July 2009

In the Word of God, we read a stern, but very needful warning that everyone who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb should take to heart and to take seriously.  That warning can be found in Matthew 7 and is given by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  The warning is as follows:

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Paul echoed the warning later on in the book of Acts:

Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

In this age of internet superhighways we have many people who, under the self-imposed label of ‘Christian’ are setting up forums and bulletin boards which sole purpose is to proselytize new converts to their belief that Churches and pastoral leadership is no longer required by God.  Many who are not rooted and grounded in the Word of God are being swayed into believing the heretical teachings of these cults.

Brethren and Sisters, the warning from the Lord is there as well as the Apostle Paul.  John, in his epistles echos further the warning by admonishing the Church

1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Now, many of these wolves that Christ warns us about may tell you that they are not antichrist because they confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.  But test the spirits that they are allowing to control their words.  Yes, they do attest that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.  But which Jesus is it that they are confessing?

Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 16:

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

If the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, why are these wolves so adamant that the sheep need no shepherd?  A flock of sheep left alone will surely scatter!  If the flock is scattered, the gates of hell indeed have prevailed against the Church.

These wolves are not confessing the Christ of the Bible!  They are antichrists and serving a false christ… not the Son of God Almighty.

Recent encounters with one such group revealed to me that they serve a weak god and not the God of the Bible.  Sure they use the Bible, but they twist the Word of Truth into a lie.  Brethren, truth, no matter how much, mixed with one lie becomes a lie.  You cannot weave rayon into a cotton shirt and state that the shirt is 100% cotton.  One thread of rayon changes the shirt… just one single solitary thread.   Another illustration would be taking a drop of poison that is strong enough to kill 15 men and dropping it in a glass of water.  The water is now useless because of the poison.  Mixing truth with error perverts the truth just as mixing water with poison pollutes the water.

Be wary, my friends.  Try the spirits.  Sure they confess Jesus come in the flesh, but that does not necessarily mean they confess the same Jesus as you or I.  The Jesus we serve is faithful to His promises.  The Jesus we serve is not a deceiver.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Stay in the Word of God.  Study it daily.  Etch it upon your heart.  If you do not know the Word of God, you could easily be swayed into following a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  You could hear the fateful words of Christ that He speaks to false teacher in Matthew 7:

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Is pastoral leadership necessary?  According the the Word of God it is…

Ephesians 4:9-14 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 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 fulness 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;

Pastors indeed are shepherds who are overseer’s of the sheep that God has entrusted them with.   A pastor is the spiritual leader and is responsible for feeding the congregation that which is edifying to them.  If pastors were not needed, God would not have given them.  Since God did give them, He meant for the flock to assemble under their supervision and guidance.

My brethren, do not let the spirit of antichrist deceive you into thinking you do not need pastoral authority or that you do not have to assemble together in a building for fellowship and spiritual growth.

Paul gives us a directive in Hebrews, and remember that the entirity of the Word of God was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  That means the directive is from God, not man:

Hebrews 10:25-27 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

According to the Word of God here, if one allows oneself to be deceived into believing he or she does not need to assemble together with believers… thereby falling out of fellowship, they are in willful sin and will face a judgment of fiery indignation from God.

*Avoid forums that have the characters, Vic, Rose of Shushan, and sheep wrecked as administrators.  These are some of the more dangerous of the teachers of the heretical doctrine Christ and the Apostles warn about.  They will not submit to Church leadership, but rather consider the internet to be their church with Vic as their head pastor.  If you are surfing for a forum to join and stumble across the one that has these three characters, be cautious of their posts.

Will A Man Rob God?

On any given Sunday, there will be Pastor’s who will stand behind the pulpit and will preach a well-known message out of the 3rd Chapter of the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi.

“Will a man ROB GOD?,” will boom through the air with emphasis on ‘rob God.’ Many preacher’s will put the emphasis on ‘rob God’ to instill an automatic guilt into the very minds of the hearer. It causes the automatic cringing of the people the preacher wants to put in a spirit of condemnation.

“Yet YE HAVE ROBBED ME. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for YE HAVE ROBBED ME, even this whole nation.”

Every single believer in the congregation who is not placing money in a tithe envelope and placing it in the offering plate is automatically pointed out by this man, (figuratively) who is supposed to be speaking for God, as being robbers and are therefore under a curse which will NEVER BE LIFTED as long as one is disobedient to God.

This is why it is important for each and every person who has been adopted into the family of God by faith in the substitutionary blood of Jesus Christ on the cruel cross of Calvary to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Jesus said in John 17 during His prayer to His Father acknowledging all that the Father gave Him these wonderful words that we all need to embrace and realize that He wants us to study diligently; “Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth.”

Once we learn that it is God’s Holy Word that sanctifies, that sets us apart from the world, that separates us from false teachings, then we have a responsibility to study that Word and begin to apply its truths to our walk. When we walk according to the Word of God, we will not be so easily swayed by preachers who do not study as they should.

Oh, but the preacher has doctorates given him by a famous seminary that has turned out many wonderful men of God! Don’t be fooled, Brethren. The only thing that will turn out a wonderful man of God are the Word of God and the God of the Word..

The best place to go to learn who God is and what He expects of man is to the very Word of God… The Holy Bible.

In the accusation of man robbing God in today’s Christian community, a charge is generally given out of Malachi that not only was not speaking of money, but it was not speaking of the Gentile nations at all.

The Gentile nations were not required to tithe according to God’s Word.

Let’s begin to look into the passage and learn what God is truly addressing when the prophet Malachi said “Will a man rob God? But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
First off, we must address who is being spoken to in the passage. It will shock many to realize that it was to the Priest’s of Israel.

Look at Malachi 2:1:

And now, O ye Priest’s, this commandment is for you.

Now, look at Malachi 3:5:

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Clearly, God is speaking about specific people here that are doing the robbing! The Priest’s who oppress or defraud the working class, who defraud the widows, the orphans, and turn aside the stranger from his right. To see exactly what is meant here since it is speaking of tithes, we must go into the Book of Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

Here, we learn more than just one wonderful truth.

1. We learn that the tithe was “all the increase of thy seed, (agricultural produce) that the field bringeth forth year by year.” The tithe was a yearly event, not weekly.
2. We learn that the tithe was to be eaten.
3. We learn that the purpose of the tithe is that the children of Israel learn to revere the LORD their God.
4. If the tithe was too heavy to carry to the destination that the Lord had chose to place His name, or if the distance to the Feast was so far that the food might spoil before arriving at the location that the Feast was to take place, the tithe could be sold for money. This tells us the tithe was not money, contrary to what many have been taught in Churches around the world.
5. Once the tither arrived at the destination that the Lord had chose to place His name, the money was to be used to buy the tithe that was to be eaten there before the Lord.
6. On every 3rd year, the tithe was not to be taken to the Levite’s, nor to the Feast, but the tithe was to be kept in one’s own city to feed the Levite that was living In that city, the widow, the orphans, and any stranger that happened to be in Israel at the time of the tithe. These people were fed the third year tithe.
7. The Levite’s, widows, orphans and foreigners were the only one’s who were qualified to receive the tithe of the tither.

If the principle set forth in the Book of Deuteronomy was followed, the LORD God promised to bless the one who tithed.

When one reads Malachi 3:5 in light of Deuteronomy 14:22-29, we see that the Priest’s were not allowing the tithe to go toward feeding the less fortunate.

When God said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”, He was telling the Priest’s to take the tithe of grains and meats, foodstuff, into the Temple storage chambers so that there would be food for themselves and for others in need.
If the tither would do this, God would cause the windows of heaven to open, the rain to fall, and the crops to increase in such a way that the tither would have more than he needed for his own self.