The Spirit of Hagar the Babylonic Monster of the End Time Church
by Bola Olu-Jordan
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THE CHURCH OF JESUS
A king's house is called a palace and should reflect royalty, so also God's house, the church, should parade righteousness and God's glory. But the spirit of perversion colonizing the world has been welcomed with fanfare into the church, substituting righteousness with malady. it now thrives in moral absurdity and spiritual bastardy. It has been turned to a parade ground for largesse seekers and collared thieves who are inordinately possessed with what they can get from the altar than what they can give to God.
The Church has been gently persuaded away from the original plan of God; to be a people separated unto Him in holiness and sanctification, having fellowship together, to edify one another, and to wait for His glorious appearing, to trying to keep membership of a socio-religious organization with benefit attached.
The word “Church” is now loosely used to describe any social gathering where heavenly largesse are questionably distributed by costumed prodigals, who rebelliously barge in into God's store house in brazen desperation, collecting God's promises and lavishly peddle it to truth-barren individuals, who care less of the source of such contrabands as long as it satisfies everything they want, except what they need.
Such show is carried out by depraved men, derobed of character, let alone godliness, spiritual illiterates with affectionate mien, strangers to God's Holy calling, who take advantage of the frustration of God's people to offer an alternate promise rooted in eternal slavery. They are problem solvers, smooth talkers and destiny comforters, who have solution to all problems of the people at a hidden eternal cost. They are custodians of inexhaustible miracles that would require massive publicity to woo as many as care to get one to assemble at a set time, where orations would be recited and miracles distributed and appreciation given as offering.
BUILDING TO PATTERN
The Lord instructed Moses as regards the temple: “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount” (Exo. 25:40). But the temple is no longer being built by priests these days, but contractors, who have substituted the master-plan with strange designs and import skilled labourers in unrighteousness, religious urchin and loyal jobbers to build a pattern to suit their own design and accommodate enough crowd for their religious jamborees, campaigns and rallies, where they can share dividends with faithful party members.
In the book of Ezra, as the people returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the broken wall and temple that was destroyed, the bible records that "all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the PRIESTS and LEVITES and CHIEF OF THE FATHERS, who were ANCIENT MEN, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people" (Ezra 3:11-13).
What was making the young men to shout for joy made the 'Priests, Levites, chief of the father and ancient men' to weep sore. To the ‘young men’, however, it was the restoration of the old glory; the best and most beautiful temple they ever saw, but compared to the original temple that was destroyed, it was a gory sight, devoid of magnificence, splendour, grandeur, and Shekinah Glory of the Living God, the traits of the temple of God! The elders wept sorely for both the temple and the young men and they were in grief for days; asking rhetorically what had bedeviled them; for both the temple and for the young men, who were celebrating with jubilation, partying, eating, drinking for days mere carcass, without life, spirit and the glory of God. What usefulness is a house that cannot be inhabited?
So also the church of today has been turned into a place of jubilation, fashion and rendezvous, even importing comedians, jesters and clowns to desecrate the house of God with back-breaking rhythms, beats and soul fragmenting songs from the pit of hell that glorifies the devil and set the demons dancing in the house of God.
When many toddlers who are making incursion to the ministry today on the bill of God calling them because of business failure or joblessness never saw the old glory, how would they build according to pattern? They never understood the basic principle of Christianity, let alone calling (Heb.5:12). To them, pastoring is ability to talk, act and behave like a pastor, share the word by arranging some stupid words in rhymes and verses and delivering them in quotes, or a poetic line of oration. This is necessary to 'grow the church’. They must also be able to ‘manage and solve’ people’s problems by organizing vigils and occasionally inviting ‘powerful prophets’ to dissolve people’s problems with hot prayers. The ultimate, to them, which brings fulfillment is making altar call (or more appropriately membership call) after they have impressed them with a message of prosperity and opportunities of membership.
If this is all we think Christ has come to do, we are doomed, of all people, we are the most miserable (1Co 15:19). The best orators ever in history till date like Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero, etc all lived before Jesus. So, what sort of quotes or orations do we need again? The richest man on earth (Solomon) lived before Jesus and none can equal his wealth again and many miracles also happened before Jesus, etc. So, if this is all what Christ came to do, then, he has not come for any new covenant as claimed (Heb. 8:8,13, 12:24).
But Jesus came to do what no man before or after Him is able to do and that is to redeem us from our sins and reconcile us back to God (Eph. 2:16, Col.1:20); giving us His Spirit to be able to live, not a moral life, but a holy life (2Tim.1:9), in righteousness of Christ and sanctification to God, so that sin, Satan or the world will no longer have dominion over us and we will reign with Him in eternity (Rom. 6:14, 2Tim.2:12).
An average church has lost this line of message to prosperity, breakthrough, financial seminars, how to win friends or live in peace or make it by power of positive thinking or other laws and strategies. As good as these things are, they are not the reason Christ came, so, we should stop celebrating them.
Not all or any good news are Gospel, but the Gospel of Jesus is certainly a good news! Sound health, promotion, healing, blessing, miracles, etc are good news, but they are not the Gospel. The Gospel IS the kingdom of God and its righteousness, period! (Mat. 6:33). Miracle, blessings, etc are mere additions to the benefit of the kingdom and that is the only thing some are preaching today, deceiving the innocents. The Gospel is Christ Jesus coming to reconcile us back to God. That is what Christ preached throughout. As he was busy preaching the kingdom, all these things followed (Psa.23:6).
Miracles, healings, prosperity, etc are good news, aren’t they? But you can go to hell with them, but impossible to go to hell Jesus. This good news must not be equated with other material good news, it is holy and it is the Gospel!
Let us excuse the toddlers who are jumping around on the pulpit today with self decorated titles and breast milk dripping from their mouth as they try to impress the congregation with their sophistry, unperfected phonetics and other weird things which are indices to witchcraft. Should the ancients or fathers in the faith also be found in this exuberance? If those who saw Christianity in its preserved form and knew the word 'born again' at its purest state as against what it has been turned to are keeping quiet, then, it’s either they are not real fathers or they have compromised. Many of them are busy adopting this 'young men' as ‘spiritual sons’ so as to get dividend from them. To them, it’s a profession, not a calling. But at these last days, the Lord promised to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to the fathers (Mal.4:6). If the people refuse to praise Him, He would raise stones that would praise Him (Mat.3:9).
The church has slided into the era of ‘chiefdom’ and ‘god-fatherism’ on the bill of mentorship, as many ‘fathers’ receive ‘settlements’ from professional pastors, who placate them with honorary title of ‘father in the Lord’ with the accompanying entitlements and benefits. Many others are busy competing with these young men in the business of crowd control and fame, or at least, not to allow them ‘steal their sheep’.
We must weep and bemoan this sorry development! Certainly, all that we see around us today called the church of God fulfills the qualification of the church of man. This sophisticated pattern is alien to the pattern given to Moses on the mount or the one instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, projected by the disciples and left for us to follow.
We see all the instrument of worship truly, including the language and the aura, but where is the shekinah Glory of His presence? Where are the ancients, the old men and the Levis: those who saw the original temple with all its glory? Where are the Apostles, unto whose hands was committed the design of God’s building for His church? We neither hear their weeping nor their wailing. Why are they not crying out? Is there a compromise?
This generation has been robbed not only of the true church pattern, but its glory. It has been taken over by GIFTED men, instead of CALLED men; ambitious pulpit merchants, who conjure miracles for frustrated souls, tired of waiting on the Lord for His promises, and desire a quicker way out by all means.
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
This above statement is a clear statement from Jesus Himself and it’s without any ambiguity. He is the Head (Col.1:18; 2:10, Eph.5:23) and He promised not shack in His responsibility to build His church (Mt.16:18). But today, this active word has been taken with levity. We see men, not only trying to build God a house, but also decorating it. The question is: who dwell in such houses, since the “Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Act 17:24; 2Chr. 6:18, Heb.9:11, 2Cor.5:11). He indwells in our body as His temple. (1Cor.3:16, 6:19; Eph.3:17). So, what are people building?
Why do we labour so much in trying to build God a house He will not live in, abandoning the one He would live in? The disciples of Jesus showed Him the beauty of the temple “and Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mat 24:2). It is saddening to realize that the greater part of the resources that comes to the church of God, meant for the development of the body is being used for the development of the building and the empire God has no artificial or superficial interest in. How painful, wasteful and pathetic!
More pathetic is the fact that work still continue to progress on wrong foundations with an alarming rate as new ‘churches’ spring up daily, all claiming to be the church of God. But just like no sane man would leave the foundation of his house to quacks, so also Jesus wouldn’t. He had laid the foundation of His Church by Himself and there is no other foundation that can be laid different from what He had laid (1Cor.3:11). If Jesus had laid the foundation, then, it means that many churches been founded today are personal enterprises and empires, as the only thing that remains for the house of God is not foundation but workers, labourers and materials, not founders.
The foundation of most churches today are laid on wrong premises; to satisfy a religious fulfillment: formerly, on Denominations and lately, Gifts. These, however, are the two things the church of Christ should NEVER be built upon. The only fruit denomination brings is division. But sadly, statistics of the church today would reveal that unbelievable percentage of them are built on either of these two things. You may observe this by yourself since there are churches around. If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do (Psm.11:3)?
The secular counterpart of gift is talent and that is what many preachers even base their calling on. Talents of speaking: some are talented talkers with the power of oration and conviction. Interestingly, many of these are actually leading churches successfully as pastors, just with mere talents, not even gifts of the spirit. Others do it with experience they have gathered over the years as associate pastor or personal assistant to the man of God and are then generously rewarded by posting them to pastor a ‘juicy’ church branch to compensate for their loyalty or by starting ‘their own’ church to empower them for future living. This is like the apprenticeship style, after awhile, they do ‘freedom’ and they soon become a bi(g)shop owner with other apprentices, learning the trade.
While a church built on gifts of the spirit or doctrine of the church might still be better than the one built on mere talents, experience, apprenticeship freedom or interest, none is acceptable to God. The church of Christ can only be built on Christ alone and subsequently by CALLING. It doesn’t matter how gifted or graceful a man is, it is not enough reason to begin a church, even if he can heal the whole world or perform outstanding miracles. It doesn’t matter also, how knowledgeable in church matters, affairs and doctrine a man is, it is not enough reason to begin a church, even if he has degrees from World Bible School or Jesus’ Seminary, it is not an indication or license to begin a church. Church cannot be begun by any one; we can only express it. Jesus will build His church and also CALL workmen to do their own part of the stone laying (1Pet.2:5).
Being a part of the building of God is strictly by CALLING, not qualification, gifts or interest. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (Joh 6:44). “For ye see your CALLING, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are CALLED (1Co 1:26) “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (Heb 5:4).
Some of the nine gifts of the spirit in 2Cor.12, have been over celebrated and turned to a license and certificate to own a church, contrary to the original function of the gifts in the body. The vocal gifts as well as the power gifts have been bastardized so much that it has lost the original meaning. Mere guess work, psychology and probability, for instance are confused with word of wisdom and knowledge, while healers and hawkers of miracles or seers are celebrated as prophets.
Mark 16 tells of the signs that follow those who believe and this include healing. Does this make us all prophets? In 1Co 12:31; 14:39, Paul asked us to covet for the gifts of prophecy. In verse 1 of chapter fourteen, he asked us to desire the gift of prophecy and in verse 39 he promised to show us how. So, does this also make us all prophets? This is just a gift of prophecy and it is different from the office of the prophet which is exclusively in the five fold ministry (Eph.4:11), and its about the rarest of them all, and it has little or nothing to do with retailing visions, but direction for the church in fore telling and forth telling, the mind, purpose and counsel of God for His people. Today every sorcerer, medium and healer is a prophet and we have more ‘prophets’ than even pastors!!! We are yet to see prophets at this age: they need no introduction!
ORTHODOX DOCTRINE AND PENTECOSTAL GIFTING
Years ago, churches built on Doctrine seemed to carry the day, but now has been over taken by churches built on Gifts because of the ‘fire’, dynamism and more charisma of the latter. Orthodox, whose major tool is doctrine seem to be losing its youth to this move, as its youth prefer the display of gifts and talents, than boring dcgmas, and a ‘shop’ next door has a dynamic young man who gives just that with all entertainments. But however, Churches built on Gifts or Doctrines are not rooted in Christ.
When the mother church, i.e. the Catholic church, tactically edged out the true church of Jesus Christ and launched persecution against the disciples of Jesus to institute the pagan worship which we erroneously know as ‘Christianity’ today, doctrines and creeds were the tools. Many laws, constitution, creeds and adherences, which of course, were alien to the disciples of Christ, who insisted on not obeying them, as that was not the pattern set by the Lord Jesus ended up being martyred, leading to the dark ages of no true apostolic church, except Catholicism for over a thousand years.
But now, it seems obvious that the era of Doctrine is over and the era of Gifting is here, as Pentecostal and charismatic movements displace Orthodoxy, but none still is approved. The last century witnessed the last boom of the doctrinal church as people are yoked with stringent worship conditions before being approved as members. Codes of what to wear, how to look, who to marry, what to possess, style of hair-do, jewelleries, how to talk, shoe, clothes to wear, its colour, t.v, type of car to ride and even how to pray, etc are used to enslave the masses and it became a religious appeal that draw a large faithful. This helped to bring religious sanity in the church, though, but is still Pharisaic and has a cultic tendency, as they close in on themselves, seeing others as wrong and they are the only right people who would make heaven. Many who flocked there many years ago as apprentices, graduated jettisoning the style (Doctrine) and adopting Gifting, moving with the rave of the moment. But God’s CALLING remains the same. Now, many of them have become ‘pros’, flaunting various gifts and skills to entice people in with miracles, prosperity and what they claim the Holy Spirit say that is not consistent with His character!
Many of the orthodox persuasions, who have thrived until now based on the time tested doctrines are reconsidering their stance as they watch haplessly their members melting for and embracing the wizardry and sophistication of their Pentecostal counterparts, who through the Gifting strategy and spell bound charismatic gyration win the hearts of their youth. Now, they too are adopting their styles as a form of ‘evangelical’ or ‘renewal’ including night vigils and miracle rallies to attract the ‘lost’ back.
Peter admonished: “give diligence to make your CALLING and election sure”, not GIFTING. (2Pet.1:10; 2Ti 1:9). Gifts of prophesying, prayer, deliverance and many miracles, healing, baby and spouse manufacturing are not to start but to edify the church. Everyone with different gifts are to use it in koinonia; to edify one another and not to create a clergy-laity divide or assert superiority.
If our calling to the ministry were to be by Gifts, then, many will not be called, none of the disciples would. Pastoring or leadership is never by GIFTING, but by CALLING. Even Jesus CALLED His disciples (Mar 6:7), many of whom were stack dry of any gifts; bloody illiterates, fishermen, devoid of doctrines. The “gifted’ ones amongst them like Paul became a ‘bondservant’ and threw away all his doctoral thesis he got under Gamaliel and jettisoned his gifts and counted them as dung for the excellency of the calling and that he may know more of Christ(1Cor.2:1,4, Phil, 3:8-10). God had to make Moses unlearn all that he learned, so that He could use him. God does not need a head full of fact, but a heart full of faith. Even he CALLED the other seventy disciples (Lk.10:1).
One can desire any type of gift (1Cor. 14:1), but no one can desire calling as “no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Heb 5:4) and that is why the Bible says ‘let every man wherein he is called abide’ (1Cor. 7:20, 24).
Not even the doctrine of holiness, prayers or deliverance can the church be built on, let alone the gift of miracles. God is not a God of Doctrine, otherwise there would be no basis to castigate the Pharisees, but He is the God of revelation, not of creed, for the letter killeth. He CALLS those He uses. The gifts are meant to express the church not to begin it. Church can not be started by any man, so there should not be the term ‘pastor / founder’. Christ has built His church and the gates of hell cannot prevail over it (Mt. 16:18). We are to build on it. Remove the gifts or doctrines of some churches, it all comes crumbling down, but the foundation of the Lord remains sure.
THE SPIRIT OF HAGAR
Many popular miracles we see and hear of today are the ones performed by these gifted hawkers with an over bloated ego to build a world class religious rotunda and an emeritus accomplishment that fulfils personal ambition. They are mobilized and motivated by an opportunistic spirit that takes advantage of the persecution and delay in the fulfillment of the promise of God to His people, to providing a caricature of the same promise in a faster and quicker way. Although, the promise is ultimately delivered, but it’s always a counterfeit promise of slavery.
Many of our Pastors today also take advantage of the frustration of the people of God, who wait 'endlessly' for God's promises in their lives that tarries (although it does not tarry) to provide an alternative and quicker promise that looks exactly like what they have been waiting for. They receive it with testimony, not knowing it was never God's.
Although, Abraham fathered Ishmael through Hagar, it was not enough to make Ishmael the child of promise, because Abraham was not and could not. He was a child of adultery, born out of season. Because many innocent congregation today also receives various miracles and promises of God by randy preachers of faith does not mean the promises received are from God. Ishmael was the seed of Abraham, but not the seed of God. He was seduced and persuaded away from the promise of God, so the seed that came out of his body was not and could not be of God; it was the seed of sin, as also was his actions.
Many of the promises given by so called pastors and prophets are seeds of the pastors, not the seed of God. The blessing of the pastor is different from the blessing of God. They may look similar, but there is a difference.
You will remember that even Abraham was both confused and deceived. He thought Ishmael was good enough and could stand in to fill the gap. He even presented him to God and ‘begged’ God to adopt him as the promised seed (Gen.17:18), just like many today equate and present strange miracles before God for adoption. God categorically told Abraham to send the slave woman and her son away as the slave son CANNOT be heir of His promise. If God did not intervene, Abraham could have been deceived!
This also reminds one of Moses, the servant of God. The astrologers and the magicians in the palace of Pharaoh almost deceived and persuaded him away from the power of God. He was confused and momentarily, he didn’t know what to do when the magicians effortlessly performed the same miracle he performed. God quickly intervened: his rod began to swallow theirs and God asked him to pick up his rod for victory over the magicians. Except the Lord intervenes at such times, even the very elect would be deceived.
Many of such miracles are pure magic, because most of it is done AT WILL. Moses never knew what he would do as He went into the palace of Pharaoh. The only thing he knew was God and he didn’t know what God would ask him to do, but he could hear from Him and was prepared to do everything He would ask him to do: that was the yardstick of his success, otherwise, he would fail. So, he had no choice but to make sure he heard from God. This would keep him pure as he couldn’t afford for God not to speak. He said to God, if your presence wouldn’t go with us, then we will not continue.
This is awfully different from today’s style of miracles, many of which have been announced months ahead on the radio, T.V., posters, etc and people have been assured they WILL receive their own. The preparation for mist of our crusade is like that of a birthday without the celebrant. We claim to do everything for God without giving Him chance to express Himself.
It is one thing to announce by faith, knowing what God would do, it’s another to announce as a matter of course. At the end of such programs, you may as well take statistics of how many blind eventually received their sights as promised, or how many lame walked. But still, people will throng there at some other times because their spirits have been yoked. No sooner would they be required to buy stickers to paste at door posts or cars, officially announcing their membership as part of the Family, not knowing the spiritual implication of such costly religious affiliation, which the man of God is fully aware of. From thence forth, they have become one big ‘happy’ family. “Be ye not unequally yoked…” (Read 1Cor.6:16-17).
If God had told Moses what he should do at each time, then, there will be no honour in the victory and this is why God is God. We are God's servants; waiters. A waiter never knows what the master would request for, but he is always prepared to do whatever he requests for, that is what makes him a good servant. Preempting the master is both an eye-service and a display of ambition. Most miracles today are borne out of ambition for recognition. If God decides not to do as we announced, we have to beg Him to do it or we do it by ourselves by getting power at strange mountains, in order not to disappoint the people or ridicule ourselves. God’s interest does not really matter: He is a big man and he should understand. None of the disciples preempted the master! The gift is His, not ours and he determines when, where and how to use it.
You will also recall that at a time, Abraham, the father of faith almost abandoned Sarah, just like many born again Christians today have abandoned and forsaken the real assembly of the saints and going awhoring to miracle centers, who deliver fast and quick miracles. Abraham could not wait just like many faithful children of God can no longer wait for God's promises to manifest in their lives. We find for ourselves a plausible alternative, albeit, demonic. Abraham had romance and intercourse with a slave, who was not even worth coming to his presence, but because he was desperate, he lost his sanity. Many born again Christians today are losing their spiritual sanity, having romance and intercourse with the unfruitful works of darkness manifesting as light with religious title (Eph 5:11).
Many fire brands children of God have lost their calling to many G.O's whom they are helping to fulfill their ambition. At the price of a monthly salary, car and a house, they abandon their calling. At an extra provision, they loose their eternity. They change the message to the style of the G.O to prove their loyalty, even when such message is clearly a religious camouflage to remain in business.
THE CHURCH, FAITH AND RELIGION
If we remember that a whole Prince Abraham, the very friend of God, the Father of Faith, the promised Father of a whole nation, through whom the whole world would be blessed neglected Sarah, through whom the promise of God would be birthed, then, it should not surprise us why many of the apostolic fathers are neglecting the true Gospel of Jesus and having romance with strange gospel of prosperity, healings and miracles.
Sarah and Hagar were two women in the life of Abraham. Abraham represents the church, Sarah represent Faith and Hagar represent Religion. Sarah (Faith) was the original wife of Abraham (the church) and it was through her that salvation and the promised seed of God would come. But the church (Abraham) went into adultery with religion (Hagar) because Faith (Sarah) wavered, and the seed of that adultery (Ishmael) is the monster that first persecuted the original wife (Faith) and then, the promised seed and descendants of Abraham, even Isaac (a type of Jesus), the disciples and now the present church.
It was Sarah, the elect, that led Abraham away from the promise of God, through frustration, by offering Hagar, her slave to Abraham. It was also the same Sarah that led Abraham back into the promise of God when she realized her folly by sending Hagar away (religion). She led her husband to sin out of frustration but led him back to God out of revelation. She said: "Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac… And God said unto Abraham … hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:10-12).
When our Faith (Sarah) in God begins to suffer frustration due to delayed promises, we allow religion (Hagar) to take over. It will always give birth to a monster we cannot handle. Religion is the monster contending with Faith these days, to the extent that Jesus said if I come, would I find faith? (Lk.18:8).
Through her great harlotry and empirical whoredom of religion, she has given birth to Catholicism, the mother of all religion. Although, Abraham provided means of livelihood for Hagar and her son before sending them away, but the damage was too eternally great to effect any meaningful change as "babylon the great, the great whore, has made the world to drink out of her cup of abominations. John saw in revelation, this woman, "arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration" (Rev.17:4-6).
There is no damage that Islam could do to Christianity that Roman Catholicism, Babylon the great has not done greater. She led the church away from Faith to religion and led the church in false worship of the queen of heaven and the sun, called mother and son, falsely called Mary and Jesus with a false date set aside to celebrate the abomination of slavery of mother and child called Christmas!
As radical and Godly as the protestant is, she is still weighed down by the monster sisters she has, the daughters of her mother; Doctrine, Creed, Denomination and Legalism. If the spirit that stirred up Sarah to oppose Hagar and to provoke and challenge Abraham to drive the slave woman and her son away does not come in; the same spirit that came over Jesus to go into the temple to drive away the merchants away and the same spirit that came over Paul to confront bar Jesus in the present of Sergiuss Paulos, then we are poised for the battle between Christianity in the faith of Jesus and Christianity in the face of religion.
If Abraham could be deceived to thinking that Ishmael could also answer to the name of the seed of promise in lieu of God's tarrying promises, If Samuel, the first and the greatest prophet of Israel could be deceived by thinking that Eliab was surely the Lord's anointed, then, we all can. Two of them were shocked at God's responses: Abraham was told by God to listen to the voice of his wife and send the slave woman away (Gen.21:12). Samuel was told not to anoint Eliab because He had refused him (1Sam.16:6). Then, the question is, how many people still hear God's voice, even when God tells them something like this? He is still speaking and warning, but are we hearing? How many people will hear that many of the so called 'men of God' are actually prince of Satan? The devil could afford to give you a slave gift to destroy the promise of God in your life and he would do it with such an unsuspecting finesse that you will not know. Hasn't the Bible said if it were possible, the very elect will be deceived?
Imagine if God had not resisted Abraham, Ishmael could have usurped the place of the promised seed, Isaac and live forever. Imagine Christianity with the spirit of strife and violence as we see today in the descendants Ishmael.
What caused Sarah to lead her husband away from the promises of God? Persecution and frustration could be readily fingered. But before these, there was unbelief! Sarah never believed God for the promise of a child for circumstantial reasons. The angels came to Abraham and announced the good news to him that “I will certainly return unto thee ACCORDING TO THE TIME OF LIFE; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself… and the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh? … at THE TIME APPOINTED I will return unto thee, according to the time of life… Then, Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. (Gen.19:9-16).
Situation and circumstances always turn people away from God. Our churches today are not filled with God lovers but solution seekers. Were it to be the former, there would have been a great change in the society that is filled with mouth professed born again Christians, but the same cause the greatest distractions through moral perversion and ungodly behaviours. They are simply looking for social association where they can express orgies and showcase status, and then, avenues to get what they think they want for self, but never what they need of God.
Sarah's peculiar situation blinded her eyes from believing the promises of God in her life, just like we see in the case of many today. She was old (75years) and already in menopause. Factually, it not only takes extra-ordinary faith but also enormous grace to believe something like this. Her acute and peculiar situation beclouded her from seeing the possibility of God’s promise for a child and so she laughed in unbelief.
As if her laughter was not enough ‘sin’, when confronted, she denied it. So, the angel repeated God’s promise but with a modification: no longer AT THE TIME OF LIFE, BUT AT THE APPOINTED TIME. A ‘time of life’ for every woman being nine months, but now appointed time was 25years. Danger of unbelief!
The Pharisees could not also believe that the Messiah could come out of Nazareth (John 1:46). 'How could that ever be'? They questioned. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and …the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1Co 1:27). They looked for the Messiah in the palace, but he came through the manger. They expected him to be born by a king, he was born by a carpenter. They expected him to be born by a princess; he was born by a peasant teenager. They expected him as a ruler, but he came as servant. All odds was against him, but God was with him. Unbelief blinded their eyes.
In the case of the a lord on whose hand the king leaned, the man of God had prophesied that by this time of tomorrow, a barley of wheat shall be sold for a shekel (2Ki 7:2). This, circumstantially, was not only impossible, but not feasible because of the acute famine in the land. The man was being realistic enough as an expert on matters like this for several years. He knew what he was saying, but did not know the power of God and he loosely said; “Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be”? But the prophet replied. “Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof” (2Ki 7:2).
The Children of Israel did not make it to the Promised Land because of unbelief. In fact, God abhor unbelief to the extent that He SWORE that the people would not enter into his rest and they did not (Psm. 95:10-11). Revelations also tells us that “the fearful, and unbelieving … shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Rev 21:8). Unbelief ultimately robs one of God's eternal promises while providing an immediate relief.
Frustrated by her action and weighed down by guilt toward Abraham, knowing that she was the one that caused the delay of God's promises, she decided to make it up to Abraham by providing a caricature solution. She 'helped God'.
Helping God is the word to use to describe today’s Pastors. Unfortunately, they give people a wrong therapy. What people need is Jesus, not miracle, healing, blessing, prosperity, job, etc. Jesus is the solution to all troubles, not the pastor, vigils or mountains. Jesus said the time will come and and now is when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor that mountain worship the Father, but in spirit and in truth (Jn.4:22-24). At times of delays, it may be God’s way to kill the flesh, or to perfect the promise as He watches His words, not our tears. (Isa 66:2). If God could wait for four thousand years to fulfill His own promise to send a son who would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen.3:15), He can wait forever; not out of wickedness, but because he would do a permanent work. But the merciful pastor suspends the plan, purpose and process of God which appeared to be slow and give people instant solutions.
That was exactly what Sarah did and we are all beneficiaries of her innocent wickedness today. The whole of Arab race are the result of her foolishness. The Bible says Ishmael would be a wild man, his hands would be against everybody and everybody's hands would be against him. Is this not the situation today? Beware of unbelief!
God never called Pastors or prophets to use their gifts to provide solutions to people's problems, but to lead people to Jesus by preaching the gospel and "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 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.4:12-14).
We must learn to wait for God’s promises and not device our own way out. Even though it tarries, it will not tarry (Hab. 2:3) because for every thing and purpose in life there is time and season (Eccl. 3). They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength (Is.40:31). Hebrews 10:36 says after that you have don’t the will of God, you still need of patience to obtain the promise. Be patient therefore, brethren. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain (Jam 5:7).
Apart from compassion, many pastors want to meet people’s needs so that they would not be called powerless. This leads them to mind magic, wishful sorcery and confessional conjurations to prove that they are powerful and to justify the money collected as their wages under the guise of tithe and offering, thereby keeping patronage with referals.
The church is supposed to be a place of mutual growth and not a place of spiritual dependence on the pastor. It must not be run as a clinic and consulting center where pastors acts as doctors and congregations as patients. And as many ‘patients’ as he has will determine the number of sick bed (pews) to provide for in his clinic. He must attend to them one by one and also do follow up, and when necessary, go to the mountain, not to seek the face of God but to conquer the 'war' on his patients.
Instead of preaching righteousness of the kingdom, we preach about problems and seven ways to solve crisis. Instead of preaching about sin and how to be delivered from it, we preach about how to sow a seed of faith to obtain a bountiful harvest. Instead of talking about the beauty of heaven and how to get there and escape from hell, we preach about taking your place on earth. Good as they are, they are misplaced priorities, for when we seek the kingdom and its righteousness, all these things shall be added.
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