Saturday, March 29, 2008
What Does the Bible say about Angels?
God's angels are described as:
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Heb 1:14)
Angels are ministering spirits; this means they are celestial servants of God. While we serve God here on earth, Angels serve God in the spirit realm and serve us in the natural. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane the Angels MINISTERED to Him, they comforted Him. They do the same for us as well. We don’t have to summon Angels, God SENDS THEM! The Bible says the Angel of the Lord encamps around them that FEAR Him! Because we are God’s servants He dispatches Angels for our support and strength.
All of the angels were created by Jesus:
For by him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Col 1:16 )
Many false religions teach that Jesus is not God but an angel, this would make Colossians 1:16 a LIE! The Bible clearly states that JESUS created the Angels (See John 1:1) The Lord Jesus created all of the angels. This even includes Michael the archangel, which some cults wrongly think is Jesus! Jehovah’s witnessing teach this falsehood and Mormons teach that Jesus is Lucifer’s brother.
Angels are powerful spirit beings:
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. (2 Th 1:6,7)
Many artists have portrayed angels as cute rosy cheeked infants, but the reality is that Angels are probably very terrifying to look at. Angels wiped out whole armies in the Old Testament, they probably looked more like Conan the barbarian with wings than a cute little baby.
Angels are primarily warriors, they do battle in the spirit realm; Remember Gabriel when he met Daniel? The enemy had held up Daniels answer after 21 days of fasting, and Gabriel needed help in the spirit realm in battle against the King of Tyre, a demonic principality. The Lord dispatched Michael to assist him. If we could see in the spirit realm we would be shocked and amazed at the warfare on our behalf. Demons are constantly after our souls and testimony. Angels are always interceding on our behalf. When King Hezekiah was about to be attacked by enemy forces, The Angel of the Lord (Michael) destroyed the Assyrian army BY HIMSELF!
Yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. (2 Pet 2:11)
Angels do not marry and have baby angels:
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Mat 22:30)
Since angels are created beings there are no baby angels, in spite of all the pictures you might have seen that show otherwise. Artists that draw fat, little, baby angels do this without any Biblical support at all.
God's angels worship Jesus:
False religions are constantly trying to attack the deity of Jesus Christ. One of the first thing that happened after Jesus virgin birth was the Angels WORSHIPPED Him.
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him [Jesus]." (Heb 1:6)
God's angels obey Him:
Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. (Psa. 103:20)
God's angels praise Him:
Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. (Psa. 148:2)
God's angels refuse to receive worship:
Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' “And he added, "These are the true words of God." At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev 19:9,10)
And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" (Rev. 22:8,9).
Dear reader, it is vitally important that you worship ONLY the true and living God. NEVER would an angel or any servant of God ever direct you to worship an angel, any person or creation itself.
Angels attended Jesus after the devil's temptations:
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Mat 4:11)
Jesus could have been delivered by legions of angels from his cruel death on the cross:
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Mat 26:53)
Angels were present after Jesus rose from the grave:
But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. (John 20:11,12)
Angels can guard the righteous:
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; (Psa. 91:11)
Angels can bring deliverance:
My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king. (Dan 6:22)
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. (Acts 5:19)
God executes His Judgment through angels:
He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility -- a band of destroying angels. (Psa. 78:49)
Angels will be used to find everything that causes sin and all who do evil (the unsaved):
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Mat 13:41)
Angels will throw people into the fiery furnace:
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:49,50)
When Jesus returns He will come with angels:
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels; and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. (Mat 16:27)
Angels will gather the righteous at the point of the rapture:
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Mat 24:31)
And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. (Mark 13:27)
Upon their death, angels carry the righteous to their home in the afterlife:
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. (Luke 16:22)
Angels observe the servants of God:
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. (1 Cor 4:9)
Angels will be judged by Christians:
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! (1 Cor 6:3)
There are only two angels that are specifically given names in the Bible. The angel Gabriel is one and he is always bringing a message:
The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. (Luke 1:19)
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, (Luke 1:26)
(Gabriel is also mentioned in Dan 8:16; 9:21.)
The only other angel named in the canon of Scripture is Michael.
The archangel Michael (Jude 9) is a warring angel, but there are other archangels too (Dan. 10:13). Yet in the future, Michael and his angels will fight against Satan [the dragon] and his angels:
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Rev 12:7-9)
Children all have personal angels that appear before God:
See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Mat 18:10)
Angels can appear as people undetected:
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Heb 13:2)
An angel of God appeared to an unsaved man and accurately told him how to learn about God's salvation:
One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: (Acts 10:3-5).
This is a key passage, for in it we learn that an angel from God will always promote the message found in the Holy Bible! The unnamed angel in the above passage did this by telling Cornelius how to find Peter, one of the Lord's disciples, who could tell him the truth about salvation. See Acts 10:43. When a "spirit guide" communicates a message, we can unmask the veil by learning what such a spirit being says about the Lord Jesus and the salvation he provided for all of mankind when he shed his precious, cleansing blood on the cross. If such is denied in any way or would promote any unscriptural message or practice, then that spirit being is a demon trying to deceive people. Hence, there exists an incredible need to know the Bible to safeguard against such. The end result of the angelic visitation to Cornelius was Biblical salvation for him and all of his household!
Angels are immortal:
And they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36)
One solitary angel of God will seize Satan, the great deceiver, and throw him into the Abyss during the 1,000 year reign of Christ:
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, which is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended (Rev. 20:1-3).
During the Perfect Age, angels will be stationed as guards at the twelve gates entering New Jerusalem:
It had a great, high wall with twelve gates and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Rev 21:12)
There are multitudes of angels in heaven in joyful assembly:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (Heb 12:22)
Some people in Jesus' day did not believe in the existence of angels like in our day:
The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. (Acts 23:8)
False teachers can be involved in the worship of angels, which is always forbidden:
Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. (Col 2:18)
It is also important to know that you should NEVER CALL ON AN ANGEL for guidance, deliverance, etc. To do so will open yourself up for spiritual deception. According to the Bible, we should ONLY call on God. We are also to TRUST ONLY IN GOD for deliverance, NOT AN ANGEL. While it is true that God might deliver us with angels it is still God who is our Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, etc. God commands his angels what to do and they obey Him.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Christian meditation is rooted in the Bible. In fact, the Bible commands us to meditate. In Joshua 1:8, God says to meditate on His word day and night so we will obey it. The psalmist says "his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2). Actually, the Bible mentions meditate or meditation 20 times.
In the Old Testament there are two primary Hebrew words for meditation: Haga, which means to utter, groan, meditate, or ponder; and Sihach, which means to muse, rehearse in one's mind, or contemplate. These words can also be translated as dwell, diligently consider, and heed.
Christian Meditation: A History
One form of Christian meditation that has been used by believers since at least the fourth century AD is the lectio divina. It has been traditionally used in monastic religious orders and is enjoying a resurgence today. Lectio divina means "sacred reading" and has four stages: lectio (reading), meditatio (discursive meditation), oratio (affective prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). In the lectio (reading) stage, one finds a passage and reads it deliberately. The next stage, meditatio (discursive meditation), is where one ponders the text. In the oratio (affective prayer) stage, one talks to God about the reading, asking Him to reveal the truth. In the final, contemplatio (contemplation) stage, one simply rests in the Lord's presence.
Today, meditation is generally seen as a practice of the New Age movement. This comes primarily from its association with Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation (TM) was developed by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the Hindu religion and is steeped in Hindu philosophy. The "yogi" in the TM founder's name indicates his status in Hinduism. Courts in the US have ruled that TM is not a secular discipline; it is Hindu religion (US District Court, Newark, NJ, on October 29, 1977 and the US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia, PA February 2, 1979).
Christian Meditation: What do Christian Leaders Say?
One important thing the Bible tells us to do is to think about God's Word. Our thoughts determine our behavior and so what we think about is very important. That is why God wants us to think about His Word, or meditate on it. Jim Downing in Meditation (NavPress) says God considers meditation a "vital exercise of the minds of His children."
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan), describes meditation this way: "Meditation is focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind...if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate" (190). Warren goes on to say, "No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture…If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day" (190).
In Satisfy Your Soul (NavPress), Dr. Bruce Demarest writes, "A quieted heart is our best preparation for all this work of God … Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God's Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works … So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and 'chew' the words of Scripture. …The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God" (133).
Christian Meditation: How do we do it?
There are three times during the day we can actively turn our minds over to God's Word in Christian Meditation. Just before we fall asleep, we can have God's Word be the last thing that occupies our mind. Upon awaking, we can have God's Word be the first thing to fill our minds to start the day. Finally, we need a specific time each day to be in God's Word so it can speak to us throughout out day.
What should we focus on in Christian meditation? "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things" (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
Spiritual Healing - Desperate Need
Spiritual healing is a huge need in the Body of Christ. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, approximately 16 million believers walk out of the Christian church each year and most do not return. Spiritual sickness and disillusionment is at an all time high. In North America, an average of 1,500 pastors and ministry leaders leave their post each month, again, most never return to the pulpit.
Each day, thousands of believers find too wide a gap between what they are taught in church and what they experience in reality. Disillusionment then sets in. The believer works hard to make his or her life work, and often the result is burnout, anger or hatred toward the church. The formulas, gimmicks, and promises haven't worked for these people, and many walk away from the Christian faith hurt and wounded, instead of loved and healed.
Spiritual Healing - Poison in the Pot!
Spiritual healing requires a spiritual diagnosis. When we become physically sick, we often ponder what we ate the day before. When we become spiritually sick, we should examine our spiritual diet. The Christian Gospel leads to life -- real eternal life with God. If a believer follows a Gospel that leads to anger, resentment, disillusionment and burnout, he's been following the wrong Gospel -- eating from a poison pot! Elisha and his followers had the same experience. The cook created the stew, and because he was eating it himself, no one ever thought the mixture could be poison. When there's "death in the pot" of the Gospel, it can make a believer spiritually sick, and even lead to spiritual death.
Spiritual healing takes place in the Tree of Life. Living in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil leads to death. Even the "good" in this tree leads to death. We must leave the Tree of Good and Evil and enter into "Tree of Life living"! Living in the Tree of Life is a whole new way of thinking for many who are used to "churchianity" - relying on the religious institution, rather than the living relationship with God.
1. More emphasis must be placed on soulwinning and outreach
initiatives, evangelism has to be outside the 4 walls of the church,
our understanding of an "evangelist" in many of our churches is
someone that get the saints excited and raise a big offering for the
church and himself. An Evangelist is a SOULWINNER plain and simple.
The Pastor has to disciple the new converts after they are won to
Jesus! The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to HELP us in
ministry (Acts 1:8). Ministry isn't just at a PULPIT! It is in
hospitals, Prisons, Nursing homes, and the street. The problem is
when you minister away from the pulpit no one can see you, too
many "preachers" like the spotlight rather than being a light!
2. The Office of Deacon MUST be restored to it's rightful place, we
could take a lesson from the Baptist church on this issue. We would
have more men and stronger men if they were groomed and trained to be
DEACONS! Deacons are not just old men holding the collection plate! I
was a Deacon at the age of 22, I tought Bible Study, Sunday School,
and led the street witnessing team! I did more ministry as a Deacon
than some Elders!
3. EDUCATION is NOT the enemy! We MUST make the requirements for
ordination TOUGHER! We have far too many preachers that are not well
versed in the scriptures, we know who sits on the general board, we
know who the state mother is, and the Clark Sisters latest CD...but
tell some of these ministers to stand toe to toe with an Apostolic
and defend the COGIC stance on the Trinity and Baptism!
Apologetically TOO MANY of our preachers are lacking! And don't tell
me "all I need is the anointing!" A sound Bible education ENHANCES
the anointing, if you can't read well, how can you understand the
Word and preach to others? With all thy getting get an
understanding...isn't that what the BIBLE say's?
4. Women need to be ordained with a stipulation, no woman can rise to
the office of Bishop. Women CAN and are called to PREACH! Nuff said!
Many of our COGIC churches were STARTED by women but woman are not
GOOD enough to sit in OUR pulpits? God forbid!
5. Youth Ministries MUST expand and think outside the box, if we lose
our youth the church will dry up and die! When I was 14 years old my
Baptist church had a "Youth Deacon Board" (I was one), The Older
Deacons mentored us, we delivered food to the sick and shut in,
washed seniors cars and cut thier grass....we need to better train
our boys to be men. True religion is to visit the widow AND the
6. Foriegn Missions has to be MORE of a priority in the COGIC and in
Black churches in general, who better than black people to evangelize
3rd world countries? Our problem is we preach prosperity more than
the Gospel, prosperity doesn't work on the Mission Field. We MUST
fulfill the Great Commission, it was a command NOT an option!
7. Feeding the hungry is also a part of outreach, remember when the Apostles apointed Deacons? The purpose was centered around feeding poor widows, as the feeding ministry flourished the numbers of the church GREW! Acts of kindness draw people to Jesus, because JESUS primary mission was to the POOR and REJECTED!
Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Pastors have to be more accessible and be willing to mentor others towards being a successor.
Paul mentored Timothy and Titus like sons in the faith, and they looked to Paul like a father. Elisha learned at the feet of Elijah and went on to be a greater prophet of God. Jonathan was the rightful heir to Israel’s throne but he forsook that to mentor and befriend young David. My first two Pastors were instrumental in helping shape me into the man I am now!
The Necessity of Training and Delegation (Acts 6:3-4; Ex. 18:1f; 1 Tim. 4:6, 11-16; 2 Tim. 2:2, 15)
Facing the limitations of one man, the necessity of priorities, and the giftedness of the body of Christ naturally leads to the importance of training and delegation. Neither Moses, following neither Jethro’s advice, nor the apostles ignored the legitimate needs of the people, but neither did they allow themselves to be distracted from the primary needs of the people and the priorities of the Word. It becomes important, therefore, for pastors to train the body of saints in the basics of the Word and delegate various aspects of ministry to other members of the body according to their gifts and the Lord’s leading in each believer’s life.
Too often a pastor tries to be a one-man show; the church will always suffer under this kind of leadership! Usually this stems from insecurity and jealousy on the pastor’s part. If you are the Pastor NO ONE can take that away from you! You must be secure in your office; you need other minister’s help! The Pastor needs an evangelist to bring lost souls to be fed, Teachers have to be there to help disciple saints, and prophets need to bring a Word in season.
(Acts 6:4-7; I Tim. 1:2; I Tim. 4:6-12)
Prayer in Faith, or God's Will Be Done?
The Difference Between The "Prayer Of Faith" and "Thy Will Be Done"
Mark 11:24-25 (NIV) "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
John 14:12-14 (TEB) "I tell you the truth: whoever believes in me will do the works I do--yes, he will do even greater ones, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it."
# Commentary On Mark 11:24 & John 14:14 by C.S. Lewis:
"How are these astonishing promises to be reconciled:
* (a) With the observed facts?
* (b) With the prayer in Gethsemane, and (as a result of that prayer) the universally accepted view that we should ask everything with a reservation, 'if it be Thy will'?"
Mat 26:39 (NIV) [Jesus in Gethsemane] "Yet not as I will, but as you will..."
James 4:15-16 (Jer) The most you should ever say is: "If it is the Lord's will, we shall still be alive to do this or that." But how proud and sure of yourselves you are. Pride of this kind is always wicked.
"As regards (a) no evasion is possible. Every war, every famine or plague, almost every death-bed, is the monument to a petition that was not granted... They have sought and not been granted. They have knocked and the door has not been opened."
"But (b), though much less often mentioned, is surely an equal difficulty. How is it possible at one and the same moment to have perfect faith... that you will get what you ask... and yet also prepare yourself submissively in advance for a possible refusal? If refusal is possible, how can you have simultaneously a perfect confidence that what you ask for will not be refused? If you have that confidence, how can you take refusal into account at all?"
"I'm not asking why our petitions are so often refused. Anyone can see in general that this must be so. In our ignorance we ask what is not good for us or for others, or not even intrinsically possible. Or again, to grant one man's prayer involves refusing another's. The real problem is... not why refusal is so frequent, but why the opposite result is so lavishly promised?"
"1) These Scriptures are the worst possible place at which to begin Christian instruction... You remember what happened when the Widow started Huck Finn off with the idea he could get what he wanted by praying for it. He tried the experiment and then, not unnaturally, never gave Christianity a second thought. We had better not talk of the prayer of faith as "elementary". It is a truth for very advanced pupils indeed. It is a coping stone, not a foundation. For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait."
James 4:3 (NIV) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
"2) We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as "faith", with the idea that this will somehow insure the granting of our prayer. We have probably all done this as children. But the state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics."
"How or why does such faith occur sometimes, but not always, even in the perfect petitioner? My own idea is that it occurs only when the one who prays does so as God's fellow-worker, demanding what is needed for the joint work. It is the prophet's, the apostle's, the missionary's, the healer's prayer that is made with this confidence and finds the confidence justified by the event... The colleague of God is so united with him at certain moments that something of the divine foreknowledge enters his mind. Hence his faith is the "evidence"--that is, the evidentness, the obviousness--of things not seen."
1 Jn 5:14-15 (Phi) We have such confidence in him that we are certain that he hears every request that is made in accord with his own plan. And since we know that he invariably gives attention to our prayers, whatever they are, we can be quite sure that what we have asked for is already ours.
"A far inferior degree of faith is, I hope, acceptable to God. Even the kind that says "Help thou my unbelief" may make way for a miracle..."
"As the friend is above the servant, the servant is above the suitor, the man praying on his own behalf. It is no sin to be a suitor. Our Lord descends into being a suitor, of praying on His own behalf, in Gethsemane. But when He does so--the certitude about his Father's will is apparently withdrawn."
John 15:14-17 (Jer) "You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father. You did not choose me; no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name."
John 15:7-8 (NIV) "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
Preachers need REAL classroom training as well as OJT (On the Job Training) in order to be effective ministers. Unqualified preachers are killing churches!
In too many of our churches (I am talking to Black folks) we have the ancient slave mentality that says, “I don’t need to go to school to be a preacher, I got the anointing!” Well during the days of slavery and Jim Crow we didn’t have an opportunity to go to Seminary or Bible Colleges. My grandfather was a deacon and his brother was a pastor back in the days when folks only got a grade school education and had to quit because they had to help pick tobacco. My forefathers made due the best they could under harsh circumstances. Now there is NO excuse for a preacher not getting formal training! You may not be able to afford Harvard or Princeton Theological Seminary, but every denomination should have a local Bible school. Most churches today have their own Bible Institutes or Schools. When you accepted the call to preach you also accepted the call to discipleship (training). Jesus spent 3 years training His disciples for ministry. He taught them how to pray, how to cast out devils, how to lay hands on the sick, how to carry themselves, and how to make more disciples. I am disgusted at how easy it is to be ordained in our churches. Just because a brother or sister can testify loud or run their mouth doesn’t mean they are called to preach! If they are called they will be willing to be trained BEFORE being given a piece of paper ordaining them. Remember this, if the preacher is ignorant and unlearned, then the people will be too! The gospel preacher must devote his (or her) life to purity of doctrine. Paul warned Timothy to avoid fables and old wives tales. It’s very easy for preachers to get involved in the “flavor of the month” teachings.
Monday, March 24, 2008
THE HISTORY OF SEXUAL SIN
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. (Genesis chapter 9)
When Jonah discovered the power of the fruit of the vine, he also became the first victim of sexual sin. For years people have indicted Ham as a bad son because he discovered his father’s nakedness. Granted he should have used more discretion by covering his father, but it was Noah who got drunk and allowed his nakedness to be on display. The real villain never gets identified by most people…this would be Canaan! Ham was not cursed by Noah, what would make a man CURSE his grandson! It had to have been something really awful. Let’s look at some other scripture.
15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory. (Hab. Chapt.2)
Drunkenness often leads to sexual immorality, this is not something someone told me, and I’ve been there! A person’s inhibitions are lowered when drunk; will power goes out of the window. When I was a young unsaved airman back in the seventies, I would get so drunk I couldn’t remember what I did the night before. I believe Canaan was guilty of taking advantage of his grandfather’s drunkenness. Canaan is the father of Sodom and Gomorra. They were CANAANITES! I strongly believe Canaan was the first homosexual in the Bible.
The Canaanites were the most sexually deviant people of their time!
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus chapter 34)
Sexual sin’s pass through bloodlines because the demons that influence the perpetrators, never die! These vile spirits haunt families for years. Have you ever noticed how certain sins and habits are prevalent in certain families? Watch the Jerry Springer Show or some of the other trash talk shows and you will see my point. Example - Bubba is a drunken adulterer, Bubba’s daddy is a drunken adulterer, and Bubba’s grandfather is a drunken adulterer. My point, sin travels through generations. The only cure is Jesus Christ! The Lord Jesus Christ is the curse “reverser”. The power of God stops the demonic flow through families.
When I worked as a County Corrections Officer in Burlington County, New Jersey, I would often see the devastating effects of generation curses. I processed an inmate one summer evening that molested his daughters. Within six months of his incarceration, The Lord gave me opportunity to lead him to salvation. This individual had repented of his deeds and took full responsibility for his actions, but he shared something with me that sobered me on the subject of generation curses and sins. He told me his father molested him for nearly 3 years, and his father was also molested. This does not excuse an individual, but it helps us understand the demons behind the molestation that haunted this family, and that wrecked havoc in their lives. The fact that the jailed father accepted Christ and repented put a stop to this demonic onslaught. (Read Psalms 32, 38, and 51) Unconfessed sin makes us not only an emotional wreck, but can affect us physically as well.
Ps 38:1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Ps 38:2 For your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down upon me.
Ps 38:3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
Ps 38:4 My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
Ps 38:5 My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.
Ps 38:6 I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
Ps 38:7 My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
Ps 38:8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
Ps 38:9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
Ps 38:10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
Ps 38:11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds. NIV
Why Satan Uses Sex
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Gen. Chapter 3)
28 But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matt. Chapter 5) KJV
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 for by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
27 Can a man takes fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? (Prov. Chapter 6) KJV
Satan uses sex for on simple reason…IT WORKS! In the beginning God created man (Adam) and declared, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” God created a woman FOR the
“America has thousands of churches! There are some in Cathedrals, Small Chapels, Storefronts, Private Homes and Warehouses. Some of these churches are denominational and some are not, some are traditional and some are very unique, and finally some are growing and unfortunately MANY are DYING! There are a lot of churches, ministries, and Christian Centers that are on life support spiritually. Why? I believe the question is on the hearts and minds of many Pastors and church members, and the answer is available…BUT can we handle the TRUTH? The truth is something most Christians avoid like the plague! Why? I think we (Christians) would rather blame the devil for things that are really our fault and responsibility. Is the devil our enemy? Of course he is! But WE reap what WE sow. The church preaches a lot about sowing and reaping, especially when it comes to money and wealth. If you read the verses in Malachi about tithes, read carefully! It wasn’t the people that God was rebuking IT WAS THE PRIEST! They refused to help the widows and the fatherless (also a purpose of tithes!) But many churches lay this on the members and yet they don’t practice what they preach. Local churches are supposed to make an impact on the communities they are in by GIVING back, (Matt. 5:14-16) Sinners should have to even confess and admit that the Church makes a difference in this neighborhood! I want to give you ten answers to the QUESTION! “Why is my church dying?” Hold on to your hat’s the answers may shake up your traditional thinking…and make you THINK!”
Elder Mark H. Stevens
Dean, C.H. Mason Bible Institute
1st Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction NJ
ANSWER NUMBER ONE – “If the Pastor doesn’t emphasize evangelism and discipleship, YOUR CHURCH WILL DIE!”
I was in church one Sunday and one of the old Missionaries was leading the early Morning Prayer, she cried loud and shook the rafters as she prayed. She said at one point “Lord send the sinner man into this church!” It was uttered with the utmost sincerity and piety, but she was very much wrong! God doesn’t send sinners to church! He expects US to bring people to Jesus Christ! Jesus told His disciples to pray for laborers for the sole purpose of harvesting LOST SOULS! Too many pastors expect their churches to be like “magnets” and sinners will just come to church! We must invite sinners to Jesus first and foremost, and we must also invite people to our place of worship. It is not enough to have a nice edifice! Churches HAVE to aggressively share the Gospel of Jesus in their communities. This is the primary reason Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the church, so we could preach the Gospel and make disciples (students). Too often pastors want everyone to embrace and support HIS vision, but he forgets that others vision (purpose) helps support the church as well. Every Pastor NEEDS an EVANGELIST in their church to bring people to Christ so the PASTOR can nurture them, The TEACHER make them disciples and helps them go from milk to meat. The PROPHET inspires people to press into the perfect will of God.
(Act 1:8; Luke 5:1-11; Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:26 and John 15:26)
ANSWER NUMBER TWO: “Holiness doesn’t mean isolation!”
One problem with man’s denominational teaching is that HOLINESS in many churches and groups means stay away from them sinners! The only way sinners can see Jesus Christ is through the Church (The Body of Christ). The local church is a part of the larger body of blood washed believers. Sinners can only see the light of Jesus Christ through US. Now I am not saying Christians should go to bars and nightclubs…BUT we do have to interact with sinners! Jesus went to places where people congregate. I remember many of my fellow preachers telling saints they shouldn’t go to bowling alleys, teens shouldn’t play sports, and saints don’t go swimming! These are in some people’s minds what “holiness” is all about! True holiness means we are set apart for God’s use and purposes. God’s highest purpose is that we influence people to accept Christ! I don’t think you can do that locked up in your church 7 days a week with black suits, long skirts, and doilies on your head! I used to witness on the streets of Song Tan City in Korea, there were nothing but bars, nightclubs, and whorehouses in this sin filled town. Many professed “Spirit-filled” Christians would warn me about going downtown. They would tell me it was dangerous and that there was too much temptation there. I believe the awesome power of the Holy Ghost is MORE than enough to protect us while we minister to sinners! I have led prostitutes, Moslems, drug addicts, and drunks to Jesus Christ in some pretty dangerous places. The Holy Spirit was given to us to insulate us from the World, much like an astronaut’s suit protects him on the Moon.
(Jude 24; Romans 8:28;John 15:1-4; John 15:26; John 16:5-9)
ANSWER NUMBER THREE: You are afraid of the long hair, dreadlocks, tattoos, and nose rings!
A great number of the youth of America today all have one of these four things in common! We traditional saints have got to get over it! I asked a group of ministers at a conference this question, “What would you do if a young man came to your church and professed his faith Jesus Christ, but had dreadlocks?” Well they frowned a little and said “dreadlocks!” My point is this, I am not a big fan of dreadlocks, but what does that have to do with a young man’s walk with Christ? We focus on the wrong thing sometimes. I know Christians with dreadlocks, long hair, and nose rings. And none of them belong to traditional churches! Why? Because they are not accepted! If Jesus accepted them, who are you to say, “You cannot be a Christian with a pony-tail!” I have a friend that used to be a Hell’s Angel biker; he is now a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He ministers primarily to other bikers. He still has long hair, tattooed arms, and yes he still rides a bike! The difference is that he has a new heart and renewed mind! God delivered him from drugs, sex, and alcohol! He doesn’t curse anymore! He reads the Word daily! And he prays more than many of my black suited fellow preachers. Unfortunately he would not accepted in many traditional churches. Jesus chose fisherman, zealots, prostitutes, lepers and tax collectors as disciples! These were not the cream of Israel’s spiritual crop! God doesn’t judge the outward appearance…He judges the heart.
(I Samuel 16:7)