Monthly Archives: January 2016
The Idol of Ethnicity
The idol of ethnicity: There are many believers who have allowed their ethnicity and culture to trump the Word of God. Jesus said culture is even stronger than the Word of God in some people’s lives (Mark 7:7-8). Consequently, people read the Scriptures through their Caucasian/Western, Afro-centric, Hispanic or Asian lenses. One of the most important things to do in regards to receiving the Word of God for personal transformation is to attempt to take ourselves out of our own skin and read the Bible through the eyes of the authors original intent—something only the Holy Spirit can accomplish. There is no such thing as a Western European Caucasian Bible or an Afro-centric Bible. We need to stop reading the Scriptures merely through our ethnic lens because the truth is that the Bible was written with a Hebraic mindset and it is foolish to think we can fully understand it with our contemporary ethnic mindset.
Consequently, believers often act and react no different from non-believers in regards to things that happen in contemporary society. White, black and brown believers have generally reacted far different from one another when it comes to interpreting immigration reform and the tragedies of the Ferguson shooting and Eric Garner death. Truly, I believe that the gospel is so powerful that it is possible for diverse Christians to come together with one voice and prophetically interpret, speak into and bring solutions to these painful and controversial issues!
God is not color blind, since He made humans black, brown, yellow, red and white in His own image. Hence, He designed us to have distinctions in culture regarding food, dress, language and other things based upon ethnic nuances. However, these distinctions are not where believers should derive their primary identity or anchor their biblical ethics, for in Christ there is neither male nor female, black, white or brown, for we are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). When our ethnic thinking trumps our biblical thinking, we are guilty either of ignorance or ethnic idolatry. Unless or until the body of Christ gets over its idolatry according to ethnicity, we will never become the generation that can disciple the nations (or in other words, ethnic people groups as shown in Matthew 28:19). Since there is no neutrality, either the church will disciple the nations or the nations will disciple the church!
by Donnie Swaggart
SEDUCING SPIRITS AND DOCTRINES OF DEVILS
Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit (Holy Spirit) speaks expressly (pointedly), that in the latter times (the times in which we now live, the last of the last days, which begin the fulfillment of Endtime Prophecies) some shall depart from the Faith (anytime Paul uses the term the Faith, in short he is referring to the Cross; so, we are told here that some will depart from the Cross as the means of Salvation and Victory), giving heed to seducing spirits (evil spirits, i.e., religious spirits, making something seem like what it isn’t), and doctrines of devils (should have been translated, doctrines of demons ; the seducing spirits entice Believers away from the true Faith, causing them to believe doctrines inspired by demon spirits ).”
This Verse, as given by the Holy Spirit to the Apostle Paul, expressly warns us what is going to happen in the Church in the Last Days.
“NOW THE SPIRIT SPEAKS EXPRESSLY”
This speaks of the Holy Spirit. The words, “speaks expressly,” refers to the fact that it was not by mere hints or even symbols, but given to Paul in an open and plain manner. In other words, there was no hesitation or waffling on the part of the Holy Spirit. What He stated to Paul was unmistakably clear.
In Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3, seven times it says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” It is the Work of the Holy Spirit to reveal what is going on and what is going to happen, and whatever the Holy Spirit says will come to pass, then it will come to pass.
“THAT IN THE LATTER TIMES”
This statement refers to the last years ending the Church Age and before the Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Actually, it is speaking of this present time. The problems the Holy Spirit mentioned have always existed in the Church; however, as we grow closer to the Rapture of the Church, these problems will be more pronounced and common. In the Greek, the word “latter” means “afterward, at the last of all.” What is being said here is that the Church is in the last great apostasy of the Church Age.
“SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH”
This speaks of a departure from the Word of God, but more particularly to the major Theme of the Bible, the Finished Work of Christ, the Cross. Today, Doctrine is laughed at, dismissed, and lampooned. But without correct Biblical Doctrine, the Church is like a ship adrift at sea with no engine. Where there is an absence of Doctrine, Satan will always see to it that which is false will fill the void. The Message of the Cross is being openly attacked and dismissed as never before.
Understand this: the Cross of Christ is the dividing line between the True Church and the apostate Church. Take note of my words. Those who reject the Cross and disdain it, they will be lost. If you don t embrace the Truth of Christ and Him Crucified and Resurrected, and proclaim that great Truth as the only means of Justification and Sanctification then you are going to lose your soul and you will spend eternity in Hell.
Joshua 24:15 still says, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served who were on the other side of the Flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” And you can t serve the Lord outside of Calvary.
“GIVING HEED TO SEDUCING SPIRITS”
This statement tells us the cause of the Church s departure from Truth. “Seducing” in the Greek is “Planos” and means “wandering, roving, misleading, leading into error.” The word “spirits” refers to evil spirits actually putting into motion human agents of the “spirit of error.” “Seducing spirits” means exactly what the word implies. Evil spirits actually seduce preachers and laity, just as a harlot seduces a man. These seducing spirits appear as Angels of light. These seducing spirits move one away from the true Word of God, the King James Bible, to the perverted translations that literally change the meaning of Scripture. As seducing spirits, they blind the Church to what is the real truth to the point where truth is called a lie, and the lie is called the truth.
After these seducing spirits blind the Church, the next step is to bring the world and its ways into the Church until the people become so blind and in such a stupor that they are worshipping Satan thinking it is Jesus. Satan is no longer outside of the Church, but he is literally in charge of far too many pastors and their congregations.
Today, preaching is laughed at. The Holy Spirit is no longer welcome. Instead of singing the great songs of Faith, we have substituted secular, worldly music. We have brought Hollywood movies into the Sanctuary of God. Too many services resemble nothing more than a night club. But I remind you of the Word of the Lord in Ezekiel 5:11, “. . . because you have defiled My Sanctuary with all your detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish you; neither shall My Eye spare, neither will I have any pity.” God s Sanctuary has been turned into a gathering place of demonic spirits.
“DOCTRINES OF DEVILS”
This phrase should have been translated “Doctrines of Demons,” for there is only one Devil, a fallen Angel, and many demons who are Satan s servants. It is important to note that Paul finds the source of false doctrine in these demons who entice God s Children away from the True Faith, causing them to believe doctrines inspired by demon spirits.
Never forget that what is preached and taught from behind the pulpit is always empowered by a spirit. If it is Truth, then it is backed by the Holy Spirit and the Bible. If it is false doctrine, then it is empowered by demon spirits. There is no middle ground. The modern church has been by and large seduced by demon spirits.
The only hope for the Church is Revival and one can only have Revival by returning to the old paths. The Church must come back to the Cross and repent.
What I have written is negative, but I am going to end on a positive note. In spite of the worldliness of the church, there is still a remnant left. There are still 7,000 who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal. There are still some Daniels out there who won t stop praying. There are still some Moses out there who will look Pharaoh right in the eye and proclaim, “Let my people go.”
I do believe we will see a great Move of God. I still believe in II Chronicles 7:14, “If My People, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
and Noah built an Altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered Burnt Offerings on the Altar. And the LORD smelled the sweet savor … (Gen. 8:20–21).
Noah built an Altar and worshipped; not the Altar, but God. The Altar was the instrument of his Salvation, as the Cross was Paul’s, and of every other Believer who has ever lived. But the Apostle did not worship the Cross, as multitudes do today, but worshipped Him Who died upon it.
The “Altar” built by Noah and the sacrifices offered upon it were symbols of Christ and what He would do to redeem the lost sons of Adam’s fallen race. When Noah offered up his sacrifices, even as commanded by the Lord, the Scripture says that “the LORD smelled a sweet savor.”
What could have been “sweet” about the carcass of an animal being burned to a crisp on an Altar?
The “sweet savor” had to do with what it represented, which was the Coming Redeemer, Whose Coming and Sacrifice of Himself would redeem fallen humanity.
Let the Reader understand:
The Lord “smells a sweet savor” only as it regards our Faith in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. This means that everything else is repugnant to Him, coming up rather as a “stink” in His nostrils.
That rules out every fad, every scheme, anything and everything for that matter, which is not anchored solely in “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 1:23).
Every single Believer should, therefore, check very carefully as to what his Pastor is preaching, or his favorite TV Evangelist, etc. If he or she is not preaching the Cross, there is no “sweet savor” going up to the Lord, but something else entirely!
1 Kings 18″21–21 And Elijah came unto all the people (when they all had gathered at Mount Carmel), and said, How long halt you between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word (the objective of Elijah was to prove that Jehovah, and not Baal, was God).
As we can see in the above scripture, the prophet Elijah poses a question to the prophets of Baal as well as to the us presently. How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord be God then follow Him but if Baal, then follow him. The word halt in the Hebrew means to hesitate or fluctuate from one to another. What were they fluctuating between? Two opinions which are whether to serve Jehovah God or the idol Baal. The word opinions means thoughts which distract the mind. Baal claimed to be the Sun-god and lord of the elements and forces of nature; while Jehovah, as well, identified Himself with this token [Lev. 9:24; 1 Chron. 21:26; 2 Chron. 7:1]).
Many today are fluctuating between serving the true and living God Jehovah, by exhibiting faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work at Calvary, or serving through religious works and self efforts to bring about spiritual change. King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, leaders of Israel, were enforcing false worship but Elijah a true prophet of God, endorsed God Jehovah. The things which we allow to distract our minds from serving the Lord fully based upon faith in Calvary must be cast down. This can only happen when we choose to place our focus and minds on the Cross of Christ exclusively. Once a person comes to Christ, there can be no adding to nor taking away from God’s plan of redemption, which is Calvary. We must serve Him according to His precepts and Plans alone. Israel in Romans 10:1-4 went about to establish their own righteousness but not according to God’s Way. The question asked then is the same questioned asked today, How long will you halt between two opinions? If God be God, then follow Him!
Walking According to the Truth of the Gospel
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
When we are crucified with Christ, and dead to self, sin, Satan and the world system, nothing matters but the upholding of the Truth of God’s Word. Oftentimes we are committed to the Word as long as it doesn’t offend our belief systems, routines, perspectives and the relationships we have with others. In the above scripture we see the Apostle Paul confronting hypocrisy within the Jewish church as well as with one of the leaders in the church, the Apostle Peter. Peter was acting one way toward the Gentiles when the Jews were around and another way after they departed. In other words, he wasn’t upholding the Truth of the gospel irrespective to the circumstances and individuals involved. If the Message of the Cross has been appropriated in your heart and life then you will stand for Truth regardless of race, creed, relationship with family and friends…etc. What’s right according to God’s Word should be the standard across the board whether it is in our homes, jobs, our marriage, children, church…etc. We should stand for Truth at all times no matter who or what it is.
Paul had to confront error in this church as well as with the Apostle Peter who walked with Christ, was called an apostle first and had been saved much longer. Walking according to Truth is the sole point and purpose for living a Christian life. The problem lies within us not allowing our perspectives to align itself with the view of Calvary. This is why we must allow our thought process, and every reasoning contrary to Calvary to be cast down. Many of us love the Lord and have a desire to please Him but many of us will not let the Holy Spirit work in us due to not understanding how God works, which is by faith in Calvary. Are you able to uphold the Truth of the Gospel no matter the cost?
(5) “LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE WITHOUT COVETOUSNESS; AND BE CONTENT WITH SUCH THINGS AS YE HAVE: FOR HE HATH SAID, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE.”
The structure is:
1. “Conversation” should have been translated “manner of life.”
2. The exhortation is against covetousness in the form of love of money.
3. “Content” refers here to the ability of the Christian who is dependent upon the Holy Spirit, to be independent of outward circumstances.
4. Dependent upon the Holy Spirit, we should be happy with what He provides.
5. The Lord will always come to our rescue.
MANNER OF LIFE
The phrase, “Let your conversation,” as stated, should have been translated, “manner of life.” The word “conversation” today is limited in its meaning to converse between two or more persons; however, in A.D. 1611, when the King James Version was translated, it then meant what the Greek word means, “manner of life, behavior.”
The phrase, “Be without covetousness,” in effect says, “let your manner of life be without covetousness.”
Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes against man and God (Eph. 5:3). In Colossians 3:5, the Holy Spirit through Paul classifies it as “idolatry,” while in I Corinthians 6:10, it is set forth as excluding a man from Heaven.
Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin:
1. Departure from the faith (I Tim. 6:9–10).
2. Lying (II Ki. 5:22–25).
3. Thievery (Josh. 7:21).
4. Domestic trouble (Prov. 15:27).
5. Murder (Ezek. 22:12).
6. Many foolish and hurtful lusts (I Tim. 6:9).
Covetousness has always been a very serious menace to mankind, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament period. It was one of the first sins that broke out after Israel had entered into the Promised Land (Josh. Chpt. 7); and also in the early Christian Church immediately after its founding (Ananias and Sapphira, Acts Chpt. 5); hence so many warnings against it.
A careful reading of the Old Testament will reveal the fact that a very great part of the Jewish Law—such as its enactments and regulations regarding duties toward the poor, toward servants; concerning gleaning, usury, pledges, gold and silver taken during war—was introduced and intended to counteract the spirit of covetousness.
THE MODERN GREED GOSPEL
Never before in the history of the Church has covetousness been given such a place of honor as it has presently. It has been disguised under the heading of “faith,” when it reality, it is pure greed. I speak of the modern greed gospel.
Unfortunately, the far greater majority of the modern so-called “faith ministry”, has sunk to the abominable level of none other than pure greed. Seminars abound on “how to be successful,” with the emphasis totally and completely resting on “money” and the things that money can buy. Righteousness and Holiness are “out,” while money is “in!”
One religious con artist, who goes under the pretension of being a Preacher, says over Television, “God wants you to be rich!” And then he adds, “If He doesn’t want you to be rich, then God lied!”
“Get rich quick” schemes abound over what is referred to as “Christian Television,” by gullible Christians being told, “if you’ll give so much money, you will get ten times as much in return,” or some such like figure. If these religious scams were practiced over the secular media, the perpetrators could expect to go to jail.
So, why do Christians send millions of dollars to such scams, when it is so obviously unscriptural?
Quite possibly, the correct answer is, “covetousness appeals to covetousness!”
The phrase, “And be content with such things as ye have,” presents the underlying thought that one should be satisfied with that which meets our need, and that we not desire more than meets our need.
“Content” in the Greek is “arkeo,” and means “to be possessed of unfailing strength, to be strong, to suffice, to be enough, to be satisfied, contented.” Taking the word on out to the totality of its Greek meaning, we find the word “self,” which actually means, “to be self-sufficient.”
This latter word was used by the Stoics to express the favorite doctrine of the sect, that man should be sufficient to himself for all things, able by the power of his will to resist the shock of circumstance.
In a sense, this is correct in a Scriptural way, but in an entirely different manner.
For instance, Paul was self-sufficient because he was Christ-dependent; therefore, the word “content” refers here to the ability of the Christian dependent upon the Holy Spirit and, therefore, independent of outward circumstances. As should be obvious, there is a tremendous lesson here.
~J. Swaggart Ministry