I Corinthians 1:25
The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Michael Card sings a song titled “God’s Own Fool.” The song begins with the following words:
Seems I’ve imagined Him all of my life
As the wisest of all of mankind
But if God’s Holy wisdom is foolish to men
He must have seemed out of His mind
For even His family said He was mad
And the priests said a demon’s to blame
But God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane
I want to begin this series on preparing for days of trouble by pointing out how the church has adopted a natural wisdom while rejecting the wisdom of God. What are most Christians anticipating to occur before days of great tribulation fall upon this earth? They expect God to rapture them out of this earth so they do not have to experience the suffering and trials of that hour.
Such teachings have been popularized for decades. Hal Lindsey wrote of the church being raptured in the 1970s, and Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye took the message to new heights of popularity with their best selling Left Behind series. This series admits to being a work of fiction, while at the same time falsely claiming to be based upon sound Biblical doctrine. The wisdom of the natural man will inevitably arrive at doctrines and beliefs that satisfy his soulish desires. Men do not see the value of suffering. Indeed, they believe suffering is evil, and to be assiduously avoided.
Two thousand years ago, the people of God were studying the Scriptures daily. The Jewish society was centered around the reading and study of the Scriptures in the synagogues and temple. They interpreted the words of God through the filter of their human intellect, arriving at conclusions and predictions of the next work of Yahweh that proved to be as far removed from reality as darkness is from the light. They envisioned a future in which the Jewish people would be exalted. They concluded that the Messiah’s appearing would usher in a renewal of the earthly kingdom; the throne of David would have one of his descendants to sit upon it; the yoke of Rome would be cast off, and those who were the seed of Abraham would rule and reign with their Messiah.
Such is the wisdom of man. Man believes and hopes for what is pleasing to his soul. The soul does not want to suffer. It wants glory and honor without qualification. The mind of man sees no wisdom in an afflicted path, for man judges things externally.
Not only did the Jews make this mistake two thousand years ago, but Christ revealed that the church would commit the same error. Christ proclaimed that the church would succumb to fleshly desire and natural wisdom by equating material prosperity with spiritual maturity.
“You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
In the book of The Revelation we are given a prophetic picture of Christ addressing seven churches. The last of these is the church of Laodicea to whom the words above were spoken. Some have understood the Laodicean church to be a representation of the church in the last hour before Christ returns. Arguments have been set forth to suggest the seven churches are a chronological forecast of the condition of the body of Christ. There are certainly many aspects of the Laodicean church that match perfectly with the character of the church today.
A message of prosperity has thoroughly leavened the body of Christ. The church has heaped up to herself teachers to tell her the things her soul desires to hear. The message of the hour that attracts tens of thousands to mega-churches is one of worldly fulfillment, materialism, and hedonistic pleasure.
Note again the emphasis on the word “YOUR!” Christ said, “I did not come to do My will, but the will of the One who sent Me.”
Using the Law of Moses to justify a pursuit of wealth and much selfish behavior is not a new occurrence. The Jews were doing the same in the days of Christ.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
These words again reveal the gap between human wisdom and God’s wisdom. This gap is on display in the myriad of Christian books advocating a focus on material success.
“Learn time tested Biblical secrets to create wealth while serving others!” Such a concept is certainly an attempt to serve two masters.
Tragically, many of the most popular teachers to the body of Christ are feeding the saints a diet of mammon, rather than manna.
I Timothy 6:9-10
Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The book’s byline states: “Unlock the Secrets of Creating Wealth and Harness the Power of Money to Influence Everything.” In contrast, Peter and John said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.” James stated, “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom?” (James 2:5)
I shared the above graphic previously, but am including it again for it visually depicts the stark contrast between the message derived from human wisdom, and the wisdom of God. The popularity of a message of blessing, ease, and comfort reveals what message the church has chosen to embrace, and which one they have rejected.
These books represent just a smattering of the teachers and teachings the church has heaped up to tickle their ears. Such messages are being devoured like candy. Authors, teachers and ministers who want to be popular and affluent know what message sells. Those who proclaim this error have formed a symbiotic relationship with the masses who want to hear error. Not knowing the fear of God, many in the body of Christ have failed to concern themselves with the consequences of choosing lies over truth.
II Thessalonians 2:10-12
Because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved… for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Is it surprising, considering God’s promise to send delusion to those who prefer lies over truth, that the majority view of this late hour is that the church will be raptured out of the earth before tribulation begins? If the church had to practice truth in advertising we would find the books and preaching offered to the body of Christ labeled very differently.
Often when I openly declare some adored Christian personality to be seducing the people of God with a false message, I hear back from those who accuse me of being too hard on the individual. People of God, wolves in sheep’s clothing look like sheep. They appear pleasant on the outside. They smile, and appear congenial, but all the while they are leading the flock of God to destruction.
In the previous post I quoted a statement made from the overseer of one of the largest cathedrals in Christchurch. He stated that the church had become “a death trap.” How difficult it is to look beyond the pleasant facade of the church today and see the danger posed to the undiscerning. Christ declared the following:
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
False prophets do not wear signs on their chests declaring them to be deceivers anymore than books and teachings promoting spiritual deception come with warning labels. It is up to the individual saint to test all things. If the gate is narrow and the path afflicted that leads to life, and few there are who find it; if the church is prophesied in the last days to not endure sound doctrine (such as the message of the disciple’s cross), but will heap up to herself false teachers; if there is a broad way that leads to destruction crowded with multitudes of men and women; then should we not discern something as we observe the vast popularity of books that proclaim a message of worldly success, prosperity, and an escape from suffering?
The message that the church must go through a time of judgment, suffering, and birth pangs prior to the next appearance of Christ is incompatible with the message of prosperity and worldly success. Two thousands years ago the people of God were predicting the appearing of the Messiah in a manner that would satisfy their carnal desires. The people of God are doing so again today.
The natural man desires to be taken from a life focused on worldly attainment and be ushered into the presence of God through an experience known as the rapture. The flesh seeks some message that will permit it to avoid the suffering of the cross, while not being denied the inheritance that belongs to the sons of God. The result is a false gospel message that focuses on confession of Christ while it ignores or denies conformity to Christ during this life. Christ did nothing of His own initiative; He lived only for the will and pleasure of the Father; but the saint is taught by word and example that he can pursue his own soulish desires. The saint is told that Christ went to the cross so that he/she would not need to do so.
If you love truth and fear God, you will not be satisfied with the foods sacrificed to idols (also known as “doctrines of demons”) that the majority of the body of Christ is feeding upon today. If you love truth you will prefer a message of an afflicted path that leads to life over pleasant lies of a broad and easy path that is promised to arrive at the same destination. If you love truth, you will test the claims that Christians will not have to endure days of tribulation, nor have to experience fiery trials and suffering.
What will the outcome be for those who refuse to let go of their carnal doctrines? Will it not be the same as that which the Jews experienced two millennia ago? The people of God will not recognize the day of Christ’s visitation. They will resist the work of God. They will deny the Lord of glory. They will think they do God a favor while they persecute and kill the disciples of Christ.
Christ will appear in a manner and form unrecognizable to the majority of Christians’ eyes. As His appearance was changed when He met the disciples as they drew the 153 large fish to the shore, His appearance will not be what Christians are expecting today. When He begins to take of the fish and put them in the fire, the children of God will not understand.
The wisdom of God has determined that the saints of this last hour must endure troublous days before they enter into glory as surely as it was His wisdom that determined His firstborn son must do the same. What the Teacher and Pattern Man experienced, so too must the disciple.
Isaiah 53:3, 10-11
He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… Yahweh was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief… As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will be satisfied.
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
I Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
How very different is the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man? Yahweh sees the necessity of afflicting His people. He knows the necessity of suffering and the cross in order to transform fleshly men and women into spiritual creatures. He knows that no real harm comes to a man or woman who suffers in the flesh. If we too would look at things from the eternal perspective of God we would judge the same.
II Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The message of the cross is foolishness to man. Some say I make too much of the topics of suffering, of passing through wilderness experiences and days of affliction. Yet, I see what is coming. Even now it is on the horizon. As a watchman I will cry out. Perhaps the message of troublous days appointed for the people of God will not sound foolish to your ears.
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