’m still very hungry, lonely, and cold!” ~ (Author unknown)