The Fig Tree Withered:
A Warning/Message To Ministers of The Gospel
By Joseph Jerry Umaru ( Joseph2Nations@yahoo.com )
***Permission and encouragement to reproduce and re-transmit this article is hereby granted, but only in its entirety, including author’s name and contact details at the end of the article, and without any alterations.
The Book of Matthew 21:18-19 read thus:
“Early in the morning, as He (Jesus) was on His way back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.”
(Matthew 21:18-19 NIV)
Beloved Brethren, I decide to finally release this word (article) after much thought and consideration. When the Lord inspired me to write this piece, I got somehow circumspect in releasing it. This article is probably one of the most ‘difficult’ and most “controversial” articles I have ever written.
I sensed strongly in my spirit that the content of this article will be greeted with sharp criticisms in a certain quarters. Some people might erroneously conclude that I’m being judgmental, speaking too authoritatively or even assuming the position of a “super- trumpeter”. Not at all!
I write as I am inspired by the Lord, and the more I try to shy away from this responsibility (writing), the more restless I become. Like Prophet Amos, I can ‘helplessly’ say:
"… I was neither a prophet [a writer] nor a prophet's son [a writer’s son]… But the LORD took me… and said to me, 'Go, prophesy [write] to my people Israel [My Church].” (Amos 7:14-15 NIV).
The message contained herein in this article is for the Church and I’m also part of the Church. So, I’m NOT in anyway claiming to be standing on a spiritual/moral high ground. If this message is not for you, it definitely is for somebody. So, let’s all accept the message in this article with humility and consider our ways (where necessary). Many thanks.
Now The Message Proper:
The story we just read in our opening Scripture (Matthew 21:18-19) is quite pathetic and profoundly saddening – Jesus cursing a fig tree!
Be that as it may, I believe there is a solemn message in the body of that story for us Believers in this dispensation.
We live in an age when the quest for fame, money and honour has become the order of the day. Sadly, this ugly trend has ‘nicodemously’ (‘secretly’) crept into the House of God…
With much dismay, we watch as some men and women of God abandoned their sacred callings and are chasing after fame, money and accolades here and there. So many are busy ‘appropriating’ bogus titles – they think that the god of this world will have respect for their ‘intimidating’ titles.
The Lord is about to come into the midst of His People and judgment will begin right in the House of God akin to what we saw in Ezekiel 9:6 (NIV).
Beloved, I sense an urgency in the realm of the Spirit: God is about to visit and purge His Church universal of all its inequities and the judgment will start from the men and women who God appointed shepherds over His flock – Apostles, Senior Apostles, Prophets, Senior Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Senior Pastors, Teachers, Archbishops, Bishops, General Overseers, Set men, Right Reverends, Reverend Doctors, Most Reverends and other grandiose appellations used in ‘decorating’ names in today’s Church.
No doubt, the Wind of the Spirit is about blow upon the Body of Christ, but that Wind will not only ‘blow in’, it will also ‘blow out’ – it will get the Church moving for the better.
No doubt, the Lord will cause His end-time Church to be a ‘winning Church’, but He is also gonna be ‘winnowing His Church’.
God’s microscope is being ‘focused’ on the Church and all those masquerading and disguising as super-anointed men and women of God will be exposed. God is not a respecter of persons and titles – however bogus.
Our opening scripture (Matthew 21:18 -19) gives us a picture of what will happen to those who though outwardly appears to be BIG men and women of God, but whose files are not found in Heaven – appearing to bearing fruit but bearing nothing…
The Bible says “early in the morning” Jesus saw a fig tree afar off. There are many in the Kingdom who from afar off seems to be doing great and mighty works for God, but in the sight of the ‘Lord of early in the morning’ they are fruitless fig trees.
A day before this gory incident (Matthew 21:12 -13), Jesus (The Lord of early in the morning) had overturned the tables of money-changers who abominably turned the House of God (work of God) into a platform for money making. Men who the ‘Lord of early in the morning’ ordained and called to be world-changers left their dignified and sacred callings – becoming moneychangers instead of world changers.
We still have such people around today. They go about merchandizing the Gospel instead of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel – they are savage wolves, desecrators of the sacred Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lacking fresh fire and revelations, these pseudo-great men and women of God go about mouthing pious platitudes just to gain the approval of men and to also maintain their followership base.
These compromised and self-appointed shepherds preach doctrines that run counter to the truth of the Gospel. They teach people to feel good without being good…to conform to sin instead of confronting sin… to seek God’s Hand at the expense of His Face…to seek the blessing at the expense of the ‘Blesser’ – preaching a lie (so to say) and they then ‘father’ those lies upon God.
Sadly, these lies are gradually taking the form of the truth. As Plato said many centuries ago; “A lie told many times assumes the coloration of a truth”.
These ‘super servants of God’ loves to hear the claps, the ‘oohs’ and the ‘ahs’ of the crowd as they mount the rostrum to minister. They love the adulations of men and it does give them ‘real’ buzz. As Mr. Joseph Jiya puts it: “Such people are flamboyant [glamorizing] in their doings, but not satisfying to Jesus”. How sad, how very sad.
Apostle Paul described them right when he wrote: “…For such people (shepherds/leaders) are not serving our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naïve” [Romans 16:18 NIV].
They are like the Pharisees who loved money and fame and were always trying to justify [magnify] themselves in the eyes of men. But as Christ submits; “God knows their hearts, what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight (Luke 16:14-15).
How I wish the ‘super’ Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers of our day can beat their chests, with their heads held high and boldly declare like Apostle Paul: “I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing”(Acts 20:33 NIV).
Many preachers today have turned the divine platform (pulpit) into a platform for extortionate practices and ‘melodramatic displays’…
I sat stunned and perplexed late last year as a preacher demands to be served juice while ministering on the pulpit, because, according to him, ‘he has gone past the level of ministering without been served’ -not with water- but with ‘sumptuous’ juice. He said he was now in a “New Dimension” (which of course, was the title of his message).
Flaunting his laptop computer, this ‘New Dimension’ preacher spent about 3 hours (far beyond the time he was given by his host pastor) trying to ‘install’ his New Dimension “software” into the “hard disk” of our hearts. And when he noticed the surprise on the faces of God’s people, he “rebuked” the people for looking at him like Mungo Park (Mungo Park was an 18th century Scottish explorer to Africa).
This preacher ended his melodramatic ministration by asking – or better put, TASKING – the people to give “generously” to God so they can “move” into their next dimension. This was done in a way and manner that can best be described as asking the people to give under duress/compulsion.
As soon as this preacher finished his ministration, he packaged his laptop computer and ‘zoomed’ out of the Church auditorium. Perhaps, his New Dimension ‘status’ also forbids him from dropping his offering and sharing “The Grace” with the people of God. Watch it! The Lord of the morning is coming.
World-changers turned money-changers - Watch it!
For those going the way of Judas, greedy after gain - Watch it!
For those going the way of Gehazi, peddling the Gospel for profit - Watch it!
For those going the way of Balaam, prophesying for gain - Watch it!
It is equally saddening to note that these compromised and self-appointed shepherds do not lack followers. They have a followership base that can best be described as “die-hard”. Followers that are like ‘die-hard’ masquerade fans – they will continue to follow and adore their masquerade even when he has thrown away his attire and has become an ordinary man, when reasonable people would have walked away.
The mighty rushing wind from Heaven has ceased to interrupt our dead formalistic services and we raise no eyebrow.
Jesus Christ forewarned us in Matthew 7:15 thus: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
In Revelation 2:2 Jesus commended the Church at Ephesus for not ‘blindly’ following the pseudo-men of God of their day. The Church at Ephesus did not accept the way things were as the right way.
Hear Christ’s commendation of this Church: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for My Name, and have not grown weary.” (Revelation 2:2-3 NIV).
At a time when (spiritual) standards are been lowered and moral absolutes ignored, it is so easy to rationalize issues and assume that the way things are is the right way. If the things are allow to continue, we will end up with a Christianity that has little cutting edge and is devoid of its power. God forbid!
Now back to the fig tree: The Bible tells us in Matthew 21:19 that; as the ‘Lord of the morning’ (Jesus) came closer to the ‘afar off’ great fig tree (man/woman of God), He discovered that the fig tree was not what it appeared to be and what men thought it to be. Jesus immediately cursed that fig tree and that was its end. The ‘fake/backslidden’ fig tree disappeared from the scene, his star sets never to rise again!
“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”
(Hebrews 6:7-8 NIV)
There is an “early in the morning” in the life of every Believer – morning when the Lord of the morning will come visiting.
The Lord of the morning is set to do a quick work in the midst of His people. He is about to transfer His glory in an uncommon dimension upon His Church. His transference is here, but our transformation is a more urgent necessity.
Those who refuse to be ‘transformed’ (ministers and lay people alike) will meet the rod of the Lord of early in the morning.
The challenge before us all is to consider our ways and make amends where necessary. It is still ‘night’ – grace time – time for us to consider our ways. After the night comes the morning and that’s when the Lord of the morning will come visiting.
“Therefore, holy Brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's House”. (Hebrews 3:1-2 NIV).
He that has ears to hear, let him hear…
_____Joseph Jerry Umaru
Emails: Josephdegreat@yahoo.com, Joseph2nations@yahoo.com
Phone: (+234)-8036-814-178 and (+234)-8052-917-334
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